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man is, when left to himself; for, after all his boasting that he was ready to die with his Lord and Master, he denied him with oaths and curses. Nor is a person at all more secure who trusts in any created power : for, however powerful a man may be, he may not be able to afford the assistance that is needed; or, if able, he may not be willing; or, if willing, he may change his mind; or, if fixed in purpose, he may be removed by death, when, of course, all his thoughts and purposes must perish. But the man who trusts in God has an ever-present, an everwilling, an immutable, an all-sufficient help
No confederacy, whether of men or devils, can prevail against him who sanctifies the Lord God in his heart : “ There is a wall of fire round about him," that will both afford him protection, and destroy his every assailanta. He may confidently challenge the whole universe : “ If God be for me, who can be against mee?” Whether it be his body or his soul that is assaulted, he is equally secure: “ No weapon that is formed against him," whether wielded by men or devils, can ever prosper': “his God will be his shield and buckler 8;” and “he shall be more than conqueror, through Him that loveth him h."]
2. However enlarged his expectations be, he can never be disappointed
[We cannot expect too little from man, or too much from God. God, in giving himself to us as our God, authorises us to expect from him all that he himself can do, so far as our necessities require it. He himself says to us, “ Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it! We cannot open it too wide. Take all the promises in God's blessed word: take all that he has engaged for in his everlasting covenant; take all that the Lord Jesus Christ has merited in our behalf; take all that by any possibility we may ever need, for body or for soul, for time or for eternity; take all the glory and blessedness of heaven; take the very throne and kingdom of God himself; and put all this into one petition, and it shall all be given ; not an atom of it shall ever be wanting to the believing suppliant, so far as his soul shall be capable of enjoying it. The Believer should not be straitened in himself; for he is not straitened in his God. His hopes can never be too large ; for God is both “able and willing to do for him all, and above all, and abundantly above all, yea, exceeding abundantly above all, that he can either ask or thinkk."] Such being the testimony here given us; namely, ver. 3, 4.
c Isai. viii. 12, 13. d Zech. ii. 5. with 2 Kings vi. 16, 17.
e Rom. vii. 31. f Isai. liv. 17. 8 Ps. xviii. 2.
h Rom. viii. 37. i Ps. lxxxi. 10. k Eph. iii. 20.
that the man whose “help” is in God can never be overcome, and whose "hope" is in God can never be disappointed ; let me, II. Commend it to your special attention
We suppose you all to wish for a participation of the Psalmist's happiness. To all of you, then, I
1. Seek to know the character of Jehovah, as here drawn
[We have not, in general, worthy conceptions of the Deity, either as a God of Providence or as a God of Grace. We do not at all realize in our minds his universal agency, or the tender care which he takes of his believing people, insomuch that not a hair falls from the head of any of them without his special permission. But see in what light the Psalmist viewed him, when he gave concerning him the testimony which we are now considering: “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God; who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is; who keepeth truth for ever; who executeth judgment for the oppressed; who giveth food to the hungry; who looseth the prisoners, and openeth the eyes of the blind, and raiseth them that are bowed down, and loveth the righteous, and preserveth the strangers, and relieveth the fatherless and the widowl:" see all these diversified conditions ; see the relief administered agreeably to the necessities of all; and then say, whether he be not happy who has this God for his help? If you had all the men upon earth engaged for your support, yea, and all the angels in heaven too, it were nothing in comparison of the blessings you enjoy. Only realize the thought, that every perfection of the Deity is occupied day and night in your behalf, for the express purpose of securing and consummating your eternal happiness; and you will need nothing more to render you completely happy, amidst all the diversified scenes of this vain and troublesome world.] 2. Seek to obtain an interest in him, as your God
[Doubtless, unless he be your God, you can derive no comfort from the consideration of his perfections; for, whatever he may be to others, to you he will be only "a consuming firem." But how shall he be made your God ? There is but one way, and that is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ : for “ to all that believe in Christ, is given the privilege of becoming sons of God";" "and if sons, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christo." Look then, and see what an
m Heb. xii. 29.
n John i. 12.
• Rom. viii. 17.
interest Christ himself possesses in the Father's love : see all that the Father did for him: see him now sitting at the right hand of the Father, in inconceivable blessedness and glory. All this shall you also inherit together with him: for," all things are yours, if ye be Christ's p. " Will ye not, then, come to Christ, and cleave unto him, and live by faith upon him? Methinks I need not urge this upon you: your own minds are already bent upon this; and you are determined, through grace, to renounce every thing in comparison of Christ, and to make him "all your salvation and all your desire.")
