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III. WHENCE DID DAVID, AND WHENCE obeying the command ; “ Arise ye and depart DOES EVERY CHRISTIAN DERIVE THIS JOY? | hence: for this is not your rest. I ANSWER, FROM THE SCRIPTURES.
Are you men of the world—do you feel statutes have been my songs in the house of yourselves at home-would you be satisfied my pilgrimage." The discoveries and the to live here always-provided you could sucpromises of this blessed book are adapted to ceed according to your wishes? Are you rejoice the pilgrim's heart.
looking only to those things that are seen and What are these discoveries? They tell temporal? The man who takes up with this him of the end of his faith, even the salvation world as his portion is worse than a brute. of his soul—they remind him continually of He is unworthy of the soul he carries within his country; they place it before him in every him. He starves his mind. He makes no engaging form, and prove how far it sur provision for the evil day. It matters not passes every thing here-while it will infi- what he has he is in a miserable condition nitely indennify him for all his losses, and -he has nothing that can either satisfy or reward him for all his difficulties.
A man going to execution is for the They show him clearly and unerringly the present very well off: he has a carriage to way. Thus they give him the peace and sa- ride in; a guard to attend him; officers to tisfaction of certainty: he knows that he is accompany him, and a number of followers. not journeying at random—not a step is taken But what would you think of the man if he in vain-each brings him nearer home. deemed all this the token of his honour, rather
They assure him that he is not alone in his than the forerunner of his punishment; and trials and exercises. They call upon him to should only consider how he is accommoobserve way-marks thrown up by former pil- dated, but never ask whither am I going ? grims, where he began to think no pious foot Alas! how many such fools are there! They had ever trod. “ “ The same things,' say they, only think how it is with them at present, • happened to your brethren who were before but never inquire what will become of them you in the world.' •Be ye followers of them hereafter. But “the end of these things is who through faith and patience inherit the death." promises.' Take the prophets, who have There are others who are delivered from spoken in the name of the Lord, for an ex- the present evil world, and are heirs of the ample of suffering affliction, and of patience. kingdom which God has promised to them Behold, we count them happy which endure. that love him. As strangers and pilgrims, Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and let me give you three admonitions, founded have seen the end of the Lord: that the Lord on the several parts of the discourse which is very pitiful and of tender mercy.'” How you have heard. suitable, how animating, how blessed are First. Always regard your present condisuch discoveries as these !
tion as a state of pilgrimage—and never view But promises are something more than it as any thing more. This will regulate discoveries; and with these the Scripture your desires, and moderate your wishes after abounds. They are “exceeding great and earthly things. This will keep you from being precious.” And what can the pilgrim want too much elated when you meet with prosor desire that is not insured by them ?-A perous scenes. Not that you will disparage freedom of motion ? This is insured. “Thou the bounties of Providence--you will even shalt walk in thy way safely, and thy foot be thankful for them, as conveniences by the shall not stumble.” An ability to hold on ?-way—but you will consider them only as acThis is insured. The “ righteous shall hold commodations; and not mistake them for the on his way; and he that hath clean hands shall advantages and glories of home-you will wax stronger and stronger." Victory over not therefore sit down, but still press forward. enemies ! This is insured. “Thou shalt | This will enable you to endure with fortitude tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and resignation the hardships you may enand the dragon shalt thoi trample under foot.” counter. You will say, “As à traveller, I All needful supplies ?— These are insured. expect such things; they are only the incon“O fear the Lord, ye his saints; for there is veniences of a journey-it will soon be over no want to them that fear him. The young — and I reckon that the sufferings of this lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they that present time are not worthy to be compared seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." with the glory which shall be revealed in Is not all this sufficient to induce him to go us.' on his way rejoicing ?
