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changes and chances; this mere lot. Lord, and in His law doth he meditery, in which“ time and chance hap- tate day and night.” There is nopen to all men,” and “the wise man thing irrational or extravagant in the dieth even as the fool," and they go kingdom of God; there is no such to the grave together; are we to be- thing as great effects produced by inlieve, in the face of facts, that even adequate causes; and if in any porthe righteous man shall prosper in tion of mankind a great, manifest, every thing he undertakes? When and essential change takes place, so we see the best men disappointed and that their present and ultimate lot sore broken, beat down by oppression differs from that of others, we may and chastened by calamity, how can rest assured that there are different we admit the idea of his invariable moral elements at work adequate to prosperity? The fact is, that men explain the change. If in the season judge falsely as to what is the pro- of drought we perceive a tree richly mised prosperity. Their notion of clothed with fruit, full and ripe, and prosperity is invariable worldly suc- at the same time its leaf still green cess. They conceive that in a righ- and flourishing, and we know the natecus man there are the same un- ture of the tree to be such as requires checked cravings and speculations moisture, we conclude directly that after this world's good; the same this could not be unless it is planted labouring, and plotting, and contriv- by the river of water, or in some other ing to obtain ; the same conscience- situation in which the adequate porstifling, and the same dishonest use tion of nutriment shall reach it. It is of means, as others adopt: and that the same with the righteous man, of the prosperity here proinised is a suc- whom God declares that whatever he cess in all these measures which they doeth shall prosper. There are causes cannot secure,– a going forward be- of that prosperity in operation adefore the wind to those heights of dig- quate to produce the result; and nity, and that attainment of wealth, these are, delight in God's word and on which the world builds for hap- habitual meditation upon it. This is piness. Experience, however, will God's appointed way of blessing : His correct these notions, and remove revealed word is the river of water, the seeming paradox by rightly ex. by which the souls of the righteous plaining what is here meant by are to be fed and nourished in all prosperity. It shall be our endeavour fruitfulness unto life eternal. It is to aid the explanation of this seeming able to make men wise unto salvadifficulty, and then to draw some tion; able to build them up in their practical inferences from the asser- most holy faith. tion in Psa. i., “Whatsoever he doeth Let us notice, then, secondly,– shall prosper."
the first point is delight in God's We look, first, at the causes stated word: “his delight is in the law of to be in operation for the accomplish the Lord.” The law or word of God, ment of this prosperity, and, secondly, the revealed will of God, is a declaraat the nature of the prosperity itself. tion of all that man should know of
I. The Causes. These are stated God here, and all by which his conin the second verse of the Psalm: duct and his hopes should be regu“ His delight is in the law of the lated. Now the source of real pros
'perity is to take delight in it; to feel and accursed in our persons, we are it to be what it really is, a guide and made accepted and beloved in His. comforter: the very wisdom of God On this blessed and consolatory truth graciously adapted to the wants and the word pours a clear, unwa
wavering weakness of the fallen creatures of light, and makes it more practically this earth. Many say that they ap- evident and effectually useful to us as prove of the Scriptures; but their we go forward. And what a blessing conduct proves the reverse; their de- it is thus to know by daily applicalight is evidently in other things. A tion to an unquestionable testimony, man's delight is in that to which he that God is no more angry with us, gives the choice of his time and at- that the atonement is offered and actention. But the really righteous cepted, and that we are become the man is he in whose heart the Spirit of children of God, and that He will God has awakened this perception of never leave us nor forsake us, but the infinite superiority of the Divine having loved us, will love us to the word to all other kind of instruction, end, and give us an abundant enso that the affections are really drawn trance into His kingdom and glory. out towards it as the fount of sacred, By this word, also, the servant of saving, and profitable meeting be- God is guided to a right apprehension tween the Almighty Father and the of his actual circumstances before human soul. By that word he is God, and of the conduct incumbent guided to a right knowledge of God on him under them. In whatever himself; his mind is opened to per- state a man is, he may know it acc11ceptions of the glory of God of which rately by the word. He has only to he once knew nothing. And not only come to this light that his deeds may is his mind enlarged by suitable ap- be reproved, if they are evil; or made prehensions of the glory and majesty, manifest, if they are wrought in God. the might and the holiness of the If he is yet unchristian, a stranger Eternal, but he attains to the know- and unconverted; if he is beginning ledge of God as a covenant God and to see his darkness and danger, and Redeemer in Christ Jesus. And this to inquire the way; if he is liable, is the grand subject of communica- through ignorance or false teaching, tion in that word. Its main object is, to build upon a false foundation, either that the guilty and condemned crea- on his own merits or on an unscripture should arrive at a rational and tural view of God's mercy; if he does comforting view of God's means of not rightly apprehend the fulness of help for the lost soul, and of God as Divine love in Christ Jesus, and the a reconciled Father. It is there we ample breadth of the foundation of read of the Son of God's love,-hav- hope; if he is declining to a worldly ing loved us and died for us in the temper, or becoming listless, cold, and flesh; having justified us freely by indifferent, or mistrustful and unbeHis righteousness and blood; having lieving; if any unholy passion or haput away our sin by the sacrifice of bit has taken possession of him, and
