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experience, we may, with a confiding and rejoicing heart, always triumph in the Lord.
“ Bless'd proofs of pow'r and grace divine,
That meet us in his word !
Be trusted with the Lord.”
The memorials of thanksgiving in commemoration of the Interposition of Divine Providence next present themselves to our consideration. On these sacred monuments, we behold gratefully inscribed the delivering mercies of Jehovah, and the grateful remembrances of his people; to teach us that it is not only well-pleasing in the sight of our God that we should record with lively gratitude his merciful and providential Interpositions, but that we should treasure them up in our memories, and write them in the deepest recesses of our hearts.
The next delightful subject that claims our attention, is, the manifestations and bestowments of Divine Favour. In them are blended a rare and beautiful exhibition of the richest displays of spiritual blessings, in strict coincidence with the varied spiritual desires of the heart. Here the rays of light, which are so profusely scattered throughout the sacred pages, meet, to irradiate our way, till we behold that glorious star which guides our feet to the Babe of Bethlehem; and at length we behold, in mid-day splendour, the heavens opening, and the Holy Ghost descending like a dove, on the head of our adorable Redeemer.
How exalted are the goodness and loving.kindness of Jehovah! What amazing condescension ! that “the high and lofty One who inhabiteth Eternity, who dwelleth in the high and holy place,” should graciously unveil the glories of his reconciled countenance, and hold sweet converse with any of his sinful creatures ! We behold Jehovah appearing to his favoured servants, to prepare them for great and important services or peculiar trials; or to sustain them when suffering for his name's sake; to revive them when fainting through imprisonment and persecution; to strengthen their drooping hearts when their fondly-cherished spiritual hopes are expiring ; and to animate them to go forward in arduous and perplexing duties.
What a glorious proof of the power, benignity and design of Jehovah, is manifested in the conversion of Individuals ! How remarkable and how various have been the methods which God has taken in his Providence to lead men first to think of Him! Who can read of the call of Abraham, of Peter, of Zaccheus, of Levi, of Nathanael? Who can read of the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; of the wonderful effects produced by the preaching of the Gospel, when, within a few days, under the ministry of Peter, five thousand immortal souls were converted, many of whoin had imbrued their hands in their Saviour's blood ? Who can read of that transforming grace which changed the cruel persecuting Saul into the holy apostle of the Gentiles ; of the Conversion of Cornelius and his kindred l; of the devout Lydia ; of the Gaoler, when about to commit the fearful act of suicide; of the Ethiopian Eunuch when reading in his chariot that remarkable prophecy in Isaiah, which so pathetically and minutely describes the sorrows and sufferings of Messiah;—who can read of these amazing proofs of the especial love and Providence of God, without exclaiming, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !”
We are now brought to consider the loving-kindness of the Lord in his rich bestowment of temporal mercies. Seldom are the Lord's people intrusted with any considerable portion of this world's good, lest they should forget that they are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Their
general description is, “ the poor and the needy;" but it has pleased Jehovah in his All-wise and Providential arrangements, to raise to honour and to invest with authority a few chosen individuals, whose hearts were imbued with the
deepest piety and humility, and on whom the spirit of grace, wisdom, and understanding has been pre-eminently bestowed. We behold Joseph, Esther, Mordecai, and Daniel, advanced to the highest pinnacle of human greatness; yet this departure from the general arrangement has always been intended for the preservation and happiness of the other portion of the family. Let us remember, that if God has permitted us to fill honourable and influential stations, it is with the view that we may be made a blessing to those around us, that the sighs and tears of the afflicted may not be forgotten by us, that we may remember the Divine injunction. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Among the gracious bestowments of temporal mercies which are here selected ; we cannot but pause
for a moment to admire the wonderful Interpositions of Divine Providence on behalf of David, in raising up to him in the house of Saul, his cruel enemy, a faithful and beloved friend. In Jonathan we have a rare and beautiful exhibition of all the qualities united, which constitute a pure and holy friendship. We behold him frequently experiencing the displeasure and even cruel resentment of his father, not esteeming his own life dear to him, but venturing it freely in a just cause, for his afflicted and persecuted friend ; visiting him in perplexing trials ; devising methods for his safety ; seeking him in retired and dangerous places, where reproach and even death awaited him succouring him and strengthening his hands in the Lord ; and continuing his unwearied and disinterested services to the fatal period when he expired in a sanguinary conflict at his Father's side. Nor was the noble individual on whom this friendship was so liberally bestowed, a stranger to the kindliest emotions of the heart; nor to the deep and lasting obligations which services so pure and holy had entailed. The affecting lamentation of David over his beloved Jonathan, which can never be surpassed in sublimity and pathos, and his unsolicited and generous kindness to Mephibosheth, when the Lord had advanced him to the throne of Israel, best evince the depth and genuineness of his friendship.
In this lovely portraiture, drawn by the Divine hand, of the mutual friendship of Jonathan and David, we are supplied with a beautiful model for our imitation ; and we have the strongest testimony to prove that, with all the imperfections attaching to human character, it is still capable, when renewed by divine grace, of cherishing and exhibiting the same bright display of pure and holy friendship.
We cannot too minutely regard those gracious