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Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. xii. 21. For who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
1 Pet. jii. 13. The Christian life is a warfare, and the conflict between sin and holi
ness, and between sorrow and comfort, is often very violent. The Child of God has many evils to encounter with. Sin, Satan, Self, and the World, are daily enemies. He is also exposed oft to poverty, afflic. tion, reproaches, and persecution. O, my Saviour, help me to overcome every evil in the strength of thy grace; give me a heart to do good to all who may seek to hurt me. Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ? Not the Father, for he loves you ; not Jesus, for he died for you ; not the Spirit, his work is to com. fort you ; not good men, they love those who follow that which is good ; not wicked men nor devils ; for though enemies, they are confined, and cannot stir one step beyond what thy God and Saviour permits them. When you meet with a trial, look not to men but to Jesus. Pray for patience to bear it, and look up for a blessing upon it. Then all things shall work together for good. Rom. viii. 28. Let every temptation make you more careful, and put you on closer watching against the enemy. Cleave to Jesus by faith and prayer, like a child to its pant, when it sees an enemy coming towards it. Behold him, flee to
rest upon him, and then you will rejoice in him.
The noblest counsels of thy will.
Prayer shall be made for him continually, and daily shall he be
praised. Ps. Ixxii. 15. Owhat a condescending King we have, who may always be ap.
proached! Who would not pray? You say, O that my coldness and indifference would permit me to do it! But are ou not sensible of your wants and miseries? Is not this coldness and backwardness misery enough? Therefore you ought also to pray, and to pray most when you are so dull and drowsy, else it will never be better with you. Arise, therefore, and pray; the good Spirit of God will assist you in it. « Encouraged by the promises of a prayer-hearing God, and a special assistance of the Holy Spirit in this work, we must, even in the greatest conflicts, not omit to resist the temptations of the Devil. And though we have sinned, not defer it long ; but pray directly, and say The Lord is merciful, and I am unworthy and unable to pray! but alas! what shall I do? shall I wait till I am worthy and able ? O no; perhaps that time will never come ; for I am always a great, miserable sinner. A Christian stands always in need of prayer; for since the sense of sin does not leave him, he must not leave off prayer.” Lord, grant me more of the Spirit of prayer, and let it never be extinguishel in my heart! Arise, my soul, from deep distress, | God calls thee to his throne of grace, And banish ev'ry fear;
I To spread thy sorrows there.
What dost thou here, Elijah 1 Kings xix. 13. I ET this question be supposed as addressed to us: What dost thou here in In this world, into which thou art sent: Art thou working “the work of Him that sent thee,” or standing all the day idle ? How dost thou acquit thyself in the duties of thy particular calling: Art thou upright, conscientious, and useful therein ? Art thou in the post assigned thee by Heaven, truly called, and properly qualified for it? or hast thou thrust thyself into it without warrant or invitatioii; and therefore hast no cause to expect success? What dost thou here, in this retirement? Is the world shut out of thy thoughts, and are the visits of the blessed Spirit invited ? What dost thou here, if it be not thy wish and endeavour to have communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ? What dost thou here, if thy peace with an offended God is not already made, or most earnestly desired and sought after ? If thou really wantest peace and safety, plead the blood of Jesus, flee to the city of refuge, before the avenger of blood overtake thee, and tbou perish from the way! “Remember Lot's wife," and look not behind thee, lest thou become a monument of wrath. What dost thou here in times of trial and temptation ? Art thou flying from the danger, or boldly facing it, in the name and strength of the Lord ? Art thou ashamed of the Cross, or dost thou willingly take it upon thee? Elijah failed here; he fled from Jezebel; and did such an one as Elijah fear? Then howl, ye fir-trees, if the cedars be thus shaken! hold fast by Christ, ye weak ones, if the strong fall? What dost thou here below ? Art thou for pitching thy tent on this side Jordan, satisfied with thy present portion ? or art thou “ looking to a better country, to a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God ?" Lite is uncertain, death approaches, the Judge is at the door, then “ prepare to meet thy God.”
Arm me with a jealous care, | And thy weak servant, Lord, prepare,
A good account to give!
Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of
the net. Ps. xxv. 15. Ilappy is the man that feareth alway. Prov.
xxviii. 14. O How long can some enemies hide themselves with their nets before
our eyes, and draw in all on a sudden! It is unspeakable how cun. ning and powerful our enemies are, how they lie in wait everywhere, so that in all places, and at all times, we are surrounded with many cruel murderers of souls! Blessed is he that keeps clear from self-con. fidence, and, fearing always, says within himself, as soon as he awakes in the morning, Who knows what temptations I may meet with today? perhaps when I arise, by the first step my feet may be entangled in dangerous snares and nets. And as self-confidence ever will be ashamed, and a firm confidence in the Lord never shall (Rom. ix. 33) grant, O Lord, I beseech thee, that distrusting myself, I may fully put my trust on thee, watching everiore in all things, and looking cautiously in all places about me, where there is any fear of danger. Whatever I am about to do or to speak, let me first converse with thee by prayer; that keeping always close to thee, I may be preserved against the power and craft of mine enemies, as in a stronghold; and confi. dently say, according to thy own pattern given (Psalm xvi. 8) “I have set the Lord before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall riot be moved." God is my portion and my joy ;
My soul would all her thoughts approve His counsels are my light,
To bis all-seeing eye: He gives me sweet advice by day,
Not Death nor Hell my hope shall move, And gentle hints by night.
While such a friend is nigh,
My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (as also the Holy Spirit). Jolin v. 17.
O MY poor soul, is not the blessed Trinity thy God, in three Persons,
able to destroy the works of the Devil, and fulfil his good-will in thee? O yes, he works both to will and to do: and that very thing which is above your own power, he works, and nothing else. If you can do little, he works much; if nothing at all, so much the better, then he works all; for he is our all, since we are nothing, and can do nothing. And happy are we that we can have him for our support in all things ; and that the children of God are not required to direct their own steps, but shall be led by their heavenly Father. Now, O Lord, since by the will, guidings, and workings of my own heart, I throw only so many hinderances and blocks in my way, grant, I be. seech thee, that, in true dependence on thee, I may venture every thing; and, despairing of my own sufficiency, may always abide in thee, draw all necessary strength from thee by prayer, and bring forth many good fruits which may last to eternity! For thy work in true believers, weak as it may seem now, will last for ever, and none shall be able to destroy it.
Lord, let thy counsels guide my feet
Through this dark wilderness; Thy hand conduct me near thy seat,
To dwell before thy face!
Then, if the springs of life were broke,
And flesh and heart should faint,
The strength of ev'ry saint.