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blessings of the gospel are dispensed from Christ in the ministry of his own appointment, and Christians find this. A sermon either makes your heart more hardened by being disregarded, or more softened by being improved. Receive grace then on God's sabbath.

AFFLICTIONS again are seasons of grace. Whether it be sickness in your own person, or in your family and relatives, or losses and trials, or distresses; afflictions spring not from the dust, nor does the Lord afflict willingly, for his own pleasure, but for our profit that we might be partakers of his holiness. (Heb. xii. 10.) So that all God's servants can say, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word. (Psalm cxix. 67, 72.) O then let not the season of affliction pass away without accomplishing God's gracious design of love to your soul. Receive grace in this season of grace.

Times of conviction are also seasons of grace. There are periods in a man's life when he feels, "I am a sinful creature, I am in danger of God's wrath, I must alter my conduct, I must begin anew." Now if while these convictions are lively, he does not quench and resist them, but strive, according to his working who worketh in us mightily, to increase and deepen them, then shall be receive larger and fuller communications

of the Holy Spirit ; but if yielding to sin and Satan, he trifles with conviction, and stifles and drowns it by rushing into worldly society, and plunging into the cares and distractions of a sinful world, a season of grace is lost, and the soul becomes more insensible, more unimpressible than before.

But I need not enlarge, since every event, every circumstance of life is to the Christian a season of grace. Just as in the cultivation of a garden, sometimes the gardener digs the ground, sometimes he prunes the trees, sometimes he sows the seed, sometimes he plucks up the weeds, but all is to make the garden beautiful and fruitful: so our God in varied ways deals with our souls, that grace may flourish in us and bring forth fruit to his glory and our everlasting salvation.

Besides these particular directions, there are also some general principles not to be lost sight of by those who would effectually receive the grace of God, or ascertain how far that grace effectually works in themselves.

Need I mention faith and prayer as indispensable for the receiving and growth of grace?

FAITH must first be exercised. This credits the existence and promise of grace-believes all that God says about it-is fully persuaded that what he has promised he is able also to perform, and takes them simply at his word, assured that he would neither mock us nor deceive us. Faith

therefore welcomes, as infallibly true, the declaration of the way of recovery for lost sinners in the gospel, assures herself that God is merciful to man, and that forgiveness, justification, adoption, sanctification, the hope of glory, and eternal life, are placed within her grasp: joyful news, what good tidings of great joy! I see a way of escape; I see the doors of the kingdom of heaven fly open to all believers. I see a reconciled Father, I see a sufficient and complete Saviour, I see a guide and comforter, I see the strait gate, and the narrow way, and, by the grace of God, I will strive to enter in. May you all obtain this precious gift of faith, (2 Peter i. 1,) it will be like another sense to you, far more blessed than hearing or seeing, enabling you to discern the realities and the glories which most of all concern you as immortal beings. Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance: in thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.

PRAYER is the cry of faith; the way in which grace is obtained and increased, and it is founded on our sense of need. Encouraged by the assurance that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, and that he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, we gladly avail ourselves of the gracious invitation, Let us there

fore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Not boldly only, but earnestly,—you must strive hard in prayer: cold petitions will not do. David says, my soul followeth HARD after God; that word hard is significant and instructive. As the drowning man would cry for help, as Peter cried, Lord, save or I perish; so must we cry for grace. O be assured a careless prayer and a heartless wish never yet marked a saved soul. You must wrestle with God in prayer, if you would receive effectual grace. There will be strong cries and tears like our Saviour's. Nothing will content you but God's favour and love, if you are in earnest for it, what you need above all other things is God's grace. Whatever else you get, without this you are miserably poor; whatever else you lose, if you get this you are unspeakably happy. Grace is the seed of glory— grace is the first thing. The Lord will give grace and then glory. Ask and ye shall have, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. All this shows the earnestness with which you should pray.

Do you further ask how you may know whether you have effectually received grace? I reply, it is marked by LOVE. We love that grace which we have received. We glory in it. We value it And surely it is above all price-surely every Christian does desire nothing

above every thing.

so much as the grace of God. If men think it worth while to make their house comfortable where they only dwell a few years; if men think it worth while to lay up treasure on earth for a short life, O is it not, I appeal to your understanding as men, is it not infinitely better worth while, to lay up our treasure where we must dwell for ever, and to have our wealth in a bank that can never break, and with a banker, who has the universe for his possession, and whose favour is better than life itself? The apostles so valued grace that in every epistle they salute the churches with this prayer, Grace be to you. While the term grace is offensive and unintelligible to those who receive it in vain, it is precious and delightful to those who receive it effectually. How the Apostle loves to dwell upon it! God hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness to us through Christ Jesus. For by grace ye are saved. One sure note of an effectual reception of grace is a supreme value for it. I remember a time, before I knew my sinfulness and danger, being offended with seeing what I then thought so unmeaning a term as grace so often repeated in hymns; but when I felt my true state as a fallen creature, no word was more precious to me than this.

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