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strength. In the midst of embarrassment, he can give counsel. O! what a friend is this! Wherever we are, he is a friend at hand to cheer and succour. When we read his word, he speaks to us; when we pray, we speak to him. He is nigh to them that fear him, and he sheds his choicest gifts on those who love him. He dwells in them by his Spirit, and manifests himself to them, as he does not unto the world. Such a friend is Jesus to his redeemed people. What a lovely instance of holy friendship is presented to us in the family at Bethany. "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus ;" and the Saviour was equally the object of their warmest love.
Earthly friends are indeed blessed, when Jesus is the friend of both; when each, who loves the other, is the object of the Saviour's love. An union such as this brings down a portion of heaven into the soul. A friendship such as this, like a calm and silent stream, meandering through some lonely glen, pursues its course in unobserved, but sweet retirement. The graces of the Spirit thrive like beauteous flowers in this delightful spot, till the happy souls, cemented by the love of Christ, exchange this earthly for a heavenly paradise.
There is no happiness but in Christ. He is the fountain of living water, the source from whence our every blessing flows.-O! my soul, never look for peace from the creature, never expect it from thyself. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He hath made peace for us through the blood of his Cross. He alone, by his Spirit can speak peace to the troubled conscience. Through him, we have peace with God; and through him, we enjoy the peace of God which passeth all understanding.
Blessed Saviour! shed abroad thy love in my heart; fill me with joy and peace in believing. Wash my heart from wickedness; suffer no vain thoughts to lodge within me. Give me a single eye, a sincere love to thee, a supreme regard to all thy commandments. Preserve me, O Lord, from every false way,
from false views of thy Gospel, from false motives. in my conduct. Enable me, O thou sin-bearing Saviour, to cast the burden of my sins upon thee; to confess them over thee, as the appointed sacrifice for the transgressions of thy people; and, oh! do thou bear them away into the land of everlasting forgetfulness.
I feel more and more convinced of this important truth, that to be happy, I must be holy. "There is no peace, saith my God to the wicked." "The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." Every page of the Bible proclaims this truth by precept and example. Universal experience attests the truth of this declaration, by the hourly miseries which sin produces. How can peace dwell in the heart, when the curse of God rests upon it?"The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but he blesseth the habitation of the just." When the Israelites were at peace with God, he blessed their basket and their store; when they rebelled, his curse consumed all that they had. The world may appear smiling and happy, but its appearances are deceitful. Many an aching heart is hid under a smiling face.
True peace descends from above. It is the celestial fruit of Paradise. The Holy Spirit alone can produce this blessedness in the soul; therefore, none can possess it, but the faithful in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit, in his sanctifying, comforting influences in the hearts of sinners, is the purchase of the Redeemer's blood. Except I go," said Jesus, "the Comforter cannot come. The blessed Saviour went to his eternal glory by the way of the Cross; and thus satisfying the claims of Justice, he made a way for the exercise of mercy. Oh how wonderfully does mercy shine forth in this dark world. Like the material sun, it gives light, warmth, and fruitfulness to the soul. O thou divine Spirit, dispel the mists of ignorance from my mind; inflame my heart with holy love, and cause the fruits of righteousness to
abound in me. Hear my inward breathings after thee. Satisfy my longing desires after thy presence. Manifest thyself to my waiting soul, that I may be joyful in thee. "Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance."*
The eye is delighted, while ascending some lofty eminence, with the ever-varying beauties which are spread before it. What bounded the What bounded the range of vision at the foot of the mountain is now lost in the vast expanse. So it is with the Christian traveller, when he leaves this narrow sphere of earth, and soars, by faith, into the world of glory. How wonderful is the power of faith. As the astronomer, by his telescope, discovers new worlds unseen by the natural eye: so the Christian, by faith, beholds a scene of glory which the natural man cannot discern. The book of God unfolds to his admiring sight these bright displays of glory, when viewed, by faith, through the illuminating power of the Holy Ghost. No wonder that his heart is filled with longing desires after immortality; with a daily thirsting after Christ. The midnight hour, and the early dawn, find him often engaged in this search after Christ. "With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early." Present attainments are forgotten, while his eye is fixed on what still remains to be possessed. With the Apostle he can say: "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."t
I long to be altogether conformed to the will of God; to be transformed into the lovely image of my Redeemer. I feel a constant uneasiness and restlessness of mind. Why should I grovel here below, t Isa. xxvi. 9. Phil. iii. 13, 14.
* Psa. cvi. 4, 5.
when Jesus calls me to him? Why rest in this vale of tears, when invited to ascend the Mount of God? I want a greater elevation of soul, a higher standard of excellence. My soul cleaveth unto the dust, when it should be soaring into the skies.
Man was originally created with expansive powers; with faculties capable of knowing, and of holding converse with the Deity. He was formed for immortality. Though now fallen, his children still retain some broken fragments of the once noble structure. The heart resembles a triangle which this round globe of earth can never fill; why else that restless discontent, those disappointed expectations so visible among the votaries of the world? They pant after the possession of ideal pleasures, and when possessed their zest is gone. New delights are panted after, which, when obtained, are equally evanescent. The enjoyments of earth, like the Aurora-Borealis, or the ignis-fatuus, are fugitive and deceptive.
O deliver me, blessed Jesus, from unbelief and discontent, from pride and selfishness, from fleshly lusts and carnal desires, from covetousness and an earthly mind, from formality and hypocrisy, from sinful compliances and the fear of man. Save me from myself, from the power of Satan, from an evil world.
O! impart unto me the unspeakably precious gift of thy ever-blessed Spirit, to be the Witness of my adoption, the Seal of my acceptance, the Earnest of future glory. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Hasten thy chariot wheels. Come in all thy salvation. Come in all the fulness of thy grace and power. O! delay not, blessed Saviour, to make my soul thy dwelling-place. I long, I look for thee. With thee is the fulness of joy, and in thy presence are pleasures for evermore. When I awake up after thy likeness I shall be satisfied with it. When standing before thy throne, with robes made white through thy cleansing blood, none, yes, none will praise thee with a louder song than I.
Jesus, to Thee my soul aspires,
Reveal thy glory to my soul,
O speak and make a sinner whole;
Come, blessed Saviour, to my heart,
If called to pass through swelling waves,
Give me a holy courage, Lord,
Then, when the work of life is done,
Thy grace will give the victor's crown ;
XIII. THE POWER OF GRACE, AND THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE DIVINE FAFOUR.
"The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him."
THE promises of protection to the people of God are as numerous as they are consoling. When Abram returned from the slaughter of the kings, and naturally dreaded the fury of their successors, how graciously did the Almighty allay his fears