Imatges de pÓgina

They are also said, "to think upon the Name of the Lord" and we shall find, that this has no small tendency to heighten their happiness. Moses proclaimed the Name of the Lord to the Israelites; "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin" And again, it is said, "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, and the righteous have run into it, and are safe." Whether they think of the one declaration or the other, they are comforted. By the former, they are encouraged to draw near to his throne with confidence, believing that his mercy in Christ Jesus shall abound towards them; and by the latter, they are emboldened to put their trust in him, being persuaded that under the shadow of his wings they shall be safe; while at the same time, they highly honour and greatly reverence the sacred Name of that God, whose saving mercy and powerful protection they are blest with.

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But the disciple whom Jesus loved, gives a still more pleasing idea of the God we serve, when he says "God is love." And every part of that revelation which he hath made of himself, bears witnefs to the truth of this; fo that we may justly fay of him. He is infinite, unchangeable, never-failing love. And in all his conduct towards his children, his love is regulated by infinite wisdom, and attended by omnipotent power: So that thofe who truft in him, and have fcriptural views of his love, his wifdom, and his power, may well rejoice with joy unfpeakable and full of glory; hence faith the Pfalmift, "they that know thy name thall put their truft in thee, for thou Lord hast not forfaken them that truft in thee."

"And thev fhall be mine, faith the Lord of Hofts, in the day when I make up my jewels;" the Lord will publicly own them for his people in that day, when, as it is faid, in the very next verfe," Then fhall ye return, and difcern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that ferveth God and him that ferveth him not." The Lord grants unto his children many bleffed tokens of his. favour and friendship, while paffing through this vale of tears; he graciously vifits, comforts, ftrengthens, and protects them, and at certain fea ons, enables them to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But the time will come when,

The Lord fhall be revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them who know not God, and obey not the gofpel of our Lord Jefus Chrift; who shall be punished with everlasting deftruction from the prefence of


the Lord, and from the glory of his power: And what is very remarkable, it immediately follows these astonishingly awful words, "When he fhall come to be glorifled in his faints, and to be admired in all them that believe." It is worthy of our obfervation, that it is not faid our Lord fhall be glorified by his saints, on this folemn occafion, but in his saints. The glory of the Lord fhall be feen upon them; his glorious image being ftamped upon their hearts, it shall now fhine forth in fuch wife, that all fhall fee it, and in the fulleft fenfe of the word, "take knowledge of them, that they have been with Jefus ;" and every one fhall be conftrained to fay "The Lord hath done great things for them." Then fhall be fulfilled, in a far higher degree than ever it could be in time, "Arise, fhine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is rifen upon thee; Even the ungodly fhall then be constrained to fay, "We fools counted their lives madnefs, and their end without honour; but now they are numbered with the faints, and their lot is among the righteous."


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They are here diftinguished from the reft of mankind, by being called the Lord's jewels. This must be confidered as a figurative expreffion, and defigned, no doubt, to convince us of the exceeding high regard that the God of love hath for his children. The metaphor made use of may be defigned to exprefs the purity and holinefs of the faints and fervants of God; as jewels are transparent, and shine with a beautiful luftre, fo the children of God are made pure in heart, as well as outwardly holy; fo that it would be for their advantage, could men fee their inward defigns and intentions, as well as their outward conduct. The enemies of God and religion, when they can fee nothing in the life and converfation of the people of God, that they can with any fhadow of reafon reprove, then they will condemn them altogether, as hypocrites and deceivers. But could they fee the fincerity and integrity which reign in their hearts, they would be conftrained to form a different judgment of


Men commonly fet a very high value, upon their jewels, and carefully preferve them; fo does our gracious Lord delight in, and highly value his children: Unworthy as they are, they are the workmanship of his hands, and they are the purchafe of his precious blood; and therefore he faith by the Pfalmift, "The Lord hath chofen Jacob for himself,


and Ifrael for his peculiar treasure." And again:" The Lord's portion is his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." And as he highly values them, fo he will preserve them from all their enemies: While they obey his voice, and put their trust and confidence in him, no real evil fhall befal them: but "goodness and mercy fhall follow them all their days, and they fhall dwell in his houfe for ever." And in that tremendous day, "when the thrones fhall be caft down, and the Ancient of Days fhall fit, whofe garment is white as fnow, and the hair of his head as the pure wool, whose throne is as the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire, a fiery ftream fhall iffue and come forth from before him, thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him, the judgment is set, and the books are opened." In this awful day, shall the righteous stand forth with boldness in the presence of him who hath loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and he will make them kings and priests, and they shall reign with him for ever. They shall sppear to be his precious jewels, when the book of remembrance is opened, and their names are found written there, and he will say unto them; "Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." "Then they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that have turned many to righteousness, as the stars, for ever and ever." Such honour will God put upon his despised followers, to the everlasting confusion of their enemies.

