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ted; if lust, or covetousness, or pride, or pleasure, or wrath, or intemperance, or selfishness, have gradually got possession of our hearts, the advice to be given is obvious. We must renounce our sins, or our religion. Any one habitual transgression wilfully committed must exclude us from the kingdom of heaven. Let no man deceive you with vain words, for because of such things the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness? True, the passion or the practice which you-indulge may be dear to you as a right hand or a right eye-but dear as it is, you must renounce it, or perish. To persist in it, to excuse it, to hide it, will only aggravate your transgression, Your depression will increase, and so it ought. Your very conversion to God must become a question, and perhaps is even now questionable ; and it certainly can only be resolved by your humbly returning to a holy, consistent, watchful, circumspect obedience. Beg of God then to give you his Holy Spirit; and begin at once this necessary duty. Be seriously attentive to all the means of grace. Set apart a portion of time, if possible, for fasting and prayer. It is one degree of effort which will preserve a man from falling into a pit; but an effort much more powerful is necessary to raise him out of a pit when he is once fallen. Extraordinary care, and study, and diligence are needful for you. But if you employ them in humility and faith, with penitence and prayer, you need not despair. God will help you. Though you have so far departed from him, yet return now unto him, and he will heal your backslidings. Repent and do your first works. Thus will the privileges and mercies of the Gospel be once more yours, and God will restore to you the joys of his salvation. : Should, however, long-continued afflictions bė the principal cause of depression of mind, the Christian minister will, with the Psalmist, endeavour to take off the sufferer's 'view from his own particular calamities, and direct it to God's GENERAL DEALINGS WITH HIS SERVANTS. In the text, thé inspired writer: resolves to remember the years of the right hand of the Most High, apparently as the best method of healing the distemper of his mind. He accordingly first recounts God's ancient dealings with his church. He then breaks · out into a celebration of his holiness and glory-Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a'God as our God? He next commemorates the works of God in the deliverance of his people from Egypt, when he redeemed them by his own arm, when the waters
saw him and they were afraid, the depths also were troubled: when the descending storm with the fearful lightnings and earthquakes joined in discomfiting the enemy--The clouds poured out water, the skies sent out a sound; thine arrows went abroad ; the voice of thy thunder. was in the heavens, the lightnings lightened the world, the earth trembled and shook. He thence concludes that God's ways are unsearchable, and that he has purposes of mercy in view, even in the most trying and apparently discouraging dispensations with which his servants are visited --Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known; and yet thou leddest thy people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Follow then, distressed sufferer, the Psalmist's example. The same afflictions are accomplished in thy brethren which are in the world. The redemption by the Red Sea, and the greater redemption of the mount of Calvary, of which it was a figure, encourage thy hopes. The storm may rage; but the Saviour is in the vessel. God's footsteps may not be known, but we know his proinise and his love, his faithfulness and his power. Then why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for thou shalt yet praise him.
Lastly, in the case of desertion, and indeed , in all the preceding cases, the important sug
gestion is to be made, that RESIGNATION TO God's HOLY WILL must be added to the humble use of all the means of grace. For, wherefore should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? God's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts. To reach heaven at last, though under whatever dejection, is infinitely better than a soothing and easy path to hell. Salvation is a blessing inestimably precious. The sorrows of the way to glory, if you be duly exercised by them, and patience has in you its perfect work, will heighten the joy of that ineffable happiness. You are thus preparing for the inheritance of the saints in light. God, by his inflictions, may perhaps be hum. bling you and fitting you for more important services on earth. Only raise your heart to God, and fix your love and humble trust on your Saviour. All things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose. It was the lot even of the Apostles of our Lord, through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore hold up the hands that hang down and confirm the feeble knees. For what saith Jehovah to his people? Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
In conclusion, allow me to observe to IRRELIGIOUS PERSONS,
That, though they may amuse themselves and others with the dejection which sincere Christians may endure, yet they have little reason to boast. They are free from religious fears, because they are without religion. The fears of a pious man are frequently ungrounded; but those of an ungodly one, though now they may be repressed, will overtake him at the last with tenfold force. A careless life must lead to a wretched death. To be without the occasional depression to which the true Christian is often liable, might be well. But to be without his repentance, his faith, his love, his hope of heaven, his union with God, indicates a state of extreme and urgent peril., If there is a reasonable fear in the world, the unconverted man has cause to indulge it. His day of punishment is fast approaching ; his impenitence and unbelief must be infinitely more displeasing to God than the infirmities and excessive apprehensions of his true servants. Let then the thoughtless person be awakened from his stupidity and seek after God. Let him fly for mercy to a Saviour. Then, and then only, will he be able to judge aright of the religious dejection of those, whom he now perhaps despises and contemns,