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people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places*.'
According to my constant custom, since the Lord was pleased to call me by his grace, I opened my diary in my little fiocket comfianion, to inquire' What is the word of the Lord recommended to my serious consideration to-day?' For it is a favourite maxim of mine, with the first dawn of day, to seek a morning blessing from the Lord in this way, in one of his sweet promises. The promises of God are the present heritage of his people. They are evidently intended to be their support and stay in the house of their pilgrimage. In a little book, which I always keep by me for this purpose, to have recourse to as occasion may require, and which I call my pocket-companion, I have also a diary, containing some refreshing portion of Scripture for every day in the year. And though it cannot be supposed, (neither will any one I should hope imagine,) that by a selection of this kind, a preference is given to one gracious promise, to the exclusion of the rest, ' which in Christ Jesus are all yea and amen;' yet, as the mind is not sufficiently capacious, nor sufficiently alive, to exercise itself in the meditation of them all, it should seem to be no unpromising plan of usefulness to have recourse to one or more of them in this manner.
• Isaiah xxxii* 18,
I shall be exempt, I trust, from the charge of presumption, if I add, that I have found, at times, the promise in my diary so strikingly suited to my then circumstances, as if a voice had accompanied it like that of the apostle to the men of Antioch,—' To you is the word of this salvation sent.'
The promise for this day I found to be Psalm exxi. 5. 'The Lord is thy keeper.' Sweet and precious indeed to all his people is this assurance! My mind, as I lay upon my bed, was much exercised in the contemplation of God as a Covenant God, in keeping His people. It is he which keeps them in the faith; keeps them in the hour of temptation ; keeps themfrom the power of the enemy; from a thousand unseen, and as many visible evils; from finally falling, and from eternal death. And though he hath no where promised to keep His people from tribulation, or persecution, or the strife and slander of tongues, from sickness, or sorrow, and the like ; yet he hath promised, that 'no weapon formed against them shall prosper; no temptation shall take them, from which he will not make a way for them to escape. He will bruise Satan under their feet shortly.' Oh! the blessed privilege of those who have the Lord for their Keeper!
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From the very great noise which I heard ill tl»« street, as I arose from my bed, occasioned by the passing of horses and the tumult of the people, I concluded that somewhat more than usual occupied the public attention. In looking for the cause from the window of my chamber, which opened into the street, I discovered that it was market-day. Though the hour was so early, and the sun had not far advanced in climbing the heavens; yet the world was risen, and every one eagerly engaged in preparation for the sale of their different commodities.
Ah! thought I, how just is that aphorism of our blessed Lord, 'The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.' If, in the market-days for the soul, (I mean the public festivals and sabbaths of the church,) they whose office it is to bring 'forth out of God's treasure things new and old' to the people, were truly as anxious as those men of the world, what gracious effects might we not hope would follow under the Spirit's blessing!
The apostle to the Gentiles desired the church of Corinth to consider him and his faithful companions under this character. 'Let a man,' saith he, 'so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.' A steward is an upper servant in a family; one whose office, (according to our Lord's own explanation of the Jewish householder,) is to provide for the family, &c. whom 'his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season.' And were that also properly considered, which the' apostle adds, that 'h is required in stewards that a man be found faithfulthe solicitude of the earthly market-man would fall infinitely short of that, which he feels who ministers in heavenly things; in proportion as the object and the end of the latter transcend in importance those of the former. How early would the stewards of Christ's mysteries arise, in order to prepare the 'feast of fat things, of wine on the lees, and of fat things full of marrow, for the mountain of the Lord's house!' How extremely anxious would they be, that no hungry nor thirsty soul of God's household should be overlooked or neglected! And conscious, after all their best and most earnest preparations, that there can be no actual enjoyment, no real participation on the people's part, but from the predisposing grace of the Lord; how ought every steward to bring forth what he has prepared with prayer and supplication, that the Lord himself would direct every heart and influence every mind! z.
Imagination can hardly form a character more truly valuable, than the man who ministers in holy things; who spends his time, his talents, his gifts—in short, his all, to this one purpose; who becomes indeed the 'faithful and wise steward,' to feed the babes of Christ's household with the 'sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby;' and them that are of ' full age, with strong meat, when by reason of use their spiritual senses are exercised to discern both good and eviland who to both, can humbly recommend, like the apostle, the goodness of the food, as being what ' he himself hath seen, and looked upon, and tasted of the word of life.' It must be a refreshing consola