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sanctification also, that he has to bear testimony of before others. He remembers the time when sin was the object of his delight; when he pursued the pleasures of the world with avidity ; when the religion of Jesus and the gospel of his salvation were ridiculed as a fable. But now he finds himself a new creature: old things are passed away, and all things are become new. He has new perceptions, new affections, new consolations, new expectations, and new companions. But to what does he attribute the happy change ? To the force of education, the power of argument, the resolution of self, the exertions of his own mind? No; but to the agency of that Divine Being, whose prerogative it is to illuminate the mind, and sanctify the heart. “ Ye are washed,” says the apostle,
ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. vi. 11. To this he can subscribe, as being the sentiment of his own mind. “ It is the Holy Spirit,” says he, “ that wrought in me a hatred to sin and a regard to holiness. He took of the things of the Saviour, and discovered them unto my soul. I was ignorant, proud, insensible, and careless like others; but now I can testify of that powerful grace, that has, in a measure, subdued the impetuous passions of my corrupt nature. Now I love that which once I abhorred, and hate that which once I loved. Sin appears exceeding sinful. I can no longer indulge it as I once did; no longer look upon it with delight, no longer countenance it in others. But it is to thee, O blessed Spirit, that I am indebted for these vier's, these feelings; and it is by thy influence alone that I have been enabled to renounce the
world, and to persevere in the good old way. Not unto me, not unto me, but unto thy name, be all the glory and all the praise. Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will sing of thy power, I will proclaim thy goodness. Thou hast done great things for me, whereof I am glad. Rejoice with me, ye righteous, and give thanks. Let us praise his name together, and talk of his marvellous grace, that has brought my soul into the path that leads to everlasting life and glory.”
The goodness of God in supplying both his temporal and spiritual wants, forms a pleasing subject of relation. Thus the psalmist could say, “ I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. My inouth shall shew forth his righteousness and his salvation all the day, for I know not the numbers thereof. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he lead. eth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Ps. xxxiv. 4. Ps. lxxi. Ps. xxiii. Thus the apostle Paul could say, “I have all, and abound. I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Phil. iv. 11. Eph. i. 3. Nothing is more pleasant to the christian than to testify of the divine care which has always been manifested towards him. How often have his necessities been supplied ! and perhaps, in the sea. sons of extremity, Providence has interposed on his behalf.“ Various,” says the christian,“ have been the scenes through which I have passed, ma
ny dark nights, and dreadful storms; but my God hath supported me in the midst of all. Una der the shadow of his wings have I been kept. With what care has he watched over me, with what tenderness beheld me, with what wisdom guided me! How oft, when I have been scheming for myself, and laying out my plans, has he frustrated all, profitably disappointed me, and saved me from unknown trouble and sorrow! At other times, when I have sat pensive, wondering how I should obtain the blessings I desired, and almost ready to despair of possessing them, how has the Lord appeared! He has caused his goodness to pass before me. Friends have been raised up where I expected nothing but enemies, comforts have been sent in the place of crosses ; circumstances which in themselves have appeared unpleasant, have been so overruled by the wise hand of Providence, as to become the means of my support; and that which I dreaded as a trial, has actually become a source of peace and joy. O how great is his goodness to the children of men! Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
But the christian has not been without his troubles. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; and he has found it true, that man is born to trouble as the sparks Ay upward. But here he hath a pleasing testimony to bear to the kindness of his heavenly Father. He has been supported in the hour of distress, and the house of mourning has been to him the house of prayer and the place of joy. “ Never,” says he, "could I have thought I should have been enabled to bear what I have borne. Could I have foreseen all, how should I have trembled! But where now is the mountain? Is it not a plain? Where now are the deep waters? Are they not all dried up? How has afiliction been sanctified! What a blessing has the cross been to my soul! How true is his word ! When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Is. xliii. 2.
Most christians have something to say of God's presence afforded them in the trying moment. Could prison walls speak; could the solitary chambers of sickness; could places of exile, and the habitations of woe, where christians have been sometimes confined, bear witness, what pleasing and interesting scenes would they unfold! While their enemies have thought them suffering, they have been rejoicing; and though not indeed without feeling the cross, yet how light has it been rendered to them by the smiles of their God! How many have had reason to be thankful for their afflictions ! " Glory be to God !” said one, “ I never was in such trouble before ; and never was I so supported and comforted.” Thus also many can say. In the dark and gloomy valley light hath appeared ; flowers have sprung up in the wilderness; and the spot that looked so barren has become verdant and fruitful. “Thou, O Lord,"> can ,e christian say, “ hast heard me in the day, of my calamity : I have heard thy voice, I have enjoyed thy presence. In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. Thou hast made the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits to.
wards me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” Ps. cxvi. 12, 13.
The power of God in conquering his enemies, and delivering him out of his difficulties, forms also another part of his relation. There are few christians but what can remember a variety of signal deliverances from trouble. These the christian attributes not to second causes, not to human means, but to the interposition of a supe
One can say, “I was surrounded with danger, and saw no possible way for
escape : the scene grew darker every hour, and I was almost ready to exclaim, “ The mercy of the Lord is clean gone for ever,” when suddenly help was afforded me, a refuge was discovered, and the means of safety were unexpectedly given.” Ano
“ I was fast bound by the cords of affliction; I struggled to get free, but all in vain : my heart was ready to faint within me; troubles. accumulated, the prospect of deliverance every day shortening; when behold the hand of Provi. dence appeared in setting me at liberty, and that in such a way as I never thought of!" A third
“I was ready to sink under the pungent conviction of my own depravity. I was fearful of falling a victim to the wrath of an offended God. I saw no evidence to conclude that I was among the number of the righteous. Miser.ble, sinful wretch !' said I will not God be glorified in thy destruction ? For how can one so sinful and unworthy ever inherit the kingdom of heaven ! But how distinguishing the goodness of God! He appeared for my relief. He dissipated the cloud; I was enabled to look up; I saw on
ther can say,