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He sometimes, by a sudden calamity, causes to and for the mitigation of which the sinner can flash upon the mind, with the suddenness, the plead no excuse; it is with an earnestness at vividness, and the fearfulness of lightning, the which the dead in sin may wonder, or which truth which had formerly shone clearly and they may deride as weakness, but for which steadily, but unregardedly, from the page of there is in reality too good reason, that the conrevelation. What is thus accomplished by the victed and self-condemned sinner cries, Men and frowns of Providence, is sometimes not less brethren, what shall I do? suddenly, and not less strikingly, accomplished This is a cry, not in soltitude; or if in solitude, by the simple preaching of the word. While the not in solitude alone. It is a cry directed to cloud of Providence is charged with the light- those who can sympathize with, and counsel, in ning, the Scriptures—the quiver of the Almighty, such an emergency. And to such, though a are charged with the sharp arrows of conviction; distressing, it is a gladdening cry. It is the and when directed by the Spirit, are not less uttered pangs of the second birth; but it is joyeffectual in piercing to the dividing asunder of fully prophetic of the life that shall never die. soul and spirit. The simple announcing of a True repentance is a cup of bitterness—a dark text is sometimes the means of startling the valley—a day of great heaviness and sorrow, conscience from the sleep of self-security, to a and trembling of heart. It is the daughter of painful apprehension of coming wrath. “As a sadness, clothed in sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. dream when one awaketh,' so the sin-convicted Her eyes are red with weeping, and her breast is and self-condemned sinner comes to a conscious- bare, and sore with beating. Were this the ness, that hitherto he has been dead, while he sorrow of the world, which worketh death, we lived—dead to the most solemn and momentous might well weep over it. But it is a sorrow realities, to the most certain, the most awful, and which calls for joy-joy even in heaven—the joy the most imminent of dangers.
of angels over one sinner that repenteth. The The effect of such a disclosure is an irrepressi- gay, laughing prodigal, wasting his substance in ble alarm; and while an irrepressible, it is seen riotous living, makes the wise man, and espeto be a well-founded alarm, respecting the salva- cially the serious Christian, weep. The prodigal tion of the soul. For, how fearful the revelation become the swine-herd, sitting in rags, without which the disclosure makes! It is wrath that is a friend to give to him, and fain to fill his belly revealed, the wrath of an Almighty avenger, with the husks that the swine did eat, full of wrath revealed from heaven, from the throne of melancholy, poignant thoughts on his past folly Him whose glory now appears like a consuming and the want and degradation of his present state; fire not the radiant glory of a purely beaming this sad spectacle fills the wise man and the light, of an unclouded sun, as He appears to serious Christian with the joy of hope. But it angels and reconciled men; but the portentous is a spectacle enough to make the sons of God glory of a fiery meteor, of a blood-like sun shout for joy, when the downcast prodigal, coming charioted in mountain masses of lurid clouds to himself, and calling to mind his father's house, pregnant with flames, in which the red right says within himself, “How many hired servants hand of the Almighty seems embosomed, and in my father's house bave bread enough and to already moving to smite with its awful everlast- spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise ing vengeance. It is wrath too, from which there and go to my father. The prodigal is yet in is seen to be no escape. It is seen that he that wretchedness; but he is on his way to happiness: fleeth shall not escape, and he that escapeth shall and the joyful father might well say, even before not be delivered. And while it is 'a fearful the best robe was put upon him, before the ring looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,' was on his hands, or the shoes on his feet, “let from which there is no escape; it is a judgment us eat and be merry.' It is not then to uninand indignation, for deliverance from which the terested, but to deeply and joyfully sympathizing sin-convicted can plead no self-satisfying, and far counsellors--to brethren, that the penitent address less a God-satisfying excuse. His sin, he has themselves, when they inquire, “What shall we come to see, was wilfully, obstinately, and per- do? Let not the spiritually distressed, therefore, severingly committed; and so committed, not-fear to go to the godly minister or neighbour, to withstanding manifold counsels, warnings, and ask counsel, how they may obtain comfort to rebukes.
