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LORD* ? Such shall be the gracious prelude to that day, when there shall be no more the Canaanite in the land, that the highway and the way of holiness shall be so plain, that the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err thereint.'
The farmer still sung ;
• He rais'd me from the depths of sin,
The gates of gaping hell ;
Than 'twas before I fell.'
• Is not this strange doctrine?' I cried to my friend. Ask him yourself,' he said, ' for if he sings with the spirit and with the understanding also,' he can explain.'
Are you not mistaken, honest man,' I said, in what you are singing ?- Oh, no, Sir,' he immediately answered, “He that raised me from sin, preserves me now from falling ;
* The arms of everlasting love
Beneath my soul he plac'd ;
My slipping footsteps fast.
Is wall'd about with grace ;
To shield the sacred place.
Satan may vent his sharpest spite,
And all his legions roar ;
And bounds bis raging pow'r.'
* Does this seem strange to you, Sir?' continued the countryman. Surely, you ought to know better than I : but for my part, 'I thank God, I know enough to know, that they are safer that are kept by grace, than they who never fell. The angels, who kept not their first estate, fell from having no security but their own strength. And our unhappy first father, who had (more strength of his own than ever any
since of his fallen race have had, soon manifested what that strength was
then left alone. I do therefore desire to bless God, that my strength is in another, and not in myself. Oh! it is a sweet morsel to my soul, which says, 0 Israel thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help*.' Besides, Sir, had Adam continued in his original state of uprightness, and all his children have partaken in the same; this would have been no other, after all, but the righteousness of the creature. Whereas now,' the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD. He is the Lord our righteousness ; and therefore he is himself our strength in the time of troue
Hosea xü. 9.
ble*! And while the soul whom divine grace hath snatched, as the LORD hath me, from the gates of destruction, can take up that scripture
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength;' God the Holy Ghost applies that other precious assurance of his word Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation ; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world without endt.'l
-The countryman waited not for a reply, but resumed his labour and his song together ;
• Arise my soul, awake my voice,
And tunes of pleasure sing ;
My Saviour and my King.'
Happy soul! thought I, thou hast that which empires cannot purchase : God for thy father, Jesus for thy portion, and the Holy Ghost for thy comforter!
I saw the countenance of my companion glow with pleasure at what the countryman had said, while he finished the observations of the labourer, with asking and making answer himself to some few questions of his own. Why' says he, is it, that the divine promise of perseverance should be so difficult to be received by
* Psalm xxxvii. 39. + Isa. xiv. 21.
our unbelieving hearts; but because we think we must have strength enough of our own Why is the doctrine of the Redeemer's righteousness, as the sole means of justification before God, so hard to be accepted by us; but because the unhumbled pride of our nature canmot brook the mortification of being saved without doing something towards it? And wherefore is it, that sinners are so averse to believe, that their salvation is wholly the result of being chosen in Christ, before the foundation of the world;' but because it becomes a gratifying compliment to our proud nature, to have it thought that we have first sought CHRISTIBut the poor sinner desires that it should be always kept in view, that if we love him, it is because he first loved us. His language is Lord, it is all distinguishing grace from beginning to end. I know I should fall every hour, but for the promise of being upheld by him, who having loved his own, loveth them unto the end.' And as I am fully conscious that I have no righteousness of my own, how precious becomes that assurance to my soul, wherein thou hast said, “My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished*:
* Isaiah li. 8
THE STRAYED SHEEP
At that instant a sheep leaped over the hedge, just where my companion and I stood, as if pursued by some enemy. The poor
animal seemed much distressed and affrighted.—He looked at us, but appeared disappointed. As he stood still, I called to him; but he knew not my voice.
-At length a man appeared at the fence over which the sheep had broken ; and calling in a particular tone which the poor animal understood, he turned and looked upon him. The shepherd then came over the hedge, and advancing gently towards him, still continuing his call as he approached him; the sheep came to meet him, and seemed rejoiced at his presence; and they went away both of them together.
Ah! I cried, I think I could spiritualize this occurrence. Do so then,' replied my friend, for such should be the custom of Zion's pilgrims to extract improvement from every thing which they see or hearI would suppose,' I said, this poor strayed sheep to be the emblem of the wandering sinner; and the man pursuing it as a friend, which the silly animal fancied an enemy, to personate the man Christ