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Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom
he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons : for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But he chasteneth us for our profit, that we might be partukers of his holiness. Heb. xii. 6-10.
To these chastenings belong outward afflictions, which are precious
means, and sanctified to believers. O my dear heavenly Father, thou art only pleased with a true child-like confidence; but I am still of a distrusting heart, when any thing comes upon me on a sudden. Help me always to entertain the kindest thoughts of thee, and to fear no ad versity, looking upon it as a token of love and not of hatred; and really believing it to be intended as a blessing for my good. Whatever thy providence may order, let me only be convinced of thy fatherly affeca tion, and fall in with thy wholesome and loving designs.
Tho' for my sin I justly feel
Thy discipline, O God;
Till thou remove thy rod.
AMiction makes me learn thy law,
And live upon my God.
When new distress begins ;
And hate my former sins.
The entrance of thy word gives light; it giveth understanding to the simple.
Psa. cxix. 130. Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have
dominion over me. Ver. 133. We may have a clear sight and a real taste of the gospel, and
soon deprived of the comfort of it again, if we do uot walk in godly simplicity and poverty of spirit; for Christ will have none but humble and child-like disciples. But if we abide in Christ, by a close and humble walk with him, we shall come to great and lasting assurance; for neither a sweet sense of Christ, nor even faith itself in Christ, is the ground of our salvation ; but Christ alone, received into the heart as the Saviour. Faith does not save, but enables us to receive the Saviour, and with him salvation. Neither does a sweet sense of Christ save us; - it only shows the Saviour is present with us Now the weakest true believer does receive Christ as well as the strongest, though he reap no present comfort from his faith. We must first believe, before we can feel, and be thankful for our feelings, but not trust in them. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way.
Thy mercies fill the earth, O Lord,
How good thy works appear ! Open mine eyes to read thy word,
And see thy wonders there. When once it enters to the mind,
It spreads such light abroad, The meanest souls instruction find,
And raise their thoughts to God.
'Tis like the sun, a heav'nly light,
That guides us all the day :
A lawup to lead our way.
Let not thy path be hid,
Psal. cxix. 37, Is you were to see a man endeavouring all his life to satisfy his thirst, by
holding up one and the same empty-cup to his mouth, you would certainly despise his ignorance; but if you should see others of brighter parts and finer understandings, ridiculing the dull satisfaction of one cup, and thinking to satisfy their own thirst by a variety of gilt and golden empty cups, would you think that these were ever the wiser, or lappier, or better employed, for their finer parts ? Now this is all the difference that you can see in the happiness of this life. The dull and heavy soul may be content with one empty appearance of happiness, and be continually trying to hold one and the same empty cup to his mouth all his life. But then let the wit, the great scholar, the fine genius, the great statesman, the polite gentleman, lay all their heads together, and they can only show you more, and various empty appearances of happiness; give them all the world into their hands, let them cut and carve as they please, they can only make a greater variety of empty cups; for scarch as deep, and look as far as you will, there is nothing here to be found that is nobler or greater than high eating and drinking; than rich dress and human applause, unless you look for it in the wisdom and laws of religion. Reader, Reflect upon the vanity of all orders of life who live without godliness, and see how all the ways of the world are only so many different ways of error, blindness, and mistake, that you may be earBest at a throne of grace to be turned from the creature, and seek for happiuess in the Creator. No peace or lasting rest
The portion of a beast
Will not content my heart.
the vast desires of man.
Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not thyself from my supplica.
tion. Psa. lv. 1. - Christ's Answer: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever
shall ask the father in my name, he will give it you. John xvi, 23. For the Father himself loveth you. ver. 27.
He has promised : Before they call, I will answer; and whilst they are speaking, I will hear. Isa. Ixv. 24. Therefore, I say unto you,
What things soever' ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shull huve them. Mark xi. 24.
that converses much with God in prayer, aad has some child-like confidence in his word, shall certainly be heard ; and these answers prayer are undeniable evidences of the truth, faithfulness, and love of God, and greatly strengthen his faith; and at last bring him to be intimately acquainted with God. The more we receive, the more we are enlightened to see how much there is still wanting. This stirs up to more frequent prayer, and to more fervent desires; and the more we desire, and believe that we shall receive it, the more shall be granted. Unbelief receives nothing (Matt. xiii. 58.); but faith opens all the treasures of God, and never goes away empty. Because on me they set their love, My grace shall answer when they call; I'll save them, saith the Lord;
In trouble I'll be nigh; I'll bear their joyful souls above My pow'r shall help them when they fall, Destruction and the sword.
And raise them when they die.
If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Gal. i. 10. Let
every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. Rom. xv. 2. Fear or love of men, and hypocrisy, very often are nearly allied: A man that flattereth his neighbour, spreadeth a net for his feet. Prov. xxin. 5. But he that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Chap. xxviii. 23. We are ever inclined to extremes, even then when God has begun his
work in our soul. At one time we are apt to run into a false activity for the conversion of others, trusting too much to our own sufficiency and strength ; at other times, perhaps, we fall into too much remissness and inactivity for the salvation of others. May the Lord therefore always guide me to steer the middle course, so as to walk in all singleness and humility of heart, as well as in true fervency of spirit, faith, and love ; that it may be said " I believe, therefore do I
speak.” Grant, O my dear Saviour, that I
may shine as a light, and be useful to all about me; never seeking my own, but only the salvation and good of others, with unfeigned love! O that thy love may constrain me in all things ! Amen. My own glory still I seek,
Poison shall I draw from food,
Sin from grace, and pride from thee!
O forbid it, hun ble love!
Hide me, O my Father, hide !
Save me from the sin of pride!