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brethren, when the affections of the believer have been warmed with the recollection of God's goodness; when he has been engaged in the duty of thanksgiving, and soliciting God to impart to him still greater manifestations of his love; when, like Bartimeus, he sat by the highway side of the Gospel, panting after God as the hart panteth for the water-brook; at such a season the Almighty has so effectually dispelled his fears, that tears of gratitude and love have flowed from his eyes, and his soul has enjoyed a foretaste of that rest which remaineth for the people of God.

Let not such a view of the believer's privileges be considered visionary; for the Redeemer has said, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." It is this manifestation of the love of Christ to the believer, of which I am speaking—a manifestation arising from a belief in the promises of God, and the application of those promises to himself. It is that principle which excites a glow of happiness in the breast of those who live in the performance of their Christian duties; it is the production of that Spirit which witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God. To possess this invaluable blessing, we must follow Jesus in the way, and never be weary in well-doing.

By calling to mind the mercies we have received at the hands of the Almighty, we shall perceive that the debt of gratitude we owe to heaven, merits the warmest returns of devotion. How often hath our Heavenly Father rescued us from the abyss of distress! When some beloved member of our family has been afflicted; when we ourselves have been plunged in tribulation, or confined to the bed of sickness; and when that tribulation or sickness has been so sore that every door of relief appeared to be closed against us, God has mercifully interposed, restored us to health, changed the desert of our sorrows into a well cultivated field, and made the rock of our affliction to yield us the waters of comfort and joy; when with our hearts we

have offered up a prayer expressive of our griefs, that prayer has ascended before the throne of God, and obtained a compassionate hearing; the angel of mercy has visited us, and the darkness of affliction has been succeeded by a day of serenity and peace. Our minds, in those moments, were no strangers to gratitude; the feelings of our hearts were honourable to us as men and as Christians; and with Bartimeus, we not only experienced the wish, but we nobly resolved to follow Jesus in the way. Let us carry our virtuous resolutions, my brethren, into full effect; "Let us pay our vows unto the Lord, in the presence of all his people: in the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of Jerusalem, praise the Lord."

Finally; We may gather from the history of Bartimeus the blessings we may expect from an attendance upon the instituted means of grace. Bartimeus was sitting by the highway side, the path in which the Redeemer was journeying on his return from Jericho; and while in that situation, the only Physician who was qualified to remove his blindness appeared to his relief, and granted him that boon for which he had sought for years from other sources, and sought in vain. His supplication found its way to the ear of the Redeemer, and vision was imparted to the sufferer. However blind man by nature is to spiritual things, and however insensible to the value of religious reflection and evangelical truth, let him attend upon the means of grace, and the stated services of the Church, and he may with propriety expect that sooner or later the Redeemer will appear to his relief-remove his blindness-bless him with spiritual vision-give him a new heart-and influence him to follow Jesus in the way of duty. The path of duty, my beloved, is the path of safety; put yourselves, therefore, in the way of his blessing; adopt the language of Bartimeus

"Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on us!" and while the cry for assistance is burning on your lips, the Lord Jesus will hear your prayer, give you an understanding heart, and render the ways of religion the ways of pleasantness, and her paths the paths of peace.


"The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed; and Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."-EXODUS, iii. 2, 3.

WHEN the shepherds were engaged in watching over their flocks, upon the plains of Bethlehem, the Almighty discovered to them the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ: and put them in the possession of those directions, by the light of which they were conducted to his immediate presence. So in the instance before us, Moses was engaged in the same employment, keeping the flock of Jethro and leading them to feed in those places in which the pasture was most luxuriant and abundant.

Sometimes indeed an instance occurs, in which Jehovah reveals himself to those who are in open hostility with heaven, and engaged in sin of the most heinous nature. This was the case with Saul of Tarsus; he was arrested

by the power of divine grace, at a time in which he was endeavouring to subvert the kingdom of the Redeemer, and to dethrone the precious Lamb of God. But in general, brethren, mortals are more frequently blessed with divine illumination, when occupied in their proper calling; or when sitting like Bartimeus, by the highway side of the Gospel. What an insignificance does the revelation which God was pleased to make to Moses at Horeb, stamp upon earthly grandeur! The first forty years of his life were spent at Pharaoh's court, in which he occupied one of the

chief seats in the palace of that monarch, and was distinguished as a prince! Still notwithstanding his elevated rank, no particular discoveries of the divine intention with respect to Israel were made to him. They were reserved for a moment, in which he was to fill one of the most humble stations in human life, the shepherd of his father's flock. Retirement, my beloved hearers, is friendly to a communion with God! It is then that our passions are calm, and we are best prepared to cultivate an acquaintance with the Father of our spirits. At a moment like this, when surrounded by the sheep which were feeding near Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and delegated him to deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and to conduct them through the wilderness to the promised land. At that period he no doubt expected to have continued in his humble employment until death should have introduced him into the presence of God. Let those, therefore, whose situations are not as elevated as many who perhaps may be less meritorious, rest contented until God shall be pleased to call them to more conspicuous stations, and to place them where their usefulness may be more extensively beneficial.

In the elucidation of this subject, I shall show you in the first place, what was intended by the burning bush. Secondly, account for the miracle which it exhibited; and then close with some practical inferences. I am therefore to show you, in the first place, what was intended by the burning bush. The state and condition of the afflicted Israelites was no doubt represented under this similitude.— The oppression under which they laboured was very great, and no effort which could conduce to their destruction was left untried by their tyrannic masters. They made their lives bitter with hard bondage, and all the service wherein they made them to serve, was marked with the most extreme rigor and despotism." So far were they from opposing the commands of those to whom they were subject, that they peacefully yielded to all the burthens imposed upon them; indeed they possessed no more ability to resist their


enemies, than a thorny bush has to resist the action of surrounding flames. Still, notwithstanding these things, they were not only preserved, but absolutely increased in numbers; for in proportion to the persecutions with which they had to struggle, they multiplied and grew. Again, the Church of God in the world is also represented under the similitude of the burning bush. The Christian Church, at the period of its first establishment, was overwhelmed with the most severe persecutions; the Lord Jesus Christ, its celestial founder, with almost all his family of disciples, suffered death in the promotion of the important cause in which they had embarked: but although the bush was literally in a flame during the time alluded to, it was not consumed. Christianity spread the most when labouring under the greatest oppression. The blood of the Martyrs has ever proved the seed of the Church. They who in the different ages since its establishment have taken counsel against the Lord, and against his anointed, have uniformly found that they have imagined a vain thing; and we are confident in asserting that though all the powers of the world should unite to effect its destruction, they would be foiled in their attempts; "the Lord would laugh them to scorn; Jehovah would hold them in derision." The Almighty has established his Son upon the hill of Zion, and before him every knee shall bow, and unto him shall every tongue confess. Again,-the similitude of the burning bush is expressive of the experience of every true believer. At the first view of the experience of the faithful follower of the Saviour, we might be induced to think that his life would form one continued scene of enjoyment, that no troubles would impede his progress, no calamities mark his life. But when we reflect upon those effects arising from prosperity, and observe the consequences attendant upon an exemption from distress; when we observe that prosperity attaches man to the world, and renders him forgetful of his Maker, we then see that affliction is an evidence of the love of God; a proof that we are not forgotten by our heavenly Father. Yes, when the hand of the Almighty

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