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is his language, 66 that I sojourn in Mesech, that' I dwell in the tents of Kedar.” Ps, exx. 5. He sustains a painful conflict, mourns that he serves his Lord with such little fervor, struggles hard with his powerful inbred foes, labours for a greater conformity to the Divine will, and prays that he may still persevere in the midst of all that opposi. tion which arises not only from outward evils, but internal depravity. · As he advances in his journey heavenward, he
experiences the vanity, mutability, and emptiness of the world. His understanding being enlightened, he sees the excellency of, and his will being renewed, he possesses a taste for those divine things which are so far superior to all earthly good. He has, indeed, the same natural feelings in common with others; is a creature of the same wants; requires the same supports, and is capable of the same enjoyment of temporal blessings as those around him; yet he is taught to view all these things in a different light to what they do who place all their felicity in them. While they make them their portion, he gratefully considers them as the little comfortable accommodations by the way; while they idolize them on the one hand, or abuse them on the other, he uses them with caution, and passes on. He remembers that he is in a world that cannot constitute his happiness; a world where all things are fading away ; a world never designed to be his perpetual abode, or final happiness. Yea, he has been convinced, by his own experience, of the impropriety of placing confidence in creature comforts or sublunary good. Like others, he has been tempted at times to sit down by the way; to listen to the
fascinating but deceptive song of the prosperous worldling; and to imagine that yet celestial flow
like Jonah, he has no sooner looked with complacency on his gourd, and beheld with pleasure the comforts around him, than he has espied a worm at the root, and heard the voice of Providence commanding him to depart. I find then, says the christian, that this is a wilderness where the bitter streams are continually flowing ; a world deceitful in its prospects, uncertain in its enjoy. ments, and fallacious in its promises. Here, (continues he) how soon are the finest schemes frustrated; the lofty superstructure raised by care and industry dashed to pieces; the most lovely objects unexpectedly torn away; happy connexions dissolved, and the most promising ap. pearances exchanged for disappointment and sor. row! And shall I rest here? Here, among ruins, tempests, robbers, and a thousand evils? Can there be any thing in the complaints of the living, the groans of the afflicted, the uneasiness of the rich, the disappointments of the multitude, and the wickedness of man, to invite me to take up niy abode here? Rather Lord, enable me to go forward ; and, while I use the world without abusing it, keep my eye on that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
Another thing which belongs to the christian's
and thdisappoire, ama
files his nature, and which he considers so offen. sive in the sight of God. Men in general, indeed, acknowledge not only that sin has entered into the world, but that it is opposite to the divine
s one of our the pursuit on, law, gratilgo on in
will. But this is nothing more than the bare asi sent of the understanding to the fact. The be-. lief of it makes no impression; they still go on in their sin. Conscience, reason, law, gratitude, are all sacrificed for the pursuit of it; and, indeed, it forms one of the most awful sights in the uni.' verse, to buiioid a feeble, defenceless, miserable creature, as man is, constantly insulting the Almighty, while at the same time he knows he is doing wrong. Such, however, is his conduct; and as he knows by experience the forbearance of God, he endeavours to reason himself into the belief that God will always forbear, and thus, " because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecc. viii. 11. But sin is not thus indulged, nor divine goodness thus abused, by the righteous. The sacred flame of divine love having been kindled in his heart, every thing which appears to him as inimical to the will of God, fills him with horror. Convinced of the holiness of the divine nature, the spirituality of the law, and the evil there is in sin, he beholds it with the utmost detestation. He knows, too, that it is sin that interrupts his peace, damps his joy, and causes him to go mourning in the way. This is the burden he is labouring under from day to day ; and though he is made free from it as to its reigning power, yet its remains so taints all his works, so enervates his spi. ritual powers, so retards his progress, as often to make him doubt his interest in the love of God. Here it is that the real christian is distinguished from the boasting pharisee, the formal professor, and the deceiving hypocrite. These are cha
knows, is joy, and is the by
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racters; who, though they visit the temple of the Most High, engage in external acts of devotion, and call themselves the disciples of Jesus, yet, alas! never feel sin to be their burden, never lament over it in secret, nor indeed ever see its defiling nature. But the convinced mind, that mind which is truly broken and contrite, is overwhelmed with shame, and at times scarcely dare look up to the Almighty ; so powerful is the conviction, and so just is the view which it has of sin. Hear the confessions of the true penitent. “ Woe is me, I am undone. Unclean, unclean. I have sinned : what shall I do unto thee, O! thou preserver of men ! I am a sinful man, O Lord. To us belong confusion of face. My sin is ever before me. I have sinned, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” Hear his prayers. " Take a way mine iniquity. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Let not sin have dominion over me. Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great. Have mercy on me, O Lord.” Hear his determinations. " I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will run the way of thy commands. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Is. vi. 5. Job vii. 20. Luke v. 8. Hos. xiv. 1. Ps. li. 10. cxix. 133. xxv. ll. ci. 2. cxix. 32.
But the experience of the christian would be sad, indeed, did he not find something adequate to his wishes, and calculated to support his mind under these views of himself, of the world, and of sin. Here it is, then, that he is led to embrace the gospel as the only true remedy. Condemnned by the law, oppressed with a sense of his depra.
vity, sensible of the imperfection of his own righteousness, he is taught by the Divine Spirit to look to Jesus as his refuge. Here his burden is removed, his fears subside, his hope brightens, and his soul is set at happy liberty. Here, reposing under the shade of the cross, he admires and addresses his Saviour: “Blessed Immanuel, throu art the object of my regard. It is thy blood that cleanses from all sin : to thee I look for salvation ; on thee I depend for my present happiness and future safety. Here let me dwell for ever, view. ing thee as my Great High Priest: while I live, let me live to thee; and when called away from this world, let me join that celestial throng who . shall sing the song of Moses and the Lamb for- } ever." Here we see how appropriate, how de. lightful, the gospel is to the true christian. It is his strength in weakness, his light in darkness, and his greatest joy under all the opposition ari. sing from his various enemies. He receives Jesus as his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. To him the Saviour appears as altogether lovely. He glories in his cross, experiences the love of God as shed abroad in his heart by the holy Ghost, and abundantly rejoices in the finished work and complete atonement made by his Lord and Saviour. 1 Cor. i. 30. Rom. v. -5. Gal. vi. 14.
But while he thus embraces the remedy the gospel affords, and is dependent on free grace alone for salvation, yet he does not think himself at liberty to neglect the divine commands, and make Christ a minister of sin. Another part of his experience, therefore, is that in which he not only sees but feels the happy effects of divine