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be light" Little did this poor woman expect to meet with such a glorious change in her circumstances at the funeral of her last comfort "When the Lord turned again her captivity, she was like them that dream!" But he was pleased to bring her thus low before he helped her, to teach us never to think our ease desperate, or to suppose that his interference can come too late.

But he does not deliver me! The time and the manner of relief are his own. There are cases in which he can do us more good by the continuance than by the speedy removal of our sorrows. But of this we may be assured, that he will not suffer us to call upon him in vain.

Let us apply this to a particular case. You say—" I share in this woman's affliction, but not in her joy. My child is dead—but no Jesus says to me, Weep not" Yes, Rachel—" Thus saith the Lord; refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border." But he will not raise my child to this fond embrace? Yes—He who said to the young man, "Arise!" is " the resurrection and the life." Thy child shall rise again, and be delivered unto thee all over glorious; and no fear of separation shall damp the Joy of your re-union.

III. What Think You Op Christ! Does not his character combine every excellency and attraction? And is the relation of all this given us merely to gratify our curiosity? Are we to peruse the life of our Lord and Saviour as we would read the history of a Cyrus or Alexander? No—it is not written for our amusement but for our profit And then we peruse it properly, when we admire him— love him above all—depend wholly upon him —and feel the transforming efficacy of every view we take of his character, "changing us into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord."

Let us therefore "be followers of him as dear children." Let us cultivate benevolence, and do all the good we can, especially to the fatherless and widows. These he has peculiarly recommended to our attention, not only by his example, but by his word. "Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall wax hot and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless." We know you cannot work miracles—but you can show mercy. Go—" visit the widow in her affliction." We know you cannot raise her dead son—but you can preserve her living one. Go—and administer healing- medicines and wholesome food; go and clothe hi« naked

body, and inform his ignorant mind; go and endeavour to snatch him from ruin, and render him the staff of his poor widowed mother's age. Go—go, and enjoy all the luxury of doing good. "When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for jov."

DISCOURSE XVII.

FEARS REMOVED.

And %\fanouh said unto his -unfe. We shall surely die, because -we have seen God. But kit -wife taid unto him. If the Lord -were pleated to kill us, he would not have received a burnt. offering and a meat-offering at our haudt, neither -would he have showed ut all thete things, nor woidd as at this time have told ut such things as these.—Judges xiii. 22, 23. Samson is the last of the Israel itish Deliverers recorded in this book. He differs very much from all his predecessors; for we never find him presiding over the council, or commanding in the army; but he was a tremendous scourge to the enemies of his country in his own person.

His history is full of wonders. An angel ushers him into the world. This angel first appeared to his mother, and foretold his birth. He soon after discovered himself also to his father, in company with his mother. His father immediately provided an entertainment for him—but the angel commanded him to offer it in sacrifice to the Lord. He did so— the angel ascended in the flame, and they saw him no more. By this they knew that he was a divine messenger, and in consequence of this apprehension, "Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and meat-oflering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these."

And what does this passage teach us! I. What Peculiar Impressions Divine ManiFestations MAKE UPON THE MIND. II. The DIFFERENCE THERE IS IN THE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF THE Lord's PEOPLE. III.

The Profit That Is To Be Derived From A tfJOUS Companion. IV. How MUCH THERE Is In The Lord's Dealings With His People To Encourage Them At All Times If They IiAve Skill Engugh To Discern It.

I . See the peculiar impressions which Divine manifestations make xtpon the mind. To a certain degree these impressions are proper. Such manifestations ought to strike our minds, to humble us, to produce reverence and godly fear. If an earthly king were to call apon us, we should be filled with awe as soon as he discovered himself—how much mere should this be tbe case, when he approaches us, who is "King of kings, and Lord of forrfs." Hence Jacob exclaimed, "How dreadful is this place: this is none other bat the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!" iob said, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Isaiah also, in like manner cries out, "Wo is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." Thus awfully were these good men impressed, as soon as they apprehended the presence and glory of God.

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But impressions, good in themselves, may become excessive; and the cause producing them may be misunderstood, and even deprecated. Thus Manoah reasons: "We shall sorely die, for we have seen God!" This was t common apprehension of old, and it is easy to account for it Ever since man became a sinner, an enemy to God, every approach of the Deity has awakened in him terror and confusion. Our consciences naturally tell us that we deserve nothing but heavy tidings from the invisible world: we therefore dread every messenger thence. And even when God comes to us in mercy, the same sentiment occurs, and sometimes leads us, like Manoah, to mistake his design, and draw a fearful conclusion from it

Thus, when he comes to convince us of sin, and to humble the pride of our hearts, we imagine that we shall now die—But we are mistaken; he is only come to prepare us for the proofs of his love. He impresses us with a sense of our danger, that we may flee for refuge; with a sense of our pollution, that we may wash and be clean, in the fountain which he has provided. "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."