their afflicted souls. Let them go to impart joy The terrors of the awakened conscience being and return rejoicing. thus, the terrors of coming wrath-wrath from heaven-wrath from which there is no escape,
TWENTY-FOURTH DAY.—MORNING veil.' Imagination makes the poet feel; so does
true faith the Christian. It brings the object their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, und from the power of Satan unto only reality but proximity. It enables him
whick it contemplates near to him,-gives it not God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, to know experimentally the full import of that and inheritance among them which are sanc
expression, “Enoch walked with God; and can tified by faith that is in me,' Acts xxvi. 18.
he but feel, when he is conscious of such august “Who so blind as those who will not see?' asks and holy companionship? the proverb. And says the prophet, ‘Bring forth We have said that hearing is not seeing. But the blind people that have eyes. There is, then, there is also a seeing which is not the seeing of other than natural; there is intellectual, moral, faith. There is openness of the mind's eye to spiritual blindness. Comparatively few are blind truth in the abstract, while there is blindness to to the light of the sun. It is the reverse of truth in the concrete, that is, to truth in conthis with the light of the gospel: comparatively nection with the object of whom it is affirmed. few have their eyes open to behold it. None The eye of the mind may take in the idea of can behold it, till they obey the command in infinitude, and wisdom, and power, and goodness. its spiritual sense, “Go wash in the pool of from the works of creation and from the page
of Siloam. Go then, ye that are blind, to the foun- scripture, while there is a habitual blindness to tain of gospel truth and spiritual influence; like the personality, presence, and active agency of the blind man, wash in faith, and like him you the Being in whom these attributes reside. In will come seeing.
short, God's attributes as abstract truths may Seeing what? God in his majesty, holiness, enter the mind and remain there, while God's and frowning displeasure against iniquity—sin personality and presence as the actual possessor in its guiltiness and loathsomeness—self in your and exerciser of these attributes, is habitually guilt, depravity, danger, and helplessness—Christ excluded. And so of every other scripture truth. in his all-sufficiency and freeness for your salva- This enables us to understand how unbelievers tion—God in Christ, reconciling a guilty world and nominal Christians can sometimes stand unto himself, not imputing to them their tres- amazed at the works or ways of God, and yet passes. You will see time in its shortness and with truth be said to be “living without God in uncertainty, eternity with its heaven of bliss and the world. It is the mere immensity of the its abode of misery—the one in its allurements, power, or wisdom, or beneficence, which overthe other in its terrors, and both in their unend-awes them, not the apprehended personality and ing perpetuity.
agency of the Godhead in whom these attributes But you
say, All these I see; I have been reside. They are overawed, but their feeling is taught them from my youth up. Yes, you have like that of the atheistic painter when he conheard of them by the hearing of the ear, but hear- templates Alpine scenery; or like that of the ing is not seeing. Mark the difference: 'I have atheistic poet when he contemplates the sublimiheard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now ties of the hurricane—the feeling of the mere doth mine eye see Thee: wherefore I abhor man of taste. Such feeling is no certain indicamyself, and repent in dust and ashes. It is one tion of the faith of a Christian, or of a religionist thing to be told that God is holy, it is another by of any name; for it may be experienced by him faith to see God's holiness. It is one thing to be who denies the being of a God. Say not then told that sin is sinful, it is another by faith to see that your eyes are open to gospel truth, merely sin's sinfulness. It is one thing to be told that because you have been taught it, and are feelingly Christ is all-sufficient, it is another by faith to see impressed by it. and lay hold on his all-sufficiency. It is one thing But the text speaks not only of opening the to contemplate past events and distant scenes with blind eyes, but of turning from darkness to light the faculties of the unimaginative, uninterested and from the power of Satan unto God. And compiler of facts; it is another to contemplate these why? Because we may have our eyes opened to with the realizing and creative faculties of the poet the darkness in which we have hitherto lived, or the painter. What imagination is to the poet and yet ‘love the darkness rather than the light; or the painter, faith is to the Christian. It gives our deeds being evil.' Light is pleasant to the vividness, presence, substance, to the object which eye that loves it, but it is painful to the eye that it contemplates. “Faith is the substance of things cannot bear it. The light of evidence is courted hoped for. It not only knows that God is in by arraigned innocence: “He cometh to the light, heaven, it sees hiin there: 'It enters within the that his deeds may be made manifest.' But tho
