Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

Let the sincere seeker of God humbly take up the resolution, although the fig tree Thall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation, Hab. iii. 17, 18.

Though the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light, the Lord will be - unto them an everlasting light, and their God their

glory. Why art thou cast down, O my Soul ? Why art thou fo disquieted within me ? Pfal. xlii. 5.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

SER

SERMON IV.

PSALM LXXIII. 23. Nevertheless I am continually with thee, thou haft holden me by my right-hand.

T

very fore and

HESE are the words of the holy Psalmist

just recovering out of deep distress

, which in the foregoing verses he at large describes, with the occasion of it.

Before he mentions any thing of his trial, he lays down this as an undoubted principle, Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. However such as these may seem neglected, or severely dealt withal' by him ; whatever hard thoughts they may be tempted to give way to, they have reason to believe, and will be brought to own at last, that truly God is good to his Israel ; peculiarly, savingly, everlastingly good to such as are of a clean beart.

Having laid down this as his ground upon which to justify God, he declares how forely he had been shaken, from observing the unequal distributions of providence, in the outward prosperity of finners, and the affliction of God's faints. But as for me, my feet were almost gone,

my

throw up

my steps had well nigh Nipt; ver. 2. My faith and hope in God's promises and providence were staggered, and I could scarce keep my ground: seeing the enemies of heaven in the most flourishing condition upon earth, I was ready to

all religion, as standing in the way of my happiness. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked, ver. 3. The instances of this he sets down, with the effect they had upon him. There are no bands in their death ; but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men : neither are they plagued like other men, .ver. 4, 5. They are often strong and healthful while they live, and then are removed by a natural and easy death; have their days filled with plenty and pleasure, though by all, they grow worse and worse, and give themselves a greater scope in sinning, even to the blaspheming of God, as well as abusing of his servants : Behold these are the ungodly who prosper in the world, they increase in riches. These are the men, and this is their condition, a prosperous one. Upon which, he was tempted to make this strange conclusion, viz. That all that he had done in religion was lost labour. Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency; i. e. there being no difference made in my case, unless for the worse : For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning, ver. 13, 14.

And though he does not allow himself to break out in such language as this, lest he should condemn the people of God; yet he could not get over the difficulty, or obtain fatisfaction why

God

God should deal thus, from any reason of his own. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me. Until I went into the fan&tuary of God; then understood 1 their end, ver. 16. If ever we would have our scruples answered, and our doubts. effectually removed, it must be by God's teaching; and for this we are to wait where he is wont to be found, viz. in the fantuary. There consulting the oracles, and attending the ordinances of God, the Pfalmift had his mind calmed: as being taught,

1. That this world is only a state of trial and preparation in order to another : whence, no wonder that feemingly unequal distributions are made to faints and finners, as if God had crossed hands, and mistook his enemies for his servants; but it is nothing less.

2. Sinners are not presently punished; nor the righteous rewarded ; because God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, and would train up his people in the faith and expectation of it, and leave those inexcufable who live as if it would never be. :-)

3. The time is short both of the wicked's triumph, and the faints sufferings, and will soon be over. The scene shall be e'er long changed, and in the next state things shall be put into better order, and all that set right which here seems so much amiss. 4. What finners have in hand is their

portion. They have their good things here; all that ever they are like to have. Upon their leaving the present world, they must leave their happiness too ; and how soon; how suddenly

may

may they be snatched away into a world, where nothing remains to them but endless torments ? Surely thou didst fet them in Nippery places ; where, Who would defire to stand? Thou caftedft them down into destruction : upon which he that here looked upon them with envy, could not but look after them with horror, and cry out, How are they brought into defolation, as in a moment? They are utterly consumed with tersors. And how little reason is there to repine at their empty short-lived happiness upon earth, in their way to an everlasting hell ? 01. Nor need faints to sink under their present sufferings, or think themselves hardly used ; the sufferings of the present time, not being worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed : and the light afflictions of the present life, working for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, Rom. viii. 18. 2.Cor, DR 65. How little appearance soever there is of this, or of preparation for it at present, The Lord knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of tempo tation, and to reserve the unjuft unto the day of judgment to be punished, 2 Peter ü. 9. And then their imaginary felicity will all vanish, and be exchanged for real misery. As a dream when one awaketh; fo, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou fhalt despise their image.

Having learned such things as these by beling in the sanctuary, the Psalmist looks back, and bewails his folly in being so far borne down, and almost overset.' Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I,

and

iv. 17.

« AnteriorContinua »