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ministry of holy Mr. Gifford, whose teaching by God's grace was much for my stability." It is precisely such teaching as he at this season needs. "That man made it much his business," he says, "to deliver the people of God from all those hard and unsound tests, which by nature we are prone to. He would bid us take special heed that we took not any truth upon trust, as from this, or that, or any other man or men, but cry mightily unto God that He would convince us of the reality thereof, and would set us down therein by His own Spirit in the holy Word; for,' said he, if you do otherwise, when temptations come strongly upon you,—you, not having received them with evidence from heaven, will find you want that help and strength now to resist, which once you thought you had.'" This is "as seasonable to his soul as the former and latter rain in their season:" wherefore he prays, that, in "nothing which pertains to God's glory and to his own eternal happiness, will He suffer him to be without the confirmation thereof from heaven;" for now he "sees clearly, there is an exceeding difference betwixt the notion of the flesh and blood, and the revelation of God in heaven-also a great difference betwixt that faith which is feigned and according to man's wisdom, and that which comes from a man's being born thereto of God."


"His beams shall cheer my breast; and both so twine,
Till even His beams sing, and my music shine."

Cowper-The balm-" Led from truth to truth"-Nothing at secondhand-The only Teacher-Assurance-A scene at Erfurth-Luther and Bunyan-Fears within-A pattern-Temptation.

THE poet Cowper was not uttering an unfelt joy, when he wrote

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Scripture is the only cure of woe.
That field of promise, how it flings abroad
Its odor o'er the Christian's thorny road!
The soul, reposing on assured relief,

Feels herself happy amidst all her grief."

Bunyan now, with a kindred joy, ponders, day by day, the sacred page. "Oh! how my soul," he says,


was led from truth to truth! There was not anything which I then cried to God to make known to me but He was pleased to do it for me— -I mean, not one part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus but I was orderly led into it."

And he adds—" Methought I was as if I had seen Him born-as if I had seen Him grow up-as if I had seen Him walk through this world from the cradle to the cross, to which also when He came, I

saw how gently He gave Himself to be nailed on it for my sins and wicked doing. I have seen also as if He had leaped out of the grave's mouth, for joy that He was risen again and had got the conquest over our dreadful foes, saying, 'I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.' I have likewise in the spirit seen Him a Man on the right hand of God the Father for me, and have seen the manner of His coming from heaven to judge the world with glory."

Bunyan takes nothing at second-hand. If ever a man's faith was "established, not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God," it is his. "Truly in those days," he writes, "let men say what they would, unless I had it with evidence from heaven, all was nothing to me-I counted myself not set down in any truth of God. It would be too long to tell in particular how God did set me down in all the things of Christ, and how He did, that He might do so, lead me into His words; yea, and also how He did open them unto me, and make them shine before me, and cause them dwell with me, talk with me, and comfort me over and over. Oh, friends, cry to God to reveal Jesus Christ unto you; there is none teacheth like Him."

Herbert once wrote:

"Why do I languish thus, drooping and dull,
As if I were all of earth?

Oh! give me quickness, that I may with mirth
Praise thee brim-full."

The seer of Bedford, also, growing in heavenliness, feels how imperfect and "in part" is all here. Often does he "long and desire that the last day were come, that he may be for ever inflamed with the sight and joy and communion with Him whose head was crowned with thorns, whose face was spit upon, and body broken, and soul made an offering, for our sins." For, "whereas before," he says, "I lay continually trembling at the mouth of hell—now, methought, I was got so far therefrom that, when I looked back, I could scarce discern it. And, oh! thought I, that I were fourscore years old now, that I might die quickly, that my soul might be gone to


In the town of Erfurth, a century previous, there might have been seen, in the library of its Augustinian monastery, a grave earnest man, poring for days and weeks together over a Bible chained to a reading-desk, and hitherto a sealed book. It is Martin Luther, inquiring of God, "What shall I do to be saved?" Deep and mysterious are the struggles in that strong heart. But light arises; and masses, austerities, bead-rolls, penances, strivings, frames, "weighed and found wanting," give place to the righteousness of Jesus, bestowed as a free gift, and received by faith alone. Taught his theology thus at the feet of Christ, the monk goes forth among his fellows, uttering in tones of thunder the great secret of his own joyous hope.

Bunyan is "greatly longing to see some ancient

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godly man's experience," when "God casts into his hand one day a book so old that it is ready to fall piece from piece if he but turn it over." The book is "Luther on the Galatians." "Perusing it but a little way," he finds his own condition so largely and so profoundly handled, that the book might have been written out of his heart." "Besides," says he, "it doth most gravely debate of the rise of these temptations, namely, blasphemy, desperation, and the like; showing that the law of Moses-as well as the devil, death, and hell-hath a very great hand therein." "The which at first is very strange" to him; but, "considering and watching," he "finds it so indeed."

Bunyan and Luther were cast in moulds not unlike; and the period when they met—not in personal, indeed, but in mutual and spiritual conversemay be regarded as the era which gave to Bunyan's practical theology its type of broad common-sense, and of plain-spoken dealing with the human conscience and the human heart. "Of particulars here," he says, expressing his own sense of his deep sympathy with the great Reformer, "I intend nothing; only this, methinks, I must let fall before all men-I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians (excepting the Holy Bible) before all the books which ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience."

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