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I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job xlii. 6.
My dear reader, Reflect a moment who it was that made this confes
sion, and consider the many excellencies that he had. See chap. xxxi. Doubtless, you will be ready to ask why this self-abhorrence? What did this man want?—Let me give the answer for you:- Before his eyes were opened he wanted humility, or the knowledge of his own vileness, the very thing that you need, if not deeply humbled, and the want of which makes every man vile in the eyes of God. Elihu charges Job home with an undue opinion of his own righteousness; and God, who, by stroke upon stroke, and not one too much, had brought him to the dunghill, is represented as carrying on the same accusation against him. The whole issues in Job's humiliation, and conveys a most important lesson of instruction to all mankind, never to stand upon
their vindication with God. The book, in this view of it, is preparatory to the gospel, and a striking comment upon those words of St. Paul and the Psalmist,“ All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. In thy sight shall no man living be justified.”—“God be merciful to me a sinner,” is a prayer easy to be said, but hard to be felt. One eye upon the perfection of God's laws, and another upon your own heart, may bring you up to it. But the Spirit's light is also needful, for which you must pray earnestly.
A sinner vile I am, O Lord,
Much cause I have to loathe myself, 1
And for thy mercy pray.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book,
und to open the seuls thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kinılred, and tongue; and people,
and nation. Rev. v. 9. In Heaven the saints have a full sense of their great deliverance, together
with a perfect knowledge of sin, far beyond any thing we now conceive of it; and the glory of redeeming grace will be the eternal ground of their love and adoration. On earth, it is the great exercise and difficult work of faith, to see sin and Christ at the same time, or be pénetrated with a lively sense of our desert; and absolute freedom from con demnation. But the mile we know of both, the nearer approach we shall make to Heaven ; and we are our own greatest enemies, if, together with the fullest comprehension of sin, and the deepest humiliation for it, we do not look steadfastly unto Jesus, and see it taken away by the Lamb of God. This, though continually repeated by the Heavenly choir, is called their New Song; because it is always matter of as great joy to them, as if they had never sung it before; and because the love of God and of Christ in their redemption, is always opening upon them with new and increasing wonders. O my soul, Let nothing, let not thy sin, hinder thee from beginning it now! Saints cannot do less
By Jesu's blood-shedding,
His burial and smart.
To him that was slain,
The scorn'd Nazarene,
Be glory and honour !
Let all say Amen.
Follow me. Luke v. 27. And endure hardness as a good soldier of
Christ. 2 Tim. ii. 3.
Would you follow Christ? Then follow him in self-denial, in humi.
lity, in patience, and in a readiness for every good work. Follow him with a daily cross upon your back, and look to his cross to make your burden-light. Follow him as your guide and guard, and learn to see with his eyes, and to trust in his arm for defence. Follow him as the friend of sinners, who healeth the broken in heart, and giveth rest to weary souls, and casteth out none that come unto him. Fol·low him with faith, resting your whole acceptance with God, and your title to Heaven on his meritorious blood and righteousness.
Lastly, Follow him with much prayer; for though he is full of compassion, he loves to be much entreated; and when he is determined to give a blessing, you must yet wrestle with him for it. Thus follow Jesus, and he will lead you to glory.
The Lord is not far from every one of us ; for in him we live, and move, and
have our being. Acts xvii. 27, 28. Even the very hairs of your head are all
numbered. Luke xii 7. Oh! the close and tender love of the Lord over his people ! Nothing
is so mean, but it is under the providence of God, since even the least things can either hurt or profit the soul. And how sweet is it to observe his footsteps even in the minutest things, and to be satisfied that we may trust our greater and lesser concerns to his care! O Lord, grant that I may never swerve from, nor do any thing without thee; but that
my goings in and goirgs out may be always done in thy presence, as if I had to do with none but thee; nay, as if we both lived together alore in the world O that I could transact all my affairs with thee alone, and in all places look upon thee as if thou wast only a God for me. Let me carefully mark the inward workings of thy grace, and the outward tokens of thy providence, so as daily to have a true sense of thy gracious presence in every thing, more or less importait; and thereby to be even strengthened in faith, and kept in a composed state of mind; considering that nothing happens by mere chance, but all is wisely ordered by thy providential care to our good; firmly believing, if any thing goes contrary to expectation, that something better will follow in its stead, if we only can be quiet and wait the time. God, that must stoop to view the skies, He over-rules all morta things, And bow to see what angels do,
And manages our mean affairs : Down to our earth he casts his eyes, On humble souls the King of kings And bends his lootsteps downwards too. Bestows his counsels and his
Cleave to that which is good. Rom. xii. 9. Seek those things which are
above. Col. iii. 1.
The manners of such things or persons as we frequently, converse
with, cleave very easily to us. If we converse much with God and heavenly things, we shall be heavenly-minded; but if we deal much with the world and temporal things, we must be sensual and worldlyminded. Up therefore with thy heart to God: lift it hourly up to him ;
though it sinks down often to the earth again, yet the Lord has patience, and will as often receive it again. Therefore raise it
up continually, and take great care to keep it above, that it may not sink down and be defiled with worldly things again. Thus it will be easy to abide in a spiritual frame; but without this care we cannot abide in it at all ; a feather easily rises higher and higher when kept above ground, but moves very heavy upwards, when once fallen into the dirt. This you may take as a lively figure of an easy and heavy method in the practice of religion. Choose now which you please. O that I may always choose the best, namely, to cleave unto the Lord, seeking the things which are above, and never plunge into the world to defile and distress my soul! Descend from Heav'n, immortal Dove, Beyond, beyond this lower sky,
Stoop down and take us on thy wings, Up where eternal ages roll, And mount and bear us far above
Where solid pleasures never die, The reach of these inferior things:
And fruits immortal feast the soul.