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glory?" Her eldest son coming to see her, he said, “ You seem, mother, to be pretty comfortable in your mind." She replied, “ O yes ; I have a true, a sure, a well-grounded hope of a blessed immortality. I trust I am going safe to my heavenly kingdom, to enjoy an eternal rest.” She then took him by the hand, expressed her great affection for him and his faBaly, and prayed most tenderly for him. She then lay for some time in a doze, during which her eldest daughter had, come into the room ; when she awoke, she addressed herself to her with much affection, and prayed for her also. A pesson present asked her, if she was called by grace when she was young? She replied, “ When very young; and the Lord went on doing great things for me---great things! Wait ou the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart.” After a time, she exclaimed, in a kind of transport, " let me spring forward with joy into thy arms !---a worthless worm whom thou hast chosen from everlasting---a covenant frm, which thou hast given to all thy faithful followersa-to him that overcometh---he that endureth to the end shall be saved---faithful is he who hath promised---I shall now be for ever delivered from the wiles and stratagems of my grand enemy!" About nine or ten o'clock the same evening, a dear Christian friend coming to bid her farewel, he said, « We shall soon meet again.” She replied, "0, very soon!---glory, hohour, and immortality !” We could understand no more. Her eldest grandson entering the room with an anodyne draught, which she desired to take, she took him by the hand, and prayed sweetly for him ; but being much exhausted, and in extreme pain in her side and bowels, which had scarcely any intermission for the last four days, she took the draught, and lay composed till between one and two in the morning, when she sweetly slept in Jesus.
AN EARNEST PERSUASIVE
TO THE DUTY OF SPIRITUAL-MINDEDNESS. A
VERY considerable part of the power of religion has
always been understood to reside in the affections. Such is the constitution of our nature, that we must act from motives within ourselves. If the feelings of the mind are carnal, so is the whole pursuit in life. Out of the heart are the va. rious issues sent forth into action. To give the mind a bent for God, and to spiritualize its various powers, is the work of efficacious grace. Natural men savour not the things of
A PERSUASIVE TO SPIRITUAL-MINDEDNES S. heaven. How often the genuine sentiments of the heaven. born souls are expressed in their tendency towards God. “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee. Lord, lift up upon me the light of thy countenance." The strongest affections among men cannot be more fervently expressed, nor more powerfully felt, than these desires of the mind, in a regenerate soal, are to God. “My soul followeth hard after thee. I long for God, even the living God, when, when shall I come before him."
To set our affections on things above is the command of God. He is jealous of any rivalship here. He demands our hearts, and he will accept of nothing less. When one of the kings of England ordered that his subjects should attend Protestant places of worship, the Catholics sent to Rome, to know the pleasure of the Pope. His Holiness sent for answer, « Let the people of England give me their hearts, and the King may take all the rest." This is the reason why idolatry is so strictly forbidden; because whatever gains an undue place in the mind, diverts the soul from God. To have the mind in a suitable frame towards religion, is a very hard thing indeed. We have still within us a carnal part, ever active in drawing us back. The things with which we are daily conversant are worldly, and have a very powerful tendency to divert our minds. If, therefore, we would maintain that warmth of affection which belongs to the Christian character, and renders the duties of it pleasing to God, and profitable to ourselves---that warmth which good men have formerly had, and which we ourselves have ex. perienced; we must be much in duty with God, and very careful over ourselves. The means of grace, meditation, and prayer, enkindle this fame in the soul. “ While I was musing, the fire kindled." “ Did not our hearts burn witbin us while he opened to us the Scriptures.” To set the affections on things above requires us to recal them frequently from things below. In the very same breach the Apostle adds a negative idea to the positive. As the world in its riches, honours, or pleasures, gains the ascendancy, the things of God lose ground in the mind. We cannot serve two masters whose interests are direcily opposite. If ye seek me,” says Christ, “ let these go their way." Do we not find it necessary to exert ourselves in this duty repeatedly?. The Christian man'in the morning endeavours to begin with God: Then he directs his prayer to him, and
In the exercise his heart is.enlarged, and he VOL. IV.
