Page images
PDF
EPUB

vile I felt before God, as a finner you power to become a child of dreadfully guilty, and unworthy God. As it is written, “ As of his notice ! And yet, I felt many as received him, to theus unspeakably happy in praifing gave he power to become the him, as an holy and righteous tons of God, even to them that God. The forrows of repentance believe on his name, which were were sweetly mingled in the cup born, not of blood, nor of the of the moft refreshing joys. When will of the flesh, nor of the will I think of all these things, and of man but of God."When the fweet enjoyment I have fince God opened your eyes to see found in waiting upon God in the the greatness of his power private and public duties of reli- and glorious majesty, how was gion, I cannot but thinkit strange, you ftruck dumb before him! that I should have spent so many How did you tremble, at the years of my life, in a lamentable thought of the great day of his forgetfulness of God, insensible of wrath !-And when you felt the the great evil of fin, and a stran- ftroke of the almighty power of ger to the refreshing joys of re- his grace, like the hammer breakligion. In all this, replied the ing the hard rock in pieces, how clergyman, we may learn the sweetly did your heart yield in greatness of divine power in the the humbleft' submission before regeneration of the finner. “ For him! It was this divine change, thine is the kingdom, and the which first gave you a true sense power.” It is the power of God of the loathsome evil of fin, and which delivers his chosen ones not which laid a foundation in your only from penal evil ; but from foul for such ineffable and eternal the fad corruption of moral evil. joy in God. You are, therefore, He redeems from captivity, breaks wholly indebted to the mighty open the prison doors, and anoints power of God, for this deliverwith the oil of joy, the humble ance from the darkness of sing and mourners in Zion. He not only for all your rejoicing in the pure hath a kingdom to bestow ; but and soul-refreshing light of the power to bestow it upon whom gospel. he will, in such a divine manner, How strange it is ! faid Ro. as to make the happy subject cor- fetta, in the most humble and undially willing to receive it, and as affected manner, more than two readily to acknowledge the ever- years after obtaining a hope of lafting debt of gratitude, which is having experienced regeneration, due, in return. After admitting that I have lived so long, in facha the depravity of your own heart an high enjoyment of the presence and your past inattention to the of God and the sweet consola. duties of religion, the grand rea- tions of religion. While I feel Ion why you never, before, had my own imperfections, and my any proper senfe of the great evil of continual need of divine help to fin, nor any knowledge of the soul preserve me from inqumerable fins, refreshing joys of religion is, be- l I cannot be fufficiently thankful cause, till then, God never let for the manner, in which I have his word home upon your heart hitherto been permitted to enjoy with power. That was to you the light of God's countenance, the happy day of his power. It and to reap continual pleasure in was then that he hopefully gave the fruitful fields of his holy king.

dom. I can truly say, I do not How imperfect are our best ferfeel any weariness in public wor vices! How many things have we ship, nor in any of the other duo done which we ought not to have ties of religion. Many people, done! How little, of what might once said, wait a little while, and have been done, have we done toall this engagedness in religion wards building up God's kingdom will be at an end. O! How lit. in the world! It will, therefore, altle did they know of the power ways be a matter of admiration to of religion ! What strangers were every real Christian, when he ferithey to its ever refreshing joys! ously thinks of his own viieness and If I know my own heart, I still imperfection in holiness, to realize hunger and thirst after righteoul- the daily mercies of God to his nefs. I still love the gospel and soul. The more careful he is to ordinances of Christ, and have search the scriptures, and to exathe same earncit defire, on the mine his own heart, in the matter, sabbath, to wait upon God in his the more deeply will he be humnhoufe, for divine instruction, as I bled before God-the more will then had. I seem to enjoy the

he be convinced of his own unhappy feelings of David, where, worthiness, and that all the glory he says,

“ The Lord is my light, of his falvation from first to lait and my salvation ; whom ihail I belongs to God. This view of fear? The Lord is the strength things prepares a fallen creature of my life, of whom shall I be understandingly and feelingly to afraid ? One thing have I desired make use of these

very

instructive of the Lord, that will I seek after; expressions, in the prayer enjoined that I may dwell in the house of hy our Lord, “For thine is the the Lord, all the days of my kingdom, and the power, and the life, to behold the beauty of glory forever ;' and to give his the Lord, and to enquire in his hearty consent to them, by faytemple.” When I reflect upon ing, “ Amen.” So be it. Now, my unworthiness,---- vhat I am I feel and know this to be true and what I have been I feel whol- by experience. Not only the undeferving of such great mercies. kingdom, and the power, but I cannot be fufficiently thankful the glory too is forever the Lord's, for them. I feel my indebted according to the song of the pia ness to the grace of God for all ous psalmisi, “ Ye that fear the my spiritual enjoyments.-Right, Lord, trut in the Lord : ke is replied the clergyman. Man, left their help and their shield. He to himself, has nothing to glory will bless them that fear the Lord, in. What is man, that he should both small and great. Noi unto be clean, who drinketh iniquity us, O Lord, not unto us, but una like water? Behold, God putteth to thy name give glory, for thy no trust in his faints ; yea, the mergy, and for thy truth's lake.” heavens are not clean in his light.

