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if their fulfilment depended on our performance of any stipulation, but rather the Lord acquaints seeking sinners, upon the sovereignty of his own faithfulness, that their research shall not. be in vain; for the very desire is a preparative of the heart, bestowed to lead progressively to the sure attainment of our hope. "Lo, these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.”—Job xxxiii
My expectancy was directed to inquire, whether the reformed doctrines expounded by Lu ther; and held as to their substance, by martyrs, and some in every age, since the visibility of Christ's church, were also the doctrines of eternal life, transmitted through the apostles by God the Holy Ghost. The copious prayer which preceded the sermon, greatly arrested my attention; I will not say that I went along with its petitions; they were so full, and delivered with such an accent of holy boldness and joy of faith, that I felt incompetent to reach the vastness of such desires, nor was I fitted to participate the riches of such enjoyment; nevertheless, I found it good to be an outward
listener to the communion held between God and Christ's brethren. A door-keeper is a post of honour in the sanctuary; for such lowly attendants are auditors of precious secrets.
Contented with my humble station, I listened for the word of the Lord; His appointed preacher having opened the book, read from this portion, Gal. iv. 1, 2.-" Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be Lord of all: but is under tutors, and governors, until the time appointed of the father."
We were referred to the scope of the preceding chapter, for the more clear apprehension of the apostle's meaning. The point lay between our condition under the law, and our entrance within the precincts of the gospel; and to elucidate the parallel in closer contrast, the minister extended his exposition through the tenor of Paul's reasoning, to the close of his immediate selection. The discourse lasted beyond an hour, yet it seemed as nothing from the love I had in receiving. As the congregation were nearly dispersed, I lingered behind to look at the person from whom I had heard such a good report; but my eyes were dimmed
-the suffusion was instantaneous, and as the mistiness thickened into tears, Christ's venerable messenger had retired from his pulpit.
Gratitude loves to weave some delicate thread, by which it may attach a memento to the feelings of its benefactor. The Lord supplies all my lack of service;" and the simple record of this blessed opportunity has been announced in heaven, while the only trace on earth, is found in a few words engraven on the tablet of my memory. "Lord's day, Dec. 13, 1818. The Lord opened my heart, so that I attended to the things which were uttered by his servant."
Returning from church, I gathered up the fragments of my spiritual feast, and on counting the worth of what I had reserved, I found it of great price. One scripture appeared prominent above the rest; it came with the Spirit's preface, "Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God; to you is the word of this salvation sent." So authorized, I stood upon the basis of its strength, and found immoveable security. I knew that I had the fear of the Lord, for I felt that I loved him; therefore, the invitation of
these words was addressed to myself; and when read in correspondence with the following portion, they gave the most lucid clearness to its decision. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba! Father.
Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."-Gal. iv. 6, 7.
By this word it became evident that the calling of a sinner, with all the fruitful consequents of that Almighty act; the conviction of sin, the gift of repentance, our warfare with self, our contest with the world, not merely its pollutions but its allurements, our final parting with all that nature covets, our love of characters whom the generality either condemn or pity; these, and every token of divine health in the renewed mind, are symmetrically joined together by the heavenly architect, who fits us for an assigned stature in his temple of holiness. The concordance and connexion of scripture, most fully establishes this statement; which is amply divulged in the 17th article of our national subscription, and entirely coincident with the views of those holy men of old,
whose witness to the truth as it is in Jesus, had so warmed my sympathy in the recital. eminent Christian characters, I never find that the proportion of height, is inadequate to the width of their attainments. The hope which faith engenders never blossoms presumptously, the fear of a godly spirit never sinks into unbelief, there is an equipoise of blessing which defines exactly the medium between a sinner recovered by grace, and a soul that is saved, exchanging grace for glory.
Surrounded with testimonies to the doctrines, of truth, these had availed nothing towards my personal comfort, and I had still waited for the Holy Spirit to affix the validity of his seal to the declaration. "Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound," not that outwardly hear of it. Knowledge is the appropriation of a fact, whereby such verity becomes efficaciously our own; this demonstration of possession, can only be conveyed from that source whence knowledge originates. Divine power must impart certitude on spiritual things; upon this position the apostle founds his assertion: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto