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evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”—Matt. 16–20. Good fruit, the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ; against such there is no law.”—Gal. v. 22, 23. The very first of these fruits you see is love, which love in its nature and effects is set forth by the Apostle in the first epistle to the Corinthians, xiii. Where, therefore, there is the nature of Christ, there will be in some measure the temper of Christ; and where there is the temper of Christ, there will be forbearance, meekness, a readiness to forgive injuries, and a desire to make all around happy and holy. The man who does not admire the temper, conduct and precepts of Christ—who does not desire, pray, and strive to be like Christ -is not a Christian, whatever else he may be. For every Christian, that is every one taught and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, daily mourns and grieves on account of his want of conformity to the mind, will, and example of Jesus ; and desires above everything else to be exactly like Jesus inwardly and outwardly, at home and abroad. Nor will any thing ever satisfy the true believer, but being holy as God is holy; or being filled with love as God is full of love. May the Holy Spirit deeply inscribe these two scriptures on our
minds, “ BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER,” and “ OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD,” that we may carry them out and illustrate them in our every-day life.
Jesus, I hide my head in shame,
I blush, and weep to see
No more conform to thee.
To clear my guilty score;
No! I'll resent no more.
And call him still my friend;
And every quarrel end.
Lord, bend my stubborn will;
Remains the victor still.
Under each cross event;
Pride its own punishment.
Descend on balmy wings;
And strike the peaceful strings.
And at thy feet adore.
Where discord is no more.
THE LORD COMFORTING HIS
By nature we are all in a very comfortless state, being wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Being dead in trespassses and sins, it is not perceived or felt. But when the Holy Spirit quickens the soul, enlightens the mind, and awakens the conscience, then our wretched condition is discovered, and we begin to look about for comfort. By repentance and reformation we hope to obtain peace and joy, but are disappointed; and the more we do, the more we strive, the more unhappy we become. All human help is vain. All earthly cisterns are empty. No one can effectually comfort a quickened soul, but the Lord. Not even the gospel, unless it be applied by the power of the Holy Spirit, will impart joy to the broken heart. It is God's prerogative to comfort, and in comforting, the Lord displays so much of his glory and grace, that the prophet cries out in raptures,“ Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, o earth; and break forth into singing O mountains, for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” Isai. xlix. 13.
The Lord's people are often deeply afflicted. Sometimes in body, sometimes in soul, and sometimes in their circumstances. They are stripped, humbled, and laid low. Every thing seems to be against them, and they refuse to be comforted. They go mourning all the day long. They feel as if they were entangled and ensnared, and cannot deliver their own souls. But no afflictions that they may be called to pass through, can at all af. fect their relationship to God, they are his people still. And being his people he has provided for their comfort, and they shall ultimately be made happy. He has chosen them for his own, and has given them to his beloved Son; who has taken charge of their persons, undertaken to secure their salvation, and will make them happy in his own love. As they are given to Christ, so Christ is given for them, to expiate their sins, ransom their persons, and in the end glorify them with himself. Jesus is also given to them, to be the foundation of their happiness, the author of their peace, and the source of their comfort. The Spirit also has undertaken to sustain the office of Comforter, and manifesto ing the love of the Father, and applying the work of the Son, he comforts them.
In comforting the Lord's tried and afflicted people, he shows them that his anger is turned away, that he loves them with an infinite and everlasting love, and will never cease to bless them in time or eternity. Ile unfolds the promises, and shows them their interest in them. He assures them that God is engaged to supply all their needs, give them victory over all their foes, and fill them full of joy with his countenance. Now they discover, that God, instead of being an angry God, is a loving Father; and that instead of being pledged to punish them, he has sworn that he will not be wrath with them, nor rebuke them. That though afflicted and sorrowful now, they will soon be removed beyond the reach of every trial, temptation, and pain. That God will dwell with them, and in them now, treating them as his sons and daughters; and that they, ere long, shall dwell with God, and in God, having his name written in their foreheads. He points them upward and forward, reminding them of the mansions prepared, the glory awaiting them, and the welcome that will be given them to the everlasting kingdom. He shows them, that they are delivered from hell, appointed to heaven, and shall never want any good thing.
As the Lord reveals their interest in these things, and works faith in their hearts to believe it, they are comforted and made happy. Their burdens become light, their afflictions are sweetened, and they sing in the ways of the Lord. But, again and again, will doubts creep in, and fears spring up, and unbelief work afresh, so that the renewings of the Holy Ghost are necessary. He that com