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infinite value, freely offered to all, the amiction which is the means of and of which no earthly calamities exciting it must be acknowledged 10 can ever deprive us? The riches of be eventually a blessing. the Divine goodness and mercy in 4. The loss or the denial of eartb-i our redemption by Jesus Christ as ly good, and the increased convic-. far transcend all the treasures of this tion of the value of spiritual blessings, world, as the heavens are higher will, under the Divine influence, add than the earth, as time is exceeded greatly to the earvestness and fer-, by eternity. The Christian whose vour of the Christian in the exercises mind has been enlightened to per- of devotion. “ They,” says Archceive the grace of God revealed by bishop Leighton*, “who have been the Gospel
, whose faith bas 'em used to the greatest heights of daily, braced the promises of forgiveness devotion, yet in surrounding calaand reconciliation, and who has felt' mities pray more fervenily and more in himself the workings of the frequently than ordinary, and this is Spirit of Christ, drawing up his to be numbered among the chief benefits thoughts to high and heavenly attending aflictions; and it would things, must possess grounds of surely be well worth our while to thankfulness, and a fund of support experience all tbe hardest pressures and happiness, which are infinitely of them, if we may gain this: that beyond the richest sources merely the languor and sloth, and stupidity of this world's good, and entirely into which our minds and our souls independent of its influence or are ready insensibly to sink, while controul. It is, however, in the all is calm and serene about us, may. kour of distress and sorrow that the be happily shaken off by something value of spiriinal blessings is chiefly which the world may call an upfelt. We may, indeed, and, under happy event-that some more viothe influence of the grace of God, we lent gust of wind may, fan the sacred undoubtedly shall be at all times un flame, that seems almost extinguish. feignedly thankful for the mercies of ed, and blow it up into greater ar. Redemption ; but when the earthly dour.” It was not till the Israelites cistern is broken, or the human gourd sorely felt the bondage and the withered--when the objects of world- cruelty of Egypt, that they cried ly expectation and delight shall no carnestly to the Lord for deliverance, longer blossom, or shall cease to Had the sunshine of royal favour, in yield their accustomed fruit—ther which they basked during the lifeis it, that the Christian does most time of Joseph, continued to follow emphatically rejoice in ihe Lord, them, it is but 100 probable that and joy in the God of his salvation; they would have been wholly imthen is Christ increasingly precious, mersed in the idolatries and corrup: bis mediation more valuable, his tions of the surrounding people, and yoke more easy, his promises of pre- lost sight for ever of the land of prosent and eternal rest more refresh- mise. It will be happy for us, if ing and delightful. It is under the with the Israelites, and " with the pressure, or in the prospect, of af- Psalmist," as the pious prelate just fliction and trial, that the Apostles quoted goes on to observe, are seen to break forth into praise should sometimes sink in deep waters, and thanksgiving for the unspeaks that so we, wbo in prosperity do bui able blessings wbich are treasured whisper or muiter out our prayers, up in Christ; and it is in simil may from the depths cry aloud unio circumstances that his disciples have him. O, how frequently and how ever most deeply felt their value. ardently did David pray in the deIf, then, such a disposition of mind serts, and in the cares, and out of be, as it certainly is, one greatly the deep! Our rows are cruel to to be desired, and productive of ourselves, if they demand nothing important practical consequences,
* Meditations op Psalm cxxx,
but gentle zephyrs and flowery fields, are, perhaps, in some cases innocentand calm repose, as the lot of our ly dear to us from the uninter. life; for these pleasant things often rupted enjoyment of which we desire prove the most dangerous enemies to be translated to that which has to our nobler and dearer life. Ob! been regained in Heaven. But this how true is that saying, that prayer must not, and cannot be. There is is fervent in straits, but in joyful but one paradise for man, which, if and prosperous circumstances, if not we are truly wise, we shall seek in quite cold and dead, at least luke- the realms of unclouded light and warm. Oh! happy straits, if they purity. In the mean time, we must favour our correspondence with Hea. not be surprised, if He, to whom man ven, and quicken our love to celes. is dearer than to himself*, should tial objects, without which, what we defeat his plans, disappoint his hopes, , call life may more properly deserve and destroy the self-formed fabric of the name of death."--It may be his happiness.
