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They connect him with their comforts, and this sweetens them. And thus life becomes a continued walking with him towards that world in which "God is all in all."

David reviews his former agency-The Lord delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear. This happened when he kept his father's sheep. Each of these fierce and dreadful creatures took a lamb out of the flock. And he went after them. The peril was most imminent. When he forced them to drop the prey they rose against him; but he caught them by the beard and smote them and slew them. He well therefore speaks of their paw, for it was actually upon him! This it will be allowed was a deliverance little less than miraculous. We have nothing perhaps so extraordinary to review, yet we have had our deliverances, and some of them remarkable, at least to ourselves, if not to others. We have had our bears and lions; but we have not been given over a prey to their teeth. We have had spiritual deliverances. We have been saved from the curse of the law; from the power of Satan; from the tyranny of the world; from the dominion of sin. We have had temporal deliverances. Some of these have been visible, but many more have been invisible; and it is owing to our having obtained help of God, that our lives, and families, and substance, and all our outward estate, have been preserved. And if at any time our comforts have been invaded and injured, it has been for a moral benefit; and he has enabled us to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted."

David hopes for his future agency—“He will deliver me from this Philistine." For after the beasts of prey, here is another, and more formidable foe. We must always rejoice with trembling; and never boast ourselves of to-morrow, for we know not what a day may bring forth. Because some storms have expended themselves, we must not reckon upon perpetual sunshine; the clouds return after the rain. When we have slain the lion and the bear, we may be called to encounter Goliath-Well-and we may meet him undisınayed if the Lord be with us. He who has delivered will i deliver. And like David

We should draw confidence from reflection. We have not only his promise to encourage us, but our experience; and because he has been our help, therefore under the shadow of his wing should we rejoice. We cannot certainly infer what men will be from what they have been, or what they will do from what they have done. They are variable; but the Lord changeth not. They may become unable, if their intentions are the same; but in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Neither should a sense of our unworthiness weaken our expectation from him: we were unworthy when he first took knowledge of us; and he deals with us not according to our desert, but his own mercy and grace.

Wherefore let us observe the loving-kindnesses of the Lord, and treasure them up in our minds. We know not what occasions we may have for the use of them. But in every tendency to depression, let us not yield to our infirmity, but remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.

APRIL 28.-"So that I might finish my course with joy."—Acts xx. 24.

DOES this imply any apprehension as to the event? It is no more than he enjoins upon others: "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." It certainly expresses great desire and great anxiousness. He deemed nothing too much to do or to suffer for such a privilege.

But how is it to be understood? We may take two views of it. We may consider the Christian as unishing his course with joy to others, and with joy to himself. The latter is principally intended. But did you ever stand by the side of a dying bed, and when your connexion was suffering severely, and all hope of recovery was taken away, have you not been glad when the struggle was over? Yes. You rose above selfishness; and could say, "Our loss is his gain. Shall we weep at his deliverance from sorrow, temptation, and sin? and his entering into the joy of his Lord? If we loved him we should rejoice, because he said, I go unto the Father."

And when he finished well, have you not hailed him on another account? "Well, thy sun is gone down without a cloud. I feared for thee, but the danger is now over. Thou hast had to go through a defiling world, but thou hast kept thy garments clean. Thou hast had fears within and fightings without, but thy heart has not turned back, neither have thy steps declined from his way. We crown thee now. Servant of God, well done."

