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his services, and by all those endear- tian, to use all thy endeavours to toil ments that he can possibly manifest. in the road. It is true, without Christ
But it must have been a comfort to in the vessel thou canst not make much them to recollect that it was not their way; but go on, and he will surely own self-will that had brought them arrive into this difficulty. No—the Lord had But in the mean time where is bid them embark; it was by his com- | Jesus the Friend of sinners, the kind, mand they found themselves involved compassionate Saviour? He has rein darkness and distress. It is a great tired to a mountain to pray. It might comfort which we cannot value too seem that in so doing he had left his dearly, if we are enabled always to little flock; but it was not so. Though keep in the path of duty, always to we may well believe, that part of his move in the track of God's com- prayer was for strength for himself to mands ; so that whatever be the in support the dreadful undertaking that conveniences, whatever the distresses so heavily oppressed his human nature, that may await us, we may be able to to drink that cup of bitterness which say, I did not bring myself into this God had put into his hand-it cannot situation ; it was the Lord who bade be doubted, that a great portion of his me enter into it.
prayer was for his Church. There Observe, moreover, they go forward. he was in a mountain ; and was that That had been a sin, a capital offence doing nothing for his people-was that if they had endeavoured to go back to leaving them to themselves, when the the shore. And yet they were but prayers of the great Intercessor were a little way from it. Happy is that rising before God, entreating him to young Christian who, if, after engaging watch over the little ark which conin a course of real practical Chris- tained all his Church-to preserve all tianity, after entering into the paths those whom Satan desired to sift like of piety and true religion, he speedily wheat-and not to suffer the great met with obstacles, speedily found waters to overwhelm their souls ? himself overtaken with difficulties and Think of this, ye tempest-tost and distresses, still determined that he will weather-beaten mariners. Remember struggle against them, that he will that the heart of Jesus is full of comnot be driven back by any difficulties, passion. He is praying that your faith but that he will effect the good plea-may not fail ; and when he intercedes, sure of the Lord, convinced that he the strength of God must speedily be will never forsake those that trust in imparted to your souls. him. They might indeed have said, How beautiful is the description after toiling so long, “ It is useless- of this in the parallel passage of St. we labour in vain—we spend our John's Gospel. He is described as strength for nought-we never counted looking on from the shore. He sees on this-we never imagined we were them toiling in the ocean; they see to engage in a service so arduous.” him not-perhaps they had almost O no; this is not their feeling; but forgotten they had one so mighty to having once engaged in it, they press save. But the eye of his love is upon forward; and he who commanded them them-his wakeful tenderness cannot to enter upon it, will assuredly suc for a moment be surprised. cour them in due time. Go on, Chris
(To be continued.)
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What a blessed consideration is this! that remained. No-it is not their “Lord, thou seest the conflict of our strength that overpowers the enemy, souls-thou seest how hard the strug- but the accompanying strength of Omgle in which we are engaged—thou nipotence himself. Now, are there not perceivest that our enemies are mighty ; ! some of you ready to despond, even but thine eye is upon us; the power when it is now only midnight, and and malice of these enemies shall be hardly even that—when you have only thwarted ; and our desires, feeble entered on the perils and hardships of though they be, to execute thy will, the Christian course, instead of being shall be accomplished.” But it is long the fourth watch of the night. Faint before he arrives. He sees them toil- not in the day of adversity-the dawning till they are almost spent. Now, ing hour comes, if you will but wait for what should you have expected from a it. Let faith and patience and devoSaviour like this from one whose tion hold out till the fourth watch, and heart is so full of tenderness, and come he will, and will not tarry, and whose bowels melt with love? You with healing in his wings. would have expected him to fly to the And now he is near the vessel. We succour of his people-to speak the can imagine the ecstasy of the disciples word, to appease the fury of the winds, on beholding him, expecting the imand to cause a great calm. But no- mediate entrance of the blessed Jesus he sees it all, he sees their trouble and into the bark, to remove all their fears, difficulty and anguish ; he sees the and to produce that state of things they might of the waters, and the feebleness had desired so long. But it is not so; of his servants in contending with he makes as if he would pass by them, them; yet he does not immediately to teach us this important lesson—that proceed to their help. The Lord can we are not hastily to judge by appear-, bear to see his followers distressed ances what the real pleasure of the to see them engaged in sore conflict Lord is. You will imagine perhaps with the enemies of his salvation, and that he means no good when in fact yet not fly to their immediate succour; he is providing the greatest benefit. for secretly he is helping them. His We cannot always in the preparation tenderness is not weak, but moves ac- see the gracious event that will in due cording to the rules of perfect wisdom. time arrive. Never do we feel the
