Imatges de pàgina
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2. Is light sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart? It need not seem strange, that darkness and distress may be for å while their lot. The light sown may not prefently spring up; the gladness designed may be hid, and hence the happy heirs of it may be covered with darkness, and walk in it: but in that case, they are not to despond, as if the disconsolate night would never have an end but, on the the contrary, ought to beg grace to follow the direction given them from heaven, namely, to trust in the name of the Lord, and ftay themselves upon their God, Ijaiah I. io. That God, who has said, That none of them that trust in him, shall be defolate, Pfalm xxxiv.

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3. Is light fown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart? This tells them at once their need of patience, and what abundant reason they have for it.

Their need of patience is obvious; as there must be a space between feed-time and harvest. The light sown will assuredly spring up, and at last ripen into that fulness of joy, which will make amends for the longest stay, and for whatever storms or blasts may intervene, As in the natural world, so in the world of grace, God hath resolved, that while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest shall not cease, Genesis viii. 22. With reference to this, remember the Apostle's exhortation, James v. 8. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and

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hath long patience for it. It is something more glorious that you have in view, than the common husbandman hath: Wherefore be ye also patient, stablish your hearts : for the coming of the Lord 'draweth nigh.

4. Is light fown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart? how certain is it that God's thoughts towards such are thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give them a desired end, Jer. xxix. 11.

And how difficult foever it may be for a time, to reconcile his conduct in his providence with what in his word he has bid them expect, the end will prove to his glory, and their eternal joy, and shew that he has done all things

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5. Is light sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart? Let none conclude, they are none of the number, because wanting prefent comfort: Their heavenly Father may see good to withhold this from his children for å while in their waiting state, as theirs is while they are in this world. Alas! cries the trembling christian, I have waited long, and taken some pains to know my case, how matters stand between God and my soul; but still I am full of doubts and fears, having not light enough to discern, whether I am in the number of those for whom light is fown. To such let me offer a few things that may

be of use to them to hold their thoughts to.

1. Though you cannot say with that evidence you could with, that you are in the number of the upright in heart, for whom light is sown yet your doubts do not prove you are not. Your

state

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ftate may be safe, notwithstanding your fears of the contrary : Grace in the heart, and in the evidence of it, do not always go together. Indeed the fame Spirit that works grace, is to witness it too : But herein the Spirit of God is a free agent, and may do this when, and in whom, and to what degree he pleasetn. Assurance is not the privilege of all God's children, but of such ordinàrily as are more grown, whilst others are held in a waiting posture, under the command to make their calling and election sure, as most suitable to the Divine Majesty, and the purposes he has to fervé by his children of different stature and strength in the houshold of faith.

2. Under all your complaints of darkness and doubts, what is the testimony of conscience as to your temper and carriage? Is there no fin but what you mourn under, watch and pray and ftrive against, and are resolved always to do so.? Though you cannot say that you stand in a special relation to God as such as are of his peculiar people, are you at the same time, careful to please him, and afraid to offend him? Do you cry after him, pray to him, wait upon him, desiring nothing more than to love, and be beloved him, esteeming his loving-kindness better than life? Whence is it, but from grace within, that his favour is above all things desired and fought?

And under this head, let me ask, What is the meaning of your endeavours to bring matters to an issue, by looking into the world, and into

your hearts, and then up to heaven with the earnest çry, Search me, O God, and see if there be any ,

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wicked way in me, and lead me in the way ever-
lasting ? Psal

. cxxxix. 23, 24.
3. Distinguish between supporting hope, and
the grounds of it, between faith, and joy and tri-
umph arising from assurance. The former may
be in such as have not reached the latter. Must
you

that
you

have been made sensible
of the evil of sin, and of your liableness to the
wrath to come, and that there was no way of
escape but by the mercy of God in Jesus Christ?
In this case has not Christ been set before you, .
as the only all-sufficient Saviour ? And upon the
invitation given to the weary and heavy laden
to come to him, and the encouraging promise that
he that cometh he will in no wise cast out; Have
you not accepted him for yours, and as far as
you
know

your own hearts, resigned yourselves
to him, as his? Though you are not without
your fears as to your sincerity herein, are there
not grounds of hope, that your principles, aims
and ends are right, and that your state is not the
fame as formerly?

For instance :
Is it not your desire and endeavour to have the
same mind in you that was also in Christ, and to
walk as he also walked ? Would you not fain
love God more, and serve him better? Is it not
your grief and burden that you are no more like
him, and that you so often offend him ? Do

ye
not lament and bewail the deadness and disaffe-
ction of your spirits to him, and account them
the happiest people in the world who love and
are beloved of him, and live in the sense of his
love, and had rather be of that number, than as

to outward prosperity be the greatest or most considerable upon earth? If you can say this, light and gladness is sown for

you.

And hereupon, 6. Wait for the springing up of this in God's time and way, and beware of prescribing to him. It is enough that he waiteth to be gracious, and will be exalted in shewing mercy. 7.

Let such as in the present state have, in any good degree, reaped the light and gladness fown, return the glory to heaven for this distinguishing grace; and endeavour to comfort others with the consolation wherewith they themselves are comforted of God.

8. Lastly, How blessed a change will the mourning believer make by dying, for whom light is lown ! though little of it was found upon earth, yet upon his removal from thence, he enters upon the full harvest in heaven. O the transport to go mourning to the gates of Zion; and there, at once, to have all tears dried up, and his head crowned with everlasting joy!

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