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the olive-tree, and as the lilies," whose glory is greater than Solomon's in all his royalty.
If thou wouldest have thy graces send forth a sweet smell, apply, "His smell shall be as Lebanon." If thou fearest the continuance of this estate, apply, "He shall fasten his roots as the trees of Lebanon."
It matters not how great our barrenness be, when God will be a dew to us. It will quickly make us fruitful; we shall bring forth fruits glorious to the sight as the lily, and as the olive-tree; and the scent of our graces shall be a sweet-smelling savour as the trees of Lebanon. Therefore, though thou feelest thy heart yet barren, and thou hast used means long, and yet art not fruitful, still use the means and believe; for therein did Abraham glorify God, that he believed above hope that Sarah should have a son, whose womb was barren, and by years past child-bearing. So though thine heart remain barren in thine own feeling, after long use of means, yet still follow seeking in the means, and believe; for we have as sure promises, and as faithful a performer as Abraham had, Jesus Christ, yesterday, to-day, and the same for ever. "He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow ryers of water of life.a
* John vii, 38.
If thou wantest holiness.
"You shall be a holy nation.a
"And the Lord shall establish thee a holy people unto himself, b
The Lord will make thee holy; therefore neither sin nor satan, nor wicked men, can hinder thy holiness. For he that maketh thee holy, is stronger than all, and doeth what he will.
"The God of peace shall sanctify you throughout, in spirit, soul, and body. Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it."
When thou canst not offer up any sacrifice. When thou canst not offer up any sacrifice to God, of prayer or praise, or thyself in sacrifice, apply, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests. d" God promiseth that we shall be priests; that is, such as shall offer up sacrifice unto him, for that was the priest's office. Therefore, when thou findest thyself unable to pray, or praise the Lord, or to offer up thyself to God, soul and body, strive in faith, grounded on the promises. He which commanded, hath also promised to make us able to do it, for he hath said, we shall be priests.
In every place incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering: e" which
aExod. xix, 6. bDeut. xxviii, 9. c1 Thess v, 23, 24. dExod. xix, 6. Mal. i. 11.
is spoken of the believing Gentiles; therefore thou being one of them, shalt be able to offer up pure offerings.
When thou feelest but little grace.
When thou feelest but little grace, knowledge, faith, love, repentance, all very little, apply, "Though thy beginning be small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase.a
"Whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and he shall have abundance.b "
Therefore let not thy small beginnings discourage thee; but if thou canst prove thou hast some grace, then join faith and diligence together, and they will quickly make thee rich.
When all thy graces are weak.
When thou findest all thy graces very weak, and thou hast no strength to perform any spiritual duty, either prayer, or fasting, or any other duty; then apply, "The Lord will give strength unto his people.
"He giveth power to the faint, and to them which have no might he increaseth strength. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.d"
When thou feelest thyself faint, stay
Job viii, 7. Matth. xiii, 12. Psalm xxix, 11. disa. xl, 29, 31.
thyself with this promise, "He gives strength to him that fainteth."
When thou feelest no power, apply, "To him that hath no strength he increaseth power." If thou hast lost thy power; then stay thyself with this, "They shall renew their strength."
If thou art ready to give over through weariness, then gather strength from this, "They shall run and not be weary, and walk and not be faint."
And if thou findest not these promises performed unto thee, either thou endeavourest not to keep the conditions, or else thou art negligent in searching out the promises, or cold in sueing for them. The Lord will be sought to for the performance.
"I am thy God, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. " Trust thou in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.b"
To know there is strength in the Lord, is no comfort, unless we know it shall be for us. Therefore since it is given for a comfort, it must include this promise. Thus the Lord's strength for evermore shall be employed for our good. Therefore when we want for either soul or body, we must fix our confidence in Him who will not fail us if we seek unto him.
*Isa. xli, 10. bisa, xxvi, 4.
When thy heart is dried for want of grace.
When thou feelest thy heart dried want of grace, that thou canst not send forth any water of grace in thy thoughts, words, or works, apply, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. The Lord shall satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of waters, whose waters fail not.b
"He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh: but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.c
"Their soul shall be as a watered garden.d
"God giveth grace unto the humble.
"In the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert; and the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of waters:f" that is, the most barren heart shall abound with grace, according to this promise, "Out of their bellies shall flow rivers of the waters of life.
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God
"Isai. xliv, 3. b Isa. lviii, 11. xxxi, 12. James iv, 6. fIsai. vii, 38.
Jer. xvii, 8. dJer. xxxv, 6, 7. 6John