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of his fulness we are all to receive,” according to our respective necessities. This was David's encouragement. Had he not known this, he would have sat down in utter despair. It is a consciousness of this that emboldens a penitent to draw nigh to God, and to ask for mercy at his hands. A soul that is gone beyond the reach of mercy, hates God with a perfect hatred, and "never repents to give him glory!" but the soul that hopes in his mercy, feels towards him a filial fear and reverence; and this holy fear is ever augmented in proportion to the hope that is cherished in the soul. Hence, when God says respecting his people, “I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me;" he adds, “ And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them. And they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness, and for all the prosperity, that I procure unto it m."] In this view of David's experience we may see, 1. Our dependence on God
[To whom can we go in a time of trouble? Who can afford us even the smallest help, especially under a sense of sin, and under a dread of God's displeasure? We may possess all that the world can give, but it will not for a moment soothe the agonies of a guilty conscience. Of all things under the sun, in this view, it must be said, “Miserable comforters are ye all !” Our help is in God alone. “He is the only fountain of life: and in his light alone can we see light"."] 2. Our obligations to him
(When we see so holy a man as David brought into depths” where he feels as one ready to perish, what thanks can we render unto God, that we are enabled to pass through life in peaceful tranquillity, and with a cheerful hope of eternal life! None but those who have experienced the hidings of God's face, and the terrors of his wrath, can have any conception what it is to be reduced to such a state. Does David say, “ Fearfulness hath taken hold upon me, and an horrible dread hath overwhelmed me?” Why, then, is not that the condition of our souls? Who does not deserve it? Who might not well be left to sustain it throughout his whole life? If we were saved from perdition at last, it would be a mercy, for which we should have cause to bless God to all eternity. But to enjoy peace here, and the light of God's countenance, verily this is a blessing for which we can never be sufficiently thankful.
But there is yet a richer blessing vouchsafed unto us; and 1 Rev. xvi. 9, 11. m Jer. xxxiji. 8, 9. n Ps. xxxvi. 9.
that is, that in all our trials, of whatever kind, we have God himself for our refuge. Who need to be afraid of depths, when he has a God to go unto, a God able and willing to deliver him? Look at the heathen, who know not God; or at those who, though in a Christian land, are unacquainted with the great mystery of redemption. They are in a pitiable condition indeed: but the believing penitent, though in darkness, has reason to rejoice ; because his “ heaviness will endure but for a night, and joy will come to him in the morning." He may descend with Jonah to the very precincts of hell; but in due season he shall be brought forth to light and liberty and joy.] 3. Our true wisdom
[The resolution of David, in the words following our text, should be ours.
Whether in trouble or at ease, let us wait on the Lord, and " hold us fast by God.” The man who has been watching through the night looks with eager desire to the break of day, when he shall be relieved from his toil. But with far greater earnestness, and with sweeter assurance too, should we wait on God, confident that he will appear for us in the hour of need, and grant us that rest which our necessities require. Let us then live in this habit; and then, “though the fig-tree should not blossom, nor the fields yield their meat, nor any herd be found in the stalls, we may rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of our Salvation'."]
o Hab. iii. 17, 18.
WAITING UPON GOD.
Ps. cxxx. 5, 6. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait,
and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning ; I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
MANY of God's people are at times reduced to great straits, either through the violence of persecution or the force of temptation : and, under such circumstances, what refuge have they, but in God? It is in vain for them to look to the creature: and it sometimes appears to them to no purpose to wait even upon God, because the desired relief is so long delayed. David, under delays of this kind, was sometimes discouraged : but, whatever were the depths into which he had fallen on the present occasion, it is manifest that he cast himself upon the mercy of his
God, and determined to "hold fast by God," and to maintain his confidence in him even to the end. I will, I. Unfold to you the experience of David
He declares it to us in few words: “he waited upon God.” And the comparison by which he illustrates the frame of his mind, will serve us as a clew, whereby to find the full import of his words. He may possibly refer to watchmen in general, who, during a long and tedious night, wait for the morning, when they shall be released from their fatigues, and retire to their rest. But I rather think that he refers to the Priests and Levites, whom he had appointed to watch nightly in the Tabernacle', and who, if they were not filled
with a spirit of devotion, by which they might enjoy communion with their God, would long earnestly for the morning, when they might terminate their irksome task. But more than they did David long for the return of God to his soul; waiting for him, 1. With earnest desire
[No temporal distress will bear any comparison with that which is spiritual. The troubles of an awakened or tempted soul are very heavy; and the depths into which it is plunged, by an apprehension of God's wrath, are very terrible. No wonder that David "panted after the Lord, as the hart after the water-brooks b:" no wonder that, when God's answers to his prayers were delayed, he cried, “ How long, O Lord! how long ?" Nor is such importunity disapproved of God: on the contrary, he would have us "cry day and night to him , and give him no rest, till he arise, and come to our reliefe] 2. With patient hope
[Though earnest in prayer, he was willing to tarry the Lord's leisure ; and would not attempt to use any unbecoming means for his own relief. Repeatedly had he it in his power to slay Saul : but he would neither perpetrate the act himself, nor suffer it to be perpetrated by others. He committed his cause to God, to whom alone vengeance belongeth. So, in reference to the mercies he desired at God's hands, he was willing to wait. His earnestness appears in that he says repeatedly, “My soul doth wait.” It was not a mere wish that he entertained for relief, but a most eager desire: yet was he as far from impatience as from indifference. He rested on the a Ps.cxxxiv. 1. Ps. xlii. 1—3. Ps. vi. 3. and xiii. 1, 2.four times. & Luke xvii. 7.
