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and trials of this life. And we shall also find, he tenderly sympathized \vith the sincere and upright followers, as he well knoweth all their infirmities, and remembereth that thev are but dust. Behold as a Father pirieih his children, so hath the Lord pity upon them that fear him ; and the pro-, phet Isaiah declares that, Jn all their afflictions, he ivas afflicted, and by the angel of his presence he saved them. 'When we consider these things-, we may weM say with the Psalmist, God is our refuse and strength, a very present help in trouble. Wherefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea- O how happy are those highly favoured souls, who from the fullest persuasion, that God is their father and friend; can entirely confide in his infinite \visdom, almighty power, and boundless love; can cast their every care upon him, and commit themselves wholly to him; Sensible of his presence every where, and of his fatherly care over them, can give up themselves wholly to him : to be disposed of by him, as he in infinite wisdom shall see good. Surely these shall enjoy a peace which passeth :ill understanding, a heavenly tranquihty of mine1, wirch nothing can deprive them of. But if instead of looking to Jesus, and going to him for help, like Peter, we see the wind boisterouf, and the sea tempestuous, }ike him we shall surely sink. But yet how gently did Jesus reprove his faint-hearted Disciple. 0 thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt. So he also reproves us on account of our unbelieving fears, but not with any degree of harshness, or severity, while he sees us labouring to case them all away, and earnestly endeavouring to trust in him at all times, and on all occasions.
This brings us to the Second part of tho words of our text, where we are taught to make all our requests known unto God, by prayer and fupplication.
Here if ever, we have abundant caufe to rejoice, that God hath erected a Throne of grace wholly on our account, that he beholds us frorri thence, with eyes of infinite pity and love ;—and hath not only given us full liberty to draw near to that throne, but by an irifpin. d apotlle hath commanded us to come with boldnefs thereto. How deeply then does that man difhonour God, and wrong his own foul 'who neglects prayer! And for him to talk of tmfting in God, and calling'his care upon him, while at the fame time he is feldom found at the throne of grace, muft be a delulior^ altogether.
We (hall never want matter for prayer, white we have a proper fenfeof. our fpiritual necefsities, of our many weaknefses and infirmities, as well as of the many dangers and difficulties we are called to pafs through. And on the other hand, when we have a proper view of the promifes of God, we (hall not only fee, that the blefsings contained in them are juft fuch as we want; being every way fuited to our necefsities, but that they are of ineftimable value, and therefore worthy of our higheft regard, and we fhall( be sufficiently encouraged, to afk at the hand of our gracious God, what he is ever ready to communicate.
There is fuch a divine fulnefs in the promifes of God, that he who rightly underftaud* them, will clearly fee, that they contain all that he can pofsibly ftand in need of, for life and godlinefs, for body or foul, yea, for time or. eternity. He need only make thefe promifes the meafure. and rule of his prayers, he need only wim that God's own, wife and gracious defigns may be fulfilled, or made good . to him, and he may then fav with the apoftlc, / have all. and abound. When our prayers fpring from a deep fenfei of want, are attended with earneft delire, ami a lively ex-" pectation, and have thepromife of God for their foundation ;^ we may then corns to the throne of grace in the all-pre-' vailing name of our gracious Redeemer, while at the fame;i time, the Spirit of God will powerfully afsiil us, and furely we (hall receive an anfwer of peace.-—7'Ac Lord will .fulfill* the desire of them that Jtar him, he also will hear their cryt\ and will save them.
Prayer, attended with a lively faith, is the way which. God himfi/lf hath appointed to obtain all the riches of his grace.---For although every promife of God is ye» and amen' in Chrift Jefus, and every blefsing of the new covenant, is divinely free; yet we have no ground to expect that the promifes ol God will be fulfilled to us if we neglect prayer..' Ask and ye shall receive, is the word of the Lord, and an apoftle hath taught us to pray without ceafing: And the more we fearch the fciiptures, the more abundantly (hall we be encouraged to come with all our wants and weaknefses, to the Father of mercies and Fountain of all goodnefs. And O what a mercy is this!—That infinitely great and glorious as he his, and of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, yet being intereited in the Son of his love, we can draw! near unto him without painful fear, or dread of his majefty; feeing that he is our reconciled father, and our un-' changeable and never-failing friend! He no longer fpealcs to us in thunder, or in terror and dread, from Mount binai, as he did to the terrified Ifraelites in the wilderness, when they fled from his prefence, being overcome with fear and trembling, but he fpeaks to us in infinite mercy and boundlefs love, from mount Sion; fo that we may fay with the fweet finger of Ifrael, / will hear what God the Lord will speak, for surely he-will speak peace to his people, and to his saints; and being fo highly favoured, let them not turn again unto folly.
