ROMANS,viii, 28.
'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.'

HE recurs again in this verse to the topic that he introduced in the eighteenth verse, even to the sufferings of the present time; and, after having contrasted them with the glory and the enlargement of their future prospects, and having adverted not merely to the hope that will be realised then but also to the help that is administered now, he, as a last argument for reconciling his disciples to all the adversities of their earthly condition, affirms that they all work together for their good; that even the crosses and disasters of life are so many blessings in disguise; and that the whole machinery of Providence, in fact, is at work for the accomplishment of a great and beneficent purpose towards them. It, in the first place, is abundantly obvious of many a single adversity - that a great and permanent good may come out of it. This is often verified on the ground even of everyday experience - when the disease brought on by intemperance hath been known to germinate a course of determined sobriety; and the loss by a daring speculation hath checked the adventurer on his hazardous path, and turned him into the walk of safe though moderate prosperity; and the felt discomfort of a quarrel hath made him a far more patient and pacific member of society than he else would have been; and many other visitations, unpalatable on the instant but profitable afterwards, have each turned out to have in it the wholesomeness of a medical draught as well as its bitterness.

Apart from Christianity, or from the bearings which our history on earth has on our preparation. for heaven - Man has often found that it was good for him to have been afflicted - that, under the severe but salutary discipline, wisdom has been increased, and character has been strengthened, and the rough independence of human wilfulness has been tamed, and many asperities of temper have been worn away; and he, who before was the boisterous and implacable and unsafe member of society, has been chastened down into all the arts and delicacies of pleasing companionship. And so of many a single infliction on the man who is viewed, not as a citizen of the world that is below, but as a candidate for the world that is above. The overthrow of his fortune has given him a strong practical set for eternity. The death of his child has weaned him from all the idolatries of a scene - whereof the family, the home, the peace and shelter of the domestic roof, formed the most powerful enchantments. Even the dreariness of remorse hath given a new energy to his spiritual frame, and made him both a more skilful and a more vigilant warrior on the field of contest than before. The tempests of life, if so withstood that they have not overthrown him, will have fastened him more stedfastly to the hold of religious principle. It is thus that the traveller through life is nurtured for the immortality beyond it. He is made perfect by sufferings. He sits more loose to the world, in proportion as he finds less in it to fascinate and detain him. Its very disappointments have the effect of throwing him upon other resources; and, casting away the desires and the delusions of the hope that perisheth, he clings as to the alone anchor of his soul by the hope that abideth for ever. On the scale of infinite duration, a present evil becomes a future and everlasting benefit; and we are at no loss to perceive, how even a calamity, that to the eye looks most tremendous and would overwhelm one of the children of this world in despair - how it may work for the good of one of the children of light, by working out for him a far mole exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

But these adverse visitations do not always come singly. The apostle supposes otherwise, as may be gathered from the phrase of all things working together. He supposes in the text, not one single influence from one event alone; but he supposes the mutual or the concurrent influence of two or more events, all verging however towards the one result of good for him to whom they have befallen. It has often been said that misfortunes seldom come by themselves; and there is no doubt that it often occurs, when one passage of our history is signalised by an accumulation of ills - when, instead of being called upon to measure our strength with one calamity, our attention is shared and distracted among several - when the boding dread of disaster and distress lowrs upon us from more than one quarter of that visible sphere by which we are surrounded - and when we are made the subjects, not of one, but of manifold tribulations.

It has often been alleged that the pressure of each distinct calamity is lightened, when the anxiety is thus dispersed and divided among several. I do not think so. I hold it easier to meet with the summoned intrepidity of the bosom one great and nearly overwhelming misfortune, - than it is to have a constant tumult kept up in the spirits, by the ceaseless play of so many petty yet interminable harassments. I hold it a less ineligible condition, to have all the energies of the soul collected and prepared for a mighty shock of adversity, than to have them wasted in the skirmishes of a lighter yet more complicated warfare. I hold it not only an occasion of greater glory, but positively an occasion of greater ease, when one tremendous combatant approaches on whom there hang the fearful issues of life, or of that which than life is dearer - than when doomed by the stings of an insect tribe to die by inches, or to spend in perpetual annoyance the remainder of your days. And therefore it is well, that, for the comfort of exercised humanity, deliverance is promised out of six and of seven troubles; and when we are told that the afflictions of the just are many, but that God will extricate out of them all; and when we are bidden to count it all joy, though we should fall not into one but into manifold temptations; and lastly, when we are assured by the apostle that, not merely one, but that all things work together for good unto them who love God. For it is the compounding of one evil thing with another that aggravates so much the distress of each of them; and the sensation of plague or of perplexity increases in a much faster proportion, than their number; and, like the problem of the three bodies, one additional element of distress more might make the line of prudence far more difficult, and every plan and every prospect far more inscrutable than before:

