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if I could not leave off saying words of prayer.” And what is open to one is open to all. O, if you were but to pour out your complaint to God as you do to men,—did you but ask from God as you ask from men, then would you soon be able to declare with David, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” O the blessedness of casting all our burden on the Lord! of mingling the most earnest supplication with the most quiet resignation ; of catching something of the spirit of our divine master, when he exclaimed almost in the same breath, “ father, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will, but thine be done.” Here is the true secret of contentment, patience, and fortitude; here is the remedy against all melancholy thoughts; the only support in adversity.
Exercise yourself in meditating on the mercies which call for thankfulness, as you have done in dwelling on the afflictions which have occasioned your despondency. The apostle seems to enjoin too much when he says, “in every thing give thanks, but it is not without reason. There is no one, however afflicted, but, if not blinded by passion and unbelief, may find much more cause for thankfulness than for despondency. But in affliction, we are generally disposed to look on the dark side of providence, and on that only. We are like froward children, who, if you take away one of their play things, in resentment throw away all the rest. Desponding christian, take your condition, however trying, has it po alleviations ? Let candour,– let gratitude, let truth examine the circumstances of your case : is there nothing in the time, nothing in the manner, nothing in the subject of affliction, that serves to soften its pressure? Do you believe that it might not have been worse? O recollect how many mercies you enjoy at this moment. What would your sufferings have been, had God proportioned them to your sins : though heavy, yet is it not from the disposition you are indulging that they derive their principal weight and aggravation ? Besides, they are not immutable dispensations. What changes often take place to the surprise, as well as to the joy of the desponding sufferer.
“ The Lord can change the darkest skies,
Can give us day for night;
To rivers of delight.”
And who can tell what advantages you may reap from your present trials. When a field is newly ploughed up, and its smooth and verdant surface is transformed into rough unsightly furrows, and its plants and flowers are buried under deformed clods, the eye looks round with regret at the apparent destruction of its beauty, but afterwards when harvest arrives, when the furrows stand thick with corn, and louk like a boundless sea of plenty, then the scene yields inexpressible delight to the beholder, and welcome sheaves to the reaper. Thus when God visits us with chastisements, and makes long furrows in the field of our prosperity, we mourn and repine that he should deface the beauty of our condition, but afterwards, when the seed he casts into these furrows springs up and overspreads the soul with all the beauties of holiness and peace, then the wisdom and the goodness of God are alike apparent.
Meditate much upon the amazing love of God in the gift, and sufferings, and death of his Son. It is but reasonable that you
should meditate as much upon Christ and grace, as you do upon sin and misery. God requireth you to see and feel your sin and misery, but then it is in order that you may magnify the remedy, and cordially embrace it. Never think of sin and hell alone, but in order to induce you to think of Christ and grace. This is the duty even of the worst. Are your sins ever before you? why is not pardoning grace in
DEPRESSION OF MIND IN AFFLICTION.
Christ before you? Is hell open before you? why is not the Redeemer also before you? Do you reply, because sin and hell are mine, but Christ, and holiness, and heaven, are not mine ? Then it is because you choose to have it so. It is true God hath placed death before you, but he hath placed life the first, and he commands you to choose life that you may live. Nothing can be more certain than that God hath so far made over the blessings of salvation to all that hear the gospel, that nothing but their final obstinate refusal of these blessings can cause their condemnation. O! beware, lest you reject that mercy which God never denied to any one, and which, so far from refusing, he is now offering to you.
THE DUTIES OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN
DELIVERED FROM AFFLICTION.
My soul, through my Redeemer's care,
Sav'd from the second death I feel,
My feet from falling into hell.
Wherefore to him my feet shall run,
My eyes on his perfections gaze,
And all within me shout his praise.
WHAT SHALL I RENDER UNTO THE LORD FOR ALL HIS BENEFITS TOWARDS ME?
FFER TO THEE THE SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING, AND WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD."
PSALM CXVI., XII., XVII.
" I WILL
In a former chapter directions were given for a proper behaviour in affliction, that the end may be secured for which it is appointed by our heavenly father ; the following counsels are intended to illustrate the temper and conduct which we ought to cherish and maintain after we have experienced a deliverance from affliction.
Let your deliverance be acknowledged by fervent gratitude and thanksgiving to God. It is the direction of the Apostle, that "in every thing” we should "give thanks ;”
- that we should endeavour to maintain in our hearts a constant feeling of religious gratitude,--and be ready to express our gratitude with our lips. There are, perhaps, few occasions which call more loudly upon us for such feeling, and for such expression of thankfulness, as when we are delivered from soine great and piercing calamity ; therefore, says David, “offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High.” That your mind may be suitably impressed with a sense of God's goodness in your deliverance, call to mind the circumstances of your affliction ;—think of the pains you endured in sickness, the bitter apprehensions you had of death ;-think how great was your distress, -how pressing your difficulties,-how gloomy your apprehensions, -how great and merciful
your deliverance. In the removal of your affliction be careful to acknowledge the hand of God. Stop not at the instrumentality of second causes. Whosoever is the instrument of any good, yet, salvation is of the Lord. Whoever bringsit, it is he who sends it. Though he is pleased to use the intervention of means, yet he administers those means, and renders them effectual, otherwise they would be wholly unavailing. As God sends affliction to evidence bis power, wisdom, and sovereignty; so he sends deliverance to manifest his goodness and bounty, and the return which he expects is most equitable and reasonable. “ Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Seek to have a proper view of your own unworthiness, and of the favours you have received. Think not that it is the result of your own merit, or that you are delivered because the sufferings you have endured have expiated your guilt. The greatest affliction under heaven cannot possibly atone for one transgression. Nothing but the blood of the Son of God can countervail the weight of the least sin against the Most High. “ I am not worthy,” said Jacob, “of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shewed unto