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GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD.
cheek fade. Even the sparkling wit, as well as the sparkling eye, please but for a moment. But the virtuous mind has charms, which survive the decay of every inferior embellishment; charms which add to the fragrancy of the flower, the permanency of the ever-green.
Such, likewise, is the happiness of the sincerely religious; like a tree, says the inspired moralist, “whose leaf shall not fall.” He borrows not his peace from external circumstances, but has a fund within, and is “satisfied from himself.” Even though impoverished by calamitous accidents, he is rich in the possession of grace, and richer in the hope of glory. His joys are infinitely superior to, as well as nobly independent on, the transitory glow of sensual delight, or the capricious favours of what the world calls fortune.
“God resisteth the Proud."
Those who, in the pride of their hearts, are insensible of their apostate state, God regards as rebels, has no favour for them as such. While, in their own account, they are some great thing, and fancy they can produce sufficient proofs of their being so; in God's account they are rebels, blind, guilty, impotent apostates ; too wise to be taught, too good to be forgiven, too strong to be succoured. The Fall made them rebels, delusive pride keeps them in rebellion ; and, with all the specious show they make, God observes they have not submitted, neither returned unto their allegiance, nor owned their departure from it. He, the Searcher of Hearts, sees them, safely wrapt up as they are in their own conceits, standing out in present actual rebellion : He sees, that they are this day usurpers of His throne in self-government; arrogant despoilers of His glory in the account and use they make of His gifts; seekers of
worldly honours, or praise, or ease, or interest in the whole bent of their spirits, as having all their prospects of security and enjoyment shut up within visible things; hypocritical dissemblers with Him at least, being without all truth and honesty in the services they pretend to pay Him; lovers of sin, and haters of God, in the very bottom of their hearts; remorselessly insensible to any godly sorrow for whatever sin they have committed against His majesty and glory; stubbornly disregarding His judgments threatened against sin, or insolently disputing the justice of them; untouched by His patience, displeased at His providential distributions, wishing there was no God; in reality, living without God in the world : and all this, notwithstanding the appearances they may many of them have of religion. In a word, God sees them lying in a state of natural apostasy; in His account they are actual rebels in arms, as such He regards and treats them. They remain under the forfeiture made in Adam, of all Divine favour and blessings. God is against them: His wrath is upon them. The fear of death galls them. They have not grace to enjoy anything they have with true comfort: but, through want of grace, they turn all their possessions into curses. However they may flourish, they are never really blessed in their temporal concerns; and in those that are spiritual, God is evidently their enemy. He leaves them in blindness, hardness, and impenitency of heart; they lie asleep in the lap of security; they are torn in pieces by the rage of ungoverned passions and appetites, anxious covetousness, desponding envy, furious resentment, impatient ambition, insatiate inclination; they live to no better purpose, than, by adding sin unto sin, to prepare for themselves accumulated damnation. Every way the displeasure of an unreconciled resisting God is manifest towards them. Their offerings are an abomination; their prayers do not enter heaven; their liberalities are not accepted: They do these in the pride of an apostate heart; wherefore God is against them: They do
GOD GIVETH GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
but “sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (Hos. viii. 7). This, and whatever beside is included under the terms wrath and indignation, is comprehended in God's resisting the proud.
The humble are as much, on the other part, objects of God's compassion and love. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah lxvi. 2). Poverty of spirit is the qualification for the kingdom of heaven. And no sooner does any one of us, God's prodigal children, come to himself, but mercy comes to meet him. It is not through want of mercy in God, but through our pride, that any difference subsists between Him and us: do we humble ourselves? He lays aside His displeasure. Let the whole Scripture bear witness, if there is not forgiveness with God; and a multitude of passages in it, if that forgiveness does not belong to the humble ; forgiveness, with all the delightful blessings that accompany it.
