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no mountain but he can cause to become a plain. Go then, christian, to his throne. « Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus." Phil. iv. 6, 7.
On the Relation of Experience. .
IT is evident, from the consideration of the powers of man, that he was not made for himself. The social principle he possesses, the sympathy he feels, the faculties of communication bestowed upon him by his Maker, and the relation in which he stands, demonstrate that he was designed to exist not merely as a monument of creative wisdom, but as an instrument to promote the welfare of his fellow creatures. Cousider him as unconnected with society: his mind is contracted, his powers have but little room to play, and he becomes subject to an innumerable multitude of evils, which his own wisdom cannot shun, nor his power alleviate. The Almighty, therefore, has wisely fitted him for social intercourse, by which his latent energies are exerted, his wants suppli. ed, his mind informed, and the sorrows incident to this present state in some measure lessened.
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But if man in general be a creature formed for society, how much more so is the christian! He not only possesses those principles common to every man, and which are adapted for the gene. ral benefit of others, while in this world, but he possesses still higher principles. He is endued with wisdom from above. The immortal soul is the object of his concern. He does not merely find himself in society, but he wishes to be active in it, in order that good may be done, and the glory of God promoted by his instrumentality. Various are the ways by which these noble ends are to be accomplished. Reading the scriptures, supplication, meekness of spirit, and a holy conduct, he considers as excellent means of doing good. But he beholds himself as an object of discriminating favour. He can never forget what great things God has done for him. A sense of these lies warm on his heart. He cannot be silent. “ Shall all creation speak, “ he exclaims, “ shall all the universe be as one tongue to celebrate the divine benignity, shall all the dispensations of his providence loudly proclaiin his glory, and shall I be dumb ? No! the very stones would cry out. I have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Others shall learn from my relation the wonders of sovereign grace and redeeming love. " Open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul! Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf.” Ps, li. 15. lxvi. 16. Job xxxvi. 2.
Come ye that fear the Lord,
And listen while I tell
The snares of death and hell.
My drooping head he rais’d,
My bleeding wounds he heal'd; .
The gracious pardon seal'd.
O may I ne'er forget
The mercy of my God,
His loudest praise abroad!”
In this way it is that the christian desires to be useful, and becomes a blessing to society. While he diligently makes use of every mean that is ap. pointed, gratitude constrains him to testify to others the obligations he is under to his God. He has nothing to glory in, as it respects himself. His communications are not the communications of the vain boaster, the self-conceited pharisee, or the loquacious but empty professor. He is humbled in the dust under a conviction of his unwor. thiness. He considers himself as an unprofitable servant: and though his tongue be as the pen of a ready writer, yet his speech is with grace, sea. soned with salt. Out of the good treasure of his heart he bringeth forth good ihings.
But now let us consider more particularly what forms the subject matter of his conversation in the relation of his experience to others. And, first, the grace of God in his conversion is often a pleasing topic on which he delights to dwell. Amidst the vast variety of subjects that occupied the mind, dwelt on the lips, and employed the pen of the apostle Paul, that of his own conversion was not the least insisted on and brought forward. VOL. I.
What a noble, manly, beautiful, and interesting account does he give when standing before Agrippa! When writing to the Corinthians, he did not forget to relate the goodness of God towards him in this respect." Christ,” says he, " after his resurrection, was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.—And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But, by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." 1 Cor. xv. 1, &c. Thus, also, when writing to the Galatians, he says, “ For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it. And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, &c. Gal. i. 13, &c. With what a noble triumph does he declare to the Philippians the effects of his conversion! “ What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count
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them but dung, that I may win Christ.“ Phil. iii. 7, 8.. Again, in writing to Timothy, how he expresses his gratitude ! " I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, &c.” 1 Tim. i. 12, 13, &c. But it may be objected, that the apostle's 'conversion was miraculous, and, therefore, deserved a frequent relation and a lasting record. It is granted it was. But is not the conversion of every impenitent man a kind of miracle? It is a work which can be effected only by the same Power that can create a world, or reverse the general laws of nature. The darkness of the understanding, the obstinacy of the will, the unruliness of the affections, can only be removed by a supernatural in. fluence. The work is not of man. 6. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jer. xïïi. 23. Conversion, therefore, is the work of a divine hand; and when a man is brought to see his wretched state by nature, that he merits nothing but wrath, that perpetual misery must have been his portion if he had been left to himself, the change that is produced cannot be considered by him in any other light than as an extraordinary event; an event which is of such importance to him as an immor. tal creature, that it cannot fail to impress with gratitude, and stimulate to love. An event which, as it will be celebrated for ever in the world above, cannot, will not be forgotten in this world below.
But it is not the circumstance of his conversion only, but the influences of the Holy Spirit in his