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tion, God had multiplied the blessing. “Go," said he,“ sell the oil, and pay the debt."-' from this time owe nothing more, than to love him who has despitefully used thee. You have it now in your power to prove that you were possessed of a principle of integrity, though you then lacked opportunity to inake it inanifest. Your God has now enabled you to provide things honest in the sight of all men.'-From the whole we may learn,
That God both can and will provide for those who put their trust in him. " Live thou on the rest, and tliy children. Here was not only enough, but to spare. Live upon it, as the prodigy of God's power, as the fruit of thine own faith, and as the answer to thy departed husband's prayer while he was here below. “ Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God hath accepted thy work of faith and labour of love. But whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”. Thus ber future life would be, what our constant life shoula be, of a miracle, effected by God's grace and power. Hull.
THE HYPOCRITE AND TRUE CHRISTIAN.
To the Editor. The following characters are so justly and truly drawn in one of Mr.
Cowper's Letters, that I am persuaded your insertion of them will require no apology to your Readers.
P. P. I say umen with all my heart, to your observation on religious characters. Men who profess themselves adepts in mathematical knowledge, in astronomy, or jurisprudence, are generally as well qualified as they would appear." The reason may be, that they are alwayo liable to detection, should they attempt to impose upon mankind; and therefore take care to be what they pretend. In religion alone, a profession is often slightly taken op, and slovenly carried on, because, forsooth, candour and charity require us to hope the best, and to judge favourably of our neighbours; and because it is easy to deceive the ignorant, who are a great majority, upon this subject. Let a man attach hinself to a particular party, contend furiously for what are properly called evangelical doctrines, and enlist himself under the banner of some popular preacher, and the business is done Behold a Christian, a Saint, a Phænix! In ihe mean time, perhaps, his heart and his temper, and even his conduct, are unsanctified; possibly less exemplary than those of some avowed Infidels. — No matter ; be can talk, he has the shibboleth of the true church, the Bible in his pocket, and a head well stored with notions; but the quiet, hụinble, mudest,
and peaceable person, who is in his practice what the other is only in his profession, who hates a noise, and therefore makes none; who, knowing the snares that are in the world, keeps himself as much out of it as he can, and never enters it but when duty calls, and even then with fear and trembling, - is the Christian that will always stand highest in the estimation of those who bring all characters to the test of true wisdom, and judge of the tree by its fruit.
TO A FRIEND,
I am sorry to hear lowness of spirits continues to hang upon you. They have been your companions and familiar friends, though neither pleasant in themselves, nor profitable to the soul. Low spirits are the effect of sin; they are frequently the very workings of unbelief, refusing comfort in the consolation of Israel, through the faith of the promises and declarations of the gospel. They are an engine by which our adversary, the Devil, gains more advantage against many serious Christians, than by any other of his numberless devices. To what purpose, will you say, are these things mentioned to one who has so much of the unhappy experience of this powerful disease, both in body and mind? I will tell you to what purpose I mention thein.
1. I would have you to consider them your sinful infirmity ; and that you feel then to be exceeding sinful. - 2. Consider your low spirits as an occasion of much hurt and disquiet to your soul; they robit of present peace, and expose you to many temptations; in that melancholy disposition, you cannot set a proper value upon the grace of God, which bringeth salvation ; you do not trust yourself upon the Lord, and stay yourself upon your God; you do not in hope, believe against hope ; and how much loss does your soul sustain, as to its peace and comfort, and spiritual interest, by such a temper and disposition ?3. I mention these things, to stir you up under the felt sense of great guilt, deep pollution, utter unworthiness, weakness, and treachery, to essay taķing hold of God's everlasting covenant, made with his dear Son, and richly freighted with all the mercy your condition stands in need of, with all the grace your most enlarged wishes can desire; for this covenant is the storehouse of all the mercy of God; this covenant is the exhibition and conveyance of all grace, and of all spiritual blessings to you and me.
Yes, my dear friend, to you and me it is the exhibition and the conveyance of the mercy and grace of God, as well pleased in his Son, the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, to inen, to sinners, to the world, to enemies, to rebels, to the stout-hearted, to backsliders, to the wretched and miserable, to the chief of sinners; are not these our characters and descriptions? Surely, they are. Is not the covenant of grace the exhibition and conveyance of Christ, and of all spiritual blessings to sinners of these descriptions? Yes, it seeins to be the design of the Scriptures to set wide open a door of faith for such wretched sinners; and, consequently, for you and me. Now, in the consideration of all this good, which ile God of all grace is shewing us, what doth the Lord require of Un, but to take hold of God's covenant of rich, free, and superabounding grace; to be well-pleased with it, to approve of its infinitely wise and merciful constitution, to accept of it, and rest upon Christ as the Lord our righteousness; as the alone pay-inaster of all our enormous debt; as the alone propitiation for all our atrocious criines, and as the author of our eternal redemption ; to view the promises of the new covenant as promises of eternal life in Christ to us, and to esteem this covenant, whose condition Ctrist performed, and whose promises Christ will fulfil, all our salvation ; resolving to hope in it, to live by it, to seek and expect comfort, boliness, grace, and glory, no other way :- thus let us take hold, and keep hold of it. The Christian life has a close connexion with our keeping fast hold of the covenant of promise. It is neither a constant nor continued summer with our earth; yet we are sure, even in the coldest frosts and longest nights of winter, that the spring and summer will return; for God hath made a covenant concerning their succession. Even so in the Chris. tian life. It is very usual for the heirs of salvation to be in sore row, and in fear, and in great bondage; to have cold and dark winter nights; but when the saints live and walk in character, when they live and walk by faith, they set their foot upon the stable rock of Jehovah's promise, and smile for joy in the pleasant assurance, that his word will be made good to them at last; and, in the mean time, that their strength shall be at least as their day, proportioned to the day of trial. This is the way we should study to live while we are in this howling wilderness, and not yet come to the rest, and to the refreshing at the fountain-head of all-satisfying consolation, in the immedi. itie presence of God and the Lamb. Does iniquity abound wiili us, we have a sweet passage in Micah vii. 18--00. Does Saian territy and alarm us, we have some delightful expressions in Isa. lix. 10–20, and others in la. xlix. 24-26. Have we treacherously departed from the Lord by a grierons bachslide ing, and do we fear our case is so dangerously bad that it will never be better, every syllable in the 3d of Jeremiah, and the 4th of Hosea, is sweetly suited to such a view of ourselves. Is Providence any way dark and lowring, Mat. vi. 19, and to the close, is remarkably comfortable; so is Ps. 107. Whatever be our condition, the 119th Psalm is both a source and pattern of proper exercise. “Only believe," says Christ.
