« PreviousContinue »
to bestow every thing that is for our real intereft. It is to say with the prophet, Hab. iii. 17. Al• though the fig tree shall not bloffom, neither • Thall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive • shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the • Aock fhall be cut off from the fold, and there
Thall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my falvation.'
I shall only add, that the divine all-fufficiency is to be considered, as regarding our fanctification as well as comfort. What distress does not the Chriftian often suffer from the treachery of his own heart, and from the power of surrounding temptations? Covered with fhame for his paft unsteadfastness, convinced, by experience, of his own weakness, he bath no other refuge but in God. And what courage does he derive from the fulness of divine perfection, the greatness of divine power, and the faithfulnefs of the divine promise ? •My grace shall be sufficient for
thee, and my strength shall be made perfect in weak(nefs.' He then fays, with the Pfalmift, Pfal. Ixxi. 16. 'I will go in the strength of the Lord God: * I will make mention of thy righteousuels, even of
II. I proceed now, in the last place, to make some practical improvement of what hath beca faid. And, ift, Let us admire the divine condescenfion, in admitting his faints to a discovery of his glory. Solomon fays, with very great propriety, in the language of astonishment: " But will God in
deed dwell with meo on the earth?' The lame ought to
Ser. 2. The chject of a Christian's desire, &c. be, nay, the fame certainly are, the sentiments of every real believer. But let us remember what has been hinted at above, that our access to God, and our communion with him, is, and only can be, through the Mediator of the new covenant, in whom we have access, by faith, unto God.
2dly, Let me beseech you to try yourselves, whether this ever hath been your attainment, and whether it is your fincere desire? Do you know, in any measure, what it is to see the glory of the true God? Hath he appeared before you in terrible majesty? Have your very souls been made to bow down before him, and to give him the glory that is justly due to his name? Have you seen the glory of a reconciled God? Have you chosen him, in Christ, as your portion? Have you devoted yourselves, without reserve, to his disposal ? Again, have you seen the glory of an all-sufficient God ? Surely I speak to many who have seen the vanity of the creature. Probably you have tasted a little of the sufferings of a sinful state. Where did you seek your consolation where do you find your support? Have you learned the holy and happy art of pouring out your souls to God? Have you felt the sweeinefs of it? And have you said, with the Psalmift, ‘Return unto thy rest, Omy soul ! • for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee?' Is it your earnest desire to see the glory of God? Can you say with the Pfalmist, Psal. lxiii. 1, 2. O God!
thou art my God, early will I feck thee: my soul • thirfteth for thee; my fiefh longeth for thee in a * dry and thirsty land where no water is, to see thy
* power and thy glory, fo as I have feen thee in the • sanctuary.'
3diy, I will now proceed to exhort you, in the moft earneft manner, to diligence in seeking after real communion with God in his instituted worship. How highly are we favoured with light and liberty? how little are many sensible of their privileges ? I have often, on fuch occafions, put you in mind of the fatal effects of a heartless, customary, formal worship: it is provoking to God, pernicious to others, hardening to the heart, and ruining to the foul. Were but a fociety of thofe Protestants abroad, who are lying under persecution, to enjoy the season which we now enjoy, what an edge would be upon their spirits? what a sense of gratitude in their hearts ? what fire and zeal in their affections ? Strange, indeed, that publick prosperity Mould be so stupifying, and the approach of eternity to every individual should not be awakening, while the young and strong are hurried off the stage, while every day is bring. ing us nearer to our last, while every ordinance is adding to our charge, that we would not desire to see the glory of God in his fanctuary here, that it may be the earnest of our future inheritance, and prepare us for his immediate presence hereafter.
Suffer me to speak a few words to those that are young. God is my witness, that their welfare is at my heart. Perhaps you will think, what hath been said hardly applicable to you. The desire of Moles, the man of God, intimate communion and fellowship with God, the attainment of ripe and experienced Christians, all this you will say, is unsuitable to me: nay, perhaps, by a bastard humility, you will say, to expect it, would be presumption in me. But you are greatly deceived; there are none who have more gracious invitations to come unto God than young finners: there are none who have greater reason to expect nearness to God than young fints. Do you not read, that God revealed himself to Samuel, the child, when he neglected Eli, the old prophet? Besides, I would recommend earnestness and affection to you; not only for your greater profit, but to prevent your apostasy. A little religion is very hard to hold; it is like a lamp which is hardly lighted, which the least breath of wind will extinguish, or a tree that is but newly planted, which a rude thrust will overturn. Unless you make God, and his service, your hearty choice, you will not carry it long as your burden, but will be soon tempted to throw it down. Be concerned, therefore, I befeech you, to attend on his instituted worship, not in a careless and formal manner, but let the desire • of your souls be to his name, and the remembrance
of him.' I shall now conclude the subject, by offering to those, who would see the glory of God, a few directions, as to the best preparation for such a discovery. Ift, If you would see the glory of God in his fanctuary, be serious in felf examination, and in the renunciation of all known sin. Holiness is an effential attribute of the divine nature; and, therefore, he must be worshipped in the beauty of holiness. Thus the Pfalmift resolved with himself, Pfal. xxvi. 6. I will wash mine hands in innocence, so
will I compass thine altar, O Lord!' It is true,
none, who have any knowledge of the corruption of their own hearts, can reasonably hope to be perfectly free from fin in the present life: yet a real Christian will have it, as the object of his daily study, to • cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and
spirit, that he may perfect holiness in the fear • of God.' It was sin that first rendered us unfit for communion with God; and, therefore, our recovery of this happy privilege will be but in proportion to our fanctification. To bring sinful dispositions, indulged, and still suffered in the heart, to the worship of God, and to expect acceptance in such a state, is implied blasphemy, and the greatest dilhonour we can possibly do to him.
2. In order to see the glory of God, you must be cloathed with humility. No disposition more effen. tially necessary to a Christian at all times, but more especially, wben he makes an immediate approach to God in his worship: Ifa. lxvi. 2. For all those
things hath mine hand made; and all those things have been, faith the Lord: but to this man will I • look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite
spirit, and trembleth at my word.' And, indeed, how can we consider the nature of that God whom we worship, and our own sinful and miserable eflate, without being struck with a sense of the necessity of deep humility and self-abasement in our inter course with him? It is particularly to be noticed, that selfabasement, and even felf-abhorrence, is the immedidiate effect of a sense of the divine presence. See tu this purpose, lfa. vi. 1,-- 5. In the year that King • Uzziah died, I faw also the Lord fitting upon a