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sider how swiftly time flies and death approaches, surely your first prayer, when you open your eyes in the morning, should be, “ Oh, put me not off with these trifies! Let me not wrap up my
heart in these wretched objects of sense and time!” Brethren! are you afflicted?- It is a blessed school of wisdom. Endeavour to enter into God's design herein: then if you are brought under the heaviest affliction that ever man endured, you will praise him to eternity, that he laid it upon you. Pray to him to enable you to bear your burden, and to glorify him thereby; and then you will go away no more sad.
Parents! you and I have a great charge committed to us. And we have been wounded, again and again, by seeing how little we can impress the minds of our children, with those things with which we are impressed ourselves. Like the father before us we have sick children: every one of them wounded and stung by the Old Serpent: his venom is working in them: you can bring them by faith in prayer, to Christ; and they never will be healed, till they come to him. Be you their examples: be
their teachers. Shew them the madness of sin; the dreadful end of those paths in which others are walking; the shortness of life; the certainty of death; and the blessedness of dying in the Lord. Recount to them your own mercies and comforts: afford them all the assistance in your power. Listen not to
the suggestions of despair. While life remains, there is hope. Many of us are witnesses, that, however far we may have been suffered to proceed, God has raised us up as monuments of his mercy. Children!—I see that there are many of
you here--consider, that, if you would be truly great and noble and eminent, you must be poor and wretched and miserable in your own eyes. Your deceitful hearts will tell you that you can do for yourselves what God alone can do for you: if you trust them, you are rebellious against God. This poor, gay, gaudy world, which God says is vanity, will try to ensnare you: if you are caught by it, remember that you are rebellious against God. Your parents, instead of making you wretched by bringing you to a house of prayer, wish to make you happy: they would not have you put off with vanity instead of happiness. May God enable you to beg your parents to lead you in that way which is everlasting! Wait on him, in prayer,
till you give evidence that you belong to him! Say, with Jabez, Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed! that thy hand might be with me! that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it might not grieve me. Pray, “ Oh, that thou wouldest train me up, like young Samuel, like Timothy; that I may be visited with the favour which thou bearest to thy people,
THE POWER OF FAITH.
John xi. 39, 40.
Jesus said, take ye away the Stone, Martha, the sister of him
that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the Glory of God ?
In this history we have an instance of the power of our God and Saviour, as exhibited toward a distressed family, with which he was connected in the tender bonds of friendship. They had lost a valuable brother: they sent to Jesus, in the time of his sickness; but he went not. After the death of Lazarus, he took his disciples with him to the grave, that God might be glorified by the extraordinary miracle of calling forth to life his dead friend. Martha met him, and said unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled:—He groaned to see the ravages of sin; and to see man, whom
God had formed upright and perfect; laid as a mass of putrefaction in the tomb: and he wept, to shew that he had sympathy with us in our sorrows. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, listening to the reports of sense, starts her objections: Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days: he is in a state not fit for the eye to look on. Jesus silenced her objections: Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? as if he had said, “ Martha! what did I say to thee? You forget who stands at the grave; and what he declared to you, when he told you, that, if you would trust bim, you should see the glory and power of God shine forth in the resurrection of the dead."
This history will suggest to us some profitableremarks.
I. We may here see the special BENEFIT OF SANCTIFIED AFFLICTION,
There is an evil disposition in the heart, to depart from the living God. Creatures entice the heart, and call it away, as though they could do for us, what God alone can do. He therefore sends trials and afflictions, to stop us in our wanderings: then we vex, and fret, and think we do well to be angry,
We are apt to regard these trials as sent to strip us of our happiness; but God has other designs. When he sends an affliction, he would bring us
and himself nearer together: he would shew us that there must be a time to thrust away worldly cares; a time to approach and say to him, “ Lord! I am weary of the world. I would not live alway. The desire of my eyes is taken away at a stroke. I see plainly that every earthly comfort must go. I must go myself: and now, Lord, what wait I for? Truly my hope is even in thee! In thee is comfort. Vain is the help of man.”
Martha was anxious about earthly things: Christ reproved her. One thing only is needful: here he again reproves her, and rouses her mind to feel the necessity of looking out for a better comforter than this world or its connections. How do facts, as well as the Word of God, speak the beggary of human nature! Whatever is dear to us, whatever is indeed valuable and excellent here, we must see to be dying and vanishing from us, in order to our enjoying it aright! Afflictions, when God sends them in mercy, appeal to conscience: “See how poor the world is! See how precious Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, is!—Though your friends and comforts die, yet he, that believeth in him, shall never die! See how your comforts hang on a breath!” There is infinitely more wisdom acquired under one sanctified afflictive dispensation,-infinitely more wisdom in the house of mourning,--than can be acquired under a thousand lectures, though spoken by the tongues of men or angels, when we are at ease and quiet,