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ner, unworthy of any favour or notice from God; but he knows also that Christ has made reconciliation for iniquity, and that he delights to confer blessings on his people, for the sake of his “beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased." He looks forward, therefore, with the most cheerful confidence, to all the future events of life. Whatever they be, he knows they will be well ordered; such as will tend ultimately to promote his best interests, and to glorify the name of Christ. If afflictions are appointed, they will not be appointed unnecessarily: they will be ordered in number, weight, and measure; they will either be proportioned to the strength and faith which we have, or God will give us more grace. He will be with us in the midst of them: he will neither leave us nor forsake us in the hour of need; but, on the contrary, will then be more especially present with us: will support and cheer us with spiritual consolations, and convert what would be else a severe calamity, into a gracious and profitable visitation, calculated to purify the soul, to endue it with all spiritual blessings, and to manifest the kindness of parental love.
This is the proper affiance of a believer: and it is frequently and beautifully expressed by the holy men whose acts are recorded, for our example and instruction, in the Sacred Writings.
“In the Lord I put my trust; why say ye then to my soul, that she should fee as a bird to the hills? The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble: therefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved. God shall help her, and that right early. They that know thy name will put their trust in thee, for thou hast not forsaken those that seek thee. O Lord God
of hosts, blessed is the man who trusteth in thee. Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered. Because thou hast been my help, therefore, in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. I am continually with thee. Thou hast bolden me by thy right hand. Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.”
Í have thus endeavoured to fulfil my chief object in this discourse, which was to illustrate the nature of Christian confidence. I cannot, however, conclude, without a word or two on the blessing here annexed to it, and the reason named for communicatiog that blessing
It is plain the man who trusts in God will be kept in perfect peace; for what can disturb him? Can any troubles assail him, which the Lord has not appointed, or under which he cannot support him? It may be justly observed that the contemplation of God's greatness tends to level the inequalities of all finite things. The distinction of great and little vanishes, when the immensity of his nature and attributes is before us. And thus, while we contemplate him, and stay our souls upon him for support; the trials to which we may be exposed appear, in this view, to be all on an exact equality. There is not one which we can select, and say it will be too hard for us in his strength. Nor, on the other hand, is there one blessing which he has allowed us to hope for, of which we can even imagine that it is too much to expect from him. Any thing is too much to be expected, while we look at ourselves: nothing, while we look to God through Christ. The faith, therefore, of a Christian may overlook all distinctions, and rest its dependence on Almighty Power, on Inexhaustible Bounty, on Infinite Goodness, on lmmeasurable Love! What peace must not this convey to the soul! What a contrast to that fretting anxiety of the mind, when it is ever in dread of approaching evils; when it shrinks in vain from them, and looks round in vain to escape them; when it builds what hope it has upon the sand, and finds the edifice continually tottering to its base; when it has nothing stable, nothing unchangeable, nothing out of the reach of storms and tempests, on which it can repose; no delightful acquiescence in the dispensations of a wise and gracious Providence; no cheering views of the goodness and mercy that surround us; no resting-place upon the bosom of a Father's love. Wretched indeed is the state of such a mind! It is, like the bark which has lost its anchors and its helm, the sport of changing winds and waves; tossed here and there on a vast and trackless ocean, yet never approaching the haven it desires;—while he who firmly trusts in God, is like one sitting securely on the summit of a rock, where he beholds unmoved the swelling of the billows and the fury of the tempest which rages at his feet in vain.
We must observe here, that it is said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.” The solid peace and tranquillity which a faithful disciple of Christ enjoys is not merely the effect of his principles; it is the gift of God. It is God who watches over him; who communicates peace to him; who suggests considerations proper to ensure it, who delivers the mind from all vain alarms. However excellent our principles may be, the application of them to our own circumstances is the point of most importance to us. And this application depends not always upon ourselves. If our security is founded upon the care and providence of God, he : will take care that those who trust him shall be kept in perfect peace. Blessed are they who are thus kept by the Almighty: of them it may be truly said, “Because thou hast made the Lord thy refuge, even the Most high thy habitation; there shall no evil befal thee, nor shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
This peace which God gives is called a perfect peace, ,
from the nature of it, rather than on account of its degree. It is a peace which is perfect, when compared with the peace of the world; perfect as having a foundation which cannot be moved; perfect, as far as the faith from which it springs is perfect. It does not, however, follow that this faith may not sometimes fail; nor that this peace may not partake of the imperfection of the vessel which contains it. But even here we may trast to the mercy of God. Faith is his gift. He is the Author and Finisher of it; While Peter's faith was strong, it produced its complete effect; he walked upon the waters: but as soon as his faith failed, he began to sink. Yet still, when he cried unto the Lord in his trouble, he delivered him out of his distress. The arm of the Almighty was extended, and his sinking servant saved. And this peace is communicated to him who trusteth in God, simply because he trusteth in him.
Faith gives glory to God; and this perhaps, is the reason why he has made it the instrument of conveying to us so many and so great blessings. It is evidently the design of Revelation to lead men to glorify God, to honour him as the source, and the only source, of all good; and to humble the pride of man, and stain all his boasted glory. On this account it is, that even where peace is granted to man, it is granted to him by means of trust in God, and on account of this confidence in him. Thus all the glory is ascribed to God; and if the dispensations of God in this world are ordered and appointed with a view of preparing us for a higher and
purer state, there is, perhaps, no point which is of more consequence for us thoroughly to understand and be acquainted with, than the glory of God, as the only source of all wisdom and good.
ON BEARING THE CROSS, AND FOLLOWING
Luke xiv. 27.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after
me, cannot be my disciple.
OUR Lord spake these words on the occasion of his beholding the great multitudes which followed him. It is as if he had said, “Think not that because you press to hear me and extol my works, you are therefore entitled to the blessings of my kingdom: much more than this is required of those who are my disciples indeed. My disciple must prefer me to father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea to his own life. "If any man come after me, and hate not his father," that is, if he do not regard his father with a love comparatively less than his love to me, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And such is the sinful state of the world, that every follower of mine will be actually