תמונות בעמוד

“ liness it is impossible to see God," and as “ all “ our righteousnesses are but as filthy rags in his

sight,” in the Redeemer alone must we look for righteousness and strength ; " laying aside

every weight and the sin that doth so easily “ beset us, we must run with patience the race “ set before us, looking unto Jesús the author “ and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that “ was set before him, endured the cross, despis

ing the shame, and is now set down on the right “ hand of the Majesty on high.” I proceed to the

Second head, which is, to point out the grounds of assurance we have, that if we comply with this precept of our Saviour, a competent portion of the good things of this life shall be made sure to us--they are the strongest that can be imagined; we have, in the first place, the unerring wisdom of God himself to depend upon, that wisdom which sets past, present, and future, in one point of view, and which necessarily must dispose and direct every thing in the best manner. He knows our attachment to this world and the things thereof, and the dangerous consequences this must be attended with to our most interesting concerns, and therefore, in pity to our souls, withholds earthly enjoyments, “ takes away the

“ desire of the heart and of the eyes,” to shew us the folly of placing our chief happiness, or setting up our rest in this world : he knows what is good for us, infinitely better than we ourselves know: when, therefore, we meet with crosses and disappointments, as we frequently must, the proper way of improving them would be to reason with ourselves in this manner: “ I do indeed “ wish such and such a gratification, but infinite “ wisdom judges it to be more for my good that " I should want it; and who knows but it might

prove fatal to me if I were indulged in it; might “ it not steal my heart from God, and make me “ lose sight of my heavenly inheritance?-I have “ met with such a loss, or such a trial, but, blessed “ be God, I have still a great deal to be thank“ ful for, I have still a great deal left behind: or

though I have but little here, why should I re

pine, who have treasures in heaven, where “ neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves “ break through to steal,' and shall I dare to call “ in question the wisdom of the divine admini

stration, which has so richly provided for me?" In reality we see, that happiness does not consist in the abundance of the things which a man “ possesseth.” Does not every day's experience point out to us instances of splendid misery; the wealthy, dissatisfied, disturbed, and perplexed in the midst of their riches; the voluptuous, sick and languid though swimming in a sea of sensual pleasures; and the great, distracted and harassed with the noise and bustle of their station, groaning beneath the burden of state? while the poor mean man, who with the sweat of his brow earns from day to day a scanty and coarse subsistence, unnoticing the great world and unnoticed by it, can enjoy a happiness which pomp seldom knows, proceeding, from the approbation of a good conscience, a sense of the favour of his Maker, and of the light of his countenance, with the well grounded hope of a blessed immortality. What have we to fear then, so long as we are permitted to trust in something infinitely superior to our own prudence and sagacity, which so often fail us, seeing we have unerring wisdom to provide for us? The second ground of assurance I shall mention is, the almighty power of God. He is not only all-wise to provide, but likewise all-powerful to bestow. People generally reckon themselves very secure, when they are under the protection of a great and powerful friend, who is able to promote their interest, who has the bestowing of some profitable place or office; but how circumscribed is all human power compared with his, whom heaven and earth obey, to whom all nature is subservient, who has the

absolute disposal of every event, and can make every dispensation bring forth good to those that love him? Is not that man secure then, who has the almighty God for his refuge-who can safely repose an unbounded confidence in him who by his powerful word first spoke this universe into existence; and “ in whom all things live,

move, and have their being;"--who" maketh “ his sun to rise, his rain to descend,” the seasons to revolve, and the earth to bring forth abundantly all things needful and agreeable? And then, this almighty Being is not like the great ones of the earth, difficult of access, and hard of intreaty; no, he is at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances, ready to hear the voice of his supplicants: which leads me to a third ground of assurance to this purpose; namely, the unbounded goodness of God. Little would it avail us, that his omniscience could provide what was conducive to our happiness, or that his omnipotence was able to give it, were we not assured at the same time of his love to us, of his willingness to bestow his favours. When we consider our own deserving, indeed, little reason have we to expect good at his hand; but though with men this may be a way of reckoning, yet with God it is otherwise, it is the very nature of his goodness to be extended to “ the evil and the unthankful,”


to triumph over the unworthiness of its objects; it is likewise very different from what we observe among men in this respect, that with them, the greatness of a favour we wish to obtain imposes silence on us, lest our benefactor should think us guilty of presumption; or the sense of former obligations and benefits makes us ashamed to ask more. But it is not so with our heavenly benefactor : let the desires of our hearts be enlarged to the utmost, still they must fall infinitely short of what his boundless goodness is ever ready to grant; and the having formerly received favours at his hand is so far from being an argument against the continuation of them, that, on the contrary, God allows us to presume on what he has already done for us, as a title to further measures of goodness. True it is, he has no where promised us the superfluity, or even the abundance, of worldly enjoyments, but he has promised what is infinitely greater and better, his favour and love; and what can that man want, who is possessed of so rich an inheritance? But even this were not sufficient, if we had not a further ground of confidence, namely, the unalterable never failing faithfulness of God: this, this is the security of all the rest, for “whom God loves, he « loves to the end. The mountains shall depart, « and the hills be removed, but my loving-kind

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