light of evidence is dreaded by the arraigned cul- can he know them, for they are spiritually disprit, and he is tempted to do every thing in his cerned.' It is only a Grecian that can teach to power to quench it, or to escape from it: 'Every understand Greek: so it is only the Spirit that one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither can teach to understand the things of the Spirit. cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be · The things of God knoweth no man, but the reproved. It is not enough, therefore, that the Spirit of God.' But God hath revealed them to light of conviction shine in upon the conscience; us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all the power of conversion must turn from the things; yea, the deep things of God.' unfruitful works of darkness. Gospel light only have received not the spirit of the world, but the makes manifest; it does not necessarily convey sal- Spirit which is of God; that we might know the vation. It reveals the way, but we must turn our things that are freely given to us of God. Of feet into it, and walk therein. Has then the gospel whom speaks the apostle when he says, we have opened our blind eyes to the darkness in which received? Of himself, or of other men? Of we have hitherto lived? Let us turn our back himself; but of other men also: for the manifesupon the darkness, and hasten to the region where tation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit the true light shineth. Having turned our back withal,'—to every man that asks. “Ask, and it upon the darkness,—which is Satan's element, and shall be given unto you, &c., Luke xi. 11–14. one of the chief secrets and sources of his power, How undeniable then the doctrine! How uni--we shall escape from under the dominion of versal the offer! How free the gift! • Lord, I that dread and deceitful enemy to God; and hav- believe; help thou mine unbelief. Lord, I avail ing reached our once angry, but now reconciled myself of the promise, and betake myself to thee Father, we shall obtain forgiveness of sins, and in prayer. Spirit of truth!' descend into my inheritance
among them that are sanctified. soul: what is dark, do thou enlighten, and make What is there in darkness that should be tempt- me obedient to the truth. Spirit of wisdom, and ing to any but a devil? To him the darkness is of a sound mind!“ make me wise unto salvation,' tempting, were it for nothing else than to escape the and 6 let my heart be sound in thy statutes.' Spirit light. But if we are not wholly devils, and if of love! enable me to love Him who first loved me; we dread their destiny, what more desirable and may the love of Christ constrain me. Spirit of than forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among sanctifying power! create within me a clean the sanctified by faith in Christ?
heart, and renew within me a right spirit.' Comforter of the sorrowing! " restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.' Spirit of adoption! en
able me to cry, and to feel while I cry, Abba, TWENTY-FOURth Day.-EVENING
Father. Revealer of the deep things of God!
behold wondrous 'Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold won
things out of thy law. Father, hear; Son, thou drous things out of thy law,' Psal. cxix. 18.
art my surety and my plea; Holy Ghost, the THERE are professing Christians who can ad- helper of the helpless, help my infirmities, and mire the beauty and propriety of such a prayer make intercession for me, with an earnestness that as this; but who, when you unfold to them its cannot find utterance. Amen. meaning and the doctrine upon which it proceeds How welcome every one to utter such a prayer! —the doctrine of spiritual influence,—will forth-And how strong the inducements; whether we
* This is an hard saying: who can hear consider the power and willingness of the hearer it. They find it easy, and they think it rational, and answerer of prayer, the prevalence of the to utter the prayer without meaning; but they intercessor at the throne, the power of the interfind it hard, and they think it irrational, to utter cessor in the heart, or the gifts which are reit with the intelligence and faith of a Bible ceived in answer to our supplications! Christian.
