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had their sorrows turned into joy under the Divine benediction. Let a Store man exert his imagination to contrive circumstances of difficulty; we should without doubt say, the Divine mercy has reached that. Whatever We may be said of fictitious accounts, all true events are recorded some il an where in heaven in the breasts of all the blessed. Think what a num. He of ber of records are there! If we believe all this, and recollect that all we need to know is but little, we should be affected by the belief that a “number no pot man can number" have passed from grief to joy, have come out of great of tribulation, and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.”
It may be said, we do not meet with God now; we never directly see for the God; we are never accosted by an angel. No angel has come darting in eifd light upon us. We may imagine that this gave a superiority to pious meno in earlier ages. But we shall be undeceived when we look to the display? of Jesus Christ, manifesting God directly among mortals, bringing down tim the light of eternity. What do we want with regard to God as an object så me of faith, but that he is present? If we saw a form, it would do no justice of to God. What do we know of God but what we know by the intellectual bles faculty ? If we are sure God is present, that is enough. Will any part of a sinner's life be out of the eternal memory of God ? Anything that lies proves God to be in one way present, proves that he is wholly present; 80 cm that we may have all the benefit of this celestial Friend. He must be a bit thoughtless man who is not often conscious of meeting much that is strik. time ing. We might ask a man at the end of the day, Have you.recognized *tip the presence of God ? Did you hear one voice more than that of your 'n companions? We might put the question now, How much of this faith has interfered, that God is here, just one more than all we here; we are in the judging, approving, perhaps, condemning; and here is God, one more Thus men may meet God. It is important to have a sense of his being when here.
We have been walking in a solitary scene. Now, was a God really there? There was. God met you there as much as he met Jacob at Peniel; what did you want more? Therefore, then you had an oppor. tunity of doing what Jacob did. Why should not the same thing take place as between Jacob and the messenger from heaven,the same em bath phasis of passion,-the same force of mind ? How trifling the force of the sinews exercised by Jacob compared to the exercise of mind! Did you never in distress relate your case to one greater Friend ? Men shall recite their distresses; some take a delight in doing so. Did it not occur to you while calling on man for help, that there was a greater Friend in
670d existence on whom men might rest their cares? If not, what did you kn come into the world for? for what do you read the Bible? what have you a soul for? But if the thought did occur, what prevented you from laying hold on God, and telling him that he has made the promise ? Why not lay hold on his word? We have often been present when good men called upon God. Did we ever hear them without believing God to be present to them? But if to them, then He was present to us. What a sin if we did not take part in their prayers. Could we be mere spectators? We should learn to take condemnation to our souls. How little do they meet with in the world who do not meet with a God! and yet who think they meet with much. We see the wonders of Nature and Art; but there is one thing more to see that is more glorious. You look at the sun; but if you think of the Maker of the sun, the Light of lights, the King of beings, how infinitely He transcends! Look at the Earth-its beauties, its flowers; but, then, think of Him who created all these, and who can . blast them with the breath of his mouth; how little does all this world ? appear! But a man goes and sees life in the higher circles; what å
mighty story he makes of this to his humbler companions ! Perhaps he never thought of one object more, before whom all this is but a trifle, a bubble! Men talk of armies, and never think of the Being who could send one of his angels and sweep all away. But then, we say, how little are they aware of what is in the world who do not see God! While we are surrounded by so many men, let us consider there is one being better than all_GOD; one who is more powerful than all the mighty. Think of the feebleness of our conceptions, and that in God's mind 'there is a perfect conception of every thing. As soon as my feeble thought is gone to Him, there is a thought in his mind applicable to it. If God puts himself in the way of distress and want, should not all be admonished that God is present ? Distress and want are grievous things; but if they have the effect to remind us of God, there is a good arising from evil. If on a good man's mind there is an impression of want, and then the thought that it is met by God, that by Faith in Christ I have an interest in the treasures of his beneficence, if interested in Jesus Christ, the want becomes a blessing. What a glorious thing religion is to those who have Faith! It is the great office that we may possess all this ourselves. In some sense, want is the source of felicity. For, what do we go to heaven
for, but to obtain felicity? What is that but the completion of desire ? most and what is that but want ? through all eternity there will be a sense of Bristo want, but met immediately by infinite fulness. But men are not sensible Per of these higher wants. To think of human beings saying, “Who will
shew us any good ?” For ever testifying they are dissatisfied! What an which endless series of dissatisfactions! Yet, wandering under the dreadful curse ill of loving the creature more than the Creator! Never thinking of the care se petition, “Lord, lift upon us the light of thy countenance.” How un. his happy to be kept under this deprivation and darkness of view! To be
seeking felicity in the dust, while angels and God are looking on!