But when the Christian finishes his course with joy, it mainly refers to himself, and regards his dying experience. There is a great difference in the departure of believers. Some reach heaven, so to speak, in a kind of wrecked state; they get safe to land, but on planks and broken pieces of the ship. Others, in full sail, enter the desired haven; and have, as the Apostle Peter calls it, "an abundant entrance into the kingdom of their Lord and Saviour." Some die perplexed with doubts and depressed with fears; others have the full assurance of hope: they are joyful in glory, and shout aloud upon their beds; and their dying chamber is none other than the house of God,, and the gate of heaven. "With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King's palace." This joy does not depend upon outward things; for in common God's poor and afflicted people have the greatest degrees of it. Neither is it according to previous confidence, for many who have been all their 'ifetime subject to bondage through fear of death, have been filled at last with all joy and peace in believing. Now we lay no stress upon the want of this dying confilence and comfort, as an evidence against the safety of a man, when his life has been godly and consistent; for we know not how far it may be the effect of temperament or disease. Yet it is very desirable to enjoy it. We shall need all the comfort we can get when heart and flesh fail us, and friends can afford us no assistance, and the enemy of souls may be peculiarly busy, knowing that his time is short. It is also very useful. It has often impressed the careless, confirmed the doubting, and encouraged the timid. And how has it glorified God by showing the power of his grace, and recommending his service! Except for this, a Christian would desire a sud

den death, and escape "the pains, and groans, and dying strife;" but he is more than reconciled to bear them, if Christ is thus magnified in his body by death, as well as by life.

But this finishing his course with joy takes in the issue as well as the conclusion. I it ends with heaven, it ends well, whatever be the experience immediately preceding. If the Christian were to leave this world in darkness and uncertainty, that darkness would be instan ly dispelled, and all would be quietness and assurance for ever. Thus even Cowper finished his course with joy, for the gloom vanished in glory-and how ecstatic must have been the surprise of his blessed spirit, to feel itself in the possession of a boon it had long despaired to find!

All who have gone before us at death finished their course; but many finished it with joy. How will you finish yours? The Lord has appointed us bounds which we cannot pass. We have an allotted course of service and suffering; and the end is sure-and the end is nigh. Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. He shall enter into rest; and be forever with the Lord. But how will you end? will you be defeated or crowned? will you be clothed with shame, or shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father? O let it be your prayer and care to realize this final blessedness: and endeavour to judge of every thing Dow as it will affect you at last.

Even a Balaam could admire the tents of Jacob and the tabernacles of Israel; and was compelled to exclaim, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." Yet he died fighting against the people he had blessed and envied. Such a difference is there between conviction and practice; and so absurd is it to look for the end without the way.

Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. But if you die out of him, unpardoned and unrenewed, you must finish your course with grief.-Grief to others; to ministers, to Christians, to godly friends and relations.-Grief to yourselves. The sorrows of life may be diverted by company, by amusements, by the hurry of business. A man may drink and forget his sorrow, and remember his misery no more. But your drinking days will be then over, and you will be near a state where you will call in vain for a drip of water to cool your tongue. Your associates will then forsake you or be found miserable comforters. If they are cruel enough to jest about religion then, you will not be able to relish it, while fearing that all may be true which you have treated as false. Nature will have then closed the doors against every worldly diversion. You can no more attend the play-house and the race-ground. All that before was vanity will now be vexation of spirit. Riches profit not in the day of wrath. What is a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a mau give in exchange for his soul? But should you have no time for reflection; or be incapable of exercising reason; or conscience be unawakened: should you through the power of delusion have no bands in your death and your strength be firm: should you fall asleep like a lamb, you will awake with the devil and his angels. There is no peace, saith my God, unto the wicked.

APRIL 29. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation."-2 Cor. i. 4.

THIS reminds us of the nature of the Christian life. It is "neither clear nor dark." It partakes both of tribulation and comfort. The tribulation endears the comfort; and the comfort relieves and gilds the tribulation.

