Imatges de pàgina
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always produce the perceptible emotions of the grace of God in our hearts: It is our bounden obedience to a divine command; it is our self-humiliation before our Maker, the deprecation of his wrath, and the imploring of his assistance against the temptations of sin. Let us, therefore, draw néar with a pure heart, in full assurance of faith, making our petitions in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and relying on his Merits alone for God's acceptance of them.

ON God's GRACE, AND PRESENCE

WITH US.

1. How delightful is the reflection to a true Christian, that God is at all times present with us! It is his voice which is heard in the secret whispers of conscience to our souls, recalling us to goodness when we err, and promising us pardon, if we sin no more.

When we fulfil our duty, we feel his more immediate presence within us; He inspires us with the good which we do, and he approves of it when done through Him. Are we compassionate and charitable to our fellow-creatures in distress ? Do we pardon the injuries which we may have received, or do we seek occasions of returning good for evil ?—It is from God

alone that such actions proceed ; and the same all-gracious Power, which prompts us to do good, will reward our performance of it an hundred fold.; We need not look for the Almighty in the centre of the earth, or seek for his power beyond the grave: He is ever present, ever near, nor need we turn our eyes from ourselves to behold Him.

We are (as the Psalmist says) fearfully and wonderfully made ; and the most marvellous of the Creator's works is the human heart. O that men would, therefore, praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men! There is no situation, no state of existence in this world, in which we may not be sure of the protection of Heaven, and the directing hand of God, if our conscience tells us that we faithfully endeavour to deserve it: Were we placed in a desert, inaccessible to men, and unknown to the world, God could support us there; even there, He could bless us with peace and plenty.

2. We should not be discouraged, or dismayed, if we do not at all times feel the same good dispositions ; let us not fear that God has withdrawn himself from us, or that we are become unworthy of his grace; the very fear itself is a proof of the contrary; for a state of sin is mostly one of security. God often makes trial of us in this manner, and by leaving us to the workings of our corrupt nature, shews us what we are without his assistance. When we are made thus to feel our own natural depravity, we become more able to estimate justly the grace of God, and his merciful love towards us; and if we bear this state with hope and patience, while it brings to our minds a deep sense of our infirmity, it will prove an inestimable benefit to our souls. The operations of God's holy spirit may be often checked in our hearts, by the corruption of our nature, and the agitations of sin, especially if we are of a lively temperament and disposition, which is the most easily led away by the temptations of the world; but if we regret our errors as soon as we perceive them; if we sincerely endeavour to retrace our steps; we shall not finally lose ourselves in the road to salvation, though we may sometimes wander from it; we may even in some degree turn these wanderings to our good, if we view them as additional causes for distrusting ourselves, and praying more fervently for the grace of God. Human nature is weak, and prone to error; we are ever transgressing our duties, or failing in the performance of them ; but still, if our will is inviolate; if we yield to temptation, only through infirmity, and hasten to repent of our fault, and repair it as soon as we are sensible of it, we are yet in the favour of God, and may

depend on his love.

When we are most humbled by the sense of our own guilt, and ready to fear that God may cast us off for ever, he is often most watchful over us, and most compassionate to

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