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brought up in a visible church of God, but in a pious fami, ly, and educated in his fear; and others would have it to fignify still more especially, that the Psalmist's mother was an eminently pious woman. And indeed I do not think that was a circumstance, if true, either unworthy of him to remember, or of the spirit of God to put upon record, In the New Testament, we find the apostle Paul, taking notice of a fimilar circumstance in the case of Tiinothy, 2 Tim. i. 5. “When I call to remembrance the unfeigni ed faith that is in thee, &c.” Without determining precisely in what sense to take the words, it is certainly added here to fignify some peculiar and intimate relation to God, which laid him under the strongest ties of adherence and subjection.
As there was much beauty and propriety in the Psalmists mentioning this circumstance, so every pious person ought especially in the Lord's supper, to recollect the peculiar relations he stands under to God. Even as members of the yisible church we are the servants of God, born in his house, baptized in his name, favored with the light of the gospel, blessed with clearness and fullness of instruction, animated by eminent and shining examples. As many as have been brought up either as children or fervants in piqus families, separated from the solicitations, and sheltered from the insults of wicked men; careful in. struction, regular government, faithful admonition and kind invitation, laid as it were a strict and powerful conftraint upon them, brought them into, and kept them in the paths of piety and truth : ought they not to remem. ber it with humility and gratitude, nay, if by means of but one pious parent, or other relation, had been brought to acquaintance with God, it ought to be remembered as laying them under peculiar ties. To all which I shall only add, that if by the goodness of a gracious God, any former means of instruction, public or private, or singular dispensation of providence, has been accompanied with power, it ought to be improved in this new surrender of ourselves to God, at once to increase our present gratitude and promote our future stedfastness in the paths of obedience. This leads me to observe,
4. That the declaration of the Psalmist implies a sense of gratitude for fignal mercies, “ Thou hast loosed my “ bonds.” I think it is probable that what he had in view immediately here was, deliverance from personal affliction, probably a dangerous sickness, threatening immediate dit. folution. But the way in which it is introduced and the use to which it is applied, is equally suited to deliverances of every kind and use, to all signal mercies which were greatly needed or highly prized. He ascribes the honor of it to God, he puts it to his own charge as a debt due to God, and on this account proposes a return of duty and gratitude to God. It were no difficult matter to produce examples of a similar conduct in the Psalmist, on his being favored with remarkable deliverances in his family, from the enemies of his country, from flander and reproach, or in unexpected honor and advancement, as was his from the sheepfold to the kingdom of Israel.
Now ought not every good man, to follow the exam ple of the Psalmist in this particular, to remember and acknowledge all instances of signal mercy. There is scarce. ly any person, but may recollect several examples of these in the course of their lives. They may remember how earnestly they desired deliverance in the time of danger, what a sense of gratitude was upon their minds, when the mercy was recent, and this may be profitably improved, for strengthening the ties which they lie under to God their Saviour. This will have a double effect, if the deliverance was implored by the prayer of faith, and if any marks can be discerned, of their having obtained the fanctified improvement of it. But above all, with what propriety may they adopt the language of the Pfalmift, if they have been delivered from bondage of spirit, as well as fear and solieitude as to their outward ftate. And it frequently happens, that these two go together. It was almoft always so with the Pfalmist, and is natural to expect that it will be fo with every ferious person ; for affliction brings sin to remembrance, and they not only tremble, for the issue of the trial under which they groan, but apprehend the holy displeasure of that God, who cast them into the furnace, and with whom they have to do. But if the candle of the Lord again shineth upon them, and they are walking in the light of his countenance, they may well say with the Pfalmift, O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy fer“ vant, and the son of thy hand-maid: thou haft loosed “ my bonds."