Paul does not say he comforts us by keeping us out of all tribulation. He could do this; but it accords not with the wisdom of his mercy. Therefore many are the afflictions of the righteous, and through much tribulation they must enter the kingdom. But while in the world they have tribulation, in him they have peace and he comforts them IN ALL THEIR TRIBULATION. And he does this four ways. First, by deliverance. This is perhaps the most pleasing way to our natural feelings: and these feelings are in a measure allowable. For tribulation is not to be preferred for its own sake; neither are we to consider ourselves unsubmissive, though we are led to say, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;" provided we can add," nevertheless, not my vill, but thine be done." And the Lord knoweth how to deliver. If he does not find a way, he can make a way for our escape. Of old he appeared for his servants; and often constrained even their enemies to acknowledge the finger of God. Observe Joseph in Egypt, Jonah in the whale's belly, Daniel in the lions' den, and Peter in prison. "But these were miracles." They were. And miracles are not to be expected now." They are not. But he who performed them is not far from any one of us-He is a very present help in trouble-and able to make good the word upon which he has caused us to hope; or miracles would be seen again. Nothing is too hard for the Lord; all hearts are in his hand; all events are at his control; and even now "he turneth the shadow of death into the morning.” He does not always deliver us according to our wishes and expectation; and hope deferred maketh the heart sick; and the eagerness and despondency of impatience may lead us to complain, "O when wilt thou comfort me?" But the vision is only for an appointed time; at the end it shall speak; neither will it tarry a moment beyond the season our welfare requires-"For the Lord is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him.".

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Secondly, by compensation. Philosophers have remarked how all through the natural world there are indications of a system of counter-balancings; so that a deficiency in one thing is remedied by some advantage in another. We see this also in human life; so that persons in their trouble are, so to say, recompensed by something which lessens the impression of their trials, and after which if they are wise they will look, for the purpose of submission and thankfulness. Hannah was barren, and reproached by her fruitful rival; but she was consoled by the greater love of her husband, and who "was better to her than ten sons." Mephibosheth while an infant was lamed on both his feet; but owing to this accident his life was preserved when the other princes of the house were destroyed. Thus bodily deformity is sometimes relieved by superior endowments of mind. Thus a man is compelled to labour: but this gives soundness to his sleep, and appetite to his food, and vigour to his health,

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to which the easy and indulged are strangers. Paul suffered unto bonds, but the word of God, which was dearer to him than life, was not bound; and his confinement turned out rather to the furtherance of the gospel. The thorn in the flesh was continued; but instead of the removal he had the assurance of all-sufficient grace under it; and he was more than satisfied with the compensation-yea, be gloried in it; and said, "When I am weak then I am strong." Ah! I dreaded, says the Christian, as I entered the affliction, and was laid on a bed of languishing: but prayer was made for me; a force and a tenderness of friendship were displayed of which I was not aware before-and O! how kind was that "Friend who sticketh closer than a brother"-"Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee; thou saidst unto me, fear not."

Thirdly, by sanctification. A man may be saved in his affliction when he is not saved out of it. Affliction is a scene of great moral danger, and the enemy of souls will endeavour to turn to account what it yields in a way of temptation. It is mentioned with wonder that in all the evil that had come upon him, "Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." A Christian is sometimes "afraid of all his sorrows"-afraid lest he should sink-afraid lest he should sin in the day of adversity-afraid lest he should not suffer well, and glorify the Lord in the fires; but dishonour his religion by unbelief, and discontent, and murmuring. This leads him to pray; and the Lord hears him, and keeps him in the evil day. He affords him also the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which confirms his faith, and strengthens his patience, and enables him to bear the rod. Some in their distresses have cursed God and died. Others have spoken unadvisedly with their lips; or they have been vengeful towards the instruments of their sufferings, or they have employed unlawful means to obtain relief, or they have attenipted self-destruction. Have you been preserved? Has the furnace only severed the dross from the gold? Has the pruning-knife only lopped off the suckers that robbed the vine? Can you say with David, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word"-Has the Lord forgotten to be gracious to you?

Fourthly, he does it by discovery. "The word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying: Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." This is no more than he does to other sufferers; it is in the hour of trouble ne peculiarly fulfils the promise, "I will manifest myself unto him." "I will allure her," says he, "and bring her into the wilderness, and there will I speak comfortably unto her"—or as it is in the margin, speak to her heart-so speak to her as to "give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and in the days when she came up out of the land of Egypt." Oh! if he says to the soul, "I am thy salvation;" if he "shows you his covenant;" if he convinces you that none of your trials are casual or penal; if he assures your consciences that you are redeemed from the curse, and that you only feel the rod of a father who uses it in kindness and tender mercy; if heaven be opened to the eye of the mind, and

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