Thus, when he comes in providence, and destroys our schemes, and visits us with breach upon breach; here again we imagine we are going to be undone! But we shall presently see that he came as a friend, though disguised, and only used means to wean us from the world, and bring us more entirely to himself as our exceeding joy.

Let us, II. Remark the difference there is in the knowledge and experience of the Lord's people. What surprises and terrifies one, is both plain and pleasing to another. What opposite conclusions do Manoah and his wife draw from the same event! He infers wrath; she mercy. The former looks for destruction; the latter for salvation. Thus,

there are degrees In grace. There is hope, and tiiefree assurance of hope. Some have little faith; others are "strong in faith," "rich in faith." In the Church there are babes; and there are those "of full age, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to dis cern both good and evil."

And this difference is not always to be judged of by the order of nature, or externa) advantages. "There are first that shall be last, and there are last that shall be first" We find here the weaker vessel the stronger believer. Nor is this a solitary instance. They were women, yea widows, who ministered to our Lord of their substance. The three Marys approached the foot of the cross, when the disciples forsook him and fled. These also appeared first at the sepulchre. Nothing is said of the father of Timothy, but the Apostle celebrates the "unfeigned faith of his mother and his grandmother." He also speaks honourably to the Philippians of "those women that had laboured with him in the Gospel."

Neither does this difference in their attainments affect the reality of their religion, or the safety of their state. The infant is no less a child than the young man. Our Saviour does not despise "the day of 'small things." "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory."

Nevertheless, it is very desirable to be matured and established Christians—not only to be alive in religion, but lively; not only to be fruitful, but to bring forth much fruit; and to be "filled with all joy and peace in believing," that we may not only have hope, but "abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" And this is important, not only as the glory of God, and the comfort of your own minds, depend much upon it but also as it prepares for usefulness, and enables you the better to "serve your generation," and the more easily to "speak a word in season to him that is weary.

This leads us to notice, III. The profit that is to be derived from a pious companion. "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward of their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but wo to him that is alone when he falleth: for he hath not another to lift him up." Man is formed for society, and religion indulges and sanctifies the social principle. And if a man be concerned for his spiritual welfare, he will be glad to meet with those who are traveling the same road, and are partakers of the same hopes and fears: he will be thankful to have one near him who will watch over him, and admonish him; who by seasonable counsel will fix him when wavering, embolden him when timid, and comfort hun when cast down. And it is to be observed, that in spiritual distress we are often suspicious of

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be light." Little did this poor woman expect body, and inform his ignorant mind; go and to meet with such a glorious change in her endeavour to snatch him from ruin, and rencircumstances at the funeral of her last com- der him the staff of his poor widowed mother's fort. “ When the Lord turned again her age. Gogo, and enjoy all the luxury of captivity, she was like them that dream!" doing good. “When the ear heard me, then But he was pleased to bring her thus low it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it before he helped her, to teach us never to gave witness to me: because I delivered the think our case desperate, or to suppose that poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him his interference can come too late.

that had none to help him. The blessing of But he does not deliver me! The time him that was ready to perish came upon me: and the manner of relief are his own. There and I caused the widow's heart to sing for are cases in which he can do us more good by jov." the continınance than by the speedy removal of our sorrows. But of this we may be assured, that he will not suffer us to call upon

DISCOURSE XVII. him in vain. Let us apply this to a particular case.

FEARS REMOVED. You say—“ I share in this woman's affliction, but not in her joy. My child is dead-but And Manoah said unto his wife, We skall sure no Jesus says to me, Weep not.” Yes, Ra- ly die, because we have seen God. But his chel—“ Thus saith the Lord; refrain thy wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: to kill us, he would not have received a burntfor thy work shall be rewarded; and they offering and a meat-offering at our hands, shall come again from the land of the enemy.

neither would he have showed us all these And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord,

things, nor would as at this time have told us that thy children shall come again to their such things as these.-Judges xiii. 22, 23. own border.” But he will not raise my child SAMSON is the last of the Israelitish Deto this fond embrace? Yes—He who said liverers recorded in this book. He differs to the young man, “ Arise !" is “ the resur- very much from all his predecessors; for we rection and the life.” Thy child shall rise never find him presiding over the council, or again, and be delivered unto thee all over commanding in the army; but he was a treglorious; and no fear of separation shall damp mendous scourge to the enemies of his counthe joy of your re-union.