think I am holding better.-My kind compliments to your sister and brother, and accept of the saine yourself, from your siacere and affectionate friend and servant,
THOUGHTS ON ISAIAH XXVIII. 10.
For precept must be upon precept, line upon line; leere a little
and there a little. The life of man, froin the dawn of reason to the terinination of his mortal course, is one continued series of education; either bis capacity is enlarging, or his experience is confirming. Every year is introducing him into new scenes, which the flccting moment is preparing him to encounter; and were he to improve the events of life as they pass by him, his stores would generally be sufficient to prepare for succeeding events. Nature affords us pleasing proofs, in the gradual disclosure of her wonderful process, of the coincident preparative train in all her inimitable works: the leaves which we see folded up in curious miniature as the winter approaches, when spring appears, by degrees, burst their confinement, and unfold themselves front day to day. And, in the sacred Scriptures, the great Creator of man and Author of nature condescends to express, in the words of Isaiah, the same process to produce the work of repentance, faith, and boliness in the soul of man. To all the parposes of the divine life, the heart, in its natural state, is not only incompetent, but adverse: it needs discipline to subdue its perverseness; and holy principles must be implanted by instruction :-“ Precept must be upon precept, line upon line; here a little and there a little.” The infant inind is taught to name the name of God, without any fixed or appropriate ideas; it learns the alphabet of religion without any connecting views in the mind; nor is it till the Lord works suvingly by bis Holy Spirit, that the “line upon line, and precept upon precept, effectually attracts the soul.
Christian! if you are beloved of the Lord, subinit to the education which shall prepare for future glory. It may be, the “ line laid upon line” is painful, the “ precept upon precepi" arksome; but experience must be deepened, and the soul must be attracted. The work of divine grace is to convince of sin, to subdue the will, to raise the affections, to influence the conduct, to purify the principles, to animate the hope ! - Can it be performed without repeated lessons ? Shall we learn, laboriously and diligently, the common arts of life to prepare us for the meat which perisheth ; and shall we not bend all our powers to learn those sacred truths which shall prepare us for the fruition of blessedness in a glorious eternity:
These lines and precepts, which the prophet declares must be repeated, are an encouragement to parents and to preachers. It is their privilege and their duty to lay the “line upon line," and enforce the“ precept upon precept; not doubling but those who sow in tears shall, in due time, reap, if they faint not.
These lines and precepts are an incitement to enquiring minds who are seeking the truth in simplicity, and do not yet feel all the consolations which may be expected when divine grace and love flow in upon the soul. It is something to understand the theory of divine truth, and to be able to clothe the thoughts in the language of God's children. To gain this language theoretically, is in the power of every one who has a reasonable soul, as much as it is in the power of the mind and memory to gain the first rudiments of any art or science; and to pray for the influences of divine grace, is the most we are able to do in thie application of these truths to the salvation of the soul. But even upon the common principles of reason, it should seem surprizing and unjustifiable to remain stupidly ig, norant of a science applicable to all the varied pursuits and
Nor is it too much to say, that, with the Bible in our possession, we have a treasury of rules and masiins to conduct us in all the situations and stations wherein Divine Providence may place us. Shame upon that rational being wlo can read, and neglects to study ihose“ lines upon lines, and precepts upon precepts," which inspiration has indited and cominitted to our charge!
Lastly, These lines and precepts, when applied to the believer, should be received, in all their varieties, with humble hearts and teachable minds. Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” Divine love lays these lines and precepts in various forins. Temptations, afflictions, deprivations, the word of God, the conviction of sin, are all so many exercises wherein the student, in the Christian faith, is instrucied' in the warfare he is waging. To watch these lessons of mercy should be his delight; to kiss the rod is his bounden duty; to improve afflictions his sacred privilege. He should study to convert every providence, every changing season, every variedaevent, as the apostle instructed us to view the moral law,- into " a schoolmaster, to bring bim to Christ.”
purposes of life.