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exercises come across the mind to thwart the child of God. And not unfrequently his presence is discoverable,by the relief unexpectedly brought in time of need. But in all, the redeemed and regenerated believer finds a certain somewhat, to shew who it is, and like the spouse, in the Canticles, is enabled to say: "It is the voice of my Beloved! behold, he cometh, leaping upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills." (Song ii. 8.)
Let me then, in conclusion, beg the reader (if so be the Lord hath brought him acquainted with himself) to be always on the look out for the spiritual manifestations of the Lord. And I would recommend him to be very chary in prizing them as the highest tokens of the Lord's love, during the whole life of faith, until faith is lost in sight; and the curtain, which now obstructs the full and open vision of the Lord, is withdrawn; and "we see him as He is, and know, even as we are known."
According to my apprehension of divine things, no thing is more evident than that this manifestation of the Lord, to John, in the isle of Patmos, was meant as a token that his people might expect to have the same assurances of his love, if not in the same open bodily appearance as then, yet in an equally spiritual revelation of himself to them, during the whole time-state of the church, until he come again in the clouds to judgment. Those words of our most glorious Christ are very express to the purpose; and should be frequently in the recollection of all awakened and regenerated souls: "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." (John xiv. 19.) And very sure I am, that there is not a child of God, who is truly the object and subject of divine grace, but who may discover this most sweet and precious promise, continually proved and realized in his own life of faith. And if it were not so, why did the Lord promise it? Wherefore is it handed down to the church to the present hour? And wherefore, but to remind
his people of his grace, in this particular towards them, and that they might remind him of it; and ask for the fulfilment of it, day by day: as He said, by his servant the prophet: "Thus saith the Lord God: I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." (Ezek. xxxvi. 37.
And let me only add, by way of encouragement on this subject, this farther consideration; that every spiritual manifestation of our most glorious Lord, here, is a sure pledge of what ere long will be the one everlasting and uninterrupted display of himself, to his whole mystical body in glory for ever. The Lord Jesus Christ is the visible Jehovah, "in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily." And as he is the sole executor of all the purposes of Jehovah, in his Trinity of persons, both to his church, and to his whole creation in time; so will he be the One glorious Object, in whom, and by whom, all communion will be made with God, to all eternity. And when we have done with this world, and all the dying concerns which belong to it; dropping this body of flesh, which now so much interrupts and damps our spiritual enjoyments; and disembodied as we shall then be, and no longer the subjects of sin or sorrow; no fear, like that of John, at the sight of Christ, will cause us, like him, to fall at Christ's feet as dead; but we shall hear with holy joy the glorious proclamation, which he will then make of himself; and feel all the blessedness of it in full enjoyment; "I am Alpha and Omega: the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come; the Almighty!"
I close this volume with thanksgiving, to my most gracious God, who hath carried me through it; and with affection to his people. The Lord give his blessing to it, and cause the sweet savour of his name to be upon it," as ointment poured forth." Amen. (Song i. 3.)
WHEN this little Work was first purposed to be published, no more, in point of bulk, was intended than a single volume: And this intimation was, in truth, implied from the request sent with it in the Preface: namely, that it might be permitted to lie on the table or in the window of privatè families; or in the more public situation of an inn, to meet the eye of one or another passing by, to whom the Lord might, by his blessing upon it, render it useful. That a second volume hath followed, is to be ascribed to the partiality with which the first hath been received a large impression of which having been disposed of, and a new edition called for, before this second volume went to press.
The author, as on the former occasion, so on the present, implores the Lord's blessing on both. And if the work be found to minister in the Lord's hand, to the Lord's glory, in the spiritual benefit of the Lord's people, a renewed testimony will be thereby given, that the Lord's strength is made perfect in human weakness; and the Lord's own words be very blessedly fulfilled: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Zechariah iv. 6.)