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established by the word of God; "and who may abide the day of his coming?"
Have you indeed received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that ye may know the mercies that are freely given you of God? Then never envy the men of the world however God may fill their bosoms with his treasures. Rather pity them that they have so poor a portion: and the more because they refuse a better-immortal beings choosing a portion in this life-a portion so unsatisfying, embittered with so many anxious cares and tumultuous passions; affording them so little solace under the ills of life, and leaving them comfortless to the miseries of eternity. O! let the bowels of your compassion be moved for them, however any of them, in the pride of their elevation, may scorn or tread upon you. Let the consideration of the restlessness of their lives, and the miseries of their end, subdue every feeling of resentment, and turn all repining thoughts into prayers for their repentance; and above all constrain you so to live as to convince them that you believe there is a better portion, and have made choice of it. And oh! "Ye men of the world"
-Ye hungry, starving souls,
And vainly strive with earthly toys
I exhort you to consider these things.
My object in urging them I freely acknowledge is to make you unhappy; to make you discontented with your portion; to make you dissatisfied with yourselves-for unless you become so, in this world, you will be so most intensely and desperately in the next. Until you are utterly and absolutely dissatisfied to be men of the world, you will never be in earnest for a change. Cleaving to a portion here, you will be careless of a portion hereafter. I pray you, therefore, think of these things; and if they make you unhappy, let them put you upon seeking a happiness which they will not disturb. If there is any truth or importance in these things; if you have any concern in them; if the things which await you as accountable and immortal beings make haste, and you have any thing to do that you may secure a good part, that shall not be taken from you-a treasure in the heavens that will not fail-then I entreat you think on these things. If you find it difficult to think on them-to get deep and influential impressions of them, be the more alarmed at your state, strive the more earnestly, with the more determined purpose, and the more agonizing prayerfulness against the worldliness that is destroying you, think on these things-think on them till they have the character of realities in your minds-think on them till you feel, and act in regard to them, as your reason and conscience approve.
These, indeed, are not the only things that claim your earnest thoughts. Were there no other, I would not have said a word to you of them. Were there not a better portion-a portion large as your desires, and lasting as the mind, I would leave you cleav ing to the world while you can enjoy it.
But, "See," is the call of God himself, "I have set before you life and death-therefore choose life that you may live." He offers himself to be your Portion, and calls upon you to choose him as such. He demands that you give him your hearts, and promises that he will be your God. He invites you to make his service your delight, and engages to make your wants his care. Though you are sinful, he calls you to his throne of grace, confessing your sins, and promises freely for Christ's sake to forgive you. Though you are blind and weak, and tempt ed, he bids you come to him, and he in Christ will be your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Will you then hesitate? Will you put your trust in this vain world, and not in the God who made and redeemed you? Will you set your affections on those things that are on the earth, and not on those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God? Will you turn your backs on the proffered love of the Infinite God, and the melting invitation of a bleeding Saviour, and the everlasting glories of his heavenly kingdom, that you may spend your inch of time in the lust of the fleshthe lust of the eyes and the pride of life? Oh! come this daythis hour obey the persuasive call. Come-come yield yourselves to God. Say, What have I to do any more with idols? Lord, I give myself to thee. Truly I am thy servant-I am thy ser vant. Thou hast loosed my bonds.
BY REV. NOAH PORTER, D.D.,
THE PORTION OF THE SAINTS.
"Thou art my portion, O Lord."-PSALM CXix. 57.
So said Holy David. So ought we every one to be prepared to say. To every living man God offers himself in the Gospel as his portion, and it is the highest duty as it is also the highest felicity of every one to accept the offer. To impress you with this, I would show in what sense God is the portion of his people, and how as such he is distinguished from every other portion.
THE PORTION OF THE SAINTS.
