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Strong in the Lord of Hosts,
From strength to strength go on;
Then having all things done,
III. The promise which follows. "Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord." His grace will assist us, and he will guide us to the haven of eternal rest. "If any man," says our blessed Lord, "come unto me, him I will in no wise cast out." Follow then in his steps, as far as lies in your power on earth; and if at any time you should depart from the path of true wisdom, remember the invitation, and embrace it swiftly, lest the night arrive, and the day be spent,—your day of grace be past and gone. Carry his cross; it may be tedious, but it points to an immortal home. Follow him on earth that you may live for ever with him in glory. Then will you know, yea, the righteousness of God, and you will experience that happiness which the world giveth not, neither can take away.
Reader ! what is required of thee by God is very little, especially when thine own sinfulness is remembered. And if you desire to be forgiven, you must " come and return unto the Lord" immediately :—you must confess your guilt, and be sorry for your sin. In ,x little while the invitation may be no longer yours; and if you have not followed in the steps of the righteous, how can you expect your " latter end to be like his i" Pray for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, that you may cleanse and purify your heart!" Then shall you know, if you follow on to know the Lord." Are you aware of the importance of renewing your heart; or does it appear to you extravagant? If you should in the last day be found wilfully ignorant, how will you answer for it to God? He will require your account; and oh, may you be found blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ! The spirit of God increaseth and diffuseth spiritual knowledge; but the spirit of the world defileth the temple of God "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me." "Then shall you know if you follow on to know the Lord," even the deep things of God ; " I will betroth thee unto me, in faithfulness, in loving-kindness, and in mercies."
"Return, and come to God;
Say not ye cannot come;
Say not ye will not come;
Come, then, whoever will;
Let him then who sees in what a precarious situation he stands, labour earnestly to crucify the old man with his deeds, and so attain to the high prize of the calling of God in Christ Jesus, which when gained will be to his great and endless comfort. He has left the world and is serving his divine benefactor. Oh, who can adequately picture his happiness? He feels and knows the spirit of God to be within him, with its all-sanctifying influences, and knows now what he did not know before. "For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his." Such will lead you to glory, and will be as a well of water springing up in you unto everlasting life. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." "Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways ; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" "I beseech you therefore, brethren," says St. Paul, "by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world : but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may approve what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (Rom. xii. 1 & 2.) "Also, thou Son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls, and in the doors of thy houses, and speak one to another every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee as my people, and they hear my words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument : for they hear thy words, but they do them not."
Lastly. Improve your precious time, let it not be wasted "in shapeless idleness," or in attending to frivolous pursuits. Forget the things which are behind: press forward to what is before you. Guard against distraction of worldly cares; a warning most necessary in these our mammon times 1 See what progress you make in your love to God and man, and how far you exhibit those holy principles which shone so conspicuously in our blessed Redeemer. Then amidst all the changes and chances of this mortal life, you will be happy in yourself—you will have obeyed the injunction and received its blessing—" Acquaint thyself with God, and be at peace." You will be longing to realize those beantiful promises in the land flowing with milk and honey, in the presence' of our Mighty Deliverer, who hath ransomed thee from the power of the grave, who hath redeemed thee from death ; and with far more justice than it was originally used, you may adopt the beautiful exclamation—" O praeclarum ilium diem, cum ad illud divinum animorum concilium coetumque proficiscar atque ex hac turba et colluvione discedam!"
"And now, without redemption, all mankind
wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire."
"O Thou in heaven and earth the only peace
A. M. W.