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the same indolence, indisposeduess, and distaste to 'serious things! Happy, if we do not find, that we prefer not only our pleasures and enjoyments, but, I had almost said, our very pains, and vexations, and inconveniences, to communing with our Maker! Happy, if we had not rather be absorbed in our petty cares, and little disturbances, provided we can contrive to make them the means of occupying vur thoughts, tilling up our minds, and drawing them away from that devout intercourse, wluch demands the liveliest exercise of our rational powers, the highest elevation of our spiritual affections Is it not to be apprehended, that the dread of being driven to this sacred intercourse, is one grand cause of that ac tivity, and restlessness, which sets the world in such perpetual motion?
Though we are ready to express'a general sense of our confidence in Almighty goodness, yet what definite meaning do we annex to the expression? What practical evi. dences bave we to produce, that we really do trust him? Does this trust deliver us from worldly anxiety? Does it exonerate us from the same perturbation of spirits, which those endure, who make no such profession? Does it relieve the mind froin doubt and distrust ? Does it tranquillize the troubled heart, does it regulate its dis, orders, and compose its fluctuations. Does it sooth us under irritation. Does it support us under trials? Does it fortify us against temptations? Does it lead us to repose a full confidence in that Being whom we profess to trust? Does it produce in us“ that work of righteousness which is peace," that effect of righteousness, which is "quietness and assurance forever?" Do we commit ourselves and our concerns to God in word, or in reality? Does this implicit reliance simplify our desires ? Does it induce as to credit the testimony of his word and the promises of his Gospel? Do we not eveu entertain some secret suspicions of his faithfulness and truth in our hearts, when we persuade others and try to persuade our selves that we unreservedly trust bion ?
In the preceeding chapter we endeavoured to illustrate our want of love to God by our pot being as forward to vindicute the divine conduct as to justify that of an acquaintance. The same illustration may express our reluctance to trust in God. - If a tried friend engage to do
us a kindness, though he may not think it necessary to
But we must look for him in scenes less animating, we mast acknowledge bim on occasions less exhilirating, less sensibly gratifying. It is not only in his promises that God manifests his mercy. His threatenings are proofs of the same compassionate love. He threatens, not to pun. ish, but by the warning, to snatch from the panishment:
We may also trace marks of his hand not only in the awful visitations of life, not only in the severer dispensa. tions of his providence, but in vexations so trivial that we should hesitate to suspect that they are providential appointments, did we not know that our daily life is made up of unimportant circumstances rather than of great events. As they are however of sufficient importance to exercise the Christian tempers and affections, we may trace the hand of our heavenly father in those daily little disappointments, and hourly vexations, which occur even in the most prosperous state, and which are inseparable from the condition of humanity. We must trace that same beneficept hand, secretly at work for our puri
fication, our correction, our weaning from life, in the im. perfections and disagreeableness of those who may be about us, in the perverseness of those with whom we transact basiness, and in those interruptions which break in on our favourite engagements.
We are perhaps too much addicted to our innocent delights, or we are too fond of our leisure, of our learned, cven of onr religious leisure. But while we say it is good for us to be here, the divine vision is withdrawn, and we are compelled to come down from the mount. Or, perhaps, we do not improve our retirement to the purposes for which it was granted, and to which we bad resolved to devote it, and our time is broken in upon to make us more sensible of its value. Or we feel á complacency in our leisure, a pride in our books; perhaps we feel proud of the good things we are intending to say, or meditating to write, or preparing to do. A check is necessary, yet it is given in a way almost imperceptible. The band that gives it is unseen, is unsaspected, yet it is the same gracions hand which directs the more important events of life.' An importunate applieation, a disqualifying, though not severe indisposition, a family avocaliou, a letter important to the writer, but nuseasonable to us, breaks in on our projected privacy ; calls us to a sacrifice of our inclination, to a renunciation of our own will. These incessant trials of temper, if well improved, may be more 'salutary to the mind, than the finest passage we had intended to read, or the sublimest sentiment we had fancied we should write.