But the dawn has now arrived—it is value of spiritual succour-and of temthe fourth watch of the night-a period poral succour too—as when we receive that corresponds with our three o'clock it after it has been driven away in its in the morning. Now, supposing them seeming approach to us. If “ hope to have embarked in this vessel about deferred maketh the heart sick," that six in the evening, they may have been hope when abundantly restored will eight or nine long hours in this trying revive the heart, and make it overflow and perilous situation. They are spent with gladness. with toil and with fear, and perhaps But what is the conduct of the disready to give up all. Still they were ciples ? When the blessed Jesus comes not driven back, but were gone for- near do they immediately hail him? ward. Still they used the little strength Do they feel as if the hour had now
arrived which would make them forget | mity in that which is in fact the harall their sorrows ? and do they hasten binger of joy. We are like Jacob, who not to lose a moment's time? No; when deprived of Joseph and Simeon they cry out with fear. They mistake said, “ Joseph is not, and Simeon is him, and imagine it to be an evil spirit not, and ye will take Benjamin away: that is approaching—so liable were all these things are against me”—and they at that time to the superstitions yet they were the very steps by which of the day. I will not now attempt to he was to be delivered from the greatest point out the mistake. There were of misfortunes, and he and his family mistakes then, which now prevail but to be placed in a situation in which little, since days of greater light and the great purposes of God were to be knowledge have arrived. But I would accomplished. apply it to you in a spiritual sense. Let us not then, my brethren, feel Sometimes — nay often — the heart perplexed with God's dealings towards when it first becomes affected with a us as if he was not dealing graciously sense of sin—when guilt is first dis- with us : let us not entreat him imcovered—when it sees in the death of mediately to remove the rod : let us Jesus Christ and the revelation of his not desire him to remove that which gospel, the holiness of God and the carries the appearance of an evil, but inexorable justice with which he re- to show us how this evil will be transquires satisfaction—that heart is ter- ferred into good—to clear away the rified rather than cheered. When Peter darkness, to cause the scales to fall is made acquainted with the divine from our eyes, that we may undercharacter of Jesus and the vastness of stand and adore the dispensation, which his redemption, he falls down at his is only misunderstood through the feet and says-not, “ Permit me to dimness of our own spiritual percepfollow thee whithersoever thou goest" tion : let us pray for more clearness of -but, “ Depart from me, for I am a vision—that the day star may arise sinful man, O Lord.” The first per- and shine in our hearts. ception of God in his holiness and jus- The Lord Jesus full of pity does not tice as it appears in Jesus Christ, re- suffer his disciples to be long in this quiring so vast an atonement before he state of distress. And what does he will be reconciled to sinners, and of do? He talks to them. Wonderful the holiness of that law which we, love and condescension, especially when taught and renovated by the Holy we consider it as an emblem of his Spirit, are to endeavour to obey, is dealings with the soul. It is when he often a troubling and an appalling talks with the soul-it is when he thought. Thus we are made to cry enters into spiritual converse with it, out with fear even when our salvation that he is really known and truly madraws nigh, as the demoniac did whennifested. Never till then shall we be Jesus appeared, “ Jesus thou Son of enabled to understand his excellence David, art thou come to torment us?” and the greatness of his grace. And This imperfect, this indistinct view of what tender, what encouraging words Jesus Christ, contemplated under one does he employ! “ Be of good cheer." aspect alone, and, as it were, enclouded It is a perfect mistake to imagine that in mystery, oftener tends to raise the the real knowledge of Christ will make fears of the convert than to dispel them. us melancholy and miserable. To see You are appalled, overwhelmed, and him as he really discovers himself to cry out with terror. But remember, us, is to see that which is calculated to it is Christ imperfectly known that ter- dispel all our fear, and to make us lift rifies : once understand and know his up our heads and shout with joy. dispensations-once be thoroughly Religion will scatter all doubt and apacquainted with the amplitude of his prehension, and will cause us to dry grace-once perceive how immense is up all our tears, and to cast ourselves, his compassion towards the greatest however heavy the burden of our guilt, sinners, how full and complete the on Him who is able to sustain us, or price he has paid-and all this doubt rather, who will take away our burden, and fear will vanish. And do we not and give us liberty and joy. often misunderstand the march of God's And what are his words « It is IProvidence? We see aggravated cala- be not afraid." That is enough; he does not add any other declaration, only because my eyes were so clouded any epithet, any exhibition of any title with self-love and attachment to the by which he might be known. “It is world, that prevented me from disI." It is the voice of their beloved, cerning it ? Now I welcome the the voice that has before scattered their affliction-nay, it deserves not that apprehensions, and given them com- | name. Lord, I glory in the cross; I fort under heavy tribulation. He desire that thou wouldst not remove it might indeed have added much ; but till it hath wrought its perfect work. that which he might have added would I am ready to empty the cup of sorrow present itself to their minds. He-to be baptized with thy fiery bapmight have said, “ It is I who still the tism. Let me still hear thee saying to tempest in thy soul. I am the mighty my soul, “It is I.” Lord, be it unto God who hold the ocean in the hollow me even as thou wilt. Enter in, dear of my hand, who spread out the heavens | Lord, for the door of my heart is open; by myself, and tread upon the waves and Thou being there, no evil can beof the sea. I am your friend, known fall me; but Thou wilt make me to reto you by many wonderful miracles of joice in the midst of tribulation, and goodness-known to you as ever ready to count all sorrows gladness for thy to assist you. A thousand times have name's sake. I fed you with my bounty, and in. Then he enters into the vessel and structed you with my wisdom, and what follows? With a voice that is comforted you with my tenderness. mightier than the noise of many It is I, your alone friend, so often waters, yea, than the mighty waves proved faithful and sympathizing. of the sea, he quells the tempest. Therefore fear not.”