Sidor som bilder

great jeopardy at Ephesus,--where he had like to have been brought out to the theatre, to be devoured by wild beasts, and indeed had no human means to avert,--and consequently to escape it;--and therefore, he tells them, that he had this advantage by it, that the more he believed he should be put to death, the more he was engaged by his deliverance, never to depend on any worldly trust, but only on God, who can rescue from the greatest extremity, even from the grave and death itself.-For we would not, brethren, says he, have you ignorant of our trouble, which came to us in Afia, that we were pressed out of measure, above our strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life; but we had the fentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raiseth the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, and in whom we trust that he will still deliver us.

And indeed a stronger argument cannot be brought for future truft, than the rememberance of past protection ;--for what ground or reafon can I have to distrust the kindness of that person, who has always been my friend and benefactor ?

On whom can I better rely for assistance in the day of my distress, than on him who stood by me in all mine affliction ?-and, when I was at the brink of destruction, delivered me out of all my troubles? Would it not be highly ungrateful, and reflect either upon his goodness or his sufficiency, to distrust that providence which has always had a watchful eye over me ?—and who, according to his gracious promises, will never leave me, nor forsake me; and who, in all my wants, in all my emergencies, has been abundantly more willing to give, than I to ask it. If the former and the latter rain have hitherto defcended

upon the earth in due feason, and feed time and harvest have never yet failed;---why should I fear famine in the land, or doubt, but that he who feedeth the raven, and providently catereth for the sparrow, should likewise be my comfort ? -How unlikely is it that ever he should suffer his truth to fail? --This train of reflection, from the confideration of past mer, cies, is suitable and natural to all mankind;

there being no one, who by calling to mind God's kindnesses, which have been ever of old, but will see cause to apply the argument to himself.

And though, in looking back upon the events which have befallen us, we are apt to attribute too much to the arm of flesh, in recounting the more successful parts of them; faying, -My wisdom, my parts, and address, extricated me from this misfortune ;-my forefight and penetration faved me from a second; -my courage, and the mightiness of my strength, carried me through a third :-However we are accustomed to talk in this manner, —yet whoever cooly sits down and reflects

upon the many accidents (though very improperly called fo) which have befallen him in the course of his life, when he considers the many amazing turns in his favour,—sometimes in the most unpromising cases, -and often brought about by the most unlikely causes; when he remembers the particular providences which have gone along with him, the many personal deliverances which have preserved him,—the unaccountable manner in which he

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

has been enabled to get through difficulties, which on all sides beset him, on one time of his life, or the strength of mind he found himself endowed with, to encounter afflictions, which fell upon him at another period :where is the man, I say, who looks back with the least religious sense, upon what has happened to him, who could not give you sufficient proofs of God's power, and his arm over him, and recount several cases, wherein the God of Jacob was his help, and the Holy One of Israel his redeemer?

Hast thou ever laid upon the bed of languithing, or laboured under a grievous distemper which threatened thy life? Call to mind thy forrowful and pensive spirit at that time; and add to it, who it was that had mercy on thee, that brought thee out of darkness and the shadow of death, and made all thy bed in thy sickness.

Hath the scantiness of thy condition hurried thee into great straits and difficulties, and brought thee almost to distraction ?-Confider who it was that spread thy table in that wilderness of thought,—who was it made thy cup

to overflow, who added a friend of consolation to thee, and thereby spake peace to thy troubled mind.--Hast thou ever sustained

any considerable damage in thy stock or trade ? Bethink thyself who it was that gave thee a serene and contented mind under those losses. -If thou hast recovered, consider who it was that repaired those breaches,

when thy own skill and endeavours failed:-call to mind whose providence has blessed them fince, -whose hand it was that has since set a hedge about thee, and made all that thou haft done to prosper.-Hast thou ever been wounded in thy more tender parts, through the loss of an obliging husband?-or haft thou been torn away from the embraces of a dear and promising child, by its unexpected death?

O consider, whether the God of truth did not approve himself a father to thee, when fatherless,

;-or a husband to thee, when a wi. dow,—and has either given thee a name better than of sons and daughters, or even beyond thy hope, made thy remaining tender branches

tall and beautiful, like the cedars of Libanus.

to grow up

« FöregåendeFortsätt »