Obrazy na stronie

this end I know of nothing more useful than a deep impression of the importance of salvation, to which every circumstance of human life ought to be subservient. We must consider that the same omniscient eye is over our thoughts, views, affections, frames, language, and behaviour, as well whilst we are conversant with the common affairs of life, as when we are engaged in public ordinances or in our closet. This consideration, when allowed its full effect, will make every thing serve as a fresh gale to waft us forward to our desired harbour. We must likewise remember, that every religious duty is performed in the presence of a heart-searching God, who sees the inmost recesses of our souls. It will be therefore necessary, indispensably necessary, for us, by previous meditation, to endeavour to obtain a lively sense of the infinite perfections of that God before whose throne we would appear, keeping our hearts as free as possible from deadness, coldness, or wandering thoughts, and habitually striving to maintain a devout and spiritual frame of mind. We should approach God with an abasing sense of our sinfulness both by nature and practice, and with earnest importunity for the assistance of his grace and Spirit ; and though we come self-loathed and self-condemned, yet we must not dishonour God so far as to appear before him with a distrustful dread; but, sensible of our own misery and want, we should with faith and dependance plead the merits of a crucified Jesus, and the riches of his boundless grace. We should frequently ask ourselves, if we are fit to die? This is a question of the utmost importance, and should at once excite us diligently to fice from the wrath to come, and animate our love and gratitude to God, and our zeal for his service, in hope of the glory to be revealed. Before retiring to rest, we should constantly recollect the business done, the duties performed, the mercies received, the frames of soul experienced, the dispensations of Providence allotted, with the sins of omission and commission of the past day. By this means we may always see ourselves as in a glass, and observe what proficiency we make in the school of Christ. Whatever we do, let faith in the Son of God be kept in constant exercise, and run through every duty. “ For this is the victory that. overcometh the world, even our faith."-"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This uniform attention to the actings of faith will make us keep the mark for the prize of our high calling constantly in our view. Let us moreover ever remember, that all our expectations of pardon, sanctification, and saving mercy, must be derived from Christ, the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, who is our hope, the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof. Whatever corruptions we see in ourselves, let us lay them all at the foot of the cross; for he who was suspended on that accursed tree has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with his stripes we are healed. How amazing are the transactions of redeeming love ! Our hearts must be dead indeed, if we are not quickened by the contemplation of it. We shall, I believe, always find our souls enlivened, our graces invigorated, and our affections spiritualized, in proportion to our humble, steady, cheerful dependance on Christ, our blessed surety, for all those supplies of which we stand in need. In holy writ, the Redeemer is styled the Lord our Righteousness. What a treasure is there in that epithet! O, my dear friend, I desire to rest satisfied, and to stand complete in the righteousness which is of God by faith. View it, I entreat you, incessantly and particularly under deep afflictions and discouragements ; fix your soul in the lowest abasement at the foot of the cross, and at all events dare to cry, “0, my Saviour, who hung, and who bled, and who died upon it; my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, my all in all, in thee do I trust !” Blessed be God, however variable we may be in our spiritual frames, affections, or dispositions of soul, yet Christ is the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever, and may be safely trusted. All he has done-all he has suffered-all he is now doing, is in behalf of the believer; and therefore, although we walk in darkness, and see no light, though we even walk through the valley of the shadow of death, yet may we trust in the name of the Lord, and stay ourselves upon our God. His people may seem to suffer the same things as others do, but he wonderfully supports them, sanctifies their sufferings, and changes their very nature, so that they come from love, and taste of love. All their crosses are marked with love. In the hour of affliction, his language is, “ I will be with thee in trouble.” When conflicting with the great enemy, listen to his declaration, “Stand still, and see the salvation of God.” When visited with sickness, hearken to his promise, “I will make thy bed in thy sickness.” When oppressed with poverty, his cheering voice proclaims, “ I know thy poverty, but thou art rich.” When ready to faint under losses and bereavements, this is his language, “ I am thy shield and great reward.” Even at the approach of death, the voice from the excellent glory declares, “ He that believeth in me shall never die.” And to complete the bliss, even when standing at the judgment-seat, the divine Redeemer says to all his believing people, "Lift up your heads with joy, for now your redemption draweth nigh." In all these cases of distress, ever remember that he acts as Jesus, and saves from them all; not indeed from their approach, but most certainly from their injurious effects. They come, but it is for good; he permits the disease to scize on them, that he may shew his almighty power to heal. He suffers his children to be put into the burning fiery furnace, to shew that fire can have no power over them, nay, that the very smell of it cannot pass even upon the garments of those who are under his keeping. O what a friend is this ! Surely there can be none like him! Such a friend, and better and greater far, you may, and I doubt not shall find him, as your faith increases, and your dependance upon him becomes more habitual. He is every thing to his people which they can desire; a propitiation for their sins, light in darkness, life in death, the way wherein they must walk, the door by which they must enter, and the garment which they must put on. So says the infallible word of God, that word which I would recommend to my dear friend to make her study as much as her health will admit. In that word are truths pare and unmixed,—truths without the least taint of error,—the infallible and perfect will of God itself. Treasure it up, then, in your memory; learn it well, and inwardly digest it; you will find it as necessary to your soul as food is to your body; therefore feed upon it, and nourish your soul with it. As you say, that you are sometimes under the necessity of being in vain company, which doubtless must be burdensome to a soul in pursuit of higher gratifications and more substantial pleasures, allow me to request of you to examine your heart as follows:-Am I willing that those I at any time converse with should know that it is my determined resolution to work out my salvation with fear and trembling? Am I willing to risk my reputation so far as not to be ashamed to be thought more serious than the world around me? Have I given proof of this when in the company of those who are otherwise disposed ? Have I had courage to think, to speak, and to act, in opposition to their opinions and practices; and have I done so when necessary, upon the very spot ?– There is nothing in this age which can so much evidence the determination of our wills for God, as such a conduct in the world ; and much need have we, especially in times like the present, of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to enlighten our minds, to keep open our eyes, and to confirm our hearts in such a resolution; but we shall not fail if we pray as we ought, and seek for greater humiliation under a sense of past miscarriages. I received, the other day, an account of the experience of a young person on her death-bed, which, as it is both comfortable and encouraging, I shall insert without apology.--My mind,' said she, has been kept in perfect peace and composure, intermixed sometimes with lively views of the glory that is to be revealed. I have no doubts, nor any fears of death ; I am happy. I beg you to press on, and not to faint by any means. I can assure you that you shall be well recompensed; the reward is present as well as future. I would not part with the knowledge which I have of God in Jesus Christ, for ten thousand worlds; I only lament that I have done no more for the glory of God, and lived no more to promote it. Beg all to pray for me that I may wait the Lord's time, and glorify him by a patient submission, as becomes a humbled penitent sinner under the chastening of an Almighty God, and most merciful Father in Christ. I have been taken out of bed but once this fortnight. My disease is worse, attended with most violent pain, and such excessive thirst as is almost insupportable. I am passing a time of the

« PoprzedniaDalej »