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victories of Cyrus were, as much as any could be, the result of human energy; because God was not known either to him or to his people: but God tells us, that he, even he alone, gave him success 6. In like manner it is HE, and he alone, who has conducted us in safety through all our troubles, and brought them at last to such a happy issue. That we should see and acknowledge this, is of infinite importance; because God is “ a jealous God, who will not give his glory to another," or endure that we should " sacrifice to our own drag, and burn incense to our own net.” Hear with what earnestness he cautioned the Jews against this great impiety"; and let us learn with all possible care to avoid it: let us bear in mind that it is God alone “ who maketh wars to cease, and breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder, and burneth the chariot in the fire i ;” and that, as there is not evil, so neither is there good, in the city, which is not the work of his hands.]
2. The acknowledging of him in them gives us the truest enjoyment of them-.
[Others may indulge in carnal mirth ; but their joy will expire" as the crackling of thorns under a pot;" and no solid benefit will accrue to their souls. But if we view God in our mercies, they will lead our affections heavenwards; they will tend to abase us in the dust for our own unworthiness, and to magnify in our estimation the goodness of God, who has done such great things for us. Compare these feelings with those which the ungodly experience on such occasions ; how pure, how elevating, how abiding! We may see the conduct of the ungodly strikingly exemplified by the Amalekites after they had invaded and plundered Ziklag: “they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating, and drinking, and dancing, because of the great spoil that they had taken!" On the other hand, we may behold in Israel the conduct of the godly, singing praises unto God, and glorifying him for all the wonders he had wrought for them at the Red Sea; “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders m ?" Can we doubt which of the two had the richer enjoyment of their prosperity? Let us then imitate the pious Israelites: yea, let us contemplate, like David, every occurrence whereby God has manifested his care over us;
and let us, in reference to every one of them, say, “ His mercy endureth for ever; his mercy endureth for ever".")
3. A view of him in these his providential mercies will encourage us to apply to him for the blessings of his grace
g Isai. xlv. 1-7. h Deut. viii. 11-17. i Ps. xlvi. 9, 10. k Amos. iii. 6. 11 Sam. xxx. 16. m See Exod. xv. 1-11.
n See Ps. cxxxvi.
[Great as the dangers were from which Israel had been delivered by the interpositions of their God, they were not a whit greater than those to which we are exposed every day and hour. Truly we have a sea of difficulties ready to overwhelm us: we have a roaring lion seeking to devour us; and a subtle enemy ready to take us in his snares. And who, but God, can deliver us? Who can hope to escape from so great perils, if God himself be not on his side? Truly, “our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth,” and in his name alone. Where is there one of us, who, when he considers the number and power of his spiritual enemies, has not reason
“ Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given me as a prey to their teeth?" Sure we are, that there is not a believer amongst us, who does not view himself as “a brand plucked out of the burning," and marvel at the grace that has been magnified towards him in the redemption of his soul.
Now then let those who have not yet experienced this mercy, consider how gracious God has been to our guilty land, and what an amazing deliverance he has vouchsafed to us : and let them say within themselves, “Will God be less gracious to my soul ?" Has he not assured me, that “he willeth not the death of any sinner;" that “he will cast out none who come to him in the name of Jesus ;" and that, if I make my requests known to him, he will fill me with “a peace that passeth all understanding ?” O let us put this matter to a trial; let us see whether or not he is "rich in mercy unto all that call upon him." Beloved Brethren, the time is short: there are yet but a few more months or years, perhaps but a few more days or hours, before the day of salvation will be closed. We would earnestly wish, that, at the moment of your departure hence, you should be able to look back on all the dangers you have escaped, and with triumphant exultation adopt the language of the psalm before us. Certainly, as many of us as shall be saved at last, will instantly, on their entrance into the eternal world, begin the song of the redeemed, and sing, “Salvation to God and to the Lamb for ever and ever!” Now then seek to have the Lord on your side: beg him to strengthen you against all the evils of your own hearts; to rescue you from the impending storms of a tumultuous world; and to deliver you from all the deceit and violence of your great adversary. So shall you have peace with God in your own conscience; and in due season enter into that rest, where neither sin nor sorrow shall ever assault you more.]
• The author was not aware that he had written on this subject before. But as the former Skeleton consists of only a single page, and this goes over such different ground, particularly in shewing how to improve national mercies, he has thought it not improper to print this also.
TRUST IN THE LORD.
Ps. cxxv. 1, 2. They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount
Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth even for ever.
IN forming our estimate of men, we are apt to look at their actions only; and even our own characters, also, we try by that standard. But it is the habit of the mind that chiefly marks the man; and by that we shall be estimated at the tribunal of our God. Doubtless actions are important, as indicative of principles from whence they flow; and by them, we, who can only see the external fruits, are constrained to judge of the quality of the root from whence they proceed. But the heart-searching God looks at the root itself; and approves or disapproves of men according to the real quality and habit of their minds.
