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..) 4.4 they stare me in the face. I am ready to question whether ever there were a saying change wrought
I think within myself, surely, none of God's children ever carried it towards him as I have done. Such a backslider in heart and life as I am, may justly expect to be filled with his own ways. I sometimes even fear that I have sinned beyond the reach of mercy; having been once enlightened, and after that fallen away, how is it possible that I should be renewed again unto repentance ? May I not look rather for fiery indignation, than for a gracious acceptance into favour ? Or if my sins have not reached to that degree, I am certain they have been attended with awful aggravations. I have sinned against light and love; I have been guilty of frequent and dreadful relapses; I have violated conscience, and grieved the Holy Spirit of God. These considerations wound me to the very heart, and cover my face with shame and blushing, so that I am not able to look up. Had I provoked a fellow-creature as I have provoked the Most High, what favour could I expect ? But this thought relieves me, I have to do with God, and not
I will study, I will plead his gracious and merciful declarations. He hath said, “My people are bent to backsliding froin me ; though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt
him. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Ifrael? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him." *
The backsliding christian stands in great need of the manifestation of divine favour, in restoring life and vigour to his languishing graces. “I have,” says
“ by my wanderings from God, not only loft the sweet sense of his favour, but I have impoverished my own soul, and brought it into a lean and languishing condition. My leanness, my lean
* 6 Depth of mercy! can there be
Mercy still reserv'd for me?
God his wrath forbear?
Jesus speaks, and pleads his blood!
Father's bowels move :
ness, woe is me! My faith staggers, my love is cold and feeble, my hope of heaven languishes, the springs of godly forrow are dried up, or run very faintly. My heart is smitten and withered like grass. A cold winter has benumbed all the active powers of my soul, and nothing but the flowers of grace, and the shining of the Sun of righteous
Kindled his relentings are,
There for me the Saviour ftands;
If I rightly read thy heart,
Pity from thine eye let fall ;
and melt my heart.
Help me, help me to repent,
ness can revive me. In the spring season, the Lord sends forth his Spirit, and renews the face of the earth ; O that he would be graciously pleased to give me a happy spring season in my inner man; that he would renew and revive his work in my heart, and cause the fruits of righteousness to be produced in me, ' his praise and glory! By my carelessness and sloth, I have been caft into a deep fleep. By the idleness of my hands, my foul suffers hunger, and is reduced to a starving condition. By the indulgence of fin, I have given wounds to my conscience, which nothing but his grace and favour can heal. Lord, return unto me, and have mercy upon me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee. Deal with me according to thy word; O be mindful of the gracious promises thou hast made to backsliding souls. I will endeavour to recollect some of them, and to plead them before thy throne of grace.”
“ After two days will he revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. I will leal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Ifrael : he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his sinell as Lebanon. They
that dwell under his shadow shall return, they shall revive as the
grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon."
“Lord, remember these great and precious promises in my behalf, and give me to experience their full accomplishment, which will be to thy poor servant as life from the dead."
The troubled backflider stands in need of the manifestation of divine favour, to restore peace and comfort to his soul. Let us suppose him in his retired moments, expressing the language of his heart in the following soliloquy. “I have, by my own folly and perverseness, lost that comfortable sense of God's favour which I once enjoyed. The Comforter that should relieve my soul, is withdrawn; O that I knew where I might find him! My foul is far off from peace; I forget prosperity;
peace I have great bitterness. I mourn like a dove, and afflict myself, but in vain. I remember God, and am troubled, when I think of the past experience I have had of his comforting presence. These happy seasons are now enjoyed no longer. I say within myself, Will the Lord cast off for ever? Will he be favourable no more? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? It is long since I was favoured with the cheering light of his blessed countenance. There is a great and