But it ought not to be forgotten, that the The Greek Testament contains the same won- blessings which we receive through the Spirit, drous things that the English Testament contains are not sent down by miracle from heaven. They But we must learn the language, before we can see are already upon the earth treasured up in the those wonders in it. In like manner, we must law of God. They are like the treasures hid in learn the language of the Spirit, before we can the earth for the husbandman that ploughs, or read spiritually its recorded discoveries. The for the miner that digs for them. In the word natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit are hid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither and though the eyes were opened by the Spirit,
we cannot expect to find them, till we seek them TWENTY-FIFTH DAY.-MORNING. there. The word is the sword of the Spirit;' and it is through it that he inflicts the blessed 'It is written in the prophets, And they shall be wounds of conviction. It is the Spirit's chest of
all taught of God. Every man therefore that healing medicine, from which he takes and
hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, applies the balm of Gilead,' and the oil of glad
cometh unto me,' John vi. 45. ness.' The Bible is the Father's blood-sealed "Taught of God, that is, taught by God; not testament to his believing children: and it is from concerning Him. Or, God-taught, as the original it that he makes known to them their present might be correctly rendered; and, as the saine privileges and future prospects. The Bible is the phrase, 'taught of God,' in 1 Thes. iv. 9, would believer's manual of devotion; and it is in prayer- be rendered, if literally rendered. fully perusing it, or meditating on it, that the * Learned of the Father. Here also the 'of' Spirit quickens his piety and gratitude. The Bible should be “by,' or 'from,' to indicate with less is the believer's authoritative rule of rectitude; and ambiguity, as the original does, whence the learnit is while prayerfully perusing or remembering ing has been derived. its dictates that the Spirit discovers to him the But, how taught by God? By His works, by true import of its precepts, and makes him feel the miracles of Christ, and by His word, say the authority by which they are enforced. When Truly so; but not wholly, nor chiefly so. we read the Scriptures then, let us present the Many of the Jews whom Jesus addressed, had prayer, Open mine eyes.' And when, in our enjoyed this mode of teaching to the full, and daily devotions, we add this to our other suppli- had not come to Him. But He says, Every cation; let it be out of the law, and not from man that hath heard and hath learned of the heaven, or from the Spirit brooding upon a void Father, cometh unto me. It is of an effectual within, that we look for the expected wonders. teaching that Christ speaks; not of an ineffectual. And wonders we shall behold—Wonders of Wis- He speaks of his Father as a teacher by whom dom and knowledge, prompting the exclamation, men shall learn; not of Iris works or word, as • Oh! the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom a book from which they may learn. How then and knowledge of God!-Wonders of condescen- taught by God? Taught by his Spirit, for this sion; • Will God indeed dwell with men?"- is the prediction of the prophets: “It is written Wonders of suffering; · Behold and see, if there in the prophets, And they shall be all tanght of be any sorrow like unto my sorrow;-Wonders God.' 'I will put my Spirit within you, and of love, of love “passing knowledge;'—Wonders cause you to walk in my statutes; and ye
shall of guilt and ruin; “There is none righteous, no, keep my judgments and do them.' not one;— Wonders of unbending rectitude, yet Why should we demur to receive such a docof justifying grace; “ A just God and a Saviour;' trine? Why be slow to avail ourselves of such
Wonders of grace to the chief of sinners ; ' This a promise? Are we naturally so teachable in day shalt thou be with me in paradise ;-Wonders divine things, so void of prejudice, so fond of of privilege; “Behold what manner of love the truth ?—of humbling, self-condemning truth? Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should Are holiness, and self-denial, and love of God, so be called the sons of God;— Wonders of provi- natural to us, so congenial to our corrupt affecdence; ' I am as a wonder unto many;'—Won- tions, that we need not the aid of a divine illuders of future prospect; · Eye hath not seen, ear minator and sanctifier? Are we so like the hath not heard, neither have entered into the holy angels that we are already worthy of, and heart of man the things which God hath in store fit for, heaven? Or, if not, is it so easy a matter for them that love him;'-condemning, yet justi- to acquire their likeness, and a liking to their fying; alarming, yet peace-speaking; humbling, yet society, their employments and enjoyments, that exalting; saddening, yet gladdening wonders! we can dispense with foreign aid for such a purThese shall behold; not only know, but behold; pose? Have we hitherto been so obedient to behold and feel; behold and feel as deeply interested the truth ? Have we hitherto made so ample a actors and sharers in them, and not as staring, return to Christ, for the great love wherewith but apathetic, because uninterested spectators; He loved us? In our eating, in our drinking, behold and feel with the discerning eye, and and in whatsoever we have done, have we done beating heart, of a rational being; and not with all so uniformly, so devoutly, so devotedly to the the brutish eye and heart of the irrational crea- glory of God, that we are sensible of no shorttion.
