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designs, or ever induce him in the least to alter the thing which bas gone out of his mouth?
The certainty and correctness of his future judgment. Will he fail to publish what he has seen ? No; but God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thought; and, have ing seen actions in all their springs and bearings, his judgment will be according to truth, Who then may stand before him? Those only who are united by faith to the Divine Surety, whose souls are cleansed by renewing grace, whose subsequent actions have evinced a change of heart.
Let us all make use of this doctrine, to shew us
The thickness of that sinful veil which conceals him from a human soul; for since he is everywhere, and since bis presence must be a fulness of light and glory, how is it that a man can avoid perceiving him how is it that he can enter and leave his courts, where his saints behold his glory, without having once felt an impression that God was there? Oh, Sin! offspring of Satan! what a sable mantle, what an impenetrable veil hast thou thrown around the human soul!
The deep repentance that is due from sinners against him. Who can understand his errors? No man can number them up,
no mạn can tell their aggravation, --- Ho man can bear them in mind! Sinners do not ordinarily deposit their sins in their memories ; and Satan is never wanting in helping to forgetfulness of them : but God has seen them all, and sees them all fully, and sees them all now; and can a humbling acknowledgment, unblushing confessions of them, be all the repentance he requires, as that the grace of repentance from him produces ? Oh! deceive not yourselves! If he has forgiven your sins, be has made the remembrance of them bitter. If you have a gospel hope that they do not stand against you in his judgment, they will often stand before you to affect and mollify your heart.
The wonders of his mercy in revealing himself to souls like eurs. Has be appeared to you, and indulged you with communion, - communion sweet, - communion vast and high? Think of the state in which he found you. Poor and miserable, blind and naked, is the picture which inspiration has drawn of it; but he passed by, anů it was a tine of love.
He said, Live, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead !-Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee;' and now you are one with Jesus, now you have communion with the Almighty; you walk by faith, and you walk with God. Why did he bebold you with vielight? Surely, you are exclaiming, How is it, Lord, that thou wilt manifest thye self to ine, and not unto the world ? That communion with him is to he had in all places.
In the temple and in the closet ; indeed, bis invitation has peculiar force. - Seek ye my face :' - but everywhere a pivus heart may find a closet. In a rock Moses may turn aside to converse with his God! From the bottom of the sea a Jonah may send a prayer into his ears! Prison-doors shut not out his presence. Caverns of the earth do not in the least impede his gracious manifestations. Nowhere is a telescope required to reach his throne, nor a movement of body necessary to draw. nigh unto him. Thought, how consoling to the Christian !
“ Should Fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant, barbarous climes,
And where he vital breathes there must be joy." What strong consolation for a Christian under all darkness and distress ! -- But no one is privy to my groanings! Yes, poor a filicted Job, there is! God is with thee! He is listening to thy complaints, writing down thy sighs, putting thy tears into his bottle,
waiting to be gracious! He sees all thy journey through the wilderness ; and when the appointed moment arrives, he will throw off the cloud, and stand confessed thy Friend !
What a motive has every one to constant sincerity and watchfulness! You go from his sanctuary, but not from him ; - you dig deep to hide your counsel, but thoughts are words in his cars ; - you cover your coldness with a glaring cloke of profession, but he searcheth Jerusalem with candles; - you seclude yourself with bars and bolts, — you do that of which you would be ashamed before your fellow-creatures, but his eyes are on you as a flame of fire! Oh! take your eyes from this, to say to him, Cover me with the righteousness of thy Son! adorn me with the undecaying graces of thy Spirit! Cleanse thou me from secret faults! Search me, O God! and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wieked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting !
ORIGINAL LETTER OF THE LATE REV.T. HARMER:
To the Editor. The following Letter was written by Mr. Harmer when he was little more
than twenty years old. I have sent it you, with the hope that, through the divine.blessing, it may prove useful to some of the people of God who have met with bercaving providences; and that it may excite & concern in young ministers to do good, not only in the pulpit, but out of it; especially by testifying a teoder concern for the afflicted. As the
attention of the public has lately been called to Mr. Harmer's writings, by Dr. Adam Cla ke's edition of bis Observations, it is reasonable to supponds ikidt menny will be glad to be acquainted with bim, not only
as a learned Biblical critic, but as a truly serious and affectionate minister among his people, with whom he resided 54 years. Yours, &c. Wattisfield, Suffolk
Wattisfield, April 9, 1735. Tho' I cannot look upon myself at present so far related to this church as to take all those freedoms I otherwise possibly might, yet, deprived of an opportunity of laying before you my thoughts yesterday, I hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken to convey them by this method, since I could not altogether excuse myself from this service. So far as the disorder that now disturbs you proceeds from the failure of animal nature, I must leave it to those that profess medicine, and the blessing of the great God. What I would consider is, That excessive grief, from which, I am afraid, it does in a grea measure proceed. I own, Madam, it is bitter and perplexing to find the great God following us with breach upon breach ; --but should it be overwhelming too? Jesus has not forbidden the awakening our tender passions when we lose a friend or a relative ;- but does he indulge a sorrowing, as those that have no hope? If we have lost a son, a beloved sun, must a Christian
express his mournfal sense of it in no other language than that of Jacob, when he refused to be comforted, - I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning?" No, Madam, permit me to assure you, the behaviour of David more becomes a Christian : " While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me that the child may live i-- but now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again ? I shall to him,-but he shall not return to me.' I question not but you often remembered your departed child at the throne of grace, when it was within the reach of prayer. God has denied you your request for its life; but why should this so much distress you? You have laid it in the silent grave; and must you, therefore, fix your eyes for ever on the awful gloominess that surrounds it, and forget to look beyond the tomb, into the world of happy spirits ? Indulge not too frequent, too bitter, reflections on that distressing hour, when it forsook this world ; nor on that painful day when it was laid in the dust ;-endeavour rather to fix upon your soul great and raised ideas of the sovereignty of that God, who gives no accouni of the methods of his dealing with us.
