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CONFIDENCE IN GOD.

CHAPTER I.

One of the strongest feelings of the human heart, of which we are all conscious, is the desire of mental ease and comfort. It is a fact amounting to proverbial notoriety, that without it a paradise of beauty may bloom around us in vain ; and that with it, a dungeon may be transformed into a palace.

However in youth we may seek our pleasure in the more exciting, and in age in the serener, enjoyments of life ; still a mind at ease is considered an indispensable ingredient in the cup of human happiness. While the reverse is regarded as the greatest aggravation of our distress: “the spirit of a man may sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit, who can bear ?" Of all the good gifts this world has it in its power to bestow, this it never can con

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fer ;

as it is an inward frame of mind which is independent of all outward circumstances, that can of itself mar all our joy, or master all our grief.

“ The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Milton.

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And if even happiness below may be produced by a confluence of fortunate circumstances, the world which gave it to us may, « at one fell swoop,” in a moment deprive us of it all. Nor can it even ensure the permanency of any part of it. Trite and common-place as this truism may appear, still, as nothing brings out opposites like the power of con

may

be allowed to have weight in an attempt to prove that the solid lasting peace which this world cannot give, Religion offers to bestow, promising to prove not only a perennial fount within us of joy and comfort, springing up into everlasting life, but to pour its healing streams over the barren and arid wastes of this world's disappointed hopes and blasted joys, so as to make the wilderness of despair " rejoice and blossom like the rose."

Since it is a truth, then, which every day's experience confirms, that “ man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards," of what consequence is it for all to possess a principle capable of affording us a remedy for all these ills? But though, perhaps,

there never was a time when the knowledge of religion was more extensively diffused or more universally professed; still it must be obvious to all, that such happy effects are by no means so inseparable an attendant upon its progress, as to make the reception of religion and peace of mind synonymous terms; as it is a subject of common complaint on the part of the candid, and a truth too plainly evidenced by the temper and feelings of many less open on the subject, that they do not find religion produce on their minds that happy effect, or exercise over them that powerful control which it was its distinguishing feature at its first promulgation to achieve.

That this cannot be the fault of religion, we have only to open our Bible to be assured of. As we there read our Lord's blessed promise, 66 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you," (John xiv. 27.) And by the apostle St. Paul we are assured, “ that sin shall not have dominion over us, who are not under the law, but under grace,” (Rom. vi. 14 ;) for that “ the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” (ch. i. ver. 16 ;) therefore, every one in whom it has fallen short of accomplishing these grand ends, cannot be in possession of the real truths of the Gospel, or must be able to find in themselves some palpable and selfevident explanation of the reason why they are defrauded of the inalienable legacy our Lord bequeathed to all who should become his disciples. This low state of things in common experience, though it often admits of the simplest solution by merely pointing at the life and habitual conduct of the individual—“ For he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments," saith St. John, 6 is a liar, and the truth is not in him;" yet, in so many cases, arises from a cause in which they are more to be pitied than blamed; namely, a perverted view of the truths given to us by him, “ who was anointed to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and to comfort all that mourn,” (Isa. Ixi. 1, 2;) that before we proceed to advert to cases where the blame rests with the persons themselves, we would endeavour to apply a remedy to yet commoner cases, where “ those faces are made sad, that God would not have made sad ;” (Ezek. xiii. 22 ;) by a mistaken apprehension, or defective knowledge of the truths of the Gospel. Though “ knowledge has increased,” according to Daniel's prediction of these latter days, the tide has not deepened as it has widened, a large proportion of people learning only so much of the fear of God as to keep them at a distance from all comfortable communion with

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