comings; or of no such shortcomings as to make us wish for help that they may be fewer, and that
the very end of our being may be more the desire of Christ, which the worldly and unregenerate of our hearts, and the fruit of our lives? Ah! cannot brook. They would fain be thought the what says an inspired and eminently devoted followers of Christ, although they have not his apostle! We know that the law is spiritual, Spirit. "But if any man have not the Spirit of but I am carnal, sold under sin.' "O! wretched Christ, he is none of His. They would unwittingly man that I am! who shall deliver me from the be both the pharisee and the publican—the body of this death?
pharisee in character, and the publican in blessBut whence our unwillingness to acquiesce in, ing. Forgetting their bad deeds, they boast of and to ask for, so necessary, so desirable, and their good deeds, would be thought less needful so free a gift, as the gift of the Spirit? “It inter- of repentance than the publican, and would feres with my free-agency. It detracts from my thereby be justified in the sight of God. Nay, own sufficiency. It makes man nothing, and they despise, perhaps, the publican and his unosGod everything, in my salvation.' 0 pride, pride! tentatious distance, downcast eyes, and beating of of how much hast thou bereft us! Of how much his breast. Yet they would inherit his blessing. wouldst thou bereave us still! Is it not enough They give to God their negatives in morals, and that thou separatest between chief friends on their positives in religion :-their negatives in earth? that thou sealest up the fountain of love morals; for they are neither extortioners, nor and charity, by sealing the lips and palsying the unjust, nor adulterers, nor quite so bad as the hand of the poor but proud unfortunate among publican, which they think is saying a great deal men? Will nothing satisfy thy lust of power, for themselves :—their positives in religion; for and love of liberty, but the separating of the they fast twice in the week, and they give tithes creature from the Creator—the redeemed from of all that they possess; and these are the subthe Redeemer? Will nothing satisfy the haugh- stantials, if not the essentials, of a gift. These tiness of thy poverty, but to spurn the pearl of they give, and they think it hard that a becoming great price, and the riches of redeeming and consciousness on their part of the value of their sanctifying love? Thou sayest I am rich, and gift, should of itself turn their gold into dross, increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and their sacrifice into an abomination. Such is and knowest not that thou art wretched, and their knowledge of divine things. Yet they are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' Let not ignorant. They are sometimes the wisest of the forbearance and tenderness of a compassion- the wise in this world ; and they are not unfreating God, who knows thee and thy necessities quently the wise in their own conceit. But it is better than the proud can know themselves, sub- of the world that they have learned – not of the due thee to acceptance of His authoritative, yet Father: and they have been always learning, but affectionate advice: “I counsel thee to buy of me have never come to the knowledge of the truth. gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; Well did Esaias prophesy, saying, “This people and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and and that the shame of thy nakedness do not honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, far from me. But in vain do they worship me, that thou mayest see. But, still talking of thy teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. freedom? Thou fool! It is because God will Teach me thy way, () Lord, teach me to do thy not, cannot, as moral governor, touch thy moral will, for thou art my God; thy Spirit is good. freedom, that thou, if impenitent, art left to perish in thy sins. God desires not the death of any sinner, and He has done every thing short of interfering with liberty of will, for overcom
TWENTY-FIFTH DAY.-EVENING. ing the sinner's unwillingness to come unto Himself. His seeming interference, and the sinner's
*Draw me, we will run after thee,' Cant. i. 4. plausible, but unfounded objection, are an affect- Tuis prayer is from the Song of Songs; that is, ing proof of this. • Ye will not come unto me according to a Hebrew idiom, The most excellent that ye may have life.'
of Songs. Open mine eyes that I may behold But it is not only the pride of moral freedom; wondrous things out of this portion of thy law. the pride of personal character creates a preju- The church of God is in this Song poetically dice against the doctrine of the text. “Every represented under the figure of a bride, surroundone that hath heard, and hath learned of the ed by a company of choral virgins. The bride Father, cometh unto me.' This draws a distinc- sings, ‘Draw me. The choral virgins unite with tion between themselves and the true followers her in singing, "We will run after thee.'