Instead then of going in search of great mortifica. mons, as a certain class of pious writers recommend, let us cheerfully bear, and diligently improve these inferior trials which God prepares for us. Submission to a cross which he inflicts, to á disappointment which he sends, to a contradiction of our self-love, which he appoints, is a far better exercise, than great penances of our own chusing. Perpetual couyuests over impatience, ill temper and self-wil, indicate a better spirit than any self-impos. ed mortifications. We may traverse oceans and scale mountains on uncommanded pilgrimages, without pleasing God; we may please him without any other exertion than by crossing our own will. A
Perhaps you had been busying your imagination with sobre projected scheme, not only lawful; but laudable.
The design was radically good, but the supposed value of yonr own agency, might too much interfere, might a little taiot the purity of your best intentions. The motives were so mixed that it was difficult to separate them. Sudden sickness obstructed the design. You naturally Jament the failure, not perceiving that, however good the work might be for others, the sickness was better for yourself. An act of charity was in your interstion, but God saw that your soul required the exercise of a more difficult virtue; that humility and resiguation, that the patience, acquiescence, and contrition, of a sick bed, were more necessary for you. He accepts the meditated work as far as it was designed for his glory, but he calls his servant to other duties, which were more salu tary for him, and of which the master was the better judge. He sets aside his work, and orders him to wait; the more difficult part of his task. As far as your motive was pare, you will receive the reward of your nnperformed charity, though not the gratification of the performance. If it was not pure, you are rescued from the danger attending a right action performed on a worldly principle. You may be the better Christian, though one good deed is subtracted from your catalogue. <!
By a life of activity and usefulness, you had perhaps attracted the public esteem. An animal activity had partly stimulated your exertions. The love of reputatiou begins to mix itself with your better, motives. You do not, it is presumed, act entirely, or chiefly for human ap. plause;. but you are too sensible to it. It is a delicious poison which begins to infuse itself into your purest cup. You ackuowledge indeed the sublimity of higher motives, but do you never feel that, separated from this accompaniment of self, they would be too abstracted, too speculative, and might become too little productive both of activity and of sensible gratification. You begin to feel the hunian incentive necessary, and your spirits would flag if it were withdrawn. Si
This sensibility to praise would gradually tarnish the purity of your best actions. He who sees your heart as well as your works, mercifully snatches you from the perils of prosperity. Malice is awakened. Your most me. ritorious actions are ascribed to the most corrupt motives. You are attacked just where your character is lçast vulnerable. The enemies whom your success raise ed up, are raised up by God, less to punish than to save you. We are far from meaning that he can ever be the author of evil; he does not excite or approve the calumny, but he uses your calumniators as instruments of your pu. rification. Your fame was too dear to you. It is a costly sacrifice, but God requires it. It must be offered up. You would gladly compound for avy, for every other of fering, but this is the offering he chuses: and wbile he graciously contimes to employ you for his glory, he thus teaches you to renounce your own. He sends this trial as a test, by which you are to try yourself. He thus illstructs you not to abandon your Cbristian exertions, but to elevate the principle which inspired them, to de. fecate it from all impure admixtures.
By thus stripping the most engaging employments of this dangerous delight, by infusing some drops of salutary bitterness into your sweetest draught, by some of these ill-tasted but wholesome mercies, he graciously compels us to return to himself. By taking away the stays by which we are perpetually propping up our frail delights, they fall to the ground. Weare, as it were, driven back to Him, who condescends to receive us, after we have tried every thing else, and after every thing else has failed ns, and though he knows we should not have returned to him if évery thing else had not failed 118. He makes us feel onr weakness, that we may have recourse to Iris strength, he makes us sensible of our hitherto unperceived sins, that we may take refuge in his everlasting compassion.
CHRISTIANITY UNIVERSAL IN ITS REQUISITIONS.**
It is not unusual to see people get rid of some of the most awfiul injunctions, and emancipate themselves from some of the most solemn requisitions of Scripture, by affecting to believe tbat they do not apply to them. They consider their as belonging exclusively to the first age of the Gospel, and to the individuals to whom they were immediately address: ed; coosequently the vecessity to observe them does not