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comes within its course. Such a visitation would be fatal to the well-springs, and therefore to guard against it, the mouths of the wells are carefully closed, and opened only at certain seasons. Thus when Jacob desired the people of Haran to water their sheep, they answered, "we cannot until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth 1."
And is not the well of water that is within us, exposed to danger closely resembling this? Is the whole heart of man ever thoroughly subdued by grace? Are there not always some dry, harsh, indomitable spots, upon which the dew of the divine blessing distils in vain? If so, there is always danger, lest some sudden whirlwind of passion should carry the pollution, and defilement, and desolation, of the natural barrenness, into those happier portions which have been redeemed by grace.
To avoid this peril, we must close up the entrance of our well. We must op
1 Gen. xxix. 8.
pose to the evil which threatens us, strong resolutions, unwearied watchfulness, and earnest prayer.
But these wells of the wilderness were open to another danger. The country in which they are found, was not unfrequently the seat of war: and then a retiring enemy might break down their defences and destroy them, or poison the water they contained. You must perceive at once, my brethren, that the well of life in our hearts is exposed to a similar peril. Are not our hearts the seat of war; of a warfare more deadly and more incessant than was ever waged in the outward world? Does not the flesh lust against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh? And has not the spirit one great adversary, the flesh one fatal ally, who is ever at hand to break down. all the works of grace, or to poison the very fountain of them by some base alloy of earthly carnal appetite? And in this difficulty, and against this evil, what is our remedy? During the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness;
when they were fainting by the way side, and falling under the effects of raging thirst, a fountain was discovered; "but they could not drink of its waters for they were bitter. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet 1." And so let us cry unto the Lord, and he will show us a tree by which all our spiritual wants and losses may be repaired and supplied; even that tree on which He was hanged, who died to free us from the punishment of sin, and rose again to endue us with grace, by which to resist its power.
"The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." Are we not prepared to join in this petition? Are we not eager to pray," Lord, give me this water in such free and abundant supplies, that I thirst no more after the vain and empty
Exodus xv. 25.
joys of this world, those delusions of the desert which promise refreshment, but disappear as the fainting traveller draws nigh; but that I fix my desires on those rivers of pleasure which are at thy right hand for evermore, and as a foretaste and help to the fuller enjoyment of which, the dew of thy blessing descends upon us while yet upon earth. Lord, give me this water, that I draw not any longer at springs which are at one time choked by passion, at another poisoned and polluted by Satan and sin; but grant that their source within me may be so purified, their supply so abundant, and their course so secured, that they may really be in me, and in all who partake of them, "a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Grant this, O Lord, for the sake of Him who is the only fountain of all grace and goodness, thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
SINS OF THE THOUGHTS.
MATT. xii. 25.
And Jesus knew their thoughts.
It is generally supposed, I believe, among men most capable of forming an opinion, that there is no substance, however close and solid, which is not in some degree pervious to light. The beams may not penetrate in such quantity as to be perceptible to our organs—the body may be to our eyes altogether dark and opaque, but still, though unperceived and unrecognized, the subtle ray is there. Even thus it is with "that true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was, in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world