And thus though each of his cares might be easily provided for, could one meet each with undivided, strength, and bend upon it the whole force of his anxiety - yet, from the very rnultitude of them, might there ensue a general helplessness, that needs to have the precise consolation which is now before us. The mechanism of Providence is made up of so many parts, as often to baffle the comprehension of man - yet all is clear to the eye, and under the sovereign hand of Him who works it; and when we are lost in the bewilderments of a history that we cannot scan, when we are entangled among the mazes of a labyrinth that we cannot unravel, it is well to be told that all is ordered and that all worketh for good. I should imagine that I now speak to the experience of those, who, manifold in the adventures of business, have a very extended circumference around them, from every quarter of which fears and mischances and the arrivals of disastrous intelligence might bring fresh and frequent disquietudes into the soul; and who therefore may have felt what it was to be visited with one plague after another - perhaps agonised in all the moral sensibilities of your nature, -by some aggravated wrong of injustice; and ere you have recovered this shock, told of some menacing fluctuation in that market where the main bulk of your interest lies; and furthermore waiting on the rack of anxiety for the appearance of that richly-laden vessel, which some recent storm must have put in jeopardy, and that with the eye of midnight fancy you conceive to be fearfully rocking amid the surges of an angry ocean: And all this mixed up with the rumoured bankruptcy of customers and correspondents, with bills unanswered and the swift approaches of that time when payments that far exceed your present strength shall be imperiously required.

These are the foreign invaders of your peace, and should they meet unhappily with the broils and the miseries of a distempered home - should these days of vexation be followed up by evenings of discontent and discordancy; or, what is also grievous, should there be peace and love in your dwelling, but its dearest inmate be laid on the couch of irrecoverable sickness - should one child of the family be dying, or another by his vice and his wilfulness minister a grief as heavy to the hearts of his parents - should the burden upon his spirit, which this sorely agitated man brings with him daily from abroad, have nought to alleviate its pressure within the door of his own habitation - What a noble faith it would require to bear him up under the weight and accumulation of all these evils; and is there ought within the compass of nature so suited to his weary and heavy-laden spirit, as - the assurance of my text that all of them shall work and work together for his good? You must often have been sensible, in the course of your own history, how big and how important the consequences were, that emanated from one event, which in itself was insignificant - how on the slightest accidents the greatest interests were suspended - how, moving apparently at random, you met with people or with occasions that gave rise perhaps to far the most memorable passages in your life - how the very street on which you chanced to move, brought you into contact with invitations or appointments or proposals of any sort, which brought results of magnitude along with them - Insomuch that the colour and direction of your whole futurity have turned on what, apart from this mighty bearing, would have been the veriest trifle in the world.

It is thus that the great drama of a nation’s politics may hinge on the veriest bagatelle, that could modify or suggest some process of thought in the heart of a single individual. The most remarkable instance of this which I at present recollect, is, when the pursuers of Mahomet who followed hard upon him with a view to take his life, were turned away from the mouth of the cave in which he had the moment before taken shelter, by the flight of a bird from one of the shrubs that grew at its entry - inferring that, had he recently passed that way, the bird must have been previously disturbed away and would not now have made its appearance. It is a striking remark of the historian, that this bird, by its flight upon this occasion, changed the destiny of the world - instrumental as it was in perpetuating the life of the false prophet, and, along with him, the reign of that superstition which to this day hath a wider ascendancy over our species than Christianity itself.

And such indeed are the links and concatenations of all history. A word, a thought, an unforeseen emotion, an event of paltriest dimensions in itself, may be the germ of an influence wide as a continent and lasting as a thousand years; and thus it is that the polities of man are baffled in the mystery of that higher polities, by which the government of the Supreme is conducted, and whereby the minutest accidents and the mightiest results interchange all have equal efficacy the one upon the other.

It is well that God has the management; and that what to man is a chaos, is in the hands of God a sure and unerring mechanism. Man is lost and wilders in the multiplicity of things, and their diverse operations; and he staggers and is at his wit’s end; and therefore it is well that all things are under the control of that great and presiding intelligence which is above, and that God maketh all things work together for good unto those who love Him.

