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And while I say this much, by way of convincing you, that in the midst of all your complainings, you have great cause of thankfulness before God, let me remind you also, that what you complain of, forms a part of the complaints of all the Lord's people. Nay more; the greatest instances of faith we meet with in Scripture, afford at the same time the greatest examples of unbelief. As if the dear Lord of his people intended to teach all this important lesson, that man is nothing in himself, but that all his suf. ficiency is of Him, Abraham, who is handed down to us in the Church's history, as the great pattern of faith, and who could and did exercise such unparalleled confidence in the Lord, in the instance of his intended sacrifice of Isaac; yet even this man could not, upon another oCcasion, trust in God's faithfulness to extricate Sarah from danger* Job, under the influence of faith, could confidently say of the Lord, * though he slay me, yet will I trust in him ;' yet so much, at another time, was he borne down, under the pressure of trouble, that he impatiently cried out, Oh that I might have my request, even that it would please God to destroy met.' And David': whole life, as it may be gathered from his book of Psalms, was made• Gen. xx. . Job vi. 8, 9.
up of conflicts between believing and doubting: I need not mention Peter's case as an additional proof of the fluctuating state of the hu. man mind; who, in the mount of transfiguration, gave so glorious a testimony; and in the hall of Pilate, uttered. şo shameful a denial of his Lord's character*. All these, and ten thousand lesser instances, serve to show what man is in himself, and what the same man may be when supported by the grace of God. Let me beg of you then, in the estimate of your spiritual state, as it stands before God, never to lose sight of these things. And while a deep sense of the unbelief of your heart makes you humble, and is continually leading you to a mercy-seat for an increase of faith, from Him whose gift alone it is; do not overlook that portion of the blessing which the bountiful LORD hath already bestowed upon you. Never forget, that the smallest degree of faith is faith; perfectly distinct from all the operations of nature, and far above all human power to produce. Forget not also, that it is not the quantity, but the quality, which constitutes the principle. ' By Him, (says the Apostle,) all that believe are justified from all things.' Observe the expression, All that believe. He doth not say,
* Compare Matt. xvi. 16. with xxvi. 69.
believers of such a description and character, or that come up to such a standard; but ALL that believe. While therefore you possess the smallest degree of faith, bless God for that. The smallest measure indicates from whom it came; and declares whose you are, and to whom you belong. It is the one uniform familyfeature of the Lord's household of faith ; for
as many as believe are ordained to eternal life.' , Large portions of so precious a grace are, no doubt, highly desirable. But to poor, timid, unbelieving believers, (if I may be allowed the expression,) it is a refreshing thought, that the Great Shepherd' gathers the' lambs' with his 'arm, and carries them in his Bosom ;' and they
are ås dear and precious in his sight, as the * strong of his fold. '.*.
Those feeble desires, those wishes so weak," . "Tis Jesus inspires and bids you still seek :
The God whom thou seekest will not tarry long, . And by him the weakest are safe as the strong.'.
A BELIEVER UNDER THE HIDINGS OF GOD'S
«Your observations, my dear brother, (said another, who sat at a corner of the room,) are truly refreshing to my soul. I have been long exercised under the hidings of the divine countenance, and sometimes tempted to cry out, with the Church of old, " My hope is perished from the Lord.', But I perceive, from what you have been saying to our friend, mourning under the unbelief of his heart, that the same arguments, by a parity of reasoning, are applicable to my case also. Spiritual darkness, and spiritual doubtings, are but too nearly allied, and proceed from the corruption that dwells within. It may be said of both, : it is your iniquities which have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you.' And when this is the case, when as in Pauls voyage,' neither sun nor stars for many days appeared, and no small tempest is added to the darkness of the horizon ; faith will be at a low ebb, and all hope, that the soul is then in a state of safety, will for a time be taken away. But blessed be God, when I can find no comfort in myself, I know that Christ is the same. I still see a loveliness in his person, and a suitable ness and all-sufficiency in his power to save, when I cannot say that I see my interest in him
o be clear. “When wilt thou come unto me?' is frequently the language of my heart, though I cannot always call him mine. . And the recallection of past experiences is sometimes a.lift to me during the passing cloud. I call to mind the time and place, and the gracious manner and means, when, where, and by which the Lord hath heretofore comforted and refreshed my soul. So that, like the wife of Manoah, I am led to conclude, if the Lord had not intended mercy, he would not have showed me all these things.' And I always find that sweet text of the Prophet: to be consolatory, during the heaviest night of this kind of trial; - Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, and walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God.'.,
I rejoice truly, my dear brother,' (replied the Poor Man,) in the testimony you bear to the faithfulness of your God, under your sufferings. It is an easy thing to speak a word for God's goodness, when the Lord is surrounding us with the sunshine of his blessings. But it must be a gracious soul indeed to rejoice in