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and the supply of the Holy Ghost by which they are sanctified; it binds us to God and each other; it is an instrument of obtaining all our mercies, and a channel for conveying to us every grace.
If such, then, be the ineffable mercy of God to the true Christian, we may observe in conclusion,
I. THAT ALL EVENTS MAY BE EXPECTED TO TURN TO THE CONDEMNATION OF THE UNGODLY. For if we are not first interested by faith in the redemption of Christ Jesus, it is impossible that the afflictions we meet with, can promote the enjoyment of final salvation. The work not being begun, it obviously cannot be carried forward. Nor indeed are unconverted persons as yet entitled to those promises by which our gracious Saviour engages to order all his providences to the eternal good of those that love him. Till a man repents and believes the Gospel, all is against him—the law of God, the holiness of God, the truth of God, the word of God, and the very creatures of God. In fact, impenitent sinners are of the works of the law, and under the curse.
The divine wrath abideth on them; God is angry with them every day. They almost invariably employ the incidents and troubles of life for their own ruin, by the corruption of their hearts and the disorder of their
passions. The afflictions which were designed by the Almighty to bring them to consideration and repentance, they abuse to their destruction. There is such a poison in sin, that it changes the nature of events, and infuses evil into every thing with which it is mingled. The blessings of Providence-health, talents, learning, beauty, riches, influence, success, authority, are all wasted and perverted.
Even the means of grace--the Sabbath, the Bible, the prayers of the Church, the preaching of the Gospel, the Sacraments, are turned to the purposes of mere for mality, or self-righteousness. This indeed must almost necessarily be the case with one whose heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; one who lives without serious prayer either for himself or others; who has never implored the aid of the Holy Spirit to sanctify and bless a single circumstance of his life; who is a captive of sin and Satan, the sport of folly and passion, the enemy of God and goodness. Every thing MUST turn to the injury of such a person. His judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and his damnation slumbereth not. The anger of God is upon
him in the city and in the field; in his basket and in his store; in the fruit of his body and the fruit of his land; the increase of his kine and the flocks of his sheep; when he cometh in and when he goeth out.
Awake then, I beseech you, my fellow-sinner, to the awful realities of your state. This, and infinitely worse than this, is your present condition. Yet there is hope; yet there is a Saviour; and, blessed be his name, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. The circumstances by which you are surrounded cannot indeed, in your present state, turn to your final salvation in the sense in which we have been considering it; but they may turn to your salvation as to the FIRST RECEPTION OF
THAT GREAT BLESSING IN THE PARDON OF YOUR
SINS AND THE CONVERSION OF YOUR HEART TO God.
If you are afflicted, let the afflictions which oppress you have this effect. Let them remind
your fearful guilt, let them determine you to seek for justification through the merits of Christ. Raise a prayer to heaven for the illumination and graces and influence of the Holy Ghost. Perbaps this is the very mòn ment for hopeful impression. Perhaps you are already beginning to reflect on the goodness of God which you have abused, and on his chastisements which you have slighted. You look
You see the world mouldering away--you feel the misery of a life of sin-you are called by some peculiar disappointment to solitude and consideration. Avail yourself tben of the opportunity. Let these events turn to your salvation. Lose not the benefits of them
by a criminal delay. Make no further excuses. Pray to God for the Spirit of Jesus Christ to aid your feeble efforts; for he will not reject your prayer, but will give you all needful
grace. Only begin; only be in earnest; only set out for heaven. God will never be wanting to you. The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst, come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.
But allow me to point out,
II. And finally, THE SECURITY AND HAPPINESS OF THE. TRUE CHRISTIAN. We have seen that the effects of all events are just what God makes them to be. It is not therefore so much to outward circumstances that I would direct your attention, as to the inward temper of your heart. By prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ you can seek the beneficial use of all occurrences. What then are your fears? What your discouragements? What your disappointments ? Let me direct you to your tender and faithful Lord. Pour all your solicitude and anguish at his feet. Repose, like the beloved disciple, on his bosom. Though you are perplexed, and harassed, and dejected, though without are fightings, and within are fears, though Satan assault you with perturbation of spirit and fierce suggestions, as with fiery and poisoned arrows, though unreasonable and wicked men prevail for a time against you, though your own schemes have all failed, and you perceive no possibility of relief, yet sink not into despair. You cannot perhaps pray as you would wish for yourself; but your family, your friends, your ministers, the whole church are interceding for you. Your Saviour is allwise and all-powerful. Your case cannot bafile his skill or fail to receive his notice. He marks all your trials, and can send you in a subsidiary strength, a large supply of his Spirit. He can make even the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of it he can restrain. All nature is under his control. The deliverances which he wrought in a miraculous manner of old, he can repeat in the ordinary and secret process of his providence. Bright days shall return. The dark night shall usher in the morn. Cast not then away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. Believe
your Redeemer's power; wait his pleasure; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Be still, and know that he is God. Imbibe the spirit of the Apostle, in the verses connected with the text. Your earnest expectation and your hope shall not be disappointed. You shall in nothing be ashamed. Be not then terrified with your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation; and that from God. Christ shall