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follow; a diminution of fortune succeeds; sorrows thicken fast upon us; the strong wall, that seemed to fence in our blessings so securely, is almost levelled; and calamities roll in, wave after wave, till we are ready to perish. How is it with us now? Can we still repose on the watchful providence of God, and trust in his mercy? Let us remember, that these are the seasons in which the character is to be strengthened, and the sincerity of our professions established. Can we say that we love God, when the flame of our affection is ready to expire with the first gust of misfortune? Do we pretend that we put our whole trust in him, and yet despair of his mercy, and almost deny his providence, though nothing in the whole world is altered but our condition? It is alike the office of reason and of faith to correct the delusions of our senses, to place things before us in their true proportions, and prevent our being deceived by mere appearances. A firm trust in the wisdom and beneficence of God is at once the evidence and exercise of both.

But the duty of trusting in God is not limited to the seasons of distress. Then, indeed, it is the most severely tried; and in proportion to the severity of the trial it is invigorated. But the general uncertainty of human concerns requires an internal principle of strength that is equally extensive; the constant care and kindness of our Maker demand the return of an unceasing confidence. Trust in God will produce in every period, and under all the varied circumstances of life, a settled preference of spiritual things over those which are temporal. Suppose any conceivable temptation: the question always is, Do you dare to rely upon the faithfulness of your Maker; to renounce the pleasure, to support the suffering, from a ra

tional regard to his will; to "endure, as seeing him who is invisible?” Let it not be imagined that the seasons in which this duty is to be exercised recur only at intervals; they are daily and hourly. You are poor, perhaps, and some sad child of affliction comes to plead for your compassion; trust in God, and be bountiful. You are engaged in business, and others, less scrupulous. than you, are advancing before you: trust in God, and be just. You are so peculiarly situated, that a slight prevarication or improper concealment would greatly favour your interests, and enable you to prevent serious uneasiness to yourself or others; trust in God, and be sincere. Whoever will honestly attend to all the various occasions in which he is called upon to testify his confidence in God by acting in contradiction to present appearances, will assuredly discover that this principle, though its utmost energies are developed only under the pressure of great calamities, communicates its influence to the minutest concerns; insinuating itself insensibly, where the Christian character is matured, into the whole system of life; and, like the element we breathe, imparting purity and vigour wherever it prevails, though itself, perhaps, unseen by those whom it refreshes.

It is natural for those whose hearts are deeply penetrated with a sense of the beneficence of their Maker, to inquire with some solicitude how they may offer to him an acceptable service; what are the actions, what the dispositions, which he will consider as more peculiarly consecrated to his glory. Certainly, among the many motives which recommend the duty of putting our trust in God, the consideration best fitted to affect a grateful and generous spirit is, that it is a homage peculiarly pleasing to his Creator. It may even be said, without presumption, that it is a tribute in some measure worthy of him. We have confidence in those we love. We have confidence in those whom we highly esteem and venerate. To trust in God, is to declare practically, (and this is a very different matter from the mere profession), that we believe him to be such as he really is, all-powerful, of unfailing wisdom and faithfulness, abundant in mercy and loving kindness. This is an acknowledgment which in the nature of things must be acceptable. It is a service not of the lips, but of the heart. It is an avowal in the sight of the universe, that “this God is our God." It is a solemn and effective recognition of his authority, and of our entire resignation to it. What parent is not gratified to find, that in the midst of apparent severity or neglect, his child has ever placed an entire reliance on his affection? Who does not feel his heart glow with gratitude towards those who have loved him in absence and silence, and with perhaps the appearances of alienation on his part? When Alexander gave into the hands of his friend and physician the paper which accused him of perfidy, and in the same instant swallowed the medicine which he was informed would be fatal, what words can do justice to the feelings of both? We are not presumptuous in thus transferring the ideas which are attached to the most intimate relations in this life to spiritual concerns; because, when God vouchsafed to assume the characters under which he has revealed himself to us in holy writ, he certainly intended not merely to instruct us in our duties towards him, but to animate and console us by the communication of his sentiments and dispositions to

And conformably to these views, we find, that of the many celebrated actions of holy men which

wards us.

have been handed down to us, none are marked with stronger testimonies of the approbation of God, than those which indicated a very lively confidence in him. Such was Abraham's departure from his native land, and that solemn act of faith by which he offered up his only begotten son. Such was the cheerful courage of Caleb and Joshua, when the body of the Israelites refused to march into the land of Canaan. Such was “the holy enthusiasm of young David,” when he fought and slew the champion of the Philistines. Such was the pious humility of Hezekiah when he committed to God the protection of his people against the overwhelming forces of the Assyrians. “Now these things were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.”

It seems a sort of injustice to the subject, after urging the motives for putting our trust in God which have been last mentioned, to speak of the benefits which will result to ourselves. God, however, who knows his creatures and desires their happiness, has multiplied the inducements to his service, so that no reasonable or virtuous principle of action in the heart of man may be left unaddressed. Indeed, the rewards which he proposes to Christians, are of so spiritual a nature, that while, contemplated in one aspect, they appear fitted to operate upon that sense of interest and rational desire of happiness which belongs to every living creature, in another character they address the feelings of the heart in a language of the most persuasive eloquence. The blessings which Revelation offers, are ever of a nature to bring us nearer to God, the source and consummation of them all. This great prin

ciple, which breathes through the whole of religion, is visible in that portion of it which we are now considering.

I know not, indeed, that any words can more beautifully describe the blessedness of trusting in God, than those of the twenty-third Psalm; “ The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” What cheerfulness, what courage, what peace, what holy gratitude and heavenly piety breathe through this noble composition! These are the rewards of placing our confidence in God; and, however our timid hearts and wavering intellects may deceive us, these are the true and everlasting sources of happiness. These are the riches with which no stranger intermeddles. “The kingdom of God is within you.” In this land of shadows visible things are continually pressing upon the senses, and a careless unreflecting world pays them a ready homage. We admire wealth; we value highly the estimation of our neighbours; we are vain of hereditary honours; we pant for political renown. Poverty and unimportance in society are dreaded, as the last of evils. We are frightened at phantoms, and grasp at baubles. But, whoever will set himself to read the word of God diligently, and with honesty and courage contemplate the

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