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III. Explain how it comes to pass, that their safety, when thus favoured, is secured.---And then,
i * IV. Make some short improvement.
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We are, . : . .:. 1. To fhew that it is a wonder of grace that sinful creatures are admitted to see God, and be familiar with him. We think we need fay little for proof of this. Only consider,
1. The infinite distance that there is between God and the creature in respect of perfection. The distance betwixt an angel and a moth is but finite; but betwixt God and us the distance is infinice. And therefore, no wonder that when beholding the glorious perfections of God, we dwindle into nothing in our own eyes, and say with Abraham, Gen. xvii. 27.“ Behold now, we have taken upon us to speak unto the Lord, which are but duft and ashes ;” and cry out with Solomon, 1 Kings, viii. 27. “ But will God indeed dwell on the earth ? behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded ?” Re. member, ye faints, that though God has laid by his enmity, he retains his sovereignty over us ; and therefore it is admirable condescension, that he is pleased to allow us to see him, and to en. joy holy familiarity with him.-Confider, .
2. That it is the fame God who is such a sem vere and dreadful avenger of fin: Psal. v. 5. “The foolish shall not stand in thy fight : thou hateft all. workers of iniquity." Habak. i. 13. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." This same God who allows his covenant people a sight of his glory, and a holy familiarity with him on the mount of ordinan
ces, is he who thrust Adam out of paradise, drowned the old world, rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. He who gives some the cup of salvation at his table, is the same who makes others of their fellow-creatures drink the wine-cup of his fury. He who makes some feast in his presence, is the same from whofe presence others shall be punished with everlasting deftruction.
We are, II. To show that it is a wonder of grace that finful creatures, in their solemn approaches to God, and when they are thus favoured, come off safe. ... This will appear if we consider,
1. The infinite holiness and spotless purity of that God before whom the sinful creature appears. He is glorious in holiness, and fearful in praises, Exod xv. II. Even angelical purity is dim in his light, and is a sort of inpurity, when compared with the infinite holiness of God, Job, xv. 15. Even they are chargeable with folly in his fight; potential folly, (though not actual), a kind of imperfection infeparable from the nature of the creature, in any state whatsoever : Job, iv. 18. « Behold, he put no trust into his servants; and his angels he charged with folly.” (Hebrew, He puts chargeth). And therefore, even the confirmed angels cover their feet with their wings, Isa. vi. 2. as if they would tell us that perfect created holiness is but a: dark and smoaky light before uncreated holiness. Shining holiness in some of the faints on earth, has a damping power with it. The very sight of one that convincingly walks cloie with God, is enough to strike a damp on the heart of a loose professor or apostate. How in 'Wie moederta !
much more may the sight of infinite holiness strike the most spiritual faints to the ground !-Consider,
2. That the best carry a sinful nature even up into the mount with them. · Paul, rapt up to the third heavens, brought a finful nature down with him again, an evidence he had carried it up, 2 Cor. xii. 7. Look on thyself, O faint ! in thy nearest approaches, and thou wilt see the humbling fight, a sinful heart, life, and lips, Isa. Ixiv. 6.; sin woven into thy very nature, mixed with thy filesh and blood, making a vile body, Phil. ii. 21.; funk into the marrow of thy spirit, and diffused through thy whole foul. And then canst thou cease to say, as in Lam. iii. 22. “ It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail, not.”. Is it not a wonder of grace, that hell, so near heaven, has not sunk with its own weight ? Consider,
3. That finful creatures never miss to leave the marks of their foul feet, even when they are on holy ground : Rom. vii. 21. “ I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Peter falls a roving even on the mount, Luke, ix. 33. Even in the greatest light which ever fhone about the saints, they never wrote a line so fair, but there was a blot in it. The sacrifices were carried up to the mount with the nobles, for God knew they would need them even there. And if yé will look back to your carriage, when at a communion-table, you will see such mismanagements, as mày make you wonder that he laid not his hand upon you. Consider,
4. The particular jealousy which God has manifested about his worship. Therefore Joshua told the people, chap. xxiv. 19. “ Ye cannot serve the Lord ; for he is an holy God: he is a jealous God : he will not forgive your transgressions, nor
your your sins.” And he himself declared, “ he would be sanctified in them that come nigh him, and before all the people he will be glorified,” Lev. x. 3. And upon this he wrote a commentary, with a flaming evidence, in the blood of Nadab and Abi. hu, even two of these on whom he laid not his hand at this time. A slip in the holy ground is most dangerous and provoking in its own nature. To affront a king in his palace, his presence-chamber, or on his throne, stirs up his anger with a peculiar keenness. How dear did the men of Bethshemesh pay for a look, 1 Sam. vi. 19. ; Uzzah, for a touch, 2 Sam. vi. 6. 7. ; Annanias and Sapphira, for a word, Acts, v. Now, who is able to stand before the piercing eye of his jealousy? Is it not a wonder of his grace, that the fire of his indignation burns not up sinful crea. tures in their solemn approaches to him ? -Congider, . ..... .. 5. That there is a folemn awfulnefs about the very ordinances of grace, which the finner could not bear if he were not supported, Dan. x. 8.9. his blood. So that such fights are sufficient to make one faint áway, if they are not supported by grace.-Confider,
19. Pfal. lxviii. 35. “O fod! thou art terrible out of thy holy places." Jacob understood this when he had one of the most comfortable fights which ever mortal had : Gen. xxvii. 17. “ And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” The very -throne of grace stands on justice and judgement, which are its habitacion, Psal. lxxxix. 14.. (Hebrew, its base; the covenant founded on blood, the blood of his own Son. All our mer. 'cies from the throne are dyed red in the blood of a Mediator. Thou canst not have a gracious look from the throne, but through the Redeemer's. wounds; nor a pardon, but what is written with
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Lastly, That the emanations of the divine glory would overwhelm finners, burst the earthen velsels, if a gracious God did not graciously support them. Some have felt this, when they have been made_ to cry to the Lord to hold his hand, for that the earthen pitchers were able to hold no more. We know not what spirit we are off. It is our mercy we fee but through a glass darkly, and not face to face now ; for flesh and blood can. not inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. xv. 50. The flesh and blood of a giant would not be able to bear that glory now. And therefore, it is observed as an instance of his goodness, Job, xxvi. 9. “ He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it??.
We now go on, III. To explain how it comes to pass that the safety of God's people, when thus favoured, is secured. It is so,
1. Because they are God's covenant-people by marriage with his Son. They are married to Christ, and the Son of the Father's bofom is their husband. He has all freedom in his Father's house, and so it cannot be a strange house to them, Where he fits, his spouse may stand safe. ly at his hand : Psal. xlv. 9. “ Upon thy right hand did ftand the queen in gold of Ophir.” They have freedom in the house of God, in the right of their Husband. He has brought them up into his chariot of the covenant; and this has access to drive up into the mount, while it procures all safety to those who are in it, “being paved with love," Song, iii. 9. 10.
2. Because they come up under the covert of