In reading the words before us, we might estimate at a low rate the character here designated, did we not analyze the terms by which that character is described. But, if we take sufficient pains to explore the import of the words, and the true nature of the grace which they delineate, we shall see that the person “ who trusts in the Lord” is a very exalted character, and that the blessedness here accorded to him is precisely such as becomes a holy God to confer
Let us consider,
“ Trust in the Lord” does not import a mere general acknowledgment of God as the Governor of the universe: it implies incomparably more, even a deep conviction of his special providence, and of his incessant attention to every the minutest concern of his own peculiar people. It implies, I say, this conviction, 1. In our views
[Let it be considered what trust is. It of necessity imports some engagement on the part of him in whom that trust is reposed. Consequently, a general notion of God's ordering all things according to the counsel of his own will, however deep that conviction be, will not amount to the grace that is here described. The devils possess that conviction, in its utmost possible extent; but they cannot trust in God, because they have no promise given them, nor any ground whatever to hope that he will ever interpose in their favour. The person who trusts in the Lord must see him as a Covenant-God in Christ Jesus, engaged to accomplish for his chosen people all that their necessities can require – -] 2. In our habits
[With such views of the Deity must be united a total renunciation of every other hope, and a committing of all our concerns to him, for body and for soul, for time and for eternity. There must be a going forth of the soul to him in prayer; a spreading of our wants before him; and a declared affiance in his great and precious promises. Viewing him as both a God of providence and of grace, we must fully expect his attention to our every request, to order every thing for our good, and to save us in Christ Jesus with an everlasting salvation. Our expectations must be co-extensive with his engagements : and, as he has engaged to “be a God unto us, we must expect from him all that unerring wisdom, unbounded power, unsearchable love, and unchanging faithfulness, can effect - This is, in fact, what the Apostle elsewhere calls “ the life of faith in the Son of God;" and nothing short of this will answer the character in my text. But, wherever this is, there shall also be,] II. The privileges connected with it
There shall be, 1. Stability,
[Mount Zion was a place of so much strength, that, from the days of Joshua to the time of David, the Israelites could never take it. They occupied Jerusalem: but Mount Zion was too strong for them; insomuch that the Jebusites who inhabited it laughed them to scorn, vaunting, that if there were none left but blind and lame to defend the fortress, the Jews should never be able to prevail against ita. But far more impregnable is the fortress in which they dwell who trust in the Lord : “ The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth to it, and is safeb." They may be assaulted both by men and devils; but they are assured, that “God will keep them by his own power, through faith, unto everlasting salvation." They are in the Saviour's hands; and he has pledged himself that “none shall ever pluck them out of his hands.” In themselves they remain weak as ever, as both David and Peter have clearly shewn; but in Christ they are strong: and in the Covenant which is made with them in Christ, and " which is ordered in all things and sure,” it is engaged, on the part of God, that they shall never be moved, and that “ the gates of hell shall never prevail against theme"] 2. Protection
a 2 Sam. v. 6-8. b Prov. xviii. 10. c 1 Pet. i. 5.
[The hills that were round about Jerusalem protected it on every side ; so that the Romans, it was confessed, would not have been able to subdue it, if the garrison themselves had not madly assisted them by their mutual contentions. But far more effectually does the Lord protect his people, being to them "a wall of fire round about them?;" a wall which will not only ward off the assaults of their enemies, but will itself destroy their assailants. In fact," he keeps them even as the apple of his eye8;" and "sooner shall the ordinances of heaven and earth pass away, and the foundations of the world be searched out,” than any one of them shall be left to perish". To assure them of this, " he has confirmed his covenant with an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, they might have strong consolation,” and live “assured that nothing shall ever separate them from his lovek."] To all of you, then, I say, 1. Get just views of your God and Saviour
[Be not satisfied with a general acknowledgment of him; but study his nature as revealed in the inspired volume, and acquaint yourselves with his dispensations as exhibited in the sacred records. See him delivering his people Israel out of Egypt, and supporting them in the wilderness, and establishing them in the land of Canaan; and then rest assured, that he is the same God, alike powerful, alike gracious, and alike faithful to all his engagements -]
2. Let your expectations from him be to the utmost extent of
your necessities[There should be no limit to them, provided only they do not contravene the Lord's will, and tend to the subversion of his glory. “However wide you open your mouth, he will fill it;" and however “ large your desires be, he will fulfil them?” Listen not, under any circumstances, to flesh and blood, like Asa, who in his sickness sought to the physicians: but even though sense should stand in direct opposition to faith, as in Abraham's call to sacrifice his son Isaac, “ be strong in
d John x. 28, 29. e Matt. xvi. 18. f Zech. ii. 5. & Deut. xxxü. 10. h Jer. xxxi. 35--37. and Isai. liv. 9, 10. i Heb. vi. 17, 18. k Rom. viii. 34—39. 1 Ps. cxlv. 19.