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or intentionally given. Envy corrodes and consumes the soul, as a canker. And anger, like the volcano that first heaves and rends the adjacent earth, and then emits its fearful contents, spreading around it desolation and death, first distracts the soul in which it dwells, and then diffuses misery to all who come within the range of its influence.
The evil surmisings, the railings, and the perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, are some of the bitter fruits that evidence corrupt nature, and the evil that dwells within. And as soon might we expect the sailor to have peace in the midst of the howling storm, or the soldier to have comfort in the heat of batile, as an unsanctified man to have happiness in his unsanctified condition.
But when the soul is renewed in righteousness by the Spirit of God, the tempest is turned into a calm. Now, says the Apostle to converted characters, “ Ye put off all these-anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy com'munication out of your mouth. Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Put on therefore bowels of mercies, kind. ness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” —Col. iii. 9, &c. Now this humble, peaceful, thankful disposition, is the very essence of happiness. It produces," the soul's calm sunshine and the heart-felt joy.” Outward annoy. ances may occur to such as possess it, but none of these
move them ;” they remain undisturbed as the towering rock on whose summit the summer's sun shines bright, unshaken by the angry wave that dashes against its base.
4. A farther source of comfort to the people of God, is the testimony of a good conscience.
A self-accusing conscience is a fearful source of dis. quietude to the ungodly. From the strife of tongues we may retire by distance, and even from an armed enemy we may retreat to a fortress, but conscience follows man as closely as his shadow in the sunshine; and neither dexterity nor power can rescue from its grasp. Even in the retreat of solitude, where no other voice is heard, it speaks like thunder; and in the repose of the pillow which often lulls other miseries for a time, it stings like an adder, and bites like a serpent. But when, by the blood of Christ, the heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience, the supporting and sustaining spirit of God, in the exercise of watchfulness, preserves the saints of the Most High from those wanderings from duty which would lead conscience to disquiet and distress them. They still have much cause to be humble in the sight of God; and nothing at all wherein to glory as a self-righteous plea; yet can they say with the Apostle, “'our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with freshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.”—2 Cor. i. 12.
The ungodly world indeed often charges them with hypocrisy, and casts out their name as evil; but they have a mind conscious of uprightness, which even a heathen could consider as a brazen wall to defend the possessor from every assault. Hence, it is said, “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm cxix. 165.
5. Another ingredient in the happiness of the people of God, is the pleasure of doing good.
When men are actuated by that selfish spirit which is natural to every unrenewed man, they delight in whatever will promote their own interest, and feel quite indifferent to the welfare of others. The plea of deep distress, and the persevering importunity of the indigent, often overcome this selfishness; yet it is the prevalent princi. ple in every unconverted man. Hence, it is said, “All seek their own things.”—Phil
. ii. 21. But when the love of God is shed abroad in their heart by the Holy Spirit, pure benevolence springs forth as water from a fountain. God is good unto all; and his tender mercies are over all his works. He is kind even to' the unthankful and the unholy; and his children bear a family resemblance to this feature of their Father, who is, in heaven. The injunction of that. Parent is, “ that they should do good unto all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith ; and in conformity with this precept they have a peculiar affection for all that bear the divine image: but as they have an opportunity, they extend the hand of kindness to all. They
« feed the hungry, clothe the naked, warn the unruly, comfort the feeble.minded, and support the weak.” When the ear hears them, it blesses them ; when the eye sees them, it
gives witness to them, because they deliver the poor that cries, the needy and him that has none to help. The blessing of him that was ready to perish comes on them, and they cause the widow's heart to sing for joy.-Job xxix. 11. No one will doubt that the recipients of such kind. ness would feel sincere pleasure in receiving it; and yet our Lord assures us, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”—Acts xx. 35. The generous heart surveys the fruits of its own kindness, and the comfort it confers with genuine delight; and when the good conferred is of a spiritual and eternal nature, he is not only willing to spend and be spent in promoting it, but rejoices in doing 60, with a joy unspeakable.
6. We shall only examine one other ingredient in the consolations of the people of God--their blooming hope of immortal glory.
Though consolations in Christ abound, afflictions also often abound to the righteous. The present state is not their final one. It is only a state of preparation for another. To answer the purposes of their training up for immortality, their heavenly Father sees it necessary, that the bitter as well as the sweet should be infused into their cup; and that they should bear the burthen of life. Hope, however, is sent to their aid in their most trying circum. stances, and bears them high above their light afflictions, ihat last but for a moment. Even in the ordinary occurrences of life, hope is the great balm that soothes human sorrow.
