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the light of God's countenance, he may fay, farewel sweet light, I shall behold thee no more. To Satan he may fay, O mine enemy, thou hast at last prevailed against me, thou art stronger than and haft overcome. To duties and ordinances he may fay, Where is the sweetness I once found in you? Tou' were once sweeter to me than the honey-comb; but now as taxes less as the white of an ogg. Ofad relapse! deplored. change! quantum mutatus ab illo?
But will God leave his poor creatures helpless, in such a cafe as this? Shall their leaf fall, their branches wither, their joy, their life, their heart depart? Will he see their graces faine, ing, their hopes gasping, the new creature panting, the things that are in them ready to die, and will he not regard it? Yes, yes, " there is hope of a tree if it be cut down, and the root « thereof wax old in the earth, yet by the fçent of water it will « budy and bring forth boughs like a plant,” Job: xiv. 8; 9.
This poor declined soul, as fad as, it fits at the gates of hell, may rouze up itself
at last, and say to Satan, that stands triumph ing over him, “Rejoice not over me,, O mine enemy, for “ though I fall, yet I shall arise ;, though I fit in darkness, the “ Lord shall be a light unto me,” Micah vii. 8. He may raise " up himself upon his bed of languishing for all this, and say to God, “ Though thou hast chastned me fore, yet haft thou not “ given me over unto death." He may turn about to the saints that have mourned for him, and with a lightfome coun tenance say, '“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works “ of the Lord.” He may fay, to the promises, You are the true and faithful sayings of God. My unbelief did:bely you, I said in nty hafte you were liars, but I eat my words, I am ashamed of my folly. Surely, O foul, there is yet hope in thine end, thou mayest be restored, Psal. xxiii. 3. thou mayest yet recover thy verdure, and thy dew. be 'as the dew of herbs. For;
1. Is he not thy father, and a father full of compassions, and bowelş.? And can a father stand by his dying child, see his fainting fits, hear his melting groans, and pity begging looks, and not help him, especially having restoratives by him, that can do it ? Surely, “ As.a father pities his own children, so “ will thy God pity thee," Psal. ciii. 12, 13.
He will spare 66 thee as a Father spareth his own son that serves him,” Mark iii.
i. 17. Hark, how his bowels yern! “I have surely heard “ Ephraim bemoaning himself. Is not Ephraim my dear fon? “ Is he not a pleasant child ? For since I fpake against him, I do s earnestly remember him ftill, I will surely have mercy on « him," jer, xxxi. 20.
2. Doth he not know thy life would be altogether useless to him, if he should not restore thee? What service art thou fit to perform to him, in such a condition ? “ Thy days will con* sume like smoke, whilft thy heart is smitten and withered “ like grass," Pfal.cii. 3, 4. 'Thy months will be inonths of vanity, they will fly away, and see no good, Job vii. 3. If he will but quicken thee again, then thou mayest call upon his name, Pfal. Ixxx. 18. but in a dead, and languishing condition, thou art no more fit for any work of God, than a sick man is for manual labours; and surely he hath not put those precious and excellent graces of his spirit within thee for nothing; they were planted there for fruit and service, and therefore, doubtless, he will revive thee again.
3. Yea, doft thou not think he sees thine inability to bear such a condition long? He knows "thy spirit would fail be“ fore him, and the soul which he hath made;" Isa. lvii. 16. David told him as much, in the like condition, Pfalm cxliii. 7, 8. “Hear me speedily, I Lord, for my spirit faileth; hide «s not thy face from me, leftl be like unto those that go down “ into the pit :" 7. d. Lord, make hafte, and recover my languishing foul; otherwise, whereas thou haft now a fick child, thou wilt shortly have a dead child.
And in tike manner Job expoftulated with him, Job vi. 1, 273, 11, 12. “My grietis heavier than the fand of the sea, my « words are swallowed up, for the arrows of the almighty are 66 within me; and the poison thereof drinks up my spirits: • The terrors of God do fet' themselves in array against me. « What is my strength that I should hope? Is my strength the “ strength of stones ? or are my bones of brass ?” So chap. vii. 12. “ Am I a fea, or a whale ?” &c. Other troubles a man may,
but this he cannot bear, Prov. xviii. 14. and therefore, doubtless, seasonable and gracious revivings will come, “ He
" “ will not ftir up all his wrath, for he remembers thou art but “ flesh, a wind that paffeth away, and cometh not again," Pfal. Ixxviii. 38, 39. He hath ways enough to do it; if he do but unveil his blefled face, and make it shine again upon thee, thou art saved, Pfal. lxxx. 3. The manifestations of his love, will be to thy soul, as showers to the parched grass; thy soul, that now droops, and hangs the wing, shall then revive, and leap for joy, lla. Ixi. l. a new face shall come upon thy graces, they shall bud again, and blossom as a rose. If he do but fend 2 spring of * auxiliary grace into thy foul, to actuate the dull
* Grace needs more grace to put in exercise,
of Earthly Things. 55 habits of inherent grace, the work is done; then shalt thou return to thy first works again, Rev. ii. 4, 5. and fing, as in the days of thy youth.
