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out thy transgressions for mine own fake, and will
promise of heaven at last, and so can't but be big with the truest delight now. This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life, 1 John ii. 25. What can he meet with that should biek his peace, or damp his joy, that has an interest in this promise ? Let his cross be as heavy as it will, he has a crown before him, to put in the balance against it: and no suffering of the present time, is worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed. What comfort must it yield a child of God, as often as he looks to heaven, to be able to say; There is my Father, That is my Inheritance : I have a promise of it now, made me by one who cannot" lie, and e'er long, I shall have it in full possession. Tho' it be a vale of tears I am now in, and death itself what I must pass through; how reviving is it to think, that I am now in the Way to that place, where all tears Thall be wiped away from mine eyes, and where is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore? And shall my state be so bright and blessed in the end ? What delight then should it yield me now? Add hereto,
(3.) The promise of God's presence by the way, that all things shall work together for his people's good. He speaks to every one of them by name, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, Heb. xiii. 5. And we know that all things shall work together for good, to them that love God, Rom. viii. 28. No temptation shall overtake them, but what they shall be enabled to bear, 1 Cor. x. 13.
And whatever trials they meet with, they shall keep their standing under them, and through them by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
3. In the word of God are the most comfortable examples. There are examples of God's compassion and grace in appearing for his people; as in the case of David, yob, and the three Hebrew Worthies that were cast into the fiery furnace, and brought out unhurt. And what God has done for those that are gone before them, he is able to do for others, and would hence encourage them to expect it, in submisfion to his wisdom and will : and it is for this end that such examples are recorded, that we from the scripture may have comfort and hope.
4. In the word of God are the most comfortable provifons, and these suitable to the various characters which his faints are to bear, and the ftates they are in while they are in this world.
As they are pilgrims and strangers, its precepts and directions mark out their way; shewing them the narrow path in which they are to walk; and its warnings and threatenings discover the snares they are to avoid, that they may be safe. The word of God is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path ; a light shining in a dark place, unto which we are to take heed, and shall find it our interest and comfort to do so, Psalm cxix. 105. 2 Pet. i. 19.
As engaged in a warfare, this acquaints us what armour we are to put on, and make use of; who are our adversaries, and what are their policy and strength, and in what way we are to fight, with assurance of success, against them.
As running a race, it cautions us against that which would clog and hinder us ; bidding us lay aside every weight, and the sin that does easily beset us; and then directs us in what manner we are to run, namely, with patience, looking unto Jesus, wko, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the same, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. And the crown for which we are to run, is held up, as it were, in view, with this title, To him that overcometh, shall it be given.
As probationers for eternity, we are acquainted with our work, and where our strength lies for the doing it; and how it is to be fetched in, and then improved. It shews much of the blessed world we are passing towards, and the marks and characters by which we are to try our title to it, and know if we are heirs of it, as being fanctified, and made meet to be partakers of that inheritance of the saints in light.
These are some of the things in the word of God, which may be said to be greatly delightful.
II. As to the persons to whose delight it actually conduces, They are the children of God, and none else.
None but they are prepared to take in the consolation of the word ; and it hath enough in it for the delight of all that are such.
None but the children of God are prepared to take in the confolation of the word.
1. As they only are spiritually enlightened to discern the great and comfortable things contained in it, enlightened in a manner in which no others are: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can be know them, because they are spiritually discerned, i Cor. ii. 14.
2. As they have the highest value for the word of God, this prepares them for receiving consolation from it. This Psalmist often discovered his value for it; O how love I thy law ! faith he, Pf. cxix. 97. And Psal. xix. 10. The judgments of the Lord are more to be desired than gold, yed, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.
3. As they have their hearts and ways suited to the word of God, this is another reason of the delight they fetch from it. For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh, and take pleasure in them; but they that are after the spirit, the things of the spirit. The comforts of the word are spiritual ; and only the spiritual heart, as it is renewed by grace, can taste and relish them, Rom. viii. 5. The delight which the people of God have from the word, is a privilege peculiar to themselves : and this word hath
enough enough to give delight to all of their number. In it there is balm to heal, treasures to enrich, food to nourish, cordials to refresh, provision for our being cleansed and sanctified now, and perfectly faved at last. In distresses inward and outward, under whatever evils we feel or are liable to, when nothing else can comfort us,
the word can do it. III. How is it that it does this
i I answer, 1. As believed, considered, and applied by the faints. I had fainted, faith the Pfalmist, unless I had believed, &c. Psal. xxvii. 13. He who delights in the law of the Lord, meditateth in that law day and night, Psal. i. 2.
2. As impressed and set home by the spirit. Whatever comfort we have in the word, it is from it as made efficacious by the Spirit: who therefore is called the Comforter, because from the word alone without his gracious influence co-operating with it, nothing of this could be found.
IV. When may a child of God find comfort from God's word ?
I answer in general: At all times, and in every state and condition : but particularly, under the times of fore trial and affliction which God may see fit to appoint him while he lives, and under his last trial
, when he is called to go through the valley of the shadow of death.
1. The word of God may be the comfort of his people in the times of great and fore affliction, which they fall into while they live. They are not exempted from such times, nor