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But true genuine humility is of a calm, peaceful, happy nature. Yea, if happiness is to be found any where, it is in that breast where humility reigns. It is the grand key to contentment; and a man can only be at rest as he is humble. To such a character afflictions are met without repining, and borne without impatience. Duties are not thought hard, nor crosses unnecessary. Candour, meekness, forbearance, patience, kind. ness, are the lovely train that attend the abodes of humility, while they adorn and bless its happy subject.
Farther; the prosperous christian enjoys frequent communion with his God. “ Truly,” says St. John, “ our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” “ God is faithful,” says St. Paul, “ by whom ye were called to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 John i. 3. I Cor. i. 9. What happy moments does he spend in the enjoyment of the divine presence? How delightfully he contemplates the at. tributes, the works, the providences, the promises of the Almighty ! At the throne of grace, in read. ing the sacred oracles, in hearing the glorious gospel, in singing divine praises, and sitting down at his Master's table, what happy communion does he enjoy! In contemplating the works of creation, the dispensations of Providence, and the displays of mercy and grace, his heart is drawn away from the world, and lifted up to hea.. ven. With David he can say, “ Thou hast put. gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine increased. He finds that in the light of his heavenly King's countenance there is life, and that his favour is as the cloud of te
latter rain.” Ps. Ixiv. 6. Prov. xvi. 15. None know, but those who have experienced it, what sublime joys, what divine tranquillity, flow into the soul when thus communing with God. Here it is that the christian forgets all the toils, the cares, the troubles of the way. Here that his mind is absorbed in delightful contemplations of the wonders of redeeming love. Here that he reads his name in the book of life, and rejoices in God as his portion. Here that he shakes the dust from his feet, catches the celestial fire that warms his heart, and expands all the powers of his soul. Here that he looks forward, and anticipates with the highest pleasure the crown, the immortality, the glory, the joys which are to come. It is true, he finds himself in a world where objects touch him on every side, and where a thousand things stand ready to draw off his mind, and thus interrupt his pleasures. But he is anxious evcry day to keep up tliis communion with God, and to make every event, whether prosperous or adverse, subservient to it. O that I may set the Lord before me continually! Thou hast been the kind guardian of my life ; should I not, then, devote myself to thce ? Should I not commit myself to thy care? I know not what a day may bring forth; but this I know, that all events are in thy hand, and that thou canst not do wrong Afford me the light of thy countenance, and all shall be well. Then welcome crosses, disappointments, and trials. I can bear all things when thou art with me. If thou art my light, no dark
ness can surround me. If thou art my strength, - no trouble can depress me. If thou art my salvation, no enemy can conquer me.” Even in Vol. I.
the concerns of a family, or the cares of business, he still walks with him, constantly imploring that wisdom which is profitable to direct ; that meckness that shall bear opposition without being ruffed; that fortitude that shall meet difficulties without being dismayed; and in every thing that spirit which is suitable to the christian character, and which shall favour his fellowship with God.
Another thing that enters into the happy expe. rience of a christian, is submission to the will of God. " I was dumb," said the psalmist,“ and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.” Aaron under a severe trial, it is said, held his peace. Jobe stands upon the ruins of temporal prosperity, and exclaims, “ the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.” The consideration of the sovereignty, the wisdom, the love, the covenant, the promises, and the conduct of his God, enables him to bear with patience, while the Holy Spirit powerfully strengthens and supports his mind, by bringing it to depend less on the creature, and more on the Creator. "I see God will have all my heart, and he shall have it," was a fine reflection made by a lady, when news was brought that two of her children were drowned. And how resigned was the mind of that christian female, who, being sick, was asked, Whether she was willing to live or die, answered, “ Which God pleases !! “ But,” said one, “ if God refer it to you, which would you choose ? " Truly," replied she, “ I would refer it to him again." What are trials to that man who knows and be. lieves that all are under the direction of a wise hand? What are losses to him who places his hap.
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piness in the chief good? What are bereavements to him who believes that God can be better to him than millions of creatures ? What is opposition to him, who knows that He to whom all power belongs can in a moment frustrate the wisest schemes, break to pieces the most formidable weapons, or scatter a thousand foes by a sudden turn of his providence ? ( what are all the afflictions of life, or even death itself, to him, who neither covers the one nor fears the other, but with a noble triumph can say, “ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain !!!
Indeed, if it were only the benefit he has derived from past afflictions, I say, if it were only this, he finds an argument even here for submission to the divine will. What is the language of experienced christians? “ How good is it,” says one, “ for me to be afflicted; for before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have I kept thy word.” “ I was at ease,” says another; “I doated on my children, they became my idols; but I saw them unexpectedly snatched away, and now have I learned how necessary it is that God only should be my portion.” “ The wheel of business,” says a third, “ran round so rapidly, that nothing else engaged my attention ; but suddenly it stopped: mortified and dispirited, I retired : I flew to the bible, and there I read, · Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth. At once the passage was explained, and my own conduct became the best expositor." “ Fain," says a fourth, “ would I have gone through yonder flowery fields, where the refreshing stream delightfully glides along, and where the prospects seem so charming and pleasant. But no, says Providence : you must tread a different path; a path where, to all appearance, no. thing but barrenness, briars, and thorns could be seen. “Here,” says the christian, " as I advanced, behold the crooked was made straight, the rough places plain, and the wilderness became a fruitful land ; while, looking with more discernment on yonder field of pleasure, there I saw that, though thousands entered with such willing feet and happy countenances, yet, behold, the end was indolence and wretchedness, poverty and death. “Thus," says the christian, “would I no more desire my own will, but be resigned to Him who knows what is best for his creatures; and who, though he leads them not in a path of their own choosing, yet conducts them in a right
« My times of sorrow and of joy,
Great God, are in thy hand ;
And go at thy command.
If thou shouldst take them all away,
Yet would I not repine:
They were entirely thine,
Nor would I drop a murm'ring word,
Tho' the whole world were gone ;
In Thee, and Thee alone !"
Another thing which characterises the prosper. ous christian is ardent zeal. Grace is operative, and in proportion as we are influenced by it we shall be active. A cold frozen-hearted christian is a contradiction of terms. To be a christian is