Second. Cherish a humble and a holy joy. We have been speaking of the experience Consider this not only as your privilege—but of David, and of the experience of all the duty. Enforce it upon your minds by the Lord's people. Are you like-minded with authority of God, who commands you to rethem? There are only two sorts of peo-joice always, and by a consideration of the ple in the world. All are citizens of earth importance of it to others. Nothing will or of heaven. And naturally all are of the honour and recommend your religion more first class—but some are by divine grace than this. It will show those around you,
that you have found what they are seeking sumed, both ye and your king.–1 Sam. xii. after. Surely you do not, you cannot wish to
24, 25. travel to heaven alone—but habitually cheer- Such was the language of Samuel to the ful-singing as you go you will be con- Jews. The words have a peculiar force in stantly inviting and alluring your relations, them. It arises from the wisdom of the ad. friends, neighbours, to join you. You will dress. How could he have given them a address them, as Moses addressed Hobab, the better representation of their duty? And son of Raguel—“We are journeying unto how could he have more powerfully recomthe place of which the Lord said, I will give mended it? it you: come thou with us, and we will do He requires of them nothing superstitious; thee good : for the Lord hath spoken good con- nothing merely ritual and ceremonious ; nocerning Israel."
thing only external and temporary-but the Third. Love and study the Scriptures. He exercise of piety flowing from the fear of that avoids reading a portion of them daily God, and accompanied with a sincerity and forsakes his own mercy; and is so far re- fervour in serving him. This is all. “Only gardless of his safety, welfare, and comfort. fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with Therefore " bind them continually upon thine all your heart.” This he enforces by two heart, and tie them about thy neck. When motives; the one drawn from gratitude, and thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou the other from interest. He has been your sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou friend; he can be your enemy. He has awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the done great things for you; and he will do commandment is a lamp: and the law is great things against you. Consider this light; and reproofs of instruction are the way Consider how great things he hath done for of life.”
you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye Precious Bible! like thy blessed Author, shall be consumed, both ye and your king. our sun and our shield, thou giver of grace Already I hope you have dropped Judea, and glory, thou conductor through all this and fixed your attention on your own coungloomy vale to our everlasting home, how try. The words could never have been more many advantages have we already derived applicable to the Jews than they are to us. from thee! Thou hast often solved our And hence we have been led to choose them doubts, and wiped away our tears. Thou on this solemn occasion, when we are called hast been sweeter to our taste than honey to assemble together to acknowledge our sins and the honeycomb. Thou hast been better and to implore the Divine mercy. to us, in our distresses, than thousands of gold To render the Scripture useful, we must and silver. Unless thou hadst been our de consider persons in former ages as specimens light, we should have perished in our afflic- of human nature in general, and the dispention.
sations of Providence towards them as hold. No wonder Job “esteemed thee more than ing forth the unchangeable perfections of Jehis necessary food.” No wonder David chose hovah. Thus individuals
, families, churches, thee as his heritage for ever, and found the nations, become exemplary, and by their welto be the rejoicing of his heart. No wonder fare or ruin, encourage our hope, or awaken the noble army of martyrs parted with their our fear. estates and with their blood, rather than with Among all the nations of the earth there thee. May we value thee as our richest is no one to which we can so properly refer jewel, may we love thee as our dearest good, as the Jews-not only because their history may we consult thee as our surest counsellor, is true, and events are traced up to their promay we follow thee as our safest rule! per causes—but because there is a greater
And oh! thou eternal Jehovah, “ send out correspondence between them and us than thy light and thy truth: let them lead me: between us and any other people. They let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to only of all the nations of antiquity worshipthy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the ped the same God with us. They only, like altar of God, unto God, my exceeding joy; us, were under the reign of grace as well as yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, o God, providence, and enjoyed religious and spiritmy God!"
ual privileges blended with civil and natural. Let us attend to this.
Samuel tells them that “the Lord had DISCOURSE LII.
done great things for them." David conld not review their history without admira
tion. “What one nation in the earth is SIN RUINS A KINGDOM.
like thy people, even like Israel, whom God (FOR A FAST-DAY.) went to redeem for a people to himself
, and Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth to make him a name, and to do for you great
with all your heart: for consider how great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy things he hath done for you. But if ye people, which thou redeemest to thee from shaủ still do wickedly, ye shall be con-| Egypt, from the nations and their gods?"
