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But, Fourthly, another reason gra- escape is practically and truly a blesdually operates on the mind with sed reality. increasing force, and that is, the con- Now these are reasons which we viction of the utter insufficiency of conceive do operate to bring many this world and its enjoyments, taken unto the house of God, to hear the at their best, to satisfy. We outlive truths of His word expounded. They our comforts; we drain the sources are the practical convictions forced of gratification to the dregs; disap- on a thoughtful mind,-forced on him pointment and trial, in various ways, partly by the very character of his teach us that this is not our rest, that circumstances, and still more merciit is impossible to find fulness in it. fully pressed upon the attention by If it were not inevitable that we must
the secret agency of the Spirit of God. die, who could be satisfied to take this Providences and conscience speak for present existence, with its sufferings, God, and often with a resistless power: grievances, and sorrows, for an eter- they show the afflicted, dissatisfied, nal lot? And then, taking it as it is, guilty man his misery and his danwith the gradual increase of the infir- ger; they show, in strong practical mities and sorrows of life, the loss of terms, the claims which God has upon friends, the coldness and heartlessness him, and which one day He will most of the multitude, the ingratitude and assuredly advance. And it is from cruelty of many, and the utter indif- the consideration of this subject, thus ference of those who ought to think forced upon the attention, that many differently, to any interest or any feel- their wisdom to seek for religiings but their own ;—this practical ous knowledge. They begin to aprealization of what life is, independent prehend that there is a knowledge of of revealed religion, gradually makes God, the Infinitely Good, that would a man draw towards the sanctuary of fill the lamentable void of the human God. If there is repose and peace, heart, that would remove the horrors and shelter from the keen and chilling of a guilty conscience, and cheer the air of human intercourse, it is in the desponding soul with hope; that in sanctuary : if there is a sunny spot, Him is the peace that elsewhere they where all is not gloom and disaffec, have sought in vain. tion, it is in the several ordinances of And this is precisely the fact. These the christian religion, where men are feelings of anxiety arise out of the real taught to rise above themselves and wants of the soul, and it is a mercy the world they live in; where their when we begin to feel them. And affections are called out, in some mea- the character of God's dispensation sure, though as yet but scantily, to of mercy in His revealed word, is God and towards each other; and precisely calculated to meet these where, in the contemplation of infinite created anxieties and desires. We love, they imbibe some portion of that are driven to the christian Scriptures, kind and gracious spirit;~and, while because we are afflicted, dissatisfied, they dwell on the thought of infinite sinful, and dying. It is impossible to might and mercy, begin to hope that be in more wretched circumstances all the misery of a sinful, dying, af- than such an one feels himself to be flicted, and care-worn spirit may be in. The oppression of these convicrelieved; and that the offered way of tions is at times almost insupportable. There is a gathering gloom about strength of God's faithfulness and such a state of heart, that no human truth, and offered to every one, that light can penetrate; there is a load he may be reconciled, and justified, which no human hand can lighten, and saved. And here, while the an anguish which no human kindness afflicted, the sinful, the dying, the can soothe. But the remedy really is conscience-stricken, the weary and in that Gospel on which we are thus heavy laden, wait around, the miniscompelled to wait. It reveals to us a ters of Christ are authorized to raise God meeting in sovereign mercy the the standard of peace and hope, and to awful necessities of His creatures ; beseech men in Christ's stead to be meeting the guilty sinner in the very come reconciled to God. They are to crisis of his ruin, and speaking peace; tell of the love of Christ, who died for passing by the wretched abandoned the ungodly; of the richness, freeoutcast, in his sins and in his blood, ness, fulness, of that mercy which is and saying to him, Live. The sub- provided for guilty and perishing stance of the testimony is to this men. They are to admit all the fuleffect: that God has pitied a ruined ness of men's complaints, to allow it race of beings, and devised and of- all; nay, to aid the convinced sinner fered to them a complete redemption. in looking deeper into his heart, and He looked down in everlasting love more accurately at the extent of his and compassion on a guilty world, guilt and ruin, so as to deepen the and when He saw His helpless crea- conviction of guilt, and cast down the tures involved in eternal ruin through sinner in more entire prostration and sin, He sent His Son into that world humility before God. But then minto be the propitiation for sin, and isters are equally to follow the Scripwhen that Son died upon the cross, ture in the simplicity of its offer of He laid upon Him the iniquity of us remedy, when it says,
“ Believe on all. He saw us deeply defiled and the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt degraded by our inbred corruption, be saved.” “This is the work of God, and He sent down the blessed influ- that ye believe on Him whom He hath ence of His Spirit to sanctify and sent.” “Him that cometh to me I cleanse us through faith in His Son. will in no wise cast out.” Yes, great He saw us exposed here to misery, as may be the wants of the soul, deep disease, and death, and that death as may be the sorrow of the convinced made by the curse for sin eternal, and humbling penitent, and dark the and He opened for us, through the dye of his multiplied and aggravated propitiatory death of His Son, the transgressions, there is ample means gates of immortality. This is the sub- of relief, wealth inexhaustible, a peace ject of the testimony of God in His that passeth all understanding, and a word : “ This is the record, that God stream adequate to wash away sin, hath given to us eternal