תמונות בעמוד

mised pardon for our offences and short comings, and new grace to help us in every time of need.

3. Observe, this change of our way includes a change of our destination. Our road is now upward, not downward. It is against sinful nature, and not with it. It is therefore difficult, and we must stand prepared for obstructions and 'opposers. but it leads to God, and ends in his glory. Those who go in dangerous or difficult paths seek for sure guides, and arm themselves suitably for their journey. We must cast off every encumbrance; lay aside every weight: reject superfluous garments and useless burdens, which take away both ease and speed. Our way to heaven is dangerous, for there are many that lie in ambush to destroy or divert. All temptations are as thieves and murderers, that plot against the traveller. Satan is the grand destroyer, and wicked companions are his agents. We must bear in mind the end of our race when we meet with obstacles and opposition. We have need of all the panoply which our gracious leader has provided. We go to a certain object and definite end. Our heavenly course implies a perpetual progression, not in a circle like a horse in a mill, but like a traveller to his destination, or a ship to its harbour. Our mind must over-step our feet-and go to heaven first-th way will assuredly be bent thither. We must not be besotted, as some, to expect carnal joys by the way-for Canaan is not to be enjoyed in the wilderness. It lies on the other side of Jordan. They that journey towards the promised land must be like hasty travellers who have no time to lose, and but just enough for the performance of their journey. Such stop not to pick every flower, nor contemplate every landscape. Nor will they tarry longer at the inn than is necessary for refreshment. The morning sees them afresh on their way. We must not settle in the land we are only passing through. Here we have no continuing city, but we look for one to come. Haste then to turn your feet to

way of God's testimonies. Be sober, and hope to the end, for there awaits you a crown of righteousness, an inheritance incorruptible, which our glorious leader and 'guide says he will give to all that follow him. Encourage your heart to perse



verance by considering how short is the period of your labour. “ Be thou faithful unto death—no longer period is required. Here is the limit of your journey—the extent of your

toil. Hold out to that day, and then you are safe for ever, of your crown. Then


will come to Christ-to heaven-to immortality, and to perfection, all at once-and all for ever.

and sure

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It is the grand distinction of the Christian that his great interests, for two worlds, are all secure. Our religion enables us to anticipate the worst, without dismay. Take from the rich man his wealth—from the proud man his honours—and from the prosperous man, his prosperity, and you take from him his all, and he exclaims like Micah when he had lost his Idols, Ye have taken away my gods, and what have I more? But you can never rob the Christian of his highest treasure, his best distinction. He can place his foot on storms, and raise his head in sunbeams : nay, he can stand at last on the wreck and ruins of the universe, and say, I have lost nothing.

David anticipates the worst, and says, Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me. Yea, though I walk through the valley and shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

I. The Christian's coursehe walks in the midst of trouble. II. The Christian's comforterthou wilt revive me.

III. The grounds of the Christian's confidence- divine engagements.

THE CHRISTIAN'S COURSE—he walks in the midst of trouble.

When the furnace was heated, the three children were in the midst of it. Israel went through the midst of the Red Sea: through the midst of Jordan. David, though a King, talks of walking in the midst of trouble. He could not choose his path, it


but must take the thickest of the fight. Not on the edge and border of it—but in the midst of it. He is not to walk ancle-deep on the margin of a sea of storms, but to walk through the midst of it. Is it asked, whence do his troubles arise ? I answer,

1. From the world within.-He is only in part sanctified. He has therefore a constant warfare to maintain with his own corrupt nature. Paul had not only to complain of fightings without, but of fears within. The Christian has to complain not only of a tempting devil, but of an evil heart of unbelief; prone to distrust God-prone to dishonour God-prone to wander from God.

“ Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love." In consequence of all this, he is often distressed in mind. He walks in trouble-yet he does walk. He does not stand still—he does not go back-he does not renounce his profession, nor abandon his religion-but advances on the whole, and advances in the way to heaven. Progression is the law of the mind. Progression is the law of the Christian life. The advance is hardly discernible to his own eye; but is often more evident to others than to himself.

2. From the world without.—Sometimes bodily affliction, wearisome days and nights are appointed. Sometimes worldly trials, pecuniary embarrassments-losses in business-actual privation and poverty. This is a bitter cup, and nature sighs as she drinks of it. To-day, Job is the richest man in the East; to-morrow, he is stripped of all. Naomi says, I went out full, and returned empty. The best Sunday dinner the disciples had, was a few ears of corn gathered as they passed along and their Master had no better fare. “Foxes have holes," &c.

Sometimes from the opposition of the world. There is a Shime to curse—an Ahitophel to plot—an Absalom to rebel-a Saul to persecute and a man's enemies are those of his own

house. A man's friends are sometimes broken reeds. My friends have dealt deceitfully as a brook, says Job. It was not an enemy that reproached me, says David—and David's Lord exclaimed, Friend, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Sometimes from bereaving providences. Me have ye bereared of my children.

Rachel weeps for her children. Ezekiel mourns the taking away the desire of his eyes. Ruth, Orphah, and Naomi, bewail the loss of their husbands.

3. From the world beneath.-We wrestle with principalities, poners, and spiritual wickednesses. David complains of the wrath of his enemies—not of those whom his EYE can see, and whom his sword can REACH. He did not complain of Goliah, or of the Philistines, or of the Moabites, or of the children of Ammon: these he could encounter in open day, and meet them foot to foot, and hand to hand. But bis worst enemies were invisible. Their name is Legion. Satan is a roaring lion; but though his voice is heard, he is never seenan old serpent, but he distils his venom in secret. He is like the tribe of Dan, of whom it was predicted, Dan shall be a serpent by the wayan adder in the path, that biteth the horse-heels, so that the rider falleth backward. Peter had no sort of conception what mischief Satan intended him, so silent was the plot, so secretly were the snares spread. Simon, Satan hath desired to have thee.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S COMFORTER.—“Thou wilt revive me.”

Though he walks in trouble, he does not walk alone. Though persecuted, he is not forsaken; though cast down, not destroyed.

1. God can enter the inner world,-and bring comfort there, and spread a banquet within--and open a little paradise. In the midst of the sorrows I have in my heart, thy comforts delight my soul. God our Maker gives songs in the night. God can give us to enter the secret of his pavilion.

2. God can enable us to meet the world without.-So he enabled Jacob to meet Esau; and Elijah, Baal's priests; and David, Goliah. He can turn the counsel of Ahitophel to foolishness; make Saul confess the innocence of David-raise up friends in unexpected quarters-cause the cruise of oil not to fail, and the barrel of meal not to waste. Not he may revive,but he will. The declaration is absolute, and this often gives peculiar consolation in times of trouble.

3. God can effectually subdue the world beneath.-"Bruise Satan under your feet.”

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S CONFIDENCE. This is grounded on, 1. What he is a God of mercy. 2. What he has done. 3. What he has promised to do.

Ungodly man—what have you to say to all this? We mourn over your destitution of the highest good. You walk in the midst of trouble, but have none to revive you—to succour you -to comfort you. You know the worth of religion, by the calamities that mark its absence; and, unhappily, you have not come to the worst yet—and will never come to the end of your calamities—but hasten to a world where the worm shall not die. How gladly would we point you to Him who is the sinner's friend. Look to the sufficiency of Christ. He sees your destitution, and is willing to relieve it. His language is, “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” “ Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ?” “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts."






The largeness and extent of Christian privileges derived to us from a spiritual relationship to Christ, are by no means adequately dwelt upon by good men. We are satisfied with the twilight NO. X.



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