Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

SEEM. IX.1 THE ifIDDEN LIFE OF A CREISTIALV. 161 and his public honours, till the dawn of that glorious morning. Nor shouldwedare to be censorious of thosewhomake a poor figure, and but mean appearance in the world; perhaps they are some of Christ's hidden ones; they pro- mise but little, and shew but little either wit or parts, prudence or power, skill or influence; and perhaps they have but little too ; but they know God, they trust in Christ, they live a divine life, and have glorious com- munications from heaven in secret daily, they make daily visits to the court of glory, and are visited by conde- scending grace. r: You see in all these instances, that popularity and shew are not at all necessary for a christian. V. Inference. How exceeding difficult is it for those who are exalted to great and public stations in the world to maintain lively christianity ! They have need of great and uncommon degrees of grace to maintain this hidden life. How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God ! These are our Saviour's own words; Mark x. 23. and he gave this reason for it, ver. 24. because it is so hard for those that have riches not to trust in them, not to live entirely upon them, and make them their very life. How hard is it for men in high posts of honour, to take due care that their gráces thrive, while they are all day engaged, either in the fatigues of office, in state and pomp of their own, or in everlasting attendances on the will of some superior; so that they have fewmoments in a day, wherein they are capable of retiring, and holding any converse with'themselves or with heaven. But O ! how pleasant is it to such as are advanced in the providence of God, and havea value for their hid- den life, to steal an hour of retirement from the burden of their public cares ! How sweet is the recovery of a few minutes, and how well filled up with active devo- tion ! The secret life of a christian grows much in the closet, and without a retreat from the world it cannot grow. Abandon the secret chamber, and the spiritual life will decay : Doubtless many of you can witness that you have found it so ; and your own mournful experi- ence echoes to the words of our ministry in this point. There was 'an ancient philosopher, who, when he had vòL. I. at