“God giveth grace to the humble ;” evangelical favour in its whole extent is theirs. To the apostate sinner, that lies in deep abasement of spirit, smitten with a sense of his guilt, acknowledging his desert of every judgment, hopeless in himself and helpless, hardly presuming to ask the mercy without which he is for ever undone, God giveth grace; grace in all its largeness, comprehending pardon, reconciliation, adoption, sanctification, and an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. There is not a greater distance between God and the proud, than there is intimate union between Him and the humble. If God be not determined to cast off apostate man without remedy, which we are assured He is not; and if yet He cannot receive us continuing obstinate; He will certainly do so when we confess our sin, and are willing to submit. There is grace provided for fallen man, which, if it cannot be conferred on some, because they do not believe they want it, it will be granted to those that have found they do, if any use is to be made of it at all.
False Security, and Peace in Believing. Physician.—Now, sir, hear what your own peace is. You feel no distress of mind, but are mighty easy; and your calm, which is a dead calm, ariseth from your character, though a sinful character at best. Your peace brings no heavenly joy, and so comes not from heaven ; neither does it flow entirely through the golden conduit of the Saviour's merit, but drippeth from a rotten wooden pipe of your own duties. it seems, a cheerful, harmless creature, like a robin-redbreast, who is much respected everywhere ; and you frequent the church, as many a pious mouse will, yet does not like her quarters : prayer-books are dry champing; a pantry suits her better. And you see many who are worse than yourself abundantly, which makes you hope your state is good ; and while outward things go smooth, your calm continues. But when calamities come on, and thicken as they come, your peace is gone; it cannot stand a tempest. And when your soul is hovering on a sickbed for its flight, it will either feel a dead security, or take a frightful leap into another world. Unless you are supported by divine faith, you cannot sing the Christian's dying song, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Now, sir, we proceed to another point of faith, and a choice one too, very savoury and nourishing to a true believer. St
*“If among many striking, Berridge says some strange things; if always original, he is occasionally odd; if in this book there are a few instances of the picturesque approaching the grotesque, the reader will readily excuse these for the sake of the noble piety with which the book is pervaded, the golden truths that lie imbedded in its pages, and a style and manner preeminently calculated to rouse the dullest attention, and break through that indifference with which familiarity encrusts the most solemn and momentous subjects.”—The Christian World Unmasked, &c. With Life of the Author, by the Rev. T. Guthrie. 1853. P. 18.
THE FARMER AND PHYSICIAN.
Peter tells us, that “faith purifies the heart” (Acts xv. 9); and St John affirms, “ This is the victory, whereby we overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John v. 4); and he tells us what he means by the world, even “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life" (1 John ii. 16).
Come, sir, bring your face to the gospel-glass, and handle this point well, like an old grazier. Does your faith overcome the “lust of the flesh ;" making you victorious over your palate, and over outward pollution, and inward uncleanness? Does
your faith overcome the “lust of the eye,” and keep your heart from gasping after more wealth, more preferment, or more honours ? “ Having food and raiment, have you learnt therewith to be content ?” (1 Tim. vi. 8).
Does your faith overcome the “pride of life,” and prevent your being charmed with a lofty house, rich furniture, genteel equipage, and splendid raiment ? Does it make you sick of carthly vanities, and draw your heart to things above ?
Speak, sir, and speak honestly. If you are a slave to these matters, and a quiet slave, you may keep your faith ; Satan will not steal it from you. His own sooty cap is full as good as your rusty bonnet.
The devils do believe, and tremble, but are devils still.
One point more, sir, and we have done. Faith is not only intended to pacify the conscience, and purify the heart, but also to rescue the mind from earthly troubles. Our passage through life is attended with storms; we sail upon a boisterous sea, where many tempests are felt, and many are feared, which look black, and bode mischief, but pass over. Now, faith is designed for an anchor, to keep the mind steady, and give it rest; even as Isaiah saith, “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee” (Isa. xxvi. 3).
Precious promises, suited to our wants, are scattered through the Bible; and divine faith will feed upon the promises, look