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raised up his head: he held otit to them his hand, now cold with the chill of Death. "You are come," said the expiring Philario; "you are come to take a last farewell of your friend! -—yet, 1 could wish, ere I depart, to remind you of those
truths which which I so often'' Here his speech
and his strength failed him ;— he closed his eyes, — and in a few hours he yielded up his soul!
What effect the solemn scene had on the minds of those Who witnessed it, time will best discover; yet they all agree, that Philario was a Christian, and a man of feeling!
Among the many blessings of our kind Benefactor, that of Friendship is none of the least. Insensible indeed must that mind be, which is barred to the admission, callous to the influence, and ignorant of the joys of social affections. In such a person we see human nature wofully depraved j we deprecate Sin's direful effects on society, and commiserate the unhappy state of the individual. But let your grateful offerings be paid to God, who, by his restraining grace, has kept human depravity from entirely overwhelming these affections in the vortex of corruption. Still Friendship glows in the bosoms of a few ! — still may it glow with increasing purity aud ardour!
Friendship exists, and is refined in its nature, in proportion to the moral excellence of the parties ; — it influences the heart, and manifests itself in all the varying circumstances of life. After due reflection, we hesitate not in concluding, that true Christians enjoy the most rationul, disinterested, refined, permanent Friendship. We deny not, that in others, early acquaintance, harmony of disposition, and mutual acts of kindness, pioduce Friendship; but the superior purity of a believer's principle's, his affections refined and enlarged'by the sacred influence of his religion, the view in which be holds his fellow-Christian as an heir of the same eternal blessings,—must evidently conduce to form and cement an union far superior to any other. From such principles and views, suppose two kindred souls united: they are not related by blood; or, if there be any consanguinity, it uiuy'inefease affection. Circumstances are such, that they may frequently-uueet^ "as-eye meets eye, heart meets heart." Not words, but actions; every motion, the glow of the countenance, expresses the internal warmth; yea, the heart shews itself.
As there is one event in life to the righteous and to the wicked, Providence gives opportunities lor the exercise of Friendship. Has Affliction overtaken one? No sooner is it known, than it is felt more keenly by his frieud: formed to sympathy, his heart weeps, and his eye drops the friendly tear, the grief is divided, consolation is suggested, and arising from rational sources, is like oil to the wound; yea, is a cordial to the heart. Religion opens to them springs of consolation under the greatest distress; so that they may reasonably rejoice in tribulation, for it exercises the grace of patience, promotes experience, and hence they enjoy the influence »f" a hope which maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad, in the heart." The anticipation of Heaven never before gave them such true pleasure; and, among the good effects of it, is fhal of moie closely cementing their hearts to each other. Or if Prosperity smiles, each participates; they are " helpers of each other's joy." it is more than doubled. — The Christian's Friendship is not a " name, nor charm that lulls to sleep;" it is an affection which interests and actuates every power; it is a sincere and generous passion, which seeks not its own but another's good; and rejoiceth in his happiness. VVp might take a view of the influence of this friendship in various circumstances occurring in life. It promotes happiness in social intercourse and religious conversation. This tends greatly, under the divine blessing, to enlighten the mind, warm the heart, and stimulate to love and good works: it endears the Saviour and his people; and, may I not say, initiates us into the employment of (leaven.
But some would fain remind us, and with the kindest intention, that all friendships formed on earth are of short duration. Life is uncertain; and the pleasure enjoyed in the company of our friends is dearly purchased by the anguish of separation. It must indeed be painful to part. Nature recoils; but surely not so painful, except we lose sight of Divine Truth, or weakly indulge that grief which bars consolation, and that unbelief which clouds our future prospects. Should we not reflect (and are they not considerations fraught with comfort?) that our friend is happy, supremely happy, in the presence of God and the society of Heaven? That he has commenced acquaintance not only with many of the redeemed, whom he kn<*w not on earth,— but with the blessed angels, who (tho' we know thean not) with the most kind regard, minister to us as heirs of salvation. Did we rejoice in addition to the happiness of our friend here? and shall we not rejoice that he has reaoliofl the pure eternal fountain of happiness? How consoling l<> feflect, that it is not an act of arbitrary w ill in (Jod; bitf. a dispensation of unbounded goodness and infinite w isdom, that it is ordered by the kind hand of a Father's providence to prepare us for our future exit!
"Heav'n gives us friends to bless the present state;
It weans our affections from earth, and" makes us gladlj willing to depart and be with Christ; and especially, Is it not n thought calculated to repress every rising sorrow, and wipe away every tear, that the period of separation is very short? How will it appear when it is over? It may seem very distant in perspective; but in retrospect, it will dwindle into a point. O liow short, in contrast with eternity, the duration of mortal friendships! In Heaven, we shall again enjoy the company of our friends; for there we shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Surely, we shall know them; and if we attain a knowledge of them, shall we not know those who were our most intilftate friends on earth?
Since then Friendship is 90 great a source of happiness, how lamentable is it, that many Christians know so little of it! .And since the possession of kind and friendly dispositions is not only in itself a treasure, superior in worth to both the Indies, but the reciprocal exercise of them so becoming members of the same family, who are under the same law of love, partakers of the same blessings, and heirs of the same heavenly inheritance, surely, we need not argue the duty of Christians to imbibe and cultivate this principle.