I. In what sense God is the portion of his people. The portion of any one is that on which he depends for his happiness; the object of his highest delight and confidence; his chief good. Moses, speaking of the division of the earth by the Most High among the posterity of Noah after the deluge, says, that this was done with reference to his design of establishing the people of Israel in the land of Canaan; and he assigns this as the reason: "For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance"-a form of expression truly remarkable. That God should be the portion of His people is not wonderful, except on account of his condescension in sustaining to them such a relation. Being offered to them in this relation, it is most reasonable that they receive and regard him accordingly. But that they should be his portion-the portion of Him "who is before all things, and by whom all things consist," and therefore can neither need them nor receive any thing from them, may well excite our admiration. But when we consider that they are the only part of mankind who are voluntarily subservient to his praise, and whom he can regard with delight, the declaration, though not on that account the less gracious, is more intelligible. Though all the world is his, the children of Israel were, and the church of the redeemed now is, separated by his grace, from the rest of mankind, especially for his service and praise; and as such is the object of his peculiar delight, his "treasure," his "inheritance," his "portion." "Know ye, that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself." So among men, although one may have other possessions, that which he especially depends upon and values, is his portion. It may be his farm, or the emolument of his office, or his treasures; or it may be a friend, parent, husband, guardian, child. There is a widow desolate and poor. She has neither house, nor land, nor treasure-nothing of this kind that she can call her own. But she has an only son; he is of age, and is all that her hopes had promised-dutiful, healthful, active, prudent, successful. He, under God, is her provider and protector, her solace and joy. He is her earthly portion-a portion better than houses, or lands, or gold, since he is not only all that to her which these could be, and without the care of them, but as he is a partaker of the same intelligent and immortal nature with herself, and bound to her by ties that are peculiar to that nature. In him she has a delight which only mind in mind is capable of enjoying, and this, as the case may be, although he is far from her sight, on the other side of the globe, and communicating with her only in such methods as society has established. You may well imagine how peculiarly she regards him; how much he is present to her in thought; how affectionately he dwells in her heart; with what delight she leans upon him; how satisfied she is with her lot, so far as earthly things can give satisfaction, while she knows of his welfare, and what a
wilderness the world would be to her were she to hear of his death. All this you understand; and you have only to put the living God in the place of such an earthly friend, that you may as well understand in what sense God is the portion of his people.
"The Lord appeared unto Abraham in a vision, saying, Fear not, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Observe the form of this language. It is much more than saying, "I ensure thee protection, and will give thee a reward." It imports that he himself, the Almighty God, would be his protection and reward, interposing himself between Abraham and every threatening danger, and becoming himself the object of his complete and everlasting joy. To the same purpose he afterwards revealed himself to Abraham as the Almighty, that is, the All-sufficient God-and commanding him to walk before him and be perfect, subjoined, "As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee." Whatever he was in himself as God, that he would be to Abraham and his seed. He would be "their God;" his wisdom would be theirs to guide and counsel them; his power would be theirs to protect and succor them; his goodness would be theirs to supply and comfort them; his dominion would be theirs to overrule all things for their good; and the glories of his infinite nature would be theirs to satisfy their eternal confidence and delight. The condition of the promise was, that they should walk before him, and be perfect, not in the sense of sinlessness, but of sincerity: that they should truly and practically acknowledge him as their God, should worship and glorify him, live as under his eye, aim in all things to please him, and be constant and unreserved in their belief of his word and obedience to his will.
These promises of God are made in Christ to all believers. "For is he God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the Gentiles also, seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith." The end of Christ in giving himself for us, the just for the unjust, was to bring us to God; and this is attained when in our justification through him his God becomes ours. "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant which I made in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the house of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord. I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. And they shall no more teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least unto the greatest. For I will be merci
ful to their unrighteousness, and their iniquities will I remember
The condition of the promise is faith in God as thus revealed; the Almighty, Most Holy, and Most Merciful Lord and Judge of his people; faith in Christ as the atoning sacrifice, the accepted Mediator, the Divine and sufficient Redeemer of those who come unto God by Him; that faith by which a sinner, a rebel, becomes as Abraham was, "the friend of God," yields himself to him, depends upon him and walks before him as his Father and God, with the governing desire and purpose of obeying and serving him. Or it is choice of him as thus revealed, faith consisting most essentially in our receiving and depending upon him, as in Christ freely offered to be our God. With this intent, Joshua said to the assembled tribes at Shechem, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt, and serve ye the Lord; and if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And to the same purpose the Apostle to the Gentiles said, "We then are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."
You see then, in what sense God is the portion of his people, and how he becomes their portion. He is such as he is their God, or, in the more expressive language of the covenant, he is a God to them, whatever he is in himself that he is to them for their protection and happiness, and he becomes such to them on their believing in him for this purpose, or their choice of him, and cleaving to him, in the rejection of all rival and incompatible objects.
This last particular, believing in him, or choosing and cleaving to him, as offered in the Gospel, may need some farther illustration, a mistake here being fatal. Let me then call your attention. to it in a few distinct remarks:
1st. Taking God for our portion, we make him the object of our supreme desire. We are endowed with susceptibilities of enjoyment from other objects. They were made to be enjoyed, and of course to be desired. But we naturally fix on these our supreme-our governing desire. We love the creature more than the creator. Thus alienated from the living God, we go knocking at the door of every idol temple, asking, "Who will show us any good?" But coming to ourselves we learn the folly of this. We feel the vanity of earthly good as a portion for a dying accountable being. We are also convinced of the extreme sinfulness of this-the guilt of a reasonable, moral being, with