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truly if he were mindful of the country from whence he came out, he would have opportunities to return. He has the same allurements and seductions presented to him, as others. But here is the difference; they are alive to them, but he is dead. He has found something infinitely superior; this, by refining and exalting his taste, has weaned him; and he can no longer relish the mean and ignoble provision of former days. Having found the pure spring, he no longer kneels to the filthy puddle. # tasted the grapes of Eshcol, he longs no more for the leeks, and garlic, and onions of Egypt. The palace makes him forget the dunghill. This, this is the way, and the only effectual way of separating the heart from the world; it is to subdue the sense of an inferior good, by the enjoyment of a greater. Who would exchange the green pastures and still waters for barrenness and drought? Who wants lamps, or even stars, when the sun is up?
“As by the light of opening day The stars are all concealed;
So earthly pleasures fade away. When Jesus is revealed.”
This joy exorcises a man of carnal affection: and we are persuaded the efficacy of it is far greater to mortify us to the world, than the influence of afflictions. Losses and disappointments may surprise and confound us, and lead us to lament the uncertainty of every thing below; but they do not make us feel their unsatisfactory and polluted nature. Even under the pressure of their trials, and amidst all their complaints, you will often discern the disposition of the sufferers remaining unchanged. And if not, how soon after does renewed pursuit succeed deplored deceptions, and men flee to a repetition of similar experiments, till all the mad career is ended ! But the experience produced by the sight of the cross, and communion with God in Christ, will never allow the world to become again the Christian's end, or portion. If by the power of delusion he be drawn astray for a moment, he will soon find that it is not with him as in months past: and he will be sure to feel the wretchedness of what he has chosen, compared with the glory of what he has left. And this feeling will serve to recall him. The apostate has no such experience as this to check and turn him. But the backslider has: and see the result—“I will go,” says the church, “and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now.” Fifthly, We shall see that the joy of the Lord is his strength, if we view the Christian in his sufferings. Here we might lead you back, and call to your remembrance the former times. We might show you the glorious army of martyrs tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. We might show you Peter and John, after being scourged, departing from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. We might show you the Hebrews taking joyfully the spoiling of their oods; and men, and women, and youths, severing rom their friends who hung on their necks, willing to go to prison and to death. I might show you Bradford, who, when the keeper's wife, weeping, said to him, “O sir, I am come with heavy tidings —you are to be burnt to-morrow; and they are so into the city to buy the chain:” taking off his al, and laying it upon the ground, and kneeling ond raising his hands, he said, "Lord, I thank thee for this honor. This is what I have been waiting for, and longing for.” Such scenes as these, owing to the laws of the land, we are not called to witness. with us, persecution is not national; is not legal. We can sit under our own vine and fig-tree, none daring to
make us afraid. Yet there are instances of private and personal wrongs beyond the prevention of law. The carnal mind is enmity against God, and the tongue can no man tame. We have seen servants deprived of their places; and workmen of their emloyment; and tradesmen of their custom. We i. seen wives and children enduring privations, and insults, and outrage. We have seen the follower of the Lamb, bearing his reproach, scorned by his companions, and deserted by his friends—yet acting with decision and consistency, and practically saying, “None of these things move me; neither count I my life dear, so that I but finish my course with joy.” And why have they not been overcome! Why have they not partially yielded ! . They were filled with everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace. “The joy of the Lord was their strength.' But afflictions of any kind may supply the place of persecution, and try every religious principle.— We talk of martyrs. What martyrs have endured, what some Christians have been called in private life to sufier month after month, and year after year —a great part of the heart's bitterness perhaps known only to themselves || Yet, under bodily anguish, and family bereavements, and the cruelty of connections, and reductions in life the most humiliating, we have witnessed them—not raging against instruments, not cursing the day of their birth, not impeaching the providence of God, not charging him unkindly; but looking upward and meekly saying, “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hastasilicted me.” Not insensible, yet more than resigned—not undervaluing the comforts of which they have been stripd, yet exulting, “Though the fig-tree shall not lossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Finally, It is hardly needful to say, this joy of the Lord is the Christian's strength in death. For what but this can be his support then Then lover