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Your comfort. Refect on those remarkable circumstances in Providence, winch occasioned the knitting of some bonds of Lus KING, WIBCH DExt to those which join your soul to God, you number among the happiest. And forget not in how many DCATS, Vie these dear lives have been threatened, lives - more sensby dear than your own, God hath given Xars of the grave, and so added new tender circumstance, to all your Nrget, in how gracions a manchers in their last moments, and tea o are sent a sweet odour of piety, which Orlic ter nemures, revived you when ready to zunt muerte arrows he is separation, and, on the whole, fren te resiicetton if their death delightful.
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1st 93.18 120 me that I lead on your thoughts vien God hath bestowed upon one rock from whence you were thence you were digged*. VADEn divine grace found you: much pollution! In what was, and Oh think with yet dom been the case! The eye of AUTONY AT Tat your mind, amused mant sensual gratification, was you on the borders of w.turm would in a little time Vertel Krature, as the sinner that is unit surprise and everlasting evat, ani wad like him stand
and stir. This God saw, merenu, a vou, he provided in Ace & Redeemer for you, vitt, the most of his Son: a price, an, tuna, seriously what it was, 4 degree, as to make you fall M SI, 25 think that it should 27 accorɔish these blessed bur keure; so that though you
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greater ardour than before. Thus far he hath supported you in your christian course; and having obtained help from him it is, that you continue even to this day*. He hath not only blessed you, but made you a blessing+: and though you have not been so useful, as that holy generosity of heart which he has excited, would have engaged you to desire; yet some good you have done in the station in which he has fixed you. Some of your brethren of mankind have been relieved, perhaps too some thoughtless creature reclaimed to virtue and happiness by his blessing on your endeavours. Some in the way to heaven, are praising God for you; and some perhaps already there, are longing for your arrival, that they may thank you in nobler and more expressive forms for benefits, the importance of which they now sufficiently understand, though while here they could never conceive it.
§. 5. Christian, look round on the numberless blessings of one kind, and of another, with which you are already encompassed; and advance your prospect still farther, to what faith yet discovers within the veil. Think of those now unknown transports with which thou shalt drop every burden in the grave, and thine immortal spirit shall mount, light and joyful, holy and happy, to God, its original, its support, and its hope; to God, the source of being, of holiness, and of pleasure; to Jesus, through whom all these blessings are derived to thee, and who will appoint thee a throne near his own, to be for ever the spectator and partaker of his glory. Think of the rapture with which thou shalt attend this triumph in the resurrectionday, and receive this poor mouldering corruptible body transformed into his glorious image; and then think, "These hopes are not mine alone, but the hopes of thousands and millions. Multitudes, whom I number among the dearest of my friends upon earth, are rejoicing with me in these apprehensions and views: and God gives me sometimes to see the smiles on their cheeks, the sweet humble hope that sparkles in their eyes, and shines through the tears of tender gratitude; and to hear that little of their inward complacency and joy, which language can express. Yea, and multitudes more, who were once equally dear to me with those, though I have laid them in the grave, and wept over their dust, are living to God, living in the possession of inconceivable delights, and drinking large draughts of the water of life, which flows in perpetual streams at his right hand."
Acts xxvi. 22.
+ Gen, xii. 2.
6. 6. O christian, thou art still intimately united and allied Death cannot break a friendship thus cemented, and it ought not to render thee insensible of the happiness of those friends, for whose memory thou retainest so just an honour. They live to God, as his servants; they serve him, and see his face; and they make but a small part of that glorious assembly. Millions, equally worthy of thine esteem and affection with themselves, inhabit those blissful regions: and wilt thou not rejoice in their joy and wilt thou not adore that everlasting spring of holiness and happiness, from whence each of these streams is derived? Yea, I will add, while the blessed angels are so kindly regarding us, while they are ministering to thee, O christian, and bearing thee in their arms, as an heir of salvation, wilt thou not rejoice in their felicity too? And wilt thou not adore that God, who gives them all the superior glory of their more exalted nature, and gives them a heaven, which fills them with blessedness, even while they seem to withdraw from it, that they may attend on thee?
§. 7. This, and infinitely more than this, the blessed God is, and was, and shall ever be. The felicities of the blessed spirits that surround his throne, and thy felicities, O christian, are immortal. These heavenly luminaries shall glow with an undecaying flame, and thou shalt shine and burn among them, when the sun and the stars are gone out. Still shall the unchanging Father of lights pour forth his beams upon them; and the lustre they reflect from him, and their happiness in him, shall be everlasting, shall be ever growing. Bow down, O thou child of God, thou heir of glory, bow down, and let all that is within thee unite in one act of grateful love; and let all that is around thee, all that is before thee in the prospects of an unbounded eternity, concur to elevate and transport thy soul, that thou mayest, as far as possible, begin the work and blessedness of heaven, in falling down before the God of it, in opening thine heart to his gracious influences, and in breathing out before him that incense of praise, which these warm beams of his presence and love have so great a tendency to produce, and to ennoble with a fragrancy resembling that of his paradise above.