life, and this and, though it “ be red like crimson," life is in His Son.” And this is the to make it " white as snow.” The declaration to be made by the preach- blood of the crucified Son of God ing of His word. It is the Gospel of cleanseth from all sin. the blessed God; it is glad tidings on This is the cheering message which good authority; the declaration of is to be delivered; this is the word of reconciliation and peace, made on the God, distributed in His house. It is on this life-giving declaration that we the unconverted soul. That case is all are to wait, and it will be made to darkness and distress. There is no those who sincerely seek it, the power prospect of hope. Look where you of God unto salvation. There is a will, to the vicissitudes of time or the Divine and appointed efficacy in this solemnities of eternity, you can see word, which is to turn the heart to no healing light, no dawn hope. God, and to cheer the broken spirit But that hope is offered to you in the with a hope full of immortality. blood of Jesus. " Come unto me,”
We shall have occasion hereafter to He says. Oh, let us be encouraged consider the substance and the mode to entertain this; to look at it in its cerof that statement to be made by the tainty and faithfulness, as the testiGospel ministry; but, in the mean mony of God; to look at it in the matime, if there are any who really feel jesty of its simplicity, as worthy of that motives such as we have de- Omnipotence; to look at it in its fulscribed have led them to the house of ness, as meeting the very depth of God, let us entreat them to consider our distresses ;—and believe it, and seriously the simple offer of Gospel rejoice in it, as the only, but the sufmercy as suited to the necessities of ficient salvation of our souls. their case; the evils and dangers of
PRAYER OF A DEVOUT HEART DURING A TIME OF TROUBLE.
Most great and glorious God! just sight. Nevertheless, O Lord, be
. O and terrible in Thy judgments to all pleased to look down upon a poor obstinate and rebellious sinners, but sinner, who believes in the infinite of infinite mercy to such as with true mercy Thou hast revealed to all true sorrow and hearty repentance turn penitents in Jesus Christ. For His unto Thee; look down I beseech Thee sake give me time and space repent, with mercy and compassion upon me, and give me also power to do it, by who am not worthy so much as to lift the assistance of Thy blessed Spirit. up my eyes to the throne of Thy glo- Support me with a holy hope, conrious Majesty! O Lord, my sins are firm me with an operative and lively so many and so great, that it is owing faith, and kindle a bright and burnto Thy mercy alone that I yet have ing charity in my soul; give me paanother opportunity of humbling my- tience in suffering, and severity in self before Thee, and imploring Thy judging and condemning my sins ! mercy. I beseech Thee, O Lord, to hum- that judging myself, I may not be ble me more and more, to set my sins condemned of Thee; that mourning before me in the strongest light, and for my sins I may rejoice in Thy to help me to cast myself in deep pardon ; that subduing my sins, I may contrition at the foot of the cross. live in righteousness; that denying [Here pause for self-examination.]
my own will I may always endeavour
to perform Thine ; and that by the Lord, save, or I perish.
assistance of Thy blessed Spirit, I sions as well as my commissions are may overcome all carnal and spiriinnumerable. What shall I say unto tual wickedness. May I walk in Thy Thee, or what shall I do, o Thou light! May I delight in Thy service! Preserver of men ? I am so vile that
May I be wholly delivered both froin I cannot express it; so sinful that I the power and the punishment of sin; am hateful to myself, and much more may my life be continually devoted abominable must I needs be in Thy to Thee, and may I pass on from an
humble expectation to an actual en- cation, “to make an end of our sins, joyment of the glories of Thy kingdom, and to make reconciliation for our through Jesus Christ my blessed Lord iniquities,” that Thou mayest once and Saviour. Amen.
more be our God and we be Thy And now, O Lord, as I have been people. confessing my own sins, and hum- O Lord, righteousness belongeth bling my soul before Thee, as a private unto Thee, but unto us confusion of individual, I desire to look upon my face as at this day, to our kings, to self in a still further light as an inha- our princes, to our fathers, and to bitant of a profligate and rebellious ourselves, because of the trespasses nation, and after the example of Thy which we have trespassed against servant Daniel, to confess the sins of Thee. We have rebelled against Thee, my people. May I feel the concern O Lord; we confess our wickedness, of the Psalmist when he exclaimed, and are sorry for our sins; yea, we “Rivers of tears run down mine eyes, have all as one man transgressed because men keep not Thy law,' against Thee, by departing from Thee (Ps. cxix. 130.) And oh, that my and not obeying Thy voice, therefore supplications, and the supplications the curse is poured out upon us; but of all those, who at this appointed we beseech Thee, according to Thy hour, have agreed solemnly to seek righteousness and gracious promises, Thy face* and to confess their own and for the sake of Thy dear Son sins, and the sins of the people of this Jesus Christ, let Thine anger and Thy land,-may meet with the gracious fury be turned from us ; and let the acceptance Thou didst vouchsafe to consideration of our sinfulness and Daniel. May the commandment come unworthiness, and of Thy manifold forth at the beginning of our suppli- warnings to us, and long suffering
towards us, increase in us true repen. An earnest invitation to the friends of the Established Church, to join with several of
tance, faith, love, and all holy obetheir brethren, clergy and laity, in setting dience, that Thou mayst still continue apart one hour in the Sunday of every week for Thy favour, together with the light of prayer and supplication, especially during the present troublous times, was published in 1757, Thy gospel, to us and our posterity ; and a form of prayer was composed upon the and this we beg for Thy dear Son plan laid down in that pamphlet, of which this is an abridgement. It is mentioned in Hervey's
Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator Works, vol. vi. letter cxlii.
and Advocate. Amen.
