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to their happiness in the world to come. This I must say to all persons of this description : “ You have not, because you ask not:” nor can you ever have pardon, or peace, or holiness, or glory, in any way but in that of humble, fervent, and believing prayer. You must open your mouth wide,” if ever you would have it “filled" with spiritual and eternal blessings.]
2. Those who can unite in David's testimony respecting the compassion of their God
[Go on, and “pray without ceasing." There never is a day when you cease to need a supply of spiritual good; and never shall your importunity displease your God. “ Be not straitened in yourselves, and never shall you
find that you are straitened in him.” Live a life of prayer, and you shall never be disappointed of your hope'. Be instant in prayer, and you may say with David, “ Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive mek." You may add, too, with equal confidence, “ The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me!" What delightful thoughts are these! and how will you "sing in the ways of the Lord m,” when your mind is so occupied! This is the proper walk of a Christian; and every communication received from God, in answer to your prayers, shall be an earnest and foretaste of yet richer blessings in the realms of bliss.] i Isai. xl. 31.
THE GOSPEL A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS.
Ps. cxxxviii. 4, 5. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee,
O Lord, when they hear the words of thy mouth. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.
IN the Psalms of David, it is often not easy to find out the connexion between the different parts, so as to reduce them to the form of a regular composition. The inspired writer seems on many occasions to have recorded the feelings of his soul without any particular attention to order and method; and sometimes, unconsciously as it were, to have passed from what respected his own personal concerns, to events far distant, relating to the Church of God under the reign of the Messiah. If we suppose the psalm before us to have been written soon after his establishment on the throne of Israel, we may regard the words of my text as expressing the satisfaction which that event would afford to all the surrounding nations, when they should hear of the wonderful events by which it had been accomplished. But it is manifest, that, if that be in any degree the import of his words, it can never comprehend their full meaning. Beyond a doubt, the holy man is led, from the contemplation of the mercies vouchsafed to himself, to speak of those which shall be vouchsafed to the whole world in the millennial age; when all the kings of the earth shall become the monuments of God's love and mercy, and shall walk joyfully before him in obedience to his will.
From the words thus explained, I will take occasion to shew, I. The felicity of the latter day
Here we see,
[Under the Jewish dispensation, it was confined almost exclusively to the descendants of Abraham and the twelve Patriarchs, or, I should rather say, to a very small remnant of them: for “ they were not all Ísrael who were of Israela." And since the Gospel kingdom has been established, the true Israel have been found chiefly amongst “the poor, whom God has more especially chosen to be rich in faith, and heirs of his kingdom b.” As in the Apostle's days, so at this time, “ not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called c.” But in the millennial age, persons of every rank, and of every nation under heaven, will flock to Christ, as doves to their windows;" as the Psalmist says:
“ All the ends of the earth shall remember themselves, and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him d.” Amongst these, the kings and governors shall bear a most conspicuous place; all of them, instead of being found, as formerly, amongst the persecutors of the Lord's people, “bringing their glory into the Church"," and " becoming themselves her nursing-fathers, and their queens her nursingmothers'." Nor shall this obtain amongst a few only: for “the kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents to our adorable Redeemer; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts unto him ; yea, all kings shall fall down before him; and all nations shall serve him.”] a Rom. ix. 6. b Jam. ii. 5.
c 1 Cor. i. 26. d Ps. xxii. 27. and lxxxvi. 9.
e Rev. xxi. 24. f Isai, xlix. 22, 23.