ZEPHO. Were all the Christian's light, and comfort, and spiritual rejoi Riflebiicns on yol xüli. 15. cing wholly dependent on the “Tlough be flay me, yet will I tru? perfection of his obcdicnce, as the in him : lut I will inaintcin min: ineritorious cause, miferable in

own ways before him." Feed, would he be in this life. THE weakness and imperfec. ng

how

[ocr errors]

IO.

1802.]

Refleäions on Job xiti. 15. in this ftate of trial, are visible in will I trust in him. “ He is God this venerable character. If in only wise, holy, faithful and alltimes of tribulation, any are ready sufficient ; His government imto conclude there has been no for- mutably perfect, and universal. row like their forrow, let them However the clouds gather black read attentively this book; which nefs, and he may seem to come also vindicates the ways of God forth against me as an enemy, and to man, in his moft rigorous deal- my way be hedged up, yet, livings with us. Jub's case was very ing and dying, I will truit in him, {ingular ; the Lord had laid his confiding in the end and illue of band heavy upon all he possessed. all for God's glory, and my own His earthly subitance and children belt good.” Chap. xxiii. 8, 9, were taken away with a stroke. Behold, I go forward, but His own person was grievously he is not there ; and backward, aflicted-among his friends he but I cannot perceive him ; on had no comforter, not even the the left hand, where he doth wife of his bosoni. His three work, but I cannot behold him ; pretended friends insisted that the he hideth himself on the right peculiar dealings of an holy God hand, that I cannot see him : but with Job, were an evidence of hy- he knoweth the way that I take : pocrisy ; and that he did not deal when he hath tried me, I shall thus with his own children. This come forth as gold.” was the point of discuslion be The second thought in the text tween Job and his friends. Verse is, but I will maintain mine own preceding, “ Wherefore do I take ways before him. The word tranfmy flesh in my teeth, and put my lated maintain, might be rendered, life in mine hand ? If in this life | reafon, or expostulate; which 1 of probation, God afflicteth none conceive to be the true import, fo greatly but the wicked, why The sense then will be, “ Tho' I is it thus with me? You would will trust in him, living and dying, drive me to desperation; but why yet, with humble fubmiffion, will should I do thus? I have no war I, in prayer, expostulate with rant or reason to conclude as you

God.

To his tribunal do I apfuggeft, or to despair of the mer- peal, making full and free confefсу of God.” The text for con

fion of the whole course of my fideration follows ; -“ Though he life; what I have done amils, i llay me, yet will I trust in him : will freely consess, and make supbut I will maintain mine own plication to my judge for pardon. ways before him.” There are Were I conscious to myself that two diftinct thoughts in this text, I am only an hypocrite, as my which, at first view, may seem to friends insinuate, I could not with be contradictory ; but if careful freedom and confidence come near ly examined and compared, may and plead with God. But he is be reconciled, as the consistent my trust and falvation, and will language of a child of God, great appear for me ; if not in this life, ly tried, but not wholly forsaken. yet in another.” This fenfe is

The first part of the text is justified by the following context. highly, expreslive of a right spirit ; " He also shall be my lalvation ; á spirit of love to God, confidence for an hyporrite shall not ccine in bim, and of unreserved submis before him.' verses 21 to 23« fion to him : Tlo' be pay me, yet

16 Withdraw thine brand far from VOL. III. No. 2.

me ; and let not thy dread make | at all times our indispensible dume afraid, then call thou, and I ty, even in times of the greatest will answer, or let me speak, and trials. In no case in which we answer thou me. How many are

can ever be in this itate, with the mine iniquities and my fins ? make free exercise of reason, may we me to know my transgreslion and be excused from the prevailing exmy fin." See indeed all the suc- ercise of these graces. Surely a ceeding verses of this, with the spirit of real piety will thus dictate. whole of the following chapter, The expreflion, tho' he say me, in which the same speech is con- yet wi!! I trust in him, implies that tinued. Chap. ix.

15. " Whom, we freely continue in our entire tho’ I were righteous, yet would confidence in God, and walk with I not answer, but I would make him, although it cost all that is fupplication to my judge.” dear to us from the world, and The text thus explained, admits even life itself.

