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Ghost apply the assurance of their eternal faithfulness to our trembling souls! Who, what can harm us if this God be our friend? Therefore “ let not your heart be troubled.” " Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”—and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus !"*
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but out of them all the Lord delivers them." When sorrows are multiplied, let us think of the rest that remains for us; let us say, “Our light affliction”-light compared with our demerits“our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!" When sin lies as a heavy burden upon the conscience, and presses down the soul almost to despair, then we must think of our Advocate with the Father; then we may look up to Jesus in his Father's house, pleading our cause, and bearing all our sins in our stead; we may urge our suit to him in prayer, crying mightily unto him, “Lord, save, or we perish !”
Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me”-and he will sprinkle us with his own blood, and impart to our souls that peace which only he can give.
And when death, the last formidable enemy approaches, with all his train of gloom and sad
* Philip. iv. 6,7.
ness, then will we gaze on him who has conquered death and hell for us, who has loved us with an everlasting love, who still, though now we see him not, is mindful of us, and who has prepared a quiet resting-place for us, nigh unto himself in the realms of glory above. Can that death be terrible which is the path to life! No! death is the best friend of the penitent believer. From what ills, what sorrows, what sins, does that friend deliver us! He severs the cord that binds us to this world of tears, and delivering us from the body, admits us to the presence of our absent Lord ! Wherefore
“ let not your heart be troubled !”
this language of consolation be addressed to all? In the prospect of approaching death, or amidst the painful vicissitudes of this mortal life, may all be invited to cast away fear? To whom did Jesus speak these words? To his sorrowing disciples—to those “ who had left all and followed him”—to those who had been with him in his temptations” – to men, who though they shortly afterwards displayed unworthy fears, and forsook their Master in his conflict with his enemies, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, nevertheless devoted the rest of their lives to his glory; suffered every conceivable affliction for him; and many of them sealed their testimony with their blood, and died a cruel death for his sake and the gospel's. Do we in
any respect resemble these men ? Are we stedfastly following Christ? Are we renouncing the pomps and vanities of the world and all the sinful lusts of the flesh? Do we count all things but loss that we may win Christ? Is the salvation of the soul our chief concern? Did we ever betake ourselves to Jesus with brukenness of heart, seeking salvation carefully with tears? If not-if we are gay and thoughtless—or if our religious impressions have been transitory and fleeting—if we endeavour to banish gloomy thoughts of death and judgment, heaven and hell, vainly hoping to defer the moment when we shall be torn from the world we love, and borne away to one of which we dare not think, if this be our sad condition, there is no consolation, here or elsewhere, in the word of God for us? As long as we continue in that hardened and frivolous spirit, there is no promise of comfort for us! Sorrows must sooner or later be our portion; even in this world we cannot escape them; and then we shall need a comforter, and there will be none found; we shall need one to soothe the wounded spirit, but no Saviour will then be near to whisper sweetly in our ear, “Let not your heart be troubled !” — because we have not believed in that Saviour, nor accepted his mercy when it was offered! And how then shall we flee from the sore judgments of the Lord ?
Oh that it would please a merciful God to touch our hearts with a conviction of the utter loneliness, desertion, and desolation of a soul that is without Christ in that great day! Oh that the Spirit of the Lord would graciously incline and dispose our hearts now to seek that Saviour, to fly to him without delay; for now he is willing to receive all who come to him; he waits to be gracious—and if now we cast ourselves into the arms of his mercy, we shall be safely hid in the day of his wrath !
THE INFLUENCE OF SATAN RESISTED.
EPHESIANS iv. 27.
“ NEITHER GIVE PLACE TO THE DEVIL."
St. Paul was the great champion and advocate of all the doctrinal truths of the gospel; among the apostles none exceeded him in the boldness and zeal with which he “contended for the faith once delivered unto the saints :" yet was he equally strenuous in the inculcation of all those duties the discharge of which constitutes personal holiness. While he laboured to establish the doctrines of grace, he laboured no less to show that those doctrines should be adorned by consistency of conduct. In the chapter whence the text is taken, and in that which immediately follows, he is diligently occupied in exhorting believers “to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called :"* Should they fail in this
* Ver. 1