REFLECTION S. O this is my very case, faith many a poor Christian ; thus my soul languishes and droops from day to day. It is good news, indeed, that God both can, and will restore my soul;
; but sad that I should fall into such a state; how unlike am I to what I once was ! Surely, as the old men wept, when they saw how ihort the second temple cane of the glory of the first ; so may I Git down and weep bitterly, to conlider how much my first love, and first duties, excelled the present. For,
heart so much in heaven now, as it was wont to be? Say, O my soul! dost thou A convictive not remember, when, like the beloved disciple, reflection. thou layest in Jesus's bosom, how didst thou sweeten communion with him ? How restless and impatient walt thou in his abfence! divine withdrawments were to thee as the hell of hell; what a burden was the world to me in those days! Had it not been for conscience of my duty, I could have been willing to let all lie, that communion with Chrift might íuffer no interruption. When I awaked in the night, how was the darkness enlightened by the heavenly glimples of the countenance
of my God upon me? How did his company shorten those hours, and beguile the tediousness of the night? O my foul, speak thy experience, is it now as it was then? No, no, those days are past and gone, and thou become much a stranger to that heavenly, life. Art thou able, with truth, to . deny this charge? When occasionally I pass by those places,
I which were once to me as Jacob's Bethel to him, I figh at the - remembrance of former paffages betwixt me and heaven there; and say, with "Job, chap. xxix. “O that it were with me as in “ months past, as in the days when God preserved me, when “ his candle shined upon my head, when by his light I walked “ through darkness, when the Almighty was yet with me, “ when I put on righteousness, and it cloathed me, when my
, “ glory was fresh in me! When I remember these things my « fout is poured out within me.”
2. Is thy obedience to the commands of Christ, and motions to duty, as free and chearful as they were wont to be ? Call to mind, my soul, the times when thou waft borne down the ftream of love to every duty. If the Spirit did but whisper to thee, saying, Seek my face, how did my fpirit echo to his
calls ? "faying, " Thy face Lord will I seek,” Psal. xxvii. 8. W God had any work to be done, how readily did I offer my service ? Here am 1, Lord, send me. My soul made me like the chariots of Aminadab; love oiled the wheels of my affections, and “this commandments were not grievous;" i John v. 3. Non tardat untła rota. There were no fuch quarrellings with the command, no such excuses, and delays, as there are vow. No, fuch was my love to Christ, and delight to do his will, that I could no more keep back myself froin duty, than a man that is carried away in a crowd.
Or, lastly, tell me, O my soul, doft thou bemoan thyfelf, or grieve fotenderly for fin, and for grieving the holy Spirit of God, as thou waft wont to do? When formerly I had fallen by the hand of a temptation, how was I wont to lie in tears at the Lòrd's feet, bemoaning myself ? How did I hasten to my closet, and there cry, like Ezra, chap. ix. 6. “O my God, I am * afhamed, and blush to look up unto thee:" How did I figh and weep before him, and, like Ephraim, fmite upon my thigh, saying, “ What have I done ?” Ah my soul ! how didit thou work, Itrire, and caft-about how to recover thyself again? "Haft thou forgotten how thou wouldit sometimes look up and figh bitterly? Ah! what a God have I provoked? what love and goodness have I abused? Sometimes look in, and weep, Ah! what motions did I withstand ? what a good spirit have I grieved ? Ah! my soul, thou wouldit have abhorred thyself, thou couldft-never have borne it, had thine heart been as ftupid, and as relentless then as now; if ever a poor foul had reason to diffolve icfelf into tears for its fad relapfes, I have.
2. But yet mourn not, O my soul, as one withA fupporting
out hope. Remember, * There is hope in Ifrael reflection.
“ concerning this thing." As low as thy cordition is, it is not defperate, it is not a disease that fcorns a remedy; many a man, that hath been stretched out for dead, hath revived again, and lived many a comfortable day in the world; many a tree that hath cast both leaf and fruit, by the fkill of a prudent husbandman, hath recovered again, and been made both fourithing and fruitful. Is it not eafier, thinkeft thou, to recovera languishing man to health, than a dead man to life? And yet this God did for me, Eph. ii. 1. Is any thing too hard for the Lord ? " Though my foul draw nigh to the pit, and my life to the de« ftroyers, yet
he can send me a messenger, one among a thou« fand, that shall declare to me my uprightness; then thall he de« liver me from going down into the pit, my fieth shall be fresher
than a child's, and I shall return to the days of my youth,” Job
xxxiii. 22. Though I flourish, and much of my fruit too be gone, and I am a withering tree; yet as long as the root of the matter is in me, there is more hope of such a poor, decayed, withered tree, than of the hypocrite that wants fuch a root, in all bis glory and bravery. His fun (hall set, and never rise again; but I live in expectation of a sweet morning, after this dark night.
Rouze up, therefore, O my foul, fet thy faith a work on Chrift for quickening grace, for he bath life in himself, and quickeos whomsoever he will, John vii. 38. Stir up that little which remains, Rev. iii. 2. halt thou not seen lively flames proceed from glimmering, and dying sparks, when carefully collected, and blown up? Get amongst the most lively and quickeniog Christians ;." as iron fharpens iron, fo will these “ set an edge upon thy dull affections,” Prov. xxvii. 17. Acts xvii. 15. But, above all, cry mightily to the Lord for quickening, he will not despise thy cry. The moans of a distressed child, work upon the bowels of a tender father. And be sure to keep within thy view the great things of eternity, which are ready to be revealed; live in the believing and serious contemplations of them, and be dead if thou capit. It is true, thou haft reason enough from thy condition, to be for ever humbled, bot no realog at all from thy God, to be in the least discou, raged.
The PO E M.
A worthlefs plot of husbandry,
1 Mine cves o'erflow, my heart doth finky
As oft as on those days I thiok. VOL. VI.