and friend must fail him. hen the keepers of the house tremble. Then desire fails. What can nature do here 4 or nature's light 2 or nature's relio But in the multitude of his thoughts within im—and what a multitude of thoughts will beset a dying man —God's comforts delight his soul. The world passeth away; but the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The outward man perisheth; but the inward man is renewed. He looks at his trembling limbs, and feels his fainting heart. His heart and his flesh faileth : but God is the strength of his heart, and his portion for ever. He looks forward, and sees enough to dismay all mortal courage—but, says he, “my shepherd's with me there.” “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” And now what says our subject in a way of practical improvement 1 —It says, Enquire what your joy is. Is it the joy of the Lord 3 For there is the joy of the sinner.— And we read of the pleasures of sin: these are for a season; and as they are soon over, so they leave nothing but stains and stings behind. We read of the joy of the hypocrite, and are told that it is but for a moment; because at death he must be detected, and may be laid open much sooner. There is the joy of the Pharisee, who trusts in himself that he is righteous and despises others, and even glories before God. Some are said to rejoice in a thing of nought. Such are all worldlings: for all that
cometh is vanity; and honors and riches and power
are but to them, as so many toys or flowers thrown into the vehicle, that is conveying the condemned criminal to the place of execution.
Now it matters little which of these joys charac. terizes you, if you are a stranger to the joy of which we have been speaking. But allow me, in reference to your choice, to remind you of the language of Solomon. ... “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness. I said of laughter, it is mad, and of mirth, what doth it " , Yes, this is the question—What Doth it !— You have seen what the joy of the Christian can do? —But what doth yours ? Does it purify your passions? Does it make you happy alone Does it afford you any thing like satisfaction ? Does it bear you up under the trials of life 2 Does it raise you above the dread of death and eternity ? Has it any constant source 3 any solid foundation ? Is it not the creature of ignorance 3 Are you not afraid to let in one ray of divine truth upon it 3 Would not one serious thought of God and of another world strike it dead upon the spot ? “I create the fruit of the lips; peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. Therefore thus said the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, m servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed; behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.”
—It says, See how greatly religion is libelled. You well know that it is commonly represented as at variance with every thing like pleasure; and nothing can be more injurious than such a representation, especially to the young, who are so alive to happiness. But can any thing be so unfounded and false as this vile and repulsive opinion ? Surely God is able to make a man happy; and is it therefore reasonable to suppose that he will suffer one who neglects and hates him to be happier than one who loves and serves him 3 Has my hoping and believing that death is the gate of life; that heaven is my home; that God is my father; that all things are working together for my good; a tendency to prevent or diminish my enjoyment of the beauties of nature, and the bounties of providence, and the intercourses of life? But if the Scriptures are allowed to decide, and they contain the judgment of the only wise and true God, we know that wisdom's ways “are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that . hold of her, and happy is every one that retainet her.” And in this testimony every partaker of divine grace acquiesces. It would be in vain to appeal to others. They have not made the trial; but these have. And these will tell you, that they know nothing of bondage. . To them his service is perfect freedom. They find his yoke easy, and his burden light. They will tell you that they were strangers to real pleasure as long as they were without Christ; but since their knowledge of Him, their common mercies have been sweetened; their very sorrows have been blessed; and they prefer their own lowest estate, to all the glory and goodness of the world.
—It says, What an inducement is here to seek the Lord and his strength, to seek his face evermore... Joy is a thing to which none are indifferent. All, are contriving or laboring to acquire something in which they may rejoice. But here the blessing is, Here is a joy that deserves the name, A. joy soft as the ether of Paradise, and pure as the river of life proseeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb
And can yo do without this joy If you can dispense with it while every thing prospers—what will you do in the day of adversity ? If you can dispense with it in the smiles of youth—what will you do, in the decays and privations and depressions of age 3 If you can dispense with it in the excitements of society—what will you do, in the dreariness of solitude 4 If you can dispense with it in the attractions of life—what will you do, in the loneliness of death 3 If you can dispense with it in a world of engrossment and diversions—
“O ye gay dreamers of gay dreams, How will you weather an eternal night Where such expedients fail?” .
