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knows what is good for his child, and what might do him harm, better than the child himself knows. A man in a raging fever earnestly longs for strong drink; but his attendant with holds it from him, because he knows it would increase his disorder, and perhaps endanger his life. The attendant de . nies what is requested, out of love to the afflicted
God is our faithful keeper, and merciful preserver. He is infinitely wise to know what is best for us, and what would be to our burt. As a proof of his favour, he often does us good, in some sort, against our wills. It is a mercy to be sometimes refused what we eagerly wish, rather than to have our fond desires gratified. Remember it is said of the rebellious Ifraelites, who asked meat for their luft, “ He gave them their request, but fent leanness into their souls." This gift was a mark of displeasure, rather than of favour.
The last case I shall mention, is that of the tempted christian. • If I am interested in the divine favour,' says such a one, why am I hurried, and almoft distracted with violent temptations from day to day ? The powers of darkness seem to be let loose upon me;
thrusts at me sore that I should fall, and comes against me like a roaring lion, ready to devour. My life is one continued confli&t.'. X
No. XVIII. 1.
not read of a certain eminent faint, who had a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him ? Was this an indication that he had no interest in the divine favour ? Just the contrary; there was given him a thorn in the flesh, left he should be exalted above measure. If the Lord suffers you to be violently assaulted by temptation, it is neither for want of love to your person, nor for want of power to deliver you; but for wife ends and purposes. · Perhaps you are thus exercised to keep you humble, to make you more fensible of your constant need of him who is able to fuccour those that are tempted, to stir you up to watchfulness and fervent prayer, to induce you to make use of the shield of faith, whereby you fhall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, to make the final conqueft the more glorious, and to render death more desirable, and heaven more welcome.
Of Assurance of Interest in the Favour of God.
A well-grounded, habitual persuasion of interest in the divine favour, is certainly a privilege which has been enjoyed by many, and which may ftill be experienced by real christians in our day. The
Lord has been pleased to make provision for the comfort of his people, in a matter of such valt importance. Paul was persuaded, that nothing could feparate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Was this persuasion an appendage to his office, as an apostle? The contrary, I think, is evident. This was a part of his experience as a christian; and it is a privilege which lies equally open to us.
For we have the fame gospel, and the same promises as he had. The efficacy of the teaching, fanctifying and comforting operations of the Holy Spirit, cannot be weakened by length of time; his power and grace are the same they were in former ages.
Were the promises of God refpe&ting salvation conditional, they would not be a proper foundation for an assured expectation of receiving what is so promised. But as these promises are abfolute, they ascertain the possession of that to,
which they relate ; since he that has made them is faith. ful, and has promised nothing but what he is able to perform. The tenor of such promises as have respect to eternal salvation is, I will, and they shall; " I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” In their nature, therefore, the promises are suited to produce and support a holy confi. dence towards God.
The Almighty has confirmed these promises by an oath, for this express purpose, that those who have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set be. fore them, might have strong consolation; this confolation arises from the two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, the promise and the oath of Jehovah, giving them afsurance of his favour, and of their security in consequence of it.
The witnessing and fealing of the Holy Spirit may serve to convince us, that those to whom he bears witness of their being the children of God, and those whom he seals to the day of redemption, must be assured of their interest in the divine favour. Sealing is consequent on believing; “ After that ye believed, ye were sealed.” It is likewise the office of the Holy Spirit, to dwell in real christians as the Spirit of adoption, enabling them to address God as their Father, through Jesus Chrift, with boldness, liberty, and confidence.
There have been many, in all ages, who have witnessed what we are now speaking of, who have been well assured, on folid grounds, of their interest in the favour of their Maker. They have been able to adopt, with propriety, the language of his people recorded in the sacred fcriptures, and to rejoice in the glorious benefits flowing from the
fountain of redeeming love. They have said, “The Lord is my light, and my salvation ; I will truft and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my falvation. He loved me, and gave himself for me. We have known and believed the love that God hath unto-us.
God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him !"
If many professors of religion in the present day fall short of this privilege, there is certainly a cause for it, and that cause lies at their own door. This privilege is not to be enjoyed without the diligent use of those means, which God hath appointed for our increase and growth in grace. It is not to be enjoyed without self-denial, watchfulness and circumspection. It is never experienced, in any comfortable degree, but in the affiduous practice of religious duties; such as prayer, reading the word of God, meditation, self-examination, and a constant attendance on the worship of God. Those who expect to enjoy the privilege in queltion, in the neglect of these means, do but deceive themselves. They may exclaim, if they please, against remarks of this kind, as favouring of legality, we know that God has been pleased to connect the end with the means; and what he has joined together, let no man think to put asun