Imatges de pÓgina

them, is, For the Lord's fake, take care that the foundation bé well laid upon Chrift, fo that ye be joined to him by the bond of faith of God's operation; receive him, and reft upon him, as "made of God unto you (finners) wifdom, righteoufnefs, fanctification, and redemption."

2. Study not only to have faith in the habit, but to have faith in a continual exercife; for faith, like the fpring of a watch, fets all the other wheels. I mean, the other graces of the fpirit, a-going; fuch as, love, repentance, fear, hope, pa tience, and joy in the Lord: and while thefe are kept in exercife, there is no fear, though the fhadows of death fhould ftretch themselves over us. Hence the apoftle exhorts Chriftians" above all to take the fhield of faith," Eph. vi. 16. becaufe all depends upon the grace of faith, which itself depends upon Chrift: "I can do all things (fays Paul) through Chrift ftrengthening me." Faith speaks like a little omnipotent; faith is a victorious grace, that overcomes the world, and all difficulties in its way. By faith it was that these worthies, Heb. xi. did wonders; by faith they" quenched the violence of fire, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, and raised the dead out of the grave;" by faith they "endured cruel mockings and fcourgings," &c. When created comforts evanish, riches, relations, pleasures; well, in that cafe, faith will look to the Lord, and have a refpect to the holy One of Ifrael; when fenfe can find nothing to stay upon, all props are withdrawn, faith will stay itself upon the Lord; when the promife feems to fail, faith will wait, and not make hafte; when the strength of crea ted grace begins to fail, faith will ftay and fit down upon everlafting strength, If. xxvi. 3. So then, study to have faith in exercife.

3. Study to get your hearts fteeled with Chriftian fortitude and courage, which is the natural fruit of that faith which "worketh by love." We have a noble pattern of this, in the glorious Captain of falvation, whofe followers we are called to be, particularly in a fuffering lot: he "fet his face like a flint," and challenges all his enemies to encounter him, if. 1. "He is near that helpeth, who will contend with me?" &c. Paul followed his Master's example, when he was told that bonds and afflictions did abide him, Acts xx. 24. he answers, "None of these things move me: I am ready not to be bound only, but to die," &c. And when he was to appear before that cruel monfter Nero, and no man to own him, or ftand by him, yet he stands his ground, refolving rather to die on the fpot, than difhonourably to recede from his principles and profeffion. What holy courage breathes here in the words of Da

vid, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, &c.

4. Another advice I give you is this, Study to get rid of the idol of felf; felf-righteoufnefs, felf-wisdom, felf-fufficiency. "If any man will be my difciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.' ." The prevalency of felf was the forerunner of Peter's fall; "Though all men should deny thee, yet fo will not I." He was too confident of his created grace and ftrength; and the Lord, in order to humble him, and unbottom him from this kind of confidence, will let him fall into a mire of fin, and deny him in the hour of temptation, at the voice of a filly maid. There are two things wherein the ftrength of the Chriftian lies. (1.) Self-diffidence. (2.) Confidence in the Lord. If these two be maintained, they will make the believer stand, when the darkest shadows of death are round about him. "We are not fufficient of ourfelves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our fufficiency is of the Lord." This is just the way and work of faith; it travels between felf-emptinefs and all fulness, between selfguiltinefs and everlasting righteousness, between self-weakness and everlasting ftrength: hence David, "I will go in the ftrength of the Lord, making mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only."

5. Study to get your heart weaned from, and mortified to, the world, and all the fading interefts and enjoyments thereof. The world is a dead weight upon the foul, efpecially in a day of trial, where the love of it has the afcendant and prevalency in the heart; hence we are told, that Demas forfook Paul, and the profeffion of Chriftianity, by having loved this prefent world; "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." And if the love of the Father be not in us, it is impoffible we can ftand in a fhaking day. There are thefe things in the world that we should ftudy to be mortified unto, in order to our ftanding in a time of trial.

ift, Our worldly eftates and riches. "The love of money is the root of all evil, which while fome have coveted, they have erred from the faith," &c. O what a fcandal is it to Chriftianity, to fee men profefling Chrift and Chriftianity, fo wedded to the world, and the perishing riches of it! In order to our getting it under our feet, let us view it in the light wherein God has fet it to us in his word; his verdict of things is the trueft; and if we believe him, all that is in it is mere "vanity, vanity of vanities," &c. Let us contemplate things above, and look at things not feen, &c. What will it appear when we are a little beyond death?

2dly, Let us fudy to be mortified to our worldly credit, our


name and reputation in the world. It commonly goes very near us, and it was among the fharpest of trials that the worthies met with, Heb. xi. when they endured "the trial of cruel mocking." It is no eafy thing to proud nature to have our name and reputation torn by reproach, and caft out as evil: yet, I fay, if we would stand in a day of trial, we muft lay our worldly name and credit at the feet of Christ. He was content to have his " name, which is above every name," blackened with reproach for us; he was called "a blafphemer, a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and finners," an effecter of popularity, yea, a devil: but " he endured the cross, and defpifed the fhame of it." Sirs, let us remember that we are neither to stand or fall according to the world's verdict of us: "It is a fmall thing for me to be judged of men: he that judgeth me is the Lord." Let us remember, that there is a real glory in bearing reproach for Chrift and his caufe: Mofes "efteemed the reproach of Chrift greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt."

