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and Ps. xlii. 1, 2. Oh, that word "WHEN!" appear "before God ?"

When shall I come, and

What, then, can the longing soul do, under these things? I answer, and that on the authority of God's word, Wait till He comes! Oh, there is a sympathy (if I may venture such a word) between God and the Christian in this; for while his word commands, "Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD," the same word declares, "And therefore will the LORD wait" (Is. xxx. 18). Wait, then, poor sinner! wait His way and time. The promise sweetly assures us (Ps. cvii. 9), "For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness; such as sit in darkness, and the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron." A waiting state, with the fear of God in the heart, is a sweet token for good. See Mal. iv. 2. Peter writes in 2 Epistle, i. 19, “ Until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your heart" (Ps. lxxxiv. 11). He is a sun and shield; a sun to cheer! a shield to defend! So He was to Abraham (Gen. xv. 1); so He is to every elect sinner. Now the promises of God's word are blessed; but Jehovah the Spirit must apply them, or their blessedness is quite unknown. Man-Christian men—men in grace cannot command them. "Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days, or caused the day-spring to know his place?" See Ps. ciii. 13; cx. 3; Acts i. 7.

My poor brother! it is He who causes the day-spring to know his place in the natural world-that will, and shall, and DOES at His own time, shine on your heart. You must be brought to know and feel that you are dependent-that you have no power to move, to act, or will, but as God energizes, enables, and gives you the 66 power. My times are in thy hand." It is Jehovah, then, who causes the day-spring to know his place; and He who orders all things in heaven and in earth, arranges all this in the experience of the Christian, according to covenant settlement and determination of purpose; and as God works the belief of this in the heart of the sinner whom He loves, so also He, by the power of His grace, brings the sinner into submission to His will, and makes him feel that he is a pensioner on Jehovah's bounty for everything. Hence we must be brought to a state of spiritual beggarhood, of passive and entire submission to our Lord (Job xiv. 7—9).

And with

This is the work of the Spirit!-this cutting down work! out this there can be no hope of any man. "I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal;" so, also, in 1 Sam. ii. 6-9. Solomon also says (Eccl. iii. 3); and so Paul found it in his own experience (Rom. vii. 9), "I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." Under a conviction, then, that this is so, that the sinner to whom God intends to show mercy, must be thus brought down; and how sweet to the Christian mind is that word in Jer. xxxi. 28, " And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord." That the same watchfulness of love and mercy that brought the sinner to a state of desolation, &c., shall be erected to build, and to plant, yea, to establish the soul of a poor believer on the Rock of Ages, even on Jesus Christ the righteous One!

And then, again, "the taking hold of the ends of the earth, that the

wicked may be shaken out of it." We know the meaning of the words, "the ends of the earth," in a geographical sense-the most distant places; but, in a spiritual sense, may they not mean the poor and exercised people of God's choice, such as are driven to the very ends of the earth (as it were) in trouble, dismay? &c. (See Ps. cvii. 26-28). It is here, when really distressed, and tossed to and fro, that they are made to cry unto the Lord, and here is the token for good-the cry in the soul! What can so well test the Christian as this, viz., having a cry for mercy in the soul? Dry doctrines, rounds of forms and services, high Church views, or sectarian partialities, can never realize the sweet criterion of honest Christianity, namely, a cry, a pleading from the bottom of the soul, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Oh! when sin within is known, felt, groaned under, hated, and loathed, and when pardon is intensely longed after and prayerfully craved, through "the blood and righteousness of Christ," then that man who so feels sin, and cries for pardon, may hope and believe that he is a Christian, and that mercy is treasured up in Christ for him. But mark the words, "take hold of." They are very gracious words, full of meaning. What is it to take hold of any person or thing? It is to seize, to grasp, to hold you! Grace does this. And wherever grace takes hold it will never let go again (Phil. i. 6; John x. 27—29). Hence, I would observe, that it is a great point for every one professing Christianity, to ascertain whether God has really begun with us, or whether we have only begun with Him. The very integrity of our Christianity hinges here. If God has begun the work, all is well. If we have only begun with God, this is a delusion (and a very PREVAILING one) of the devil's. If we have been taken hold of, all is well. We are then working from life; but if we are working for life, this is Popery, Arminianism, and Infidelity!

