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In the sixty-third psalm he devoutly says, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee : my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is : to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” In the eighty-fourth psalm he devoutly cries, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts ! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” Those, who have seen and tasted that the Lord is good, desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby in knowledge and grace, and behold and enjoy the beauiy of the Lord. And since these spiritual and divine favors may always be found and always enjoyed in the house and worship of God, all good men desire constantly to attend the services of the sanctuary, and deeply regret being providentially prevented. They will take more care and surmount more and greater difficulties to attend public worship, than to attend to their own personal, secular concerns. It must be allowed, therefore, that those professors, who constantly attend the worship and ordinances of God in his house, do exhibit one beautiful evidence, that they love the courts of the Lord and find a pleasure in inquiring in his temple, and be holding his beauty. While on the other hand, it cannot be denied, that those, who are careless and negligent in attending the sacred duties and services of the sanctuary, lack one evidence of their sincerity. Here then let me ask those, who have come to the table of Christ this day, whether they have exhibited more evidence of their sincerity, than of their insincerity, in the respects. There is no doubt, that some have exhibited more evidence of sincerity, than of insincerity. And can there be a doubt, whether some have not exhibited more evidence of insincerity, than of sincerity ?
This subject now speaks both to the sincere, and to the insincere. To the sincere it says, you have desired to see the beauty of the Lord in the sanctuary, and you have seen and enjoyed it there. You have inquired in his temple, and grown in knowledge and grace.
You resolve to dwell in the house of the Lord, and tread his courts every sabbath, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, beseeching God to shew you his glory. He has promised to meet you and bless you where he has recorded his name, as long as you live, and afterwards to fix you in his temple above, to go out no more forever. Can there be a brighter prospect opened before you? Can you be bound by stronger obligations, and have greater or more endearing motives set before you to be constant, in running the christian race ; in attending christian ordinances, and in seeking christian enjoyments ?
But this subject speaks a very different language to the insincere, who have not seen, nor desired to see the beauty of the Lord. You have always been in darkness. Your darkness is increasing by all the light which God has exhibited before you, by his works, by his providence, by his word, and by his ordinances.--But your present darkness is nothing in comparison with that, to which you are exposed, when the time shall come, which will fix the state of both sincere and insincere professors. “I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and guashing of teeth.”
NATURE AND EFFECTS OF WALKING WITH GOD.
GENESIS v. 24-And Enoch walked with God, and he was not: for God took him.
Enoch was one of the ancient patriarchs ; and one of the seventh generation from Adam. His father, Jared, was a godly man, who, it seems, walked within his house with a perfect heart and brought up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. For his son Enoch appears to have been pious from his youth, though he lived in a day of great degeneracy, when the friends of God were few and the world were rapidly departing from the paths of virtue and filling the earth with violence. In such a day, he lived in a peculiar manner. Instead of following the multitude to do evil, he walked with God, and secured his peculiar favor. “He was not ; for God took him.” This phrase, it is natural to suppose, denotes a special token of the divine favor ; and the apostle in his epistle to the Hebrews confirms this supposition. “By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and was not found, because God translated him : for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Such a happy removal, from this evil world to a far better one, was a signal mark of the divine approbation. From this instance of the divine conduct, we may justly conclude,
That God will manifest some peculiar tokens of his favor to those, who walk with him. I shall,
I. Consider what is implied in walking with God : And,
II. Show that God will manifest some peculiar tokens of his favor to those, who walk with him.
1. We are to consider what is implied in walking with God.
1. This implies reconciliation to God. All mankind come into the world in a state of moral depravity. Their hearts by nature are unholy and unfriendly to God. They go astray from him as soon as they are born. “They say unto him, depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” Instead of lov. ing him, they hate him ; and instead of walking with him, they flee from him. They are opposed to him ; and he is opposed to them. There is a mutual and irreconcilable alienation from each other. And until this mutual aliention of affection be removed, it is morally impossible for men to walk with God. For, “ how can two walk together except they are agreed ?” But God cannot become reconciled to them, before they become reconciled to him. The reconciliation must begin on their part ; and when they become cordially reconciled to him, he is cordially reconciled to them. He loves those, who love him ; and is ready to walk with them. Though they may appear to walk with him, before their disaffection to him is removed ; yet they cannot walk with him in sincerity and truth before the native enmity of their carnal mind is slain, and the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts.-.Though Enoch early walked with God, yet he did not walk acceptably with him, until he had a new heart, which was after God's own heart and which laid a permanent foundation of mutual reconciliation and friendship.
2. Those, who walk with God, maintain a steady couse of cordial obedience to his commands. They esteem his precepts concerning all things to be right.--They delight in the law of the Lord after the inward man. They imitate the example of Zacharias and Elisabeth, “who were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” They are not like those, who David says, “Keep not the covenant of God; and refuse to walk in his law:” Nor like those, who Nehemiah says,
are disobedient, rebellious, and cast the divine law behind their backs.” Walking denotes continued and persevering motion ; and those, who sincerely and cordially walk with God, are not weary in well-doing, but are stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in obedience to the divine commands. Thus Enoch walked steadily and perseveringly in obedience to God, while the world was full of violence. Thus Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb walked in persevering obedience to God, while the great mass of the people grew faint and weary and perished in the wilderness. And thus the apostles continued to follow Christ, whilst“ many of his professed disciples went back and walked no more with him.” Our Savior pressed the duty of perseverance in obedience upon all his professed followers; and plainly told them that unless they endured to the end, they would not be saved. The true disciples of Christ are willing to follow him whithersoever he leads them, through every stage and circumstance of life ; though they may sometimes hesitate and faulter in their chris