To conclude then for the present. Do you not peceive that at this rate God would be divested of His sovereignty, if His superintendence were not universal? Is not the historical fact, that what is most minute often gives rise to what is most momentous, an argument for the theological doctrine of a providence that-reaches even to the slightest and most unnoticeable varieties? If God did not number all the hairs of our head - if His appointments did not include the fall of every sparrow to the ground - then, from the observed relation of events to each other, empires might have fallen, and the faith of whole nations been subverted, and the greatest evolutions been made in the progress of human affairs, all the time that the will of God and the authority of God were elements of utter insignificance. Should He let go as it were one small ligament in the vast and complicated machinery of the world, it might all run, so to speak, into utter divergency from the purposes of the mind that formed it. As things are constituted, the influence of littles carries along with it an experimental demonstration, that the power and direction of the Godhead extend even unto littles.

From it we argue, that there is no alternative between a providence so particular as to embrace all, or an atheism so universal as to exclude all, from the guidance and the guardianship of a Divinity. In such a world, where all are so bound together in the way of influence or, unvarying succession, there is need of such a providence. And even from this contemplation, may be gotten something that should reconcile us. to the idea of a predestinating God. In the following verses the apostle passes onwards to this conception; and we shall be more prepared to go along with him, when we only think, that, by shutting out the ordination of God from any event in nature or in history, we, in fact, shut Him out from that lengthened train of events, whereof it only formed one of the stepping-stones - that by breaking one link, however small, we in fact wrest the chain out of that hand from which it waa suspended - that, by refusing Him the supreme and directing agency over the least incidents, we in fact depose Him. from all government of men or of things, even in the. greatest passages of their story - In a.word tbat we cannot disjoin God from one particle of the universe, without desolating the universe of its God.

‘To them that love God.’
We have already spoken of His providence; and of the sureness wherewith He works out His own purposes by a mechanism far too complex for our apprehension; and of the way in which He intermingles the little with the great in the history of human affairs; and of the need that there is for a constant superintendance by Him - seeing that on the minutest incidents of life its mightiest and most abiding interests are often made to turn; and of the support which a sound experience renders to a most important doctrine of sound theology - even that God, instead of sitting in remote and lofty unconcern to our world, save in the noblest and grandest passages of its history, busies Himself in fact with the operations of every atom, and bears a microscopic regard to the most trivial of events and of things - even while He sits in heaven’s high throne, and casts a directing eye over space and its immeasurable regions. This we have already attempted to make as palpable to your discernment as we could; and we are now led by the clause that is before us, to bethink ourselves of the character of those to whom it is that God maketh all things work together for their good - even that they love God. We seldom meet with so much of earnestness among those who are intent on their preparation for heaven, as that which is excited by the question whether or not they really do love God. It is indeed a trying question on which few adventure themselves; and on which most of those who do, have to record that marvellously little satisfaction is to be found.

It forms one of the most anxious topics of self-examination; and the thing which the enquirer is in search after, even the affection for the Godhead that exists in his own bosom, may be either so dull and undiscernible of itself, or lie so buried in the multitude of other things that crowd and confuse the receptacles of the inner man, as to elude the investigation altogether. And then the question comes, how am I to he assured of my interest in the declaration that all things shall work together for my good? The promise here is not unto all in the general, but to those who harbour within them a certain feeling, and are stamped upon their moral or spiritual nature with a certain character. It is unto those who love God.

Now I may not be sure that I love Him. I may desire to love Him; but to desire is one thing and to do is another. I may have a wish for the affection - of this I should suppose that many of you are conscious; but to have a wish for the affection is not to have the affection itself, and the question recurs - what title have I to appropriate the comforts of this passage, or to presume on the strength of an affirmation that is evidently restricted to the possessors of a certain grace, even of love to God - what title have I to imagine, that the power and the providence of Heaven are wholly upon my side? Now it does not follow, that you are altogether destitute of love to God, because it stirs so languidly within you, that you are not able very distinctly or decidedly to recognise it. Your very desire to love Him is a good symptom - your very grief that you love Him not bodes favourably for you. The complaint that you utter of a heart hard and ungrateful, and that hath been very much unmoved by the claims, which God hath to all the affections of it is one which has been re-echoed by the disciples and the saints of all ages; and which, if you feel as you ought, will to the end of life be the subject of your humiliation and your prayers.

