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ning of true religion is thus expressed: "I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.-God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." And when the prevalence of true religion is spoken of, it is represented by the general diffusion of this knowledge: All shall know me from the least to the greatest-The earth shall be full of the knowledge of his glory, as the waters cover the sea." Jer. xxiv. 7. 2 Cor. iv. 6. Heb. viii. 11. Isai. xi. 9.
2. That which it chiefly concerns us to know is, "the things which belong to our peace." It is the gospel only that proclaims peace to a guilty world, and it is by the knowledge of this that we have peace with God. The sacrifice of Christ laid the foundation for it, and faith in him gives peace to the conscience. "He is our peace:" and "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." But this only can be maintained by a holy and heavenly frame of mind: a person may as well expect life without breathing, as peace without piety; peace and purity are inseparable. Wicked men though they may not feel much uneasiness, yet are strangers to real peace. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." They may be sensible and intelligent in other things, but are wholly unacquainted with the things which belong to their peace; and though they flatter themselves in their own eyes, yet their iniquity shall be found to be hateful.
3. There is a time to which this knowledge is confined, and which is here called "this thy day." To shew the uncertainty and shortness of its duration, it is called a day; and may be meant of the term of life, or the season of opportunity. Such a day the Jews enjoyed under the ministry of Christ; and we now enjoy a day of gospel light and liberty, which if it be slighted and abused, God may justly give us up to
final impenitence. The Spirit may cease to strive, and Christ to knock; and the awful sentence may be pronounced, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still." Rev.
4. When this time is elapsed, our case will be for ever hopeless: Now the things which belong unto thy peace "are hid from thine eyes!" Now all the preaching and hearing will be of no use: it is no longer an accepted time or day of salvation. The decree is gone forth, and will certainly be executed. That light which you despised is now withdrawn, and a night of gloomy darkness is spread over you. You would have none of God's counsel, and he will have none of your prayers. Your convictions are gone, to return no more. You slighted the means, and shall no longer enjoy them. This is a dreadful case, whether it take place at death, or before, as it has done in some instances. "Because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it: I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent." Ezek. xxiv. 13, 14.
(1.) Did Christ weep for sinners; and shall they not weep for themselves? Does not God call us to weeping; and does not our case call for it? Let us look to him whom we have pierced, and mourn. Let us be in the gall of bitterness till the bond of iniquity be broken. O that God may take away the heart of stone, and give a heart of flesh!
(2.) Let us beware of rejecting the gospel, and trifling with oru privileges, lest we be given up to final impenitence. Insensibility is the forerunner of
destruction. "Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light." John xii. 35, 36.
(3.) Let those who are truly acquainted with the things which belong to their peace be thankful, and adore the grace which has made them to differ. "Ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. God is the Lord which hath shewed us light; bind the sacrifice with cords unto the horns of the altar." Psal. cxviii. 27.
Jer. xv. 15.
Remember me, and visit me.
THIS is what we desire and expect from an intimate friend. If he be at a distance, we love that he should remember us; and if there be nothing to prevent, that he should visit us. "Think on me," said Joseph, "when it shall be well with thee." We desire the presence of a friend, to direct us in our difficulties, in ou and comfort us under our sorrows. It is the nature of christian friendship especially, freely to unbosom ourselves to each other; to weep with them that weep, to rejoice with them that do rejoice, to bear each other's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Even the bowels of an apostle have sometimes been thus refreshed, as well as those of weaker christians. When Paul saw some of the brethren who met him on his way to Rome, "he thanked God and took courage." And he longed to see his friends at that place, "that I may be comforted," said he, "together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me." Acts xxviii. 15. Rom. i. 12.
But if it be desirable to be remembered by our bre thren, and to enjoy their company and converse; how much more for God to remember us with the favour which he beareth unto his people, and to visit us with his salvation! This is the import of the prophet's prayer. He was forgotten and forsaken by his own
people, and had suffered rebuke from his persecutors; and if the Lord did not think upon him, he must perish among the captives. "O Lord," says he, "remember me, and visit me!"
I. Consider the prophet's prayer.-He offers up two requests, and they are such as every good man would offer.
1. "Remember me," O Lord! It is our duty to remember our Creator, especially in the days of our youth; and if we do so, we may hope that he will remember us; yea, it will be an evidence of it; for as we love him because he first loved us, so if we remember him it is because he first remembered us.
There is a sense in which God may be said to remember his people so as to take particular knowledge of them, and all that pertains to them. He remembers their persons, knows their exact number, and not oné of them shall be lost. "O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me, for I have redeemed thee-Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands: thy walls are continually before me." (Isai: xliv. 21, 22. xlix. 14-16.) He remembers their frailties and infirmities; how unable they are to bear affliction without his support, and hears the gentle whisper and the secret groan with parental tenderness. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust." He also remembers their exercises of faith and love, the breathings of their souls after him, even from their earliest days, and would have them to know how pleasant and acceptable they were to him. "Thus saith the Lord, I remember