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LI.-GOD THE REFUGE FOR HIS PEOPLE.

“ I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, and my fortress: my

God; in him will I trust.”—Psa. xci. 2.

What a marvellous truth, that God, against whom man hath sinned, should himself become the sinner's Refuge from the guilt and punishment of sin. Here, thou beholdest, O my soul, the length and breadth, the depth and height, of infinite, everlasting love! The way

in which God can receive sinners to his favour, consistently with his holiness and justice, could never have been discovered by the highest archangel, much less by the reason of man. The Scriptures of truth alone reveal this amazing mystery. There we learn, that God in Christ reconciles the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ;* that through his incarnation and death, he can now be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly ; having fulfilled the righteousness of the law for man, and paid the penalty due to eternal justice, by shedding his own most precious blood upon the Cross. He is now revealed as a just God, and yet a Saviour.& His law is magnified and made honourable, and all his perfections encompass the believing sinner, as with a shield. O! what a refuge for the oppressed; what a refuge in time of trouble! Yes! every poor sinner, who flies to a covenant God in Christ, has now a strong-hold, a tower of strength, into which he runneth, and is safe. To him, Christ is “as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."* Those, to whom Isaiah wrote, knew well the preciousness of this description of the “King that shall reign in 2 Cor. v. 18, 19.

+ Rom. iii. 26., iv. 5. #Rom. viii. 3, 4., X. 4.; 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. & Isa. xlv. 21.

|| Isa. xxxii. 2.

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righteousness,” of the “ Man,” thus prefigured by the Spirit of prophecy. They knew how to value a hiding-place from the death-spreading Simoom ; a covert from the wild tornado ; springs of water in the sandy desert; and the shadow of a great rock, to screen them from the burning rays of a tropical sun.

Hast thou, O my soul, fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before thee in the gospel ? Hast thou made God thy Rock and Stay at all times, and on all occasions? Are thy comforts drawn from earthly sources, and thy hopes built on earthly dependencies; or, are they derived from God in Christ, the Fountain of true felicity, and founded on Him, the Rock of Ages ?* 0! happy is the man whose hope the Lord is, 7 and whose fresh springs, blessed Jesus, are in Thee!

While vessels, on a tempestuous ocean, are every moment in danger of being swallowed up by the yawning waves; the man, whose house is built

upon the rocky shore, can view the storm, fearless and undismayed. So the Christian, whose refuge is the mighty God, can calmly contemplate the tumultuous sea of life, and smile amid the wildest uproar of the maddening multitude. This is the portion of the true believer. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." David enjoyed this peace, when he sang : “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble: therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." And what caused the Psalmist thus to feel peaceful in the midst of conflicting elements, and a warring world ? He tells us: "The Lord reigneth; he is clothed with majesty.

66 The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." 66 The Lord reigneth ; let the people tremble.” ||

Isa. xxvi. 4.; 1 Cor. x. 4. + Jer. xvii. 7.; 1 Tim. i. 1. Isa. xxvi. 3. & Psa. xlvi. 1-3. || Psa. xciji. 1., xcvii. 1., xcix. 1.

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The believer in Jesus, opening the book of God, is quieted from fear of evil. He reposes on the promises of Him, who is THE AMEN, whose word is eternal Truth; whose counsel shall stand; and of whose government and peace there shall be no end.*

He knows that God is the Ruler of the universe, the wise Disposer of all events; that nothing can happen without his order or permission ; therefore, he is cheerful and happy under all the dark dispensations of providence, remembering that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth ; that the Judge of all the earth will do right, though clouds and darkness are round about him, and veil his bright designs.t

He knows that God, who is rich in mercy, desireth not the death of a sinner ; that he is waiting to be gracious; that his arms are ever open to welcome the returning prodigal, and to become a city of refuge to all who flee unto him through his dear Son Jesus Christ. I

He knows that God has power as well as will to save him ;$ that his willingness was manifested at Bethlehem, at Gethsemane, at Golgotha ;|| that his power is daily displayed in the conversion of sinners, and the preservation of his saints.