try in his own person. III.' WHAT THINK YOU OF CHRIST? Does His history is full of wonders. An angel not his character combine every excellency ushers him into the world. This angel first and attraction ? And is the relation of all this appeared to his mother, and foretold his birth. given us merely to gratify our curiosity ? Are He soon after discovered himself also to his we to peruse the life of our Lord and Saviour father, in company with his mother. His as we would read the history of a Cyrus or father immediately provided an entertainment Alexander ? No-it is not written for our for him-but the angel commanded him to amusement, but for our profit. And then we offer it in sacrifice to the Lord. He did so peruse it properly, when we admire him | the angel ascended in the flame, and they love him above all-depend wholly upon him saw him po more. By this they knew that -and feel the transforming efficacy of every he was a divine messenger, and in conseview we take of his character, “changing us quence of this apprehension, “Manoah said into the same image, from glory to glory, as unto his wife, We shall surely die, because by the Spirit of the Lord."

we have seen God. But his wife said unto Let us therefore “be followers of him as him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he dear children." Let us cultivate benevolence, would not have received a burnt-offering and and do all the good we can, especially to the meat-offering at our hands, neither would he fatherless and widows. These he has peca have showed us all these things, nor would liarly recommended to our attention, not only as at this time have told us such things as by his example, but by his word. “Ye shall these." not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If And what does this passage teach us? I. thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at WHAT PECULIAR IMPRESSIONS DIVINE MANIall unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and FESTATIONS MAKE UPON THE MIND. II. THE my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you DIFFERENCE THERE IS IN THE KNOWLEDGE with the sword; and your wives shall be AND EXPERIENCE OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE. III. widows, and your children fatherless." We THE PROFIT THAT IS TO BE DERIVED FROM know you cannot work miracles—but you can A PJOUS COMPANION. IV. How MUCH THERE show mercy. Go— visit the widow in her IS IN THE LORD'S DEALINGS WITH HIS PEOPLE affliction.” We know you cannot raise her TO ENCOURAGE THEM AT ALL TIMES IF THEY dead son-but you can preserve her living HĄVE SKILL ENOUGH TO DISCERN IT. one. Go-and administer healing medicines I. See the peculiar impressions which Die and wholesome food; go and clothe his naked / vine manifestations make upon the mind.

To a certain degree these impressions are there are degrees in grace. There is hope, proper. Such manifestations ought to strike and the free assurance of hope. Some have our minds, to humble us, to produce reverence little faith; others are “strong in faith," "rich and godly fear. If an earthly king were to in faith.” In the Church there are babes ; call upon us, we should be filled with awe as and there are those " of full age, who by reasoon as he discovered himself-how much son of use have their senses exercised to dis mere should this be the case, when he ap. cern both good and evil." proaches us, who is “ King of kings, and And this difference is not always to be Lord of lords." Hence Jacob exclaimed, judged of by the order of nature, or external « How dreadful is this place: this is none advantages. “There are first that shall be other bat the house of God, and this is the last, and there are last that shall be first." gate of heaven!” Job said, “I have heard We find here the weaker vessel the stronger of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now believer. Nor is this a solitary instance. mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor my- They were women, yea widows, who minisself, and repent in dust and ashes." Isaiah tered to our Lord of their substance. The also, in like manner cries out, “ Wo is me! three Marys approached the foot of the cross, for I am undone: because I am a man of un- when the disciples forsnok him and fled. clean lips, and I dwell among a people of un- These also appeared first at the sepulchre. clean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Nothing is said of the father of Timothy, the Lord of Hosts." Thus' awfully were but the Apostle celebrates the “unfeigned these good men impressed, as soon as they faith of his mother and his grandmother." He apprehended the presence and glory of God.' also speaks honourably to the Philippians of

But impressions, good in themselves, may “those women that had laboured with him in become excessive; and the cause producing the Gospel.” them may be misunderstood, and even depre- Neither does this difference in their attaincated. Thus Manoah reasons: “We shall ments affeet the reality of their religion, or surely die, for we have seen God!” This was the safety of their state. The infant is no a common apprehension of old, and it is easy less a ehild than the young man. Our Sato account for it. Ever since man became a viour does not despise “the day of small sinner, an enemy to God, every approach of things.” “A bruised reed shall he not break, the Deity has awakened in him terror and and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he confusion. Our conseiences naturally tell us send forth judgment unto victory." . that we deserve nothing but heavy tidings Nevertheless, it is very desirable to be mafrom the invisible world: we therefore dread tured and established Christians--not only to every messenger thence. And even when be alive in religion, but lively; not only to be God comes to us in mercy, the same sentiment fruitful, but to bring forth much fruit; and occurs, and sometimes leads us, like Manoah, to be "filled with all joy and peace in beto mistake his design, and draw a fearful con- lieving,” that we may not only have hope, clusion from it.

but “abound in hope, through the power of Thus, when he comes to convince us of the Holy Ghost." And this is important, not sin, and to humble the pride of our hearts, only as the glory of God, and the comfort of we imagine that we shall now die-But we your own minds, depend much upon it, but are mistaken; he is only come to prepare us also as it prepares for usefulness, and enables for the proofs of his love. He impresses us you the better to “serve your generation," with a sense of our danger, that we may flee and the more easily to “speak a word in seafor refuge; with a sense of our pollution, that son to him that is weary." we may wash and be clean, in the fountain. This leads us to notice, III. The profit which he has provided. “They that be whole that is to be derived from a pious companeed not a physician, but they that are sick.” nion. "Two are better than one; because