The grateful Soul rejoicing in the Blessings of Providence and Grace, and pouring out itself before God in vigorous and affecting Exercises of Love and Praise.
"O MY God, it is enough! I have mused, and the fire burneth! But Oh, in what language shall the flame break
*Rev. xxiii, 3, 4.
Psal. xxxix. 3(
forth! What can I say but this, that my heart admires thee, and adores thee, and loves thee! My little vessel is as full as it can hold; and I would pour out all that fulness before thee, that it may grow capable of receiving more and more. Thou art my hope and my help; my glory, and the lifter up of my head. My heart rejoiceth in thy salvation; and when I set myself under the influences of thy good spirit, to converse with thee, a thousand delightful thoughts spring up at once; a thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, and flow in upon my soul with such refreshment and joy, that they seem to croud into every moment the happiness of days, and weeks, and months.
"I bless thee, O God, for this soul of mine, which thou hast created; which thou hast taught to say, and I hope to the happiest purpose, Where is God my Makert! I bless thee for the knowledge with which thou hast adorned it. I bless thee for that grace with which, I trust, I may (not without humble wonder) say, thou hast sanctified it; though, alas, the celestial plant is fixed in too barren a soil, and does not flourish to the degree I could wish.
"I bless thee also for that body which thou hast given me, and which thou preservest as yet in its strength and vigour; not only capable of relishing the entertainments which thou providest for its various senses, but (which I esteem far more valuable than any of them for its own sake,) capable of acting with some vivacity in thy service. I bless thee for that ease and freedom, with which these limbs of mine move themselves, and obey the dictates of my spirit, I hope as guided by thine. I bless thee, that the keepers of the house do not yet tremble, nor the strong men bow themselves; that they that look out of the windows are not yet darkened, nor the daughters of music brought low: I bless thee, O God of my life, that the silver cords are not yet loosed, nor the golden bowl broken §; for it is thine hand that braces all my nerves, and thine infinite skill that prepares those spirits, which flow in so freely, and when exhausted recruit so soon and so plentifully.
"I praise thee for that royal bounty, with which thou providest for the daily support of mankind in general, and for mine in particular; for the various tables which thou spreadest before me, and for the overflowing cup which thou puttest into my hands. I bless thee, that these bounties of thy providence
Job. xxxv. 10.
* Psal. iii. 3.
Psal. xiii. 5.
Psal. xxiii. 12.
do not serve, as it were, to upbraid a disabled appetite, and are not like messes of meat set before the dead. I bless thee too that I eat not my morsel alone*, but share it with so many agreeable friends, who add the relish of a social life, to that of the animal, at our seasons of common repast. I thank thee for so many dear relatives at home, for so many kind friends abroad, who are capable of serving me in various instances, and disposed to make an obliging use of that capacity.
"Nor would I forget to acknowledge thy favour, in rendering me capable of serving others, and giving me in any instances to know, how much more blessed it is to give than to receivet. I thank thee for a heart which feels the sorrows of the necessitous, and a mind which can make it my early care and refreshment to contrive, according to my little ability, for their relief: for this also cometh forth from thee, O Lord‡, the great author of every benevolent inclination, of every prudent scheme, of every successful attempt to spread happiness around us, or in any instance to lessen distress.
"And surely, O Lord, if I thus acknowledge the pleasures of sympathy with the afflicted, much more must I bless thee for those of sympathy with the happy, with those that are completely blessed. I adore thee for the streams that water Paradise, and maintain it in ever-flourishing, ever-growing delight. I praise thee for the rest, the joy, the transport, thou art giving to many that were once dear to me on earth; whose sorrows it was my labour to soothe, and whose joys, especially in thee, it was the delight of my heart to promote. I praise thee for the blessedness of every saint, and of every angel that surrounds thy throne above; and I praise thee with accents of distinguished pleasure, for that reviving hope which thou hast implanted in my bosom, that I shall, ere long, know by clear sight, and by everlasting experience, what that felicity of theirs is, which I now only discover at a distance, through the comparatively obscure glass of faith. Even now, through thy grace, do I feel myself borne forward by thy supporting arm to those regions of blessedness. Even now, am I waiting for thy salvation, with that ardent desire on the one hand, which its sublime greatness cannot but inspire into the believing soul, and that calm resignation on the other, which the immutability of thy promise establishes.
"And now, O my God, what shall I say unto thee! What, but that I love thee above all the powers of language to ex
Job xxxi. 17. + Acts xx. 85.
1sai. xxviii. 29. Gen. xlix. 16.