« Vere suos amat," added, that together with the more says Seneca, “et severe Deus.” God frequent and fervent exercise of loves his children truly; but he prayer, the word of God will become loves them severely. He will not, far more valuable and delightful to therefore, indulge them in that which the afficted Christian. There are may either ultimately prove their many parts of Scripture which can ruin, or even be injurious, though only be rightly understood and cor- less fatally, to their spiritual welfare. dially received under circumstances Like a wise and tender parent, he of trial. On these a new and holy chastises them in those particular Jight will be shed by the Spirit of ways which may be most conducive God, and then will the Christian to their profit, that they may be par
“ Unless thy law had takers of his holiness. “ He threatbeen my delight, I should then have ens," says St. Chrysostom, " that he perished in my affliction.” Thy may not strike-he strikes, that he statutes have been my songs in the may not destroy.” And, behold! hour of my pilgrimage."
happy is the man whom the Al. 5. But as the increased fervour of mighty thus correctein—who by the our prayers for spiritual blessings, destitution of creature-comforts is and additional delight in the word led to place his hopes in the Lord of God, is one of the consequences his God, and whose expectation of of sanctified aMiction, it does also, happiness is from him alone-who, by a happy kind of necessity, drive from the failure of the earthly stream, the soul to fly as it were to seek its re.' is driven to the ever-flowing founfuge under the wing of the Divine Good- tain of living water, of which whoso ness, and in fir its hope upon God. tasteth shall thirst no more--who is And this is undoubiedly another weaned from worldly hopes and demost important advantage which the pendences, and is persuaded deter, pious soul gains by adversity, that minately to fix his affections on it calls or rather tears away the af- things above, where Christ sitteth fections from earthly objects, when on the right hand of God. obstinately adhering to them. How profess to do this, and, in a certain strongly the love of the world is na. degree, we may really fulfil it, even turally rooted in our hearts needs when surrounded by earthly blessnot to be insisted on-nor how ab- ings—but such a disposition of mind solutely essential it is, both to our is far more generally the effect of present peace and to our hope of sanctified affliction; and wherever heaven, that this should be subdued, it is produced, it affords a peace, and and even eradicated. We are all even a happiness, which no circumnaturally inclined to wish for a dou- stances merely of this world can ble paradise-for one in the present either give or take away. world formed of all the objects which
• Juv. Sat. X.
6. Nor will this comparative ab- jects of affliction. "My brethren, straction from earthly objects lead count it all joy when ye fall into to habits of barren contemplation divers temptations, knowing this, and inactivity. On the contrary, that the trying of your faith worketh sanctified affliction, while it will tend patience.? Now whoever considers to refine, and elevate the soul above the condition of man upon earth, this lower world, will ever be found the variety of calamities to which he to be productive of the most impor- is exposed, and the certainty with tant practical consequences. It will which every one ought to anticipate lead the humbled and awakened his own share of them, cannot sureChristian to far more faithful and ly complain, if by the all-wise and diligent self-examination than he gracious superintendence of his heawas previously accustomed to exer- venly Father, some tribulation, wbich cise. He will spare no evil habit in for the time may be deeply grievous, which he had before too much ac- should prove the means of working quiesced, nor any longer neglect the patience, that temper of mind of difficult and self-denying duties to which all have need, that after we which he may have formerly been bave done and suffered the will of Powilling to attend. The voice of God, we may at length " inherit God has been heard loudly calling the promises." Indeed, of all the upon bim to go and sin no more, lest lovely train of heavenly graees a worse thing befal him--to be zea- which adorn the Christian character, lons and repent-to strengthen the patience under the chastening hand things which were ready to die-to of the Father of our spirits, and regive proof of his professed love of signation to the appointments of his God and of the Redeemer- to fulfil unerring wisdom and boundless, the work pecaliarly given him