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tends may be accomplished to your soul through the enlightening, humbling, and sanctifying power of God's holy spirit. ". We have had fathers of the flesh, (as the Apostle says) who corrected us, and we gave them reverence, submitted quietly and patiently to them; “shall we not then much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits,” the Almighty God, who is our Heavenly Father by creation, and is, or would be, our spiritual Father by regeneration," and live,” live for ever, through subjection to him in Jesus Christ? Life, eternal life, is the great object and purpose of God in all his dispensations, even in the most severely afflicting; and though chastening be « grievous for the present,” yet to them that are exercised thereby,” so exercised as to be improved in spiritual health, it yieldeth afterwards “ the peaceable fruits of righteousness,” peace and joy and happiness here and hereafter. To be rightly exercised by affliction is to be brought more and more by means

of it to a due sense and hatred of sin, to a right knowledge of ourselves and of God, of our own sinfulness, misery, wants, and duties, and of his will, and ways, and mercy, and lovingkindness in Jesus Christ, with a humble, faithful, patient submission to his will, and a self-denying devotedness to his service. Thus Manasseh, one of the kings of Judah, was exercised by chastening affliction. In his prosperity he had neglected God and his word, but when the Lord brought upon him the heavy affliction of captivity, he then “ came to himself,” he “sought the Lord” in penitence, “ humbled himself” before God, and prayed unto him, and the Lord heard his prayer and shewed him mercy, and he walked afterwards in the ways of the Lord. Thus also David was exercised by affliction : he tells us that “it was good for him to have been in trouble,” for “before he was troubled he went wrong,

but his trouble brought him to consider and learn the statutes or commandments

of the Lord, and to keep his word. And thus profitably to your soul's everlasting health you may be exercised by this your present affliction, which is sent to you by the same merciful hand, and for the same gracious purposes, as were the afAictions of Manasseh and David. Perhaps you have “gone wrong” in many things, in your views, your opinions, your principles, your practices; and the Lord is taking this way of bringing you more effectually into the ways of truth, wisdom, and holiness : for, consider what is written in Scripture, Behold, God is mighty and despiseth not any;" even you yourself are an object of his regard. “ He is mighty in strength and wisdom,” knowing and able to accomplish what is really good for us; “if they,” if any one be bound in the fetters and holden in the cords of affliction, then he sheweth them their works and transgressions, brings their past ways to their remembrance with convictions of sin; “He openeth also their ears


to discipline,” disposes them to receive instruction, “ and commandeth that they return from

from iniquity,” calls them to repentance, and presses

their conscience their manifold obligations humbly and heartily to turn unto him, to “ cease from doing evil and learn to do well.” Now, I pray you, consider these things; and let your ears be open to instruction and your heart to discipline. You may perceive from what has been read to you, that your present affliction is a visitation from the Lord, from him who is infinite in wisdom to know what is good for you, infinite in justice to determine what is right, infinite in mercy and loving-kindness to will what is best for you,

and infinite in power to do all things according to his will. You may perceive that he sends this visitation for your spiritual good, for the everlasting good of your soul; that you may be brought to a sense of your sinfulness, be humbled before him with deep repentance, disposed to receive instruction in the gospel of salvation,

and stirred up to seek him diligently in his appointed way through faith in Jesus Christ. And, oh, may the power of the Spirit of God be with you, that you may be so exercised by this chastening of the Lord, and so look at the things which concern your eternal state, that your present suffering, which is but for a moment in comparison with eternity, may work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, through the merits of the Saviour.

Let us pray.--O Almighty and most merciful Father, who art mighty in strength and wisdom, loving unto every man and full of mercy, righteous in all thy ways, and holy in all thy works; thou hast been pleased in thy wisdom, and justice, and loving-kindness, to visit this person with sickness; be pleased, we beseech thee, to visit him also with thy salvation, to sanctify this thy fatherly correction to the everlasting good of his soul, that it may lead him so seriously to consider his own state in thy sight, thy holy will re


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