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less changes and vicissitudes from glory to glory; where is no impediment, no incapacity, no limitation set to the ever-during blessedness; where God is seen, not as by the manifestations of time; and Christ himself
appears in glory, the object of worship, admiration, and love unspeakable: in fine, when the promise of being for ever with the Lord reaches the heart, it draws us to break through hinderances, and the detention of things seen, to follow Christ to the land that is far off, that we may see the King in his beauty, and be for ever with the Lord--an object worthy of the most intense perseverance of pursuit.
The influence of promised glory is so great, that we have known its power overcome the most formidable resistance, and draw the soul through obstacles the most difficult to surmount ; as has often been exhibited in past ages, and especially in the evil day of persecution. We have read an instance that may illustrate this remark. A martyr going forth to seal his testimony with his blood, exhibited such serenity, and even joy, in his aspect, that one of those employed to torment him, expressed . his wonder, and asked, what he expected after death, seeing he went so cheerfully to die?
“ Eye hath not seen,” said he, “nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart to conceive the things prepared for them that love God.” The inquirer, having perhaps known, though he had resisted the truth before, now fell under the power of conviction. The promise of glory beyond this life, made him overlook the brief scene of a cruel death ; and confessing himself a Christian, he became a fellow-sufferer in the flames ! Let but a promise of glory reach the heart, and whom will it not move ? “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” drew a penitent malefactor through his sufferings of crucifixion with power.
And what drew the patriarchs of old ? It was the promises; for being persuaded of them, they embraced them by faith, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth ; and that here the great business of man is to seek a better country. Heb. xi. 13.
We might refer to other means of drawing, besides those which we have mentioned; but the subject, we fear, would grow into a tediousness of detail. We shall only add, that whatever we see of Christ in the world, in the ordinances, or in providential kindness, draws us after him. There are
drawing ordinances, and drawing providences. There is much in common means of grace, but especially in sacramental means, to draw. When one can say, “ The King hath brought me into his chambers: I sat down under his shadow with great delight; and his fruit was sweet to my taste : he brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love;" such seasons of privilege give a new impulse to the believer, and we know that he has then received drawing grace.
We behold his strength renewed; for, lo! he runs after Christ. By a like proof, we know that there is drawing grace given out, and ministered to believers, in their communion together
in the fellowship of duty-in the house of God, and at the throne of gracein reading the word alone, and in secret prayer. For on coming from duties like these, we perceive them with great acceleration, addressing themselves to run after Christ in the way of God's commandments. But we forbear further enumeration of means; closing our subject with two remarks, the one for exhortation, the other for instruction, as to the true character and object of the present life.
1. If convinced of your need of drawing power, (and surely none of us are so proud and so presumptuous in the confidence of self-sufficiency, as to deem our own resources adequate for the arduous course of a life wholly devoted to the pursuits of salvation,) then apply for it in faithful prayer, and seek it in all the ways, and by all the means which we have pointed out. Christ draws us by moral means, and not by mechanism or blind force. Be much, then, in the use of those means,—in the contemplation of Christ in his generous love and sufferings unto death for sinful men,in his exaltation and glory,—and in his exhibited grace and promises of heavenly rest to all that run the way of faith. When your strength fails, and you think you can run no farther, a sense of the love of Christ will put new energy into the heart; a manifestation of his glory will rekindle in the most languid soul a fervour of lively emotion; and a promise of Christ,a promise of more grace, or of future glory, received by faith, or a waiting upon the Lord in appointed means,—will invigorate our resolutions, re-assure our minds, and draw us forward with cords of hope that will not give way, though sorely tried. Oh!
make use of means, and plead that means may be made effectual, through the grace of Christ, and the power of his Spirit; for though means are morally fitted to move us, being weak through the flesh, we need more than means and motives to insure our progress; we need power. A diversity of means are employed ; and men are drawn, some by one class of means, and some by a different, and different means are applied to the same individual at different times; but though means vary, it is the same power that worketh in all.
2. Finally, Learn that there is nothing satisfying in any state or measure of attainment on this side the grave! It is all a running after Christ, who will not have his followers to rest, till the race of life is run ! To run after him, was the exercise of yesterday; to this we are called to-day; the same will be our exercise of life to-morrow, and next-day, even till our change come. We do not go to sacraments, nor seek manifestations, nor pray to be assured of interest in the love of God our Saviour, that, having realized these things, we may leave off exertion, and say to our souls, “Soul, take thine ease, now thou art safe; thou hast already run far, and gained much pro