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256 DESIGN OF OUR SAVIOUR’S COMING. righteousness is arisen with healing under his wings.” Endeavour to exercise faith upon him. Believe that in him there is plenteous redemption, and that he is now asking, “ Wilt thou be made whole ?"
Let not the nature, or the number of your transgressions keep you from him—what is he come for-but to save us from our sins ? If you do not think yourselves too good, he does not think you too bad to be saved by him. Throw yourselves at his feet, and beg him to undertake a very pressing case " Save me, and I shall be saved; heal me, and I shall be healed, for thou art my praise.”
Finally. What should be the feelings of those who are already saved by him ?—To you all this is more than speculation : it is experience. You were once in " the bondage of corruption,” but “the Son has made you free, and you are free indeed.” Not that you are freed from all service and obedience-but you now obey and serve a Master, whose “ yoke is easy, and whose burden is light.” From such an obligation you do not wish to be delivered. You can never forget what great things he has done for you. You acknowledge his goodness in saving you from indigence, from accidents, from diseases, from wicked and unreasonable men; but, above all, you bless him for “ turning you away from your iniquities.”
Thus delivered out of the hand of your enemies, see that you " serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of your life.” O feel your engagements to him. Let the impressions of gratitude become every day more powerful. And to a wondering, or a despising world, say, with the apostle, “The love of Christ
constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
THE UNION OF PRAYER AND WATCHFULNESS.
Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set
a watch against them, day and night.-Nehemiah iv. 9.
In this mode of defence, we have an example worthy of our imitation. It is equally expressive of piety, and prudence; of dependence upon God, and the use of means.
And such a union as this, is equally pleasing, and useful. It forms the man, and the Christian. It blends duty and privilege together. It keeps our devotion from growing up into rank enthusiasm: and our diligence from sinking into the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with God.
Let us not imagine, that the force of this example is inapplicable to us. What did our Saviour say to his disciples, in the Garden? Watch and PRAY, lest ye enter into temptation; the very thing here exemplified, by Nehemiah, and his brethren: “Nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them, day and night." Besides, one of the most common and striking images, by which the life of the Christian is held
forth, is that of a warfare. A warfare we find it to be," without are fightings, and within are fears.” Like this good man, we also are opposed by various classes of enemies, who labour to hinder our work, and are always endeavouring to get an advantage over us. What, then, can be more reasonable, than to betake ourselves to “prayer, and vigilance."
I. Let us 6 make our prayer to God.” On him let us place our reliance; and bring all our perplexities, afflictions, and wants ; and spread them before his throne. Nothing can be done without prayer.
Prayer is recommended by God himself:“ Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
The very exercise of prayer is useful. It calms the mind; it drives back our fears; it strengthens " the weak hands, and confirms the feeble knees."
Prayer—is forming a confederacy with God, and bringing down the Almighty to aur assistance, and
“Satan trembles when he sees,
The weakest saint upon his knees." He knows, that he cannot contend with Omnipotence; but, he will never be afraid to meet you alone, however you may be armed; he will never be afraid to engage you in the field, if he can keep you out of the closet. This, then, is our wisest course, because it is our safest-not to encounter the enemy single-handed; but, when we are in danger of any sin, feel any rising passion, or perceive any approaching temptation, to say—“O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Here is a foe, and I feel my weakness, and my ignorance
-O come to my succour; inspire me with strength; teach my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. O Lord, haste thee to help me."
For, let us remember, that everything is under his control ; and, according as we please or offend him; according as he interposes in our favour, or refuses his aid—we fail, or prosper. " Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”—
Does a nation dispense with God, and place their proud dependence on natural and acquired resources ? He can “ lead away their counsellors, spoiled, and make their judges fools." He speaks, and the tempest roars; and a navy sinks in “ the mighty waters.” He sends sickness ; a general is laid by—and his absence occasions the destruction of a whole army, and the devastation of a whole country."
Does a man in trade dispense with God, and rely upon the wisdom of his own understanding, the power of his own arm, or the claim he has on the friendship of others ?-How easily can God convince him of his dependence upon providence ! He can touch an invisible spring, and a thousand occurrences are in motion : the man wonders to find his plans crossed, his hopes disappointed. It matters not what he gets-he gets nothing: “ Ye have sown much, and bring in little : ye eat, but ye have not enough : ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink : ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Or, he may succeed; but, his prosperity will destroy him. The God he disregards stands by; and, as he drinks the poison, says, let him alone. He would be rich, without consulting God—and he is rich, and falls “ into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction, and perdition."
Surely, a Christian does not think of going on without God ? generally and habitually he does not. Without me, says the Saviour, ye can do nothing; and the believer is convinced of this—but not so much as he ought to be ; and sometimes he seems entirely to forget the conviction. Let us take an instance. When our Lord forewarned Peter of his danger, Peter deemed the premonition needless :--" Though all men should be offended be. cause of thee, yet will I never be offended : though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” And he was sincere ; but, though warm, he was not wise ; he was not aware of his own weakness: he did not consider how differently he would feel in new circumstances : he did not apprehend that a little curiosity would bring him into company, and company into danger; and, that the impertinence of a maid-servant, would induce him to “ curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man.” Had he prayed, where he presumedhad he said, “ Lord, thou knowest all things ; thou knowest my frame, and rememberest that I am dust; I bless thee for the merciful caution ; hold thou me up, and I shall be safe," he would have triumphed where he fell; and have beennot an instance of the weakness of human nature, but of the power of divine grace. Let his injury prove our security. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed, lest he fall.— Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Let us, there