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Here I must add, that the believer not only desires to see the glory of God's mercy, in general, as displayed in the gospel, in which he may have a share, but to take an appropriating view of it, as what he hath a clear right and title to call his own. Doubtless the mercy of God is published, offering falvation to the chief of finners. It is their duty to accept of it; it is their interest to cleave to it. But they are many times deterred by what they fee in God, they are many times discouraged by what they feel in themselves, and are afraid to assert their title to fo great a blessing. But when, by the Holy Spirit, they are enabled to see the infinite price paid for their redemption, in the cross of Christ; when they see the riches of divine grace, in the cross Christ; when they hear the urgent in. vitations to them to believe in the cross of Christ; when they are enabled freely to renounce and quit hold of every other claim; when their hearts are sweetly constrained by the bonds of their Redeemer's love ; they can then look upon God as their reconciled Father, through him who hath made peace, by the blood of his cross, and say unto him, My Lord! and my God! What an endearing view is this of the divine glory, and what ineffable fatisfaction springs from it, to the soul? What an unspeakable consolation to those who have been wounded in their spirits, and grieved in their minds, when they are enabled to apply the encouraging promises of the holy scriptures ? Ifa. i. 18. “ Come, now, and let us reason together, faith " the Lord; though your fins be as scarlet, they shall be “ as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, " they shall be as wool. lfa. xliii
. 25. I, even I, am he " that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own fake ;
and will not remember thy fins, xliv. 22. I have blot" ted out as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a “ cloud thy sins. Return unto me, for I have redeemed " thee."
3. The believer desires to see the glory of God, as an allfufficient God. This is a necessary view of God, as the fupport and happiness of the creature, as well as the Arength and consolation of the finner.
My brethren, man was made for living upon God; forgetting this, he first went astray from him. Self-sufficiency, and a delusive sense of independence, is inseparable from a sinful state. Conviction levels a blow at the foundation of this mistake. Serious confideration shews us how insufficient we are for our own happiness. Daily experience discovers the inherent vanity of all created comforts in themselves, and as separated from God. When the penitent returns to God, he not only returns from the fervice of other masters, to him, as his rightful Lord; but forsakes all forbidden joys, and cleaves to God as his happiness, and rests in him as his portion. Does not this appear from the uniform language of scripture, with regard to both parts of the covenant ? what belongs to God, and what belongs to man. See the tenor of an early promise to the father of the faithful, Gen. xv. I.
" Fear not " Abram; I am thy fhield, and thy exceeding great re"ward.” Multitudes of others are of the same import.
The power and providence of God, in behalf of his people, are largely and beautifully described in the ninety-first Plalm, “ He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most “ High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I “ will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress; “ my God, in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver
thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome
pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and - under his wings shalt thou trust. His truth shall be thy ** fhield and buckler," &c. 2 Cor. vi. 17. “ Wherefore “ come out from among them, and be ye separate, faith " the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will re“ceive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be
my fons and daughters, faith the Lord Almighty.” On the other hand, the invitation, or exhortation to return, is ordinarily pressed from the profit of the change, Ifa. lv. I. “ Ho, every one that thirsteth! come ye to the waters; " and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea
come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without
price.” And, to name no more passages, when God came to establish the faith of Abraham in his promise, he fays, Gen. xvii. I, “I am the Almighty,” or as it ought to be translated, “ the all-sufficient God: walk before me, 6 and be thou perfect.” Now, believers desire to see the glory of God, as all-sufficient; and all discoveries of this nature are attended with unspeakable complacence and satisfaction. They see the glory of an infinite God as theirs, and rejoice in the richness of their portion. Wcaried with repeated disappointments, and deeply convinced of the vanity of the creature, they rest in him, as able to give them complete happiness; happiness that will never change! happiness that will never be exhausted : He that hath chosen God as his portion, hath, as our Saviour beautifully expresseth it, made “ choice of that good part, which “ cannot be taken away from him.”
My brethren, we are now come to the very substance of practical religion. The glory of an all-sufficient God, appears as more than a balance to all that pretends to rival him in our affections; to all that we are called to give up for his sake. When the believer sees the fulness of God, then his anxiety, and distressing fears, of every kind, are at an end. Does he want provision ? “ T'he earth is " the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. The young lions “ do lack and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord, “ shall not want any good thing." Does he want friends ? God is able to make his enemies to be at peace with him. Does he want any outward comfort ? God is able to procure it, or make him happy without it. Not to mention particulars; the triumph of faith, in this view, is to attain an absolute and unconditional resignation to the will of God, with a firm persuasion, that he is able to make all things work together for our good, and willing to bestow every thing that is for our real interest. It is to say with the prophet, Hab. iii. 17, " Although the fig tree shall 6 not bloliom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor “ of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; “ the flock shall be cut off froin the fold, and there shall “ be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord; “ I will joy in the God of
my salvation.” I lhall only add, that the divine all-fufficiency is to be considered, as regarding our sanctification as well as com. fort. What distress does not the Christian often suffer VOL. II.
from the treachery of his own heart, and from the power of surrounding temptations ? Covered with shame for his paft unsteadfastness, convinced, by experience, of his own weakness, he hath no other refuge but in God. And what courage does he derive from the fulness of divine perfecti. on, the greatness of divine power, and the faithfulness of the divine promise ? " My grace shall be sufficient for " thee, and my strength shall be made perfect in weak“ ness.” He then says, with the Pfalmift, Psal. lxxi. 16, “I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make "mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.”
II. I proceed now, in the last place, to make some practical improvement of what hath been said. And, ist, Let us admire the divine condescension, in admitting his saints to a discovery of his glory. Solomon says, with very great propriety, in the language of astonishment : “ But “ will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth ?” The fame ought to be, nay, the same 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 sincere 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-fufficient 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
sweetness of it? And have you said, with the Psalmist, “ Return unto thy relt, O my soul! for the Lord hatlar " dealt bountifully with thee? Is it your earnef desire to see the glory of God ? Can you say with the Psalmist, Plal. Ixiii. 1, 2, "O God! thou art my God, early will " I seek thee : my soul thirsteth for thee; my flesh longeth “ for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, to “ see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in “the sanctuary.”
3dly, I will now proceed to exhort you, in the most earnest manner, to diligence in seeking after real com. munion with God in his instituted worship. How highly are we favored with light and liberty ? how little are many sensible of their privileges ? I have often, on such 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 those 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 public prosperity should 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 bringing us nearer to our last, while every ordinance is adding to our charge, that we should not defire 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 defire of Moses, 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