Moses, at a much earlier period, gave them a But they had unspeakably greater advanpre-eminent blessedness. “Happy art thou, tages than all these. What says David ? O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people," He showeth his word unto Jacob, his saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He and who is the sword of thy excellency! and hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, his judgments, they have not known them.” and thou shalt tread upon their high places." What says Paul ? “ Who are Israelites; to
Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, God, in his sovereign grace, "called him to and the covenants, and the giving of the law, his foot,” and commanded him to depart from and the service of God, and the promises; his own country and his father's house, in whose are the fathers, and of whom as consearch of a place which he should afterwards cerning the flesh Christ came, who is over receive for an inheritance. He told him he all, God blessed for ever." should be the ancestor of a nation, numerous And has he not done great things for us? as the stars of heaven, and that one of his — It is not foolish partiality, but truth that posterity should finally bless all the families compels us to say, 1. The lines are fallen to of the earth. He multiplied and increased us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly him. With Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with heritage.” O England ! “ blessed of the him of the same promise, he was a stranger Lord be thy land, for the precious things of and a pilgrim upon earth. “When they heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that were but a few men in number; yea, very coucheth beneath. And for the precious few, and strangers in it; when they went fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the from one nation to another, from one king- precious things put forth by the moon. And dom to another people: he suffered no man for the chief things of the ancient mountains, to do them wrong; yea, he reproved kings and for the precious things of the lasting hills. for their sakes; saying, Touch not mine And for the precious things of the earth, and anointed, and do my prophets no harm." fulness thereof; and for the good will of Him
Their deliverance from the land of Egypt that dwelt in the bush.” Have we not a and the house of bondage is well known. He land of woods and rivers, of fields and of brought them forth with a strong hand and an meadows, “ of wheat and of barley?". Are outstretched arm. Creatures of every rank not “our oxen strong to labour;" and do not espoused their cause, and punished their ene-our sheep bring forth thousands, and ten mies. When in jeopardy from their pursu- thousands in our streets ?" Are we not ers, the sea opened, and they passed through, placed in a climate whose temperature equalas on dry ground, which the Egyptians assay- ly secures us from scorching heat and intolering to do, were drowned. Then they sang able cold? What advantages do we possess his praise. And the deliverance was the as an island ! In consequence of this, we food of their faith, and hope, long afterwards. have been preserved from invasion; and our
Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength; country has not been made a field of slaughthou breakedst the heads of the dragons in ter. What do we know of war? We have the waters. Thou breakedst the head of only witnessed its remote preparations and Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be effects. We have not heard the “confused meat to the people inhabiting the wilder- noise of warriors,” nor seen "garments rolled ness.”
in blood.” Nor have our nurses, terrified at Forty years wandered they in the desert. the sound of battle, fled with our infants and They knew not their way—he was their lamed our Mephibosheths for life. Comguide. They were exposed to dangers-he merce has filled our rivers with ships, and was their defence. They had no supplies— poured the produce of the four quarters of the he rained down manna; the rocks poured out globe upon our tables. We have a constituwater; and their clothes waxed not old upon tion which displays the sober, improved, tried them. Had they unwholesome damps by wisdom of ages. We have laws, distinguishnight? The pillar of cloud became a fire and ed by their justice, their mildness, their imabsorbed them. Were they open by day to partiality. The poor are equally protected the heat of a burning sky! The pillar of with the rich; and character and talents can fire became a cloud and diffused an immense rise to eminence from the cottage, as well as shade over them. Thus “the sun did not from the mansion. Humanity and benevosmite them by day, nor the moon by night.” lence have distinguished the national charac
