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and of a sense of God's love shed abroad in his heart, you would account it all enthusiasm and delusion. Say, then, whether you be not in a most deplorable condition? For, if God's anger be not turned away from you here, do you suppose it shall be in the eternal world ? No, indeed: you will there have to endure his frowns to all eternity, and to "drink of the cup of his indignation for ever and ever.” The Lord avert from every one of you this fearful doom! But remember, that till your experience accord in good measure with that described in my text, you have not any scriptural hope of happiness in the realms of bliss. It is in vain to think that you shall spend eternity in songs of praise, when you have never had your hearts tuned to them in this present life.]
2. Offer my congratulations to those with whom this day has commenced
[Though, as far as respects God's ancient people and the world at large, this day is yet distant, to the real Christian it is already come; as many of you, I trust, can attest. And what terms can I find sufficient to express the congratulations due to you? Carnal friends will congratulate you on the acquisition of wealth and honour: but if crowns and kingdoms had been given you, I should account them of no value in comparison of the blessings which you enjoy. Pardon of sin, peace with God, the consolations of his Spirit, and the prospect of his glory—what on earth can be added to you? The things of this world, in comparison of all this, are but as the small dust upon the balance.
the balance. I ask not, whether you possess any earthly comfort: if God be yours, what can you want? If “God be your strength, your song, and your salvation,” truly you have heaven already begun in your souls. Know, then, your blessedness, and estimate it aright: and not only O Lord, I will praise thee,” but do it: do it with your whole hearts; do it with your whole souls; and do it, not only with your lips, but in your lives; by giving up yourselves to His service, and by walking before him in righteousness and holiness, without ceasing, and without reserve.]
THE WELLS OF SALVATION.
Isai. xii. 3. With joy shall we draw water out of the wells
of salvation. WE wonder not that the Scriptures are read with so little interest by the generality: for, till persons know somewhat of their lost estate, and of the way of salvation provided for them, the Bible is to them a sealed book. But let them once experience a taste of the Redeemer's love, and instantly they will find in the inspired volume mines of wealth. Such a storehouse is that blessed book to the godly in this day: and such will it be to the Jewish Church, when once they shall be converted to the faith of Christ. “ In that day they will say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.” (Such will be the reflections at the time of their first discoveries of God's mercy to them in Christ Jesus. Then they will advance farther to express their full confidence in God.) “Behold, God is my salvation ! I will trust, and not be afraid : for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” (Then will they be fully prepared to derive the richest benefit from the Scriptures: and) “therefore shall they draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation."
That we may form a just estimate of their privilege, let us consider, I. The character by which the Scriptures are here
designatedThe expression, "wells of salvation,” is supposed by many to be spoken of Christ : and doubtless it may be very fitly applied to him. But I rather understand it of the Scriptures, from whence, as from an inexhaustible fountain, all true comfort flows. They eminently deserve that name,
1. As containing in themselves all the blessings of salvation
[The whole of salvation, as planned in the Divine counsels from all eternity, as executed for us by the Lord Jesus Christ in his incarnate state, as still carrying on by him at the right hand of his father, and as offered through him to every child of man, is there fully contained. “ This mystery of Godliness was indeed kept secret since the world began; but now it is made manifest; and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith a."
a Rom. xvi. 25, 26.
any one contemplate this mystery, and endeavour to explore the wisdom, the love, the mercy, and the grace contained in it: how surpassing all finite comprehension will they be found! Verily, the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of this mystery, and of the wonders contained in it, are utterly unsearchable; and the blessings flowing from it are a plenteous and perennial spring, for the refreshment of all on earth, and of all in heaven.] 2. As revealing them for our use
[In the whole world besides, there is not to be found one drop of water to satisfy a thirsty soul. Where can one look that is oppressed with a sense of guilt ? Where, one who is mourning over the corruptions of his nature? Go to those who have not the Scriptures: go to even the wisest philosophers of Greece and Rome ; and see how vain were all their expedients for pacifying a guilty soul, or purifying a polluted soul.
