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quench its vigour and vitality, the attempt shall be unsuccessful-not because the soul has any power to rekindle its own expiring flame, but because Jesus is standing by, although sometimes unseen, and pouring upon the heart's fire the oil of His own grace, and thus making that flame quenchless and deathless as the fire upon the vestal altar.

But this, I have said, may be sometimes unseen. The Saviour may be standing, as in the allegory, behind the wall, and the soul be unconscious of His presence. And so there are many of God's dear children, who are almost afraid that the Divine life is expiring in their souls, because all is dark, and gloomy, and terrible. Satan is visible; but where is Christ? They cannot discern His hand in that spiritual process which He has adopted towards them. But events will show, that that Saviour has been standing by, although secretly—that He has been making use of the events of life, of His own dealings with the soul, to cause the attempts of the soul's enemies to fail of their intended effect. And this is why we believe in the final perseverance of the Christian, because we believe that Jesus Christ is able to carry on that work-because we know that He is able constantly to vouchsafe the assistance of His grace, and because we are quite sure that He is willing to

We are quite sure that when He causes any soul to become quickened and made a new creature, He intends that that soul shall hereafter be admitted to His presence ; because there is no reason why it should be imagined, that a believer, having been a believer, should be allowed to fall away, and be again given into the power of Christ's enemies ; because our Saviour Himself declared, that “having loved his own He loved them to the end ;” because his love is unchangeable, and his purposes and gifts are " without repentance,” and, therefore, if He once fixes his love upon a poor sinner, that love is fixed

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for ever.

It is on account of that unchangeableness and love that the Saviour never relaxes in the vouchsafements of his grace, and never ceases in his spiritual gifts, whereby, and whereby alone, the believer perseveres in his spiritual career, and goes from strength to strength, till he appears in Zion before God.

How important is this for a young Christian! How important that he should feel assured upon this topic --that he should be quite certain that if he depends on God's grace, that grace never fails—that it is not left to him whether he shall continue faithful, but whether God will continue faithful; so that he need not write bitter things against himself, and be afraid lest he should fall a prey to Satan's temptations ; but remember that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy”: that whilst, if he be a believer in Christ, he will be sure to endeavour to live so as to please that Saviour who loved him and gave Himself for him, yet he need not be overcome with disquietude, he need not fear the power, or strength, or cunning of his foes, for God is for him, and, therefore, he shall come off "more than conqueror, through Him that loved him."

The next vision is, a Prospect of Glory-an alluring prospect—“the palace of the great King”-a prospect opened by the power of faith to a believer's eye. He looks forward, across the scenes of time and sense, beyond the horizon of earth, and through the vista of coming years beholds that “land which is very far off," and has a glimpse of “the King in his beauty." How alluring is that prospect! how animating the thought of heaven! how inviting the description given in God's Word of that place where Christ dwelleth! But “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by storm.” It is not an easy thing to get to that happy world. It is reached through conflict. Through much opposition we have to cut our way, if we would reach the

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heaven above. Many foes beset the pilgrim's path ; armed men are standing by, and thronging, as it were, about the entrance to heaven, in order that the believer may

not be able to enter there; and it needs much of a holy determination, inuch of a heavenly inspired courage, for the believer to be able to say, "Set down my name, Sir,”—to enrol his name amongst those who have resolved to enter heaven, even though they take it by storm. Alas! there are many standing by, who are deterred by the dangers which they see before them, who are afraid of the armed men that oppose their entrance, and they stand, fearful and trembling, and not daring to struggle, even though a prize, a glorious prize, is in view. Let us bring this home to ourselves.

Are we among those who have said, “Set down my name, Sir”? Have we taken to ourselves “the armour of light,” and with “the sword of the Spirit” in our hands are we determined, whatever the dangers, and the difficulties, and the peril, to cut for ourselves a way through the hosts that oppose us, and reach heaven, taking it by spiritual storm? Or are there some of us, who are Christians only in name, -Christians only in wish—Christians only in a kind of trembling hope—but not Christians in earnest, not Christians daring anything to reach heaven, not Christians determining, although dangers, appalling dangers, are in prospect, to hazard everything in the desire to win Christ? Alas! heaven may be lost because the soul is so cowardly, and eternal glory may not suffice to animate to heavenly daring, because flesh, and sinfulness, and fear of man are striving to keep back the soul from this spiritual enterprise. God give grace any

of us who feel that we are amongst those that fear, to throw aside this cowardice, and to press forward with strength and vigour, that we may stand like men, and be strong, and sacrifice everything, even if it be life itself, so that we may win Christ and reach heaven.


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a gloomy prisoner, in the iron cage of Despair ? Through want of watchfulness—because he did not always look about him because he was heedlessbecause he gave himself up to spiritual slumber-because his conscience was not sufficiently alive, or swake-and so, through spiritual carelessness, he allowed the enemy to gain an advantage over him. Or on account of self-pleasing, because he had laid the reins on the neck of his lusts, and had allowed those lusts, like fiery coursers, to lead bim whither they would-because he had gone back to the world again--because he had allowed self to grow into its former vigour-because he had sought those things which are “ earthly, sensual, devilish." And also because he had sinned against light and against knowledge— because he had done those things which he knew to be transgressions of God's law, and had done them because sin, the love of sin, had come back so fearfully into his mind.

It is to these sources that we trace backsliding. It is these things that make a dungeon of man's spirit, and immure even a child of God within the prison-walls of dark despair.

Are there any hopes of such a man escaping from that cage? We dare not limit God. We dare not fix a boundary to the operations of his love and to the extension of his mercy ; but there are many cases in which men would say, the despair is so dark and intense in its gloom, so fearful in its horror, that

it seems to us incurable ; and many a soul thus shut up in the iron cage has said, “ Alas! there is no hope for me—there is no mercy for me; I have sinned too deeply, too aggravatedly; Christ cannot reach me; His salvation was never meant for such an apostate

Alas! I am without hope.”
So has many a soul reasoned. We


that it has not reasoned so scripturally. We say that there is a place for repentance here. We say that so long as

as I am.

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