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is a perfect covering; to these, Reader, have daily recourse for cleansing and recommendation before God; by these you may silence all the accusations of Satan, all the clamours of conscience, all the threatenings of the law; for in Christ the believer is complete, and here he may safely rest in his dullest and heaviest moments. Happy frames, on the contrary, are bestowed or withheld as it pleases God; you may safely pray for them, because great peace is promised to the children of God—and, generally speaking, the diligent and watchful are most frequently favoured with them; and when you are blessed with them, be thankful ; but beware of depending upon them, for this is the readiest way to have them withdrawn : spiritual pride may arise from this quarter, while a feeling sense of weakness and unworthiness keeps the soul humble, and continually dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for pardon, strength, and salvation.
5. In spiritual conflicts it will often happen, when God is about to work some great deliverance from some particular sin, or pressing temptation, that, before deliverance comes, the believer will think he had never been so wicked or oppressed before ; his corruptions are permitted to stir up in him, and he is apt to say with Moses respecting the Israelites, that “God has not delivered him at all." Reader, beware of such a conclusion ; the greatest darkness is generally a
little before sunrise ; "the Israelites groaned by reason of their task-masters and heavy burdens,” just when God was about to deliver them. Man's extremity is God's opportunity ; out of darkness he brings forth light; out of unbelief, faith ; and out of pride, humility: his design is to bring down thy self-righteousness and vain confidence ; to cut the very sinews of an arm of flesh; to convince thee that deliverance is of himself alone, to bring thee to a steady dependence upon his power, that his strength may be perfected in thy weakness, and that he may have all the glory. Then will he appear for thee, and work wonderfully, and in all thy after-conflicts of a spiritual kind, follow this advice : build not thy comfort of pardon upon thy victory, but thy victory upon thy pardon and acceptance with God through CHRIST : strive not, thinking that thou shalt only have forgiveness of sin when it is conquered : but seek the pardon of sin first, through faith in CHRIST, and then that it may be manifested to my heart.
6. In this book are several parts of Scripturehistory evangelized, or applied to spiritual purposes in a Gospel way; which may serve as specimens for the improving of many more to the same end; hereby great advantages will arise to the intelligent reader. “ The sword of the Lord and of Gideon." The command to drive out the Canaanites; and if not their becoming pricks in the eyes of the Israelites, the noble exploits of
the Jews in their wars, and the interposition of Providence in their behalf; afford ample matter of caution and instruction to every serious reader; all may be easily brought home and spiritualized, and will teach him to admire free grace: the tokens of Divine favour will warn him of the power of his enemies; will shew him the danger of sin and corruption, and the necessity of keeping close to the Captain of his salvation from day to day.
Lastly, dear Reader, beware of formality in the use of this book : it will be of little service barely to read it over ; see that these truths be brought home to thy conscience, and beg of the Almighty that he would be pleased to apply them by his Iloly Spirit; then they will be blessed indeed to thy soul : examine your experience as you go along, particularly how you hate and fight against sin ; how you maintain communion with God through the Spirit; what it is to live by faith in Christ Jesus,—which are subjects much insisted on in this work, and in the knowledge and experience of which consists the greatest part of a Christian's happiness. See if your graces are lively and vigorous ; if they are kept in exercise the kingdom of heaven is a growing kingdom: the seeds of grace must bring forth fruit.
Abraham's faith, the trial of,