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you, is your convoy to accompany and fecure you, till it fee you fafe into your harbour of eternal rest.
(2.) You have heard how the care of God is engaged for you by promife; now fee how it actuates, and exerts itself for the people of God in the various methods of providence; and here, oh here is the fweeteft pleasure of the Chriftian life, a delight far transcending all the delights of this life. Sit down Chriftian in this chamber alfo, and make but fuch obfervations upon the care of thy God as follow; and then tell me whether the world, with all its pleasures and delights, can give thee fuch another entertainment.
1. Reflect upon the conftant, sweet, and fuitable provisions, that from time to time have been prepared for thee, and thine, by this care of thy God; from whencefoever thy wants did come, I am fure from hence came thy fupplies, it hath enabled thee to return the fame answer the difciples did to that question, Luke xxii. 35. "Lacked ye any thing, and they said nothing."
2. Reflect with admiration upon the various difficulties of your lives, wherein your thoughts have been entangled, and out of which you have been extricated and delivered by the care of God over you; how oft have your thoughts been like a ravelled fkeyn of filk, fo entangled and perplexed with the difficulties and fears before you, that you could find no end, but the longer you thought, the more you were puzzied, till you have left thinking, and fell to praying; and there you have found the right end to wind up all your thoughts upon the bottom of peace and fweet contentment, according to that direction, Pfal. xxxvii. 5. "Commit thy way unto the Lord, truft also in "him, and he shall bring it to pafs."
3. Obferve, with a melting heart, how the care of thy God harh difpofed and directed thy way to unforeseen advantages: Had he not ordered thy fteps when, and as he did, thou hadst not been in poffeffion of thofe temporal and fpiritual mercies that fweeten thy life at this day. Surely the steps of good men are ordered by the Lord and as for thee, Chriftian, what reafon haft thou, with an heart overflowing with love and thankfulness, to look up and fay, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth? It is fweet to live by faith upon divine care. Oh what a ferene life might we live, careful for nothing, but making known our requests unto God in every thing, Phil. iv. 6. cafting all our care on him that careth for us, 1 Pet. v. 7. perplexing our thoughts about nothing, but rolling every burden apon godly faith. Thus lived holy Mufculus, when reduced to
extreme poverty and danger at the fame time; then it was that he folaced his foul with that comfortable diftich, a good Jeffon for others;
Eft Deus in caelis, qui providus omnia curat,
i. e. There is a God above, who, as he provides for, and takes care of all, can never forfake thofe that believe in him.
The provident care of his heavenly Father, made his heart as quiet as the child at the breaft. Chriftian, thou knoweft not what distressful days are coming upon the earth, nor what perfonal trials fhall befal thee in this world; but I advise thee, as thou valueft the tranquility and comfort of thy life, shut up thyfelf by faith in this chamber of divine care; it is thy beft fecurity in this world: Reflect frequently, and thankfully, upon the manifold fupports, fupplies, and falvations thou haft already had from this fountain of mercies, and be not difcou raged at new difficulties. When an eminent Chriftian was told of fome that way-laid him, to deftroy him, his answer was, Si Deus mei curam non habet, quid vivo? In like manner thou mayft fay, if God had not taken care for thee, how couldst thou have lived till now? how couldst thou have o ver-lived fo many troubles, fears, and dangers as thou haft done?
CHA P. XI.
Opening the fixth and laft chamber, viz. The love of God, as a reft ing-place to believing fouls in evil times.
HOUGH all the attributes in the name or cham
TH Tbers of this houfe of God are glorious and excellent, yet this of love is tranfcendently glorious: Of this room it may be faid as it was of Solomon's royal chariot, Cant. iii. 10. "The midft thereof is paved with love." In this attribute the glory of God is fignally and eminently manifested, 1 John iv. 9, 10. And upon this foundation the hopes and comforts of all believers are built, and founded, Rom. viii. 35. "Who fhall
separate us from the love of Chrift? Shall tribulation, or dif"trefs, or perfecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or "fword?" He defies and defpises them all, because neither of them alone, nor altogether by their united strength, can unclafp the arms of divine love, in which believers are fafely enfolded. In this attribute God's people, by faith, entrench themselves,
and of it a believer faith, Hic murus aheneus efto, this hall be my strong-hold and fortrefs in the day of trouble. And well may we fo esteem and reckon it, if we confider,
1. That wherever the fpecial love of God goes, there the fpecial prefence of God goes alfo, John xiv. 23. "He fhall "be loved of my Father, and we will come unto him, and make "our abode with him." And O how fecure and fafe must those be (however times govern) with whom God himself maketh his abode? For as the Pfalmift speaks, Pfal. xci. 1. "He that "dwells in the fecret place of the Moft High, thall abide under "the shadow of the Almighty." And he that is over-fhadowed by an almighty power, need not fear how many mighty enemies combine against him.
2. Wherever the special love of God is placed, that person becomes precious and highly valuable in the eyes of God; he appretiates and eftimates fuch a man as his peculiar treasure, which naturally and neceffarily draws and fpreads the wing of divine care over him for his protection, Deut. xxxiii. 12. "The "beloved of the Lord fhall dwell in fafety by him, and the Lord "fhall cover him all the day long." Things of greatest value are always kept in fafeft cuftody.
3. Upon whomfoever the special love of God is fet, there all events and iffues of troubles are fure to be over-ruled to the eternal advantage of that foul, Rom. viii. 28. Which confideration alone is fufficient to unfting all the troubles in the world, and make the beloved of the Lord fhout and triumph in the midst of tribulations.