And then as to the shaking out the wicked. There is much experience in this! Not indeed that the old Adam will ever get one jot better -not that there is any perfection in the flesh-not that PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION is a Scripture truth-not so, indeed. And yet there is a shaking, and a shaking out too, that the wicked must, and shall, and does undergo, in the heart of every new-born child of God. Sin must be shaken, sin must be disturbed, sin must be attacked and undermined in the Christian's heart; and the sinner, as soon as he is made to taste that God is gracious, will, as he grows in grace and increases in the knowledge of God, hate sin more and more, and find it more intolerable day by day. It will be his detestation and his burden.

And now, lastly, those sweet words, "It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment." How touchingly is this descriptive of the work of God, and the power of God, on his dear blood-bought people. We read in Scripture (Isa. Ixiv. 8), "We are the clay;" helpless, lifeless, powerless. Such is man-a picture of ourselves! But see the Potter! He moulds and forms us as He pleases-He fits and appoints us for His use. See Jer. xviii. 6; and see in Rom. ix. 20-24. Oh there is much in this expression for the Christian to muse on!

It is full of experimental imagery-"the clay," and "the turning as clay to the seal." When I preached on this, though I have forgotten the words I used in expounding it, yet I have not forgotten that it was very sweet to me, and the dew of it still lays upon my branch. Blessed be God for it! "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit

in our hearts" (2 Cor. i. 22). "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory" (Eph. i. 13, 14). "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption " (Eph. iv. 30). Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his" (2 Tim. ii. 19). How sweet to have the mind renewed, to have the heart turned from idols to serve (and to desire to serve) the living God; to feel a sweet softening of soul, an entire submission to Jehovah's will. In a word, to have no wishes of our own; to have his law written within us as our delight; his word hid within our heart, that we may not sin against him, and to realize His service perfect freedom. And how have we been brought to this? What has been the schooling? This is sweetly expressed in Ps. lxvi. 3, Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee." Here it is; even in the submission which grace makesZech. iv. 6, 7; John vi. 44; but see John vi. 37. Oh yes, our heart is turned as clay to the seal! subdued, softened, melted down; it yields to the divine touch of our Almighty Father, Redeemer, Comforter. And when the heart has been turned, really turned to God, there will be the cry of Ephraim from the soul," Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God." And after the turning, repentance; and after instruction the smiting on the thigh, and all the shame and confusion consequent on the conviction of sin. See Jer. xxxi. 18, 19.


When all this has been accomplished and done; when the soul has been brought into this feelingly subdued and sensible state; when the child has really put forth the cry, and dropped down the tear of godly sorrow, then the ever-watchful and watching Jehovah, as the Abba in Christ to the Church, has come forth in acknowledgment of His child— "Ephraim, my dear son! a pleasant child; for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowels are troubled for him. I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord."


And who can realize such things as these! such turning as clay to the seal," but the poor and exercised believer in the Son of the living God, who has realized in a broken heart the mighty power of God? "Turn us,

O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger towards us to cease." The history of the prodigal in Luke xv. sets forth the solid reality of this turning, and the reception consequent upon it. Oh marvellous mystery! Oh miracle of love! See the poor penitent standing before his Father, bewailing a life of sin, and pouring out his soul's confession, “I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son," and then mark the climax of love and mercy, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry : for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke xv. 22, 23, 24). Well may Hart sing

"Good God! are these thy ways?
If rebels thus are freed,
And favoured with peculiar grace,
Grace must be free indeed."

There is a reality in being really turned as clay to the seal, which language cannot express. It must be felt, known, experienced!

And now a word or two, and I have done" And they stand as a garment." Here is a deep experience! How can a garment be said to stand? Why, when it is put on, and so held up, supported-a garment, a coat, a gown. It then fits the person, and is thus seen and distinguished. Take it off, throw it down, it is not then distinguishable; it is then like a sack, a bundle, &c. Now follow out this idea; the Christian can only stand as he is supported and upheld. Take the case of David, Peter, Abraham, Lot, Noah, Hezekiah, &c. David, poor creature, when left to himself, oh how fearfully he fell; and hence he learnt that useful lesson, and poured out his soul to God in prayer, "Hold thou me up and I shall be safe; and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually." Peter's sad denial also of our Lord. And why was this? It was to teach Peter a lesson that he could have learnt in no other way :

""Tis but to teach him, ev'ry day,

From self to Jesus turn away;

His very falls, they make him wise,
And teach him where his victory lies."

