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men, whose souls are most thoroughly exercised unto godliness, live far below their privileges; and are, for long periods, and some for the greater part of their lives, destitute of that peace and comfort which the Gospel so amply discloses; and which, by the blessing of God, more enlarged and enlightened views of its nature would enable them to entertain. Whilst the careless and hardened, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, are living in ease and feasting themselves without fear; many of the dearest of God's children, who shall soon reign with Christ in righteousness, and be satisfied with his likeness, are walking in darkness without light, going mourning without the sun, or suffering his terrors and distracted.
"To the afflicted pity should be shown. But no sufferers have stronger claims upon our sympathy and kindness, than those who are in trouble on account of the state of their souls before God. It is at once the most painful distress which any in this world can sustain; and at the same time there is none which we have greater encouragement to undertake to remedy. The provisions of the Gospel are so full, various, and comprehensive,
that there is no perplexity, despondence, or alarm, under which a spiritually-minded person can labour, which they are not fitted to remove: and if they fail to afford immediate and complete relief, the fault must lie either in the unskilful manner in which they are administered, or in the patient's refusal to receive them. In itself the antidote is infallible, and the depression which believers experience generally arises from defective views of the glorious Gospel, or a partial reception of its health-giving and joy-creating discoveries.
"The following volume is intended as a contribution to the removal of some of those causes of spiritual dejection, which frequently occur. And if the principles contained in it, are cordially embraced, the Mourner in Zion shall, before many years, be ushered in the full blaze of celestial light and the unbounded possession of eternal bliss. With such a prospect before us, let us in the meantime strive to do honour to his generosity and truth, by relying on his promises, living near him, applying and using the riches of his grace, and endeavouring more and more to promote his interest and honour. This will connect earth with heaven, and the
toils and trials of time with the peace and triumphs of
"And if any who are strangers to the renewing of the Holy Ghost shall look into this publication, let them remember that the matters which are here discussed are not vain things. They are inseparably connected with the safety of the soul. The day is not far distant when you also shall discover, that the possession of the whole universe is not to be compared with an interest in the righteousness of Immanuel: and if you despise, or neglect it now, you are preparing for yourselves an amount of wretchedness and horror, before which all the sufferings of time shrink into insignificance; of wretchedness and horror too great for the powers of human utterance, and which endless ages of lamentation and mourning will neither repair nor diminish. For what will it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your own soul? or what can you give in exchange for your soul? Consider what I say: and the Lord give you understanding to know, in this the accepted time and day of visitation, the things which belong to your everlasting peace."
Go forth, little Volume, in the name of the Great Comforter of souls, comfort all that mourn, give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Pittsburgh, January, 1834.