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“ But let me tell you, my drooping brother, $6 that I am too well acquainted with your real 56 character, as well from an insight into your “ experience, as from my own, (long exercised 66 as I have been by unbelief, both in times “ past, and even now too frequently feeling 66. the remains of it) not to know, that the very '56 sorrow which you express, on account of the
supposed want of faith, carries with it an s6 evidence, that you must have some faith thus 6 to complain. That your faith is not equal
to your wishes, I will readily allow. For, so indeed, whose is? But that you differ most “ essentially from those that are shut up in “ total unbelief, is most evident. In proof of “ what I say, compare your situation now, with “ what it was in the days of your unregeneracy. 66 You were then, not only without CHRIST 56 and without God in the world; but abso“ lutely unconscious of the want. Whereas s now your most earnest desires are that Christ s might dwell in your heart by faith, and be
fully formed there the hope of glory. If " there was no faith in your heart, whence « arise these desires for more? It is the pre56 ciousness of the gift, which makes you long s for greater manifestations of the Giver. And “ it is a consciousness of the remains of un6 belief that makes you apprehensive, that you s have no faith at all. While, therefore, you “ groan under those remains, every sigh proves
that they are but remains, from which the • “ merciful goodness of our God will in His
6 own time deliver you. Carry your com6 plaints to Him who is both the Author and « Finisher of faith. Let us copy the Apostle's “ prayer, Lord increase our faith! And de“pend upon it, that if our faith be but as a “ grain of mustard seed, however small and “inconsiderable it may be; still it is not of « nature's growth, nor of nature's produc« tion. That small portion which you possess $ is the gift of the same Almighty power who « created the faith of Abraham. Receive it, “ I intreat you, as the earnest of the promised « inheritance, to the praise of His glory.
“ And while I say thus much, by way of 6 convincing you, that in the midst of all your “ complainings you have great cause of thank« fulness 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 sufficiency is of “ Him. Abraham, who is handed down to us (s in the Church's history, as the great pattern 66 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 6 of trouble, that he impatiently cried out, Oh “ that I might have my request, even that it “ would please Gop to destroy me. opo And “ David's whole life, as it may be gathered “ from his book of Psalms, was made up of * conflicts between believing and doubting. “I need not mention Peter's case, as an ads ditional proof of the fluctuating state of the “ human mind; who, in the mount of trans“ figuration, gave so glorious a testimony; and “ in the hall of Pilate, uttered so shameful a “ denial of his Lord's character. All these, « and ten thousand lesser instances, serve to s shew 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 mercy66 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
* Gen. xx. + Job. vi. 8, 9. Compare Matt. xvi. 16. with xxvi. 69.
“ faith is faith; perfectly distinct from all the “ operations of nature, and far above all human o 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, believers of such “ a description and character, or that come “ up to such a standard ; but all that believe. 66 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 “ family-feature 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 re“ freshing thought, that the Great Shepherd “ gathers the lambs with His arm, and carries " them in His bosom; and they are as dear : ' “ and precious in His sight, as the strong of “ his fold.
« Those feeble desires, those wishes so weak,
« The God whom thou seekest will not tarry long, . “ And by him the weakest are safe as the strong,"
À BELIEVER UNDER THE HIDINGS
OF GOD'S COUNTENANCE.
- 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 Di“ vine countenance, and sometimes tempted “ to cry out, with the Church of old, My hope 66 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, 6 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 s 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 do still see a love“ liness in His person, and a suitableness and « all-sufficiency in His power to save, when “ I cannot say that I see my interest in Him