CREATIVE GOODNESS.-CHRIST FEEDING THE MULTITUDE. An Extract from Dr. Cumıning's “ Foreshadows ; or Lectures on our Lord's Miracles,
as Earnests of the Age to Come."
We have in this miracle, too, I may Listening to the words that proceeded notice as I pass, an illustration of the from His mouth, they forgot they had text,“ Seek first the kingdom of God, bodies to be fed as well as souls to be and all other things will be added.' enlightened; they were so intent upon This multitude was drawn to Jesus the enlightening of the one, that they not merely, I believe, by seeing the forgot for the time being the necessimiracles that He wrought; for they ties of the other. Wonderful is the were not sick, or lame, or blind, or power that the mind has over the deaf; but as to the miracle-worker, body. Let the mind be intensely insome in sincere and anxious admira- terested or absorbed in any thing, and tion, others in questioning perplexity, man will forget that he is hungry, and both to the great Prophet that thirsty, weary, cold. In the case of should come into the world. So en- this multitude, they were so rapt and thusiastic was their attachment, that fascinated by all that Jesus said, that they followed Him into the desert. they forgot there was no food to be
purchased, and none to be borrowed for us to determine. There is a difin the wilderness into which they had ference between it and the miracle of wandered. But they followed Jesus, the water being turned into wine. and so far sought first the kingdom In the case of the water being turned of God, and then they found it ful- into wine I made the remark, that filled," and all things will be added.” the difference between the vine growSo will it be with us; let us seek first ing in the vineyard and yielding its to honour God, and happiness will grapes, and then ultimately coming spring up beneath our footsteps as we from the press and being drunk in seek Him. “Them that honour me the shape of wine, and the immediate I will honour.” And let our nation, production of the wine, was a differlet our country, do so at the present ence of time: that the ordinary miracrisis. Let it hallow God's sabbath; cle takes a whole year to turn the let it forget the possible advantages of vine sap into wine; that in the exa Sunday post-office, and remember traordinary one Christ accomplished the obligation of the fourth com- in minutes what it takes twelve mandment: let it try rather to save months in other circumstances to do. souls than to save time; let it be more But here it was not merely hastening anxious about doing what is duty, a process, but it was turning a few than prosecuting what is expedient; barley-loaves into a quantity of bread, and we shall see that if the railway prepared and fit for the people to and the electric telegraph have been eat. The only explanation of it we given as means of rapid communica- can give is, that the worlds were tion and blessings from God, He has formed by the word of God, so that other blessings in store, that will ren- things which are seen were not made der what is now thought to be expe- of things that do appear. We need dient, less necessary and less expedient to learn this lesson in looking at the than it is supposed to be. Depend miracles of God, that omnipotence upon it, that expediency follows prin- can do what we cannot do; but it ciple, not principle a seeming expe
also can do and does do what we diency; and the highest expediency cannot comprehend: so that not only in the universe is unreserved, unques- shall our physical powers be put into tioning obedience to God.
their proper narrow space, but our Our blessed Lord then wrought intellectual power shall also be taught the miracle to satisfy the wants of that it is the power of a creature them who had left their homes in finite, and not of the Creator infinite. order to hear the Gospel. And they And yet we cannot but notice that were conscious of the miracle; they the same power that was here shown saw it, they felt it, and there was no is shown every day. In the seed of doubt that it was a miracle. And the corn that shoots into the stalk, this leads me to suggest what a mira- the blade, and the ear, we have a cle is. It has often been disputed in miracle just every whit as great. In the present day whether miracles be the acorn cast into the earth, that in the Church, one party saying they develops itself into the gigantic and are, the other party saying they are over-shadowing oak, we have a pronot. The only evidence of a miracle cess just as marvellous every whit as is not fancy nor imagination, but the turning the few barley-loaves into a
If there be no visible mira- bountiful and gracious supply. But cle, there is no miracle at all; for the we are so accustomed to the former very definition of a miracle is, some- process, that we call it the natural thing above nature, and that the one, and give the honour and glory senses can see and testify to, or that to what we call the laws of nature :" on good historical authority and tes- we are so startled by the latter protimony we can accept as having been cess, that we are constrained to acdone, and so far the evidence of the knowledge and admit, This is the fininterposition of God.
But if the processes How or by what mysterious pro- were reversed; if the usual law were, cess this miracle was done, it is not that the word of some being turned
ger of God.