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is the light of the glorious sun, the great lamp of heaven! but much more, what is the light of that infinitely resplendent Sun of righteousness, who gave that light to the sun, that sun to the world! And if this partial and imperfect darkness be so doleful, (which is the privation of a natural or artificial light,) how unconceivably dolorous, and mïserable shall that be, which is caused through the utter absence of the all-glorious God, who is the Father of lights! O Lord, how justly do we pity those wretched souls, that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, shut up from the light of the saving knowledge of thee, the only true God; but how am I swallowed up with horror, to think of the fearful condition of those damned souls, that are for ever shut out from the presence of God, and adjudged to exquisite and everlasting darkness. The Egyptians were weary of themselves, in their three days darkness, yet we do not find any pain that accompanied their continuing night; what shall we say to those woeful souls, in whom the sensible presence of infinite torment shall meet with the torment of the perpetual absence of God! 0 Thou, who art the true Light, shine ever through all the blind corners of my
soul; and from these weak glimmerings of grace, bring me to the perfect brightness of thy glory.
UPON THE SAME OCCASION.' As well as we love the light, we are wont to salute it, at the first coming in, with winking or closed eyes ; as not abiding to see that, without which we cannot see. All sudden changes (though to the better) have a kind of trouble attending them; by how much more excellent any object is, by so much more is our weak sense misaffected in the first apprehending of it. O Lord, if thou shouldest manifest thy glorious presence to us here, we should be confounded in the sight of it; how wisely, how mercifully hast thou reserved that for our glorified estate, where no infirmity shall dazzle our eyes, where perfect righteousness shall give us perfect boldness, both of sight and fruition.
UPON A CLOUD.
Whether it were a natural cloud, wherewith our ascending Saviour was intercepted from the eyes of his disciples, upon Mount Olivet, I inquire not : this I am sure of, that the time now was when a cloud surpassed the sun in glory; how did the intentive eyes of those ravished beholders envy that happy meteor; and since they could no more see that glorious body, fixed themselves upon that celestial chariot, wherewith it was carried up. The angels could tell the gazing disciples (to fetch them off from that astonishing prospect) that this Jesus should so come again, as they had seen him depart; he went up in a cloud, and he shall come again in the clouds of heaven, to his last judgment. O Saviour, I cannot look upward, but I must see the sensible monuments, both of thine ascension, and return; let no cloud of worldliness, or infidelity hinder me from following thee in thine ascension, or from expecting thee in thy return.
HOW FAR IS IT TO CANAAN ? “ HOW far is it to Canaan ?” asks the doubting Christian, “for I am sadly afraid I shall never get there. My sins are a heavy burden to me, and I long to be rid of them, if, indeed, there is hope for such a one as I.”
Go on poor doubting Christian, take fresh courage and quicken thy step. Canaan is not so far off but thou shalt reach it at last, and if thou couldst know how willing the Saviour of sinners is to receive thee, it would shed a sunbeam on thy dejected countenance. I have a word of comfort for thee, a cordial for thy heart :
“ I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins,” Isa. xliii. 25.
“ How far is it to Canaan ?” asks the triumphant Christian, “ for I long to be at home. I know that
Redeemer liveth, and because he lives, I shall live also. My soul has made me like the chariots of Amminadah, and I am impatient to behold Him face to face!'
Go forward, triumphant Christian, with the glorious ring of assurance upon thy finger! Cast not away thy confidence, which hath“ great recompence of reward;" but stay, I have a word for thee, also, which may be useful. Ponder it in thy heart :
“ Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” 1 Cor. x. 12.
“How far is it to Canaan ?" inquires the afflicted Christian, “ for I have lain a long while upon the bed of suffering. · Wearisome nights are appointed me.' I am full of tossing to and fro unto the dawning day. • Oh that I had wings like a dove; for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” ”.
Be of good cheer, afflicted Christian! The heavier the cross, the more pleasant will be the crown. If we suffer with Christ, we shall be glorified with Christ. I have a word to refresh the fainting soul, and will now give it thee :
“The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us," Rom. viii. 18.
“How far is it to Canaan ?” asks the persecuted Christian; “ for I am an outcast from my family, a stranger upon earth; like my Lord, 'I am despised and rejected of men.' * Many are they that rise up against me, and they hate me with cruel hatred.'»
Hold on thy way, persecuted Christian : it is a safe one, and a blessed one, yea, the one thy Redeemer trod before thee. Dost thou want a word of consolation ? I will give it thee, lay it up in thy bosom :
“ Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven,” Luke vi. 22, 23.