—But do you not now feel your need of it? However successful, however indulged, however amused, do you not now feel a void within which this alone can fill—a craving which this alone can relieve—a restlessness which this alone can soothe and calm ? And is it not attainable? Is there not one, among all your dissatisfactions and disquietudes, now saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek ...] lowly in eart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” —It says, Your religion is to be suspected, if you are habitually destitute of joy. Here we readily exclude all constitutional cases, such as we have admitted in the former Lecture: there is no reasoning from these. We also limit our intimation by observing, that it does not extend to that joy which springs from strong confidence, or the full assurance of hope. With regard to this, every one whose heart is right with God will prize it and desire it.— But we have known many who have possessed very little of it through life, and yet have given undeniable proof that they are renewed in the spirit of their mind. But this is only one view of the Christian's joy, or rather one kind of it. There are other, and many other sources of sacred delight. There are the pleasures of divine knowledge; the pleasures of hope; the pleasures of review, in looking back upon the way by which the Lord has led us; the pleasures arising from attendance on the means of grace; the pleasures arising from congeniality with the things of the Spirit, and which makes it our meat to do the will of our heavenly Father; the pleasures arising from the approbation of conscience; and the pleasures of usefulness. There are persons who are ready to exclude themselves from the gladness of God's nation, and yet their eye sparkles with pleasure when they see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and hear that the word of the Lord has free course and is glorified. But are they strangers to the joy of the Lord 2 —It says, Let this joy be a peculiar object of attention to every Christian—Let him never forget that it is his strength. - If therefore he has lost it, let him not rest till he has regained it. Let him hasten back to the place where he slept and dropped his roll. Let him repent and do his first works.
Though his state be secure, let him remember
that his comfort may vary and decline; and therefore let him guard against every thing, that may wound his peace, and grieve the Holy Spirit, and interrupt his communion with God... . . Some of you know the worth of this joy from the want, rather than from the experience. You are not strangers to the nature of it; but the degree in which you possess it, is far below your duty and your privilege. Let me beseech you, as you value your own welfare, and the honor of your God, to seek, immediately and earnestly, an increase of it. • And for this purpose, suffer the word of exhortation. Commune with your own heart, and insist upon a reason for your distress; saying with David, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted in me?” Maintain intercourse with the wise and experienced. Two are better than one. Jonathan went to David in the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. One Christian is frequently to another like the angel to Hagar—she was ready to die of thirst with water near her; but he opened her eyes and showed her the well. “Retire and read thy Bible, to be gay.” Peruse much the Scriptures, which are filled with words good and comfortable. Acquaint yourselves with the method of salvation—the freeness and plenitude of divine grace—the ground of our acceptance—and all the provision made, not only for our safety but consolation. Pay much attention to the ordinances of God. His ministers are helpers of your joys. He is known in his palaces for a refuge. According to your conduct here, you will be vouchers, both for the promise and the threatening; “Them that honor me, I will honor; and they that despise me shall be lightly, esteemed.” Be much in prayer. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. We read of the joy of faith. Look after more of this all-important principle. You can only be filled with all joy and peace, in believing. But believing, ye shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of lorv. - follow these admonitions; and while the joy of the Lord is your strength, you shall not want the strength of the joy. , You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. You shall go on o the ways of the Lord; and you soon shall reach his presence, where there is fulness of !'. and his right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore. Amen.
If we object to any thing in the address, it is not that it came from a character whose religion some may think too undecided; for candor should lead us to conclude that he was what he professed to be —especially at a period so awful—but that the subject of the eulogy should have been the author. “Let another praise thee, and not thy own mouth; a stranger, and not thy own lips.” The exclamation may indeed have been designed, not to glorify the man, but his religion; and to recommend from his own experience what could support and refresh, even when all other succors and comforts failed. Yet we would rather the friend or the minister had laid hold of the approaching observer, and leading
said he, taking him softly by
him into the room, had said, “Come, see how a Christian can die.” Such an office your Lecturer has to perform this morning. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”
“Fly, ye profane, or else draw near with awe.