nself; having reconciled us wholly obscured his christian hope and darkand opened for us a new and a living ened his religious comfort; if he has way to the Father: so that though been led, on the authority of men, to we have been alienated from God take up any unscriptural notion what
ever, or to give any undue, and con- stowed upon us, that we should be sequently delusive, prominency to any called the sons of God.” “Herein is scriptural truth;—all this may be de- love, not that we loved God, but that tected by coming simply and honestly He loved us, and sent His Son to be to the standard of truth; by entering the propitiation for our sins.” We the only school of religious know- see His everlasting and unfailing love ledge, the study of the word of God. in a crucified Saviour; we read it in Let a man only prayerfully seek that His humiliation and agony; in His word, and use all the various ap- pierced hands and feet; in His dying pointed means for understanding it, prayer; in His sleepless watchfulness and it will shew him to himself; it from the thrones of light. And, bewill pour light upon his path, and into lieving this to be the gratuitous work the deepest recesses of his bosom: it of the Eternal to restore our lost souls, “is quick, and powerful, and sharper we begin to call in question our forthan any two-edged sword, piercing mer mistrust and hardness of heart; even to the dividing asunder of soul and as we grow in the conviction, that and spirit, and of the joints and mar- God has loved us and delivered us, row, and is a discerner of the thoughts notwithstanding our rebellion and unand intents of the heart;" it is framed godliness, we begin to feel the princiexpressly by infinite wisdom to lay ple of love to God forming in our open the whole soul to itself, as in the hearts; we draw affectionately toblaze of day. Now let a man be once wards this immensity of mercy; the in earnest about his moral state, and will of our trembling spirit is to relet him discover the power of this pose under the brooding shadow of penetrating light, detecting, disclos- the Almighty's wing; we cleave to ing, correcting, healing, sanctifying, the bleeding side of the atoning Lamb, and elevating towards God and hea- the mysterious Emmanuel; we dwell ven, and he will delight in it su- on what He has done for us, as the premely.
doing of God; and thus gradually Thirdly. By this word, the believer find a new principle established in us is supplied with the effectual motive for obedience. To serve God is no to true obedience. We never can feel longer a hard bondage; it is our derightly towards God, till we know light. We are assimilated to God in what He has done for us. It was an our principles and preferences; we infused mistrust of His goodness to love what He loves. We dwell in us, and consequently a decline from love, and find it to be an effectual the simplicity of love, which led us principle for the fulfilling of the into all our present degradation and law. misery; and only as we shall be
Fourthly. The word of God infuses brought back really to love God, shall into the soul the living principle of we ever sincerely serve Him. Now holiness. The Scripture is not a huthere is nothing on earth that points man composition : its words are the effectually the way back to the love dictate of the Eternal Spirit, and they of God, but the revealed word. And are the appointed channel of His that it does by shewing us the truth blessed influences. We see the hand of God's love to us. Behold, what of God in His works, but we come in manner of love the Father hath be
contact with the mind of God in His
word; and as the spirit of man com- tate." It is the dwelling on Divine municates his thoughts to another truth, ruminating upon it, making it man, so the Spirit of God communi- the main subject of contemplation. cates to men the mind of God, by the We know how we meditate upon a written word, and gives it a power desired worldly object, or consider and an influence such as the mind of and reconsider a serious difficulty in God should have over His rational our earthly course: that is what is creatures, so that the mind is effectu- meant here; the giving the whole ally moved to do His will. As the soul to the substance of the word tree is nourished by the river, and more earnestly than it is given to gradually imbibes by its roots the every thing else; so that the characnourishment that forms, and sets, and teristic description of the man in this ripens the fruit; so man's soul re- world shall be, “ His delight is in the ceives, through the Scriptures, from a law of the Lord; and in His law doth Divine source, the water of life, and he meditate day and night." is nourished by it unto life eternal. Now here we have a view of the He lives by every word that cometh cause of scriptural prosperity. We out of the mouth of God. This is trace the soul to a direct, an apfound to be practically true by those pointed, a blessed connexion with the who give themselves to the word; and revelation of God's will, for the eterconsequently, in proportion as they nal salvation and prosperity of the find it the source of life, they delight soul. We trace in that soul the forin it.
