תמונות בעמוד

neartless, he is distressed on account of it; and begs for wisdom and strength for every day, and for all emergencies.

He refers all his concerns to God. His language is,'“ God sees what I do. Let him order all my goings." He possesses something of the nature of the sensitive plant; he shrinks from the touch of evil, as highly prejudicial to his growth. When bereaved of creature-comforts, he reposes on Christ and the promises, and feels his ability to be strengthened to bow with submission, and to say, " Thy will be done." He is mortified to the world, and to all that could retard his progress in the divine life. He rises on the wings of faith, and love, and joy, and contemplates the beauty and the glory of Christ; and is not struck with the goodly buildings of the temple: “as Christ," says Fenelon," had seen his Father's house, and therefore could not be taken with the glory of the earthly structure."

The prosperous soul looks after no great matters in this world, but to “ know Christ, and him crucified.” “He makes best way in a low gale;" a high spirit and a high sail together, are dangerous. He is satisfied with what God gives him, and seems to want nothing that he denies him. He casts all his concerns on the Lord, and lives securely on the care and wisdom of his heavenly Father, who is pleased to cause him to believe for all his mercies before he receives them. This is living by faith. Where reason has nothing to work upon, faith casts itself on the unchangeableness of God. There is nothing like leaving events to God, and calmly staying our souls upon him. When all is noise and tempest around, faith lies at anchor in the midst of the waves; and says, “Wait awhile, and the storm will be over.” 0 it is truly sweet to lie becalmed in the divine bosom! Luther used to say, in the midst of troubles, “I am not much concerned, let Christ see to it.” While we are plotting and contriving, and it may be, thinking we shall die in our nest, God disappoints us, and runs his dispensations another way. He never changes his purpose, but he often turns his hand. Let us then have less to do with self-contri- . vances, which are the effects of unbelief, and seek more communion with God; for in proportion as we enjoy his presence and his love, will our souls prosper.

But the graces of the Spirit are essential to soul prosperity. Without them there can be no true religion at all, much less can there be exalted piety. The reader's attention, therefore, is now called to the distinct consideration of them, in the following order :


Thrice happy is that man, who, in this sinful world, lives a life of faith on the Son of God! He may

dwell in an Irish cabin, or an Indian hut, but the most high God is his habitation. His daily bread 'may be coarse; but his soul prospers, he lives on the hidden manna, and is supplied with royal dainties.

Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. He was strong in the faith, and gave glory to God. This is particularly seen in

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his offering up of Isaac. How prosperous was his soul, when, with firm step, he went to the appointed mount, and there obeyed the divine mandate, severe as it might seem; and was prevented from slaying his son, only by the interposition of the Almighty himself, who said to him, " Abraham, Abraham, lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do any thing to him, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thy only son, from me." If we be, Christ's, then are we Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise; and our souls will prosper more or less, as did the soul of the holy patriarch, the father of the faithful. Do 'we then live by faith, and walk by faith, amidst the sorrows and darkness of the present world?

Faith is a noble gift of God, by which, as an instrument, we are justified; by which we embrace the gospel, and lay hold on Christ and eternal life in him. Without this faith, whatsoever we do is sinful ;

and while in a state of unbelief, it is impos sible to please God. But what an invaluable bless. ing is faith! The man in whose heart it dwells, may be said to abound in riches, and honours, and pleasures. Others may dispute about it, he rejoices in its possession, in proportion as he has evidence that it dwells in his soul. His earthly abode may be shaken by the tempest's blast, the wind of ordinary or of extraordinary trouble may not only be full in his face, but may smite the four corners of his house, and blow away his riches, bis substance, his nearest and dearest friends, into the grave: but the foundations of his faith are everlasting. Nature may be tossed into confusion, chaos may, again return, but the faith of God's elect shall never totally fail them till it ends in vision. He who is the Author of faith will also, in his own time, perfect for ever that grace in the souls of his redeemed, and keep it alive and in operation, till it bursts into and ends in eternal vision. Faith glorifies the Redeemer. HE is the great object at which she looks as the Saviour from sin, and death, and hell. Angels glorify the Creator by their perfect conformity to his divine law. But when by faith the guilty, condemned sinner, comes to Christ with the whole mass and burden of his iniquities, and trusts in his blood and righteousness for their free and everlasting forgiveness, this is glory to God indeed; for in the salvation of sinners, through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, all the divine perfections are honoured in the highest possible degree.

Faith may be weak in herself, but she is strong in the Lord. Faith can even say to mountains of sins and difficulties, “Be ye removed and be cast into the sea," and it is done. Faith" subdues kingdoms, quenches the violence of fire, stops the mouths of furious lions, and escapes the edge of the sword,” even the keen edge of the sword of divine justice.

O my soul, "if thou canst believe, all things are possible,” thou shalt prosper, and God shall be glorified. Lord, increase my faith more and more, that I may say, with bold defiance,“ | death, where is thy sting ?" Let me pass through the dashing billows, and foaming waves, of the river of death, in songs of joy and holy triumph ; while all unbelievers, like the hosts of Pharaoh, shall perish in the mighty waters.

It is often the business of faith to sit still, to wait, in order to hear what God the Lord will speak, and to see which way the index of Providence shall point. Then the humble believer follows where his Father leads the way, and has often to admire the wonders of his wisdom and grace.

This faith is holy in its tendency. It does not make void the law, for it presents the perfect righteousness of the Redeemer, which answers to every legal charge. Faith indeed sets aside the law as a covenant, but at the same time receives it as a rule of life, and it supplies the believer with the most effectual motives to holy obedience, Abraham's faith led him to obey, and so must ours.

O that my faith may be of the operation of God's Holy Spirit, and be kept in exercise while I am “a pilgrim and a stranger upon earth.” Never let me be in too much hurry. To wait, is no uncommon thing, in the affairs of this life. The husbandman sows his seed in the spring of the year, and waits for the early and the latter rain ; " for his God doth instruct him to discretion.' Merchants trust their worldly substance to the dashing waves of the sea. O then, let me venture my temporal comfort, and my eternal all, upon the faithful word of God's promise. The harvest will come, the vessel will return richly laden, at least this is often the case; and they that believe and trust in the Lord, “ shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” “ He that believeth shall not be confounded,” world without end. It is needless to add how much a lively faith tends to promote the soul's prosperity. All good men are convinced of it, and their united cry is, “ Lord increase our faith."

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