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company under similar circumstances. “My “ best advice to you (he said) will be, to recom* mend you to seek grace in order to adopt the 66 prophet's example. For when he found no 66 favor from man, he recollected that he had 66. the favor of God. So that however wicked " the times were in which he lived, yet the ss righteousness of Jehovah was unchangeable. ". The best of them (he said) was as a briar, the 66 most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge. 66 Who therefore could venture to come near is either? . . .
64 Your case, you see, is not singular, in the “ unkindnesses you sustain from your relations “ on account of your religion. In all ages it “ hath been the same. And hence the prophet “ saith, Trust ye not in a friend ; put ye not so confidence in a guide ; keep the doors of thy “cmouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For " the son dishonoreth the father, the daughter “ riseth up against her mother, and the daughter6 in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's “ enemies are the men of his own house. But “ what was the prophet's conduct under these “ heavy troubles? Therefore (saith he) I will 56 look unto the LORD! I will wait for the God “ of my salvation : : my GOD will hear me. * “The more the world frowns, the sweeter will “ be the smiles of Jesus. And the greater so unkindness you meet with from your relations, " the greater will be your esteem of the affec" tion of the Redeemer. What though all your
.. * Micah vii. 4, 5, 6. , ,
“ earthly connections fail, and their friendship “is continually fluctuating and changeable ; yet “ in Jesus you find an unchanging friend at all for times; one born for adversity, and who sticketh “ closer than a brother.
" And it should very evidently seem, that “ God over-rules those very events, which tend “ to loosen our attachment to every thing here “ below, on purpose to raise our affections, and “ to fasten them on the great objects which are " above. By tinging our most innocent enjoy“ments in this mortal state with yanity and “ disappointment, what is it but in effect saying, “ Arise ye and depart, for this is not your rest, “ because it is polluted? There is much mean“ing in that word of the prophet, Therefore; « when he says, Therefore I will look unto the “ LORD, that is as much as to say, Because all “ things else are dissatisfying, I will look where “I am sure not to be disappointed. Though “ all creatures leave me, my Creator is the “same; and though every earthly friend fail me, “ my Heavenly Friend never will. O, depend « upon it, let a child of God be persecuted, for“ saken, slighted, or despised ever so much by “ man; yet while he hath a God to look up to, “ and a Covenant-God to trust in; while he can 6 say My God, he may at the same time with “ full assurance say, He will hear me.
“ And I believe it possible, nay more than “ possible, even frequently induced by Divine “ grace, that, where the love of God is shed “ abroad in the heart in its fulness and strength,
~ it drives out all lesser considerations; as the “ effulgent brightness of the sun puts out the ~ fire of the hearth. And it is in this sense, we “ must accept that otherwise seemingly-harsh « doctrine to flesh and blood, where the Re“ deemer saith, If any man come to Me, and “ hate not his father, and mother, and wife, “ and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, “ and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. “ That the apostle Paul felt the influence of “ this hating his own life, no one will question, “ who attends to the holy saint's groaning under " the body of sin and death, which he tells us “ he carried about with him. And that a believer “ in the present hour, who knows what it is at “ times to loath and even hate his own flesh “ from the corruptions of it, may without vio“ lence to the purest affections be well supposed “ to feel something of obedience to the Res deemer's precept, in hating every tye which “ tends to separate the soul from the great and “ unrivalled object of its love, will not be “ doubted. Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
” and there is none upon earth that. I desire , “beside Thee, is an appeal, which many besides ~ David have been enabled to make.”.. : .
When the Interpreter had finished his discourse to the woman, he addressed himself to me; and concluding from my appearance among the circle, that one and the same motive as brought others to his house, had brought me also, he desired to know what was the imme. diate subject of my present attention. . . I simply repeated to him the distress with which my mind had been exercised, since I had perused a little book on the subject of grace, and had over-heard the conversation between the brothers..
He prevented my adding more, by saying, “I “ know very well that author's writings, and can “ easily conceive how his reasonings may have “ operated upon your mind. But a moment's “ reflection, under God the Spirit's teaching “ will be enough to refute doctrines of such a 6 tendency. .:.6. To suppose that the gift of God's grace * depends upon man's merit, is to invert the " very order of things, and make the creature “ the first mover in his salvation : which is in “ direct opposition to the whole tenor of scrip“ ture. This, if true, would destroy God's “ föreknowledge. Hist.. :
“To imagine that our acceptance or refusal « of grace is the result of our own pleasure, is “ to rob God of another of his glorious per“ fections of character: for it is in effect saying, “ that man is more powerful than his Maker, in « that what God wills, man may defeat. And “ this takes from God his omnipotence. in
• To fancy that our improvement, or mis“ improvement of grace, will render it effectual, “ or the contrary, is committing another breachi " on the Divine attributes ; for this is reducing .“ the covenant of grace to a covenant of works. “ And hence, after all God hath said and pro« mised, concerning the freedom, and fulness,
"and sovereignty of his salvation, in this case, to the event of it would depend on the merit of to the creature. And this is taking from God to both his wisdom and his glory.
“And to believe, after what God the Father “hath given, and God the Son hath accom-« plished, for the salvation of his people in a “ covenant way, that souls renewed by God the “ Holy Ghost, and called with an holy calling, “ may yet finally perish; this is bringing down “ redemption-work to so precarious and un“ certain an issue, as must leave it altogether « undetermined, whether a single believer shall “ be saved; or not. And this throws to the “ ground the distinguishing character of God's “ immutability.
“ I will very readily grant (continued the In“terpreter) that grace is brought forward into “ many sharp and trying dispensations in the “ lives of the faithful. OD is certainly exer“cising the gifts of his Holy Spirit, which “ he bestows upon thein, by temptations and “ troubles and a variety of providences. And " in fact, such must be the case. For unex“ ercised grace would otherwise find no scope .“ to manifest itself. But for any one to imagine “ from hence, that our acceptance with God “ depends upon the event of those exercises, “ would be to make the present life a life of pro" bation and trial, as some injudicious teachers “ have taught their people, and to render the * Redeemer's merits and death still question