Love to God is a heavenly aspiration, that is ever kept in check by the drag and the restraint of an earthly nature; and from which you shall not be unbound till the soul by death has made its escape from the vile body, and cleared its unfettered way to the realms of light and life and liberty. In very proportion to the desirousness wherewith you now soar aloft, will you be galled - by the tenticle that holds you; and, feeling with the Psalmist of old how your soul cleaves unto the dust, will you pray that God might quicken you. Where there is a complaint of hardness, there is in fact a beginning of tenderness. Where there is an honest wish for affection, there is in fact the embryo affection itself, struggling for a growth and, an establishment in the aspiring bosom. Where there is a feeling of sad insensibility, the sensibility hath begun; and that good seed, which one can with difficulty see among the still vigorous and unbroken elements of carnality, is already deposited, and will rise into a tree that might overspread with its droppings the whole mass of our then regenerated nature.

Meanwhile it is most desirable that the germ should ex pand - that the precious element should be fostered into a more visible magnitude - that the affection of which you are now so fruitlessly in quest, should so grow as to announce itself - that the flame should brighten and break forth out of its present dull and lambent obscurity: And the question is, how shall this be brought about? Never we affirm by the exercise of self-inspection alone - never in the mere employment of inwardly brooding on the characters that are already graven upon the tablet of the heart - never by looking to oneself as the subject, at the time when you are called to look unto the Saviour as the object. The eye is not a luminary. It sheds no light on the field of its, contemplation. It diffuses no heat over it. It only witnesses the splendour, but can in no way create it. It may discover that whibh is visible, hut it does not make it visible; and, therefore, if you complain that you cannot see the love of God within you, it is not by poring and penetrating among the arcana of your moral constitution that this love is to be inspired.

‘To those who are the called.
’ This new clause may be turned to some practical account in the resolving of the difficulty. They who love God are described by another and a distinct characteristic. They are the called, by which we understand not those who have merely had the call or invitation of the gospel sounded in their ears; but those who have felt the power of the call upon their hearts, and have compliedwith it accordingly. In the well-weighed language of our Shorter Catechism, it magnifies those who are effectually called. There has not merely been a call on the part of the gospel, but there has been a compliance with it on the part of their souls - and that just because the gospel hath come to them, not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Ghost and with much assurance. Their eyes have been opened to behold the reality of the gospel overtures. They recognise the death of Christ as an effective propitiation for sin. They perceive that the benefit of this propitiation is held out in offer to them individually. They hear the beseeching voice of God accompanied with such terms as any and all and whosoever; and they understand this to be as good as a voice addressed specifically to each of themselves; and they regard a message, so couched and so worded, to be a message from Heaven to their own doors; and as the message is neither more nor less than an entreaty on the part of God that they will be reconciled to Him, they respond to it with the full consent and confidence of their hearts; and by so doing they in fact enter upon reconciliation. Their faith in the offer constitutes their acceptance of it. By meeting God’s assurance with their trust, they will find, that, according to this trust, so shall it be done unto them. By simply regarding the transaction of the sacrifice for sin as a real and honest transaction, they shall have a full share in it, and be absolved from their sin.

Many are outwardly called; but, turning a deaf and listless ear thereunto, they come not under the designation of my text. They are not the called - a designation reserved for those, who have not only heard the call, but who have perceived its honesty and worth, and have proceeded upon it. You see then the connection that there is, between the two characteristics of those for whose good God maketh all things to work together. The two characteristics are that they love God, and that they are the called. The second of these in the order of enumeration, is the first in the order of succession. It is only upon our entertaining the call of the gospel and consenting thereunto, it is only upon this transition taking place in our minds - that there ensues a transition of the heart to the love of God, from that indifference or even hatred which we formerly bore unto Him. Anterior to this, the thought of God stood associated with feelings of jealousy and insecurity and alarm. The conscience, if ,at all faithful, could not fail to reproach us for our delinquencies. The law of God, and more especially if regarded in its pure and lofty and uncompromising character, could not but suggest the disturbing imagination of many accounts that were unsettled, and many violations for which no recompence. to its outraged dignity had been made.

The character of God, as being that of august and unapproachable sacredness, offered no asylum from the disquietudes that haunted us; nor could we ever, with our eyes open to the incommutable attributes of His holiness and His justice and His truth, could we ever find any solid repose in that fancied indulgence of His nature, which forms at once the refuge and the delusion of a meagre and sentimental piety. Those imaginations of the Godhead, which make up a religion of poetry, are not enough for a religion of peace; and, in these circumstances, He, to all practical accounts, is regarded by the eye of nature with that dread and that disquietude, which are inspired by the sight of an enemy. It is a sense of guilt that has so alienated us from God; and it is under the latent yet powerful conviction of His displeasure, that we stand before Him with our hearts in chill and torpid apathy, and our countenances fallen.