to do though sometimes to us mysterious, to forget the things which are be. goodness, most eminently glorify hind, and to reach forth to those God, and promote our spiritual imwhich are before, pressing towards provement. They tend in an espethe mark for the prize of the high cial manner to produce that self-decalling of God in Christ Jesus. Af Dying, subdued, and profoundly subfliction, of which this is not in some missive temper, which is of the es. measure the practical result, which sence of Christian holiness—which is not, at least, followed by a most is precisely that disposition of mind sincere desire and purpose thus to which is both the safest, and, notgrow in grace, and to be fruitful in withstanding first impressions, the every good work, can scarcely be happiest, to be habitually maintained said to be sanctified; but where this amidst the various changes and unis in any good degree effected, we may certainties of this mortal life--and derive from it the heart-felt and ex- which, by refining and invigorating alted consolation which the Psalmist the general character-by accustomexperienced, when he declared - ing the Christian pilgrim to morti“ This is my comfort in my afflic- fication, and the sacrifice of his own tion; for thy word hath quickened carnal and earthly inclinations to me”_" Before I was afflicted I went the holy will of God—and by enure astray, but now I keep thy com- ing him to live and walk by faith, to mandments.”
look chiefly at things unseen and While sanctified afflictions will eternal, to place his supreme happithus tend to quicken the subject of ness and expectations in God, and to them in all holy obedience to the aspire after a state of unchangeable will of God, it will have a particular and endless felicity, forms the most influence on the great Christian direct and appropriate preparation graces of patience and resignation. for “ the inheritance of the saints in To produce these in the heart is light." evidently one of the most direct ob- I will only add, as to the practical effects of sanctified affliction, Christian; and which cannot be too that there is one other disposition diligently cultivated. But I must to which it is peculiarly conducive; forbear. I have already trespassed and that is, sympathy with the afflic. too much on the patience of your tions of others. “ Haud ignara readers, and will only beg their mali," says the soul of the suffering farther attention, whilst, in concluChristian, miseris' succurrere sion, I introduce to their notice, or disco.” The prosperous and the call to their recollection, the followhappy of this world may be bene- ing striking passages from the disvolent, but they cannot deeply courses of a most able and energetic sympathise with the distressed. writer*, which comprise a very imThere is a peculiar tenderness of portant view of this whole subject. affection, which can only be learnt. « Sioce the Son of God incarnate in the Christian school of affliction, was made to pass through a state of, which softens without unnerving the very severe sufferings, before he assoul; which leads it, with true cended up into heaven; and since generosity and lively feeling, “ to his saints and servants have, in this, rejoice with them that rejoice;" and, respect, been required to tread in above all, to“ weep with them that his steps; we cannot but know what weep.”; Doubtless, to promote this our lot is like to be in going through sympathetic disposition, is one im- 'the same world. Nor should we portant part of the Divine intention only learn to look for afflictions, we in affliction ; an intention which should be willing to find them, when may be especially discerned in the we reflect that they have fallen so kumiliation and sufferings of the Son largely to the share of so many perof God. He was tempted or tried. sons, better than ourselves, and of in all points like as we are, and is the Son of God himself. Nay, we therefore both “ touched with the should be even thankful for our suffeeling of our infirmities *," and ferings, did we consider the ends for " able to succour them, that are which they are inflicted on us, and tenipted.” It would be easy to en- the great good we receive from them.” Jarge ou this most interesting part of " We ihank God perhaps, when my subject; for what amicted Chris. we do thank bim, for prosperity, for tian ever failed to derive some of health, plenty, success, and bonour. his highest consolation in reflecting We do well. They are the gifts of on his humble and infinitely distant, God's providence, and demand our yet real correspondence, in suffers acknowledgments. But they are not ing with his exalted and gracious the only blessings