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nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. * Have you not read of glorying in tribulation? Do you never reflect on that memorable passage in the prophecy of Habakkuk? “ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine, the labour of the olive fhall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my
salvation." The Lord has seen it meet to lay his chastening hand upon you, and you faint under it. filled with fearful apprehensions of his wrath, and ready to say, “ I am undone; he is come to call my fins to remembrance; his arrows of indignation are shot against me. These are the beginnings of forrow, and what the end will be, I know not.”.
* Mr. James Creswick, an eminent minister, a native of Sheffield, in Yorkshire, suffered joyfully the spoiling of his goods for the cause of Christ; he was greatly afflicted in his eyes, and endured much under the tormenting pains of the stone ; all which he bore with exemplary patience. He used frequently to say, 6 Lord, I am thine, and thou canst do me no wrong. I had rather have health of foul, in a body full of pain, than health and ease of body, with a distem
My brother, these are erroneous conclusions, equally dishonourable to God, and distressful to . yourself. What you call arrows of indignation may more properly be termed instances of love. He who is infinite in wisdom as well as boundless in mercy, sees the necessity of this wholesome difcipline, for the promotion of your best interests. He chastens you for your profit, to make you partaker of his holiness.
Perhaps you were too much attached to some created obje£t, as Jonah was exceeding glad because of his gourd. That object is removed, that your heart
may be more entirely given to God, and that he may reign there without a rival. A state of uninterrupted prosperity might intoxicate your mind, and lead you to forget your Redeemer, to neglect the affairs of your soul, and the concerns of a future world. Your earthly hopes and flattering prospects are therefore blasted, that you may set your affections on things above. The stream is dried up, by drinking too deeply of which you might have been surfeited, that you may drink more freely of the fountain of the water of life. These dispensations, therefore, mysterious as they are, are neverthlefs dispensations of love. When rightly understood, they are instances and proofs of the good-will of him who dwelt in the bush. When
you are tempted to say with the patriarch, in the season of despondency, “ All these things are against me," recollect the words of an inspired apostle, “ All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees, and say,
Then why, my soul, these fad complaints ?
Permit me farther to observe, that the children of God are sometimes apt to call in question the reality of his special tokens of favour and kindness. When they are indulged with the consolations of his Holy Spirit, they are jealous left these should be only the delusions of Satan. While men, whose hearts are not right in the sight of God, are too bold and presuming, the humble followers of the Lamb are prone to err through an excess of timi. When the Lord is pleafed to afford unto
Mr. Walter Marshall, of Hursley, in Hampshire, was much exercised with troubled thoughts for many years. He sought for peace of conscience by
his defponding children gracious intimations of his favour, it is unquestionably criminal in them, to call these but sparks of their own kindling, or delusions of Satan.
many mortifying methods, but his troubles ftill increased. He consulted 'an eminent minister about his case, giving him an account of the state of his foul, and particularizing the fins which lay heavy on his conscience. The minister, Dr. T. G. wrote to him in reply, that he had forgot to mention the greatest fin of all, that of unbelief, or not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for the remiffion of his fins, and the fan&tification of his nature. Upon this he set himself to the studying and preaching of Chrift; and attained to peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghoft, in conjunction with an eminent degree of holiness. His book on The Gospel Mystery of San&tification, so much recommended by the late Mr. James Hervey, was the fruit of his own experience. A little before his death, he faid to those about him, 66 I die in the full persuasion of the truth, and in the comfort of that doctrine which I have preached to others." His last words
of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jefus Chrift our Lord.”
The book, just mentioned, is abridged, and fome passages in it which were liable to abuse, very judiciously guarded against a wrong construction, by the late pious and sensible Mr. Benjamin Forfitto
It is a certain truth that Satan can transform him. self into an angel of light; but the sealings and witnessings of the Holy Spirit, if properly attended to, carry their own evidence along with them. And by the facred touch-stone of God's word, every thing of this kind ought to be tried. The effects of God's gracious manifestations of favour to the foul, bespeak their reality, and distinguish them from every thing of a delusive nature.
Has not the Lord often, by his holy word and Spirit, poured divine comforts into your desponding mind ? Has he not raised your heart to himself, in hope and trust, joy and confidence ? Has he not enabled you to derive encouragement from the gospel remedy? Have you not, to the relief of your pained heart, and the healing of your wounded conscience, beheld the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world ? Have not these views melted your heart into penitence, inspired you with love to Jesus, zeal for his honour, desire after holiness, and indignation against sin? And can you, afterwards, in a season of darkness, call this deception and delusion? Surely you will not cherish so unworthy a thought.
What would you think of the child of an earthly parent, who, after he has had the strongest proofs of paternal affection, should count them all as no.