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thorns, for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.' his confidence in his own power, through God's help, is so great that he even accounts what he will do, as already done. They are extinct.' It seems to me that the thing which rendered David so peculiarly the man after God's heart, must be his entire, undoubting belief in God's love and care for him. It seems impossible for him even to fear that God will not protect him. Though I am sometime afraid, yet put I my trust in Thee: whensoever I call upon Thee, then shall my enemies be put to flight: THIS I KNOW, for God is on my side. He is my defence, so that I shall not fall: I am alway by Thee, for Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and after that receive me to glory. The Lord is my shepherd, therefore shall I lack nothing. In Thee I shall discomfit a host of men; and with the help of my God I shall leap over the wall.' And how often does he repeat and dwell on and delight in such words as 'my strong helper, my might, my rock, and fortress, my defender, the strength of my heart, my refuge, my God, my hope, and my portion!' It seems to me as if the distinguishing feature in David were not so much his love for God, though so eminent for this, as his full, certain, undoubting reliance on God's help and favour, his perfect assurance that God does love and help him, and that His loving-kindness will follow him all the days of his life. Do not such words thrill through you and make heart burn within you ?' I am afraid I cannot feel them as you do, Mildred dearest,' answered Elinor, sorrowfully. Cannot-but you will be able some day. But, I think, the most striking point in this trust of David, is its continuance, firm and unshaken even in his falls. While most deeply sensible of the greatness of his sins, he seems not to have a single misgiving, the least fear that they may diminish God's love to him. His strongest expressions of self-abhorrence and humiliation are invariably followed by words of full trust and hope. Thus, in the 51st Psalm, in the midst of his prayers for pardon, he proclaims his certainty of receiving it. 'Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow;' nay more, 'Thou shalt make me to hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.'— And his words tell of a heart full of clinging, trusting love,-'O God, Thou that art the God of my health :'-Is not this very different from what we are apt to fancy of penitence? He does not grieve for his sins on his own account, so to speak, because they may excite
God's anger against him, or cause God to love him less, for he is sure this cannot be; but his grief is purely for God's sake, sorrow for the injury, so to speak, done to Him who so loves him. Then he regards his sins as both his own and God's enemies, and so has no fear or doubt that God will fight against them with him and for him. The more I have pondered over the Psalms, the more wonderful is this deep unfearing trust. This perfect love casting out fear. And it seems to me that this entire love and trust must be most peculiarly acceptable to God. Almost the sharpest pain we can feel on earth is to have our love doubted and distrusted by those whom we do love with all our hearts, and if this is so grievous to us, may we not believe that it must be displeasing to our loving God, who has given us so many and infinite proofs of His enduring love.' 'But, dearest Mildred,' said Elinor, timidly, it seems like presumption to think that we can be loved by God.'—' Seems,' said Mildred; 'yes, it seems so to us, because our love and faith are cold and almost dead within us; but should not the book of Psalms teach us that it is not? For few could fall into deeper guilt than David, and against so very much light and grace. Yet his trust was acceptable to God, and how should it be presumptuous in us? As each grace has its own temptation, that of humility is to tempt us to think ourselves unloved by God, in spite of all which should convince us of the contrary. We do not deal so with our earthly friends. I believe that you love me very entirely, my own Elinor; but now, suppose that you were to do me an injury, or only something, we will say, which would cause me sorrow, you would believe me, would you not, if I assured you of my entire forgiveness and constant love? you would grieve deeply, I know, but you would not do me a fresh injustice by disbelieving my love?—But I am quite forgetting what we set out with; I was wanting to make you conscious of your own power, and I used David as an exemplification of the sort of disposition we ought to have. I think if you will think about this you will see what I mean more clearly, without my talking any more about it. You see now how such an entire faith, hope, and love as David's must produce a strong WILL to please God; and this will gave power, or rather, called it out in action. It is a great thing to be able to say thoughtfully and earnestly, 'I have sworn, and am STEDFASTLY purposed, to keep Thy righteous judgments. We see the same strong will in St Paul's epistle, only less fully developed: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'-'In all these things we are more
It is this certainty
than conquerors through Christ that loved us.' or power through the force of the will which we ought to possess. We might indeed be sure that we do possess it from the fact of our receiving such commands as: Be ye perfect.' If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.' 'Strive to enter in at the straight gate:' and others. We should not be bidden to do what we had not power to do. Well now, Nelly dear, you must be tired of my sermon I fancy, as I am with sermonizing.' Elinor eagerly assured her friend of her interest in all she had said. It is such a rare thing to have a sermon from my best Mildred, that when I do get one, I feel as if I should never be tired of hearing you,' she said. Well, perhaps I will try your patience again to-morrow, for I want to apply my generalities to your particular case, and to the particular point of teaching. But I am so thoroughly tired now that I will to rest myself. So good-bye for to-day.'