“ How far is it to Canaan ?” sighs the bereaved Christian, “for I am a lonely and desolate pilgrim. All that were dear to me upon earth are taken away. My tears have been my meat day and night, and my soul yearns for the land where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying."
Pass on bereaved Christian, the more lonely thy pilgrimage, the sweeter thy reception at the end. The Lord whom thou seekest, hath a special care and pity for his desolate ones. Take these words with thee, and they may refresh thy spirit. For even though they be desolate
“ The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away,” Isa. li. 11.
“ How far is it to Canaan ?” asks the dying Christian,
or the swellings of Jordan are risen about my
soul.' Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.' Alas! I sink in deep waters, “I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey.'
Look up, poor dying Christian; for yonder is the bright and morning Star; thy night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Is thine arm too feeble to be put forth for the Book of God, then I must even hold it up
before thine eyes. Look on these words, and let neither flood nor flame affright thee;. be of good courage, for they are the words of Him who has promised when flesh and heart fail, to be the strength of thy heart, and thy portion for ever :
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel thy Saviour,” Isa. xliii. 2, 3.
HOW TO APPLY THE PSALMS TO DAILY USE. WHEN any one under the gently controlling influences of God's Holy Spirit shall feel a powerful emotion stirring his heart, and urging him to contrition, to prayer, or to praise -he
may in the book of Psalms find the most fitting form in which to express these implanted sentiments of acknowledgment and love.
Has any one by God's grace been made sensible of the total inefficiency of his own power to serve the Lord aright, and of his manifold transgressions against the righteous laws of God, and so has been granted a repentant spirit, I would refer him to the following Psalms: 6, 20, 25, 32, 38, 51, 67, 102, 122, 130, 132, 143, 144. These seven, namely, 6, 32, 38,51, 102, 130, 143, are called the Penitentials, indicating the mood and spirit in which they were composed, and may be most fitly used. The remainder are more generally applicable to persons entreating intercession and pardon of sin.
Is any one grieved in spirit, persecuted, sorely afflicted with disease ? If in any way in a state of dejection, yet not of despair, I invite him to read, with humble prayer, of the following Psalms: 4, 13, 22, 69, 77, 88.
Is his conscience through grace void of wilful offence, much comfort and encouragement may be derived from Psalms 7, 17, 26, 35.
I would urge him, in the moment of suffering, to offer up the supplications so powerfully expressed in Psalms 11, 28, 41, 55, 59, 64, 70, 109, 120, 140, 141, 142, 143.
Does he possess full confidence in the grace of God, but is he by untoward circunıstances over which he can exercise no control, prevented from attending the hallowed services of his house, let me urge him to apply himself faithfully and diligently to a prayerful reading of the following Psalms: 3, 16, 27, 31, 42, 44, 54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 62, 63, 71, 74, 79, 80, 83, 86, 89, 94, 123, 137.
Does he feel influenced to render praise and thanksgiving to God on account of his mighty attributes, let him do so in some one or more of the following Psalms, which, in some sort at least, will apply to the desire of his heart: 8, 19, 24, 29, 33, 47, 50, 66, 76, 77, 93, 95, 96, 97,-104, 111, 113, 114, 115, 134, 139, 147, 148, 150.
Does the care of a particular providence watching over God's chosen people, excite the believer to fulfil this holy duty of acknowledgment, I would direct him to Psalms 23, 34, 36, 91, 100, 103, 107, 117, 121, 145, 146.
Is he urged by motives of gratitude for special mercies vouchsafed to particular individuals, then let him seek to Psalms 9, 18, 21, 22, 30, 34, 40, 75, 84, 103, 108, 116, 118, 138, 144.
Do national deliverances claim an expression of his humble thankfulness, then the following Psalms are fitting : 46, 48, 65, 66, 68, 76, 81, 85, 98, 105, 124, 126, 129, 135, 136, 149.
Does he require examples for imitation or avoidance, he may with advantage read Psalms 1, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34, 36, 37, 50, 52, 53, 58, 73, 75, 92, 112, 125, 127, 128, 133.
A beautiful comment on the excellency of God's law will be found in the 19th and 119th Psalms.--Good advice to rulers and magistrates, in the 82nd and 101st.-Forcible observations on the vanity of human life, in the 39th, 49th, and 90th, and an admirable encomium on humility, in the 131st Psalm.
And lastly, I would remark that Psalms 2, 16, 22, 40,