But in the Scriptures we find all that a sinner can desire; an atonement sufficient for the sins of the whole world; and an Almighty Agent ready to dwell in the hearts of all who seek him, and engaged to transform into the divine image all who commit their souls to him. In them are promises suited to every condition incident to our fallen nature ; as suited to refresh the soul, as water is to allay our thirst. Conceive of every want with which a sinner can be oppressed, and the appropriate relief will there be found.] 3. As actually imparting them to our souls
[As a spring pours forth its waters, so do the Scriptures impart life, and peace, and strength, to all who go to them as God's appointed channel of communication to their souls. They have within themselves a life-giving virtueb; so that, when brought home and applied by the Spirit of God, they quicken the dead, and give a vital energy to all our powers. They are able, not only to “make men wise unto salvation,” but to impart salvation itself; being “like fire” to consume dross, and a hammer to break the rock in pieces,” and two-edged sword to pierce the very inmost soule,” and “a weapon to destroy every enemyf.” They have a power to enlighten the darkest minds, and to sanctify all on whom they operate arighth; and so to sanctify them, as to prepare them for the perfect fruition of their God'.]
Think then of,
b John iv. 10.
C 2 Tim. iii. 15. e Heb. iv. 12.
f 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. h John xv. 3. and xvïi. 19. VOL. VII.
d Jer. xxiii. 29.
Truly we should never contemplate them but with joy, on account of,
1. The freeness with which we may approach them
[There is no prohibition to any creature under heaven. About wells that have been dug for a supply of common water, there have been the fiercest contentionsk: but these are public property, and equally accessible to all : none have to "pay for this water," as Israel had': it is to be had “without money and without pricem." True indeed it is that there are many, protestants as well as papists, who would bar our access to them: but God has given to all an equal right to come to them : for his invitation is, “Let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely".'] 2. The ease with which we may draw from them
[There are those who think it in vain for the poor to come to them, seeing that “the wells are deep, and they have nothing to draw witho." But be it known, that however valuable learning may be for the attaining of a critical acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures, it is not at all necessary for a spiritual perception of their truths. It is faith, and not learning, that is wanting for that end. All the learning in the universe will not impart to us a spiritual discernment, any more than it will furnish us with any corporeal organs. It is faith alone that will avail us here. "That discerns the things which are not visible to mortal eyes; and will go
bottom of these wells, and draw from thence the most refreshing consolations.]
3. The abundance that we may receive out of them
[When the rock was struck by Moses, the waters gushed out in such abundance, that the whole camp of Israel, with all their cattle, could drink thereof. And, if all the sinners in the universe will go to these wells, they shall find no lack for the supply of their most enlarged necessities. Our Lord says, “ If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink; and out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waterp.” Indeed, the more intense and ardent your thirst is, the more abundant shall be the blessings which you shall derive from them --.-)
4. The perfect satisfaction that we may find in them
[“ Whoever drinks of other waters will thirst again : but whoever drinks of these wells, will never thirst: for the water which he has received will be in him as a well of water springing up into everlasting life." I may appeal to all, whether the most copious draughts of carnal pleasure ever satisfied ? Solomon, who drank as deep of it as a human being could do, pronounced it all to be vanity and vexation of spirit. “The eye was never yet satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing.". But he who has obtained the knowledge of Christ, and drunk deep of the promises of the Gospel, has no longer any relish for earthly vanities, nor any desire after them. Give him all the world, and he feels empty: give him the presence of God, and he desires no more.] ADDRESS1. Those who are going to broken cisterns,
k Gen. xxvi. 18-21. 1 Numb. xx. 19. m Isai. lv. l. n Rev. xxii. 17. o John iv. 11. p John vii. 37, 38.
[What is the creature but "a broken cistern that can hold no water?”
for this forsake “the fountain of living waters??" Let me prevail on every one of you to go to God as your reconciled God in Christ Jesus, and to say with David, " All my fresh springs are in thee.]
2. Those who are drinking from “the fountain of lifet"
[Say whether you have not " a joy with which the stranger intermeddleth not?” Say whether the fountains do not richly supply you; and whether, even on the highest places, which, according to human apprehension, are inaccessible to rivers, the rivers do not follow you u? Yes, till you arrive at heaven itself, the streams shall never fail; and even there shall they run beside you for your comfort to eternal ages!.] 9 John iv. 13, 14. Isai. xlix. 9, 10. r Jer. ii. 13.
Ps. lxxxvii. 7. t Ps. xxxvi. 9. Isai. xli. 17, 18. x Rev. vii. 17.
THE BELIEVER's song. Isai. xii. 3—6. With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of
salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord ; for he hath done excellent things : this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.
THE restoration of the Jews, and their union with the Gentiles under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ, is foretold so plainly by the inspired writers, that we