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man, he can have liberality. There is a hard-hearted man, he may become uncommonly tender. These men, in obtaining these graces, will learn that their Redeemer liveth, and they will be benefitted. They will gain that which is indeed valuable, and which will make them in. stantly more happy. Oh that wicked men would begin the practice of Bible precepts, on more accounts than one. Dear, unconverted friend, in a few chapters more we will inquire in your case if you can obey the holy book, so as to obtain Divine evidence, and also how to do it. But we first have to call up a few profitable thoughts, or to repeat some that have been mentioned.
ILLUSTRATIONS. On the pages of the Bible certain things are prom. ised to those who seek for them-heavenly and spiritual blessings, humility, victory over any besetting sin,devo. tion, Christian graces, &c. Other things are not prom. ised, and no child of God ever seeks and obtains them. Personal exaltation, victory over enemies, &c., are of this class. The wish for such things is sinful. Again, there are certain favours we may ask for and hope to obtain, and yet not be certain that we shall obtain, be. cause there may be something in the way to prevent, which God sees and we do not. Of this last class is the recovery of a sick relative, the conversion of a friend, the rebuke of pestilence, &c. The first class of mercies named, (a spirit to hate that which is hateful, and to love that which is lovely,) the witnesses of Jesus Christ always obtain when they seek as directed. Their uni.
form and striking success makes their evidence so plain that they need no more. Additional evidence, however, is given (like an occasional flash of light from on high) in answer to petitions for such favours as they are not certain always to receive. These answers to prayer appear to the unconverted all as a matter of casualty, and as that which would have happened had no prayer been offered. The Christian discovers too much uni. formity (before he watches long) to think the events he is praying for, take place from chance. We will give examples of these evidences before we leave the subject.
Illustrative Incidents.-CASE 4.-There was one who had disbelieved and ridiculed spiritual agency. He particularly and specially disbelieved the doctrine that Satan is the author of any of our evil suggestions. He once rode to meeting with a gay young merchant. Be. fore it was over he heard two ministers agree together, in a whisper, to pray for that young man.
Whilst their heads were inclined, no doubt in prayer, he saw the young man turn pale, walk forward, and ask the
prayers of God's people. This partial sceptic had never denied that God ever influences our feelings, so firmly as he had disputed the agency of the evil One. That same evening he was present when the young man approach. ed a preacher with a look of alarm and said, “Sir, I went into a grove for the purpose of trying to pray, and I could not do it. No matter when or where I made the effort, as soon as I would kneel, there came into my mind thoughts the most horrible, blasphemies the most inexpressible, such as I never had in all my years of vanity or scenes of wickedness. Can it be that I am getting more wicked just as I attempt to repent ?" The preacher answered him, “ My young friend, we
know how body operates on body, for we can see that and handle it. Spirit is invisible; it is not tangible. We do not know how spirit strikes or operates upon spirit; but it does. The evil One never saw you likely to forsake his ranks, and he never was afraid of losing you before. He exerts himself often when threatened with desertion. He really can in some way inject in. to our minds most abominable thoughts; but they are not sinful in us, if we do not entertain or approve them. If that man in the street were to offer you much gold to commit murder, you would not be guilty if you cordially hated his temptation.”
The spectator felt somewhat surprised to learn that incidents of this kind were not uncommon. After mingling with revivals, and meeting with perhaps an hundred cases more, he began to suspect that we are liable to persuasive spiritual influences, both good and bad.
Illustrative Incidents.—Events asked for take place contrary to the most probable appearance of things.
CASE 5.-A man once lived who was naturally timid, but in concerns of religion he was especially diffident. He was a hundred times more ashamed to be heard to pray than he once had been to be heard to
This detestable cowardice crippled and tormented him for many years. His son was constitu. tionally diffident like himself, and should he ever for.
ake the world, th almost certain result would be a similar backwardness in the service of the Lord. These thoughts, and the fear that his son would serve Satan
long, perhaps until almost middle life, before he gave himself to God, threw the father on his knees to ask a double favour, viz. the conversion of his son in the days of boyhood, and the victory over cowardice in the Redeemer's army. A sacramental meeting approached. He believed his prayer answered, (for a reason only understood by those who have felt it, and therefore it need not be explained or described here.) He did not converse with his son, but he watched him. He saw him unite with the church, and he heard him pray in public without delay as soon as called on. During the course of a few years, when many improbable events asked for had thus taken place, he could say,
If these things happen, they happen with strange uni. formity, and contrary to probable appearance."
THIS REMEDY DENIED TO NONE.
All may use this remedy who do not incapacitate themselves by sin. Those who incapacitate themselves are not excusable because of their inability. The man who bores out his own eyes has not the light of the sun to complain of, because he cannot see. The man who corrodes his palate until his taste is destroyed, cannot blame his food for his want of enjoyment in eating. Reader, if you will take the ten commandments in all their spirit and all their bearing, also the sermons, par: ables, and all the sayings of the Redeemer, as uttered by him, unite them together, and meditate upon them,
you will then, we have no doubt, tell us that the
prac. tice of each one would be very lovely. We presume this because it is acknowledged, and has been asserted by the leaders of the infidel forces in different generations. If you can find any Bible precept which is un. just, immodest, or immoral, we may well say Do not practice that. If all the precepts of the Scriptures are correct, we are not acting amiss to obey them, and to exhort others to obedience. They must suffer in some way who do not observe that which is excellent in itself. None ever became infidels but those who cease to obey the precepts of the Bible, more or less, or those who were reared to disregard them from infancy. The Spirit of all truth and purity influences us toward truth. The most wicked of men is still a debtor to the Holy Spirit for what little religious truth he may still retain. A man has not abandoned all Bible truth, nor is he totally for. saken by the Holy Spirit, until he becomes a thorough atheist, either in creed or practice. We do not mean a wavering atheist, but a hearty one. The Spirit of truth does not abide in a bosom filled with pollution. He takes up his constant residence in the heart of those who obey, and those alone. He begins to with. draw his influences from those who begin to hug enor. mities, and from those who turn their backs on God's commands. They begin to question truth, from whom He begins to retire. The light of heaven begins to appear dim in the eyes of those who have insulted the Spirit of truth until his agency is weakened. The loveliness of truth begins to resemble darkness and de. formity, in the view of all those who are
less left to themselves. If the commands of the blessed volume are good, let us exhort all to obey them.