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between our souls and God. What need, then, there is for humiliation and self-loathing before the slighted Majesty of heaven! Humility, love, and purity, were the holy features of the Redeemer's character while on earth; and if we ardently seek after his blessed image, we shall, even here, be like him in the beauties of holiness.
How gracious is the promise: "Ye shall seek me, and find search for me with all your when me, heart."* What words can more clearly express the entire affection of the heart. A divided heart will never obtain the blessing; we must seek with all our heart, if we would find God.
There is something peculiarly forcible in the monosyllables of the Bible. "Ye shall find me when ye search for me with all "Ye are my friends," said Jesus, "if ye do whatsoever I command you." 66 If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." 66 If we love one another, God dwelleth in us." "If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."+ Most delightful also are the possessive pronouns, when we can make them our own. "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee." "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God." Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." "All things are yours."‡ Precious truth! if believers in Jesus, heaven will be our eternal home. Both the negative and positive felicity of heaven afford matter for the sweetest meditation. "There shall be no more curse." "There
豪 Jer. xxix. 13.
+ John xv. 14; 2 Cor. v. 17; 1 John iv. 12; v. 14; John iii. 16; Psa. Ixiii. 1; xlvi. 1; xl. 17; Isa. xii. 2; 1 Cor. iii. 21.
shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." "There shall be no night there."* Such is the negative happiness of heaven. How glorious is the positive felicity. "The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” "His servants shall serve him....... They shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads.......The Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."+
Oh! who would not seek after God with all the heart, to enjoy, through the Saviour's grace, such blessedness as this! But, we must have a spiritual perception and a spiritual taste to know and relish heavenly pleasures. No man ever went to heaven whose heart did not go before him. "Where your
treasure is," said our divine Redeemer, "there will your heart be also." We find it to be so in earthly. things; and it is equally so in spiritual things. O my soul, are thy affections placed on things above? Is Jesus the supreme object of thy love? Are all created treasures lost in the one eternal Treasure, the Saviour of mankind? Canst thou truly say: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee."§ What are the common actings of sincere attachment? They are these five :
We love to think upon the friend who is dear to our hearts.
We love to speak affectionately of him to others.
We love to dwell with the beloved object of our regard.
We love to do all acts of kindness, and to endure much self-denial, for his sake.
* Rev. xxii. 3 ; xxi. 4; xxi. 25, xxii. 5. † Rev. xxi. 3, 4; xxii. 3—5. Matt. vi. 21; Luke xii. 34.
§ Psa. lxxiii. 25.
Canst thou, O my soul, transfer all this to the Saviour, and feel, by holy experience, these actings of love towards him? Happy, indeed, are they who daily love to think of Jesus; to speak of him; to converse with him by prayer and reading his word; to dwell with him by faith; and to do and suffer with cheerfulness, all his righteous will. Such "disciples indeed," have heaven let down into their souls, and ascend by these steps to the courts above.
How different is the experience and conduct of mere nominal professors, who, though called Christians, are only heathens in disguise. They never truly seek after God, nor confess their sins with brokenness of heart. They endeavour to cloak their sins, not knowing, or not heeding, the inspired caution, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper."* They cover their sins by forgetting them; but God has them in remembrance. They cover their sins by denying them; but God will declare their iniquity. They cover their transgressions by framing excuses for them; but God will stop their mouths in judgment. They cover their iniquities by dissimulation; but God will make manifest the secrets of their hearts. Surely, then, such conduct cannot prosper. It must bring down the wrath of the Almighty; whilst he who confesseth his sins with humble penitence at the foot of the Cross, and heartily forsaketh them, through the power of the Holy Ghost, shall have mercy.
O thou adorable Saviour of sinners, manifest Thyself to my soul. Like David may I seek thee early. With Daniel may I set my face unto Thee the Lord my God, to seek by prayer and supplication thy pardoning and restoring grace. Thou hast promised to be found of them that seek thee with their whole heart. O may I have grace in my search for happiness, to find Thee the very source and centre of felicity. Thy presence is heaven below, whilst journeying to the heaven above. Fill me with thy Spirit; and when my days on earth are ended, receive
* Prov. xxviii. 13.
me to Thyself, where joys unspeakable will never
Gracious is my heavenly King,
He hath bid me-seek and find.
I would seek Him in his Son,
Lord, to me Thyself impart,
Cheer and bless my waiting heart;
May I now thy love possess,
There with glorious sons of light,
XXXVI. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
"Salvation belongeth unto the Lord thy blessing is upon thy people.”—Psa. iii. 8.
MOSES, who saw with inspired vision the blessedness of the righteous, might well exclaim while blessing the children of Israel: "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord!"* "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long."+ * Deut. xxxiii. 29. + Deut. xxxiii. 12.
Man makes many attempts to save himself, but "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord." 66 " I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour."* "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."+ Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, who shall save his people from their sins; therefore Jesus is Jehovah. O! that I may unite in heart with David: "Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him, as with a shield."+
If we are interested in this redemption which is by Christ Jesus, how calmly may we repose on the promises of God; how quietly rest under the shadow of his wings. When the shades of night advance, we I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep for thou, Lord, only, makest me dwell in safety."S
If surrounded by enemies: "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about."||
If living in times of national convulsions: "God is our refuge......therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. 99**
When threatened with persecution :—“ What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."++
When awaiting the hour of dissolution: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”±±
The man who can thus possess his soul in patience; who can thus confide in the faithfulness, power, and love of God, is truly blessed. In the midst of storms he enjoys a calm; and when men's hearts are failing them for fear, he can lift up his head, knowing that Psa. v. 11, 12. ** Psa. xlvi. 1, 2. Psa. xxiii. 4.
Isa. xliii. 11. § Psa. iv. 8.
+ Isa. xliii. 25.
Psa. iii. 6. ++ Psa. lvi. 3.