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FOR THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

BROTHER BEEBE: – In contemplating the loving kindness and mercy of our great High Priest, the Captain of our salvation, and the love, wherewith he hath loved us; I have been led into the following reflections, which I will present to your readers; believing that it is a theme they delight to dwell upon, and that the lisping of a child on this subject is oftentimes listened to with joy by the fathers in Israel. In the song of Moses, Deut. xxxii. 9,10; “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him s the apple of his eye.” He hath evidently set his love upon him, and he is become an object of his care. “He found him in a desert land,” a barren uncultivated waste, destitute of life, or vegetation; a vast deluge of sand, receiving from time to time, the cheering, reviving influences of the sun, and the enriching showers of heaven, and burying them in its bosom; but producing neither sustenance for man or beast: not yielding even a flower, or plant, or blade of grass, to speak forth the praise of the Creator and bear testimony to his goodness; but one continued scene of desolation, and an everlasting waste; swept over by pestilential winds, so that no man may pass that way. “And in the waste howling wilderness,” in which the curse reigns in triumph; briers and thorns are the produce of the ground. Venomous serpents and ferocious beasts of prey range here uncontrolled. It is the habitation of dragons, and the dwelling place of every unclean and hateful bird.” Here are found the cormorant and the bittern, the owl and the raven, the satyr also and the vulture. The lion’s whelps are also found here, the asp, and the cockatrice: they have long roamed here undisturbed: they have possessed it from generation to generation. Here then we may behold a picture of ourselves. Every child of grace, I think, may here find a sketch of his own character. How apt is the figure! How striking the similitude! It is every way worthy of its divine author. This is the place where we trust the Lord found us: living upon his bounty, and enjoying his choicest temporal blessings, and never once thinking of the hand that supplied them; witnessing his protecting care over us as a nation, in rescuing us from the thraldom of a foreign yoke, and preserving unto us civil and religious liberty; and still remaining barren and desolate, never once raising a thought of gratitude to the author of every blessing: sitting under the droppings of his sanctuary, from time to time, and hearing the threatenings of his law, and the promises of his gospel, alike unmoved, and destitute of spiritual life; death and desolation reigning throughout; “Fearing not God, neither obeying the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The ministration of his word produding no other effect, than to call forth the enmity of the corrupt nature, and arousing the evil passions of our hearts, like devouring beasts of prey, against the Lord and his truth; and against those, who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” But O how the scene changes, when the Lord finds the individual! When divine grace is implanted, and he is awakened to a sense of his situation, condemned under the law, and fast going down to the pit, to reap the wages of iniquity; in the last agonies of despair, the arm of the Almighty is extended to rescue him, and he is enabled to hope in his mercy, and to find a full salvation in the Lord Jesus: then is this “Wilderness and solitary place made glad,” and the “Desert rejoices and blossoms like the rose.” A portion of those living waters which went out from Jerusalem has been caused to breath forth, “For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Now does this barren waste, become fruitful. Now does the soul rejoice in the Lord, and delight to show forth his praise. “The parched ground has become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.” The various beauties and excellencies of creation will scarcely furnish fit emblems to paint the glories of redemption. The graces of the Spirit are now made manifest, in such poor frail vessels of clay, that the excellency of power may be of God and not of us. “He led him about, he instructed him,” O how precious to the renewed soul is the teaching of the Spirit. He is made more and more acquainted with his own vileness and corruptions, and is led more and more away from himself, and all creature confidence, to that fulness, and sufficiency, of grace and salvation, which is treasured up in the Divine Redeemer. And when enjoying the witness of the Spirit, that we have passed from death unto life, and are made acquainted with our interest in that inheritance, which is incorruptible, and undefiled; then it is that the desert of which we have been speaking, “Blossoms abundantly, and rejoices ever with joy and singing.” It now begins to manifest to the world that the individual “has been with Jesus.” The Spirit of Christ will be seen in him, and in the fruit that he bears. “The glory of Lebanon is now given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon.” “In the habitation of dragons, where each lay, is now found grass, with reeds and rushes.” Where sin hath abounded, doth grace much more abound; in the place where sin reigned unto death, behold now how grace reigns! This scene of desolation, this habitation of serpents, has become the garden of the Lord. The plants are the planting of his right hand. Instead of the torn appears the fir tree; the vine also, and the pomegranate are found here; camphor and spikenard: it abounds also in honey and milk and all manner of pleasant fruits. The apostle Paul informs us, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, &c. May we not in this fruit see portrayed the glorious character of Christ? Do we bear any of this precious fruit? These are evidences of a work of grace. But this is a kind of fruit, that does not appear much to public view, it is hidden from the gaze of the world, enclosed within the pales of the garden. Widely different is it, from the fruit produced by the false professor, what is highly esteemed among men; but it exalts the character of the Redeemer, and renders the objects of his love more like himself. When these graces are manifest in his church, and abound, hear him exclaim, “Awake O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.” But O how black and deformed are we in ourselves! How shall we lay claim to such heavenly blessings? It is the voice of our beloved; and when arrayed in the robe of his righteousness, then behold how beautiful! “A foundtain of gardens, a well of living wates, and streams from Lebanon.”

E RITTENHOUSE.
Kingwood N.J., Sept. 8, 1847

Signs of the Times
Volume 15, No. 19
October 1, 1847