5. In the last place, This declaration implies a solemn dedication and surrender of hinself to God, and his service for the time to come. This is the end of the retrospect which he takes of his character and ftate, “I will offer to “ thee the facrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the " name of the Lord.” He was resolved to live a life of gratitude to God, to take all methods of openly and publicly acknowledging hinn as the author of his mércies. If we would see further his purpose, we may look back to the 8, 9, 10, ver. “For thou hast delivered my fout from “ death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." He promises therefore a life of obedience, and as the fource of thankful trust and acquiescence in God, he seems by the 17th verse, to have been disconcerted by discovering the treachery of men, but every thing is rectified and made up by the goodness and all-fufficiency of God.
So my brethren, ought every person who is this day to fit down at the table of the Lord, after a serious recollection of all his past mercies, to devote and consecrate himself unto God.
Take him for your portion: place your happiness in his favor ; receive your daily bread from him as his gift; pay for every mercy the tribute of praise; live not öpon the creature without God, but endeavor to enrich and sweeten created comforts, by communion with God : Resolve to serve him with your body and fpirit which are his, serve him sincerely, resolving that nothing shall have quiet poffession of your heart, or indulgence in your life, that is contrary to his will. Serve him with zeal, espouse his intereft, plead his cause, and esteem it your honor, if by your authority, by your talents, by your subhance, you can promote his glory. Put your trust in his providenice. You are yet in the body, liable to all the viciffitudes of this mortal state. Be perfuaded of the infinite wisdom and allfufficiency of God. Let him difpofe of you freely. Relift exceflive anxiety and fear, and oppose to all the gloomy horrors of a fruitful apprehension, the shield of faith in almighty strength, which is able to bear you up superior to every trial, and to every enemy. Do in every state of difficulty as the prophet Isaiah, in the name of God, invites the people of Israel to do on the approach of public judgment, Ifaiah xxvi. 20. “Come; my people, enter « thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee : " hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpaft."
I proceed now in the last place, to make some practical improvement of this subject,
1. Suffer me, my brethren, to plead with every finner; to plead with every hearer in this affembly, the right of his Maker to his service. He hath made and formed you, and his visitation preserves your fpirits. He only holdetk your soul in life, and unto him belong the issue from death
- Of him, and to him, and through him, are all things. Have you therefore served him as your master, and placed your happinefs on his favors. I choose, my brethren, to assert God's dominion over his creatures, that if it please him to accompany it with his fpirit, it may carry conviction to many who are living in quiet and self-fatisfaction, although they are dead in trespasses and fins. Many, if they are free from groffer corruptions, are no way apprehensive of the danger of being without God in the world. Ignorance of themselves, extenuation of fin, foolishly placing a merit in a few common outside duties, and prefumptuous hopes in God's general mercy, are the delusive grounds of the hope of such persons. Nay, fometimes, alas for their folly! the chief thing they have to trust to, is the ill that they have not done. I really do not swear, says one, I hate drinking abominably, it is a beastly vice. What signify these partial justifications? I have known, though it is not common, I confels, an habitual adulterer that would not ftvear, and I could shew you a covetous hard hearted wretch, grinding every day the faces of the poor, that will neither drink nor swear. Bat are you the servants of God? are you devoted to his fear? believe it firs, there is an absolute necefsity of an entire change in your nature, to fit you for the kingdom of God. You are VOL. II.
his creatures, you ought to be his servants, and in one fense.indeed his enemies are his servants, because they are under the dominion of his Providence, and shall at last be the monuments of his vengeance. Be warned then in time, for you may rest assured that no man hath hardened himself against him, and prospered.
2. But in the next place, I must not omit giving war: ning of their danger, to such as are living in open and avowed profanity. They are so far from being the fervants of God, that they are his enemies, his confederated enemies, and the enemies of every thing that stands in a visible relation to him. I will once more, my brethren, take the liberty to denounce the judgment of God, against all such persons, and I am preaching the gospel of Christ while I am doing so, for he shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire. And all profane swearers that speak the language of hell on earth, shall have it as their abode for
All despisers of the fabbath of rest.