« السابقةمتابعة »
heavenly will : as it is safer for us, if we would see the sun, to look upon it here below in a pail of water, than to cast up our daring eyes upon the body of the sun itself, which is too radiant and scorching for us. The best assurance that any one can have of his interest in God, is, doubtless, the conformity of his soul to God. Those divine purposes, whatsoever they may be, are altogether unsearchable and unknowable: they lie wrapped up in everlasting darkness, and covered in a deep abyss. Who is able to fathom the bottom of them?
A good conscience is the best looking-glass of heaven; in which the soul may see God's thoughts and purposes concerning it, reflected as so many shining stars.
He that endeavours really to mortify his passions, and in his life to comply with that truth which his conscience is convinced of, is nearer a Christian, though he never heard of Christ, than he who believes all the common articles of the Christian faith, and plainly denies Christ in his life.
It is a piece of that corruption which runs through human nature, that we naturally prize truth, more than goodness; knowledge more than holiness. We think it a gallant thing, to be fluttering up to heaven with our wings of knowledge and speculation ; whereas, the highest mystery of a divine life here, and of perfect happiness hereafter, consists in nothing but mere obedience to the Divine will. Happiness is nothing but
that inward sweet delight, which will arise from the harmonious agreement between our wills and the will of God.
LIKENESS TO GOD NECESSARY TO HIS
Gon, who is absolute goodness, cannot love any of his creatures, and take pleasure in them, without bestowing upon them a communication of his goodness and likeness. God cannot make a Gospel, to promise men life and happiness hereafter without being regenerated, and made partakers of his holiness. As soon may heaven and hell be reconciled, and lovingly shake hands with one another, as God can be fondly indulgent to any sin, in whomsoever it be. As soon may light and darkness be espoused together, and midnight be married to noon-day, as God can be joined in a league of friendship with any wicked soul.
And this is a greater grace of God to us, than the former, which still go both together in the Gospel ; first, the free remission and pardon of sin in the blood of Christ, then, delivering us from the power of sin, by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in our hearts.
Christ came not into the world merely to cast a mantle over us, and hide all our filthy sores from God's avenging eye, with his merits and righteousness; but he came especially to be a chirurgeon and physician of souls, to free us from the filth and corruption of them; which is more
grievous and burthensome, more noisesome to a true Christian, than the guilt of sin itself.
Should a poor wretched and diseased creature, full of sores and ulcers, be covered all over with purple, or clothed with scarlet, he would take but little contentment in it, whilst his sores and wounds remain upon him; and he had much rather be arrayed in rags, so that he might obtain but soundness and health within. The Gospel is a true Bethesda, a pool of grace, where such poor, lame, and infirm creatures as we are, upon the moving of God's Spirit, may descend down, not only to wash our skin and outside, but also to be cured of our diseases within. And, whatever the world thinks, there is a powerful Spirit that moves upon these waters, the waters of the Gospel, spreading its gentle, healing, quickening wings over our souls. The Gospel is not like Abana and Pharpar, those common rivers of Damascus, that could only cleanse the outside: it is a true Jordan, in which such leprous Naamans as we all are, “may wash and be clean.”~ Blessed, indeed, are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered : blessed is the man, to whom the Lord will not impute sin;" but yet, rather blessed are they, whose sins are like a morning cloud, and quite taken away from, them. Blessed, thrice “blessed are they, that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied : blessed are the poor in hcart, for they shall see God."
THE TESTIMONY OF A PHILOSOPHER.
I Have known what the enjoyments and advantages of this life are, and what the more refined pleasures which learning and intellectual power can bestow, and with all the experience that more than threescore years can give, I now, on the eve of my departure, declare to you, (and earnestly pray
that you may hereafter live and act on the conviction,) that health is a great blessing; competence, obtained by honourable industry, a great blessing; and a great blessing it is to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and relatives but the greatest of all blessings, as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is to be indeed a Christian. But I have been likewise, through a large portion of my later life, a sufferer sorely afflicted with bodily pains, languor, and manifold infirmities; and for the last three or four years have, with few and brief intervals, been confined to a sick room, and at this moment, in great weakness and heaviness, write from a sick bed, hopeless of recovery, yet without prospect of a speedy removal. And I thus, on the brink of the grave, solemnly bear witness to you, that the Almighty Redeemer, most gracious in his promises to them that truly seek him, is faithful to perform what he has promised; and has reserved, under all my pains and infirmities, the inward peace that passeth all understanding, with the supporting assurance of a reconciled God, who will not withdraw his spirit from me in the conflict, and in his own time will deliver me from the evil one.
Eminently blessed are they who begin early to seek, fear, and love their God, trusting wholly
in the righteousness and mediation of their Lord, Redeemer, Saviour, and everlasting High Priest, Jesus Christ.
SHORT SENTENCES. It is one of the striking characters of the Omnipotent, that he is strong and patient. It is a standing evidence of his patience, that he is provoked every day. How beautifully do these characters reflect lustre upon each other! If he were not strong, his patience would want its distinguishing perfection. If he were not patient, his strength would instantly crush those who provoke him, not sometimes, but often; not every year, but every day.
God blotteth out transgressions, aggravated and innumerable, as easily, and as completely, as the wind sweeps away a floating cloud from the face of the sky.
God hides himself and his providence, behind second causes.
The Creator is to be first loved for his own sake, for his infinite goodness and perfections ; and then the creature, as his work, and in proportion to its resemblance to him.
It is observable, that, when God would show his power, he makes a world : when he would manifest his justice, he prepares a tophet; when he would manifest his wisdom, he finds out a