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the righteous: for the end of that man is peace.” We premise three remarks. The First, regards the character—The perfect man. This may seem discouraging; but it really is not so. If it intended absolute purity, no creature could claim the title. “Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.” . If it intended actual exemption from all moral infirmities, none of the human race—no, not even of the sanctified part of it, could be included. “For there is not on earth a just man that liveth and sinneth not.” “In many things,” says an apostle, “we offend all.” And our Saviour teaches us to pray for daily pardon as well as for daily bread. o say that the Christain will certainly be complete hereafter, and that he is complete in Christ now, is true. But the character refers to something present and personal. Bishop Lowth, in his admirable prelections on the Hebrew poetry, remarks how commonly it abounds with parallelisms. The second member of the verse never expresses a new idea, but always repeats the sentiment contained in the first. It may enlarge or enforce or explain it; but never gives it up for another. According to this rule, the character is not only called perfect, but upright. And the latter attribute is explanatory of the former—the perfect man is the upright—one who is upright in his transactions with his own soul -upright in his dealings with his God—upright in his conduct with his fellow creatures—one “whose rejoicing is this, the testimony of his conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, he has his conver. sation in the world.” The Second, regards the subject of attention.— The end of this man. Everything pertaining to his character is deserving of notice: his birth; his relations; his conduct; his condition. But here our eyes are fixed on his death. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” The Third regards, the testimony concerning his end—it is peace. This word was not used by the Jews, as it is with us. With us it always suggests the idea of reconciliation and concord, after variance and strife; or of serenity of mind as opposed to some kind of conflict. With them the term was significant of good at large: prosperity; welfare; happiness. Thus we are commanded to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem.” Thus Joseph says God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.' Thus Artaxerxes superscribes his letter, “Peace, and at such a time.” Thus the disciples were to say as they entered, “Peace be to this house.” Thus we are to understand it, as used by Simeon when he took up the Saviour in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” “My desires and hopes are accomplished; I am now happy; satisfied with favor, and filled with the blessing of the Lord.”—And this is
the meaning in the words before us—“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright : for the end of that man is peace.” This accords with our design this morning, which is to view the Christian,
There are four things in the dying of the Christian I would call upon you to observe—Its prospect. Its Experience. Its Influence. Its Issue. I. The PRospect is Nor ALways PLEASING. II. The Actual ExPERIENCE is commonly Much in DULGred AND Disting Uished. iII. It is oftenER PECULIARLY Useful, BY Its INFLUENCE. IV. It is ALways safe AND Glorious IN THE issue. I. It is Not ALways PLEAsiNG IN its PRospect.
There are some indeed who are able to look forward to the scene, not only without reluctance and dread, but with resignation, and pleasure. They contemplate death as their deliverance; their victory; their triumph. In all their dissatisfactions and trials they seem to say, “Well; all will be soon explained, rectified, completed. When a few years are come, I shall go the way I shall not return.” Thus Dr. Gouge was accustomed to say, “I have two friends in the world: Christ and death. Christ is my first, but death is my second.” Such a Christian may be compared to a child at school. The little pupil is no enemy to his book; but he likes home; and finds his present condition not only a place of tuition, but of comparative confinement and excision. He does not run away; but while he studies, he thinks with delight of his return. He welcomes every messenger to him—but far more the messenger that comes for him. And though he may be a black servant, he says, “Well, he will take me to my father's house.”
But such cheerfulness in the prospect is not invariably nor commonly the feeling of good men. When David says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” he speaks of this anticipation, as an attainment; and intimates that the fear which he was enabled to defy, was much connected with the event itself.