We can meet God, and must do so, in some way. Shall it be in serious, earnest devotion ? Wrestling is a simple thing, but not more simple than addressing the faculties of the soul in devotion towards God; there is nothing difficult to conceive in this process. We do not say that religion is
easy, but the conception of it is easy. I want so and so, I fear so and so. heim
And there is a Being who knows all this, who has perfect power. If d! there is nothing in the universe to suit me, He can make it. We cannot
utter the whole meaning of our thoughts; God can put it into far more expressive language. That is the whole theory. It is, indeed, no theory
at all, no depth. There are many forms of pleading before God. The de grand topic, without which no profundity of feeling, no fervency, will
avail, is the awful and prevailing name of the Redeemer. He bore our
sorrows and griefs, and suffered death and rose to heaven, that there oll might be reason in hope, and confidence in faith, and forgiveness in God. with Jesus Christ brought down a sacred impression on earth, that other good make things might follow,-that goodness might come instead of Him, while
that He had been here should be the eternal plea.
"I will not let thee go.” How little they know of God, who have not patience to wait for a moment. Nothing stands disconnected with God. How little men have a sense of what depends on importunity, and how Soon they withdraw the fervency of their petitions. Think of the mercy of God, that petitions are not followed by vengeance. No thunder replies to what they say,-no dreadful impressions of alarm for presenting the
words of sinful souls to the throne of infinite purity. Every thing testiChap nes that this is a system of love. If sensible of the state we are in, we
seed be sensible, too, of the only grand resource. In this dark state, tra. alling to another scene, it is very proper to look around, to look inward
at past sins, at all the evil influences that beat on the soul like a tempest from hell. We need to be impelled to seek the Divine mercy. In proportion as we feel these things, we shall feel the value of continuing to wrestle like Jacob,—of having a will and determination like his, to say, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Downend, Dec. 30, 1818.
Wednesday Evening, in the Vestry.
THE FEAR OF DEATH.
BY THE RBV, JAMES SMITH. "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." -Hebrews ii. 15. • There is always something solemn, and generally something appalling, in death. We cannot love it. It is the effect of sin. It is the enemy of our nature. All the circumstances connected with it are painful and trying, and then the unseen, the unknown, the eternal world beyond it. When we reflect on these things, the thoughts will arise, “If I am deceived! If I should be wrong! If I should find out my mistake too late !” Dwelling upon such thoughts naturally makes us sad, they weaken our faith, they dim the eye of hope, and they give Satan an occasion against us. To dwell on them is to strengthen them, and to deepen the gloomy impression which they make. Some dwell on them so much, and so frequently, that they can seldom enjoy their present mercies, and can never look forward to their departure from this world without gloom. It embitters life, and renders the idea of death dreadful. This is wrong, decidedly wrong. We should look from death to Jesus, and never look at death but through Jesus. He has conquered death for us, and has deprived the monster of his eting. Nothing can make death dreadful but sin; and if sin is pardoned, even that cannot. But if we believe in Jesus, if we have committed our souls to him, if we are living to promote his glory, our sins are most certainly pardoned. God has blotted them out in the blood of his dear Son, and he assures us that they shall never be mentioned against us. We have his word for our security, and he has added his oath, that we inight have strong consolation. We should trust in God's faithful word, and do honour to the blood of Jesus, by believing that it will save us from all condemnation. - “But my faith is weak.” So it may be, and yet weak faith will lay hold on an omnipotent Saviour, and bring everlasting salvation to the soul. : “But my fears are strong.” Yes, and so they will be so long as you nurse them, and look at yourself, or at death, instead of looking to Jesus. “But I find it so hard to believe.” So it is while we attempt it in our own strength, but when we seek the Holy Spirit's aid it is easy enough. “But I have no assurance of my interest in Christ.” Perhaps not, nor is it likely you will, while you look into self, at your sins, or at death: nor even if you make assurance your principal object. Faith is giving credit to God's word, exercising confidence in God's faithfulness, and relying on the perfect work of Christ for life and salvation. Out of this grows our assurance of our interest in Christ. Now if, instead of giving credit to God's word, placing confidence in God's faithfulness, and relying on the finished work of Christ, you are hunting about for the sense of your interest in Christ, or for what you call assurance, you are not likely to obtain it. You must renounce self, rely simply on Jesus, and expect him to save you, because he has promised to save all that trust in his name; so doing you are safe, you have nothing to fear from death, and you will be happy. But the moment you look from Christ to self, place confidence in your evidences, or think of death apart from the intinite sacrifice of Jesus, you get into bondage. It must be so. It always will be so. Death can do no harm to a believer in Christ. It ought not to be the object of his dread. His sins are pardoned, God is his Father, the Lord Jesus is his Advocate, the Holy Spirit is his Guide, and Heaven is his Father's house, and his home. God is always, and everywhere, his Father; no matter, therefore, whether in the body or out of it, whether in this world or another, he is safe; death cannot affect his state, it can make no alteration in the relationship. Believe, then, in Jesus, look to Jesus, place your entire dependance on Jesus, and never trouble about death until it comes; it is no business of yours to-day, it belongs to to-morrow; and when death comes, Jesus will come with it, and he will give you grace to die as a christian, as he has given you grace to live like one.
