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we are really sincere in seeking him; whether there be not still some accursed thing within us, on account of which our minds are still so uneasy, and because of which, we have not yet experienced more of that eternal rest of soul, which Christ has so impressively promised, and so dearly purchased. We shall then, when the sacrifice is complete, thoroughly experience the promised rest. God be thanked ! these eyes have witnessed the trial with many, how from the beginning of their conversion and calling, they have made an abundant entrance.
O how rapidly did such souls break through ! how soon did they attain also to the blissful foretaste of divine love, and of the rest which is found in the blood of Christ and in the love of God. Such souls are often perfected in a short time, since the Lord translates them, in peace and tranquillity, from time into his eternal rest.
Thirdly. If we are desirous of finding the rest of our souls in life, and of fully attaining to it in our dying hour, we must found our faith and our godliness wholly and solely on grace. This is a very important point, which we may not pass over ; but I will, this time, only touch upon it briefly. I say, then, if we are desirous of finding the eternal rest of our souls in this life, and of possessing it fully at death, we must found our faith and our godliness solely and exclusively upon grace. Souls that give themselves to God, from an entirely honest heart, and entirely depart from all things, obtain after such a departure, dạring their first love, a sweet foretaste of the favour,
loving-kindness, and peace of God, much light, and various divine communications. In this first love, they are active in love, in their walk, and faithful in every respect; they also deny themselves, faithfully and sincerely, in a variety of things; but, meanwhile, something secretly insinuates itself, so that they frequently take too much pleasure in the sweet communications, delights, relish, and gifts, which they receive from God, found their faith upon them, and their rest of soul, and suppose it will always continue so. But because God sees that the soul places too much confidence in its felicity,—its good and beauteous state, its light, gifts, and sensible enjoyments, and builds upon them-he withdraws the feeling of . such sweetnesses, and the view of its faithfulness, in order, by so doing, to humble, purify, and lead it again into a state of naked dependance upon grace, The individual then becomes uneasy and perplexed, supposing, that with the loss of his previous feelings, he has lost the favour of God, nay, even God himself, whom he can no longer love with so much sensible emotion, nor adore with such heartfelt relish.
He loses, at the same time, all courage. Though he had been formerly, during his sensible enjoyments, a hero, so that he could say with David, “I shall never be moved :" he is now terrified at the sight of his foes, so that he is again ready to say with David, “ I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul.” I cannot believe any more, all is now lost!
O my friends! let us therefore confide and build
in all things only on grace, and not on our faithfulness, not on godliness, not on certainties and assurances, but simply upon divine grace.
Souls that are really converted, never depend upon their own fidelity. In their own eyes they are never sufficiently faithful, never sufficiently pious, never sufficiently holy; they would gladly be every day still more faithful, pious, and holy ; and if this is not the case with us, our conversion is not of the right kind. But such faithful souls may be the first to fall into the weakness of supporting and establishing themselves, a little too much, on their fidelity. We ought therefore always to suffer ourselves to be led back into pure grace. We must seek to walk, with equanimity, in the ways of God, and not so easily let our courage fail, when it pleases divine wisdom to reveal to us, more minutely and profoundly, our misery and corruption; nor suffer our faith and confidence to depart, if God be induced, for wise purposes, to withdraw his sweetnesses, gracious communications, and sensible feelings from us. No! such souls as are so sincere in their intentions as I have described, so that they would gladly become every day more faithful, pious, and holy-such souls, I say, may proceed forward, with even steps, trusting solely to divine grace. It is reasonable they should remember, that it was mere grace, by which they were at first called by God. God did not call any of us, because we were pious and holy, or because there was something good in us; no, it was from mere grace, that he called us. For this very reason, we
ought to found our faith and our entire Christian walk entirely upon the free and unmerited grace of God. Those souls, that build and trust solely upon grace, pass their lives very peaceably in dependance upon grace; they do not easily despond, when the weather is gloomy, when days are dark, when crosses and tribulations come; nor do their hearts so easily fail them before their enemies. For what reason ? Because they do not build upon
their human strength, or their own courage, but confide solely upon grace. Nor do they so easily despond, when they reflect on the holy and perfect walk, they are under such high obligations to lead before God, because they do not look at the same time at themselves, nor depend, in the least, upon their own strength, but expect all their help and strength from
See, my beloved friends! we may thus enjoy rest, eternal rest, the more uninterruptedly, when we let ourselves be led into an unconditional dependance on divine grace by poverty of spirit. Therefore, labour to enter into rest. It may be objected, that it is easy and convenient thus to let every thing depend on grace alone, and that this does not require the application of much diligence. But I can assure such a one, that before he departs from all that is his own, and learns to build, in a godly manner, on mere grace, all that is within him will tremble and quake. Self will despond and despair, and the man would rather toil himself to death, than seek his only refuge in God's free grace. Hence it is such a firm and
noble basis, on which the soul may remain in uninterrupted repose, and live in the Lord, and eventually be able, joyfully and cheerfully, to die upon it. From many of the pious, when they come to die, nothing but continued complaints are heard. But whence does this arise? I reply, that with upright souls, it proceeds frequently from looking back too much upon their infirmities, their weaknesses, their faithfulness and unfaithfulness, their holiness and unholiness. As long as we live here, we ought certainly to pursue after holiness, with all earnestness, other. wise our conversion is not sincere. Yet I you, notwithstanding, ye sincere and upright souls ! as an important warning, when you come to die, O plunge yourselves into divine grace! Certainly your piety will not then be able to tranquillize you, nor your fidelity delight you. Had I even the fidelity and holiness of all the Seraphim, still I would not venture to appear with it before God; for I should then find no entrance into eternal rest, and into the everlasting kingdom of God. By what means then ? By mere grace. Let us close our eyes to ourselves, to our own doings, and to our own piety anderighteous
Let us only dwell more in the element of grace, and, by grace, we shall be tranquillized in life and be composed in death. From it we shall also derive the necessary strength in life, for the purposes of holiness and godliness.
Fourthly. If we desire to find rest to our souls in life, and enjoy it perfectly after death, let us labour to enter into a thorough denial of all outward,