It was late the next day before Elinor Clifford stood by her friend's sofa. Mildred enquired the reason of her delay, at which Elinor laughed, saying, 'It is altogether your fault, Mildred, for talking so much to me about free-will yesterday.' 'What do you mean?' asked Mildred. 6 Why this I was just setting out earlier than usual to come here for your promised sermon, when my mother asked me to go with her to call on some of the neighbours. You may guess how well I liked the prospect of spending my afternoon in talking smalltalk and discussing fashions, with the Misses Miller, &c., &c., &c., instead of sitting to listen to you and look at your dear pale face; so I said that I could not, because I was coming here to you. But, Elinor,'-began Mildred. 'Oh yes, I know what you are going to say, that you particularly wish me never to come hither if my mother wants me, and I knew that well enough at the time; but, just as I was saying, I really can not do it, I remembered your discourse of yesterday, and it occurred to me, that in that instance at least, can not meant will not, so I said, I will, and I not only could but did.' 'My sermon has soon taken effect,' said Mildred, laughing. 'Oh yes, and not in that instance only, you have quite destroyed my peace of mind, you tiresome creature; before, I used to go on so contentedly with iny, I can't, or, I can't help it, but now, such words have lost all their quieting power, and I have the most horrible qualms of conscience whenever I try to say them; I can't help seeing that they generally mean, I will not, or, I will not help it.'-'I knew you were too honest to go on in your old way, after you were conscious of your
power,' Mildred replied. But now tell me something about teaching these children,' said Elinor, seating herself: 'I suppose you mean that I can teach them if I will to do it.'- Yes, but I want your will to be bent on something higher. I mean, that teaching the children is not to be the end or the whole of your aim. This is one point, where, I think, you have been deficient, that your motive has been too low. But it is a good work to teach them, is it not?' asked Elinor. 'Yes, love; but what is the very highest motive of action which we can possibly have?' To please God,' Elinor answered. • Certainly—now suppose you were to teach, not so much that the children might learn, as that by teaching them to learn you may please God. It seems, perhaps, a nice distinction, but yet there is one. Now, I will suppose that you have a strong will, an earnest, vehement longing desire to please God, a concentrated purpose to do every thing which will please Him, would not you seize with eagerness on every employment which would secure your end; would you not set to it with every faculty, straining to the utmost to accomplish the purpose on which your heart was set to please God?' Elinor only heaved a deep sigh. Do not be cast down, my love, or I have only done you mischief. Such a purpose as this, strong, unswerving, passionate, is a gift of God to His saints; but we all, in one degree, have it, and all, at least, can strive after it. We can act as if we had it, for our will is free. Now, mind you, I am not rejoicing that we of our own mere selves have power to do all things; but we have free will to chuse our master; free will to chuse whether we will obey God, or the world, the flesh, and the devil. we have entire freedom of will, but master we must have. And this being confirmed or contradicted by every act. The freedom of will is never quite gone while life lasts. Even when we seem most passive, it is only that our will consents to follow the leadings of our inclination, or inferior will, as it is called. We have therefore, you see, full power to chuse God's service; and if we do, and hold to that choice with our will, not heeding the checks and shrinkings of our inclination, then may we say confidently with David, It is God that girdeth me with strength of war, and maketh my way perfect. Thy right hand shall hold me up, and Thy loving correction shall make me great. Thou shalt make room enough under me for to go, that my footsteps shall not slide. I will follow upon mine enemies and overtake them, neither will I turn again till I have destroyed them.
Thus, at least, I understand it— only to chuse our master, for a choice is going on all our lives,
I will smite them that they shall not be able to stand, but fall under my feet. The Lord liveth, and blessed be my strong helper, and praised be the God of my salvation!" Mildred's voice trembled, and her usually pale cheeks flushed, and she raised herself on one arm, in the excitement of the moment. What glorious words,' she exclaimed, to be put into the mouth of such as we; feeble, cold, unwilling as we mostly are. When I repeat these or such words sometimes lying alone here, they seem to make my heart literally burn within me to draw me up out of myself.'-She was silent, for her little strength was exhausted, and she lay motionless for a few moments while Elinor gazed upon her with a sort of awe.
Then Mildred said, 'I have often thought how this trust and confidence seem to put life, as it were, into the baptismal service—I mean, such words as, 'to have victory, and to triumph,'—' to fight manfully, to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant.'-The feeling of power, gives such force and reality to every expression of this kind. We know that we have the power, for our sufficiency is of God.' But now, love, do you see the sort of way in which I think you should think of teaching, as a work set you by God, and which you will discharge to the utmost of your power, in order to please Him?' 'Yes, I see it quite, Mildred, dearest; but it is sO VERY hard to me,' replied Elinor, sorrowfully, 'I cannot feel as you do.' 'Cannot, again?' said Mildred, smiling,' but I believe it is so, we cannot feel as we chuse, but we can will to act as if we had high and warm feelings, and no doubt, God will give us what is good for us.' —‘But, now, I have really preached enough to you about free will. I have shewn you my first principle-a pure and high motive of action. Now, the next point is, to have a right understanding of your own position with regard to the children.' 'I think that is evident enough,' said Elinor. 'Perhaps so, but not according to my views. I do not mean to say that my views must be right, but I think they are worth considering, and you are still free to keep your own if they seem better. Now, I suppose, when you go into the school-room and begin to teach, you have a feeling of superiority upon you—an idea that you are conferring a favour upon inferiors?'-'Yes, I suppose I have,' said Elinor. And have you any sympathy with them? any idea that you and they are but walking in the same path, only that as you happen to be on before, and to know the way better, you are helping them on with you?'-I scarcely understand you, Mildred.''But tell me now, Elinor, why do you think yourself superior to those