But some, from the weakness of the nerves, or a naturally melancholy temperament, or from bad training, are always in bondage from the fear of death. Some fear dying, and some fear the consequences of death. They never look forward but with gloom, thus making themselves sad, and all about them. Now such seldom fear death when it comes; it is never found to be what they feared. The fear of death is gone before they come to it, and the dreaded act of dying is comparatively easy. I have often known this to be true, and my friend Mrs. Chin, who was lately called home to be for ever with the Lord, was a remarkable instance of it. She was always fearing death. In vain I told her that Jesus had conquered death, that he would be with her in it, that she would be disappointed when she came to it. In vain I directed her to look to the cross, and not to the grave; to Jesus, and not death; or assured her that at evening-time it would be light. A gleam of light would sometimes irra. diate her dark mind, a little joy would occasionally drop into her troubled soul; but generally a deep sigh would say, “I am in bondage still." Nothing that I could say, no prayer that I could offer, would give her more than transient relief. But how was it with her at last ? A letter from her daughter, in whose house she died, which now lies before me, says, “The fear of death had been removed from her mind for some time past, and she longed,” as she said, “TO GO HOME." Often and often had I told her that this would be the case, but she could not believe me; she feared that I had mistaken her character, that all her past experience was a delusion, and that her christian friends thought too well of her. Sad were her days, and often sorrowful her nights, and all for want of one thing, and what was that ? Just giving Jesus credit for being true to his character, and faithful to his word. But she often feared dying too, and how was it with her in this respect? The same letter says, “She had been ill for nearly a fortnight, but a day or two previous to her decease we thought her better. She was rising to dress to have her bed made, when she suddenly fell back and said, 'I am faint;' she never spoke after, and in about half an hour after this she ceased to breathe, and entered into the presence of that Saviour she so many years loved, and whom she 80 much longed to see.” .
Reader, are you harassed with the fears of death ? encourage them not, but confide in the care, kindness, and grace of thy Saviour, “who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Live upon Him now by faith, live for Him endeavouring to promote his cause, and he will never leave thee in the article of death, or suffer thee to be deceived. Thousands beside my friend Mrs. Chin have found their fears groundless, and have realized deliverance from them before called to contend with that last enemy. Satan loves to harass you; it is often his suggestions that direct your attention to death, when you ought to be looking to Jesus, and to be rejoicing in his dear name. Death is yours, if you are Christ's. It cannot injure you. It will only un. dress you, that you may be clothed upon, with your house which is from heaven. It will open the cage-door, and let the bird fly and enjoy its native element. It will knock off every fetter, bring you out of the dungeon of clay, and introduce you to the presence of “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.” Though your faith be weak, it connects you with the Saviour, it preserves you from all the terrible con. sequences of death, and entitles you to everlasting life. If you cannot live without Christ, death will never be allowed to separate you from Christ. If you love Christ here, and long to enjoy his presence and his smile, you will rise to see Christ in glory, and so be for ever with him. Let not death terrify you, you will not find it what you fear; it will not be when near, what it appears in the distance. The grace that sustains you now will sustain you then, and will make you inore than a conqueror over death, through Jesus who has loved you. Jesus, who died for you, will be with you when you are dying, and will give you a glorious and eternal victory over death.
“SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES.”.
BY THE REV. S. LILLYCROP. “Search the Scriptures ” is a Divine command, which all genuine believers feel a pleasure in obeying. They sit down to the sacred volume, and pore ‘over its historical, experimental, and practical pages with a peculiar enjoyment unknown to the rest of mankind. Gratitude is felt in the highest degree, when the soul can trace an interest in all the precious promises. Then the language of the “sweet singer of Israel” is truly appropriate to the feelings of the heart, which often exclaims, as it turns from promise to promise, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits towards me.” For it was God, in his infinite mercy, who put that blessed book into the hands of his people, having caused "holy men. of God to write it, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
But there is something exceedingly pointed in that word “search.” > It leads the mind at once to the conduct of the merchantman who was seek. ing “goodly pearls.” We fancy we see him, with all anxiety, turning up that clod of earth; dislocating this curious piece of rock; sisting carefully that and the other bed of sand; or descending into the deep and dreary mine. What anxiety, care, and perseverance are here displayed! And this is just that sort of application which is implied in the injunction, “Search the Scriptures.”
It is not to read certain favourite chapters over again and again, merely because they contain some peculiar dogma, or tend to confirm our preconceived notions; for by such a method which, it is to be feared, is too general in our day-prejudices are strengthened, truth is kept in the back ground, and the mind remains in ignorance of the will of the Lord as revealed in many momentous portions of his word. And to this very cause may be traced the various divisions which separate the visible church. If men were to adopt the system of the noble Bereans, and