Here is a difficulty—not indeed with regard to the unconverted. To them we say, death may well be the king of terrors—and it is. The dread of it prevails more deeply and generally than they are willing to acknowledge. The apprehension of it often makes them superstitious and credulous; and they find a prognostic of their fate in a dream, in the howling of a dog, the croaking of a raven, the ticking of an insect, and a thousand other absurdities. How eager are they to guard against every thing that would accelerate the fatal hour. And how sedulously they strive to keep themselves from everything that would prove a memento of it. One of the Kings of France gave orders that death should never be mentioned in his hearing. Catharine, the Empress of Russia, forbade funeral proces: sions to pass the street near her palace, and required all burials to be performed in the night. Many avoid every reference to their deceased relations and friends, as if in tenderness to their memory; while it really arises from an unwillingness to think of an event to which they are themselves equally exposed. The constant effort of multitudes is to banish the thought from their minds, or to hinder its entrance. The Apostle therefore says, that they are all their lifetime subject to bondage, through fear of death. Not always actually in it, but liable to it—as reading, or hearing; a coffin, or an opening grave; an accident, or disease; may urge the subject upon their revolting attention. And it is easy to imagine the wretchedness of such a life: for how hard must it be to keep off from their thoughts
a thing that they very much hate and dread, and which daily and hourly occurrences must often obtrude upon them... yet, as soon as the sentiment is felt, all peace and comfort vanish. —But the difficulty respects the Christian. Wh should he be afraid in the prospect 1 Is not deat conquered ? and rendered |. with regard to him ; But the serpent may hiss, when it cannot bite. The poisonous sang may be extracted before our eyes, and yet we may feel, at taking the harmless adder into our bosom. There are many Christians whose anxieties and forebodings with regard to death, are only dispelled and destroyed by the event itself. Let us look at the case; and see if we cannot remove a stumbling-block out of the way of God’s pole. There are several things to be considered. The fear of death is naturally unavoidable; and must therefore in itself be innocent. The very law of self-preservation necessarily makes every being averse to danger and injury. All the animal creatures have a dread of death. In them, this is merely an impulse, and operates without any distinct apprehension of evil; but in man, this instinctive repulsion has blended with it the result of reasoning, and of local attachment, and social love, and moral responsibility, and reflection, and forecast. Adam and Eve felt this fear in Paradise. To this principle the words were addressed, “In the lay thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” For this denunciation had been no threatening, had not death been viewed by them as the greatest evil. The a tles themselves, who had the first fruits of the Spirit, said, “In this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowe of life.” What wonder, therefore, if ordinary hristians feel the same 1 And how much is there to excite apprehension? There is the novelty of the case. For, as Joshua said to the Jews, this is a way they have not gone heretofore. Here their own experience affords them no assistance: nor can they derive advantage from the experience of others. . No one has returned to “blab the secret out,” and tell them what it is to die. Wh r, hey think of the leaving for ever of objects to which they have been long accustomed—The separation from .."; friends—The pains, the groans, the dying strife—The destruction of the body—The consigning of it to the lonely grave—The conversion of it into food for worms Their immediate access into the presence of purity and holiness—The judgment that follows after— Doubts of their acceptance with God—Uncertainties about their future state—Is there not enough here to try all their confidence and courage? There is one thing more to be taken into the account. Others not only endeavor to avoid thinking of the seriousness of the subject, but in some measure they often succeed. By infidelity, and vain reasonings, and dissipations, they may preserve a kind of composure even to the last. Yea, they may amuse themeives even in death itself, as Hume was, joking about Charon and his boat
“Whistling aloud to keep his courage up.”
Yea, they may even bring their principles over to their deinded interest. For though unbelief and diversion do not abate their danger, they affect their apprehension of it, and make them insensible. A man walking upon a precipice is not secure because he is ignorant of his situation; . '...'...". keeps him easy, and laughing, and singing, "", "o ji. Aï thus we #: told of the wicked, that
they “have no bands in their death; and their strength is firm.” But a Christian does not turn away from the subject. He must look at it. He must examine its nature, and bearings, and conseuences: and in doing this, he feels much more in the prospect than numbers of those feel, who are ruined by the reality. Be not therefore ashamed of your own feeling, ecially to your fellow Christians and to yout Do not conclude that it is an evidence against the reality or degree of your religion. Bo not imagine that it disproves, or renders suspicious our attachment to the Saviour. “Oh ! if I loved im I should long to be with him; and then I should love his appearing; and then I should be able to say, Come, }. sus, come quickly.” But you do love him; and you wish to be with him, by wishing full conformity to his image, and the constant beholding of his glory. But you dread the passage. It is thus with the absentee, when thinking of his return. His estate, and wife, and children, are in America: And his heart is there also. Yet when he looks on the vast Atlantic, he shudders and shrinks back. But he does not from hence question his love to them, or his desire to be with them. We acknowledge however that as believers you stand in a very different condition from others: and you ought to endeavor to rise above the fear of death. And there is enough, if you ever realize it, to produce in your minds a noble confidence. And it does not follow, that what you now feel, you will feel when the season of dissolution arrives.--For,