3dly, Let us study to be mortified to worldly cafe, quiet, and liberty. Paul lays his account with "bonds for the name of Chrift." Sirs, what the matter of being, like Paul and Silas, fhut up in a dungeon for Chrift, and under chains, if his prefence be with us, as it was with them? &c. A prifon has been hanfelled by the most eminent of the faints now in glory, Jer. xxxii. Matth. iv. 12. Acts v. 18. But God loofed his prifoners, and fet them free at length. Commonly, when men are cruel, the Lord is kind: he "looks down from heaven, to hear the fighing and groanings of his prifoners," &c. A prifon or confinement by men is not hell; men have their prifons, and God has his. We read of these who finned in the days of Noah, that are now in the prison of hell, 1 Pet. iii. 19.; that is a terrible prison indeed, no relief there: little hazard of men's prisons, if that be all the hell we are to endure.

4thly, Let us ftudy to get our affections mortified even to the inordinate love of life. This indeed is a hard lecture; yet it is a lecture that we must learn, if we be the followers of Chrift, when a day of trial comes. Sirs, if ever you took on with Chrift the Captain of falvation, you have laid your lives at his feet, and all the comforts of life to be difpofed of by him, &c. Die we must one time or other, and we can never part with it more honourably than in the cause of Christ, &c. Chrift parted with his valuable life for us, and fhall we fpare our poor miferable life for him? Again, think what a life of glory you enter into, when you lay down your life for his caufe, &c.

6. In order to our being prepared for encountering the VOL. II. K k


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fhadows of death, fecure these three good things, and there is no fear; a good God, a good caufe, and a good conscience.

1, Secure the prefence of a reconciled God in Chrift: It was the faith of this, that made David fo bold here in the text: Though I walk through the valley, &c. His promise is sure "I will never leave thee, nor forfake thee," &c. "When thou paffeft through the waters, I will be with thee," &c. Let faith faften on his word, and fay, "This God is my God for ever and ever, and he shall be my guide even unto death."

2dly, Secure a good caufe. It is a miserable heartless thing for a man to fuffer as an evil-doer, to fuffer as a bufy body in other men's matters; but to fuffer for Chrift, for the doctrine, difcipline, worship, and government of his houfe, to fuffer for his members, or for cleaving unto the least of his truths, is comfortable and creditable; and we are to "account it all joy when we fall into divers temptations" and trials on this account, even though but the leaft hoof of divine truth be concerned; for better heaven and earth were unhinged, than one jot or title of the truth of God be fuffered to fall to the ground.

3dly, Secure a good confcience to bear you company; for this is like a bird in the bofom, that makes the countenance glad, even when ftorms blow hard from without. "This is our rejoicing, the teftimony of our confcience," &c. And, in order to your having a good confcience, get it fprinkled with the blood of the Lamb, and keep at the greatest distance from every thing that may defile it, even though it fhould offend the whole world in fo doing.

7. Keep your eyes fixed upon Jefus as our glorious pattern, and fee him within the veil, with the fpoils of hell in his hand, Heb. xii. 2. "Let us run with patience the race that is fet before us, looking unto Jefus," &c. View him as the renowned Captain of falvation, coming from Edom. Eye him,

ft, As our Redeemer that has satisfied juftice for us. So did Job; "I know that my Redeemer liveth," &c. This put him in cafe to look death and the grave in the face.

2dly, Eye him as your Leader, and the Captain of falvation. made perfect through fufferings. He did wade a fea of blood and wrath, and he is now on the other fide, crying, "Fear not; for I was dead, and am alive."

3dly, Eye him as your head of influence, and wait for fupplies of grace from him; for he will not be wanting to give out life and strength to his members, as he has fervice for them, &c.

Laftly, Eye him as a head of government, having all power in heaven and in earth in his hand, for the benefit of his myftical body; for this will make you fing in the midst of tribula

tion, faying, "The Lord liveth, and blessed be my rock and let the God of my falvation be exalted. The Lord fhall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Selah."




PSAL. xlvii. 5.-God is gone up with a fhout, the Lord with the found of a trumpet.



HIS pfalm feems to have been compofed upon the occafion of that great folemnity, of carrying up the ark from the house of Obed-edom unto the city of Zion; the hiftory of which we have, 2 Sam. vi, and 1 Chron. xiii. 6. But as Zion was a type of the church, and the ark a type of Christ; fo this has plainly a refpect unto the afcenfion of Chrift unto heaven, and, as a confequence and fruit thereof, to the spreading and enlargement of his kingdom in all parts and nations of the world.

The pfalm begins with an exhortation to praise, ver. 1. "O clap your hands, all ye people, fhout unto God with the voice of triumph." The party exhorted is, "all ye people;" not only all the tribes of Ifrael, but all the ends of the earth, are concerned in this common Saviour and his falvation; and therefore all are exhorted to join in this triumph, of celebrating the glory of our Redeemer. And they are exhorted to clap their hands, and fhout with the voice of triumph, like men in a tranfport that cannot contain themselves. Clapping of the hands, and fhouting upon any folemn occafion, is a token of approbation. Every foul that hears of Chrift, fhould


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