The man of poverty endures his present wants with resignation, from the hope, that some favourable event will raise him out of his present indigence. The man of pain, endures days of vanily, and wearisome nights also, with acquiesence, when he is cheered with the hope of returning health. And if the prospect of improving circumstances, even for a few years in this present evil world be so consoling, what must it be to enjoy the prospect of “ an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away P pu This hope of the Christian is called a " blessed hope.”—Titus ii. 13. A" lively hope.”—1 Peter i. 3. A®“ rejoicing in hope."-Rom. xii. 12. Its objects indeed are so glo. rious, that they cannot fail to create exquisite delight. It exhibits to the true believer“ a house not made with hands, a kingdom that cannot be moved, and a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” It promises him the society of the just made perfect,' the holy and the happy angels that here, unobserved, ministered to him many an office of kindness; and above all, the presence of that Saviour, “whom, having not seen, he loved, and in whom, though now he sees him not, yet, believing, he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” It assures him, that "the Lamb that dwells in the midst of the throne shall feed him, and lead him to fountains of living waters;" that he shall wipe from his eye every tear of sorrow, and fill his heart with the purest pleasure; and that all this unspeak. able glory shall be eternal.
“O glorious home, O blest abode,
We shall be near and like our God;
Happy art thou, O Israel, cheered with such delightful anticipations. No people is like to thee in time nor eternity.
QUESTIONS ON THIS ESSAY. What is the subject of it? What is the text? What do
you understand by the people of God? What do the ungodly admit, with regard to their prospects ? For what is godliness prostable at present? What is the first ingredient in the happiness of the righteous? Quote Isaiah xii. 1. What is the second source of consolation? Quote Rom. viii. 16. What is the third source of comfort ? What are some evil passions that annoy the unconverted? What opposite dispositions dwell in renewed minds ? Quote Ps. lxxxix. 15. What is the fourth source of comfort? What does conscience do to the wicked? What is the rejoicing of the righteous ?-2 Cor. i. 12. What is the fifth source of comfort ? What is the general feature of the world ?-Phil. ii. 21. In what actions do the righteous delight? What is the sixth ingredient in the happiness of the righteous? What are some of the blessings it holds in view? Repeat the poetry.
A PRAYER ADAPTED TO THIS ESSAY. O LORD, thou art over all, blessed for ever. Thou art happy, independent of every creature. But we are dependent on thee for life, and breath, and all things. We rejoice that thou hast no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he should turn from his ways and live, that thy goodness is daily manifested to the unthankful and the unholy, to bring them to repentance, and that thou art eminently a God of all consolation to thy children in Christ Jesus. O turn away from each of us thy deserved anger, and let not our iniquities be remembered against us any more for ever. O lift upon us the light of thy countenance, and let thy Spirit bear witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God. O send thy renewing sanctifying grace into our hearts to purify us from anger, and wrath, and malice, and every evil passion, and to infuse into us love, joy, and peace. May we have the testimony of a good conscience; whilst in simplicity and godly sincerity we have our conversation in ihe world; and may our hearts not reprove us, so long as we live. Since it is more blessed to give than to receive, incline and enable us to do good unto all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith. And O save us, by hope, from every grovelling care, and help us to soar to the land of pure delight. Let the prospect of that happy country lead us calmly to wait all our appointed time, till our change come, and let our hope never make us ashamed, being accompanied with the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. And finally, bring us and ours to inherit thine eternal kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer.-Amen.
COMFORT ADDRESSED TO AWAKENED SINNERS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. Sir,
AWAKENINGS in religion excite, in the hearts of the subjects of them, emotions of an impressive and exquisitely delicate character; yet from the very nature of the case, the emotions produced by the primary perception of divine truth, must be of a painful, rather than of a pleasing tendency. The sinner, carried round in the vortex of this world's dissipating pleasures, and having never till now given a moment's consideration to the things of eternity, must be sorely amazed, agitated, and alarmed, when he first becomes alive to bis awful responsibility before God, when he reflects on the amount of guilt under which le lies, and when he beholds the frowns of heaven against him, which bis conduct justly merits. Granting that the