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a mixture of both: no portion of the hemisphere being so light, but the shades of darkness are blended with it; and none so dark, but the tints of light are beautifully incorporated. And this is perfectly accountable. A state of grace is a middle state, between that of nature and glory. In a state of nature unawakened, unregenerated, unrenewed, sin reigns with unrivalled
sway: In a state of glory, grace reigas uninterrupted, and without any opposition. But the intermediate state is a state of warfare. Every one in this state feels and experiences the con. fict. And as it is said, in allusion to this very circumstance, in the allegory of the bondwoman's son and the heir of promise, so be. lievers find it; as then he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the spirit ; even so it is now*.'
But however mortifying this doctrine be to our nature, (and abundantly so it hath ever been found to the best of men,) yet as it tends, under divine grace, to make the believer go softly all his days; as it makes Jesus more dear : and as it affords to the believer one of the truest evidences of the renewed life ; he ought rather to inquire, how such a state may be over-ruled to Gop's glory and his own benefit; than, by a false estimate, to question the ten
* Gal. iv. 29.
der mercies of the Lord toward him, in the • very moment of receiving the strongest proofs
of them. Let me desire you to examine your own complaints again ; and to see whether in the very moment of receiving the strongest proofs of them-Let me desire you to examine your own complaints again ; and to see whether in every one of them, even in the midst of your groaning under the apprehension that there is no grace
in your heart-whether great grace is not then in exercise. You say, that if the love of Christ were shed abroad in
your heart, you could not live so far from him as you do;
that if you really were under grace, you could not stay away from a throne of mercy as you do. But say, could you complain of the want of love to Christ, if you had never tasted what that love is? And if you vi. sit not a mercy-seat so often as you wish, say, are not these things your continual burthen ? Do you not groan under such marks of a dead and lifeless heart? And are not these sorrows of the soul, for the unallowed sins of the body, very plain evidences of the spiritual warfare? They never groan at sin, though they may in the prospect of the punishment of it, who have no renewed nature. It is the believer only who dreads the sin, more than the penalty due to it. And if grace be thus in exercise to endear
the person of the Lord Jesus, still more in proportion as we see our daily want of him; to long for the time to come when sin shall be rooted out; and to cause a sense of our weakness to prompt the soul to a greater dependence upon divine strength; by thus overruling all dispensations to his glory, and his people's welfare ; we see a needs-be in every dispensation, and discover the beauty and tendency of that Scripture, which says, after that ye were illuminated, (not before, but after,) ye endured a great fight of affliction*' In a word : however we may long for an exemption from all sin, and would purchase it, were it possible, with the price of a thousand worlds; however we may, and do, groan under this body of sin and death, which we carry about with us; yet, while Jesus, who could, if he saw it right, deliver his tried ones, whom he hath chosen in the furnace of affliction, with a word speaking, sees it not fit ; let us not despond. If your sense of sin, and unallowed infirmițies, lead you to a more firm reliance upon him ; if it make his promises dearer, his faithfulness more evident, and his presence more desirable, depend upon it, by and by, your groans will be changed into songs of rejoicing, and your language will be like that of the Apostle, Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
* Heb. x. 32.
THE CRIES OF UNBELIEF.
THERE sat a man upon my right hand in the prayer-meeting, to whom the leader of this little circle next addressed himself, in order to inquire into the Lord's gracious dealings with his soul. I hope,' (said the Poor Man, calling upon him with all the freedom of one who had been long acquainted) I hope, (said he,) that
you will now be able to give us some tes-, timony of the word of his grace. I long, me. thinks, to hear from an old disciple like you, some evidence of the faithfulness of our Covenant-making, and Covenant-fulfilling God.'
• Alas! (replied the other) my language must be much the same as you have often heard, I still
groan under the burthen of unbelief, and know not when I shall obtain deliverance from it. It will be a long time, I fear, before I shall be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith I myself am comforted of God.' I frequently compare myself to
the unworthy spies, whom Moses sent to view. the promised land ; and fear that, like them, I shall never attain the possession of it, through the same besetting sin of unbelief. If I attend the means of grace, I return, for the most part, unbenefitted, through the suggestions of this evil heart of unbelief. If I hear the word of a preached Gospel, though I know the truth as it is in Jesus, and love to sit under the sound of it; yet too often like the Israelites, it doth not profit me, not being mixed with faith. If at any time I read the Bible, and turn to those“ ceeding great and precious promises,' which belong to the Lord's people, their sweetness is lost in me, through a fear that I have no interest in them. And how many of the providences of my God, which I well know to be every one of them fraught with a sure blessing in their final issue to his people, are perverted in their effects on me, by the impatience and dism trust of my unbelieving heart! And can such a creature say any thing by way of encouragement to the LORD's exercised family, when he himself is so faithless and unbelieving?'
“I confess,' (rejoined the Poor Man,) that such a state as you describe, cannot afford much assistance to the cause of Christ. But blessed be our God, this is the Christian's char