Page images

In the name of the Lord, i. e. in Jehovah himself, who manifests his glorious perfections in delivering those who put their trust in him. This is the meaning of the expression in the directory for prayer given by Jesus Christ, where he teaches to say, • Hallowed be thy name.' Let the God of heaven and earth with his infinite excellencies, be suitably acknowledged, fanctified and honoured, throughout the whole world. As men are distinguished one from another by their names, so the Mott High God is known by the revelations he hath vouchsafed to give of himself, which afford fatisfying proofs of his infinite majesty and glory, and exhibit him as the proper object of trust and dependance. -In his omnipotence we may fafely confide. All other supports may fail, but he is the rock of ages, and they who rely on him, shall never be moved. If we speak of strength, lo, he is strong. By the word of his power he made the worlds; and upholds them in existence. Many astonishing deliverances hath he wrought for his church. In the person, the life, the death, and resurrection of Immanuel ; in the conversion, sanctification, and preservation of his people, to his everlasting kingdom, his glovious power is nobly displayed. When therefore you that fear God are in perplexity and trouble, trust in the Lord; commit yourselves to him who is able to do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you can alk or think.--In his goodness, we may place unsuspecting confidence. He is incomparably good, good unto all, especially unto them that hope in his mercy, in whatever condition they are placed. When walking in darkness, he can easily dispel the gloom, and cause the day spring from on high to vilit them. When in trouble, he can revive and send relief; in temptation he can succour and deliver. When oppreiled by a sense of guilt and depravity, he is ready to forgive and to heal every spiritual distemper. When distressed with fears of death, he will be with you, and make

his rod and staff to comfort you. No want so great that he cannot supply, no difficulty so urgent from which he cannot extricate, no defire fo large that he cannot gratify, no blefling so precious that he will refuse to grant. Trust then in the Lord, that he will bestow all that you are disposed aright to receive, and your expectations shall not be disappointed.-On his faithfulness we ought firmly to rely. He is the God of truth, for whom it is impollible to lie; one title of his word shall not fail of receiving its full accomplishment. He is faithful who hath promised, who also will perform. He who possesses Almighty power and consummate goodness, can never be destitute of ability and inclination to fulfil the promises ke hath made to: advance the interests of his people. In all ages and in every condition, they have experienced his conftancy and fidelity, insomuch that no one instance can be specified wherein the Lord hath failed to confer the good things he hath promised. Trust in Jehovah at all times, ye people pour out your heart before him, God is a refuge for us.

And stay upon his God, with whom he that feareth the Lord Itands intimately conneaed in the most endearing relations. He is thy gracious Father, who gave thee being, breath, and all things; who regenerated thee by his Spirit, and admitted thee into his divine family. He is thy faithful friend, who by all the dispensations of his providence and grace will certainly advance thy happiness and falvation. He is thy God, whose perfections and providence shall be employed to promote thy best interests, who himself will be thy exceeding great reward, and for ever enrich thee with fubitantial proofs of his favour, that is better than life. • Trust, then, in the Lord, and wait patiently * for him ; fret not thyself because of him that

prospereth in his way. Delight thyself, also, in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of 'thine heart; commit thy way unto the Lord, trust

• also

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• alfo in him, and he shall bring it to pass *.' Stay and reft upon him, and he will dispel your perplexing fears and sorrows; hope in him, and

you fhall yet praise him who is the health of your countenance and



11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye

have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in forrow.

Our Prophet concludes this portion of his excellent discourse by folemnly declaring that the adverfaries of the kingdom of God, who walk in the evil ways of their own hearts, shall certainly perish. To this momentous interesting subject, which ought to be considered with the utmost provident solicitude, he demands serious attention. The persons who are especially addressed are thus figuratively described - All ye that kindle a fire, &c. These words, which ought not to be literally understood, are used fymbolically, to represent the artful devices formed by wicked people, whereby they aim to comfort themselves under awful denunciations of terrible judgments which shall be inflicted upon them, if divine mercy and true repentance do not intervene. -That compass yourselves about with sparks, or, according to the translation of the late bishop of London,' who heap the fuel round about.' In either sense the words strongly intimate the persevering asfiduity with which persons of this description endeavour by improper means to solace themselves, and to harden their minds against the complicated miseries which they refuse to adopt proper measures to escape. They likewise point out the inefficacy of all the vain expedients and ill-judged attempts of obstinate transgreffors to attain the ends they

have • Plal. xxxvii. 3, 4, 5.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

have in view, and to acquire substantial comfort. —
To people of this description God faith by his fer-

Walk in the light of the fire, &c. This direction
is plainly ironical, and imports the reverse of what
it seems to recommend. Expressions of this fort we
fometimes meet with in scripture, of which a re-
markable instance occurs in the Prophecies of E-
zekiel, chap. xx. 39. 'As for you, O house of Il-
• racl, thus faith the Lord God, Go ye, ferve every

one his idols,' &c. God had explicitly required them to refrain from the service of idols; but after they had obstinately persisted in this prohibited practice, the more effectually to convince them of their wickedness, he sarcastically tells tliem every one to go ferve his idols. In the same fenfe the words before us are to be explained, of which this seems to be the import. Proceed to take every advantage you can derive from the foolish devices you have framed, whereby you flatter yourselves, of obtaining the gratification of those delusive expectations, that you cherish of enjoying safety and tranquillity. Go on in the ruinous course that you have cholen, act under the influence of the bad principles you have adopted, and try to acquire all the benefits you can reap from your vain imaginations. Remember, however, that all your delufory schemes 1hall be frustrated, and ultimately terminate in the confusion and deftruction of their authors and abettors.

This shall ye have of mine hand, &c. The Lord God peremptorily assures those who endeavour to fortify themselves by vain confidences against his threatened judgments, that he will severely punish them for their arrogance and wickedness. His right hand shall find out all his enemies; he shall bring them forth into the light, and execute upon them a sentence of righteous condemnation. He shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of his anger, when an evil conscience within, and dreadful cala

[ocr errors]

mities without, shall torment them, as a prelude to those future punishments which the wrath of Jehovah will inflict upon the impenitent and incorrigible, according to the enormity of their transgreffions.—1 e shall lie down in forrow. Their strength being exhauited, their spirits shall faint, their hands {hall become feeble, fo that, unable to resist or escape impending miseries, they shall be overwhelmed by distress and anguith. Oppreiled with trouble and grief, and seeing no ground of hope and consolation, they thall experience the truth of the awful prediction delivered by the prophet Zephaniah, chap. i. 14. ' The great day of the Lord is near; it

halteth greatly ; even the voice of the day of the Lord : the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.' The significant words of our prophet alludes to the distressed state of one who is laid on a lick-bed, grievously afflicted with agony of mind and pains of body, who is obliged to endure the moit complicated misery, deprived of all hope of recovery. Such a deplorable condition affords a moving representation of the torment and anguish to which the im. placable enemies of the kingdom of God our Saviour shall be configned, ' in outer darkness, where : fhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth *,' where • the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched t.' This prediction, which hath been verified in the destruction of many, who through envy and hatred have opposed and perfecuted the Lord Jesus and his disciples, shall receive a more full accomplishment when he shall appoint his servants to bring forth and flay before him those his enemies, who would not that he should reign over themt. Would you, then, happily escape the dreadful doom here threatened ? Faithfully improve the folemn warning you have now received. Alarmed by a sense of danger, have immediate recourse to the infinite mercy of God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, who faves from the wrath to come, that he may forgive

your * Mat. viii. 12. + Mark ix. 48.

Luke xix. 27

« PreviousContinue »