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accountable beings. “Work out your | indispensable need. And, meanwhile, own salvation with fear and trembling." you will watch against every thing that Cherish habitual reverence of God, and would grieve the Spirit of God and exercise constant jealousy over your obstruct your growth in grace; and own hearts. If the apostle says of him- assiduously employ every means by self, “I keep under my body and bring which, under God, that growth may be it into subjection, lest that by any accelerated and matured, encouraged, means when I have preached to others as you are, by the assurance that he is I myself should be a castaway,” certainly always near freely to afford his aid. it behoves us to give heed to ourselves, “For it is God that worketh in you and to fear, lest a promise being left us both to will and to do of his good of entering into rest, any of us should pleasure. Wherefore the rather, breseem to come short of it.
thren, give diligence to make your The cultivation of such feelings will, calling and election sure ; for if ye do therefore, induce watchfulness and these things ye shall never fall. For so prayer. You will frequent the throne an entrance shall be ministered unto of grace more, and seek more impor- you abundantly into the everlasting tunately enlarged effusions of that holy kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus and blessed influence of which you will Christ.” increasingly feel your personal and Bridport.
THE MOURNERS COMFORTED.
BY THE REV. J. J. DAVIES.
“Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted."
THERE is an obvious adaptation in prepared, and which he freely offers to the promise mentioned in this passage us in the gospel. Jesus came not to to the characters to whom it is given. call the righteous, but sinners to reJesus promises comfort to the mourners. pentance; he came to seek and to save The mourning of which he speaks does that which was lost; we must, therenot hinder comfort; it is rather a neces- fore, be made conscious of our helpless sary preparative for its enjoyment. As and hopeless condition as sinners, or the setting of a dislocated limb is neces we shall never avail ourselves of the sary to ease, as the probing of an old salvation which is in Christ Jesus, but and corrupt wound, however painful will remain strangers alike to the healthe operation, is necessary to its heal- ing influence of his grace, and to the ing, so is godly sorrow for sin necessary consolations which he affords his people. to the enjoyment of spiritual health, Hence, where the Spirit comes, he coriand of holy consolation. The first work vinces men of sin. He shows them their of the Divine Spirit in the recovery of real character and condition. When man is to convince him of sin. As the they know this they are filled with whole need not a physician, but they apprehension and sorrow; they are that are sick, we must be made sensible pricked to the heart; they loathe themof our spiritual malady or we shall selves; they repent in sackcloth and never avail ourselves of the remedy ashes. which the great Physician of souls has This inward sorrow is needful to our
VOL. X.FOURTH SERIES.
spiritual healing. It is needful as a gall, and venomous as the serpent's preparative to the enjoyment of the sting. In the service of sin you begin consolations which Jesus gives to his with joy and you end with sorrow; people. The tears of pious sorrow are every pleasure contains in itself the often bitter, but they are of medicinal seeds of pain ; and your gratifications virtue; they contribute to the purifica- are only preparing for you the bitter tion of the soul, and they prepare it for cup of death. But in the service of those joys which the unholy cannot God, though you sow in tears you will realize. None of the tears of these reap in joy. “Sorrow may endure for a pious mourners are lost; they water night, but joy will come in the mornthe soil of the heart; they prepare it ing.” Your tears will all be converted for the seed of the kingdom; they into smiles, and your mourning will be refresh the plants of grace, and cause turned into dancing. You will have them to grow and Aourish. Yea, there “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for is a luxury in the tears of godly sorrow. mourning, and the garment of praise Though they are bitter, there is some for the spirit of heaviness." « Blessed sweetness in them too. While the heart are they that mourn : for they shall be is unbroken for sin, while the mind is comforted." unsubdued to God, and efforts are con But what is the nature of the constantly being made to cover sin, to hide solation of which Jesus speaks in this it, if possible, from yourself and from passage, and which he gives to them God, what restlessness, what anxiety, that mourn ? As it is not every kind of do you not experience! You are mourning of which our Lord speaks, so stranger to inward peace; your mind is neither is it every kind of consol tion like the troubled sea when it cannot that he promises to his people. There rest, which is continually casting up are many mourners who will never be mire and dirt. But when your mind is comforted, and there is much comfort subdued, and your spirit is melted in which Jesus never gives, and which contrition; when you freely confess indeed is not worth possessing. There your sins, and take part with the right- are many who say, " Peace, peace, when eous God even against yourself ; when there is no peace." There are many you acknowledge that he has been alto- who have their joys and their raptures, gether right, that you have been alto. but they are all delusive, and will gether wrong, and you submit yourself terminate only in disappointment and unreservedly to him, then you have distress. It is of great importance, peace; you mourn, but you do not therefore, that we should have right murmur; you repent, but you do not views of the consolations which Jesus repine or rebel; you weep, but through promises to them that mourn. Let it your tears you look confidingly to the be remarked, then,mercy-seat; you find that “tears have 1. That the consolations of the gospel their own sweetness too,” and you are always connected with humility. realize the truth of the Saviour's They are the mourners who are comwords, “ Blessed are they that mourn : forted; that is, they are those who for they shall be comforted."
