Page images


happiness, and they derive it all from him. knowledge he gives them "rejoiceth the heart." He fills them "with all joy and peace in believing." His 66 ways are ways of pleasantness, and all" his "paths "are peace." He lifts up "the light of his coun"tenance upon" them, and this puts "gladness into "their hearts, more than" the wicked experience "when their corn and wine increase." If they have seasons which may be called their night, or their winter; they are occasioned by his absence; "He hides "his face, and they are troubled;" then they cry, "O "when wilt thou come unto me?" Cold, languishing, dead before; when He returns he brings prosperity; "he works in us to will and to do ;" he enlivens every duty, and actuates every grace; quickened by his influences, our religion buds forth; we "blossom as "the rose," we are " filled with all the fruits of righ"teousness, which are by Jesus Chrift unto the glory. "and praise of God." "The beauty of the Lord "our God is upon us." Even here the change which divine grace accomplishes is truly marvellous but we shall" see greater things than these;" that soul will soon be "presented faultless before the presence of his "glory with exceeding joy;" that body too fhall partake of the renovation, "it is sown in corruption, it is "raised in incorruption; it is sown in difhonor, it is "raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised "in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a "spiritual body." He will beautify the meek with


salvation." Behold the sublimest image which even the imagination of David could seize; but even this falls infinitely below the subject to which it is applied.

After considering the magnitude of its body, the rapidity of its light, the force of its influence, and all the wonderful things which philosophers have told us; hear our Saviour saying, "He maketh HIS sun to rise "on the evil and on the good ;" and remember it is only one of his creatures, which he made by "the "breath of his mouth;" which he upholds "by the "word of his power;" whose inextinguishable fires he feeds; and which he commands with infinitely more ease, than you can manage the smalleft lamp; it is only one ray of his glory. The insufficiency of all metaphor requires a variety of comparison, and hence David adds,

"The Lord God is a SHIELD." This piece of defensive armour has been made of different materials. There have been shields of leather, of wood, of iron, of brass, and some even of silver and gold. Your shield, O christian, is DIVINE. He, to whom "belong the shields of the earth," who lends the stron gest all their strength, with whom "nothing is impossi"ble ;" He is your Shield, a Shield always at hand; impenetrable by any weapon; capacious, encompassing, adequate; for what part of the christian lies uncovered, unprotected? His substance?" Has He not made "an hedge about him; and about his house, and about "all that he hath on every side?" His reputation? "He shall hide them in the secret of his presence from "the pride of man; he shall keep them secretly in a "pavilion from the strife of tongues." His body? "He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is bro"ken." His soul? "The Lord shall preserve thee “from all evil, he shall preserve thy soul." The de

[ocr errors]


fence of our health and of our estate is conditional; and is decided in subserviency to our spiritual and everlasting welfare; but for the safety of the soul, God has absolutely engaged; this "shall never perish." Although the enemies that conspire to destroy it, are formidable and numerous, they shall all rage in vain. In the perfections, the word, the providence, the grace of God, we find ample refuge and security. O christian, while an apprehension of exposure, and a consciousness of weakness, is every day pressing upon your mind, and urging you to draw very gloomy conclusions, remember the assurance of effectual assistance and defence; by faith see God placing himself between you and danger; see Jehovah spreading himself all around for your protection; and fulfilling the promise, "as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the "Lord is round about his people, from henceforth


" even for ever." "For I, saith the Lord, will be un"to her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the


[ocr errors]



glory in the midst of her." Ah! well may wisdom say, "whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, "and shall be quiet from the fear of evil." And well may you say, and "boldly" too, "the Lord is iny Helper; I will not fear what man shall do unto me." "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom "shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my life, of "whom shall I be afraid? Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though "war should rise against me, in this will I be confident."

II. Such God is; and what does He GIVE?
The meaning, the impor


tance, the dependence, the union of these blessings, deserve our attention...

And what is grace? It is the favourite word of inspiration; and here, as in many other parts of Scripture, it intends divine assistance, and influence springing from the free favour of God. It is often expressed plurally; we hear of the graces of the Holy Spirit ; and some speak of them, as if they were so many little, separate, conscious agents, respectively stationed in the soul; whereas it is one grand agency, restoring man to the image and service of God, and operating various ways according to the nature of the object; when it regards truth, we call it faith; a future good, hope; trouble, patience; and so of the rest. And what is glory? It denotes splendour, fame, excellency displayed; and the sacred writers apply it by way of distinction to the transcendant dignity, and sublime happiness reserved in heaven for the righteous. "Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterward receive me "to glory." "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the 'glory which shall be revealed in us." "When he who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory."



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

These blessings are absolutely essential to our welfare; this the christian acknowledges. From the beginning of his religious course, he has been convinced of the necessity of divine grace, and his conviction grows with his days. He feels himself wholly unequal to the work he has to do, the race he has to run, the warfare he has to accomplish. Nor can he live upon the grace which he has received; "his strength".


must be "renewed;" he must receive "the continual "supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." From the nature of his disposition he desires more grace; from the nature of his condition he needs more. He wants grace to sustain him in his troubles. He wants grace to subdue his corruptions, and to sanctify his tempers, He wants grace to preserve him "in the hour of temp"tation." He wants grace to quicken his languid affections, "for his soul cleaveth to the dust. He wants grace to enlarge his experience, to render him useful to others, to qualify him for the various offices and relations of life, to "hold on his way," to "en"dure to the end;" and, Oh! what grace does he want, to enable him to say when he looks forward, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shad66 ow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with "me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!" Rejoice, O christian; from yonder throne you shall" ob"tain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." The "God of all grace" invites you near; "ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full"-" My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made "perfect in weakness." "The Lord will give grace;" and thus the promise provides for the believer while in this world. But he is not to live here always; this is only the beginning of his existence; before him lies an opening eternity. And here the promise meets him with "everlasting consolation," and assures him of "glory." He knows that when his wanderings are ended, "he shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, "and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;" that after a few more painful struggles, he shall wear "the crown


« PreviousContinue »