It is this which stands as a wall of iron between heaven and earth; and wholly debars the intimacies either of confidence or of regard, with Him who dwelieth in the high and the awful sanctuary. And the only way, we repeat it, by which this else impregnable barrier can be scaled, and we can draw nigh in kind affection to the Father who made us, is by accepting the only authentic offer that He ever held out to us of reconciliation. It is by beholding Him in the face of Christ. It is by rejoicing in that mercy which flows so copiously on all who will, through the channel of His consecrated priesthood - and that not at the expence of His other attributes, but with their fullest and noblest vindication. It is this alone which by quelling the suspicions and the fears of guilty nature, at the very time that it presents the attractive exhibition of a God whose graciousness hath not impaired but illustrated His glory - it is this alone that can achieve the great moral revolution in the character of man; and by rending the enmity of nature, can soften the before sullen and intractable heart of man, for the impression of that new character in virtue of which it now loves God.

Now it is by the recurrence of the mind to that truth which first conveyed to it the love of God, that this affection is upholden - just as to rekindle your admiration of a beautiful scene or picture, you would return again to gaze upon it. It is on this principle that so much stress is laid on keeping the truths which we believe in memory - insomuch, that, if not so recalled and dwelt upon, we are said to have believed them in vain. The doctrines of the gospel are intended for a further purpose than that of merely making up a creed. One main design of them is to move the affections; and, more especially, to reawaken that affection to which nature, when oppressed with fears or weighed - down with the lethargies of sense, is wholly incompetent - even the love of God. And that this love be perennial in our hearts, there must be a constant reference to the truth which first inspired it. The way to keep our hearts in the love of God, is to build ourselves up on our most holy faith. To recall the emotion when it hath vanished from our heart, we must recall the truth which hath vanished from our remembrance. .The way to aliment and perpetuate the one, is to detain the other, and let it be the habitual topic of our fondest contemplation. You complain of your love to God being so exceedingly dim as to be beyond the reach of your discernment. I know of no other way to brighten it, than simply to think of Him as He is, and more especially as He stands forth to the believer’s eye in the glass of His own revelation - as abundant in mercy, but mercy shrined as it were in the immutabilities of truth and holiness - as longing for the approaches even of the guiltiest of His children, but laying His firm and authoritative interdict on that approach in any other way than by the appointed mediatorship as turning His throne into a throne of grace, but without undermining the eternal props of judgment and of righteousness by which it is upholdcn - as mingling in His own character the tenderness of a friend, with the venerable dignity of a Sovereign - as blending at once in that economy which He hath set up over us erring creatures, the meekness of a paternal government with the majesty of its power.

The man who is groping for the discovery of an affection towards God among the secrecies of his own inscrutable bosom, I would bid him cast an upward eye to the revealed countenance of the Godhead; and this will do something more than discover the affcction, - it will create it. Ere it can be made manifest, it must be made to exist; and, most assuredly, it is not by downwardly probing and penetrating among the mysteries of your own moral constitution, that you will summon it into being. Ere you can love God, you must see Him to be lovely; and this is a vision which the terrors of unexpiated guilt, and the sense of a controversy with God that has not yet been satisfactorily or intelligibly made up, are sure to scare away. It is the gospel, and it alone, that resolves this obstruction - nor am I aware of any expedient by which the first and the greatest law can again be established within us, than by accepting the call of that gospel wherein He is propounded as a just God and a Saviour.

