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your own need of him, and of his sufficiency to supply your wants, you put your trust in him, he will be a Saviour to you. It was never known that a returning people were destroyed. “ At what instant,”
“ I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” So it is with respect to our spiritual concerns. " At what instant," says God,“ I shall speak against any particular sinner, that the measure of his iniquities is almost full, and that I will speedily cut him down, and cast him into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; if the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and return unto me, I will have mercy upon him; yea, I will abundantly pardon.” I repeat it, therefore, and wish that you could take the comfort which this consideration af fords. If the Lord has been pleased so to open your eyes, and touch and turn your hearts, as that you perceive and feel your misery and danger; if sin, all sin, those sins which you once loved as your life, be now bitter and loathsome: if you wish to be delivered from the power and practice of them, as vehemently as from their pollution and penalty ; if you begin to perceive your need of Christ,and perpetually cry out, like persons in an agony, “Lord, help me; Lord, save me, I perish; Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy upon me:" you have unspeakable reason to be thankful. Be your distress what it will, you are prisoners of hope. Deliverance is near: Therefore,
wait on the Lord, and be of good courage, for he shall strengthen thy heart : wait, I say, on the Lord.
But I have scarcely time left for a word, or two, to those happy and highly-favoured persons who have entered this strong hold,
Be often, then, looking back to your former im prisonment. Paul did not think himself above it. “ For we ourselves also,” says he, “ were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”
- Time was," may you say, “ when I was led captive by Satan at his will: when no sooner did a temptation present itself, than I was ready to comply; when, if conscience disturbed me, I quickly lulled it asleep again, and went on as regularly in sin as before. What a sad time was that! I am ashamed to look back upon it. How many years did I live in this disgraceful and miserable condition! A rebel against God, an enemy to Christ, glorying in my shame, and hastening to destruction. When. ever I feel myself tempted to pride, it is but to look back to the rock from which I was hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which I was taken : and there is enough to humble and confound me at once."
Let me exhort you to adore the grace that provided such a strong hold, and brought you into it. He knew that you would meet with powerful enemies, and therefore he provided a mighty Redeemer. Bless him for that, and especially thank him for inclining and enabling you to take refuge in him. You know how backward you were to go to him at first. You
remember how many invitations you refused ; and how obstinately you persisted in trusting in those refuges which would certainly have proved your destruction. You recollect how, at last, free and omnipotent Grace helped you to get over every objection, and made you willing in the day of his power. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous ; and again, I say, rejoice.
Finally, beware of dishonouring this strong hold. This is done when men think it a confinement, and are uneasy under its restraints.
under its restraints. A restraint it is : and to graceless minds it would be certainly painful. But it is not, Christians, it cannot surely be, unpleasant to you. It restrains from nothing, but what is dishonourable to God, and hurtful to yourselves. It will not allow you to run with others to the same excess of riot; and will not permit you to be lovers of profit or pleasure, more than lovers of God. It will not suffer you to be conformed to the world in its sins or its vanities; and certainly you do not think this to be an abridgment of your liberty ; I am sure that you dishonour Christ, if you do. Beware, too, of giving way to unbelieving fears and anxieties. Should Satan rage, and the world frown, and look a little more fiercely than is usual; if you presently give your
for lost, and conclude that nothing, nothing can save you, you forget, and shamefully dishonour, your refuge. Instead of indulging gloomy apprehen, sions, rather say with the Psalmist, “ I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved : he
that keepeth thee will not slumber; he that keepeth Israel, will not slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in, from this time forth, even for evermore.
JOB XXIII. 10.
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath
I shall conie forth as gold. And so I doubt not but she did.* Being at a distance, we had not the pleasure of being witnesses of it ourselves. But say, ye blessed spirits, who were sent down to minister to this heir of salvation, who strengthened her in the struggles of death, and took charge of her unfettered spirit when she quitted this tenement of clay ; say, did she not come forth as gold? And when ye presented her before the throne of God, and introduced her to the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, did she not appear, and did not all heaven pronounce her to be without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing? Happy, happy saint ! thy trials are over; and thou art now in the regions of holiness, harmony, and joy.
Now let the world say what it will; and something it will say; for every one has a stone to throw at Zion's travellers as they are passing through the wilderness, or as they are going out of it. 0,” cries one, “ she was reserved and unsociable.” “ Yes," says
* This was a funeral Sermon on the death of a pious woman.