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find at hand the word of consolation which he needs not now? “Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off.” Lastly, in treating largely of the inward conflicts of souls vehemently assaulted by the adversary, and which require to be preserved from despondency, I have been really myself ; for I have spoken of what I have seen with my eyes and what my hands have handled. Now I think that every one, in order to be sincere, and to have the blessing of God upon his labours, ought to continue himself, and that the preaching of every minister to be natural, ought to be characterized by the tinge of his own hidden life. Let those who habitually walk along an easy path by the side of still waters, describe in their preaching the Christian's joys and triumphs: they do well; that is the gift bestowed upon them; let them praise the Lord for it, and keep themselves humble. As for me, since I know the spiritual life more in its conflicts than in its enjoyments, and may call myself with Jeremiah, in a certain sense, "a man of contentions," I shoald have been guilty of deception had I sought to give a different shade to my meditations. . The ways through which it has pleased the Lord, always wise, and just, and good, to cause me to pass, have fitted me to unfold to others the deceitfulness of the heart and the devices of Satan, and also to point out to weak souls some of the lowest branches of the Tree of Life, which graciously hang down near the ground to meet the hand of those who are at the lowest grade of spirituality. This is the gift allotted to me; I must not turn aside from it for fear of boasting in that which is beyond my measure.
May the Lord, who distributes to each his gifts according to his own will, be pleased to bless those meditations with that blessing which is suitable to them. If by his grace they comfort any of those precious souls which are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or enlighten them respecting their own hearts, let all the glory be given to Him whose blessing alone it is that maketh rich! I shall make of those who may receive any good by their means, the same request that I made in the preface of my former
work, namely, to render me again this good by praying for me and for my family. If any one of those to whom I then made this request, and who has been induced to comply with it, should happen to read what I now write, let him know for his encouragement, that his prayers have not been in vain : that in my bodily and spiritual weakness I have been wonderfully supported from moment to moment, and that the grace of God has not left itself without witness among my family. The Lord, who gives and who takes away, has deemed it fit to take to himself one of my dear children, in his eighth year. But, glory be to his name, he has been pleased to let me see in this dear child, before he took him, marks of faith which have given me great consolation. Though my heart still bleeds when I think of the last painful conflict in which dust returned to dust, I can rejoice in the comfortable thought, that that happy soul, “washed, justified, sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” has early left the misery of this mortal life, and rests in peace until the day when
“dead men shall live, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Glory to God through Jesus Christ. Peace through the Holy Ghost, be with every one who reads these lines.
The Author of these Meditations is well aware that as no one in the present day can call himself inspired in the sense in which those were who wrote the Word of God, so no one who now unders takes to expound any part of the Sacred Volume, ought to presume to think that what he has written is altogether free from error, or wish to be taken as an infallible guide. He there. fore begs the reader of these Meditations to compare them with the Scriptures to see that all their contents are conformable thereto. Although he is sure he has not erred with respect to those doctrines which are the foundation of Salvation, he believes that he may have mistaken the mind of the Spirit in some particular passages, and he would deeply regret that his authority should lead others into error. He therefore begs of each reader to examine the Word of God for himself upon each point, and he requests of