Hence we know the full meaning of Rom. viii. 28, and the "all things " therein referred to.

But once more. How sweet to feel our entire dependence on the living God for everything. For light in our darkness; for deliverance from Satan, and his many, many snares; for resignation under trials; for refreshings in drought; and for everlasting salvation in spite of all our doubtings, and fearings, and tremblings. Oh for grace to do His will, and obey His word (Eph. ii. 10). Oh it is truly blessed to have been brought simply to trust God in Christ for everything; to realize that "underneath are the everlasting arms;" that His " grace is sufficient for us;" that "it shall be perfected in weakness:" and that none, neither men, devils, world, sin, lusts, vile hearts, enemies within, without, on all sides, shall ever prevail against the saved Church-the elect-redeemed, and newborn members of Christ's mystical body. We have joys then that a devilblinded world knows nothing of; sweet realizations which professors can not experience. I know something of this, and so I can sing in dear Mr. Hart's words :

"Boast not, ye sons of earth,

Nor look with scornful eyes;
Above your highest mirth,

Our saddest hours we prize:
For though our cup seems fill'd with gall,

There's something secret sweetens all."

And now I must stop. May God command a blessing on what I have written, and He shall have all the praise and glory, for His dear Son's sake, Jesus Christ; our glorious Redeemer, Friend, and Lord.

Yours in faithfulness,

Winchelsea, June 16, 1849.

J. J. WEST, Rector of Winchelsea.




"All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, to the glory of God by us."-2 Cor. i. 20.

"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy the second man is the Lord from heaven."-1 Cor. xv. 46, 47.

LIFE enables the natural man to perceive the beauty and arrangement of natural things, and renders him susceptible of natural sensations. Without life, all in nature, from the minutest Divine foot-print to the boundless stride of Divine power in the infinite universe itself, would remain a blank; if not denied to be in existence all would be totally unknown. Without life, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains, griefs, groans, and tears; delights, ecstasies, and smiles, with all their causes and effects, would sink into nonentity. All the wonderful provisions made to gratify and sustain the propensities and needs of the animal existence of a man, where would their uses and their value be, without life? Yet what is the natural life? "Go to now, ye that say, To-day and to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (Jas. iv. 13, 14). And shall the substance be accounted a less real thing than the shadow? Shall that which is eternal remain almost forgotten, buried beneath the rubbish of a moment? (2 Cor. iv. 17) Alas, that it should be so. This "inch of time," with all its bubbles and its toys, how do we grasp and hug it! How closely do we hold our days, our anxious morrows, to our nearsighted eyes! so close as to shut from our vision the mighty hills whence cometh help (Ps. cxxi. 1). So true it is, the merest trifle in itself, is large enough to hide the sun. Ah, yes, and well does Satan know what bad opticians the Lord's people are! Beloved! what is your mighty care? The cunning foe is holding against your eye a lump of dust and ashes. Oh what a mountain it appears! Tell him to put it in your Father's hand; he will hold it exactly in its proper place. Then, how will it appear?

Now, precisely as in natural things, so in spiritual; without spiritual life, the very existence of spiritual things is unknown-and therefore if heard of by the natural ear, their existence perhaps is denied. Does it not often happen that one whom the Lord has "visited with his salvation"— one made" alive from the dead;" but who has not yet been brought by Divine teaching to that blessed point of stability, to be enabled to say, "Abba, Father," my Lord and my God-meets with an old established professor, to whom the anxious inquirer begins to tell out his hopes, fears, and feelings, when, to his astonishment and dismay, as he cries in the fulness of his soul, produced by the incessant strugglings of those which are "contrary" (Gal. v. 17), "If it be so, why am I thus?"—a blank rests on the countenance of the elder; or a restless consciousness that the living notes of true spiritual hunger which he hears naturally, are such as never proceeded from his own heart, causes him coldly to

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