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him, nor parley with the tempter; but will readily answer, "Thus it is written.' It will be sufficient for him to know that God has forbidden this or that. Like a dutiful child, the will of his father is the guide of his conduct, and that alone will furnish sufficient motives for obedience. Thus it is written.
3. The spirit in which we endure affliction, will tend to discover the degree of religion we possess.-Affliction is the lot of man, as well as temptation; and we must all get through our difficulties in some way or other; but the manner in which we get through them will show whether we be strengthened with might in the inner man or not. If we faint in the day of adversity, our strength is small. If we be fretful, and murmur at the hand of God; if we sink under the burden, and wish in ourselves to die; we either have no religion at all, or possess it only in a small degree. Great grace would enable us to bear affliction with submission, and even to rejoice in tribulation. Primitive christians were destitute, afflicted, tormented; and yet how happy were they with their lot! They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake, and counted it all joy when they fell into divers temptations. Out of weakness they were made strong, and waxed valiant in fight thus they were more than conquerors through him that loved them.
4. The sense we entertain of our own weakness, is also a criterion of our being strengthened in the inner man.An apostle could say, 'When I am weak, then am I strong. To a worldly mind this may appear highly paradoxical, but a babe in Christ can understand it. When we have the greatest sense of our own insufficiency for what is good, and feel that we are nothing, and without Christ, can do nothing; then are we strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. But if we feel self-sufficient, confident, and disposed to lean to our own understanding; then are we weak indeed, and become an easy prey to the enemy. Peter was never so weak as when he
thought there was no danger of falling, and boldly said, 'Though all men should forsake thee, yet will not I.' Paul was never so strong as when he felt himself to be 'nothing.' When most sensible of our own insufficiency, we shall pray most for strength from heaven, and watch most against temptation; and by this means we shall be strengthened with strength in our souls.
II. We are led to notice the importance and desirableness of the blessing prayed for.
Paul would not have been so importunate in his request, if it had not been of the greatest importance that we should not only be christians indeed, but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But there are other reasons which might be offered.
1. The scriptures lay much stress on this, as tending to glorify God. Herein is my Father glorified,' says our Lord, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be my disciples.' Every field will bear some fruit, in the ordinary course of things: but it is to the more abundant honour of the husbandman when his field brings forth thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold. So it is not merely by our being christians, that God is glorified, but by our being eminent christians. Nor is this all: if we are desirous only of so much grace as may carry us safely to heaven, it is doubtful whether we shall ever arrive there at last. Abounding in the fruits of righteousness is considered by our Lord as essential to the very existence of true religion: for, says he,' so shall ye be my disciples.' Christ himself brought forth much fruit, and it is necessary that we resemble him.
2. Our usefulness depends much on our being strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.-If our souls be in a languishing state, what good can we do in the world? Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is hence
forth good for nothing. What good can we do in society, amongst our immediate connections, or in our families, but as we diffuse a savour of Christ? And how can this be done, if we ourselves have lost that savour, and are become lifeless and unfruitful in the ways of God. At the close of every day it becomes us to enquire, Has any one been improved by our conversation? Will any one think the better of Christ, from what they have heard or seen in us? Or have we been amongst men, merely as men of the world; and might they not say of us, what do you more than others? He who possesses much religion, will impart more or less of it to those about him: he will not make a show of it, yet it must be seen. There is that in the outward mien, the inward temper, and daily conversation of a man of genuine piety, which indicate that he has been with Jesus. The modesty of his countenance, the meekness and cheerfulness of his disposition, the sweet familiarity and seriousness of his intercourse with men, enliven the circle in which he moves, and recommend the religion which he professes.
III. The encouragement we have to pray, that we may be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, is intimated by the phrase, that the Lord would grant it, ' according to the riches of his glory.'
When men are both rich and generous, and willing to give to the necessitous according to their ability, it suggests a very powerful motive to solicit their assistance. But who can estimate the riches of God's goodness, and the boundless extent of his grace! And if he gives according to the riches of his glory,' what encouragement is here for prayer. Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, saith the Lord. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. Let us ask much, and we shall have much the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy. He who had but one talent, and went and hid it in the earth, lost it: but he
who had five talents, and went and traded with the same, gained five other talents. Men who live to God, and whose whole concern it is to promote his glory, shall find their sphere of usefulness enlarging with their activity, and that God is girding them with strength proportioned to their labours. Like their divine Master, their reward
is with them, and their work before them. To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly; but from him that hath not shall be taken away, even that which he hath.
EXPOSITION OF ZECHARIAH X. 4.
Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle-bow, out of him every oppressor together.
'Out of him,' namely, Judah. Judah had all along been a favoured tribe, from whence proceeded their governors, who were as 'corner stones' in the building; as 'nails,' on which was suspended the glory of the nation; as 'battle-bows' for annoying the enemy, and preserving order at home. See Isai. xxii. 23, 24. The word wa signifies, to oblige to perform work, or to pay money, either by right or by power. Here it manifestly denotes a legal exaction, and therefore ought not to have been rendered oppressor.'
Out of Judah also should proceed the Messiah, the greatest of all rulers, in whom all these characters are united: and it seems to be of his reign that the passage speaks, and out of regard to him that God would visit his ancient flock, and have mercy upon them, and cause them to be as though he had not cast them off.
INTERVIEW WITH THE REV. JOHN BERRIDGE.
BRIEF notice has already been taken of this gratifying interview:* but as Mr. Fuller himself has detailed the particulars, it will not be unacceptable to the reader, to find the article classed with his miscellaneous papers, especially as it contains much interesting novelty.
As soon as we were seated, says Mr. Fuller, I requested Mr. Berridge to favour us with a few outlines of his life and ministry. The venerable old man then observed, Soon after I began to preach the gospel of Christ at Everton, the church was filled from the villages around us, and the neighbouring clergy felt themselves hurt at seeing their churches deserted. The squire of my own parish too was much offended. He did not like to see so many strangers, and to be so incommoded. Between them both it was resolved, if possible, to turn me out of my living. For this purpose, they complained of me to the bishop of the diocese, that I had preached out of my own parish. I was soon after sent for by the bishop. I did not much like my errand, but I went.
When I arrived, the bishop accosted me in a very abrupt manner. Well, Berridge, they tell me you go about preaching out of your own parish. Did I institute you to other livings? No, my lord, said I; neither do I claim those livings; the clergymen enjoy them undisturbed by me. Well, but you go and preach there, which you have no right to do. It is true, my lord, I was one day at En, and there were a few poor people assembled together, and I admonished them to repent of their sins, and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation; and
* Morris's Memoirs of Mr. Fuller, p. 44, new edition.