3. Make use of him for all the ends for which he has given himself to you
[When once you can say, with David, “ O God, thou art my
God!” then carry to this almighty Friend your every want, your every wish. Lean not at any time to your own wisdom; and undertake nothing in your own strength. Look to your God for guidance, even in the most common affairs of life; and, in all the difficulties which you may be called to encounter, “ be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Remember all that he did for “ Jacob, whose God he was" And remember the promise he has made to you ; “ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." What though in yourself you be only as a worm ? he says to you, “ Fear not, thou worm Jacob; for thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and make the hills as chaffr.” Only make him " your help, and him your hope," and you have nothing to fear. Let nothing, on the one hand, be deemed too great to carry to him; nor, on the other hand, account any thing so small that you may engage in it without his aid. Let “ Him work all your works in youş,” and you are safe, even as if you were already before his throne: for “ you are in his hands, nor shall any be ever able to pluck you thencet". To every one, then, , who really and altogether relies on God, I will address that inspired congratulation : “ Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thine excellency! Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high placesu."]
P 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23.
9 Isai. xli. 10.
I Isai. xli. 14, 15.
DCCXLV. THE EXTENT OF CHRIST'S COMPASSION. Ps. cxlvi. 7,8. The Lord looseth the prisoners : the Lord
openeth the eyes of the blind : the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down : the Lord loveth the righteous.
AS David was a very eminent type of Christ, so was he inspired to prophesy of Christ : and, if we look no further than to the passages quoted out of the Psalms in the New Testament, we shall find, that he wrote as fully and as minutely respecting the Messiah, as any other prophet whatever, not excepting even Isaiah' himself. He described his person as God and man He declared the whole of his work, his first covenant engagements with the Father", his incarnation', together with his active obedience", and his unparalleled sufferings unto death”. He foretold his resurrection, and ascension ; his session at the right hand of God", and his final appearance to judge the world'. He proclaimed also his offices, as a prophet", priest', and king. We do not indeed find the psalm that is before us expressly cited in the New Testament: but the whole of it so accords with what is elsewhere spoken respecting him", and the very words of the text are so descriptive of what Christ himself declared to be the great end of his mission',
a Ps. viii. 4. with Heb. ii. 6. and Ps. cx. 1. with Luke xx. 42. or Ps. xlv. 6. with Heb. i. 8.
b Ps. xl. 6, 7. with Heb. x. 6, 7. c Ps. viii. 5. with Heb. i. 7. d Ps. lxix. 9. with John ii. 17. e Ps. xxii. and lxix. with all the accounts in the Gospels. Ps. xvi. 10. with Acts ii. 27. & Ps. lxviii. 18. with Eph. iv.8. h Ps. cx. 1. with Acts ii. 35. i Ps. cii. 26, 27. with Heb. i. 12. k Ps. lxxviii. 2. with Matt. xiii. 35. | Ps. cx. 4. with Heb. vii. 17. m Ps. ii. 6. with Heb. i. 5.
Compare Isai. xlii. 6, 7. and xxxv. 5. with John ix. 32. and Matt. xi. 3-5.
• Isai. Ixi. 1—3. with Luke iv. 18, 21. N. B. The foregoing passages are cited only for the satisfaction of the reader, and not with a view to their being incorporated with the discourse. Nevertheless they would form the substance of a profitable discourse on Acts ii. 25. (" David speaketh concerning him;") in which it might be shewn how copiously and how minutely David speaks of the Messiah.
that we can feel no hesitation in interpreting it as relating to Christ.
In this beautiful description then of our Lord's compassion to man, we may observe, I. Its boundless extent
The calamities with which the human race are afflicted are very numerous; nor is there any trouble which the Lord will not either remove or sanctify, if we call upon him. But as the remedying of our spiritual maladies was the principal end of his coming, we shall direct our attention more immediately to them. In the words before us then we may notice his regards, 1. To the blind and willing slaves of sin
[The world at large are in bondage to their lusts, and to that wicked one who leads them captive at his will; and they are shut
under a sentence of condemnation for their numberless violations of the law of GodP. Yet, so blind are they to their real state, that they cannot see, and will not believe it. Their cunning adversary has undertaken to be their guide, but has led them into the heart of the enemies' country, and, if mercy do not interpose, into the very jaws of destruction 9. But the Lord Jesus is not an unconcerned spectator of their misery: he is ready to weep over them as over the murderous Jerusalem: and even while they reject him, he “would gladly gather them, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.” He would give them an eye-salve, whereby they should be enabled to see clearly": he would cause their chains to fall off, and would say to them, go forth, and shew yourselves $: yea, so desirous is he to exercise mercy towards them, that nothing but a determined rejection of his grace can involve them in final ruin.]
2. To penitents “ bowed down” under a sense of sin
[Whatever be the afflictions under which we groan, we may carry them all to him, with an assured expectation of sympathy and succour, since he is at all times “a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distresst.” But if sin be our burthen, if a sense of guilt lie heavy on our conscience, if our indwelling corruption be to us as a putrid carcass from which we cannot get loose“, and which causes us to lothe and abhor
p Gal. iii. 23.
9 Alluding to 2 Kings vi. 18—21.