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Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.
&c. Eph. iv. 18, 19. If a man be naturally dead, bring a candle into the room, he sees it not; let the sun shine in his face, he perceives not the beauty nor feels the warmth thereof; offer him rich presents, he receives them not; he hath no eye to see them, no heart to desire them, no hand to reach out unto them. Thus it is with one that is spiritually dead. Let the sunshine of the Gospel blaze out ever so clear, he sees it not, because he is in darkness; though he lived under plentiful means and dispensations, yet he is blind and sottish; offer unto him the rich pearls of the Gospel, those rich treasures of
grace in Christ Jesus, yet he hath no heart to them, no hand of faith to lay hold upon them; 80 blind, so sottish, so stupid and senseless is he, that though these rich treasures, these graces, these pearls of the Gospel be conveyed unto him in earthen vessels, in a plain and familiar manner, yet he doth not, he cannot apprehend them; judgments do not affright him, and mercies cannot allure or persuade him; yet this creature is all life in the element of sin ; he loves it, he pleads for it, he commits it with greediness. This is St. Paul's account of the unconverted Gentiles; and how many such have we under a Christian name! O Lord, exert thy great power, quicken all that are thus dead in trespasses and sins ; 66 turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to thine own self.” Amen.
A carnal soul is blind within,
And has no want of Jesus' grace;
And turns from God his haughty face.
David's Declaration. I wait for the Lord, my soul
doth wait. Ps. cxxx. 5. Divine Answer.—They that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength, &c. Isa. xl. 31. For the Lord is good unto them that wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him. Lam. iii. 25. It is not enough to utter words which form a prayer, but these words must express the desires and wishes of our heart. Nor is this enough ; prayer without expectation is no prayer at all. Unless we desire and eagerly look for the coming of what we have prayed for, how can it be called prayer? it will only be à solemn mocking of God. Therefore, when we have prayed, we must remember to wait also, and to look anxiously for the answer; for this is well pleasing to the Lord, and expressly commanded by him. The more we wait and keep instant in prayer, so much more will he give: nay, he always hears and grants our petitions directly, and lays them up for his children; but that we may not abuse them, he gives the enjoyment only when it is most needful; therefore we may confidently say, such and such gifts I shall have, since I have prayed for them: they are actually laid up for me, and the use and benefit thereof I shall reap in due season, especially in death and in eternity.
My spirit looks to God alone,
In the multitude of my thoughts within me,
comforts delight my soul. Ps. xciv. 19. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we
ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Cor. i. 3, 4. A CONTENTED man, without afflictions, is ready to place his trust and seek his comforts in temporal things. Earthly desires crowd upon him, filling his soul with vanity, and he cannot well taste the sweet comforts of God's word, but under the burden of the cross. Here we often enjoy more solid rest than if we were without a cross, and then that word is fulfilled which Christ says, Matt. xi. 30, “ My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Thus our hearts are set against the world, reconciled to heavenly things, and easily separated from many idols which we could not resist nor forsake before. Well then may we bear these salutary burdens, which, when sanctified, will produce present comfort, and soon issue in eternal rest and glory. And since the Lord has promised to give strength sufficient for the day, that we may not be tempted above measure, there is abundant reason again to say that his burden is light indeed, and his yoke is truly easy.
'Tis good for me to wear the yoke,
For pride is apt to rise and swell;
That I may learn his statutes well.
How kind is thy chastising rod,
And brought my wand'ring soul to God.
I determined not to knon anything among you save
Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Cor. ii. 2. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do his commandments ; his praise endureth for ever. Ps. cxi. 10. The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated; full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James iïi. 17. Knowledge puffeth up, but char
ity edifieth. 1 Cor. viii. 1. Christ crucified, and he alone, is the power and wisdom of God; him all Christians, and especially divines, should make their particular practice to study well. Were our faith built on human wisdom, then surely carnal philosophers would be the greatest believers ; whereas they are sometimes the worst infidels, or, at best, the most silly and faithless people in times of distress. And besides, their being puffed up is another evidence that they have not the true wisdom ; for the wisdom from above is only with the lowly and babes, who pray for it earnestly. Prov. xi. 2; Matt. xi. 25. What would all knowledge avail us then, without the knowledge of CHRIST. One spark of pure love yields more power than all the stores of empty human learning. May the Lord Jesus shed his love abroad in my heart, as whatever others may do, him have I determined only to know, and him have I determined only to serve ; his love to the cross I account for my greatest wisdom and glory.
They that would grow divinely wise,
Must with his fear begin ;
In hating every sin.
Christian's Prayer.-I will not let thee go, except
thou bless me. Gen. xxxii. 26. Forsake me not,
O Lord, O my God. Ps. xxxviii. 21.
will keep thee in all places whither thou goest;
never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb. xiii. 5. GOD will have me to be faithful; and should not he be so himself ? Am I to trust in his word ? then, surely, he will not forsake me, but be as good as his word. Heaven and earth must pass away, but his word will not: he is ever faithful. If I do not believe this, I think blasphemously of God, and can have no help or comfort from his word; but if I truly believe him to be faithful, I believe enough. This is what he only desires, and if I really do, my faith will not be moved even in the hottest trials; the word will hold me up, though I receive it even in weakness. But uiy faith must be attended with continual prayer.
Begin, my tongue, some heavenly theme,
And speak some boundless thing;
Of our eternal King.
And sound his power abroad;
And the performing God.
For wretched dying men ;
With an immortal pen.
The mighty promise shines,
Those everlasting lines.