Byand-by Jordan rolled back its streams, ter; and around us rise institutions of charity and they took possession of a land, where to embrace the sons and daughters of every were wells which they digged not, houses kind of wretchedness. which they builded not, vineyards which they Capernaum, though a little mean fishing planted not: a land flowing with milk and town, was said to be “ exalted unto heaven" honey; wherein there was no scarceness; and the reason was-because our Lord and and upon which the Lord's eye was from the Saviour had honoured it with his presence, beginning even to the end of the year. and had preached in it the kingdom of God. 2 A
From the moment the Gospel enters a coun- , than yourselves no security from brutal pas try, the importance of it commences in the sions. Think of the temples of God burnt eye of angels; and then—then it is said up, or converted to other purposes. Think “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come; and the -But let us not pursue this lamentable train glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." And of reflection—but consider a few remarks, when it withdraws from a place, “Ichabo!” tending both to illustrate and confirm the may be written upon the walls--"The glory danger of a wicked kingdom, and then to inis departed.” At a very early period this quire after the state of our own. inestimable blessing reached our highly fa- And First. If there be a moral governor voured isle. And while it has been with of the universe, sin must provoke him. A drawn from countries once blessed with the righteous God must love righteousness; a same privilege, it has been continued to us, holy God, holiness; a God of order, order; notwithstanding all our unworthiness and and a God of benevolence, benevolence: and provocation. Popery had, indeed obscured accordingly he must abhor all that is opposite the glory of the Gospel, locked up the Scrip to these. And hence it is said, that "God is tures in an unknown language, and sacrificed angry with the wicked every day; the wickthousands of victims to superstitious rage. ed shall not stand in his sight: he hateth all But the Reformation gave us the Bible; and workers of iniquity.” And this is essential said, Read, and live! And the glorious to every lovely and reverential view we can Revolution fixing liberty on a firm and legal take of God. For who could adore a being basis, said, Assemble together; Preach and who professed to govern the world, and sufhear; Worship God according to the dictates fered the wicked to go on with impunity! of your own consciences, and “he that Second. If sin provoke God, he is able to toucheth you toucheth the apple of mine punish it. He is the Lord of hosts
, the Lord eye!" Thus ever since we have sat under strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in batour own vine and tig-tree, and none have tle. All the elements are his. Every creamade us afraid. We have filled our sanc- ture obeys his nod, from an archangel to a tuaries; we have enjoyed our Sabbaths; and worm. How idle is it, in a case like this, though he has given us the bread of adversity to talk of armies and navies, and alliancesand the water of affliction, yet has he not re- how absurd is it to compare force with force, moved our teachers into a corner, but “our and to say, after flattering calculations, “Oh! eyes behold our teachers, and our ears hear the enemy cannot come?" He cannot come a voice behind us, saying—This is the way, unless God send him; but he can come easily walk ye in it, when we turn aside to the enough if he should. Is any thing too hard right hand or to the left."
for the Lord—when he would either show Ah! think of the want of all this ! mercy or execute wrath ? “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and Third. Bodies of men are punishable in your ears, for they hear': for verily I say unto this world only. In eternity there are no you, that many prophets and righteous men families, churches, nations. If therefore : have desired to see those things which ye country is to be destroyed, it is tried and see, and have not seen them; and to hear condemned and executed here. When we those things which ye hear, and have not see an individual sinner prospering in the heard them."
world, and not immediately punished our And to secure all these civil and religious faith is not staggered; for we “ know that advantages—how often has he made our his day is coming.” But if a wicked people cause his own! How seasonably and signal- were allowed to escape-we should be conly has he interposed to save us from the de- founded—we should ask, “Where is the God signs of our enemies! When brought low, of judgment ?" For in this case, they are he has helped us: “at even-tide it has been not punished now. And they cannot be light.”
punished hereafter. Can we be insensible to all this?-If there Fourth. There is a tendency in the very were any ingenuousness in us, this motive nature of sin to injure and ruin a country. alone would be sufficient.
It violates all the duties of relative life. It But fear has its use—and it is necessary to destroys subordination. It relaxes the ties tell you not only that you are bound by grati- which bind mankind together, and makes tude, but interest. "If ye shall still do them selfish and mean.