apprehend the evil of sin and their exWe may here remark, in passing, posed condition as sinners, and who how different are the ways of religion are therefore bowed down in spirit from the ways of sin. The draughts of before their God. We must be stripped sinful pleasure may be sweet to the of those feelings of self-righteousness taste; but afterwards they are bitter as and self-sufficiency which are natural
to us, before we can enjoy the consola- | bly connected with right yiews of the tions of religion, To the proud they divine character and government, of are never imparted; by them they can the economy of redemption by Christ never be realized. The tendency of our Jesus, of the promises of the gospel, of nature is, unhappily, to abuse every its sacred requirements, and of the thing; and to convert even these con- glorious prospects which it opens to the solations into the food of pride. Paul believing mind, was in danger of being exalted above 3. The consolations of the gospel are measure by the abundance of the re- distinguished by the certainty of their velations with which he was favoured; enjoyment. Our Father who is in and to keep him still humble he had a heaven is the BLESSED God; and it is thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan his gracious purpose that his children to buffet him. But whenever we in- should be made partakers of the divine dylge a spirit of pride and self-suffi- nature. God intends that his people ciency, we are deprived of these con- should be happy; and he has made the solations. They grow not on the high most ample provision for their comfort. hills, but in the lowly valleys. They He has given them "strong consolation, flourish best beside the waters of affic and a good hope through grace.” tion, and amidst the tears of penitence. We do not, indeed, see all tears wiped The happy Christian is always the away, all wounded spirits healed, all humble Christian; he lives out of him- mourners comforted. It must, however, self in Christ.
be borne in mind that the fault is not 2. The consolations which Jesus gives in the gospel or in its Author. Jesus are characterized by purity. They are came into the world to comfort all that essentially holy comforts. They are mourn; and if there be any wounds holy in their nature ; and they are holy yet bleeding, any broken hearts yet in their tendency and in their effects. unhealed, any sorrowful spirits yet unTheir author is the Holy Spirit ; and comforted, it is not because he is unable all his gracious operations, as they are or unwilling to accomplish the purposes worthy of himself, so are they like him- of his mission. He can close those self; they partake of his own infinitely bleeding wounds; he can heal those holy nature. Their subjects are holy broken hearts ; he can soothe and com, beings; men who are renewed in the fort those sorrowful spirits. And there spirit of their minds. They cannot be is no reluctance on his part to do this. enjoyed in connexion with the love of All mourners are welcome to come to sin. Those who yield temptation him, and he will not cast them out; but and indulge in sin lose the consolations will heal and comfort them. But, alas! of religion, Their source is the pure there are many who will bear their truth of God. They do not originate in burdens alone rather than come to false views, in fancies, impulses, and Christ that they may find rest unto visions. Peaceful emotions, feelings of their souls. rapture and ecstatic joy, arising from God is called by the apostle," the impressions on the imagination, and God of all comfort;" and his gracious growing out of false views, may some assurance to his people is, "I, even I, times be found in truly pious minds ; am he that comforteth you.” With but they are perfectly distinct from the more than maternal gentleness and kindconsolations of religion. These are at ness does he do this, “ As one whom once enlightened and pure. Their his mother comforteth, so will I comfort source is truth; and they are insepara- 1 you.” Who can doubt the certainty of
those consolations of which God is the in the abundance of the things which author ? Think of his resources. What he possesseth.” His inward life, his can he not do ? “He is able to do real worth and joy, depend not on the exceeding abundantly above all that we circumstances in which he is placed, ask, or even think, according to the but on the state of his own heart. The power that worketh in us.” Think of consolations of religion are often realized his promises. What has he not engaged in the richest abundance when earthly to do? Hath he not said, “ I will surely comforts most entirely fail. Their worth do thee good;" "I will never leave is most sensibly felt in affliction and thee, I will never forsake thee ?” And trouble, in sickness and in death. As think of his faithfulness. None who our afflictions abound, our consolations have trusted in him have been put to through Christ do much more abound shame. He has ever fulfilled his word And “there is no man who hath left unto his servants, on which he hath house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, caused them to hope.