his goodness confers Savjour. " Though he were a Son, on us. Adversity should be added to. yet learned he obedience by the the number of his favours, and reihings which he suffered." « For membered in our most devout thanks, it became him, for whom are all givings. Blessed be God, for pain, things, and by whom are all things, sickness, disappointment, distress; to make the Captain of their salva- and every one of those various evils tion perfect through suffering.” Can with which the life of man is filled, any real follower of his Lord and and which are the subjects of our Master refuse to be made like him, hasty complaints; evils which are or to arm himself with the same our greatest good; which afflict, but mind, especially remembering the purify, tear and harrow up the soul, declaration of the Apostle, " that if but prepare it for the seeds of virtue.” we suffer with him, we shall also « Blessed be God, that he is not reign with him?” This is surely a so unkind as to try us by the most view which cannot but be both con- dangerous of all temptations, uninsoling and animating to the afllicted terrupted prosperity; that we are See the exquisitely beautiful Hymn on
of our wishes; that he is pleased to were formed at first, much less how 'chastise us with his legitimate chile we are born again. In general it dren, and with his dear and only may be observed, that all nen who begotten Son; whom we hope to come from the first Adam, are confollow, through the gate of the ceived and born in sin; their nature grave, to a joyful resurrection, and is corrupted and depraved ; so that to be received by Him into those they are prone of themselves to do mansions which he is now prepar- evil, and unable to do any thing ing for us in heaven ; where he that is truly good. But when a liveth and reigneth, with the Father man believes in Christ, the second and the Holy Spirit, one God, world Adam, and so is made a member without end"
of his body, he is quickened and I have only to add my earnest animated by his Spirit, which, beprayers, that such may be the ing the source and principle of a blessed consequences of all our new life in bim, he thereby becomes afflictions, and remain,
a new créature, a different kind of Yours,
ereature from wbat he was before, P.H. and therefore is properly said to be
born again, "not of blood, nor of the
will of the flesh, nor of the will of No. XL.
man, but of God." The Spirit by 1 Pet. i. 3. Blessed be the God and which he is now led and influenced
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that of God himself; whence it which according to his abundant comes to pass, that such a man is mercy hath begotten us again unito quite altered from what he was; he a lively hope by the resurrection of is become, as it were, another man: Jesus Christ from the dead.
his 'whole nature is changed; he
now partakes of the Divine nature; In these words are several things and is made, according to his meawbich deserve to be particularly sure and capacity, like God himnoticed. May the Spirit of God as self. sist us in meditating upon them! I " This is what the Apostle means propose to consider them under the when he says, " If any man be in following heads.
Christ, he is a new creature : old 1. To shew that true Christians things are passed away; behold alt are begotten again of God;
thing's are become new." His former 2. That they are begotten again false views, his unruly passions, and to a lively hope;
his inordinate desires of the things 3. That this is done by the resur- of this world, are exchanged for a Tection of Jesus Christ;
new set of thoughts and affections. 4. That for this they hute great He has a new view and apprehen. cause to bless God.
sion of God. There is a new bias 1. The true servants of God (such in his mind, so that he is now as as St. Peter was) are begotten again much inclined to virtue as he was of him. God,
according to his before to vice. From a foolish, abundant mercy, hath begotten us proud, sinful, and sensual creature, again." Do we ask, with Nicode- he is become wise; and humble, and mus, how can this be ? Our inquiry boly, and spiritual; and all this by must be answered in the words of means of the new spirit that is put our Saviour: “ Verily, verily, I say within hiin, whereby he is made a unto you, except a nan be born of new man; no longer acted upon as water and of the Spirit, he cannot before, by worldly and temporal enter the kingdom of God.” How considerations, but governed by the this wonderful work is effected, it is Spirit of God himself, and influenced beyond our understanding to com- by motives drawn from the eternal prekend. We know not how we world. While other meu are born