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felf-abasement, he beholds them washed by the blood of the Lamb of God, who was facrificed for the tranfgreffions of the whole world. In that facrifice he has learned that he has himself an intereft: in that facrifice he finds pardon and peace. He is no longer alienated from God, at enmity with the Almighty Sovereign of earth and heaven. He contemplates his Creator with filial affection; delights in his holiness; loves his commandments. He hears as addreffed to himfelf the voice of God speaking in His revealed word: Thy fins and thine iniquities I remember no more. I will be to thee a Father; and thou shalt be to me a Son. Be thou faithful unto death; and I will give thee a crown of life (b). The burthen is removed from his foul; and he goeth on his way rejoicing. He feels fpringing up within his breaft the genuine confolations of the gofpel. He feels that the fruit of the Spirit is joy and peace. He is filled with alljoy and peace in believing (c). Every token of grateful obedience which he is enabled to render to his Redeemer, overfpreads his heart with gladnefs. Every devout afpiration which he directs to the throne of grace, diffuses holy peace over his foul. He is a fubject of the
2 Cor. vi. 18. Rev. ii. 10. Rom. xv. 13.
(b) Hebr. viii. 12. (c) Gal. v. 22.
Prince of Peace, an heir of God through Christ, reconciled unto the Father by the blood of the Son. As he advances in religion, he advances in happiness. He turns his eye backward on the days, when he was comparatively unacquainted with religion; and exclaims in the language of holy writ; I had heard of her by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye feeth her (d) Her ways are ways of pleasantnefs and all her paths are peace.
2. The religious man is delivered from immoderate fear of falling away from God under future temptations. He knows that even unto the bed of death his faith and his obedience will be exercifed by temptation. He knows his own weakness, his own corruption. He knows that, if he holds not fast that which he hath, another fhall take his crown. He knows that, if he abandons his Saviour, his name fhall be blotted out of the book of life (e). He knows, for his God hath pronounced the warning, that he is to pafs the time of his fojourning here in fear; that happy is the man that feareth always (f). He fears for himself. But his fear is not an overwhelming terror. It is a fear which excludes
(d) Job, xlii. 5.
(e) Rev. iii. 5. ¡1.
all dependence on his own ftrength. It is a fear which produces humility, caution, vigilance, meditation, and prayer. But it is not a fear which brings anguish: it is not a fear which urges to defpondence. Why? Because he looks up to Him who is mighty to fave; to Him who has promifed to save all who fly to Him for fuccour. He looks to the Lord his Sanctifier; to the covenanted affiftance of the Spirit of God, That he may obtain fupport from above; he neglects not the exertions, which the Scripture, his unerring rule, pronounces to be necessary on his part. While he prays that God would not lead him into temptation; he abstains from needlefsly plunging himself into scenes of trial. While he folicits from the bounty of God the true riches; he neglects not the talent with which he is entrufted. He is circumfpect, watchful, fober-minded. fiders his ways, that he may turn aside his foot from evil. He is zealous to employ to the uttermoft the ftrength which he has received in promoting the glory of the Giver. Hence he applies with devout confidence to Him, who has engaged to beftow His Holy Spirit on all that afk Him. He lifts up his heart to God in the infpired language of the Pfalmift: Lord! I am thy fervant : forfake
not the work of thine own hand. Leave me not, neither forfake me, O God of my falvation! Caft me not away from Thy prefence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Reflore unto me the joy of Thy falvation: and uphold me with Thy free Spirit (g). In the words of inspiráMy
tion he reads the anfwer of his God. grace is fufficient for thee. I am with thee always. I will never leave thee, nor forfake thee. Because thou feareft me, I have bearkened and beard it: and thou shalt be mine; and I will spare thee as a man fpareth his own fon that ferveth him. Thou therefore, My fon, be Strong in the grace that is in Chrift Jesus (b). 3. The religious man is delivered from corroding anxieties as to the events which may befal him during the refidue of his life. He has fet his affections on things above, not on things on the earth. His treasure is in heaven and there alfo is his heart. Having food and raiment, he is therewith content. On earth he is but a fojourner and a pilgrim: and he perceives that it needs not to be an object of serious concern whether the road along which he travels be fomewhat more or lefs fmooth, whether he meets with fomewhat more or fewer accommodations on his
li, 11, 12. cxxxviii. 8.
(g) Pfalm xxvii. 9. (b) 2 Cor. xii. 9. Matth. xxviii. zo. Mal. iii. 16, 17. 2 Tim. ii 1.
Hebr. xiii. 5. journey.
journey. He fhall foon reach the end, his everlafting home, his everlasting reft. To that home, to that reft, he steadily looks forward: and repines not at the difficulties of the way. And why should he repine? What if he be overtaken by calamity? What if he be laid on the bed of ficknefs? Cannot Omnipotence remove calamity? Cannot Omnipotence restore health? The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to fbew himself frong in behalf of them, whose heart is perfect towards Him (i). But what if his affliction be continued? Knoweth he not that all things fhall work together for good in the end to them who love God? He feels that he can humbly fay with Peter; Lord! Thou knoweft all things: Thou knowest that I love Thee. He feels that he loves God, and is comforted. But what if he fhould experience the fevereft, the leaft retrievable, of worldly deprivations; the lofs of dear and pious friends? Has God provided no balm for that wound? Cannot God provide for him other friends, who may fill in fome meafure, if not entirely, the void in his heart which death has made? And the pious friends whom he has loft, has he loft them. for ever? He has loft them but for a moment. They are but gone a little before him.
(i) 2 Chron. xvi. 9.