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238 THE LORD, THE GUIDE OF HIS PEOPLE.
this the day of your merciful visitation, the things that belong to your peace, lest they be for ever hid from your eyes. Study with attention the plan of salvation as revealed in the word of God. Wait upon
his ordinances with diligence and reverence, in the faith of his
presence, and in the expectation of his blessing to render them effectual.
May the Almighty Spirit of all grace open your eyes, rouse you from your fatal slumbers, and guide your feet into the
ways of peace, before the shades of eternal night surround you. May one and all of
us, like the Psalmist, see and feel his own personal interest in the blessings which belong to God's people, and be enabled to assert, with holy confidence, and triumphant joy, “ Thou shalt guide
me with thy counsel, and afterward re“ ceive me to glory.”— Amen.
Hope has always been considered as one of the great principles of human action, and the great cordial of human
It is, however, peculiar to the present state ; for in the future world to which we are hastening, the faith of the righteous shall be swallowed up in vision, and their hope in enjoyment. But in this vale of misery and tears, hope is necessary to every candidate for immortality; nay, so necessary is it, that we are even said to be “ saved by hope.” Without those animating feelings hope
inspires, and delightful prospects she opens, human life would be a dull and miserable blank. There is no scene of affliction - sọ deep, no cloud so dark as to be impenetrable to her cheering beams. She supports the soldier under the fatigues and dangers of the campaign ; the mariner, amidst the raging billows of a stormy sea; the prisoner, under the weight of his chains; the labourer, in his toils ; and the poor man
amidst the hardships of poverty and nei glect. And she opens to the view of
the Christian the gates of heaven, and
that glory which is yet to “ be revealed. And not only so, but we “ glory also in tribulation, knowing that 6 tribulation worketh patience, and pa66 tience experience,” or an approving knowledge of ourselves, and this 6
expe“ rience worketh hope.”
This hope, then, implies in it the two following things :
I. That in due time we shall obtain deliverance from the tribulations under which we at present labour.
II. That they shall be the means of working out for us a glorious immortality.
An illustration of these two particulars, with a practical improvement of the subject, is all which, under the divine blessing, is in this discourse proposed.
I. Experience worketh in us a hope, that in due time we shall obtain deliverance from the tribulations under which we at present labour.
That man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, is the declaration of an inspired writer, and a truth confirmed by daily experience and observation, The righteous and the wicked are alike subjected to the common calamities of life. Nay, the one, from a faithful adherence to duty, is exposed to numberless trials from which the other is exempted. But though this is allowed to be the case, yet there is an essential difference in the principles from which their support is derived. To the ungodly man, calamities wear a gloomy aspect. To him they are real evils, without any mixture of good. He acknowledges not the hand of a merciful Father in sending them, and he sees no benefit of which they can be productive to his soul. Feeling, therefore, all the evil and pain of suffering, he either sinks into gloom and despondency, or becomes fretful and impatient. He murmurs against God, and blames the conduct of his providence. His afflictions, unsanctified, instead of working patience, experience, hope, and training up the soul unto a meetness for glory, sink him deeper into guilt, estrange him more from God, render him more unlike to him, and more unfit for his presence and society.
Widely different, my brethren, are the effects of affliction upon the mind and character of the real Christian. In him it is an evidence of the parental love of his heavenly Father. 6. For whom the 66 Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scour
geth every son whom he receiveth.” To his soul it is a medicine, nauseous indeed, and unpalatable at the time, but