If then we fincerely defire to be happy and profperou", if we wilh to live free from diftrefsing cares and fears; if we defire the Lord our God to be with us, and the holy. one of Ifrael to be our helper: In a word, if we defire to live happy in the love of God, to be fupported, protected and comforted by him, we mufl be men of prayer. Such were all the holy men of God who have gone before us, to the heavenly Jerufalem, and fuch mud we be alfo, all our days, till prayer is turned into everlafHng praifes, and we are bleft with the full and eternal enjoyment of God in the kingdom of immortal glory above.
The apoftle then directs us, Thirdly, To join thanksgiving to our fervent and continued prayers.
And as a clear view of our manifold wants, will always find us very fufficient matter for prayer, fo a proper view of the innumerable mercies we have received, will always afford us fufficient matter for thanksgiving: And as it c- rtainly is our bounden duty to be unfeignedly thankful for the ineftimable benefits which we daily are made the happy partakers of, fo it will greatly contribute to our prefent Jiappinefs, to retain a lively fenfe of the Lord's goodnefs extended unto us. Every one mufl acknowledge, that a grateful frame of mind, is a happy frame of mind, and that a thankful heart blefTes every blefsihg, and renders it that to us, which the Lord intended it to be.
Gratitude for 'the mercies we receive, not only adds to our prefent happinefs, but wonderfully quickens, and excites to diligence in the fervice of a good matter; fo that 'We may ferve him cheerfully and with a ready mind. Hence we mav fafely conclude that it is the defign of God, that we fhould be fenfible of the many mercies which we receive. at his hand, for as that cannot add to our happinefs which we are not persuaded we enjoy; fo we cannot be thankful for any thing, till we are confcious that we have received
it: But that we may underftand the Lord's graeous dealings with us, and not «alk in darknefs, the apoftle informs us lhat, We have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit -which is of God, that we way know the things which are freely given to us of God- From hence we learn^ that as the Spirit of God convinces us of the wane of the benefits purchased for us by the blood of Christ, and shews us the only way ho'w we may be brought to enjoy them, so he also shines upon our minds, and enables us to discern, or clearly to perceive, what the Lord hath done for us, and communicated to us, in order that we may be thankful hnto hint and speak good of his name.
How frequently are we called upon to praise the Lord for his goodness, and to declare the wonderful works whicli he doctb for the children of men.
So likewise the apostle exhorts u=, By Jesus o'nr blessed Redeemer, to offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lip?, giving thanks to his hamc.
When we seriously consider that we are wholly dependent upon God, and that we receive all our good things from him; that we live upon his bounty and are protected .by his watchful providence, and above all, that .we have received present, and live in the joyful expectation of receiving eternal salvation at his gracious hands, we may well praise his sacred name all the day long.
Daniel. vn. 9, 10.
."I behclj till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fiie,
"A fiery stream issuad, and came forth from before him ^ thousand thousands ministcreil imto-h m, and ten thousand times ten tbouiand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books w ei e opened."
JL HE author or penman of this book appears to have been a person highly favoured by the Lord his God, and accordingly is more than once called by the angel, a man greatly beloved . another David, a man al..er God's own heart. However, Daniel might properly enough join with David in his pathetic lamentation, where he cries out, " Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell with Meseck, and to have my habitation among the tents of Kedar." For Daniel's lot was cast in an age when iniquity had so far abounded, even among the peculiar people of God, that he had permitted their enemies to gain an entire victory over them; so that they brought ruin and destruction upon their beautiful and beloved City, yea and upon their magnificent Temple; and they themselves were miserable captives in the land of the king of Babylon. Daniel binuelf, although a peculiar favourite of heaven, was now in a state of captivity, where he deeply mourned the wretched situation of his countrymen: But the Lord had his gracious eye upon this his righteous servant, be gave him extraordinary favour in the sight of the