Exult, ye highly-favoured, in the prospect of celestial Friendship! The thought is unutterably pleasing, that, in the mansions of Peace and Love, mutual affection will experience no interruption: there we shall have no painful solicitude for each othei'sAvelt'are, no enemy to excite contention, no mixture of unkind dispositions to mar our friendship,— but more pure than the ether, every breath is love! J.I.
BY THE REV. JOHN BROWN.
You intimated in your last, that the subject on which you wished my sentiments, was not sanctification in general, but Evangelical Sanctification. You say, that you always understood that Christ, in our salvation, is all in all; and you are desirous to know how that holiness of nature and life of which I wrote, is produced by him. The bint is friendly; and I shall endeavour, in my future correspondence, to pay attention to it. Christ is, indeed, all in all in our salvation; and w«t are taught by our inspired writer, to believe that his influence in sanctification is very great. The sentiment is expressed in the strongest terms: " Christ is of God, made to us sanctification." How so? is.the impsrtnnt question made by my tiiend. All I shall say in reply at present is, that, by the righteousness of Jesus, the foundation of holiness was laid; and by the character which Ik? bears, our possession of it is secured. You need not be informed that, under the phrase,' Righteousness of Christ,'is included Christ's perfect obedience to the commands, and voluntary suffering of the penalty of the law. Thus it be,came the Surety in our room to fulfil all righteousness; and with this righteousness God, as n Judge, is well pleased. Now, in performing this righteousness, Christ laid a foundation, a sure and everlasting foundation, on which personal holiness shall be built up for ever. Was the curse lying on men tfye .strength of sin f Did it prevent communications of grace to .make men holy? By it were men bound under a death In trespasses and sins? Nothing less than the satisfaction of God in our nature could remove this wall of adamant, or loose this bond of iron and brass, and thus make it possible for men to be renewed and sanctified. And roflect on it, my dear Sir, Christ, to redeem us from the curse of the law, was made a curse for us! But he accomplished more than this by his obedience to the death. Jesus, in fulfilling all righteousness, actually purchased the means of sanctification, and that ^blessing which was accessary to make them effectual. Not a , word of revelation; not an ordinance of his appointment; not an affliction, the tendency of which is to purge away sin; not an putward mere}', the design of which is to lead to repentance, — but on them may be written, Here is (lit price of blood; and, having said this, you will not doubt Ay persuasion, that all illumination of the mind, all renovation of the will, all purification of the conscience, and all elevation of the affections, through the means now mentioned, were procured in the. same manner. "Christ loved the church," writes an inspired penman ;" and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word :" —- but . when I said that Christ's righteousness laid a foundation for t our holiness, I meant also to signify, that by it a redeeming God is engaged to confer upon sinners all ne»:essary sanctifying influence. To assert that divine faith and fulness is pledged to save from sin, is to declare the truth; for thus the Father promised to the Son. "When he shall make his soul an offerina; for sin, he shall see his seed," and his seed as " a holy nation." But this is not the whole of the truth; Divine Justice is also engaged. He being the Son of God in our nature, who glorified God on earth, and finished the work the Father gave iiim to do, the righteousness wrought art by him was in itself in" • finitely well deserving of our deliverance from corruption. Hence God is said not only to lie merciful, but to be faithful and just in cleansing us from all unrighteousness. Perhaps, my friend havipg proceeded this length in reading my epistle,
is sa\'ing within himself, ' Well, I perceive that if the Lori^ icill, he can; he can, in an honourable way, make me clean.' But why should either you or I ever admit a doubt of his willingness any more than of his ability, when we hear of his encouragements? Besides, yon recollect that I observed, that the character our Lord sustains secures that sinners shall be partakers of his holiness. Is he a Mediator? It is not only to remove the just anger of God against us; but also to slay our real enmiry to God, and ro make us love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. — is he a prophet? It is to give knowledge of the truth to tlrem who have no understanding; to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this preent evil world. — Is he a sacrificing Priest? He gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity; and he will sanctify the people with his own blood. — Is he an advocate with the Father! It is his office to plead, that we may be kept from the evil of the world; and to urije that we may be sane-, tided through the truth, even his word, which rs truth.— Is he a King? It belongs to him to institute the meansof grace, and to subdue onr hearts to the obedience of faith; to write the law in our inward part, and to enable us to transcribe it in our lives. — Is he an everlasting Father? In correspondence with the title, he will beget men again into Tiis holy image; he will feed us on the bread of life, that we may grow in holiuess, and clothe us with imparted gTace, that we may be glorutus* within. What shall I say more? Is he the good Shepherd? Acting in character, he must distinguish the sheep of his pasture, by marks of purity, heal the diseases of sin, and lead them in the paths of righteousness. Would you have me to write more al>otit the blessed Jesus, as made of God to our sanctification? I believe that, in proportion as our acquaintance with the Son of God enlargeth, in the very same measure will our holiness be increased. We grow in grace as we grow in the knowledge of onr Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.—What moie might be said on this subject, must be referred till another opportunity; and till then,
1 am yours, A. Br
THE WIDOWS CRUSE OF OIL SPIRITUALIZED.
I N page 400 of your last volume, a few reflections were mnde upon the case of the Widow and her two Sons, recorded i» Kings iv. l-*-7- LTpon reviewing the subject, other remarks of a more spiritual nature may be deduced. For instance: