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out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury. Thou shalt no more drink it again!" Surely this is peace indeed.
And this, my beloved, shall be the advantage of your growing acquaintance with God. You shall see Jesus made of God unto you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. You shall see your sins forgiven through his blood. You shall see the covenant of peace ratified and concluded in his death. You shall see his perfect and everlasting righteousness securing your present peace, against the accusations of Satan, the rigours of the law, and the demands of the justice of God; and forming your entire justification before him. You shall see God loving you, and well pleased with
you through his Son. And what are all the wealth, and gaiety, and honours of the world, to such inward tranquillity as this?
The result of acquaintance with God is not merely to give you a knowlege of these things, but, by being constantly in his presence, to maintain the holy savour of them upon the heart; so that conscience shall be appeased and cleared, and the mind kept free from unnecessary alarms. The main thing in the spiritual life is, to maintain the freshness of our deliverance; to feel as if we were released from bondage but yesterday; to have a lively recollection of our former misery; and to be sensible of the obligations under which we are laid to him “who brought us up out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set our feet upon a rock, and established our goings; who hath put a new song in our mouth, even praise unto our God.” And in this you will discover the difference between those who constantly walk with God, and those who neglect him. There will be a levity and indifference where the knowledge of these blessed truths is only in the head; like a person talking of the happiness of a man whom the king had graciously pardoned, but not experiencing the feelings of joy, love, and gratitude, which would flow spontaneously from the lips of the recipient of the royal bounty, if he were to tell us himself. The former cannot enter into the happiness of the latter. O it is daily seeing thyself no longer a debtor to God,
except to his sovereign grace; thy debt, thy whole debt, paid, and paid for ever, and the bond cancelled; that will bring a holy quietude to the mind. This the apostle thus expressed: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Acquaintance with God will give you,
2. A HOLY SERENITY OF MIND TROUBLES OF LIFE.
Not that you shall escape trouble, or have fewer trials than the ungodly. You are born to trouble; it is your birthright through sin. Nor will living to God lessen their number, for many are the afflictions of the righteous. Saints in all ages have found this a troublesome world. Their path has been filled with thorns. Their families, or relations, or circumstances, have been far from pleasant. And God may call you, like Job, to part with your children, and your property, and your health, and turn
your wife and friends against you, and leave you desolate and alone. But though acquaintance with God does not abridge troubles, it will quiet your soul under them. It will teach you the source from whence they proceed.
Faith in his love and care shall enable your spirit to ascend through the clouds which hang over your concerns on earth, and discover a cloudless sky beyond them, the Lord himself, your friend, sending and overruling them. Unless our minds are taken away from second causes, and fixed on the great first Cause, we shall know little of peace. We shall be blaming this person, and that circumstance, as the origin of our affliction; distracting our minds with censure and retribution; anger, malice, evil speaking, and discontent, will manifest themselves; and we shall be busily employed to disentangle our feet out of the net, instead of waiting and praying for deliverance from heaven. But an acquaintance with him, as our Father, who is in this affliction dealing with us as with sons, will subdue our minds to the sweetest submission. We shall say, The rod is
Father's hand, and my Father's name is LOVE. He loved me so as to purpose my salvation, and give his Son for me; to send his Spirit to renew my nature, and to promise me heaven; and shall I doubt that he loves me now, though he holds a scourge? No: “Whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." I know that if he had intended to destroy me, he would not have shewn me such things as these. All the agents of my sorrow are but the twigs of his rod, whatever their character may be. He is now striking me hard blows, blows which I feel at my very heart; but he saturates his rod with love; and the harder he strikes, the more love accompanies it; so that my wounds are healed by the same hand that inflicts them.
O how will such acquaintance with God hush the mind to peace! See what effect it produced in spirits of old time. David, as a father, was greatly afflicted. Absalom his son, a young man unequalled in Israel for beauty, and evidently a favourite with his parent, rebelled against him, attempting to deprive him both