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preparation. God only undoes what you have been doing.
Consider farther, that you have a wise and tender. hearted physician, who perfectly knows what sorrow and grief are; for he himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs, and is therefore disposed to pity them that are in sorrow. He delighteth not in your trou. ble, but in your cure and after consolation, and therefore you may be assured that he will deal gently with you, and put no more bitterness into the cup than is ne. cessary for your recovery. He was sent to heal the broken hearted, and he invites the labouring and heavy la. den to come to him for rest. When he hath wounded you, he will bind up your wounds as tenderly as you can desire. He hath not indeed that blind fonddess for you which you have for yourselves. He will not be so cruelly merciful as to save you from that sorrow which is necessary to save your souls from perdition; but at the same time, he will not suffer you to taste one drop of vinegar and gall, nor to shed one tear, but what tends to your future comfort and joy.
Remember that the more you are humbled after a godly sort, the sweeter will Christ and all his benefits be to you while you live. One taste of his healing love will make you bless those medicinal sorrows that prepared for it. Christ is not equally esteemed by all whom he will save; and would you not rather be yet more emptied of yourselves now, that bereafter you may be fuller of Christ and his grace; for our Saviour here as. sures us in the text, that a thorough humiliation is a certain forerunner of future exaltation. “Every one that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” When men propose to build high, they dig deeper for the foundation. Paul was laid exceeding low at his conversion, that he
might be better fitted for the important services to which he had afterwards the honour to be called.
Let these considerations reconcile you to the humbling work of the Spirit of God. And if any thing you have heard hath touched your hearts, seek not relief among foolish companions, but retire to your closets, and on your bended knees beseech the Lord to perfect the good work he hath begun; and He who comforteth those that are cast down, will not leave you in the Red Sea, but carry you safely through to the farther side, and put the Song of Moses and of the Lamb into your mouths, “ giving you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Amen.
Preached after the Celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Psalm cxix. 173, 174, 175.
Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee ; and let thy judgments help me.
THESE words were immediately addressed to God, most High, whose workmanship we all are, even to bim that quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that be not as though they were. Here David appeals to the Searcher of hearts, and lays before bim not the product of his own labour and skill, as though he possessed some. thing whereof he might glory before God, but what he gratefully acknowledges to be the doing of the Lord; a heart in some measure renewed after his image, and panting after a nearer and still more perfect resemblance.
I shall therefore consider this account, which, in the form of a solemn address to God, the Psalmist here gives of his own temper and conduct, as an approved model or pattern for our imitation. What this holy man was, that ought we to be; and such we shall certainly endeavour to be, if we aspire to the character whereby David was distinguished by the Supreme Judge himself, when he dignified him with the most honourable of all appellations, even that of the man after his owu heart. The
passage contains, I. The distinguishing character. And, II. The leading requests of a truly godly man.
Each of these I shall briefly illustrate and improve; the one for the present trial, and the other for the future direction, of those who have this day made a public profession of their faith in Christ, over the sacred symbols of bis broken body and shed blood, in the holy sacrament of his supper.
I begin with the distinguishing character of a truly godly man; and you will observe the following particulars distinctly marked, viz. The matter of his choiceThe object of his desires-and, The source of his joy.
The godly man's choice—is the precepts of God. David had said, (verse 3.) That he had chosen the testimonies of God for his heritage ; by which he probably meant the promises of that everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, to which he afterwards resorted in the immediate prospect of death, as all his salvation, and all his desire. These promises are indeed exceed
ing great and precious, suited to all the necessities of the saints, and extending to every blessing that can be denoted by these two significant and most comprehensive words, GRACE and GLORY. But one may choose, or ra. ther covet, the heritage of a child, who hath an aversion to the duties that result from that relation; and therefore the choosing the law or precepts of God, for regulating the heart and life, is, of all others, the most discriminating character of a true child of God; for there can be no doubt, that one who sincerely devotes himself to the service of God, will most sincerely and ardently wish to be happy in the possession of the promised inheritance.
Let us next attend to the object of the godly man's desire. “I have longed,” said David, “ for thy salvation;" a present salvation from the guilt and power of sin; and future salvation, in the full and everlasting enjoyment of God in heaven. David was already possessed of the first of these; for he spake from his own experience, when he said, “ blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” He had the happiness to be a partaker both of pardoning mercy and of sanctifying grace; yet still he longed for more of this salvation, that is, for a more assured faith of pardoning mercy, and larger measures of sanctifying grace. It is a just observation, with respect to earthly things, that Nature is contented with a little, and Grace with less. But it is quite the reverse as to spiritual things. Here grace is not contented with a little; on the contrary, it is insatiable; the more it hath received, the more it desires to receive. Enjoyment, instead of surfeiting, sharpens the appetite. Nay, so sweet is their relish, that every renewed taste of it abates and quenches the thirst for other things.“ There be many that say, who will shew us any good ?” This is the voice of the mere child of Adam. But what saith the new man in Christ? « One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after.—As the hart panteth for the brooks of water, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. -Whom bave I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.”
This leads us forward to the source of the godly man's joy. 6 Thy law," saith David, “is my delight." Here he chooses the term law for denoting the whole revelation of God's will, to remind us of the inseparable connexion between privilege and duty, faith and obedience, holiness and comfort; and to teach us, that we ought to be thankful to God for the direction he hath given us in the road to heaven, no less than for the promises by which we are assured of the possession of it. But what I would chiefly observe is, that the joy of a saint is not extracted from such base and perishing materials as corn, and wine, and oil; it flows spontaneously from the fountain of living water, from the pure source of that word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Nay, so little is it dependant opon, or even connected with, any thing that belongs to a present world, that " although the fig. tree should not blossom, neither should fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive should fail, and the fields should yield no meat; the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there should be no herd in the stall;" yet still the saint can rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation. Nay, when the heaven shall be sbris.
like a scrawl when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island shall be moved out of their places ; he can look at the universal desolation, and say, when these materials are consumed, I shall have lost nothing. “ All tbings are mine, for I am Christ's, and Cbrist is