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. says the christian, “ may always be directed in a right channel, my affections wholly placed on the chicf good, my powers all employed in his service, and for the promotion of his glory! Thou, O God, art the best of Beings; infinitely lovely in thyself; the fountain of all excellency. I want to be more like thee; my temper, my conversa. tion, my conduct, my exertions, my all, to reflect the splendor of thy grace. How hateful is. sin to me! how it defiles the soul, darkens the mind, and exposes to the most extreme wretchedness! O purify my heart, subdue all the corruptions of my nature, keep under thy subjection all the passions of my soul! Whatever befalls. me, let me not sin against thee; but give me grace that I may persevere, perfecting holiness in thy sight. Order my steps in thy word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant, also, from presumptuous sins ; let them not have dominion over me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and Redeemer!" Ps. cxix. 133. cxxxix. 2, last. xix. 11, 12, 14.
Thus the christian wishes to run the race that is set before him, and to lay aside every weight. He knows God is the chief good, the author of all holiness and happiness; and though he is certain he is not to be justified or accepted on account of his desires, his merit, his works, but solely by the grace of Christ, yet his soul burns with holy ar.
dour to be conformed to him, to see more of his glories, to taste more of his love, to enjoy more of his presence, and live more to his praise. " Doubtless," saith the apostle, “ I count all things but loss for the excellency of the kuowledge of Christ-and that I may be found in him
that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable unto his death. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead: not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. »5 Phil. iji. 8, &c.
Lastly ; anticipation of a future state of blessedness enters much into the experience of the prosperous christian. How pleasant to him to reflect that he shall soon have done with all the troubles and discouragements of the way! Here, it is true', the animal frame is subject to pain ; trials disturb), enemies oppose, darkness surround, and difficulties perplex; but there the weary shall be for ever at rest. It is this that often supports him under the inconveniences of the way and the troubles to which, he is here exposed.“ Soon,” says he, “ shall I have done with all these ; and I reckou that the sufferings of the present time are not wor- · thy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed. Rom. viii. 17. What is the cross, compared to the crown; the darkness here, to the
everlasting light hereafter; the contempt and indignity of men, to the favour of God; the sorrows of this life, to the joys of heaven ; the evils of time, to the glories of eternity? And I am passing on; every moment brings me nearer. Heaven, glory, God, immortality, are opening to my view. O how transporting to think that I shall be for ever with the Lord! ever to admire his perfections; ever to adore his designs; ever to contemplate the wisdom of his providence, and the works of his hands; ever to celebrate his goodness; ever, with the celestial multitude, to surround his throne, and ascribe everlasting ho. nours to his name! There sweet harmony, glorious liberty, pure affection, happy union, pleasing recollection, divine intercourse, and sublime pleasure, shall eternally subsist. O happy period, when the shackles of niortality shall be broken, when the earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, and my soul transported to these bliss. ful realms! Adorable Redeemer! when shall I awake up after thy likeness; when wilt thou speak the word, and say, Soul, come up hither? Patiently would I wait all the days. of my appointed time, till my change come; but, О the day, the happy day, when the last enemy shall receive the commission to do his work, and I shall be freed from the scenes of mortality to dwell with thee ! Let me cherish the thought. Let the world and all its cares sink in my estimation, and let eternity, joyful eternity, be before my view; for I know in : whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he will keep that which I have committed to him.” Thus the christian meditates; and with what propriety he may indulge himself in the pleasing em
ploy, we may easily conclude, when we consider - the beautiful descriptions and happy promises
given in the sacred records of his finai happiness. “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” The apostle says, that " We, who have believed, do enter into rest.” If, after all, then, our present view is only but as an entrance, what will the full possession be! To stand at the door, or to have an entrance only to a superb and beautiful mansion, fills the mind with wonder ; but to enter in, fully to survey every object, to inspect every beauty, and see the excellencies of the whole, how great the privilege ! Thus here we have an entrance ; and if even this fills with admiration, what will it be to take complete possession, and behold the infinite glories of that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens! This unspeakable blessing we may anticipate. “ Father, I will,” says the Saviour, “ that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory. They shall ccnie froin the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God. They shall see his face, and reign for ever and ever." i John iii. 1, 2. John xvii. 24. Rev. xxii. 5, 6.
To conclude: learn what an invaluable blessing soul prosperity is. What is every other kind of prosperity when compared with this? What are riches, ħealth, fame, friends, power, grandeur, victories, or even human learning and splendid talents? These may elate, but not sanctify. They give influence over others, but how little over Vol. I.
their possessors! They rate high in the estimation of men, but how insignificant in the sight of God! They are as blazing meteors for the mo. ment, but how soon extinct! while the prosperous christian is a sun that shines for ever. Ah! his soul outweighs them all. Behold him, and you see more of God, of heaven, of true glory, and of solid happiness, than in all the universe beside. Learn, then, reader, to seek this. You may be a christian, it is true, but not a prosperous one. But be not content with just being alive ; with having a small share of health ; with just being able to make out that the vital spark exists, though it he low. Act with your soul as you would with your body, that it may be strong, vigorous, and healthy. Live upon the whole. some food the gospel affords; use the spiritual exercise it prescribes, avoid the contagious air it prohibits, and watch against those evils it points out, and which naturally tend to prevent growth and strength, energy and action, in the best of services.
Let not, however, the weak and young be discouraged. In reading this chapter, some may be ready to say, “Ah! I am fearful I am deceiving myself. How little do I feel and know of what is here described! My heart is so cold, my know. ledge so scanty, my faith so weak, my joys so few, that I am ready to conclude I am yet a stranger to divine grace." But fear not; there may be life where there is not strength. A child may breathe, may feel; but cannot speak, cannot walk, cannot judge. Thus you may be a subject of grace, though at present you possess not that extent of knowledge, that strength of faith, that joy