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of the Redeemer's crown, in that day when he makes up his "jewels.”—IBID.
It will be well, while we contemplate the triumph of faith and hope in others, that we should inquire, what would be our feelings in the hour of death, and under the pressure of affliction. Reader! does death present the appalling image of a dread eternity to your mind; or does faith open to your view the prospect of a glorious immortality ? Time hurries on its rapid
Sorrow or joy—the cry of terror, or the song of victory-must, sooner or later, be the portion of every child of Adam. Be yours the triumphant song
“ Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."-IBID.
PRAYER.-Prayer eases the soul in times of distress, when it is oppressed with griefs and fears, by giving them vent, and that in so advantageous a way, emptying them into the bosom of God. The very vent, were it but into the air, gives ease; or speak your grief rather to a statue than smother it; much more ease does it give to pour it forth into the lap of a confidential and sympathizing friend, even though unable to help us; yet still more of one who can help; and of all friends, our God is, beyond all comparison, the surest, and most affectionate, and most powerful. So, (Isa. lxiii. 9,) both compassion and effectual salvation are expressed: In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them : in His love and in His pity He redeemed them ; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. And so resting on His love, power, and gracious promises, the
soul quiets itself in God upon this assurance, that it is not vain to seek Him, and that He despiseth not the sighing of the poor.—(Psalm xii. 5.)—LEIGHTON.
Oh, how the soul is refreshed with freedom of speech with its beloved Lord! and as it delights in that, so it is continually advanced and grows by each meeting and conference, beholding the excellency of God, and relishing the pure and sublime pleasures that are to be found in near communion with Him.-IBID.
Our vows are cruel to ourselves, if they demand nothing but gentle zephyrs, and flowery fields, and calm repose as the lot of our life; for these pleasant things often prove the most dangerous enemies to our nobler and dearer life. Oh! how true is that saying, “Faith is safe when in danger, and in danger when secure; and prayer is fervent in straits, but in joyful and prosperous circumstances, if not quite cold and dead, at least lukewarm.” Oh, happy straits, if they hinder the mind from flowing forth upon earthly objects, and mingling itself with the mire; if they favour our correspondence with Heaven, and quicken our love to celestial objects, without which, what we call life, may more properly deserve the name of death !—IBID.
A life of indulgence is not the way to Christian perfection. There are many things that appear trifles, which greatly tend to enervate the soul, and hinder its progress in the path to virtue and glory. The habit of indulging in things which our judgments cannot thoroughly approve, grows stronger and stronger by every
act of self-gratification, and we are led on, by degrees, to an excess of luxury, which must greatly weaken our hands in the spiritual warfare.—Woods.
If sickness, or even death, approach us in our near connexions; if prospects of various sorrows present themselves to our view, how calm is that mind whose dependence is on the Lord, who considers all the evils of this life as things that endure but for a moment; and that they may work for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!”—IBID.
No words are strong enough to paint the proneness there is in the very heirs of salvation, to set up resting-places here upon earth. And though they are delivered from the base and sordid love of money, or the poor gratifications which can be gleaned from the honours and pleasures of the world, still they are apt to make Christian friends and relations, idols; and so the strength of their affections, which should centre and settle all in God, is by this means very much weakened and divided. Though we discern not this ourselves, or suspect it, our Divine Physician fully sees the growth of the distemper; and, in love, we are separated from our idols.
Disappointments meet us at every turn : where we expected we should be particularly favoured with helps and advantages for godly living, we behold ourselves left destitute; so that we have no more a place of refuge upon earth, no more a dear counsellor or friend who is as our own soul. By this means we are compelled, as Noah's dove was, by the wide watery waste,
which did not afford a single resting-place, to fly to the Ark, and to take shelter there. Our gracious Father, with a loving jealousy over us, thus secures our whole love to himself, and appears altogether glorious in our eyes; as the fountain of living waters, when the cisterns are broken which we were hewing out for ourselves.
It pleases God to afflict very heavily those who are his dear children by faith in Christ, that they may more value the choice they have made. When they see the most innocent, nay, the most laudable satisfaction they could possibly propose to themselves, from any creature comfort, all shivered in pieces, as it were, in a moment, and water of gall spring up from that very person or thing from which they promised themselves abundance of joy; in such a situation, how infinitely desirable a connexion with Jehovah, never to have an end-an union with Him who is far above all the changes of this mortal life as heaven is higher than the earth! This must be apprehended as the chief of all blessings—a portion of itself sufficient. Then the souls of the faithful are taught experimentally to say, “Vanity of vanities! all is vanity,” but Christ and his love! “Lord, to whom shall we go ?” from whence expect refreshment and consolation, but from thyself alone? “All my fresh springs shall be in thee!"VENN.
“ He went about doing good:"—this is the pattern for every Christian. He is a counterfeit one, who does not strive to imitate it.-IBID.
No Cross, no CROWN.—Every one that gets to the
throne must put his foot upon the thorn. We must taste the gall if we are to taste the glory. Whom God justifies by faith, he leads into tribulation also. When God brought Israel through the Red Sea, he led them into the wilderness; so, when God saves a soul, he tries it. The way to Zion is through the valley of Baca. You must go through the wilderness of Jordan, if you are to come to the land of promise. Some believers are much surprised when they are called upon to suffer. They thought they would do some great thing for God; but all that God permits them to do is to suffer. Go round to every one in glory—every one has a different story, yet every one has a tale of suffering. One was persecuted in his family, by his friends and companions; another was visited with sore pains and humbling diseases, neglected by the world; another had all these afflictions meeting in one-deep called upon deep. Mark, all are brought out of them. It was a dark cloud, but it passed away; the water was deep, but they have reached the other side. Not one of them blames God for the road he led them; “salvation” is their only cry. Are there any of you, dear children, murmuring at your lot? Do not sin against God. This is the way God leads all his redeemed ones. You must have a palm as well as a white robe. No pain, no palm; no cross, no crown; no thorn, no throne; no gall, no glory. Learn to glory in tribulation also. “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."--M'CHEYNE.
He that troubles not himself with anxious thoughts for more than is necessary, lives little less than the life