It renders men wickedly, ye shall
be destroyed, both you enemies to each other.—Social welfare canand your king.” This is dreadful.—Think not survive the death of morals and virtue. of a king you love, as well as honour, and Fifth. God's dealings with guilty nations “ whose life is a lesson to the land he sways" are confirmed by his word, and indeed by all -driven from his throne. Think of liberty history. He has invariably punished them exchanged for slavery. Think of property in due time. Witness the state of Ninerapaciously plundered, or devoured by tyranni- veh, Babylon, and others. Thus the nation cal exaction. Think of your private dwell- Samuel addressed put his declaration to the ings affording those who are dearer to you trial and found it true. A succession of
severe judgments befel them—till at last tinguished a people by singular instances of wrath came upon them to the uttermost, and his favour, that people will be proportionably " the Romans came and took away both their criminal, unless they distinguish themselves place and nation."
by their devotedness to him. Thus God from Finally, to enable us to draw the conclu- time to time aggravated the sins of the Jews. sion, he often he always gives previous “ He made him ride on the high places of the intimation of his displeasure—so that were earth, that he might eat the increase of the not men blind and deaf they must see and fields; and he made him to suck honey out hear his coming. When you see the body of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; wasting away by disease, and every com- butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of plaint growing more inveterate, you suspect lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and that death will be the consequence—it is al-goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and ready begun. “When the fig-tree, and all thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. the trees, put forth leaves, we know that But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked : thou summer is nigh.” Our Saviour said unto art waxen fat, thou art.grown thick, thou art the people, “ When ye see a cloud rise out covered with fatness; then he forsook God of the west, straightway ye say, There which made him, and lightly esteemed the cometh a shower; and so it is. And when Rock of his salvation. Hear, O heavens, and ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There give ear, 0 earth: for the Lord hath spoken, will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hy. I have nourished and brought up children, pocrites, can ye discern the face of the sky and they have rebelled against me.” And is and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not not this our case ? discern this time?" And how is it that we They have told us, That when a nation is do not perceive that God is angry with us under the corrections of the Almighty, they that he is contending with us ?-Are none of are eminently sinful if they disregard the his forerunners arrived ?-Has he not more tokens of his wrath, and go on careless and than spoken ?-Has he not smitten us and insensible. Hence, says Isaiah, “In that day more than once? And if lighter judgments did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping do not reform, will not heavier ones destroy ? and to mourning, and to baldness, and to The consequence is infallible. “ If ye still girding with sackcloth ; and behold, joy and do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both you gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, and your king."
ng flesh, and drinking wine: let us But you ask—Have we any cause to fear and drink; for to-morrow we shall die. And this?–1 answer, just in proportion to the de- it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of gree of our sin. Now there are two ways hosts, surely this iniquity shall not be purged by which we may judge of our national guilt
. from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of The first is to enumerate the sins which reign hosts.” In like manner, says Jeremiah, “ Thou predominant among us. To do this would not hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; only be shocking, but endless. For what yice thou hast consumed them, but they have recan be named that is not constantly commit- fused to receive correction: they have made ted through the land !--The other method is their faces harder than a rock; they have reto lay down criterions, by which we may es- fused to return.”—And what impressions have timate the prevalency and the aggravations his judgments made upon us? Have they reof sin in a country. And what test has ever strained us from any of our pride and luxury? been devised that is not alarming when ap- Have they reduced the number of worldly plied to ourselves?
amusements; or chilled the ardour of dissiDivines have told us—That if God has fa- pation? If a stranger were to come among voured a nation with the revelation of his us and observe our inanners, would he think will, their sins are aggravated by means of we were in any distress, or had received any this light-For “where much is given, much unfavourable omens ?” will be required; and he that knew his Lord's They tell us to mention no more-That will, and did it not, shall be beaten with ma- shamelessness in sinning is a sure proof of ny stripes." Thus a heathen country, com- general corruption. And where is the man mitting the very same sins with a country among us who is not more afraid of a threadenlightened with the Gospel, is far less cri- bare coat, than of a dishonest action? To minal. Thus, a country overspread with su- fail in business, and defraud innocent sufferers perstition, where the Bible is scarcely known, of their lawful property, is no longer scandaand its contents can be only viewed through lous ; never excites a blush. Impurity is a depraved and disfiguring medium—such a gloried in-and a young man, in most comcountry, committing the very same sins, panies, who should profess himself virtuous, would be far less guilty than a country fa- would be turned into ridicule! Much-every voured with a purer worship, and where thing depends upon the character of females. evangelical instruction is open to all. And see how many of the barriers of virtue they does not this apply to us?
have permitted to be removed! Behold the They have told us, That when God has dis-) experiments which fashion has tried upon