Page images

truth upon his own mind. He finds that the sacred oracles are not to be received into the memory merely, but treasured up in the heart, as matter for meditation, preventions from danger, directions in difficulty, and motives to obedience. With the sacred writers he can say, “ I have es. teemed the words of his inouth more than my necessary food. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. O how I love thy law! I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” Job, xxiii. 12. Ps. cxix. 11. Jer. xv. 16. Thus the holy scriptures are made pleasant and profitable to the true christian. They purify his mind; refine his taste, warm his heart, curb his passions, exalt his affections, and direct his steps. It is no wonder, there. fore, that the bible is his companion : he cannot live without it. It is the extensive field in which he roams; where grow the fragrant flowers, where flow, the refreshing streams, where he breathes celestial air, and where the most enlarged prospects animate and delight his soul. Here, after the toils and labours of the day, he repairs, and recruits his strength. Here he forgets the world, enters into the solemn thought of his immortality, and as. pires after that bliss which his God and Saviour hath promised to bestow.

But he is not insensible to the favours of a benign Providence. Though a traveller to a better country, he knows how to value the blessings of this. Indeed, he is the only character who uses them as they ought to be used : while he relishes

Codyorld as While bite he is

the comforts of life, he is led to enjoy God in them. “ While bad men snatch the pleasures of the world as by stealth, without countenance from God, the proprietor of the world, he sits down open· ly to the feast' of life under the smile of approving heaven.” Far from wearing the countenance of an ascetic, or influenced by the principles of a misanthropist, he considers himself placed as in a delightful temple, where all the beauties of nature, and the bounties of providence, all tend to reflect the glory of his Sovereign Lord. Here, while he muses, his mind brightens, his heart expands, his soul burns with celestial ardour, while he exclaims, “O! how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! Bless the Lord, O my soul, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; bless the Lord, O niy soul.” Ps. xxxi. 19. ciii. 1, 2. .

While the mind is thus employed, it would be unnecessary to attempt to prove its happiness. It is impossible it should be otherwise ; but it may be necessary to remark, that what we have already observed are not the only sources of its felicity. The mind has access to the Supreme Being through his works and word; but it does not consist in a cold contemplation of his existence, a mere belief of the grandeur of his nature and perfections. Believers are said to be partakers of the divine nature : they bear the divine image ; brought to love what God loves; to avoid what he has prohibited, and to acquiesce with his sove. reign will. What, then, is the consequence of this union? The scripture shall speak for us:

mind bacorks and plation

66 Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. · God is faithful, who has called us to the fellowship of his Son." “ He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him; and we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." 1 John i. 3. 1 Cor. i. 9. 1 John iii. 24. To those who never had the divine glory in view, who never saw the beauty of holiness, and who never enjoy. ed the divine presence, this may appear as unintelligible mysticism ; but it really makes a part of the christian's experience. Communion with God, in which the soul is lifted above the world, filled with sublime joys, and fired with the prospect of the everlasting enjoyment of his favour in a future world, surely cannot be unworthy of the pursuit of a rational creature. If the Divine Be. ing is to be our portion and our happiness hereafter, nothing can be more reasonable than a desire to enjoy something of this divine pleasure while by the way. But we will not now stay to oppose the arguments of the unbeliever, or attempt to make that clear to others, which only experience can explain. Let me turn to you, O believer, and ask, Is not fellowship with God a reality ? Have you not found some of your happiest moments when your mind has been led out to God? And though uninterrupted communion has not been your lot, nor will be the lot of any while here below, yet have you not rejoiced with a joy unspeakable and full of glory? How light, then, has been the burden, which before you thought you could not sustain! how insignificant has the world appeared in your view! How have his smiles alleviated your pain, borne you up un

[ocr errors]

der accumulated difficulties, and sweetened all the crosses and troubles of life! Ah! how have you then welcomed all the oppositions of your enemies, forgotten the discouragements of the way, and pressed with redoubled ardour towards that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God!

But it is not to be supposed that all these feelings are possessed and this happiness enjoyed in a state of inactivity and unconcern. We know that the Almighty can impress the minds of his creatures at any time, without the use of means; but we know also that he does not in general do so: for as, in the natural world, he hath ordained the sun by which we are warmed, created air by which we breathe, and provides food by which we are supported; so, in the moral and spiritual world, he hath appointed means through which he communicates blessings of a spiritual nature to his people. The utility of these means the christian finds by his own experience. The throne of grace he knows to be an important and suitable institution. Here he comes with all his wants, trials, and exercises of mind. He opens his heart, and makes known his requests to his heavenly Father. He implores the Holy Spirit to remove his ignorance, console his mind, and instruct him in divine things. He finds it good to draw near to God. His mind is often relieved, his faith increased, and his soul rendered alive to its immortal interests. Whatever others do, he finds he cannot live with any degree of pleasure without giving himself up to God perpetually ; and though the frame of his mind varies, yet both duty and interest prompt him to engage in this delightful

exercise. This spirit of prayer we find characterising all the saints of God. “I will not let thee go,” said Jacob, “ unless thou bless me.” O that thou wouldst bless me, indeed, prays Jabez. I will order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments, cries Job. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, says David. Gen. xxxii. 26. i Chron. iv. 10. Job xxiii. 3. Ps. Ixi. 3. But it would be superfluous to multiply instances. The throne is erected, the Saviour waits to hear, the christian sees his privi. lege, and, leaving the world and its care, he retires: he pleads, he praises, he consecrates him. self to the Lord ; and thus his spiritual strength is renewed, and his soul comforted by the way.

How pleasant is the sabbath also to the true christian ! He finds it to be the day of rest, of joy, of instruction, and of praise. While others profane it by idleness and dissipation, business and pleasure, luxury and wantonness, he desires to spend it in the service of his Lord and Master. After the cares of the week, and the toils of bu. siness, with what happy sensations does he hail its return! How glad is he, when, after the slum. bers of the night, he opens his eyes, and recol. lects it is the day which the Lord hath made ! With what pleasure can he sing,

Welcome, sweet day of rest,

That saw the Lord-arise ;
Welcome to this reviving breast,

And these rejoicing eyes !

With the return of this day, a thousand pleasing reflections occur to his mind. It calls to his recollection the final completion of the works of

« EelmineJätka »