Thus, when he comes in providence, and they have a good reward of their labour. For destroys our schemes, and visits us with if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow : breach upon breach; here again we imagine but wo to him that is alone when he falleth: we are going to be undone! But we shall for he hath not another to lift him up." Man presently see that he came as a friend, though is formed for society, and religion indulges disguised, and only used means to wean us and sanctifies the social principle. And if a from the world, and bring us more entirely to man be concerned for his spiritual welfare, himself as our exceeding joy.

he will be glad to meet with those who are Let us, II. Remark the difference there is traveling the same road, and are partakers in the knowledge and experience of the of the same hopes and fears: he will be thank Lord's people. What surprises and terrifies ful to have one near him who will watch over one, is both plain and pleasing to another. him, and admonish him; who by seasonable What opposite conclusions do Manoah and counsel will fix him when wavering, embolhis wife draw from the same event! He in- den him when timid, and comfort him when fers wrath; she mercy. The former looks for cast down. And it is to be observed, that in destruction; the latter for salvation. Thus, spiritual distress we are often suspicious of

our own reasonings and conclusions: we know the deceitfulness of our own hearts, and are afraid lest while they encourage they should ensnare. We can depend with more confidence upon the declarations of our fellow-Christians. Only let them relate their own experience, recall to our minds some forgotten truth, apply some promise, or give a new turn to a particular circumstance—and we are relieved and delivered.

And happy is the man who has such a friend and helper in" the desire of hit eyes." In various instances, the importance of the female character to the welfare of man appears. She will aid Manoah in bringing up their children: and the earlier parts of education devolve almost exclusively upon her. She will assist him in the management of his estate: "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of his life. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleneas." "No man ever prospered in the world without the consent and cooperation of his wife." She will also help hun in the preservation of his character, of his health, of his peace of mind. Her soothing voice can charm away "the evil spirit;" her soft hand can smooth the wrinkles of an anxious brow, and wipe off the mildew of an unwholesome evening. But she is found, in the noblest sense, "a help-meet for him," in aiding his piety; in adding flame to his devotion; in furnishing motive to his zeal, By prayer, by example, by conversation, she can encourage his resolutions, disperse his doubts, and " help his unbelief." Such was the happiness of Manoah: he had one who was an "heir with him of the grace of life." "But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and a meat-offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us sucli things as these."

Whence, IV. We tike occasion to observe, that there is always enough in the f/jrd's dealings with his people to encourage lhem, if they have wisdom enough to discern it How well did this woman reason! How naturally, yet how forcibly! "Nay—let us not turn that against us, which is really for us. We shall not die, unless God be pleased to kill us; and surely the tokens of his favour are not the pledges of his wrath."

Her conclusion is drawn from two things. First, the acceptance of their sacrifice: "If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-oflering and a meatroffering at our hands." It is not his manner to accept the offering, and reject the person: "And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering; but unto Cain and his I

oflering he had not respect" Secondly, the secrets with which he had favoured them— "Neither would he have shown us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these." This regards the birth of their son, his education, his deliverance of their country—If the accomplishment of tllis be certain, our destruction is impossible.

Let us leave Manoah and his wife, and think of ourselves. It is a dreadful thing for God to kill us. What is the loss of property, of health, or even of life, to the loss of the soul! Men can "kill the body," but there "is no more that they can do; but God is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.TM "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Hence it becomes unspeakably important to know how he means to deal with us. And, blessed be his name, there are satisfactory evidences that he is not our enemy, but our friend, and concerned for our welfare. Some of these are more general; others are more peculiar.

He has not left himself without witness "in that he has done us good, and given us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, tillingour hearts with food and gladness."

He has borne with our provocations; and though he could easily and righteously have destroyed us, we are still in the land of the living, and we ought to "account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. The goodness of God leadeth to repentance"

Had he desired the death of the sinner, would he have provided and accepted the grand sacrifice which Jesus made upon the cross for us!—But we know he provided it; we know he accepted it; we know that it was an "offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."

If he were pleased to kill us, would he have given us such exceeding great and precious promises—promises so rich, so general, so free? Would he have said, " Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out"

Resolved on your destruction, would he have favoured you with such affecting discoveries! Like the man in the Gospel, though unable to tell every circumstance attending the operation, cannot you say, " One thing 1 know, that whereas I was blind, now I see?" Has he not "called you out of darkness into his marvellous light?" Are you not filled with wonder—does not every thing appear new? Have you not seen an evd in sin which has rendered it odious and burdensome

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