Page images

shall he not make it good ?” There is an impossibia lity of his word failing : Titus, i. 12. “ He is God that cannot lie.” So that faith has the surest bottom on which to stand, when standing on the promise, namely, the unchangeable truth of God.-There is nothing so difficult and hopeless, but God can bring it to pass : Luke, i. 37

« For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Therefore he is able to make good his promise, though all creatures should conspire to render his work. ing ineffectual, and whatever difficulties may be in his way.-In one word, the experience of the saints in all ages confirms this confidence : Psal. xii. 6. “ The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified.” Many and various have been the trials of the saints, but they all held by the promise, and have at length set to their seal that God is true. From this we may learn,

That their salvation is secured, who have been graciously brought within the compass of the covenant and the promise of salvation. " This,” Da. vid faid, “ is all my salvation and all my desire,” 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Though they be in this world as on a boisterous sea, where the waves of indwell. ing corruption, temptation, affliction, desertion, are threatening to swallow them up; yet they shall

. get safe ashore ; and though the body fall in pieces by death, the soul fall arrive safe in Immanuel's land. -- If it should be inquired, How may a person know that he is brought within the compals of the covenant and promise ? I answer, If you have truly and honestly come to Christ, and laid hold of him in the covenant, taken him as he offers himself in the gospel, if you have given up with all other lovers, and have taken up with him in all his offices, with a view to free you from the

guilt, from the power and pollution of fin, all is well; for he has said, John, vi. 37. “ All that the Fa. ther giveth me, shall come unto me; and him that cometh unto me, I will in powise cast out." Poffefsing him as the chief benefit of the covenant, you have all : 2 Cor. i. 20. “ For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, unto the glory of God by us.”- We may further learn,

That it is true wisdom to live by faith in the promise of God, whatever storm be blowing: 2 Cor. v. 7. “ For we walk by faith, not by fighi.” You must lay your account with storms. Never was there one in a ship, except the man Christ, whom the devil would more anxioully have drowned, than he would have done Paul at this time. But Paul is easy, even when on the boisterous fea, on the promise of God, while the rest were in a terrible alarm ; Satan was not so much fet agıinst them. Unbelief and discouragement can in no case be useful. It is good to believe, whether we be toffed with a storm of raging corruption, as in Psal. Ixv. 3. ; -- strong temptations, as in Luke, xxii. 31. 32. ;-heavy affliction, as in Psal xxvii. 13.; -or defertion, as in Psal. xxii. 1. Thus much for the connection.

In the text, Paul declares to the ship's crew, who for the most part were pagans, two things,

(1.) His intercourse with heaven : There stood by me this night the angel of the Lord. (2.) His special relation to the God of heaven : Whole I am, and whom I serve. The design of this declaration was, not only to comfort them, but to commend his God unto them, that they miglit also chuse him for their God and master. No doubt, in these days, ver:

there had been many prayers in the ship. They had called to their gods, but in vain ; Paul had cried to



Сс 3

his, and had got a comfortable answer. He thence takes occasion to represent him as the God of salvation, who was able to make them all safe, notwithstanding the storm ; as the Lord of angels ; as one whose servant himself was, who was now so chearful, when they were so dejected. Proper

methods these to commend his God to them. -I would accordingly take occafion to observe, that it is the duty of those who are the Lord's, to commend their God to others, that they in consequence may be prevailed on also to be his. There are two strong bonds to bind this on those who are the Lord's. There is,

1. The love and duty they owe to God, who has done so much for them, and who would have all men to be saved. It is the more for the honour of God in the world, the more there are who join themselves to his service.

This is an acceptable thing which we can do for God, to express our thankfulness, namely, to make conscience of discharging our duty, to lay out ourselves in advancing the interest of Christ and of religion in the world, that since he has brought us into his family, we exert our endeavours to bring others also into it.—Another bond is,

2. The love and duty we owe to mankind : Rom. xiii. 9.

“ If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, “ Thou ihalt love thy neighbour as thyfelf.” . Those who are yet strangers to God, are our fellow-creatures, lying in the ditch of fin, swimming to the ocean of wrath, in which condition we also were before we were the Lord's ; which requires from us a very serious concern to help them out of that state, Titus, iii. 1. 2. 3. And this is as natural as it is for one that has narrow


ly escaped drowning, to bestir himself to help his fellow who is in hazard of perishing.

The use and improvement I would make of this is, to call upon you, O Christians and communicants ! whosoever of you are the Lord's, to put your hand to this work, to recommend Christ and religion to others. You that are come out from among the devil's family, make it your work to prevail on others to come away

also. Remember the Samaritan woman, who told her neighbours of Christ, and invited them to come to him : John, iv. 29. “ Go thou and do likewise.”—To itir you up to this work, I shall lay before you the following Motives.

Mot. 1. What use are you for in this world, if you

be not useful for God, and your generation, in this work to which you are called ? If you will do nothing for God, you but take up room on God's earth, and cumber his ground. The children of God are not so situated. They say, “ For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.”

Mot. 2. It is a dangerous thing to be an unprofitable servant in God's house : Matth. xxv. 30. “ And cast the unprofitable servant into utter darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” An unprofitable tree may stand safer in a wood than in an orchard, and what is quite unfit for the master's use, is fuel for the fire.

Mot. 3. It is the nature of true grace, and has been the practice of the saints, thus to lay themselves out for God and the good of others. Grace is communicative ; it is a well of water, from which many may be refreshed; it is a holy fire


to warm others. Accordingly, we find Abraham's grace working thus, Gen. xviii. 19. “ For I know him," said God, “ that he will command his children and his houfehold after him, and they fhall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Thus also, we find David's grace, Pfal. xxxiv. 8. “O taste and see that the Lord is good : Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Thus also the spouse's grace, Song, v.; the woman of Samaria, John, iv. 29.

Mot. 4. You would thrive better yourselves, if you were more employed in this work: Prov.xi. 25. - The liberal foul thall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered himself.” The spring runs, and the fire burns, the more freely that they get a vent; and they that use their talents thus for God, are in the high way to increase them : Matth. xxv. 28. 29. “ Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance." A cold heart, without zeal for God's interest, and a sealed mouth, which cannot open for God, produces a back-going, withered condition. Mot.


It is well laid out work. For either finners are gained by it, as it often falls out : Song, vi. 1. “Whither is thy Beloved gone, o

O. thou faireft among women.? Whither is thy Beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.” In this case, the work is an abundant reward for itself: James, i. 27. “Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affiction.” But it shall not go fo; for every soul thou . doeft good to, shall be as a jewel in thy crown :

- They

« PreviousContinue »