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fast in repelling every attack, you should be found in the place where you may best be able to do it. Here you must not stand on another's ground, or in another's way. The child is safest in his father's house; the subject under his own government. Now to oppose your enemies with success, take care of standing in your own strength, or in a careless disorderly posture. “ It hath cost some their lives for fighting out of their place, though with great success. Manlius killed his own son for no other fault." Stand, therefore, on God's ground; use the armour he hath provided; persevere in the midst of all opposition : so shall you be more than a conqueror, through him that hath loved you. The service may seem hard at first, but strength shall be given equal to your day. " As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation aboundeth by Christ.”* If you, indeed, give way to an inconstant, fickle spirit, ready to bend to every slight temptation, to run after every new thing, it will be no wonder if you get wounded ; but if you persevere, though you do feel difficulties in this service, yea, supposing that even in the struggle you receive a wound, it will be more glorious to say, This I received not in deserting, but in defending my Master. “If a workman gets a cut or a woundfrom his axe while he is at work in his calling, he may bear it more patiently and comfortably than one that is wantonly meddling with his tools, and hath nothing to do with such work.”' Some, perhaps, may be ready to object, and say, If I am thus to be always stedfast and precise, I shall lose my character, my friends, and many
* 2 Cor. j. 5.
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temporal advantages. And what if you do? Is it not better to lose every thing rather than to trifle with truth, to make light of sin, and eventually bring ourselves into misery and trouble ? for trouble must be the end of it; whereas, on the contrary, suffering for Christ is sure to bring support with it. When affliction or persecution overtakes the christian travelling in the good way, he may shew the Bible, as that holy man (suffer. ing for Christ) did, and say, “ This hath made me poor, this hath brought me to prison;" that is, his faith in the truth, and obedience to the commands of it, were the occasion of his thus suffering: and if you can say, Well, it is through this constancy in God's ways and work, and not through my indolence, my discontent, my pride, that I suffer this loss, that I bear this trial, that I meet with this reproach, happy are you: the Spirit of God and of glory rests upon you. Go on, therefore, in this best of all causes, stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; so shall ye know that your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
In the midst of all, endeavour to keep up coni. munion with God, and maintain a conscientious deportment in every situation where Providence may direct you. Some things may appear to you so dark, that you will hardly be able to tell how to act, so as to keep in the path of duty. Here, always distrust the dictates of your own heart; place the Bible before you, lay aside every selfish motive, and after all, if it be difficult, be sure to keep to the side of integrity, truth, and holiness. As it respects the leadings of Providence, some people much deceive themselves : they look for some immediate or supernatural interposition, or
take a detached part of scripture; or their minds have been suddenly impressed with the line of conduct they ought to pursue, that they make themselves sure they must be right. But, though we may naturally expect the divine assistance, and ought to consult the sacred scriptures, yet we should be cautious how we proceed upon the ground of impulses. Our inclinations, frames, or even the bare form of scripture expressions by which we may be led, form no argument that we are right. In all cases of this kind, therefore, be deliberate: do nothing rashly. Examine the business on every side, as far as you are capable ; consult those who have more experience, for, in general, in the multitude of counsellors there is safety : earnestly beg of God to make the way plain. He has promised to give wisdom. “ The meek will he guide in judgment, and teach his way." If you have a tender conscience, keep up feliowship with him ; make his word your rule : you will not, I believe, meet with many problems of this kind which you will not be able shortly to solve.
But some have been greatly grieved, on their first entrance into the divine life, at the recollection of their former conduct towards others. A parent perhaps has been insulted, a brother or a sister has been misrepresented, a neighbour has been injured. In these cases it is proper, indeed, that we should feel and make all the reparation in our power, since restitution* is both the law of reason and of revelation. We should not, however, let the remembrance of our past conduct in the days of our ignorance so operate as to embit. ter our present comfort. If in times past we have done evil to any, let us now become their friends, and demonstrate the reality of our conversion by doing good to those we once despised and wilfully wronged. Maintain in every place an uniform obedience. This will be a greater evidence of your love to God, than if you had the most brilliant talents, the most astonishing powers ever conferred upon a human being. This will often put to silence the clamour and ignorance of foolish men ; this will exhibit religion as it really is, as a living principle, man's best ornament, and his true security and happiness. In every thing set before you the example of Christ. Ask the question continually, “ Can I do this, and not sin ?” and while you feel your own weakness, and
* The following is part of a copy of a letter sent by a young man to his former master, with thirty pounds inclosed : “ Dear Sir,
« Prior to my connexion with you, I had some know. ledge of the principles of religion, and had made a considerable profession in the ways of God; but being carried down the tide of pleasure, through the giddiness of youth and the numerous temptations of the metropolis (flowing from the prolific source of a depraved heart,) wonder not that I should, when given up thus to drink in sin with greediness, make a still further trespass upon every law, human and divine. From the inclosure herewith sent, and the above declarations, you will be ready to anticipate my design, which is, to make a retributious acknowledgment for my frequent infringements on your property while under your roof: but being now quite unable to ascertain the amount thereof, I have sent you a draft for thirty pounds, which wiil, I am assured, put you in possession of the whole of your property, together with interest thereon. The Lord has blessed me with a wife, and, with her, a sufficiency to live in easy circumstances : but I sometimes hope that he has done materially more for me, in teaching me to know myself, and to prize the Saviour of sinners. True religion is of an operative nature, and instructs her votaries to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this world ; as a proof whereof, this act may be considered as an effect of the grace of God on the heart."
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that without grace you can do nothing, place your confidence in his strength; draw near to his throne, and say, “ Cleanse thou me from secret faults : keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be accepta. ble in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."*
It may be the case wish some of my readers, that Providence has favoured them with more ta. lents, wealth, and opportunity than others. To such I would say, Next to your own personal holiness and felicity, study to be useful. Do not imagine that the work of doing good is left entire. ly to ministers and eminent christians. There is a field in which the private christian may move; and by attention to his duty in it, he shall find it constantly enlarging. But you may ask, What good can I do? In what way can I be employed, so as to be serviceable to my fellow creatures? I answer, Look around, and you will find a multi. tude of imperious calls, saying, Come and help us. Is there no Sunday School you can institute in your neighbourhood, or, if instituted, you may promote? Are there not many children you be. hold in a deplorable state of ignorance, that you may be the instrument of teaching? Cannot you purchase at a small expence religicus tracts, and disseminate them far and wide ? Do you not know of many dark towns, villages, and hamlets, where
constantiattention to his'ivate christians.
* Ps. xix, 12....14.