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SERMON VIII. .
Trust in God.
ISAIAH. 1. 10.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth
the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness,.. and hath 110 light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
T is said of every real believer, that he walks
will follow, that his faith" must be exposed to a variety of trials, while he continues in a world of sense. These trials arise from the state of his own mind from his outward condition--from the state of the world with which he stands' connected, and from the mutual influence of all these, one upon another. From this situation it is easy to fee, that there are few duties, for the exercise of which a good man will have
greater or more frequent occasion, than that of trust and reliance upon God. Trust is the duty and the refuge of the needy-of the dependent of the weak-the timorous, and the distreffed. How many are included under one cu more of these characters; or rather, who is it that can say he is altogether excluded ?
Agreeably to this, we need but open the sacred volume, to perceive how frequent the ex-. hortations are to trust in God, and how many views are given us of his power, wisdom, mercy and faithfulneis, to encourage us to an unshaken: reliance. At the same time, I am sorry to say, that there are few duties which are more imper-fectly understood by many professing Christians. Even pious perfons often fin both on the right hand and on the left; that is to say, both by diffidence and presumption. I have, therefore, laid hold of this opportunity, and made choice of this passage of Scripture, in order to open and illustrate a little this important duty of a servant of God. How seafonable it is you will easily perceive, for in the facrament of the Lord's Supper we have fet before us Christ Jefus, the unfpeakable gift of God--the great pledge of his love, and the great foundation of our reliance upon him, not only for his faving mercy in general, but for every necessary. blessing in our way to eternal rest.
This passage of Scripture is also well suited to the subject. It was spoken to the Jews in a lax
and diffolute age, when many had turned their backs upon the service of God had deserted his ordinances, and defpifed his fervants, which is always an occasion both of affliction and temptation to his own children. This
from the first words of the chapter. For thus faith the • Lord, where is the bill of your mother's di• vorcement, whom I have put away? And . which of my creditors is it to whom I have fold
you? Behold, for your iniquities you have fold < yourselves, and for your transgressions is your • mother put away.' As also from the 3d and 4th verses: 'I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make fackcloth their covering. The
Lord God hath given me the tongue of the • learned, that I should know how to speak a 6 word in season to him that is weary::
In discoursing further on this subject, it is proposed, through the assistance of divine grace,
I. To open a little the character and state of those who are called upon, and exhorted to trust in the name of the Lord.
II. To explain the duty of trust, and point, out the foundation of it.
JII. To apply the subject for your instruction and comfort.
In the first place, then, I am to open a little the character and state of those who are here cal
led upon, and exhorted to 'trust in the name of the Lord.
Their description is as follows: 'Who is a
mong you that teareth the Lord, and obeyeth " the voice of his servant, that walketh in dark
ness, and hath no light ? let him trust in the ' name of the Lord, and stay himself uponhis 6 God.' It will help us to enter into the spirit and meaning of the Prophet's words, if we keep in view the state of the Jewish church, hinted at a little ago ;'who is among you ;' that is, if there is one or more if there is a small felect number in the midst of general corruption and depravity, who have kept their garments unpolluted, though iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxeth cold, that feareth the Lord ? You know it is common in Scripture to describe religion in general by some particular leading branch of it. The fear of God is often made ufe of for this purpose, as in that passage, there shall be no want to them that fear him. It may, therefore, fignify those who have a fincere and unfeigned regard to the commandments of God, and have chosen him as their portion and hope. Those who defire and deferve to be diftinguithed from the profane defpiser,--the secure formalift, or the disguised hypocrite Thofe, in aword, who are, and who desire to appear, to use the strong language of Scripture, upon the Lord's fide in every struggle, and who resolve,
with Joshua, that whatever others do, for their part they will serve the Lord. .
But I cannot help thinking, we may also, with great fafety, explain the words in a closer and stricter sense, and fuppofe, that by fearing the Lord, is to be understood a due reverence for his infinite majesty, and a humble veneration for his facred authority. This is a moft excellent fence or guard to the conscience in an evil time, and a noble preservative from the spreading infection and insinuating poison of prevailing or fashionable fins. It is also the usual character of a diffolute
to have cast off fear, to treat the most sacred things with scorn, and to look upon that holy solicitude to avoid fin, which appears in the carriage and language of a child of God, as a mark of meanness or weakness of mind. In such an age, one who fears God is well described by the prophet Isaiah ; " But to this man will I
look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite fpirit, and trembleth at my word.' The next part of the character is, ' and obeyeth the voice of his fervant ;' that is to say, is willing to hearken to the meflage of God by the mouth of his servants. The words of the text, no doubt, may be considered as primarily referring to the inspired Prophets, who bore an immediate commission, miraculously attested from God. Many, even of these, were set at nought, their message derided, and their persons insulted, when they attempted to stem the tide of prevailing vice,