Imatges de pàgina

These are some of the encouraging things contained in the promise made to them that seek God, that they shall not want any good thing.

I now proceed to shew,

III. By what such a promise as this is to be measured, That they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

This is necessary upon the account of the objection that may be made from the variety of trials, which such as are dear to Godt, and fincerely seek him, often labour under. Their case is fometimes fad, and leads them with deep sense to say as the Apostle, If in this life only we had hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, i Cor. xv. 19.

But however, They that seek the Lord shall want nothing that is good here on earth, i. e.

1. So far as is suitable to their present imperfect state, out of which they are gradually recovering. And thus God fulfils his promise, though he bestow not all that is desirable upon his chil

this not being the place of our compleat felicity and rest. A place of unmixed enjoyment of all good, and perfect freedom from all evil is the description of heaven, and not to be expected on this side it.

To havé light without darkness, ease without pain, health without sickness, plenty without all want, holiness without fin, and life without death, is reserved for the promised land, and what our condition in a wilderness will not admit.

To have no forrow, sufferings, fears, or straits ; no enemies, temptations, weariness, or wants : To have every desire filled up, and all matter of


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complaint removed, is the privilege of those who have finished their travels, and are called home by their heavenly Father, to take poffeffion of the inheritance prepared for them. And while we are followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises, if we have enough to our fafety and subsistence, direction and progress, we want nothing of good belonging to our infant unsettled state, and suitable to it.

2. They that seek the Lord fhall want nothing that is good, with reference to the great design he is carrying on, viz. his own glory, and his people's falvation ; which all his

proceedings towards them, make way for, and shall ifsue in. And thus he performs his promise, notwithstanding the troubles wherewith his servants are fometimes exercised. Afflictions are grievous, and so not desirable in themselves : But yet as they have an influence reaching to eternity, and as they tend to promote the divine honour, and our everlasting blefledness, they are matter of our rational choice now, and will be of our thankfulness and praise hereafter.

Mofes having respect to the recompence of reward, chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, Heb. xi. 25. For our light afflictions that are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit to take away bis fin, Ila. xxvii. 9. We are chastened of the


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Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world ; that we may be made partakers of his holiness, and so prepared to behold his face in glory.

Now what are the great things we should defire, were it put to our choice, but to be delivered from sin the worst of evils, and from hell the deepest misery? To obtain falvation with eternal glory, that God may be everlastingly honoured in our everlasting happiness? And if he over-rules his various dispensations, to this end, though some of them are harsh and severe, how plain is it that those with whom he deals thus, want nothing that is good? And with what thankfulness shall we acknowledge this, when we are well instructed in the method of grace to bring us to glory? We shall confess with wonder and joyThat it was good for us that we were afflicted, and that in very faithfulness God did it.

How pleasing a scene will it be at last to behold the excellent counsels and designs of wisdom extending to all the circumstances and turns of life? That this way we were to go ? Through such straits and trials to be led ? By such means and methods to be brought into the divine favour, and kept in it? By such crosses and afflictions to be saved from pride, weaned from earth, kept back from fin, excited to duty, and a diligent pursuit of heaven ? Which have all been observed, and with a steady hand guided to a blessed issue. With what triumph shall we use the words of the Pfalmist, as fulfilled : Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my

life :


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life : and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, Pfal. xxiii. 6.

Though I was led through a howling wilderness where I was often ready to murmur upon account of the straits I was in, or the dangers I was encompassed with, I find it was the best way to the promised Land. I now perceive the feafon, and the need I had of the various dispensations of providence towards me, the usefulness of all the hard circumstances I was in, how nothing was omitted or could be spared, how well and wisely all things were over-ruled for my eternal good: And now,

adored be that wisdom that watched over me, and directed my steps ; that mercy and goodness that chose my ftate for me, and attended me therein ; that power that kept me from falling, strengthened me in weakness

, delivered me from every evil work, and preserved me to his heavenly kingdom. How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God? bow great is the sum of them? They are more in number than the sand

3. They that seek the Lord shall want nothing that is good, with respect to the service he calls them to, the work they have to do, and the part they are to act for him in the world And so the promise is fulfilled, though he does not giver to all his servants alike. By some he will be honoured in a higher, by others in a lower station ; and accordingly to one he gives ten talents, to another two. Now whatever he sees fit to bestow on me, his will and wisdom are to measure my desires, as knowing the fittest proportion for me. And if I honour him VOL. II.

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less by my substance, I am to honour him more by my patience and humble submission to his will; and having food and raiment, which is all that is absolutely necessary, therewith I am to learn to be content.

4. They that seek the Lord shall want nothing that is good, as it shall become seasonable : And so he fulfills his word, though he does not presently or all at once bestow all the good he intends. His sovereign will is to determine the time and order, as well as the measure of our mercies.

The Ifraelites in the wilderness, when fed with Manna, had nothing denied them that was good, though they had no more than would last them from day to day ; to teach them to live in a constant dependence upon God, and as their wants returned, to look up to heaven, from whence supplies were to be sent in the fittest season. And how tasteful must those mercies be, that descend fresh out of the hand of God?

Lastly, They that seek the Lord Thall want nothing that is good, either in kind, or in value; in outward comforts, or in inward content with the divine disposal and allowance. Godliness with contentment is great gain, 1 Tim. v. 6. If God denies the joy of harvest, and gives the joy of the Holy Ghoit ; if he suffers men to be in outward trouble, and gives them that peace that passeth understanding, who can say he deals hardly with them, or that they want any thing that is good ?

To remove our burdens, or else increase our ftrength: To answer our desires in taking off an affliction, or fay, My grace is sufficient for thee :


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