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“Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Again, as to those who, newly made sensible of their bondage, cry for the liberty and the joy of the ransomed of the Lord, and yet find no way of freedom, let them, too, pray and hope. The Lord waits to be gracious,and never did he put the earnest desire and love of salvation into a sinner's heart, without a purpose to save.
to save. We have known many, and we have heard of more, who prayed and wrestled long ere the time of deliverance came; but of none have we heard that sought the Lord in persevering prayer, who did not happily find salvation in the end. Let this view encourage to persevering prayer and believing expectation, every soul that now longs for the knowledge of salvation. Remember the conclusion to which the Prophet came, after all his cries, and perhaps somewhat impatient shouts," It is good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
In offering counsel, however, in a case like this, we confess ourselves often involved in perplexity, owing to the want of like examples in the New Testament; for it will strike the attentive reader of that portion of the word of God, that after the ascension of Jesus Christ, he seldom meets with instances of persons expressing a great willingness to believe the Gospel of salvation, and yet complaining of their inability to believe it. We find the Gospel was preached, and a call for faith made on all the world; and we see men believing or rejecting the testimony of God concerning the Lord Jesus, with a certain decision that left no place for a condition of suspense. And while we direct those who are under a serious concern about salvation, to prayer and expectation, we call them to another exercise, and that is, direct and immediate faith. “ Art thou He that should come," said John's messengers to Jesus ; " or do we look for another ?” A similar question we put to the persons in view :-Is Christ the Saviour come, or do ye look for another, to die for your offences, and rise again for your justification ? If not, wherefore not believe in him for your soul's salvation ? wherefore
should ye not, believing, rejoice in Him as all your salvation and desire ?
We are often troubled to see sinners awakened, as we think; but their eyes are not on Jesus, nor will they look unto him that they may be saved. “But he is hid from our eyes,” they tell us, “and we cannot perceive him.” Now, we might remark, that to believe the testimony of Christ, and to enjoy manifestations of Christ, are different things. Ought not a convinced sinner, without a moment's delay, to embrace the faithful saying worthy of all acceptation, 66 that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ?" And when he reads the recorded testimony of God, that “whosoever believeth shall be saved ;" why should he not receive the testimony with personal application, and begun reliance, and comfortable hope, and immediately begin to frame his life by Gospel rules, trusting a reconciled God in Christ for the fruits of the Spirit-love, joy, peace-in due season ? Perhaps we hardly allow to faith its appropriate place, or we mar its Scriptural simplicity, in confounding it with its effects, which greatly hinders our proficiency and our peace. If any, however, receive no comfort from the testimony, there
is, no doubt, a deficiency of the work of the Spirit in their hearts, with respect to manifestation and power; and for these let them continue to plead, until it please God to reveal his Son in them, and until He who first commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shall shine into their hearts, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, with a demonstration that shall satisfy their souls. Let them draw near to God by Jesus Christ, asking that they may see his kindness and his love with a greater assurance, and that of his mercy he would save them, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, shed on them abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, and made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, they may have peace and sanctification. And to encourage patient prayer, we repeat, that he who is sincerely suppliant for such blessings of the Holy Spirit, cannot fail in due time of seeing the salvation of our God. How can it be otherwise, when these are the very blessings which God commands us to seek, and which he holds out to the ac- : ceptance of all, in the preaching of the everlasting Gospel ?
In the matter of prayer, in general, we have greater freedom to pray in hope, than had Jeremiah or the ancients. To them, an Advocate at the right hand of God was un, revealed. If they had views of a Mediator, a Mercy-seat, and a great High-priest, that ever liveth to make intercession for us ; their views were indistinct, and through a typical medium that faintly revealed the substance and the grace. The intercession of Jesus was, we doubt not, engaged for his people from the beginning; but they knew it not, nor could take the full encouragement from it in coming unto God by prayer.
Seeing, then, that we have a great Highpriest, let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” For his sake, if we believe in him, when we cry and shout, the Father will not shut out our prayers. Though not directly answered, we will trust in Him. If denied, goodness dictates the denial. If we do not ask amiss, we know that we shall receive. « For this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." And if we would have prayer answered, let us pray for things pertaining to the divine glory, for spiritual