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command his loving-kindness in the day-time, and in the night his
3. Faith assures the believer of the truth of God, when his dispensations of providence seem to run cross to his promises; this we have exemplified in Abraham's case; Rom. iv. 18-20, "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." Heb. xi. 17-19, "By faith Abraham when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son; of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead from whence also he received him in a figure."
4. Faith eases the soul of many burdens that make uncomfortable walking. It eases it of a burden of guilt; Rom. v. 1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." It eases it of strong corruption, "Acts v. 9, "Purifying their hearts by faith." It eases it of a burden of care and anxiety, 1 Pet. v. 7, "Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you." And it eases it of the burdensomeness of duty, Phil. iv. 13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
5. Lastly, Faith gives a fair prospect of safe landing in Immanuel's land, amidst all the storms that happen in the voyage; Psalm xxiii. 4, 6, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
III. To confirm this doctrine, consider,
1. The Christian's life is by faith; Gal. ii. 20, "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." And his walk must also be by faith, Col. ii. 6, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”
2. Thus the Christian's life is distinguished from that of the saints
in heaven, and that of the wicked, as he is in a middle state betwist the two.
3. Thus Christ himself, and all the saints have walked; and thus also must all walk that intend to get to the heavenly Canaan.
USE 1. Then they who do not direct men to a life of faith, and walking by faith, teach not true Christianity. Of which unhappy number are many of the teachers of this day, whose continual theme is morality and virtue, and pressing men to the observation of these as the conditions of their salvation, and the road to happiness; without any notice of Christ, and faith in him, as the spring of all holy walking.
USE 2. Know ye, ye walk not as Christians indeed, if ye walk not by faith. If ye walk by sight, sense, appearance of things, and your own carnal reason, ye have but the name of Christians. Walk looking to unseen things; fixing your eyes on God and Christ, and the things of the other world. And thus evidence yourselves to be Christians indeed, by having your conversation in heaven, and your eyes turned away from all the objects of sense.
CHRISTIAN LIFE DELINEATED,
IN SEVERAL PRACTICAL DISCOURSES.
CHRIST TO BE FOUND IN THE ORDINANCES, WITH THE IMPORT AND HAPPY EFFECTS OF FINDING HIM.*
PROVERBS Viii. 35,
For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.
THIS chapter represents to as Wisdom speaking openly and most earnestly to her hearers. The discourse begins, ver. 4, and goes on to the end of the chapter.
It may here be enquired, 1. Who or what is this wisdom that speaks? I answer, Jesus Christ, the personal Wisdom of God; Luke xi. 49; 1 Cor. i. 24, in both which passages Christ is expressly called "the Wisdom of God." This appears from the personal properties ascribed to this Wisdom, as, (1.) Subsistence, ver. 30, "Then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight." Compare John i. 1," In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (2.) The manner of subsistence, namely, eternal generation: vers. 22-24, "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there was no depths, I was brought forth; when there was no fountains abounding with water." (3.) Personal attributes and effects; vers. 14-17, &c., " Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength," &c.
It may be inquired, 2. To whom he speaks? I answer, "To men," ver. 4, "Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men;" sinful and ruined men, who stand in need of salvation.
3. It may be inquired, What he speaks? I answer, The sum of it all is to commend itself to their souls, from their eternal happi
The substance of several sermons preached at Ettrick, in the year 1721. VOL. X. 2 I
ness, ver. 11, and downwards, "for wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired, are not to be compared to it," &c.
4. What is the application of this discourse? It is an exhortation to hear his voice, comply with it, and close with him, ver. 32, and downwards, "Now therefore hearken unto me," &c.
In the two last verses is the conclusion of the whole matter.
(1.) Happiness is wrapt up in the enjoyment of him; ver. 35, "For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord."
(2.) Ruin is inevitable in the rejecting of him; ver. 36, “But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death."
The former is the subject of our text; in which consider,
1. The connection with the preceding words, "For;" shewing them to be the reason of the blessedness pronounced on those that "hear him, watching daily at his gates," &c. These gates are the ordinances. It is supposed that he comes out at these gates, and so men being found watching at them, find him when he is pleased to come forth. It is a metaphor, which may be taken either, (1.) From scholars, whose hearts being set on learning, wait on at the schooldoor, till they can get in; or, (2.) From courtiers: Esth. ii. 21, or others waiting for access to their prince. (3.) Or from clients waiting on their advocates, or their judges late and early. Or, (£.) From lovers, who will hang on, watching for a meeting; Job xxxi. 9. They that thus watch and wait at Christ's gates, till he come forth, for getting their errand, are made up for ever. Which is the import of,
2. The words themselves; describing the happiness of those that find Christ. Wherein there are two things :
1st, The happy man in heaven's account, "Whoso findeth me." It imports, that it is not every one that comes to his gates that finds him; many go as they came; but some do find him. The world counts him the happy man that finds riches, honours, pleasures, &c., like Ephraim, who said, "I am become rich, I have found me out substance;" Hos. xii. 8; and therefore they watch and wait greedily where they may have them, saying, "Who will shew us any good?" Psalm iv. 6. But when they have found what they were seeking, it often appears, that they have been seeking and have found their own ruiu. But he is happy indeed that finds Christ, for he finds an upmaking treasure.
2dly, The happiness of that man; which lies in two things, (1.) He that finds Christ "finds life." Without him we are dead
men; but falling on Christ the fountain of life, as the man's dead body on the bones of Elisha; 2 Kings xiii. 21, the soul gets life, eternal life, that will never die out any more. [Heb. hath found;] in finding me, he hath found life; 1 John v. 12, "He that hath the Son, hath life.”
(2.) He "shall obtain favour of the Lord;" for the Father is well pleased with Christ, and with all who are in him. He shall be accepted with the Lord; Eph. i. 6. The sky shall clear on him, which was lowring before. Heaven shall smile on him. Yea, he shall bring forth favour from the Lord, as out of a treasure now opened to him; so the word intimates.
From the connection of the text with the preceding context, we may observe the two following doctrines, viz:
DOCTRINE I. The ordinances are the place where Christ is to be found of poor sinners.
DOCT. II. People may come to ordinances, and yet not find Christ. I shall discuss these two doctrines before I enter on the words themselves.
DocT. I. The ordinances are the place where Christ is to be found of poor sinners.
In handling this doctrine, I shall,
I. Shew what are the ordinances in which Christ is to be found.
III. Lastly, Apply.
I. I am to shew what are the ordinances wherein, especially, Christ is to be found. If any of you have Job's desire; Job xxiii. 3, "O that I knew where I might find him!" I would direct you to "go out by the footsteps of the flock;" Cant. i. 8, where to find him. These ordinances are,
1. The divine ordinance of meditation; Hag. i. 5, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider your ways." Here is the first sight ofttimes that a sinner gets of Christ; as did the prodigal son; Luke xv. 17, “When he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" Therefore David adviseth his enemies to this; Psalm iv. 4, " Commune with your own heart upon your bed." And here the saints have often got renewed sights of him, to their soul's satisfaction; Psalm lxiii. 5, 6, "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." What is it that keeps Christ and many sinners 212