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make me meek and lowly; resigned to all thy wise disposals, however painful they may be to fallen

nature.

How needful at all times is this kind admonition: "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." We are never in such danger of falling, as when we think ourselves the most secure. Self-dependence, and carnal security, are those fatal props by which thousands are upheld through the delusions of Satan, till they drop into everlasting misery.

How good is this caution also: "Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."

Self-love blinds the eyes of the mind, so that we cannot see our real state and condition. This was the case with the declining church of Laodicea. She fancied herself rich and increased with goods, and as having need of nothing; when in the eye of the all-searching Jesus she was wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Of Ephraim it was said: " gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not." Of Ephesus: "thou hast left thy first love." Of Sardis: "thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead." So blind are we to our spiritual declensions!

All are not believers who believe themselves to be such. The divine touchstone is: "by their fruits ye shall know them."

When Christians are sometimes led to doubt the sincerity of their faith, it is often attributed to the temptation of Satan; but this may not always be the case.

Had the church of Laodicea exercised a holy jealousy over herself, that very fear of self-deception would have indicated much self-knowledge and spiritual discernment; and might, through grace, have preserved her from degenerating into that state of

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lukewarmness, which evidently originated in pride and self-conceit.

Satan not unfrequently harasses the true believer with desponding fears; whilst he buoys up the mere nominal professor with presumptuous hopes. These desponding fears, if indulged to excess, are injurious to the believer's advancement in holiness. They wound his peace and are dishonourable to a faithful, loving Saviour.

Yet, if these fearful apprehensions lead him to closer self-examination, and greater searchings of heart; to more fervent supplication, and increased watchfulness; then Satan is foiled, and the believer, rescued from the power of the enemy, through the unfailing grace of the Redeemer, is made to come off more than conqueror, and to sing with joy in the ways of the Lord. When the believer in Jesus has attained to this happy state, his soul is in a right frame humble, watchful, and holy. Being taught in the school of Christ to know himself and his Saviour, he proceeds with steady step towards the heavenly Canaan under the equipoising influence of hope and fear.

Every thing which can comfort the child of God is recorded by the pen of eternal truth.

As his salvation is all of grace in its origin, so is it also in its progress and consummation. "God is faithful who hath promised.” "He who hath begun the good work, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Nothing can be stronger than the following assurance of love and mercy which is made to every penitent sinner, flying for refuge to the cross of Christ.

"God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,

we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High-Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

Yet, in the Holy Scriptures, we meet with many alarming passages which ought to awaken our solicitude, and cause us to ponder the path of our feet. "The just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” "If we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain, fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall de-. vour the adversaries."

"It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame."

"If after they have escaped the pollution of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome; the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; for it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to depart from the holy commandment delivered unto them."

These and other similar passages shew us the importance of that proverb: "the fear of the Lord tendeth to life, and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."

How many do we see in the course of our lives,

who after flourishing for a season, begin to fade and die. Is it not because the root of the matter was not in them: because their hearts were never savingly changed: because they were never really and truly in a state of grace?

St. Peter calls such characters; "spots and blemishes." St. Jude styles them; "spots in your feasts of charity"-" clouds without water-trees without fruit, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever!"

Awful words indeed! O! what need there is for close examination, lest haply we should be found amongst those self-deceivers who fancy themselves to be something while they are nothing; and who, after having made a noisy profession before men, will prove, at last, mere cast-aways! The blessed Saviour has not left us at uncertainties in these important enquiries.

He has given us solid marks whereby to judge of our true state and character. "If ye love me, keep my commandments"-"ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you"-" follow me."

As love is the surest evidence of faith; so obedience is the truest test of love. How vain then is that profession which is destitute of these graces. Universal holiness is the distinguishing mark of genuine Christianity; "Be ye holy for I am holy," is the command of him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.

Supreme love to the Lord Jesus Christ is the governing principle of every believer. This sacred attachment to the Saviour forms the grand distinction between the children of God and the children of the wicked one.

A man may make a reputable profession of religion for a season, and appear like a flourishing tree, and a fertilizing cloud; but if his heart be destitute

of "the true grace of God," he will be found at last, to resemble the character reprobated by St. Jude"without fruit" and "without water." In seasons of temptation he will wither away, not having a rooted principle of grace in his heart; and thus manifest to the church and the world, by his declension and apostacy, that he was never truly ingrafted into Christ by faith.

The force of temptation soon destroys his feeble attachment to the visible church; and he remains a solemn warning to all who call themselves Christians, of the danger of false profession.

O! blessed Lord, preserve me, thy unworthy creature, from this awful state of self-delusion. O! give me true grace, deep repentance, and fervent love. Unite my soul to thyself, in the bonds of the everlasting covenant. Let sin be my daily aversion; and holiness my everlasting delight. Prepare me for the enjoyment of thyself here; and crown all thy mercies with the gift of thyself, as my everlasting portion, in thy kingdom of glory.

In seasons of doubt and of gloom,
When Satan would drive to despair,
Then Christ is the life of my hope
And hope is the life of my pray❜r.

My sins, like a death-bearing cloud,
Oft hide the dear cross from my view;
But Jesus, dispersing the mist,
Disperses the enemy too.

How kind is our merciful God;

His word and his promise how true!
He bids me take courage and fight,
With a crucified Jesus in view.

Should Satan come in like a flood,
And fill me with grief and dismay,
The Spirit appears to my aid;
His standard drives Satan away.

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