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To live in the constant Exercise of a divine Faith. We have a Revelation to guide us and support us together with our Reason; which bids us rely upon the Word of Alinighty God. And it is a famous Saying, you know, of the Prophet Habakkuk, often cited by the holy Writers of the New Testament, that in Time of Distress and Danger (such as those were when he wrote,] The just shall live by bis Faith, Hab. xi. 4. That is, he shall be saved and delivered, or live in Chearfulness and good Coinfort, by his Faith and Trust in God, and constant Adherence to his Religi
Now there are these Three Things, which we should constantly believe, among
I. First, The Promise which our Saviour hath made us, That he will take Care of us here in this World; especially when we are in Trouble and Distrels. I mentioned it the last Sermon but one, and it followes immediately after those Words, which I chose for the Ground of this Discourse, Hebr. xiii. 5. He hath said, I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee. Let us depend on the Truth of this Saying. Let us build upon his Word, that we are under a most loving and indulgent Providence, which will be so tender of us, as not to withold any Thing from us, nor suffer any Thing to befal
us, but what he thinks must fit, either to be denyed us, or to try us. In this you know, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and David, and all the Faithful in old Time (to whom God's great Love was not fo manifefted as it is to us) continually comforted themselves : and therefore let not us be so ungrateful to him and such Eneinies to our felves as not to accept of this Confolation. When they went from one Nation to another, from one Kingdom to another People (i. e. had no certain Dwelling-place, no fixed Habitation; but, as it is said of Abraham, Were called to Gods Foot, Ifa. xli. 2. that is, went whithersoever he would have them,) God suffered no man to do them wrong, yea, he reproved Kings, (such as Abimelech and Pharaoh. Gen. xii. and xx.) for their sake, saying, touch not mine anointed, and do my Prophets no harm. Pfal. cv. 13, 14, 15. And is he not the same still? Or rather is he not more now to us, than he was to them ? For he is in our Flesh; all the Fulness of the God-head dwells in our Lord bodily, and therefore he will not fuffer us to take any Harm, he will not leave us in the most forelorn and forsaken Condition. May not a Man well content himself in this Treasure of the divine Providence, so rich in Mercy? Is there not Wealth enough in thefe Words of the Lord of all, I will take care of you ? Either we have no Faith, or if we have, it cannot but constrain us to say, as it is in the next Verse, The Lord
is my Helper, I will not fear what Man can do unto me,
Read but the cxlvith Psalm from the 5th Verse to the End, and See how the good Man comforts himself in the Knowledge and Belief that they had of God, in those times. He begins thus, Happy is be that hath the God of Facob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his Gode And then he proceeds to tell us from what Considerations this Happiness and Comfort sprung out of that Fountain of Life and Bliss. (157.) From his great Power, ver. 6. Wbich made the Heaven, the Earth, the Sea, and all that therein iso (2dly.) From his Faithfulness; Which keepeth Truth for ever. (3dly.) Froin his Justice; ver. 8. which executeth Judgment for the oppressed. (4thly.) From his Bounty and Commiseration towards all Men. Which giveth Food to the hungry: the Lord loofeth the Prisoners, the Lord openeth the Eyes of the Blind, (5thly.) From his more singular Care over the Good and Pious; Ver. 1. Тbe Lord loveth the righteous. (6thly.) From his preserving of Persons as well as providing for them; ver. 9. The Lord preferveth the Strangers, &c. (atbly.) From his Executions on the evil Duers; But the way of the wicked he turneth upfide down, Lastly, From the Consideration of the Eternity of his Kingdom and Dominion; l’is never-faling Power, Truth, Justice and Mercy, ver. 10. The Lord fball reign for ever, even thy God, o Zion, unto all generations.
Praise ye the Lord. And great Reason, truly, for it is but just to rejoyce in God, and praise him who hath given us this Knowledge of him, the Supream Good; and made us know him better and more fully: having given us new and strong Instances of his Power, and Truth, and Love, and tender Mercy; which hath intrusted one of our felves with all these, and the most foveraign Authority ever all to the World's End. Have we not Cause to be satisfied if we consider this? Yea, to believe in the Second Place, which will strongly compose
II. That Condition is best in which we are. For this is but the Consequent of the former. God always makes good his Promise. It is not a Care that he sometimes exercises, but a constant Watchfulness over our Good. And therefore whatsoever our present Estate be, we ought to believe that it is not without his Care, and, for that Reason, must needs be such as he judges best, and therefore so it should seem unto us likewise. If we could always perswade our selves that this is the Condition which God hath promised in which we are, we should be satisfied with it ; if not rejoyce, in our Lord's Care over us. Had we attained to this Degree of Faith, we should not be so desirous of Alterations; for fear that if he accorded to us, we should have something that may prove bad for
We should dread our own Desires as childish and foolish, and say, It is well as it is ; it
fuffices; sufices; this is God's Pleasure, and for the present, I have Reason to think, it cannot be better. And therefore why should I not be exceedingly well pleased ; so well, at least
, as not to murmur, nor afflict my self, no more than I do in that which we call a better Estate?
So necessary a Duty this is, that even they who had a rich and plentiful Fortune promised to thein, yet were bound to believe that anuther was at present better for tliem, and in that to be satisfyed: And their not being so, was their great Sin, and exposed them to great Miseries. The Israelites, I mean, to whom God said that he would give a Land flowing with Milk and Honey, bécaine high Offenders against him by being no more contented in a Wilderness !' which he would have them take in their way to that Canaan. One of their Sins is thus described, Psal. cvi. 13.' They foon forgat bis Works, they waited not for his Counsel
. În the Hebrew it is, as the Margin of your Bibles will inform you.) They made haste, they forgat bis Works, &c. And so the lxx. or Greek Interpreters, 'Erézuvær, They made too much speed, that is, they were vexed and difpleased because they were not instantly brought into that pleasant Land, abounding with all good Things, which God faid should be their Portion. They murmured and said (as you read. Num. xx. 5.) Wherefore have ye made is to come oręt of Egypt to bring us into this evil