II. The DYING of THE CHRISTIAN is common I.Y Much INDULGED AND DistiNGUish ED, IN THE ACTUAL ExPERIENCE.
Thus it is said, “The righteous hath hope in his death.” The degrees of this hope vary. In some we see this hope contending with fear, and not always able to repel it. In some, it produces a serenity in which the mind is stayed upon God, yet unattended with any higher feeling and pleasure : while some possess and display the full assurance of hope; and have an entrance ministered unto them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of their Lord and Saviour, Amidst the wreck of nature, these are joyful in glory; and shout aloud upon their beds, as if they were already within the veil. Now we are not going to claim this joy-unspeakable and full of glory; or even this perfect peace; or even this supporting confidence, for all Christians in their dying moments. . And yet we mean to say, that the highest degree is attainable; and that in general, they are much more favored, as to religious consolation, in death than in life. Here we will not speak of things beyond our reach. Were we to say—that the chinks and breaks made in the falling tenement of clay, may let in more light than could enter before—that the believer's nearer approach to the world of glory, may bring him more under its influence and impressions—that when he reaches the borders of the river, between him and Immanuel's land, he may glance the hills, and hear something of the harmony, and inhale the fragrance blown across—you would say, perhaps, and say justly, all this is figure. But there is truth in the dying privilege of the Christian. And four reasons may be mentioned for his superior indulgence at that solemn hour. First, He has now more of that single and entire once on the Saviour, which is so friendly to our relief and comfort. A legal bias is natural to us;, and, during life, a degree of it prevails, of which the Christian is not himself' sufficiently aware. He is searching after something, in which, if he does not glory, he insensibly trusts; and feels
And a satisfaction is experienced, which was only hindered before by unbelief. Secondly, He is then urged to come more conclusively to a judgment concerning his state. He must, indeed, have often examined himself before; but he never felt so pressing an excitement as he now does. He can comparatively neglect it no longer. He now must know how matters stand between him and God, for they will soon be found unalterable. And is his condition was an unsound one, the exploring of it would be the way to alarm him, and not to tranquillize. But his state is good; and ignorance is the only cause of his suspicion and disquietude. Let this be removed, therefore, and let him see things as they truly are, and his trembling hope is confirmed. His fear before was needless, for the house was safe, and able to abide the storin. Put now, having heen driven to inspect the foundation, he knows its security and permanence; and can rejoice because he secs that it is sounded on a rock. - Thirdly, He then needs peculiar support and consolation; and the Lord deals with his people according to the principles of the truest friendship. He is with them most, when they most require his presence. “I will be with him in trouble.” He is always with him, for he hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” But the meaning is, that he will be with them then pre-eminently. And where is the believer, who, in passing through life, has not had more of his manifestations and influences and comforts, in his sufferings, than in any other circumstances? But what an hour is hero when he gathers up his feet into the bed, and turns his face to the wall; and Satan for the last onset comes down, having great wrath, knowing that his time is short | But the Lord he has trusted and served will draw near at his breathing, at his cry. He will whisper into his very soul, “Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” And what is the result “Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth I desire beside thee. My heart and my flesh faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Lastly, He can then safely receive those discoreries and communications which would have made undue impressions before. For every thing there is a season; and the believer must be prepared for his work, as well as his reward; and for his duty in the way. as well as for his blessedness at the end. Our present conditions and stations are appointed us by the Lord; and while we are in them, their claims must not be despised or neglected. But if we are to regard our natural connections, and our civil and se-cular concerns, and the preservation of our health and life, we must be attached to them, and feel a | degree of interest in them. Yet there are measures of knowledge and comfort, which would so power
his hope varying often with his attainments, as if fully affect us, as to draw us away from earth, and