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rod in his hand is but a pencil, to draw God's image in fairer lines upon your soul; he shall give you skill, like the bee, to extract honey from the thorn as well as the rose; he, as the Spirit of might, shall give you strength to take up and bear your cross daily; he shall exhibit the Saviour, bearing a heavier cross for you, and carrying away your sins into a land of forgetfulness; and, however lightly others, who know not God, may seem to trip through the world, still, amidst all your afflictions, he shall convince you, that blessed is that man, and only he, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. He shall make you glory in tribulations, by shedding abroad the everlasting, inexpressible, and abiding love of God in your heart, and opening his riches in glory to supply your need. There shall be music in your conscience, while there is sorrow in your eye; a prospect of an eternal weight of glory, for your light affliction which is but for a moment; an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, for the loss of your transitory possessions.
How will this drawing of the Spirit make you run after him, and without it how sluggishly will you proceed! Converse with God requires à truly spiritual mind. Flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven; our carnal natures have no taste for these heavenly enjoyments; and therefore, provoke your hearts with this truth, to seek a large measure of divine assistance. “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that: are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” · Now, O thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt? Why art thou fearful? Why art thou' cast down, O trembling soul? Why art thou inwardly disquieted ? Hope thou in God, for thou shalt yet praise him, who is the health of thy countenance, and thy God. What cause have you to fear? See upon whom the whole work depends; and what this blessed Spirit has already done for you. Once ye were darkness, but now light in the Lord; once far from God by wicked works, now brought nigh by the blood of Christ. He might have chosen whether he would have given you this grace or
not; but having begun. to work in you, his grace and covenant oblige him to perfect the work, and prepare you as a bride for glory. Be therefore confident, with the apostle, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Your weakness, and ignorance, and unworthiness, are no obstacles; he is mightier than all your foes, and has remedies for all your complaints. You are already sealed by him unto the day of redemption, as the property of the Lord; and the impression shall never be effaced, but be more visible to your own and others' eyes, as you increase in the knowledge of God. Depend entirely upon his agency, to attain acquaintance with God. Put yourself into his hands, and say, “Thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as ' many as the Lord our God shall call.”
ON THE SUBORDINATE MEANS OF ACQUAINT
ANCE WITH GOD.
These, then, are the preliminaries to divine acquaintance, and its life when begun. But there are some subordinate methods as truly important and appointed. We must here pursue the same means we should use to acquaint ourselves with the character of any other friend. This acquaintance then is to be gained and improved, first,
BY HEARING AND : RECEIVING THE REPORTS OF HIS FRIENDS.
The opinion of the world respecting him is of small importance to you. Its opinion of yourself is not very exalted, if you are a follower of God as a dear child; for just in proportion as you bear his image will the world hate you. Jesus has before told you, “If the world hate
you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” They are most incompetent judges, both of his character as a master, and of the blessedness of his acquaintance, since they hate both. We should not go to an out-door servant; who just received his master's orders once a week, and only saw him again at its close to receive his wages, for a report of the general conduct of that master; but to one who lived with him in the house, who saw his daily habits and the manifestations of his disposition. And should you not learn of those who are acquainted with God; who are in the habit of daily communion with him; who have had long experience of the blessedness of his servants; who wait upon him and hear his wisdom? And what do these people say? Jacob when dying left this testimony:—“The God that fed me all my life long, and the angel which redeemed me from all evil.” Joshua, the captain of the Lord's host, declares in the same situation, “Behold this day I am going the way of all the earth, and ye know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the