But let us enter yet farther into this glorious chamber of divine love, and more particularly view the admirable properties thereof; though, when all is done, it will be found a love paffing knowledge; our thoughts may admire, but can never meafure it.
1. And firft, you will find it an ancient love, whose spring is in eternity itfelf. Believer, God is thine ancient friend, who forefaw and loved thee before thou, yea, before this world was in being; the fruits and effects thereof thou gatherest in time, but the root that produces them was before all times, Prov. viii. 22, 23. "The Lord poffeffed me in the beginning of his way, "before his works of old. I was fet up from everlafting, from "the beginning, or ever the earth was." Thus was the love of God contriving, and providing the best of mercies in Chrift for us; while, as yet, there were no fuch creatures in the world, por a world prepared to receive us.
3. The love of God to his people is a free, and altogether
undeferved love. It must needs be fo, feeing it preceeded our very being; which had it not done, yet no motives bad been found in us, to allure it to us more than others, Deut, vii. 7. "The Lord did not fet his love upon you, nor chuse you, because ye were more in number than any people (for "f ye were the fewest of all people) but because the Lord loved "you." So that we cannot find one stone of our merit in the foundation of this love; for those whom it embraces in its arms, are immerentes, & male merentes, ill-deferving, as well as undeferving. We were loved of God, before we were lovely in ourselves; it is freely pitched upon us, not purchased by us, Ifa. xliii. 24.
3. The love of God to believers is a bountiful love, streaming forth continually mercies both innumerable and invaluable to their fouls and bodies, 2 Pet. i. 3. Chriftian, it would quickly weary thine arm, yea, let me fay, the arm of an angel, but to write down the thousandth part of the mercies which have already flowed out of this precious fountain to thee; though all thou haft received, or thalt receive in this world, are but the beginnings of mercy, and first-fruits of the love of God to thee; 'tis the love of God which daily loads thee with benefits, as the expreffion is, Pfal. Ixviii. 19. And if thou art daily loaded with mercies, what an heap of mercies will the mercies of thy whole life be?
4. The love of God to believers is a distinguishing love; not the portion of all, no, nor yet of many befides thee, 1 Cor. i. 26. The generality of the world dwell in the room of common providence, not in the chamber of special love, into which God hath admitted thee: this confideration fhould make thee break out in admiration, as it is, John xix. 22. "Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to me, and not to the "world?"
5. The love of God to believers is a love tranfcendent to all creature-love; it moves in an higher sphere than the love of any creature doth, Rom. v. 6, 7, 8. We'read of Jacob's love to Rachel, which is fo celebrated in the facred story for the fervour of it; and yet all that it enabled him to fuffer, was but the fummer's heat and the winter's cold; a trifle to what the love of Chrift engaged, and enabled him to fuffer for thy fake, We read alfo of the love of David to Abfalom, which made him with, would God I had died for thee, O Abfalom, my fon, my fon! This love was only manifested in a with, which, haply, might have been retracted to, had there been an exchange to be made indeed: but the life of Chrift, worth millions of
his life, was actually and willingly staked down for thy foul. We read of the love of one difciple manifefted to another difciple in a cup of cold water; but Chrift hath manifefted his love to thee in pouring out his warmeft heart blood for thy redemption. O what a tranfcendent love is the divine love!
6. To conclude, (though alas, little is faid of the love of God,) it is an everlafting and unchangeable love. Hills and mountains fhall fooner ftart from their bafes, than his lovingkindness depart from his people, Ifa. liv. 10. Though he afflict us, ftill he loves us, Pfal. lxxxix. 32, 33. Nay, though we grieve him, yet still he loves us, Mark xvi. 7. Tell the difciples, and tell Peter. Peter had grieved Chrift, denied Chritt, yet will he not renounce nor caft off Peter.
Sect. II. Well then, if God hath opened to your fouls fuch a chamber of love, where your fouls may be ravished with daily delights, as well as fecured from danger and ruin; O that you would enter into it'by faith, and dwell for ever in the love of God! I mean, clear up your interest in it, and then folace your fouls in the delights of it. Need I to use an argument, or spend one motive to prefs you to enter into fuch an heaven upon earth? If the deadness of thy heart doth need it, take into confideration, reader, these few that follow. Motive 1. Ponder with thyfelf how fad and miferable the cafe will be with thee in the days of calamity and diftrefs, if the love of God fhall then be clouded to thy foul. In those days, fuch as love thee, will either be abfent from thee, or impotent to help thee; all thy friends and familiars may be removed far off, and whither then wilt thou turn, fhould God be far off too? This was that evil which Jeremiah so vehemently deprecated, chap. xvii. ver. 17. Be not a terror unto me, thou art my hope in the day of evil; q. d. O Lord, my foul depends upon refreshment and comfort from thee, when all the fprings of earthly comfort are dried up. Shouldst thou be a terror to me in the day of evil, it will be the most terrible disappointment that ever befel my foul; if thou be kind, I care not who be cruel; if I have the love of God, I value not the hatred of men; but if God be a terror, who, or what can be a comforter? The love of God is the alone refuge to which, the gracious foul retreats, upon all creature disappointments, and failings. This, therefore, is the main thing to be feared against the evil day.
Motive 2. The knowledge and affurance of the love of God is a mercy attainable by a gracious foul, notwithstanding the imperfections of grace. Peter had his falls and failings as well