Page images

“ for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gras cious, hath he in anger shut up his tender mer" cies?” Such have, in all ages, been the complaints of God's people; but though “ weeping 5 may endure for a night, joy ariseth in the morning,"—All these trials and afflictions they are visited with, serving to quicken and call forth into action those graces which are the life, health, and vigour of the soul, and making them cleave faster unto God, who is all their strength, and all their salvation. Let us now observe the beautiful manner in which David appropriates all these blessings to himself, “ Bless the Lord, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy « diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruc« tion, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness “ and tender mercies, who satisfieth thy mouth “ with good things, so that thy youth is renewed “ like the eagles,” It is matter of the highest comfort, that God is a gracious and merciful being, a God who “ forgiveth iniquity,” who “ healeth « diseases," who " redeemeth from destruction;" but unless we can lay claim to these characters of goodness, we are so far from being benefited by this endearing account of the Deity, that, on the contrary, it must aggravate our misery, to think that such mercy is to be had, but that we have“ no part nor lot" in it--if we were afflicted with any bodily indisposition, and heard of a physician who was infallible for curing it, that he was likewise kind and tender hearted, one who loved to employ his skill in behalf of distressed objects, all this would give us very great satisfaction, no doubt; but our joy would only be complete on being assured that this physician was ready to undertake our own cause, and had already taken some steps toward performing our cure. Let us rejoice in this, then, that God excludes none from his mercies; salvation is to all, all who feel their need, who are sensible of their misery, who are willing to forsake their sins, and embrace their Saviour. Unbelief alone can prevent this mercy from taking effect. It must be entirely owing to ourselves if we are not able to say, every one for himself, in the words of David, “ I will bless the Lord, who forgiveth all my

ini. quities, who healeth all my diseases, who re“ deemeth my life from destruction, who crown“eth me with loving-kindness and tender mer“cies, who satisfieth my mouth with good " things, so that my youth is renewed like the “ eagles.”

The improvement of this subject is obvious. Let us, with gratitude and thankfulness, embrace these gracious offers of mercy and forgiveness,

while “ God still waiteth to be gracious;" let us not “ sin because grace doth abound,” remembering that goodness and patience abused, despised, and neglected, adds fuel to the wrath of God, when once it is kindled. “ The day of “ grace" will not last always; but that God, who is now seated on a throne of mercy, will soon appear clothed in terrible majesty, seated on a throne of judgment, to render“ vengeance to all “ who know not God, and obey not the gospel." To this purpose, allow me to read to you one of the most awful


of the whole bible, to every obstinate, impenitent sinner : “ Because I have

called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my “ hand and no man regarded; but ye have set " at nought all my counsel, 'and would none " of my reproof; I also will laugh at your cala

mity, I will mock when your fear cometh; “ when your fear cometh as desolation, and your “ destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when dis* tress and anguish cometh upon you. Then « shall they call upon me, but I will not answer;

they shall seek me early, but they shall not “ find me: for that they hated knowledge, and “ did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would


counsel; they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of s their own way, and be filled with their own

[ocr errors]

none of


« devices*." And, “ if the word spoken by an

gels was stedfast, and every transgression and “ disobedience received a just recompence of re“ ward, how shall we escape if we neglect so

great salvation?” If " he that despised Moses' “ law died without mercy, of how much sorer “ punishment shall he be thought worthy, who “ hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and os hath counted the blood of the covenant an un

holy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace.” And it is indeed " a fearful

thing to fall into the hands of the living God." On the other hand, “rejoice in the Lord, ye “ righteous, and again I say, rejoice:” think frequently on what the Lord has done, and still is doing for you, and while you muse let the fire of gratitude burn, and let it be expressed by the tenor of your lives; a life conformed to the gospel is the best proof that can be given that we believe it, without this all protestations and professions are to no purpose ; they will not deceive even our fellow creatures, and it is impossis ble for us to deceive “ Him who seeth not as man “ seeth.”—“ Having these gracious promises and

prospects, let us, therefore, cleanse ourselves « from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, per, fecting holiness in the fear of God,"

Prov, i. 24-31,



EPHESIANS ii. 8. For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yout

selves, it is the gift of God.


God, who at sundry times and in divers

manners, spake in times past unto the fa“thers by the prophets, hath in these last days “ spoken unto us by his Son;" bringing “ life “ and immortality to light” by his gospel; revealing in the clearest manner where our happiness lies, and the way that leadeth to it. So that in us is fulfilled, in the strictest sense, that prophecy of Isaiah," the people which sat in darkness have seen a great light, and to them which “ sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.

What the prophet here represents under the notion of darkness, and the region and shadow of death, is more largely described by our apostle in the beginning of this chapter; which exhibits to our view'a very dismal and affecting picture of the deep guilt, the

« PreviousContinue »