resolves to keep the holy fire burning all the day. Yet, alas! in the evening, he has to bewail the encroachments made by the world, and the declension of his spiritual vigour. But though he is hindered in his aims, and sadly interrupted in his feelings, he still pursues the same course. He knows there is nothing done without labour, and therefore he doubles his diligence. In every duty he makes an offer of his best feel. ings to God, and earnestly prays for help to raise his soul above. To set our affections on things above is to be a cortinued act. When we set out in the divine life at first, we had perhaps much feeling, and but little judgment; our hearts were enlarged, and our cups ready to run over. The joy of the Lord was our strength. Then we spent our days in singleness of heart and devotion. This was the kindness of our youth, and the love of our espousals, when Israel was holiness to the Lord. But where is the blessedness you once spake of? Have not“ restless sin, and raging hell, struck many of our comforts dead ?" The love of many, alas! is grown cold. We now contend for orthodoxy and preference in modes of worship, and lose much of our ancient simplicity and fervency of spirit. Christian, beware of spiritual decays. If the vigour of thy soul is exhausted, thy formal services will be of little avail. Thou mayest have a name to live, and yet be dead. A gift of prayer will not prevail without the spirit. God abhors the sacrifice where the heart is not engaged. It is not enough that thy affections were lively formerly; what are they now? It is he who continues to the end that shall be saved. Does God now find thy works perfect; or, as the word might be rendered, full ? Are they full of spirit, of energy, and the fear of God? Is the breath of heaven breathed into them? Are thy last works more and better than thy first? As thou comest nearer to heaven, dost thou imbibe more of the spirit of it? Dost thou breathe the air of it, and anticipate its joys here upon earth? Why have we heavenly ordinances and oracles? Why have we a description of it? and why are some of its rarities exposed to our view? Is it not that our minds may be more occupied in the contemplation of it, and that we may have more desires for its full possession? If thou art a Christian man, it is not long before thou shalt be in heaven. Thy heart, thy treasure, thy hopes, and wishes, are there already. Set thy affections, then, more fully upon it. Art thou not heaven-born And didst thou ever know a man in a foreign country destitute of love to his native · land? Thou art already risen with Christ, who now sitteth at the right hand of God. Canst thou then be content to live
immured in the world ? Did he rise in thy name, and as thy representative and canst thou prostitute thine affections to his rivals ? By virtue of his grace thou art become dead to the world, to sin, and to the flesh; as therefore the love of a dead man perishes to things in which he was formerly engaged, and he has nothing more to do with them; and as his feelings are placed upon new objects in another sphere; so reckon thou thyself to be alive unto God only: And set thy affections on things above. If thine affections are not set upon divine things, thou wilt not be'at much pains about them ; but if they are loved supremely, they will be sought first, as Christ
It is the unhappiness of many to place their affections on persons and things unworthy of them, and from which they can have no suitable return. How often are our attachments to things in life the source of inexpressible calamities ? But there is no danger here; heavenly things are worthy of your highest esteem. If any man love these, they shall comfort him in trouble, and enrich his soul. In these objects he shall suffer no disappointment while he lives, and after his death he shall fully possess to all eternity what he here so highly esteemed.
OBSERVATIONS AND REFLECTIONS
ON THE CURE OF NAAMAN'S LEPROSY. ALL the riches and honours of time, though coveted with
impatience, and pursued with avidity, are embittered with anxiety, vexation, and sorrow. A Mordecai in the gate, a thorn in the flesh, some real, or imaginary evil, will constantly pursue the votaries of the world, either to cut off their hopes, or to blast their enjoyments. Naaman was a great and an honourable man, high in the favour of his prince, and, from the glory of his exploits, the admiration and praise of the people; but he was afflicted with a fearful disease--- he was a leper, defiled, and loathsome in body, as he could be on this side the grave.
The a Miction of this Syrian General, and the first circumstance of his cure, lead us to observe how often the merciful purposes of Providence are accomplished by the most impro. bable means, and what blessings the true seed of Israel are, wherever their lot 16. cast. By the instrumentality of a little captive maid the steps of Naaman are directed to the house of Elisha; he came in all the pomp of his exalted sta. tion, and waited at his door in the posture of a supplicant. Qq2
This was great condescension ! But thus we have frequently seen men, who, in the vigour of health, and the heighth of happiness, despised or neglected the messengers of the Lord, forced to honour their superior wisdom in the day of distress.
The manner in which Elisha treated the application of Naaman shews, us that the pablic servants of heaven reflect a peculiar lustre on their character, not only when they possess themselves against the fear of persecution, but when they riše superior to the temptations of vanity. The great man at the door of the prophet creates no. bustle in the house ; his visit receives no attention but such as the immediate course of it requires; for it was not a visit of friendship, but of necessity; and as the man of God might have suffered in his office from the pride of the Syrian in time past, he acts according to his present humbling condition, and sends his alms by a servant: Not to gratity a wicked passion in himself, but to improve a favourable season of mortifying one in Naaman.
The way of deliverance pointed out in the divine writings for the afflicted is always plain, easy, and sure---Go, wasb in Jordan, und tbou sbalt be cloan. But the simplicity of the prescription excites the rage of the patient, and makes him demand, in scornfui exultation, au acknowledgment of the preeminent excellence of Abana and Pharpar, sivers of Damascus. Nevertheless in Jordan was the discriminating glory of the Lord; twice the waters thereof were miracu-lously divided, once under Josua, and once under Elijah; and from these waters the salvation of Naaman must flow exclusively, after all his haughtiness and rage. The means which God hath appointed, his blessing will render efficacious; and we shalı one day be convinced that there is no virtue in any other which we have preferred, and of which we have presumptuously boasted.
Such is the depravity of our nature, so infatuated are we by tbe tbings which are seen, and so enslaved by our passions, that those truths which are of the first consequence to our happiness, are generally the last objects of our attention; and even tben we are forced 10 submission by the extreme necessity to which we are reduced. When, like the woman with the bloody issue, by long continued applications to physicians of no value, we have added poverty to disease, and are driven by our fully to a hapless distance from the attainment of our desires, then we look to him whose patience we abused, whose compassion we had forfeited ; and find lasm as willing as he is able to make us wbole. From this happy period, we