e Isai. lxii. 6, 7.
word of God: “In his word," saith he, "do I hope." It was quite sufficient for him that God had promised to succour his tempted people: and, whatever apparent contrarieties there might be between his dispensations and his word, he had no doubt but that they would all be cleared up in due season, and that not a jot or tittle of God's word would pass away, till all were fulfilled.] 3. With assured expectation
A watchman knows that the morning will at last appear; and therefore, instead of abandoning his post, he waits till the destined hour for his relief arrive. Thus David assured himself that God would come to him at last, and reveal himself to him out of the abundance of his grace and love. The verses following my text shew this to have been the real experience of his soul, and afford me occasion to,] II. Commend it to your imitation
Not in the context only, but in other places, does David call upon us to imitate his example, and to avail ourselves of his experience for the comfort and direction of our own souls. “ I had fainted,” says he, “unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord?.” Thus would I now entreat you to mark the posture of David's soul in this season of trial. Consider, 1. How suited it is to every one of you
[You may not have committed David's sins, or be subjected to David's trials: but where is there one of you that is not a sinner before God? Who amongst you does not stand in need of mercy? Who must not find his consolation altogether in the contemplation of God; saying with David, " If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared?" Then it is plain that the same waiting spirit becomes you also. Yes, in a spirit of penitence should you be crying to God, “ Lord, hear my voice; let thine ear be attentive to the voice of my supplications !” And, however long God may defer his answer to your prayers, you should wait with meekness and patience. “ If the eyes of a servant are to the hand of his master, and the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress, should not your eyes be unto the Lord your God until he have mercy upon you i ?" Surely you may well be as observant of f Ps. xxvii. 13, 14. 5 ver. 3, 4.
i Ps. cxxiii. 2. VOL. VI.
God as you expect your fellow-creature to be of you. And think how long God has waited upon you; calling, but ye would not hear; entreating, but ye would not regard him. Shall
you then be impatient, if he come not at the first moment that you call; and that too when you are urged by nothing but a fear of his wrath, which you have so richly merited? Know, every one of you, that it becomes you to wait his appointed time; and to be satisfied if the morning never arrive till the very moment of your departure from this world of woe.] 2. What honour it does to God
[A meek, patient, and submissive spirit honours every perfection of the Deity. It expresses a confidence in his wisdom, as alone discerning the fittest time to appear in your behalf. It shews a persuasion of his goodness, that does not willingly afflict you, but orders every thing for your greatest good, even to humble you the more deeply, and thereby to prepare you for a richer improvement of his mercy whensoever it shall be vouchsafed unto you.
It honours also his power, as able to impart relief, whensoever his wisdom and goodness shall judge it expedient to confer the blessing. Above all, it glorifies God's truth and faithfulness, in that it makes the written word a ground of hope, yea, and of an assured hope, that whatsoever God has promised he will perform.
I ask then, Is it not desirable that you should be found in a posture by which God is so honoured, and with which he cannot but be pleased ? Let
every one of you, therefore, be able to make that appeal to God, “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lordk." 3. What benefit it ensures to the waiting soul
[Justly is it said, “ The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord !.” But let us hear the Psalmist's own experience: “I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me and heard my cry. "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise unto our Godm.” And who is there, even though he should not have been delivered to the same extent, that must not yet say,
“ It is good for me to draw near to God?" I entreat you, then, to adopt the resolution of the Psalmist, “I will wait on thy name ; for it is good before thy saintso." If at any time your mind be disquieted by reason of delay, check and chide
soul even as David did : " Why art thou cast k Gen. xlix. 18. | Lam. iii. 25, 26. m Ps. xl. 1-3. n Ps. lxxiii. 28. o Ps. lii. 9.