Page images

33 all his inftruments and agents, are under the government of God. He fets bounds to their rage, and will not fuffer them to go fo much as one hairs breadth beyond the limits he hath appointed for them. How great then must be the fecurity of thofe who put their trust in him? Again,

2. Confider his faithful promife; he hath faid it, he hath repeated it, he hath fworn it, that his covenant shall stand fast for ever. Every page of the facred oracles is full of the most gracious affurances; and thefe expreffed in the most condescending terms. Pfal. xci. 1,-4. 'He that dwelleth in the fecret ' place of the Moft High, fhall abide under the fha'dow of the Almighty. I will fay of the Lord, he is 'my refuge and my fortrefs; my God, in him will I truft. Surely he fhall deliver thee from the fnare of the fowler, and from the noisome peftilence. 'He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his I wings fhalt thou truft: his truth fhall be thy fhield and buckler. Zech. ii. 8. He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye.' Nay, the very minifters of his providence are your attendants. Pfal. xci. 11. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.'

[ocr errors]

3. Confider the experience of the faints; they all, with one voice, bear their teftimony to the divine faithfulness and mercy. It is with this particular view that the Pfalmift fays, in that forecited text, Pfal. ix, 10. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, haft not for'faken them that feek thee.' And indeed in every age, Christians of standing and experience are ready

to give their fanction to the certainty of God's promifes, and will often confefs the greatnefs of his past mercy, even while they are chiding their own impatience and diftruft, that it can fcarcely fuffice to embolden them for future duty, and prepare them for future trials.

IV. I come now, in the laft place, to make fome practical improvement of what hath been said. And, first, From what hath been faid, you may see the finfulness of diftruft. Has God laid fo noble a foundation for our dependence upon him; and are we ftill fo backward to the duty? Is not distruft in fome measure a denial of God himself? A denial of his prefence, a denial of his perfections, and difbelief of his promifes? Let us all be covered with fhame, when we confider how much we have already difhonoured him, in this refpect. And let us pray, that he may enable us henceforward not only to fend up our cries to heaven, for relief in diftrefs, but to cast our cares and burdens upon the Lord, in the faith that he will sustain us, that he will never fuffer the righteous to be moved.'

2. You may fee the remedy of distrust, which is, to be more and more acquainted with the name of God. Contemplate his glory in the visible creation: he may be seen not only in his fpreading out the heavens like a curtain, but in the formation of the meanest creature; in a pile of grafs, or in a grain of fand. While you are daily tasting his gifts, forget not to acknowledge his bounty, in the rising fun, the growing corn, and the falling rain. Think

of his faithful word, read his promises, lay them up in your memories, write them in your hearts; and especially, the exceeding great and precious promifes of the everlasting gofpel, which may be yours, which you are entreated to accept as yours, and if they be not yours, you fhall render an account to himself at the laft day, for receiving them in vain.- -Think alfo of his provi

dence, all you have seen, and all you have felt, of preferving goodness, and of redeeming grace; and continue to cleave to him as your portion, in the Pfalmift's words, Pfal. xlviii. 14. • This • God is our God, for ever and ever, he will be our guide even unto death.'

3. In the laft place, learn from hence, what is the fureft and fhorteft, and indeed, the only fafe way of deliverance from fuffering. Flee to God as your strong tower, by prayer and fupplication: but with this, endeavour by the renewed exercife of faith in your redeemer's blood, to ascertain your title to the favour of God; endeavour by a ftedfaft adherence to your duty, to commit your ways to God; and fo foon, and fo far, as you have good ground to know that you are his children, you ought to refift and banish every doubt of your fecurity. Rom. viii. 28. And we know, that all things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are the called according to his purpose. Verfe 32. of the fame chapter. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him for us all, how shall he not with him alfo free⚫ly give us all things.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




The object of a Chriftian's defire in religious worship.

EXODUS Xxxiii. 18.

And he faid, I beseech thee, fhew me thy glory.

HESE are the words of an Old Testament


faint; of that Mofes, who, as a fervant, was faithful over all the houfe of God. True piety is the fame in fubftance in all ages, and points at one thing as its centre and its reft, the knowledge and enjoyment of God. In the preceding verfes, Mofes had been employed in earnest prayer and interceffion for the people of Ifrael. He had met with fuccefs and acceptance in thefe requests; for it is faid, in the 14. verfe, My prefence fhall go with thee, and I will give thee reft. And in the 17th, And the Lord faid unto Mofes, I will do this thing alfo that thou haft fpoken; for thou haft found grace in my fight, and I know thee by name.' The condefcenfion of a gracious God, though it fatisfies, does not extinguish the defires

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ser. 2. The object of a Chriftian's defire, &c. 37

of his faints, but rather makes them more ardent and importunate; for he immediately adds, in the words of the text, I beseech thee, fhew me thy glory. It is highly probable, from what follows, that this defire included more than was proper for the prefent ftate; yet fuch a difcovery as was poffible, or could be useful to him, is graciously promifed, And he faid, I will make all my goodnefs pafs be'fore thee; and I will proclaim the name of the 'Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom 'I will be gracious, and will fhew mercy on whom I will fhew mercy.'

My dear brethren, it is our distinguished privilege, that we have daily unmolefted accefs to the houfe and ordinances of God. We ought to rejoice, that we have fo many clear and exprefs promifes of the divine prefence, in New Teftament worship. But what caufe have we to be afhamed, that we are so exceeding prone to ftop fhort in the threshold, to content ourselves with the mere form, instead of earnestly breathing after real, inward, and fenfible communion with God? I have therefore chofen this fubject, in the view of that folemn ordinance, The Lord's Supper, where we have a fenfible reprefentation of Chrift crucified, the great mean of our accefs to God, that we may ferve him on that occafion particularly, and the remaining part of our lives habitually, in fpirit and in truth. And, Oh, that we may have daily more experience of the fweetnefs and benefit of his fervice on earth! and may daily long more for that time, when/we


« PreviousContinue »