- the comfort | Till then the winds were high and that it is to every true believer incontrary—the sea was boisterousseasons of tribulation-when sorrows the night was dark-the bark was and bereavements of one kind or other wrought-the mariners were at their have almost pressed him to the dust, wits' end. But no sooner is Jesus to hear this language of the Saviour entered in than all this tempest ceases uttered in a tone that he cannot mis -the storm is hushed, and the sou. take. “It is I.” It was I who raised of the agitated sailor is at once apthe tumult in thy soul. It was I who peased-there is a great calm. As in took away thy help. It was I who the natural so in the spiritual world ; bereaved thee of thy child, and of the it is only God can effect this; and wife of thy bosom. It was I who when he speaks the word, “ Peacesent the enemy to persecute thee, or be still,” in accents that cannot be who caused thy character to be blasted, misunderstood, he reveals himself by or who crossed thee in this and the the Spirit of Adoption, saying, Ye are other project. Thy sorrows did not my children, the objects of my love. grow out of the earth, neither were | And then how placidly the vessel they laid upon thee otherwise than by moves along! how gallantly she rides the hand of a merciful God: I laid | over the waves! The sea that was all them on in love. I am now chas- contrary before is now in her favour, tising thee indeed; I will try thee and she will be speedily in the haven. indeed, but thou shalt not perish Let me address those who love not in the furnace, though cast into the the Lord. You cannot avert storms hottest fire ; but I will order it that of one kind or another by refusing to it shall be for thy spiritual good : fear embark in the vessel of Jesus. It is not.-Is it Thyself indeed? I knew true you will not suffer the same kind it not till thou in spirit didst make me of troubles—not those spiritual trials to understand it. When ignorant of which are in a peculiar manner the this I was ready to despair, to cast portion of God's people : but still you myself down to the earth, and imagine shall find that “man is born to trouble that none could comfort or deliver, as the sparks fly upwards.” Now, I I felt the trial to be heavy, because I put it to those who know not God-to recognized not the hand that sent it. those who have never experienced the But wast it thou ? and didst thou do it joys or sorrows of religion-Have you in thy love and kindness ? and was it not found this to be a world full of only the dimness of my sight-was it hardships and misery? I do assure
you, my dear friends, and I pray God that he deserves all your confidenceto make you believe and understand it, you have resolved that whatever diffithat you gain nothing in this world by culties may surprise you, however perkeeping aloof from the trials of the plexing the circumstances in which Christian. Though your trials be dif-you are involved, you will never again ferent, they are not less severe. You doubt the mercy and power and faithwant the support and the consolation fulness of God. But still, how unbewhich the Christian has. What is lieving and forgetful are we when the that for which you endure so much season of danger arrives ! It seems for pain and mortification and disappoint- the moment as if you would never ment, and fain now would begin again? | be able to escape; the winds arise, Though it is happiness you desire, the billows encompass you, and you and though you think you have that look in vain for Jesus. You forget point in your eye where true happi- that he is interceding for you before ness is to be attained, it is but as the the throne of grace—that his arms are cloud that deceives the impatient sailor, still encompassing you, that he is still which at a distance he conceives to be actually present with his people, and the land; he presses forward, and bearing them safe in his own keeping. spends his little strength in endeavour But amidst all the changes and chances ing to gain it; but as he approaches of this troubling world—though you its real character is seen-it melts plunge from one abyss of sorrow to away into thin air, and he finds all another-though deep calls unto deep, his hope was illusory, that he is far and waves call upon waves, threatenther than ever from the object of his ing to overwhelm you still retain desires ; and he resigns himself to your confidence in God; believe that despair. The mere outside professor he will never, never can leave you nor of religion-one who has not cast forsake you. By himself he has sworn himself on Jesus Christ as the only that he will never cast away his peoAuthor and Finisher of salvation, gets ple. It is impossible that your bark, no nearer to happiness. He must have though tossed and shattered, should Christ with him in the vessel-he must founder at the last. Doubt not that commit himself to the care of that Jesus is your Pilot, and that so you Steersman-he must confide in his cannot be wrecked. You may be faithfulness and all-sufficiency, or he allowed to go on in darkness - you will never prosper. And I would say may suffer the howling winds and the to both the worldly and the mere pro tempest even to the fourth watch; fessor, that they should remember this, but at last you shall surmount the —they may appear to be getting fur- / waves, shall outride the fury of the ther from the shore-they may be ac- tempest, and gain the shores of imtually getting further from the shore mortal bliss. And when you look of this world, and yet not be approach back and understand the wonderful deing nearer to heaven, but be still re- | liverances God has achieved for you, moving to a greater distance from and the immense benefits you have thence.
reaped from the particular course he Lastly-you that have experienced has compelled you to hold, you shall the saving grace of Christ, will you not then rejoice with joy unspeakable and trust in him for the future? Again and full of glory. * again you have come to the conclusion