Heb. xi. 35 of some useful reflections. There “ Not accepting deliverance, that is an uniformity in unreserved trust they might obtain a better resurin and submision to God, and fa- rection.” The soul depends on miliar expoftulation in prayer with God for the faithful performance hiin. Separate these, and there of the divine promises, when all is a want of consistency. To the avenues leading to it appear profefs confidence and submiffion

to be clofed up.

Rom. iv. 18. to God, and yet live a prayerless “ Who against hope, believed in life, is inconsistent. It is not less hope.” Thus Abraham fojournfo, to pretend to pray unto God, ed in a strange land ; and offered and yet neither trust in him, nor up his son Isaac, the heir of the properly submit to him. A time promises, believing him to be of great darkness and affliction, faithful who had promised. Unis a time of trial. At such a der the governing influence of this time, fome are ready to say, “0, grace, the soul rejoices in God, I could srcely trust in God, if he under all trials, living and dying ; would but manifest the light of leaving all with him, with this his countenance, and smooth the precious consolation, if it had no rugged way before me. I could other, that God in all things will submit to God, if he would spare be glorified. this bofom friend, these children, Surely, to them who love and This or that ontward comfort, or confide in a holy and faithful God, give me ease and health of body." it is a consolation that he governs that is, if he would first fuffer you the world that he will do right to make your full choice, and -will bring good out of evilgratify your inclination. Feeble clouds and darknefs may be round truit! wretched submission ! they about him, yet justice and judgdeferve not the name.

True con

ment are the habitation of his sidence in God, and unreserved throne. The end is secure from fubmillion to him, are infeparable'; the beginning, and fhall be glorithen also, with a filial sweetness ous. Is not the glory of God in. and freedom, may we plead with comparably the beit end? Should him in prayer, spreading all our it not be uniformly our highest forrows before him, without com end, and chief aim? Who can fo plaining.

well determine how this great end Such a trust and submission are shall be in the best manner answer

ed, in all things, as infinite wif- | led by his fellow citizens to repredom? Wherefore then should any fent them in the general court of creature quarrel with the divine the Commonwealth ; especially at decrees? Why not rejoice, in the times of difficulty and discontent, greateit conflicts, and the darkett when wisdom and discretion were times, that God governs the peculiarly needed. He was also world.

a member of that honorable ConThe glory of God involves the vention in Massachusetts, who degreatelt good. Happy, if the liberately examined, and prudentdefire of our soul, and the tenor ly adopted, the Federal Constituof our lives concentred in this, tion, which hath been productive let what ever may be allotted for of fo much profperity to our hapus, in the government of our heav- py country. enly father. The nearer we thus Whilft he was an apprentice to get to a fovereign, holy God, the a trade, and hardly nineteen years better. Then, consistently with of age, he was ftruck under conhumility, submission and trult, vi&tion. It pleased the gracious may we plead with God--with fovereign to top him in his career the freedom of filial prayer, ex

of youthful vavity and folly, for postulate with him. Is not this which he entertained as high a relthe root of the matter ? If so, ish as other youth. To get relief: let our eye be on it continually, from his painful conviction, he not only for perfonal and family, practifed fecret prayer. But this but general mercies, through Je-. expedient was ineffectual ; for sus Chrift--for Zion at home and God was pleased to increase his abroad ; encouraging ourfelves in conviction. He had a feeling God. Thus waiting on the Lord sense of the total depravity of the continually, however great our human heart ; and of his enmity trials in this militant ftate may be, and opposition to God and his internal and external sorrows will moral government ; though, at Bot meet in full force, like two that time, these were subjects, violent seas, and make horrid thip which he had never heard from wreck; we shall be supported, the pulpit. This view of his owa and reft on the rock of ages. heart destroyed all his hope, which

CLIO. had been raised and cherished, by

his performance of religious duties. Memoirs of the late Deacon Benja- falvation of a finner is wholly of

And he was made to fee that the min Thomas of Middleborough in free grace ; and to bow, in subMa/facbuletts.

miffion, to the holy fovereign of E was born, O&. A. D. the universe ;--he was hopefully

1721, of reputable prents, converted; and, shortly after, who died when he was young. made a public profeffion of reliHis advantages for receiving an gion, the fincerity of which hath education, in his youth, were ve been fince evinced during a life ry small : But he was endowed, of fixty years. by his beneficent Creator, with a He fuitained the office of Deafolid judgment, and good mental con, above twenty-three years ; abilities, which, added to his un- and so discharged its duties, as to doubted honesty and integrity, oc- acquire honor to himself

, and to calioned his being repeatedly cal promote the edification of others.

НЕ

« PreviousContinue »