He knows, from daily experience, that God is indeed a refuge, a place of defence against his spiritual enemies; he finds Jesus to be a near refuge to flee unto; for thus saith the Lord : “ Am I not a God at hand ?"** “ He is not far from every one of us : for in him we live, and move, and have our being.”+t Yes! the believer finds the Lord Jesus to be, not only as a little sanctuary,"It while on earth, but also his ETERNAL REFUGE. ''Moses animated the

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Rev. iii. 14.; John xvii. 17. ; Psa. xxxiii. 11. ; Isa. ix. 7.

+ Rev. xix. 6.; Gen. xviii. 25. ; Psa. xcvii. 2. # Eph. ii. 4. ; Ezek. xviii. 32., xxxiii. 11.; Isa. xxx. 18.; John vi. 37.

Luke i. 37.; Heb. vii. 25. ; 1 Tim. ii. 4. || Matt. ii. 1.; Matt. xxvi. 36., Mark xiv. 32.; Matt. xxvii. 33.,

Mark xy. 22., John xix. 17.
Jer. xxiii. 23. ++ Acts xvii. 27, 28. ** Ezek, xi. 16.

journeying Israelites by this delightful view of the God of their fathers: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."* In life, in death, in trouble, and in joy, the true believer finds a sure, a strong, a near refuge in Jesus Christ, who is the strength of the poor, the strength of the needy, in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” t. Oh! blissful truth-Jesus is the believer's refuge, when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised. At that awful hour, when the wicked shall call in vain upon the rocks and bills to cover them, and to hide them from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; the joyful saint shall lift up his head, knowing that his redemption, his complete glorification, draweth nigh. I

Washed from his sins, through faith in the blood of Christ ; clothed with the garment of salvation, the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness; purified and made meet for glory, through the power of the Holy Ghost ; the now perfected believer is admitted through the gates into the city, and amidst the hallelujahs of saints and angels, receives the crown of glory., Then will “the voice of harpers harping with their harps," fill the heavenly temple with celestial harmony; then will the mighty chorus, from 6 ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” of ransomed spirits, swell the anthem of praise “ unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. "S

0! my soul, delay not a moment to seek an interest in Jesus Christ. Fly to this friend of sinners. Go unto God the Father by him. Plead before the throne of grace the merits of thy Saviour. Cease not day and night to pray and cry unto the Lord, that thou mayest be lodged in the ark of the everDeut. xxxiii. 27.

+ Isa. xxv. 4.
#1 Cor. xv. 52. ; Rex. vi. 16.; Luke xxi. 28.

S Rev. xiv. 2. ; v. 11-13.

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lasting covenant; be safely concealed in the cleft of the Rock, in the covenanted mercies of God in Christ.

How good, how gracious is the Lord. Infinite love directs the vast machine of providence, and makes all things work together for his people's good. If present dispensations be dark, they soon shall be clothed with light; and if his people are now sad, they shall ere long be filled with joy. The designs of God, with respect to his Church, are full of mercy and truth. None of his purposes can fail of their accomplishment. He can make even the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath he will restrain.t The mighty conqueror is but as a rod in his hand, the staff of his indignation, which he can wield or break at his pleasure. Satan may plot, and his agents execute their schemes ; but in every age the Lord reigneth. He can still the madness of the people, or open the flood-gates of national judgments. He will do all his pleasure. I Infidelity may pour forth its poisonous waters ; Popery may forge its despotic chains; and Anarchy light up the torch of discord : yet, in the midst of all these enemies to truth and righteousness, Jesus is the King of Zion; he shall reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet, and God be all in all.

O! my soul, cleave then unto the Lord thy God. Make him thy refuge, thy hiding-place, till the indignation be overpast. Yet, alas ! what cause have I to mourn over a cold, unfeeling heart. strangely do I feel. I want to be all life, all love, all energy for Christ, and yet

I seem more like a statue than a living creature. Why am I thus ? Oh! what a depth of evil there is in the heart. Satan knows this well, and fails not to work upon it. But, of this I am persuaded, that the word of promise can never be reversed : “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him."i Believers, if need be, are

+ Psa. lxxvi. 10. Isa. xlvi. 10. $ 1 Cor. xv. 25, 28. || Isa. iii. 10.

* Rom. viii. 28.

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