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The Prophet adds, "And he will spare them as a man spareth his own son, who serveth him." These words are remarkably expressive of the sincerest, warmest, and tenderest affection. The Lord will spare them as a man would spare his own son, the son of his own bowels, whom he knows to be his own flesh and blood, a part of himself, designed to be transmitted down to posterity; and not a disobedient, an ungrateful son, but "his own son who serveth him:" who honoureth and cheerfully obeys his voice on all occasions, and who never willingly offended him, at any time. What would not a tender-hearted, and an affectionate father do for such a son? What would he not suffer for his sake, was he called to it? Would he not bear his griefs, and carry his sorrows, was it in his power; and even lay down his own life in his stead, supposing there was a necessity for it? Thus our heavenly Father expresses his tender regard for, and his sincere love to his children:


"Behold, as a father pitieth his children, so hath the Lord pity upon them who fear him." And how abundantly are these words verified in the conduct of God towards his children, throughout the whole course of their pilgrimage here below? How mercifully does he spare, how powerfully does he preserve, how graciously does he support and comfort, and how bountifully does he deal with them on all occasions? And as it is said of our blessed Redeemer, respecting his disciples; "Jesus having loved his own, who were in the world, he loved them to the end of his life:" So here, at the final close, or consummation of all things, the Lord declares that " he will spare them as a man spareth his own son, who serveth him." "With thine eyes," saith David," shalt thou behold the destruction of the wicked, because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High thy habitation, there shall no evil befal thee, neither shall any plague come near thy dwelling." Before assembled worlds, in the presence of angels, devils, and wicked men, will the Lord spare his obedient children in that day; and not only spare or preserve them, from punishment, but will crown them with glory and honour, and they shall live in the full enjoyment of himself for ever. And are these things so? Then how astonishingly do the men of this world manifest their folly, in neglecting, yea, despising all this glory and blessedness! They have their portion in this life, such as it is, and it must be acknowledged many of them are highly favoured with the abundance of temporal good things: But alas! how unmindful are they, of the hand that bestows these blessings upon them; and how do many of them heighten their everlasting condemnation, by abusing these gifts of God! These profoundly wise, these great and right-honourable men, are ten thousand times more careful of a poor, perishing body, than of a precious and immortal soul! They are abundantly more concerned respecting time, short as it is, than eternity! And to the utter confusion of the wisdom of this world, they set a far higher value upon the perishing, transitory, things of this life, than upon things of an everlasting duration, the things of the Spirit of God, which are confessedly, of infinite value! And what is still more to be lamented, if possible, very many of the lower rank are equally foolish with them; and though they cannot swim in those rivers of carnal pleasure which the rich do, but are obliged to endure ten thousand

hardships, through the whole course of their lives; yet they will not hear the warning voice of God, nor to turn at his reproof; but by their wilful rebellion against him, bring everlasting destruction upon themselves. Here, if ever, we may take up a lamentation, and with the weeping. Prophet cry out: "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes fountains of tears, that I might weep day and night," for these unhappy men; whose life in this world is attended with so much toil and labour, sorrow and suffering, and whose portion in the next must be everlasting weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth! O that these miserable men would at last hear the voice of the Son of God, and turn to him and live.

And notwithstanding the example of the primitive christians, of whom it is said, "They continued stedfast in the apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship, as well as in breaking of bread and in prayer; and although the reasonableness, as well as the unspeakable advantages of christian society so evidently appear: Yet, there are not a few, who look upon themselves to be friends to religion, who willingly neglect all those excellent advantages which they might enjoy. How often are the people of God met together, when these persons might he present if they would., How many precious opportunities for social prayer and mutual edification do they willingly deprive themselves of? Is it because they suppose themselves so wise, that they have no need of instruction from their christian friends; or so pious, that they have no occasion for so much prayer? If they apprehend themselves to be so established in grace, that they are under no necessity to use those helps which weaker christians want; then should they not for the honour of God, unite with their weaker brethren, in order to assist, encourage and strengthen those who want all the assistance which they can. give them: But there are too many who although they wish well to the cause of God, stand neuter, and do not set their shoulder to the work. Would it not be well for all such to consider that awful word, "Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.' But why must the inhabitants of Meroz be thus cursed? Were they the avowed enemies of the people of God? Not so, but they only looked on with a favourable eye and wished them good success, but did not unite with them in the great work in which


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