« IndietroContinua »
mise; for surely he will never abandon his own offspring “ Can a mother forget her sucking child,” saith God, “ that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, she may forget, yet will not I forget thee.” The affection and tenderness of an earthly parent, are but faint resemblances of God's paternal love. In him, love is an infinite overflowing fountain of beneficence. And then his love is as permanent as it is extensive. He is always in one mind, and therefore can never leave por forsake his people.
3dly, The constant intercession of our glorious High Priest, effectually secures the accomplishment of this promise. By his death, he obtained the Holy Spirit to dwell in his people, and to abide with them. This he intimated to his disciples, for their comfort and encouragement, when they were about to lose his bodily presence, John xvi. 7. “ It is expedient for you that I go away ; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” And, in another place; “ I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who shall abide with you ;"_who shall abide with you, and that not for a season only, but “for ever."
With what tenderness did he recommend them to his heavenly Father, in his last intercessory prayer upon earth, John xvii. 11. “ And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.” Is it possible then that God should forsake those for whom his well-beloved Son pleads with such earnestness and affection ? Especially if it be considered, in the
4th and last place, That his own glory is interested in the accomplishment of this gracious promise. I mean, that glory which consists in making effectual the purposes of his grace towards those whom he hath chosen out of the world. For, were he to leave or forsake his people, they must fall a prey to their spiritual enemies, and yield to the adversary of God and man that triumph which he hath sought from the beginning. That apostate spirit never deserts his purpose of ensnaring and destroying the souls of men. He is ever on the watch, to seize them in a defenceless moment; so that, were God to leave them without his protection, they would fall easy victims to his artifices. And will he suffer his purposes thus to be baffled by his declared foe? It cannot be; and therefore he never will leave nor forsake his
I shall now conclude this discourse with a short practical improvement, addressed to two different classes of people. And the
1st Sort of persons to whom I will address myself, are those who are yet in a state of alienation from God. It is possible, that, at present, you may not see the value of this promise which I have been unfolding. You have never perhaps been sensible of the vanity of earthly enjoyments; or, if you have been weary of some of them, you promise yourselves a more permanent satisfaction in others. Alas! this is a delusive expectation ; for happiness never can be extracted from the creatures. God hath pronounced an irreversible decree of vanity upon them all. Ye are therefore pursuing what will for ever flee from you :-ye are feeding upon mere husks, which can neither nourish nor satisfy you. But though you should even be contented with this poor and empty portion, yet you cannot always enjoy it. For what will ye do, when every earthly prop is tottering and ready to sink under you? What will ye do at that period, when neither riches, nor power, nor friends, nor any thing that this world affords, will be able to give you the least re
lief? Let me therefore intreat you speedily to seek the favour of that God, who is the only adequate portion of an immortal soul. Listen to that kind expostulation and advice, Isa. lv. 2, 3. “ Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? aud your labour for that which satisfieth not ? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline
your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” But I now address myself, in the
2d place, To those happy persons who are in a state of friendship with God. To you, then I say, that this gracious promise should both excite and encourage you to stedfastness in the ways of religion. “ For if God be with you, who can be against you ?"_“ Be strong then in the Lord, and in the power of his might." All necessary aid is provided for you in the tenor of the well ordered covenant, and will not fail to be imparted to you in the time of your need. Your help is laid on One who is mighty to save, and who is no less willing than able to support you under all your trials. . • Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end.” But the principal improvement which you ought to make of this promise, is to put away from your minds all dissatisfaction with your present condition, or anxiety about your future provision in the world. God hath charged himself with the care of providing for you while you are here. He hath not indeed promised you an exemption from poverty, hardships, or afflictions. But he hath assured you, that these things are no tokens of his displeasure; nay, on the contrary, that they are intended for your greatest good, and that he is never nearer to his people, than when they are in the furnace of affliction, What abundant reason then have you to be contented with whatever lot he is pleased to appoint you in the world, and to look beyond all the momentary distresses you now suffer, to that incorruptible inheritance which is reserved for you in heaven. “ Let your conversation then be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have ; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
GALATIANS V. 24.
And they that are Christ's, have crucified the ficsh, with the
affections and lusts.
No man who hath experienced the deceitfulness of his own heart, will think the subject of this text improper for the present occasion *. It is true, this day is set apart for thanksgiving ; and with the highest pleasure would I enter on the delightful theme of divine love and condescension, which shall employ the praises of the redeemed through endless ages. But a solicitous concern, that your joy may be well founded, hath induced me to propose to you a strict examination of yourselves, whether you have indeed an interest in him, through whom all favour and good will to sinners is conveyed. The text furnisheth us with an infallible rule to direct our judgment in this inquiry. “ They that are Christ's,” not all who are called by his name, but they who are united to him, as the branches are united to the vine, who are governed by his Spirit, and bave a right to the bene. fits of his purchase, are distinguished by this attainment,
They have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts."
In discoursing on these words, I propose, * Preached on a day of thanksgiving, a:ter the dispensation of the Lord's Supper. Vol. II.