8 Ps. lxxii. 10, 11.
2. What will be the frame of their minds
[Little as the praise of our Redeemer is now heard, it will be proclaimed then by all: the praises of our God will resound in every place, and universal joy be diffused amongst the servants of the Lord. The noise, that is now accounted mirth, will cease; and the revellings, which are now regarded as sources and scenes of joy, will be put away as unworthy of the Christian profession. There will then be nobler sources of delight opened to the whole Christian world; and all of every rank will find their chief happiness in the service of their God. This is the testimony of all the inspired writers; who uniformly concur in this, that it will be a season of universal joy; men every where “ coming with singing unto Zion, and with everlasting joy upon their heads; all of them being filled with joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing having fled awayh."] 3. What discoveries they will have of God
[No wonder their happiness will be so exalted, when God shews forth his glory in the midst of them. “ Great will then be the glory of the Lord," as displayed in the person, and work, and offices of Christ, and in the manifestations of his love to the souls of men Yes, " when the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory." And great indeed will be the splendour of that day: “The moon will be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and before his ancients, gloriouslyk. "]
Yet let us not imagine that these blessings are so reserved for future ages, as not to be enjoyed in our day. No: we are in reality as much interested in them as men can be at any period of the world : and therefore I call upon you to contemplate, II. The felicity which we also are privileged to enjoy
1. The word which they of the latter day will hear, is preached unto us
[The Gospel was in a measure preached to Abraham'; but how much more to us! By Christ and his holy Apostles God has made known to us his mind and will without reserve; nor have we any reason whatever to think that any addition shall ever be made to the inspired volume. Further light, indeed, will be thrown upon it, by the fulfilment of prophecy; and a more abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit will be vouchsafed to men, for the comprehension of it: but the entire Gospel is vouchsafed to us, as much as it ever will be to them; and, if we pray to God for the teaching of his Holy Spirit, we have no reason to doubt but that we shall be guided into all truth, even as they. Beloved Brethren, you hear of a Saviour, and of all the wonders of redeeming love. The salvation of Christ is set before you, in all its freeness, in all its fulness, in all its suitableness, in all its excellency and glory. The grounds of joy are made known to you, even as they were by the Apostles themselves to those to whom they ministered: so that, in this respect, it may be truly said, that “nothing that could be profitable is kept back from you,” but that “unto you is declared all the counsel of God.") 2. And have not we the same interest in it as they?
h Isai, xxxv. 10. i Ps. cii. 16. k Isai. xxiv. 23, i Gal. iii. 8.
[Yes, surely; and if we have been enlightened by it, we have as much reason for praise and gratitude and joy as ever they can have. Tell me, ye who have been redeemed from death and hell, and that too by the blood of your incarnate God, tell me whether every feeling of your souls should not be swallowed up in joy, and every word of your lips be only praise? It is a shame to the Christian world that religion is at so low an ebb amongst them. Truly, Brethren, the lukewarmness that obtains amongst the professors of the present day is highly discreditable to us, and reflects dishonour on the Gospel itself. Why are we not “singing in the ways of the Lord ?" Why go we not on our way, rejoicing, all the day long? Is it not said of true Christians, that," though they have never seen Christ, yet, believing in him, they rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glorym?”
I will further add,] 3. Does not the Lord manifest to you also his glory?
[Yes, verily," the glory of God shines as truly as ever, in the face of Jesus Christ;" and shall be manifested unto you, even as it was in the Apostolic, or shall be in the Millennial, age, if only you will seek him with your whole hearts. Blessed be God! there are, even at this day, some at least “ to whom Christ is precious;" some who behold him as “the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person ";" and who,“ beholding his glory, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of Lordo.” And why should one amongst you remain destitute of this blessing? There is not so much as one amongst you all to whom Christ would not come in the most endearing manner, if you would but seek him. If only you would, with Moses, say, Lord, shew me thy glory,” - He would make all his goodness to pass before your eyes9."]
m 1 Pet. i. 8.
n Heb. i. 3.
o 2 Cor. üi. 18. 4 Exod. xxxii. 18, 19.
To all of you, then, I would ADDRESS the following
requests :1. Seek to form a right estimate of religion
[Religion is not, as too many imagine, a source of melancholy, but a fountain of unutterable joy! If it deprive you of carnal delights, it will give you infinitely richer and purer pleasures in their stead ---]
2. Endeavour to get an experimental acquaintance with it in your own souls—
[Be not satisfied with speculative views of divine truth; but get such a sense of it as shall fill your mouth with praise, and cause you
sing in the ways of the Lord” all the day long. The command to you, as much as to any child of man, is, “ Rejoice evermore: rejoice in the Lord alway; and again, I say, rejoice"
--] 3. Labour to circulate the knowledge of it through the whole world
[Blessed be God! the higher ranks are now beginning to mingle their praises with those of the other classes of the community. The circulation of the word of God, and the sending forth of missionaries to explain and enforce it, are now objects of solicitude to an extent that they have never been, since the days of the Apostles. Unite then, all of you, in this blessed work; and cease not, till "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”]
r Prov. iii. 17.
DCCXXXII. GOD'S VIEWS OF THE LOWLY AND OF THE PROUD. Ps. cxxxviii. 6. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect
unto the lowly : but the proud he knoweth afar off: WHATEVER we find in Scripture to have been God's dealings with his people of old, the same may we expect to receive from him at this day, so far as our situation and circumstances require it. His interpositions, either in a way of chastisement or protection, may be less visible than formerly; but they are neither less certain, nor less real. We may imagine, that, because we are not under a Theocracy, as the Jews were, we are not authorized to believe that the great God of heaven and earth will interest himself about us : but in every age “ his eyes are still