‘According to his purpose
’ - or according to His previous design. We now tread on the borders of what is deemed by many to he a great mystery; and though we have no great respect for that Theology which loves to grapple with the incomprehensibles of lofty speculation - yet we must not shrink from ought that Scripture lays across our path. There is an ambition on the part of some to be wise above that which is written; but that is no reason why, in avoiding this, we should not attempt at least to be wise up to that which is written. You may remember that a few chapters ago, which, from the exceeding tardiness of our progress, makes it nearly as many years ago - we came to an encounter with the very formidable doctrine of original sin, and found the task so ponderous that it took several successive Sabbaths ere we did acquit ourselves thereof. The few succeeding verses present us with a similar exercise on the doctrine of predestination; and we most assuredly would not embark on so arduous an undertaking, did we not hold it right to follow fearlessly wherever the light of revelation may carry us; and did we not further believe, that, like all other Scripture, this too is profitable, and in most entire harmony with the interests of truth - and virtue in our world. The purpose then signifies a previous design; and this in so far previous, as to be even anterior to the existence of those who are the objects of it. In the second epistle to Timothy there is an allusion to this very purpose of our text, and where it stands associated too with the very call that is now under consideration. 'God hath saved us,'says the apostle, 'not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given in Christ Jesus before the world began.' The purpose then is the prior determination in the mind of the Divinity, that such a one should be converted from the error of his ways - should be called from darkness unto light - should make that transition by which he passes from a state of condemnation to a state of acceptance; and the call, which we have already supposed to be an effectual one, is just as distinguishable from this previous determination, as the execution of a purpose is from the purpose itself - or as a design entertained and resolved upon long ago is from its fulfilment, that may only take place this very day, or at some distant and indefinite futurity before us.

‘Moreover whom he did predestinate them he also called
.’ By the one He makes the decree - by the other, He carries it into effect. And we again repeat, that it is not in the daring spirit of an adventurer we would have you to enter this field, or on a game of strength or of skill with the difficulties of human argument; but in the simple and lowly spirit of genuine disciples would we have you to submit yourselves to the Divine testimony. It is quite obvious that the being called here means something totally different, from what it does in the verse where it is said that many are called but few are chosen. In that verse the call of the gospel is supposed to be heard by many, but complied with by few. But in the verse before us they who are the called have not only heard the call, but they have responded to it. In the one sense all who are here present, may be made to pass among the called, simply by sounding forth among you the offers and the invitations of grace - simply by bidding, as we are fully warranted to do, each and all to put his confidence in the blood of Christ, ‘and so’ have his sins washed away - simply by coming forth with the assurance, which we cast feartessly abroad in the hearing of the people, that there is no man, be his guilt what it may, whom God will not welcome into peace with Him, would he only draw nigh in the name of that great propitiation which has been rendered for the sins of the world.

In this sense every one of you is called. But it must be clear to your own experience, that there is the widest possible difference between one class and another as to their reception of this call - that on some it falls in downright bluntness, and moves them not out of the deep unconcern and lethargy of nature - -whilst others recognise it as a voice from Heaven; and are awakened thereby to a sense of reconciliation; -and feel a charm and a preciousness in the doctrine of that cross, whereon the enmity between God and a sinful world was done away; and through the faith which they are enabled to put in the word of this testimony, are translated into a felt peace and friendship with that God, who turns away His displeasure from them on the moment that they turn away their distrust from Him: And thus, while you all in one sense of the word are called, they are the latter class alone who are the called of my text - because,- called eternaily, they have not only heard the call but answered it.

Here then is a palpable difference between two sets of hearers, that falls to be accounted for; and the account every where given of it in Scripture is, that the Spirit, who bloweth where He listeth, hath carried the message with power to the listener’s heart in the one case, and hath not gone along with it in the other - that He hath inclined the one to God’s testimonies, and left the other to his own waywardness - that wherever a saving impression has been made, there the Holy Ghost has been at work, who, operating not without the word but by the word, hath fulfilled on the person of the new believer, that purpose which God conceived in his favour before the foundation of the world.

But let not any feel himself thrown at a distance from salvation, by thus connecting it with the antecedent decree of God respecting it. We are sure that none ought, who feel a true moral earnestness on the subject, and are honestly and desirously embarked on the pursuit of their immortal wellbeing. For though the Spirit bloweth where He listeth, yet He listeth so to do on all who court and who aspire after Him; and though by His work upon a human soul He is fulfilling a design that hath been conceived from eternity, yet it is not with this past design but with the present fulfilment that you have to do: And the matter in hand, the matter with which you should feel yourself urged and occupied, is, that by the operation of that Spirit you may indeed be enlightened in the truth of God, and made wise unto your own salvation. For this purpose let me assure you of His readiness to help and to visit all who ask Him - let me entreat your attention to that Bible, which with Him is the mighty instrument, whereby the understanding and the heart and all the faculties of man are gained over to that truth, which is able at once to sanctify and to save us - let me press you to awake and be active in the work, putting forth all the strength that is in you, and confident that if you really do so more strength will be given - So that if the whole force which you have now be honestly and heartily directed to the object, by - force the kingdom of heaven will be carried.

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