mation of habits of continual applicaAnd this is not mere assertion, tion to that source of peace and holiwhich literally comes to nothing, ness. We trace as direct a connexion for,
in him between God and practical 2. It is said of the blessed man, godliness, as we do between the fruit that he meditates in the law of God of the tree and the fertilizing stream day and night. Mere theoretic and on whose bank it grows. And in him, speculative approbation of the word therefore, who is thus devoted to is little. It is not of such characters God's appointed channel of blessing, that our subject speaks, but it is of we see satisfactory reason why he those who have found so real a delight should prosper. But here, again, we in God's word, that they can and do must not allow ourselves to be led occupy themselves with it day and into error as to the nature of prosnight; that is, habitually and fre- perity, lest being deceived at the quently; providing by it for the du- outset by false expectations, we should ties and difficulties of the day, and be ultimately disappointed, and call preparing by it for the unconscious- the truth and the goodness of God in ness of sleep and the contingencies of question, and make even His blessed night. Nor is it merely, that they word a stumbling-block and a cause place themselves before the Bible, of unbelief. We inquire, therefore, and read a certain portion with little II., into the NATURE of the prosinterest as a slavish service, but what perity here spoken of. And, first, as is intended, is, that the Bible gives the knowledge of God, of the soul's real and serious occupation to the immortal nature and interests, and mind. “In His law doth he medi- even its present spiritual enjoyments
in the worship and love of God and of are overruled to the accomplishment His Church, tend at once to cast the precisely of that which, in the main, concerns of this present life into the infinite wisdom sees best for him, and shade, it is quite evident that uniform for the general interests of the cause prosperity in this world cannot be the of the whole Church of Christ. The thing spoken of. We learn this, also, wisdom which brings about universal from the actual state of the Church: results, without injury to particular for “many are the afflictions of the interests, and accomplishes particular righteous;" and, though “the Lord objects, without disturbing general delivereth him out of them all,” yet laws, but secures both, and the perthe present affliction is a proof that fect harmony of both,—that wisdom uniform and perpetual prosperity is watches over the believing, submisnot the promised inheritance of the sive, zealous student of the revealed saints.
word, and so prospers every thing he We must place before our minds does, that in no respect is it injurious the object of God with respect to His to him, but it becomes part of the people. It is one which makes this plan of sequences which God has orworld's experience, though an impor- dained as the means of his salvation, tant, yet a small part of the concern; and by which he is made meet for the it is the fitting the soul for His eter- inheritance of the saints in light: as nal presence and glory; and it is the it is written, “And we know that all bringing in that soul, once alienated things work together for good to them from Him, to terms of reconciliation, that love God, to them who are the and gradually raising it, by means called according to His purpose." consistent entirely with its rationality Everything to which he applies and freedom, to a capacity for serving himself, under a right measure of and enjoying Him in perfection, and scriptural guidance, shall issue to the for ever. Now, when man is actually glory of God, and the good of his brought into that state of delight in, own soul. His endeavours after sancand habitually feeding on God's tification, and more manifest, real, word, then that reconciliation is com- and influential deliverance from sin, plete. The nature of the man is shall be blessed ;- not always, perchanged from death to life, from car- haps, in the way that his short-sighted nal to spiritual; and the reconcilia- wisdom might select; but in the way tion, though not the sanctification, is in which most certainly and safely the complete. For wise purposes, the object can be accomplished. In these soul is not immediately removed to matters we must not judge by immeheaven; but it is recognised as the diate results; we must look to the end object of God's love, the purchase of of things, so as to be enabled to asChrist's death, the temple of the Holy certain what are the issues of the Spirit. All his interests and concerns wide and seemingly inextricable laare watched over and cared for by byrinths of second causes, and then God, consistently with their real va- we shall see that really and truly lue in the scale of things; and guided, whatsoever he doeth, who honestly as his ways are, by Divine Provi- makes the word of God his guide, dence, and his thoughts and inclina- shall be prospered by God's blessing; tions by God's Spirit, all his doings and the records of truth, the history