Page images
PDF
EPUB

hurt." Again, if calamities be national, even the time of Jacob's trouble, yet the promise is, “ He shall be saved out of it: This man shall be our peace, when the Assyrian cometh into our land, and treadeth in our borders; and, He will ordain peace for us, who makes peace.” If enemies rise in war, then the promise is, that they shall be found liars ; and though they be numerous, that one shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand 10 flight; for no weapon formed against Zion shall prosper. But if they should be made pris. oners, the promise reaches that situation also: “Verily, I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil, and in the time of affliction ;" which was made good to Israel, who were pitied by them that led them captive.

Are they blind, dumb, deaf, maimed, deformed, feeble, and perishing? Then the promise is that the Son of God, whose coming from heaven we look for, “shall change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue even all things unto himself." To the barren he promises to give in his house, and within his walls, a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters. To the stranger he promises to be a shield. But perhaps they are not only strangers for a little time, but outcasts for a long time ; then “the Lord gathereth the outcasts of Israel,and will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back.” But they, perhaps, have been long expecting the performance of the promise, and praying for some blessing that has not been bestowed; well, but says the promise, “ The needy shall not always be forgotten, the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him, he will

ar their cry, and save thein. “ But they may be

exposed to the cunning plots of designing men ; true, say the sacred oracles, “ The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth ; but the Lord shall laugh at him," in way of derision, to see him so bent to undermine another, whose more terrible doom is at hand, even a day coming that shall pluck him out root and branch, while the righteous shall be an everlasting foundation. But one may be fatherless, and such is ready to suffer injury at every hand : But, says the promise, “ God is a Father to the fatherless, and the widow's Judge in his holy habitation :" And so says he, “ Leave thy fatherless children.”-Ah! Lord, may the dying parent say, I must leave them : Well, but, says God, “ I will preserve them alive;" that is, provide for them, and bring them up like a kindly tutor, and what more couldst thou do though still with them? Then, may the sympathizing husband say, And what shall this thy handmaid do? “ Let thy widow trust in me,” and she shall not be ashamed of her hope ; I will be to her as the most tender husband.

Again, the comforting word to such as are living among the ungodly, and chained to bad company, is, “ The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation,” as he did Lot in a like situation. But their work allotted them may be arduous and difficult; then the promise is, “ I will be with thy mouth ; thou shalt not be afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee; the tongue of the stammerer shall speak plainly, and the heart of the rash shall understand wisdom; I will direct their work in truth: And as his day is, so shall his strength be.”-But they may be solitary, their dearest friends, and nearest relations, being removed by death; then, saith the promise,

K

« God setteth the solitary in families, and bringeth out those that are bound with chains.”—But they may be troubled to think how they shall hold on through the wide, the waste, the howling wilderness; how they shall make the steep ascent to the hill of God; then the promise is, “ My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest: Thou shalt hear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left : They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint : He that is feeble among them, at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord.”—But they may have their daily difficulties how to support their needy families; well, the promise also speaks to that condition : “ They that fear the Lord shall not want any good thing: Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his meroy, to deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine : Bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure : Therefore, I say, take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, neither for the body what ye shall put on; the life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment; consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; can ye be in a worse condition ? Nor have they store or barn to lay up what they might spare in the plenty of harvest, yet God feedeth them all the year round. How much better are ye than the fowls of heaven ; and think ye that ye shall fare so much worse than they at the hand of your heavenly Father ? And as for cloathing, consider the lilies how they grow, they neither toil nor spin, yet surpass Solomon in all his glory. If God then so cloathe the grass of the field, which so quickly perishes away,

how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith! Why fearful about these things, when it is your Father's good pleasure, O little flock! to give you the kingdom? Think not anxiously on your own necessities, because your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.-But they may be distressed with daily afflictions, and continued chastisements; well, the promise speaks a good word to dissipate that pain : “ Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."-But perhaps old age advancing, with all its train of infirmities, may trouble them; then the promise proclaims the divine protection : “ Even to your old age I am he, and to your hoar hairs will I carry you. And thou shalt pass into the land of glory in that beautiful maturity, as a shock of corn cometh in, in his season." But they may be under bondage through fear of death, and even tremble to take the dark step into the unseen world; then the promise speaks comfort in the very last extremity: “O death! I will be thy plague; O grave! I will be thy destruction :” So that they may break out into the same raptures, that saints viewing the same change, sweetened by the same promise, have done of old, “ O death! where is thy sting? () grave ! where is thy victory? This God is our God, and will be our guide even unto death : Yea, though I walk through the valley and shadow of death, yet will I fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

MEDITATION IX.

THE SACRED INSURANCE.

Horndean, April 30, 1758.

MEN that go to sea, conscious of their danger, oftentimes insure ; that so, though their ships should be wrecked, their value may be secured to them. I am also going to sea, and carry a cargo with me more precious than all the treasures of the Indies, even mine immortal soul, which is also in danger of perishing upon the waters of vice and profanity. How then shall my all be safe amidst so many dangers ; amidst the corruption of nature and the seeds of sin within, and bad example, base advice, bold attacks, and baneful snares without, while perhaps there is not one to counsel me aright, to strengthen my hand in Gods and thereby comfort me? Blessed be the God of all consolation, that in this deplorable situation I need not despond. The insurance-office of heaven is willing to contract with me on the most honourable, and most advantageous terms for my soul; and holds forth to me the stedfast promise of his faithfulness, “ That his grace shall be sufficient for me, because his strength is made perfect in weakness, and that he will not sufser me to be tempted above measure, but will with the temptation make a way to escape.”

Then, Lord, my humble request is, That I may never sin against thy love and grace, nor cause thee to hide thy countenance by my untender walk :- That sin may continue, whatever shape it may put on, as ugly and abominable to me as ever I thought it, yea, the more so the more I am entangled with it; as I rould more lothe the serpent twisting round my legs,

« PreviousContinue »