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grant me a revelation of it. I am ashamed to reflect that such an accumulation of benefits as thou hast conferred upon me, should have still produced so slight an impression upon my heart."
And there it is that God wipes the tear from the believer's eye, and heals and heals up the wounds of the penitent, saying unto him, I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins, Isa xliii, 25. There it is that the believer avails himself of the tender access which God condescends to grant at those precious moments, and that conversing with him, as a man speaking unto his friend, Ex. xxxiii. 11. he asks him to bestow communications more endearing, more intimate: "Lord, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory, ver. 18. Lord, scatter that darkness which still veils thy perfections from my view Lord, dispel those clouds which still intervene between me and the light of thy countenance." There it is that God takes pleasure to gratify desire so nobly directed:" Poor mortals, how unrefined, how debased is your taste! How much are you to be pitied, with that relish for the meagre delights of this world!" Is there any one that can stand a comparison with that which the believer enjoys in such blessed intercourse as this?
2. When Providence calls him to encounter some severe trial. I speak not here of trials to which appetite prompts a man to expose himself, under the specious pretext of promising himself the glory of a triumph; but, in reality, from the fatal charm which betrays him into defeat. have no encouragement to expect divine support to resist and overcome temptation, when we rashly throw ourselves in the way of it: He that loveth danger, saith the wise man, shall perish therein. I speak of those trials which the believer is called
to encounter, either from some supernatural inter position, or simply from the duty imposed by his Christian vocation. How often do they appear to him so rude, as to awaken despair of overcoming? How often, when abandoned for a moment to his frailty, he says within himself: "No, I shall never have the fortitude to bear up under that painful conflict: no, it will be impossible for me to survive the loss of that child, far dearer to me than life itself: no, I shall never be able to fulfil the duties of the station to which Providence is calling me: How can I give my heart to what I hate, and tear it away from what I love?" Christian, be of good courage. See that thy resolution be upright and sincere, to him that believeth all things are possible, Mark ix. 23.
There are resources of grace with which thou art yet unacquainted; but which thou shalt know by experience, if thou prayest for them, and makest it thy unremitting and sincere endeavor to walk worthy of such exalted expectations. God himself will descend into thy soul with rays of light, with fresh supplies of strength, with impressions so lively of the promised recompense of reward, that thou shalt not feel the pains of conflict, and be sensible only to the pleasure of victory, whilst thou art yet in the hottest of the battle.
3. I said that those transporting foretastes are communicated to the believer, after he has been enabled to offer up some noble and generous sacrifice. I can conceive no transports once to be compared with those which Abraham felt, on his descent from Mount Moriah. What conflicts must he have undergone from the awful moment that God demanded his Isaac! What a dreadful portion of time, I was going to say, what an eternity, was the three days which passed between his de
parture from his habitation, and his arrival at the place where this tremendous sacrifice was to be offered up! What emotions must that question of Isaac have excited in a father's bosom; behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? Gen. xxii. 7. Abraham comes off victorious in all these combats: Abraham binds his son with cords; he stretches him out on the wooden pile; he lifts up his hand to pierce the bosom of this innocent victim. God arrests his uplifted arm. Abraham has done his duty: he carries back his own son with him: What a transport of delight!
But this is not all. Will God be outdone in generosity by Abraham? He crowns the obedience of his servant; he accumulates upon him new marks of favor; he promises himself to immolate his own Son for the man, who could summon up the resolution to devote his son at God's command. This is, according to St. Paul, the sense of those mysterious words: But myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore ; ... and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, Gen. xxii 16, 17, 18. Gal. iii. 8. Christians, true posterity of the father of believers, you have a reward similar to his.
4. While he is partaking in the sacred mysteries of redeeming love, likewise, the believer feels himself quickened, raised up, seated together with Jesus Christ. I cannot refrain, however, from here deploring the superstition of certain Christians, which mingles with this part of our religious worship, and from repeating one of the advices which
I suggested at the opening of this discourse. Make not the success of your communion to depend on certain emotions, in which mechanism has much more to do than piety has. It but too frequently happens, that a man shall apprehend he has communicated worthily or unworthily, in proportion as he has carried to a less or greater length the art of moving the senses, and of heating the imagination, while he partakes of the Lord's Supper. The touch-stone by which we ought to judge, whether we brought, to the Lord's table, the dispositions which he requires, is the sincerity with which we have renewed our baptismal engagements, and the exertions which we shall afterwards make punctually to fulfil them.
It is true, nevertheless, that a participation of the Sacrament of the Supper, is one of the situations, in which a believer most frequently experiences those gracious operations, of which our apostle is speaking in his text. A soul, whose undivided attention the Holy Spirit fixes on the mystery of the cross; and on whom he is pleased to impress, in a lively manner, the great events which the symbolical representation in the Eucharist retraces on the heart; a soul, which, through grace, loses itself in the abyss of that love which God has manifested toward us in Jesus Christ: a soul, which has learned to infer, from what God has already done, what is still farther to be expected from him a soul, which feels, and, if I may use the expression, which relishes the conclusiveness of this reasoning, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not, with him, also freely give us all things? Rom. viii. 32. Is not a soul in such a state, already quickened, already raised up, already seated in heavenly places, together with Christ Jesus?
5. But it is particularly, when the believer is grappling with the king of terrors, that he experiences those communications of divine grace, which transport him into another world, and which verify, in the most sublime of all senses, the idea which the apostle conveys to us of it, in the words of the text. Witness that patience and submission under sufferings the most acute, and that entire acquiescence in the sovereign will of God: I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it, Psa. xxxix 9. Witness that supernatural detachment from the world, which enables him to resign, without murmuring and without reserve, all that he was most tenderly united to: henceforth know I no man after the flesh, 2 Cor. v. 16. I have no connection now, save with that Jesus, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, Eph. iii. 15. Witness that immoveable hope, in the midst of universal desertion: though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, Job. xiii. 15. yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, Psa. xxiii. 4. Witness that faith, which pierces through the clouds, which the devil, and hell, and the world spread around his bed of languishing: I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day, 2 Tim. i. 12. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, Job. xix. 25, 26, 27. Witness that holy impatience, with which he looks forward to the moment of his dismission: I have waited for thy salvation,