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which he feels by experience to be most salutary and healthful; weaning his heart from all vain and sublunary objects, and leading him to a closer union with his Saviour and his God. He may be subjected to many personal calamities ; he may

be reduced to the lowest degree of poverty; his character may be falsely aspersed, and cruel enemies may persecute him; he may be deprived of his dearest relatives and friends ; nay, he may be called to endure the sharpest spiritual conflicts; the old man of sin, in his nature never to be entirely subdued in this state of being, may cost him many a painful struggle, and even gain a temporary ascendancy over his understanding and best resolutions; he may be forced, with the apostle, in the bitterness of his soul, to exclaim, “ I see a law in

I see a law in my mem“bers warring against the law of my 66 mind. O wretched man that I am! who “ shall deliver me from the body of this 66 death?” But, what is still more severe, he may be subjected to the hidings of his heavenly Father's countenance; he may be deprived of the comforts of religion, which were wont to solace his soul ;

instead of joy and delight in the service and worship of God, he may be conscious of nothing but coldness, deadness, and distraction of thought ; and he may be constrained to cry with Job,

6 O that “ I knew where I might find him! I go “ forward, but he is not there ; backward, “ but I cannot perceive him ; I seek him “ on the right hand, and on the left," in public ordinances, and private duties, but cannot behold him. These, my friends, are heavy trials, and hard to be endured, yet still the Christian is not suffered to sink under them. For that God who thus chastens with one hand, with the other strengthens and supports. He sends down his Spirit to enlighten the soul, that he may be enabled to discern the gracious end in view by afflictions, to teach the proper improvement of them, and to lead him to place unlimited trust and confidence in him for reviving and comforting grace.

The love of God is shed abroad in his heart, and he knows that the universe is directed by an almighty benevolent Ruler. He considers, that nothing can escape his notice; for “ he counteth the stars, and names them

every one ;” that the very hairs of our head are numbered, and that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without his knowledge and permission. God's allseeing eye is attentive to the actions of the whole intelligent creation, but especially to all that is done and suffered by his adopted children, and he makes their afflictions the instrument of convincing them of the insufficiency of all other means, and that in him alone true hap

piness is to be found. The righteous, x therefore, rely upon him with perfect con

fidence. The Holy Spirit inspires, and enables them to cry unto him, “ Abba 6 Father," and assures them that he will · not disregard their cry. rents feel the wants, and listen to the

petitions of their children, so the Father of Spirits pitieth those that fear him. Goodness is essential to his nature, and he can derive no pleasure from the misery of any

of his creatures. 6. He will not suf“ fer them to be tempted above what they “ are able, but will with the temptation “ make a way for them to escape.” His powerful, though unseen arm is stretched out for their assistance ; and what foe so

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insidious as to escape, what enemy so strong as to resist Omnipotence! Thy enemies, indeed, O Christian, maybe numerous and formidable, and thy conflicts may be severe; but his language to thee is, “ Fear them not; for I am with thee: “ be not dismayed; for I am thy God. I “ will strengthen thee; I will help thee;

yea, I will uphold thee with the right “ hand of my righteousness.”—56 When “ thou passest through the waters, I will “ be with thee; and through the rivers,

they shall not overflow thee. When “ thou walkest through the fire, thou s shalt not be burnt, neither shall the 66 flame kindle

upon

thee." 66 Even in “ the swelling of Jordan, my rod and my 66 staff shall comfort thee.” Art thou destitute ? Art thou reduced to poverty ? “ The Lord is thy shepherd, thou shalt “ not want:" “ I will open," says the Lord, “ rivers in the high places, and fountains “ in the midst of the valleys. I will make “ the wilderness a pool of water, and the “ dry land springs of water.” Art thou tempted to doubt Christ's power and willingness to save? “ He is mighty to save. Hear his own declaration, “ I will give

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« unto my sheep eternal life, and they “ shall never perish, neither shall any “ pluck them out of my hand.” Art thou visited at times with the hidings of God's love ? - For a small moment have I for'“ saken thee; but with great mercies will “ I gather thee: in a little wrath I have “ hid my face from thee; but with ever

lasting kindness will I have mercy on “ thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.”

Thus, in whatever situation the Christian is placed, he has a ground of rejoicing and of hope. When labouring under the heaviest afflictions, he knows that they are sent for his advantage. He regards them as the chastisements of his Father in heaven, who wishes to reclaim him from the evil of his ways, and to raise him above all dependance on the enjoyments of the world. He trusts with the most perfect confidence, that when consistent with the glory of God and his own eternal welfare, he shall obtain complete deliverance from all his tribulations, and that the shadows of the evening shall be turned into a joyful morning:This brings me to consider, in the

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