Imatges de pàgina

6. Lastly, It is greatly reviving to learn from the word, that under times of affliction God has chosen to let out his love more freely to his people, than at other seasons. And who would not be reconciled to the rod, to know and taste more of his promise to the church, Hosea ii. 14. I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and Speak comfortably unto her ?

Thus the word of God is a store-house of comfort to his people, under their various afflictions while they live.

2. It is fitted to delight them when they are called to die; and to do this, as teaching them two things, viz.

(1.) That as dying God will be with them.
(2.) That immediately after death they shall

be with him. (1.) They are taught from the word, that as dying God will be with them. In this he goes

farther in his declaration to his people, than Ruth did to Naomi, her mother. Ruth, when entreated by her to go back, answered, whither thou goeft, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge : thy people shall be my people, and thy God ту

God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will 1 be buried: The Lord do fo to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. If nothing in life can do it, death will separate the dearest friends among mankind. But God having guided his people even unto death, will not then take leave of them, not when flesh and heart are failing them, but as he lives still, he will be with them still.

Though father and mother, physicians and friends forfake God's people as going off the stage


of the world, and they are left alone as to any of these, they are not altogether alone ; for the Father is with them. He thus bespeaks every one of his children, Ifa. xliii

. 2. When thou pallest through the waters, I will be with thee : and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. And this does not only extend to them under all the evils they meet with whilst in the world, but when going out of it. Thus the Psalmist encourageth himself in God, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.

(2.) They are taught from the word, that after death they Ihall be with God, that he having guided them by his counsel so far, will afterwards receive them to glory. When their earthly tabernacle is diffolved, they have a building of God, an house not made with hands, where they shall dwell in that presence of his, where there is fulness of joy, and at whose right-hand are pleasures for evermore.

There is one thing more under the doctrinal

part, viz.

V. The nature of the delight or consolation derived from the word. And

1. The delight or consolation derived from the word is truly divine, and the confolation of God.

It has the word of God for its ground, and the Spirit of God for its author. It comes from heaven, is the beginning of it, and leads to it; and it is no wonder then that it carrries the foul with fo much triumph through all the trials it may meet with upon the way. When God puts gladness VOL. II.



[ocr errors]

into the heart, it is such as the whole creation beside is unable to give.

2. The consolation and delight, which the people of God have in his word, as being divine, is certainly real and solid : Not a name only, or fancied or imaginary ; though it is better felt by the happy souls themselves in which it is, than it can be made known to others.

Such expressions as those have a firm ground to support them, Psalm cxix. 14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage, ver. 54. Thy testimonies have 1 taken as an beritage for ever : for they are the rejoicing of my heart, ver. 111.

The causes of it are not imaginary, and the effects of this delight are distinguishing, even readiness for any duty, and submission to the will of God in any trial. The joy of the Lord is the strength of his people.

3. It is rational and justifiable. If any delight in the world hath a just ground, it is that which the people of God have in and from his word: they have just reason therefore, to believe the scriptures to be the word of God. And upon a serious search, they find upon themfelves the marks by which the children of God are there described : Hence they are enabled to infer their interest, in the privileges of such ; and applying them to themselves, to fee abundant reason for peace and comfort; which how much soever fcorned or disvalued by others, they find to be real, and would hold fast as the most defirable thing in all the world,


4. The

4. The delight which the people of God have in his law, is boly. It is built upon an holy word, wrought in them, by the fanctifying Spirit, and leads to greater holiness, and so to more raised degrees of itself. It is acompanied with forrow for fin, contempt of the world, desire of heaven, and an earnest endeavour to become more and more meet for it.

5. It is a delight that is sometimes vigorous

and strong

[merged small][ocr errors]

God is willing that it should be so in all the heirs of promise: But there are degrees in

this, as well as in grace. Some can sing in the way to Zion; others go mourning like the dove, so as to give room for that question of Eliphaz, Are the confolations of God small with thee? Job xv. II. i, e. Are thy sorrows so many and grievous, as to be more powerful to sink, than the consolations of God to help thee up? Is it a works too hard for God to put an end to thy afflictions, scatter the clouds, and turn thy sorrow into joy? Can any thing be too hard for the Almighty ? And is not his goodness infinite and unmeasurable ? His promises exceeding great and precious ? Hath he not balm enough in store to heal thy wounds ? and treasure enough in stock to repair thy losses ? Say, thy case is as dark and distressed as ever any ones was, thy sufferings as fore as thy will, they are but the sufferings of a creature ; but the comforts before thee are the consolations of God. Are the consolations of God small with thee? But let the most dejected among the righteous know, that light is sown for them, and joy and gladness for the upright in heart.

6. Lastly,


6. Lastly, The delight which the people of God have in his word, is the fore-taste of heaven, and is working upward to meet that fulness of joy which there is in God's presence, and to mingle with those rivers of pleasure that flow at his right-hand for evermore.

APPLICATION. 1. Is there so much in the word of God to delight the soul? What a wonderful vouchsafement is the Bible to the world and church? O what a dark disconsolate place would this earth be without it? Let us bless God for this word, and seriously study it and meditate


it. 2. Get into the number of the children of God, who are the only ones prepared to take the comfort of his word, 3. Under all

your troubles run to the word of God for relief; and in conversing with it, pray for the Spirit to enlighten your minds, fanctify your hearts, fit you to take comfort in it, and so to work in you the comfort he hath fitted you for.

And as ever you would have solid consolation,

1. Value and labour after grace and holiness, as the ground of it. Be as earnest for grace, as you are for comfort and

2. Expect the comfort you need in God's way, by humbling yourselves and turning to God in case of sin, and by attending his ordinances and the institutions of his house.

3. Wait for comfort in God's time, and presume not to prescribe to him, but continue to pray and look

for it.



« AnteriorContinua »