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part. And now he walketh forth in the garden of God, the holy Scripture, to enjoy that sweet-smelling savour of life unto life, which ariseth from the comfortable promises therejn contained, grateful as the fragrance of the holy vestments in the nostrils of the patriarch, “as the smell of a field which the " Lord hath blessed.” He “hungereth and thirst" eth after righteousness, and hath a true taste and relish for the bread of life, insomuch that he inviteth all men to partake with him, in the words of the Psalmist; “O taste, and see that the Lord is gra“cious !" And such is the sensibility of his soul, that as he feels an exquisite delight in the testimony of a good conscience, so is he pained at the recollection of the least sin; nor can he find any rest, till he has invoked the aid of the great Physician of souls by fervent and importunate prayer, opened his grief to him by a full and free confession of his guilt, and received a perfect cure from his hands, by a fresh application of his all-sufficient merits.
Thirdly, the penitent is translated from a state of delusion to a sound judgement and right apprehension of things, from shadows to realities; even as one awaketh from the romantic scenery of a dream, to behold all things as they really are, and to do his duty in that station in which God has placed him. No sooner is a man awaked to righteousness, and risen with Christ to work out his salvation, but all bis former vain and unprofitable life seemeth as a nightvision. When the Lord turneth away the captivity of one whom Satan hath long bound with the chains and fetters of evil habits; when he delivereth him out
of the hands of his enemies to serve God without fear; the time of his bondage, under the elements of the world, and the dominion of sin, appeareth as a dream, from which he now findeth himself most bappily awaked; awaked to the prospect of a bliss that is not visionary, of a real and substantial good, that melteth not into air, as the shadowy enjoyments of this world do, but affordeth solid comfort to the person who is possessed of it; awaked to follow after that honour which cometh from God only, those riches which neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, those pleasures which are at God's right hand, and that wisdom which maketh wise unto salvation ; awaked to a steady and uniform pursuit of these glorious objects, instead of that endless desire of novelty and variety which wearieth the men of the world, leaving them always disappointed of their hope; in a word, awaked to the knowledge and love of an inheritance in light, that fadeth not, but shall endure for ever in heaven, even when the world itself shall fly away as a dream, and the very remembrance of it vanish as a vision of the night.
If, therefore, these things be so—and surely the Scriptures say they are so; if the state of the sinner, or man of the world, be one of darkness, insensibility, and delusion ; and if such a state be not judged preferable to one of light, and sense, and substantial reality ; let no man be disobedient to the voice of the church, which, through the course of this penitential season, incessantly addresseth every one of her children; “ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
therefore, thou that sleepest: awake, and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, and mind earthly things : awake, O thou Christian soul, and utter a song in praise of him who hath redeemed thee: awake, awake, put on the Lord Jesus thy strength, put on righteousness and holiness thy beautiful garments; shake thyself from the dust, and set thy affections on things above : the night is far spent, the day is at hand; cast off therefore the works of darkness, and put on the whole arniour of light: arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee : arise, and stand up from the dead, and Christ shall give thee the light of life.
Awakened by these repeated calls, be it our care to arise without delay to newness of life, not suffering ourselves, through sloth and indolence, to relapse into evil habits, like the sluggard upon his bed, who requireth always “a little more sleep, a little more “slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep.” Let us arise at the first admonition, because, that being rejected, God may not vouchsafe us another ; and there will be more difficulty in obeying it, if he should do so. Let us therefore dread a relapse, and guard against it.
For this purpose, let us be constantly employed in some good work, and inuch of the danger will be removed ; since listlessness of the mind, like a lethargy in the body, is best cured by motion and exercise ; and when temptations are creeping upon us, there is no better method of baffling and putting them to flight, than by forcing ourselves to read, or pray, or perform some other work of piety to God, or charity to our neighbour. Above all things, let us beware, that surfeiting and excess do not oppress and weigh down the heart, inducing sleep upon the soul, as well as the body. Let us be temperate, let us be sober, walking evermore as children of the light, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; for all these are the works of darkness; but that darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. Thus shall we be qualified to set and keep that constant watch, which is absolutely necessary to perceive and repel the enemy, at his first approach.
“ What I say unto you,” saith Christ to his disciples, " I say unto all4 WATCH." This if we do, we shall spend our time, as it ought to be spent, in working out our salvation, and not dream away, in vanity and folly, the precious and fleeting hours allowed us for that purpose. And happy, thrice happy, the man, who, in the evening of life, taking a survey of what is past, shall be able to say, with an humble confidence, to his blessed Master, as that Master, in the days of his flesh, said to the Father; “ I have glorified thee on the earth, “ I have finished the work which thou gavest me to “ do." His body shall lie down in the dust in perfect peace, and rest in hope, till the dawning of the great day; when that likewise shall receive its suinmons from heaven, by the voice of the archangel;
Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
THE NOBLE CONVERT.
Acts, vill. 34, 35.
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray
thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
We are now drawing towards the close of that
penitential season, set apart by the wisdom of the church for retirement and recollection, confession and humiliation, mortification and self-denial, meditation and devotion; to the end that, having discovered and cast out our sins, having subdued pride, and extinguished concupiscence, having brought the body into subjection, and rendered the spirit tender, and humble, and holy, we might be prepared to attend our blessed Redeemer at the celebration of his last passover; to accompany him from the garden to the high-priest's palace, from thence to the prætorium, and from thence to mount Calvary; there to take our station, with the Virgin Mother, and the beloved disciple, at the foot of the cross, and “look