The loss of another relative may have increased the anguish of your soul; and the repeated pain of parting from another, with whom you enjoyed sweet converse, may indeed raise your resentments higher, and fill your soul with still more melancholy idras; but when you mourn the loss of converse with this departed friend, remember whither it is we have reason to think she is gone! and sure this must suppress the risings of immoderate sorrow, and alleviate the bitterness and distress that perplex us! She felt the great God her strength and her song while she dwelt içre below.
May you find the same sacred blessings to support you, under the loss you sustain by her remova!! She left her friends on a sudden; but the disciples of Jesus should ever watch against a painful surprize in the departure of our friends. Is it a Christian friend we have lost, a devout relative? Is this pleasing converse we have long had with them, relating to the things of a better world, now cut off for ever ? and, must we therefore indulge distressing thoughts? Have we lost our Jesus too! Can we never more maintain converse with our God? Have we lost a relative, whom we hoped would bave dropped a word of comfort to us,
and administered some supportiog consolation, when we were ready to be swallowed up with sorrow ? --but must we, therefore,
bapishi every comfort, and refuse every supporting consideration ? Is not the Father of Mercies, and the God of all Consolation, our Father still, and our God, even in the most distressing moments ? Are they departed for ever, whom we hoped would have pitied when the hand of the Lord was gone out against us,—that would have mourned when we mourned, and wept when we wept?-but is not Jesus our merciful and faithful High Priest still, who pities the weaknesses of his people, and regards their complaints with a compassionate tenderness? Let me then, Madam, beg, that as you have honoured the character of a professor of the religion of Jesus as a tender mother, and as an affectionate relative, you would render the religion of Christ amiable, as it affords divine consolations when all things around us fail! Let it appear to the world, when you are mourning under piercing sorrows and distressing anxieties, that you have learnt that patient submission, that sweet resignation to the will of the great God, that the gospel recommends to us! Make it evident to an unbelieving and degenerate world, that the Gospel of Jesus at once directs its followers to take a becoming notice of every solemn providence, --influences the tenderest passions in rational methods in seasons of sorrow,-and yet teaches them to check the excesses of these painful feelings. Give me leave then to lay before you a few short hints, that may be useful under your present trials
. Remember then that you have, in former seasons, solemnly devoted yourself and all yours to iue Lord ; - call to mind those times when you have amesh renewed the sacred engageinents; and dismiss every unsubmissive thought with "I am the Lord's, let him do with me as seems good in his sight!'. Call to mind that everlasting covenant that is ordered in all things and sure, which Jesus has confirmed with his blood, and which you have so often sealed at his table; and apply this to your disconsolate sonl when gloomy thoughts invade it, and say, This covenant shall never be dissolved; this covenant affords divine relief in these hours of darkness and distress, -be this sacred engagement, O my soul, thy salvation and thy song!' Think often on Jesus, as once sure rounded with weaknesses and troubles, till thy soul has learned to pour out iis complaints into his boson, as a merciful and faithful
Mediator, and to leave them in his hand | Reflect often on God as an all-sufficient portion, and afresh take him as your exceeding great reward. Often meditate on that rest that remains for the people of God, and learn to make your soul long for its dismis. sion thither, when you find distress and anguish perpetually surround you here, in this wilderness. I am, Madam,
Yours in all Christian services,
The church of God is a family, and should possess all its distinguishing characteristics. It is not earth-born ; and, therefore, cannot be known by its open malice, its concealed rancour, its smooth dissimulation, its base, selfish, and unbrotherly principles :-it is Heaven-born, -Jehovah is its Parent;- its members are “ led by his Spirit,' and are, therefore, his children: Jesus is the Elder Brother, in whose name the whole family in Heaven and earth is named ;' and his meek and quiet Spirit is diffused throughout it. Hence liberal charity, sympathetic feeling, reciprocal affection, and implicit confidence, should firmly exist among them in all simplicity, sincerity, and spirituality. In proportion as it is so, they will sorrow, rejoice, pray, and praise, in unison : they will watch over each other with godly concern, and receive the admonitions of their brethren affectionately, joyfully, and humbly, abhorring self-confidence and dreading self-esteem. Hence the language of the Psalmist will be Frequently their language : Let the righteous smite me,-it shall be a kindness; let him reprove me,- it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamity. Surely, the Psalinist saw the excellence of brotherly reproof. How affectionately he invites it, cordially approves it, and gratefully receives it !--Let us briefly and simply dilate these ideas.
Affectionately to invite reproof, is a gracious symptom of a soul renewed, and cannot exist amidst the self - complacency, empty arrogance, and tyrannic superciliousness of nature. There are complicated evils to which believers are exposed, and a sense of which will conduct them to this amiable disposition, Shall we mention some ? 1. Their exposure to temptation will lead to this disposition. It convinces them that means of precaution, as well as of actual resistance, must be adopted against their enemies; and in addition to free access at the throne of grace, and a complete habiliment of armour, the affectionate invitation of reproof, from experienced warriors, when necessary, will form a strong bulwark of defence against the unexpected attacks of enemies, incessant and subtile in their operations. While we stand,