or children, for the kingdom of God's The Holy Spirit is called emphatically sake, who shall not receive manifold the Comforter. This is one of the more—in inward consolation-in this offices which he sustains in the economy present time, and in the world to coine of redemption; and he is to dwell with life everlasting.” All earthly comforts his people for ever, not only as a sancti- must soon fail. If they follow us through fier and guide, but also as a comforter. the whole of life, they must leave us in “Me,” said our Lord, "you have not death; and we must go to the world of with you always.” And this is equally spirits stripped of every earthly distinctrue of all human instructors and com- tion, and attended simply with our forters, masters, teachers, friends; we character, our consciousness, and our have them not with us always; perhaps responsibility. But the consolations of when we need them most they are religion never fail. Godliness has the furthest from us. But the spirit of promise not only of the life that now is, truth and grace may be always with us but also, and still more abundantly, of to sustain and comfort us.
that which is to come. I hear the 4. Hence it is that the consolations Psalmist say, “ Though I walk through of the gospel are distinguished by their the valley of the shadow of death, I will sufficiency and their permanence. In this fear no evil; for thou art within nie: respect, as well as in every other, they thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." differ essentially from all sources of the apostle exclaims, “ To me to live is earthly comfort.
These never Christ, and to die is gain.” " To depart satisfying in their nature, while they and to be with Christ is far better.” In are always transient in their duration; the near prospect of a violent and and, like the brooks which however ignominious end he triumphs, “ I hate swollen when the rains are heavy, are fought a good fight, I have finished my dried up in seasons of draught, they are course, I have kept the faith; hencegenerally most deficient when they are forth there is laid up for me a crown
of most needed. But the consolations of righteousness which the Lord, the the gospel are satisfying, while they are righteous Judge, shall give me in that enduring; and are most abundantly en- day; and not to me only, but unto all joyed when they are most wanted. them also that love his appearing." They flow from a divine and exhaustless And no heart can conceive what God source, and are not dependent on earthly hath prepared for his people above. things. “A man's life consisteth not They have their streams of comfort
here; but there they have the ocean | guard against constitutional tendencies fulness of felicity. “These are they to depression and gloom, and cultivate, which have come out of great tribula- as far as possible, sound minds in sound tions, and have washed their robes, and bodies. We must guard against the made them white in the blood of the depressing influence of adverse circumLamb. Therefore are they before the stances, and seek to live above the throne of God, and serve him day and world. We must guard against a spirit night in his temple : and he that sitteth of carelessness, against the fascinations on the throne shall dwell among them. of society, against temptation in every They shall hunger no more, neither form. We must acquaint ourselves with thirst any more; neither shall the sun the truth of God. We must especially light on them, nor any heat. For the have clear and elevated views of the Lamb which is in the midst of the principles of the divine government, of throne shall feed them, and shall lead the way of salvation by faith in Jesus them unto living fountains of waters ; Christ, and of the design of all God's and God shall wipe away all tears providential arrangements respecting his from their eyes.” “Blessed are they people. We must have no controversy that mourn : for they shall be com- with God. We must shun every habit forted.”
which is calculated to grieve the Holy But it is by MEANS that God comforts Spirit, and yield ourselves cheerfully to his people. In the enjoyment of the his gracious monitions. And we must consolations which Jesus gives, his dis- be much in prayer. Without prayer ciples are not mere passive recipients, we cannot walk with God, or, enjoy the they are active agents. They not only consolations which flow from friendship watch against those evils which poison with him. But if we who are evil know their comforts, but they use those how to give good gifts to our children, means which God has appointed for how much more will our Father who is their realization. If we would enjoy in heaven give the Holy Spirit the the consolations of the gospel we must | Comforter-to them that ask him?
CAUSES IN CONNEXION WITH TIIE MINISTRY WHICH TEND TO
HINDER THE SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL.
II. Entering upon and pursuing the souls of men, and their own awful rework of the ministry with wrong views sponsibility to God.
And that many a and motives. We do not here allude pious young man enters upon this to those wretched men who, being alto calling without duly weighing and gether strangers to the grace of God in understanding these matters, who can their own hearts, are actuated neces- reasonably doubt ? They mainly and sarily and exclusively by low and indefinitely aim at doing good and proworldly motives in this sacred office, moting the glory of God; but still their but to those who, though really good views of the sacred office they have men, do not sufficiently consider and assumed are in many points defective, lay to heart its character, its claims and and their motives in many respects duties, its momentous results on the tainted and perverted with the subtile,