Page images

ally force their way into the mind, but they do not like to retain them. They consider them at best but intruders, unwelcome guests; and they are glad when they depart, and the door of the heart is once more closed against them. And oh! it is sadly to be regretted that many whq profess his name, though they like to retain him in their thoughts, yet are so much engrossed with the world and worldly things, that they are almost strangers to that constant heavenly communion it is their happy privilege and bounden duty to enjoy. It is not merely therefore to the wicked man, whose heart is in the world and the world in his heart, that this exhortation is addressed; but to the beloved children of God, to the blood-bought sons of his own family, to those who have already begun to walk with God. It is adapted to encourage and stimulate them to press forward to the attainment of that object for which they have been apprehended of Christ Ji sus, by giv ing the strongest possible pledge tlaat, through the favour he bears unto his people, they shall see the good of his chosen, rejoice in the glad

ness of his nation, and glory with his inheritance. The fool hath said in his heart, “ There is no God :" or, as it would more properly read, by leaving out the supplementary words in italics, “No God.” Not that he disbelieves the existence of God, but would fain persuade himself he is not the God the bible represents hiin to be; he thinks him altogether such an one as himself, and wishes that he did not exist. And is not this title almost as appropriate to us, who not only acknowledge there is a God, but have the unspeakable felicity to call him our God; and know that his presence constitutes the highest bliss, yet are in too great a measure indifferent to his society, and can only admit this supreme and condescending Lord as an occasional visitor? If Jesus said to the disciples, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken,” how much more may he now apply this epithet to us, who, in the full blaze of gospel light, with the whole canon of scripture complete, with the exceeding great and precious promises of spiritual wealth and happiness, and with our experience

of the great rewards he has bestowed upon us in keeping his commandments, yet disbelieve or neglect the blessedness of his society?

The advice is applicable especially to those who are beginning to hesitate whether they are not sacrificing too much for Christ, and whether they may not unite the pleasurable follies and maxims of the world with decision on the Lord's side ; who have already gone some few steps backward ; who do not feel that heavenly relish for divine things which engaged their souls some few months since; who see less strongly the necessity of cleaving to the Lord with full purpose of heart, of diligent perseverance in his ways, and unreserved devotedness to him, as their Lord, their life, their all. This should be considered as an exhortation from the lips of him from whom they have revolted, to bring them back again to the original fountain of their bliss, their first husband; to revive their first love to him, by watering its withered roots with his own ; and to convey an assurance that, to whatever sources they may go, for spiritual delights, their delectable things will not profit, since the supreme good they seek is found only in perpetual friendship with the Lord of life and glory.

The design of the following treatise is to stir up your heart, dear reader, to remember this much neglected, because too little prized privilege, and to bring down a present portion of that heaven into your spirit, which you hope finally to enjoy. Ask of God to bless it for this purpose. Before you read one page more, entreat that unction from above, by which you may understand the things which shall make for your peace. He can bless this feeble effort to remove the clouds from your mind, to discover how he loves you, and will bless you, that you may rejoice before him all the days of your life.

The following chapters will explain to you the nature of that acquaintance which is urged upon you ; the means by which it may be attained ; the best season for commencing it; and the advantages you will gain by it. And oh! may that blessed and holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, put energy into these words;

shed a divine light on your understanding to receive them; and so direct your heart by them to the love of God in Christ Jesus, that you, like Abraham, may henceforth be called “the friend of God,” and reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto him through Jesus Christ our Lord.

« PreviousContinue »