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with him, which, for the time, is paramount to all the evdence of character, and almost supersedes the exercise of faith. It is only on particular occasions that this species of evidence is vouchsafed to christians. The life which they life in the flesh is” emphatically stiled "a life of faith;" and it accords neither with the general designs of God, nor with the best interests of their own souls, that it should be any other than a life of faith. But in the experience of every christian there are times, (and they who are most exercised to godliness are usually favored with the most frequent returns of them) when the Holy Spirit, suppressing all the motions of corruption, and every thing that could mar their satisfaction, bears them up "by the new and living way," and sets them as it were in the immediate presence of theit God. They see him! they see him as their reconciled Father, and while the effulgence of his coun. tenance beams upon their spirits, their bosoms thrill with the joys of immortality. O, who can suspect that he is involved in darkness while the light of life irradiates his soul! Who can question an interest in his favour when the veil is drawn aside from the everlasting throne, when God himself speaks peace to the conscience and fills the bosom with the ecstasies of heaven! Darkness and doubt ings there may have been before, darkness and doubtings may again succeed, but while the Spirit of Jehovah thus bears the soul aloft, darkness and doubtings and faith itself are swallowed up in certitude and bliss.
“Happy is that man "that is in such a case” as this; "yea, happy is that” man "whose God is Jehovah."
This subject teaches us the necessity of self-examination. He is a poor christian, he is no christian at all, who does not bestow some portion of his attention on the ex
amination of his heart. Has God taken pains, to inter sperse the distinguishing marks and characters of the new nature throughout almost every page of his bible, and yet will any of his children be utterly negligent in bringing them to bear upon their own hearts! Impossible! How can we conceive that a person should have his affections and hopes centered in the heavenly inheritance, and yet never feel anxious to ascertain his claim! How can he be. in earnest in preparing for eternity, whose bosom never heaved with strong emotion, whose heart never bounded in unusual palpitation when he heard the characters that fix his state! Jesus himself hath given judgment on this matter, and we rest in his decision. “Every one that doethe evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth com, eth to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.” O, how many professors have deceived themselves on this point to the ruin of their souls! Contented with a general profession of religion, slightly attending to a trivial round of duties, and conforting themselves with the thought that they were as good as any of their neighbours, they have went on from day to day, and year to year, without so much as once examining the situation of the heart: They knew not what it is to groan beneath the burden of the body of death; never suspected the deceitfulness of their hearts, nor gave themselves the trouble to probe them to the core. “They knew indeed that they were sinners, miserable sinners; but they could accuse themselves of nothing very faulty,--nothing which might not readily be expected, considering the weakness of our common nature; we are not to look for perfection in this life; they expected all was well; felt a liking to
beaven, and hoped to be admitted;" but neither knew, nor cared to know, the foundation of their hope: and at last, when their mortal course was run, laid themselves down in de ceitful quietude, drea.ning of heaven and heaven's happiness, and awoke to the terrors and anguish of the damned! Hearer of the gospel, what is the foundation of thy hope?
O, my soul, what is the foundation of thy hope! In a little,-in a very little time must thou leave this habitation:-ah, who can tell whether it shall be to shout tby alleluiahs amid the choirs of heaven, or blaspheme thy Maker in the gulphs below! -0, eternity--eternity,eternity! who can be contented with a general hope, when eternity is suspended by the feeble thread! Search, my brother, search and try. Thou can'st never be too sure, If thy soul be buoyed up by a fallacious hope, death and destruction follow in its footsteps. "Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation; now then let us be "assured in whom we have believed," and happiness and heaven are ours.
In the second place: the truth we have been considering gives every one encouragement to aim at full assur.
It is too common, even among thosse who are christians indeed, to refer this precious attainment to a few of God's chosen ones, who stand high in the estimation of his church, without so much as thinking that themsevles are privileged to expect it. This is an unhappy mistake. It greatly indisposes for diligent exertion; and takes away much from tranquillity of mind. God debars none of his people from aiming at full assurance. He exhorts, he encourages every one to seek it; and points out to them the way in which it may be obtained. O, why are there so few to obey the heavenly admonition! What beart would
not bound, at the joyful assurance that its peace was made with God! Who dare deny that there is a double sweetness even in temporal enjoyments, when we know them to be the gifts of covenanted love? Or when visited with the rod of chastisement, when God withdraws the light of his countenance and calls, as in a solemn day, our terrors round about,” who would not rejoice to know that he had indeed a refuge, that the "anchor of his soul” was "steadfast,” and that even these bitter things should terminate in good! And in that awful hour when the emaciated frame lies stretched upon the bed of death, and the spirit is about to return to God who gave it; when the treasures of the worlding, the pomp of kings and the triumphs of the conqueror, dwindle into baubles, and eternity alone seems glorious, who so happy as the man that can exclaim with humble but unshaken confidence, “my heart and my flesh faint and fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever!!!
Be our souls with the soul of him who knows that his Redeemer liveth.” And though we may have walked in darkness till this present hour; and even though we may have fed ourselves with deceitful hopes, nor so much as "tasted that the Lord is gracious,” yet now let us believe: now,---now, let our hearts “lift up their everlasting doors," and “the king of glory shall come in."Amen.
"Strengthen the things which remain, that are really to die.”
Rev. iii. 2.
It is noticed by the psalmist as one of the distinguishing glories of the God-head, that while every creature is perpetually changing, he is still the same.
Even in cases where sin was never known, stability cannot be. God has created every thing with a capacity for receiving increase; and every exercise of holy faculties affords additional glories to the creature whose faculties are thus employed. The angels of heaven, the spirits of the just, will never ar. rive at that point beyond which they cannot pass. Every moment shall give new vigor to their faculties, make new discoveries to their intellect, shed abroad new glories on the head, and open new sources of enjoyment to the heart. Till the creature can come up to his Creator, till the finite being shall equal the Infinite One, this constitution of God shall never be broken through; they shall be subjected to unceasing changes; he alone remains the same.
In a world of sinners this principle operates still more clearly and in much more varied forms. The principle of moral stability having disappeared in every shape, they are exposed to innumerable species of change which the guiltless cannot know. And every thing connected with a corrupted race of beings must partieipate in the rude