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should say, my beloved child, thou hast wandered long enough in this desert land. I have fed thee with the true Bread from heaven, and refreshed thee with water from the smitten Rock, Christ Jesus. I have given thee my ordinances and statutes. I have proved thee by manifold trials, that thou mightest know what was in thy heart. In the midst of all thy wanderings and rebellions, thy haltings and complainings, I did not forsake thee. I chastised thee with the rod of affliction. I brought thee low by deep repentance. I led thee into the valley of humiliation. I hid my face from thee for a little moment. I caused thee to loathe thyself, to cry for mercy, to seek my face. And then, when thy heart was broken and contrite, looking unto Jesus, and pleading, by earnest faith, the merit of his blood; I caused the beams of my grace to shine into thy soul. I gave thee a token of reconciliation, a Spirit of adoption. I enabled thee to sing for joy, and to go on with increasing vigour in the ways of truth and righteousness. Now, thy journey is nearly ended; my messenger is sent to convey thee home, to bring thee to thy Father's house, where are many mansions, where thy Saviour has prepared a place for thee, and where thou shalt be eternally blessed in his presence. Come, for all things are ready. Prepare to meet thy God. Enter into the joy of thy Lord. Doubt not my love. Fear not the enemy, for Christ and heaven are thine!
O! blessed Lord! grant that this sweet call may be impressed on my heart. May I live under the daily influence of thy love, and when I hear thee say, Surely I come quickly; Amen :" may my joyful heart respond, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus.""*
How solemn, how awakening should be the voice which speaks to me through the Scriptures of truth : 66 PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD."+
Oh! that I may not only listen to, but obey, through grace, this voice of the Spirit, speaking to
my heart and conscience; for thus saith the Lord, "Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it."* The dispensations of God have a voice; they speak either in mercy or in judgment. Lord make me conversant with death. Let me not shrink from looking into the grave, sanctified as it is, through the body of Jesus. If my body rest in hope of rising to a joyful resurrection, the grave will indeed be a place of repose from sins and sorrows, and the storms of life. But this cannot be, unless I am a believer of Jesus; for it is only those who sleep in Jesus that God will bring with him. This glorious rising cannot take place except my body be now the temple of the Holy Ghost; for God will quicken our mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in us. Oh! that Christ may dwell in my heart by faith; that the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, may take up his abode within me. Then I shall have light, and love, and peace, and joy, and all the other blessings flowing from the Covenant of Grace.
"The sting of death is sin."§ It is sin which arms death with terrors. How dreadful is death to a soul, awakened to its consequences, at the period of dissolution. Agonies, inconceivably great, rend the soul, while writhing under the serpent's stingunpardoned sin !
How sweetly serene is the penitent believer in Jesus, while standing on the brink of Jordan, in the hope of a joyful admission into the celestial Canaan. He dreads not the cold stream which rolls between him and the abodes of bliss. The hope of glory sustains him. Death comes as a messenger of mercy, divested of every evil, to conduct him out of time into eternity, to bring him into the presence of God his Saviour.
O the blessedness of faith in the Atonement of Christ. It affords a firm foundation on which the soul can repose, amid the swellings of Jordan. Lord
*Micah vi. 9.
+1 Thess. iv. 14.
§ 1 Cor. xv. 56.
Rom. viii. 11.
enable me truly to believe. Faith is thy gift.* To Thee do I look, and on Thee would I wait, for this precious gift of grace.
66 PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD."
Almighty Saviour, do thou in mercy prepare my soul for a joyful meeting. Wash me from all my sins through thy cleansing blood. Clothe me with thy righteousness. Make Make me pure within. Give me the victory over sin, Satan, and the world. Enable me daily to come to Thee; to draw fresh supplies out of thy fulness, till I reach the Fountainhead of blessedness, even thine own self in thy everlasting kingdom.
66 PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD."
Oh! may the solemn sound ever vibrate in my ears, and reach my inmost soul. The call is from above. It is God himself who speaks. O may I listen to his voice; bow in deep humiliation before the Cross, and, looking by faith to Him who hung upon it, receive a free and full forgiveness.
"God is a consuming_fire."+ The wicked, like stubble, shall be consumed, as in a moment, by the wrath of incensed justice.
"God is a consuming fire." The redeemed sinner is as gold. He loses nothing in the flame but the dross. Lord convert my soul. Make me as the precious gold, which becomes the purer by being in the furnace. Oh! may every affliction, every tribulation, endured in the body, tend, through thy love, to the purification of my soul; that when I hasten to meet thee at thy call in the eternal world, I may be found a new creature, a vessel of mercy, fitted, by the Spirit, for the Master's use.
66 PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.'
Lord! may I joyfully accept thy gracious invitation. May I come in the fulness of faith and
* Eph. ii. 8.
+ Deut. iv. 24.; Heb. xii. 29.
hope, looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God. Why should I linger here? Why should I wish to remain a pilgrim in a world of woe?
O my soul! stretch out thy wings. Prepare for thy flight. Fix thy eyes upon the Sun of Righteousness; and, like the eagle, soar aloft beyond the shadows of this lower world. Angels beckon thee away. Dear departed friends invite thee to join their blessed company before the throne. A world of glory opens to thy view. Fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore, are at God's right hand.* Eternity is impressed upon the bliss of heaven. It is the royal signature, which cannot be effaced. O! then, why so backward to enter into the joy of thy Lord? Why so unwilling to drop thy chains, and enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God? Does it not arise from the workings of unbelief? a latent love for earthly things? Lord remove this evil leaven from my heart. Complete thy work of mercy on my soul. Šeal me by thy Spirit. Unite me to Thyself; and then, with the joy of faith, and with a heart of love, I shall hear Thy blessed call :
"Death's dreadful sting has lost its power;
"Soon will the storm of life be o'er,
* Psa. xvi. 11.
"Dear Saviour! let Thy Will be done;
"Bid me possess sweet peace within,
Before my spirit hence depart.
"Yes! and a brighter heaven still,
Awaits my soul, through His rich grace,
"Hasten thy chariot, God of Love,
And fetch me from this world of woe;
"There shall my raptur'd spirit raise,
High glories to Immanuel's grace,
My God, my Saviour, and my King."
LXII.-PROPHETIC VIEWS OF THE GLORY OF THE MESSIAH'S KINGDOM.
"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end."-Isa. ix. 7.
As the astronomer, through his powerful telescope, discovers worlds unseen by the unassisted eye, so the believer in Jesus, through faith in the prophecies and promises of God's word, beholds these glories to be revealed, which the eye of reason has not seen, and which the natural understanding cannot comprehend.
How delightful is the study of the Holy Scriptures. Faith is the key which unlocks the treasury.