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moment, be turned into lamentation and woe. The love of God must be recognised in our human enjoyments; and the strains by which we express our earthly felicity must be combined and harmonised with those loftier songs which celebrate his praise, before the whole soul can be fully engaged in them, or can reach its final and secure resting-place. While the lark discharges its gushing melodies from the bosom of a cloud, its eye may be still resting on the home which it has chosen for itself among the verdure below; but ere it return, that home may be rifled by the bird of prey, or trodden accidentally to ruin by the foot of man or beast. Man's terrestrial possessions are not

They shall pass away, leaving him desolate to mourn over their memory; or he shall die, and broken-hearted in death, leave them all behind him. He may sing over them while they are his, like the birds, in a few summer-notes, which will soon be mute, by reason of the wintry blight that overtakes all human things. But, even while he so sings, he is far from that song of “praise” resolved on by David. It is on God that the Psalmist's heart is fixed; and when he summons his glory to awake, --when he says, “ awake up, psaltery and harp," it is for the purpose of expressing, not an earthly, but altogether a spiritual and divine, therefore, also, a permanent and secure affection. “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people ;" this is his song ;- "I will sing unto thee among the nations."

And fixed as our hearts may be; fixed too, on hings that, in their own place, are both good and lovely, this is a strain which we never can acquire, till they be fixed on God. The purest objects of earth may all be made subsidiary to divine song, by becoming the occasion of praise, and putting the soul, so to speak, in tune for it. But we must see God himself through and over them all,—we must see him with a clear spiritual discernment, as a stable and everlasting reality, before our song can rise above his gifts, and be heard by himself in heaven. Never, till we turn to him fixedly, in faith and affection, as our covenant God;-never, till, from ourselves and from this passing world, we look directly up to him as our rest and our refuge ;-never, till we behold him in Christ as our reconciled Father, beaming love upon us, and owning us as the sons of his adoption ;-never, till we know him to be near for our help, near to bless and protect us, near to dwell in us by his Spirit, and bear us up in his everlasting arms ;-never, till we rest upon him thus, with confidence unwavering, unquestioning, unhesitating, will our souls grow full while we contemplate him, and, as having reached their final resting-place, exclaim in their fulness, “our hearts are fixed, O God; our hearts are fixed; we will sing and give praise.”

Demonstrably, it is only from the full and the fixed heart-full of God and fixed

upon stream of devotion can freely flow. If we go to our knees in the attitude of prayer, with no active faith at all, or with a faith that is uncertain and undecided, then, in that frame of mind, having no vivid perception of God, we will find no language to utter, because we will have no devout sentiments rising warm and

him ;

that a song

spontaneous within us, and forcing themselves upon our intelligence to be expressed. Who that has tried to lead the devotions of others, has not felt and been painfully humbled in this way? The vacant heart, having no panting desires, will not be fixed; and wandering through the whole range of matter furnished by memory, refuses to settle and enlarge its petitions on any. The glory of God, not being seen, cannot be declared. All is obscure and indefinite, and most unsatisfactory. Who, again, that has conscientiously persevered in secret prayer, has not often experienced a similar incapacity? We have bowed ourselves before God, ostensibly, at least ; but having no fixed and vivid faith to realize his presence, the true feelings of devotion never were awakened, and our unstable thoughts wandered away from all that was solemn in our employment, to pursue a thousand floating vanities. And what can there be more humbling and discouraging, than to struggle for words, when there are no living sentiments to prompt them; or to rise from our prayers, conscious that we have not prayed—that we have not seen the Great King in his glory, nor presented one earnest and hearty request. We may use vain repetitions without a fixed heart. But if we would pour out our whole souls before God in those fervid and earnest supplications which, and which alone, we know to be acceptable; and if we would attain a humble assurance that we have been heard in heaven, we must go to the altar with fixed hearts. Then, and then only, as we review ourselves, and make our confessions before God, will penitence, working sadly within us, bring to our very lips the language of humility and self-abasement; that language will come freely, pressing for utterance. And when we contemplate the justice and holiness of God, whose law we have so flagrantly violated, the trembling awe of the spirit within will furnish the tongue with the most significant expressions of awed veneration. When, again, with the Psalmist, we would “sing and give praise,” the mercy of God will be brought home in clearest and most lively apprehensions to our hearts, and then, instead of finding it difficult to pour forth the melody of joy and salvation, that will become the only possible mode of giving form and voice to the sentiments that swell and glow within us. Most men have felt how, over their best temporal blessings,over those dearest to them on earth, their hearts would grow full with a choking tenderness, and their struggling emotions could find no language but that of praise and thanksgiving-no exponent except the words of the Psalmist, when he says,

“ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget. not all his benefits.” And thus it is, when the heart is devoutly fixed on God himself, revolving all his greatness and glory; fixed in the earnest and believing contemplation of what he has done for a guilty world through the gift of his Son; fixed on him as our God, accepted, confessed, and trusted; thus it is that then a holy delight, a reposing and peaceful confidence, will diffuse themselves silently over our souls ; and, instead of having to seek painfully for the language of devotion, we will be impelled by our own irrepressible feelings to exclaim as in the text—“Our hearts are fixed, O God; our hearts are fixed; we will sing

and give praise.”—“We will praise thee, O Lord, among the people ; we will sing unto thee among the nations ; for thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.” Such is the language that comes welling up from the living fountain of the believer's fixed heart; it comes unconstrained and unstudied the natural and spontaneous expression of his holy feelings, or rather, these feelings themselves converted into articulate speech.

And now, let it be asked, in conclusion, of all who shall peruse these statements have your

hearts been thus fixed on God? No doubt, you have all had some lively impressions of his being and power. Every one of you, probably, at some time or other, has had close and painful apprehensions of his reality as a holy judge and dread avenger. In moments of conviction, or in the face of anticipated death, you have trembled and turned pale as you thought of his dreadful majesty. And it is something to know God even thus; for such alarms are as that darkest hour of the night which precedes the dawn; it is something to “ remember God and be troubled ;" for how much better and more hopeful is even this than the cold, sullen indifference of those on whom the Spirit imposes no restraint in their sins, leaving them “ alone” to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Be thankful, therefore, even for your terrors, as the only evidence which you have that you have not been absolutely given over to a reprobate mind. But let it be asked again—is this all ? Do you know God only as a terrible being, who “makes darkness his secret place, and whose pavilion round

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