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has a mind attempered to bear every change; if the tempest gather he is firm on the rock Christ; if the floods descend, with pliant humility he bends beneath their wave, and rises uninjured, nay, perhaps refreshed. When the apostle was commissioned to register our privileges, he goes beyond all those attendants on time; and announces that things to come.' are also ours, because ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's ! On this eternal key-stone, the arch of every blessing is erected, and when we reach the summit of its circle, we are surrounded on every side with joys unspeakable and full of glory
Reference to the Lord's Providences, Biography
of Martyn Luther, and his Commentary on Galatians A Domestic Fireside Entrance of a Friendly Neighbour Family Employment, how directed—Advice to hear a Gospel Preacher.
Very early, on our introduction to the wonders of grace, we are brought to behold the order of the Lord's arrangements for our profit and edification. We see that every means has its appointed station, blessings are bounded and methodized in their occurrence; nothing is too minute for infinite inspection, even suited books are selected for our use, and by circuitous channels that very author shall instruct us, by whose statement the Lord hath appointed to convey his message to our minds.
In this view faithful ministers are greatly honoured in their publications; for the gift
committed to such is thereby disseminated through their writings to distant brethren, and not unfrequently reserved for unborn members of the church. There is something eminently pleasing in this thought, and it holds out a great inducement for every one who is a receptacle of the heavenly treasure, to print a testimony of his knowledge in the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It was said to a preacher of old “ Drop thy word towards the south.” Why? because the south is fertile and productive, and when the Lord commands seed to be dropped, it is indicative that he has fitted good ground for its reception, wherefore it will bring forth fruit; so exactly does scripture agree with scripture, for this illustrates Christ's parable of the sower. -Luke viii. 4. Some grain fell on good ground; the gospel not only heard, but received, because it fell on the spot assigned to its growth. The preparation which gave a certain quality to the soil, whereby it was adapted for a peculiar produce, is not to be attributed to the servant who scatters the seed, but to the the husbandman who know the nature of the earth.
In the study of Dr. Milner's Ecclesiastical History, I found the preceding observations exemplified. It was the exact species of literary recreation most serviceable to my purpose. Reading having been my early sustenance, was become necessary to the healthful constitution of my reason. It was the only pastime which could effectually enliven the duskiness of seclusion: but the volumes which were once my choice, were no longer my appropriate companions. If our opinions are declared by our associates, assuredly the friend of our silence announces these opinions equally with the partner of our cheerful hour.
I am convinced that divine grace refines the feelings, purifies the taste, and enlarges the perceptions of the understanding. The acquisitions of literature are doubled in their value to our intellects, when weighed in their just balance by the correct measure of an awakened mind. When spiritual subjects became my supreme standard, I found natural advantages sink within their own mediocrity; and by this very rectitude of position, become truly valuable. Whatever a regenerated child of God may receive, partakes or assimilates with the mercy which sur-, rounds his person; "To the pure, all things pure.” There is a blessing derived from the sanctification wherewith Christ sanctifies a believer which transmutes every aliment to useful sustenance. Whatever I undertake, or whatever engages me, the Lord first prepares it for my reception by making it useful as a joy, or a corrective. If I take up a book which robs me of too great a proportion of time, I find the restorative effused over its pages, the pervading quality of grace extracts for me all that is worth retaining, with its own inestimable comment, that no accumulation of knowledge, no mental superiority can reach the seraphic themes of divine truth. So incalculable is the difference, that the richest stores of genius, and the finest periods of rhetoric, are esteemed by the spiritual critic, merely as the permitted pastime of a leisure hour; and never usurp any deeper interest without a rebuke from the conscience, that all tends towards sin ; which does not aspire towards heaven.