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him ; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.”—1 Cor. ii. 14.
The tenour of inspired language has often struck me as intimating, that the Christian is not contending to gain a crown, but only pressing forward to wear one already prepared for his brows. In conformity to this, the Lord Jesus saith to the church in Philadelphia, “ Hold that fast which thou hast; let no man take thy crown,” apparently intimating that the circlet of victory is already appropriated for us; but the gift is delayed till we have showed ourselves able combatants for its possession. The rightful monarch of a kingdom, repels an invader with as much zeal as any conqueror who wrestles for dominion; nay, inasmuch as his title is firm, he holds out more courageously. Shall not Christians defend their heavenly inheritance ? knowing, moreover, where to get armour of proof; see Eph. vi. 14—18; and that succours for every emergency are at the sole disposal of their almighty Captain of salvation.
Similar animating views of divine revelation stirred up my affections to desire after increasing apprehensions; and in progressive attendance · on the above ministry, I continually heard the same wholesome truths, delivered with such variety of illustration, accompanied with such warmth of feeling, and flowing fresh and fresh from the deep and pure spring of faith, that, by the blessing of the Lord in appointing a teacher, and giving the pupil an earnest attention, my soul poised itself on the anchor of hope, “ which entereth into that within the veil, whither our forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”—Heb. vi. 20.
The Author's Design, Introductory to the Pastorul Fragments--The Blessed uses of Sorrow -- Primitive Example of Prayer The difficulty of the Way- Tokens of RegenerationThe Work of Faith.
From the time I became a constant adherent to the ministry which had been made so profitable ; it was my practice to write down such memorandums of the discourse as I had found impressive. · These fragments were collected without any previous notes, and were, in fact, mere detached paragraphs from the substance of the sermon. A doctrince defined, a similitude enlarged, soul transactions related. In this occupation I passed many of the serene hours which glided from the portion of my retired existence. I did not always aim to convey the precise language of the original ; my chief endeavour being to transpose the spirituality of the doctrine and its illustration, through the medium of my own understanding, whereby I might ascertain the portion of good I had laid by in store. After the lapse of a few ordinances, I found my gleanings had prospered, and the supply yielded its duplicate of blessings. Some gracious persons to whom they were shown, expressed much gratification in these memorials of our respected pastor, while, I learned in the activity of my memory, to. praise the faithful remembrances of Jesus, who guided the pen of the unlearned, to “indite things touching the king.”
Under this sanction, I shall present my reader with a few selections from my manuscript. It must be obvious that the very principle of my intention excludes all pretence to verbal accuracy. Short-hand memorandums taken down in the church, might have secured this advantage; but the simplicity of my wish would have been lost by such assistance. The apostle puts great distinction between the speech of ministers and the power which accompanies the gospel they deliver ; and this no less holds, good with regard to their congregation. Copious extracts are frequently made from a faithful discourse, with no communion
between the mind of the spirit, and the apprehension of the professor; there are many guests at the gospel assemblies, who leave a spiritual society to be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, to multiply arguments with sophists, and clash opinions with deceivers. I am ever anxious to lower the standard of my reason, to the definition of my faith. “ Thus saith the Lord,” is a criterion for every member of his family; and I have been prone to look upon all human authority as a snare ; until ratified by the whole scope of scripture, and owned by the Holy Ghost to my soul's profit.
In conformity to this simple position, when the subject of our Sunday's meditation had been blessed, and its scattered perfume rested fragrantly upon my heart; I sat down to prolong the enjoyment. How few of the sweets of time will bear to be thus recalled! From the mass of unimproved hours, I have been enabled to preserve some hints whose value depends on their eternal solemnity; and if a holy unction shall sanctify these gleanings, may all the praise be given to the Lord, while those who offer it have all the comfort.