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part of that pasture which his love hath prepared for them. The ordinance now before us, doth not merely exhibit the riches of his grace, but feals and applies them to each believer in particular, that, having this security superadded to the unchangeable promise and oath of God, they may “ have a strong con“ folation, who have fled for refuge, to lay “ hold on the hope set before them.”
With this view, then, let us approach the table of the Lord, and pray, that this gospelfeast may prove effectual, by his blessing, to confirm our faith, to inflame our love, and to enliven our hope ; that, by the nourishment it affords, we may be strengthened to pursue our journey through this wilderness, till, having passed the Jordan of death, and arrived at the heavenly Canaan, faith and 'hope shall become sight and enjoyment, and love, ever growing with the ages of eternity; shall em-, brace, with increasing vigour and delight, the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for the
Hebrews, xiii, 5.
He bath said, I will never leave thee nor for
THIS comfortable declaration or promise
I is introduced by the Apostle, to enforce the duty of contentment, to which he had exhorted the Hebrews in the preceding part of the verse. Nothing can be more unbecom. ing in a child of God, than dissatisfaction with his present condition, or anxiety about his future provision in the world. It is no wonder to see worldly men, whose portion of good things lies wholly upon earth, loading themselves with thick clay, and eagerly grasping every thing which their craving appetites demand. Such persons cannot but be uneasy when they meet with disappointments ; be
cause, having nothing desirable in prospect beyond the grave, in losing their present enjoyments, they lose their all. But the Chriftian, who knows of a treasure in heaven, a treasure incorruptible in its own nature, and which no fraud nor force can take from him, may and ought to look down, with a holy indifference, upon every thing here below, resigning himself entirely to the disposal of his Heavenly Father, who not only knows what is best for him, but hath likewise obliged himself, by covenant and promise, to make all things work together for the eternal advantage of those who love him and confide in his mercy. . .
It was this argument which Christ used with his disciples, to dissuade them from an anxious solicitude about their temporal concerns (Matth. vi. 31.), “ Take no thought,
saying, What shall we eat? or what shall “ we drink? or wherewithal shall we be « cloathed? For after all these things do the “ Gentiles seek, and your Heavenly Father “knoweth that ye have need of all these “ things. But seek ye first the kingdom of • God, and his righteousness; and all these
“ things " things thall be added unto you.” God will support and maintain bis own people, as long as he has any service for them in this world. He knows all their wants; and as his goodness constantly inclines him, so his power doth at all times enable him, to bestow every needful supply in its season. And can our interest be lodged in better hands? Who that believes this, would choose to be the disposer of his own lot? “ The Lord reigneth," says the Psalmist,“ let the earth rejoice.” And surely they who can say, This God is our God, our Father, and our Friend, have cause to rejoice in every condition, and must act very inconsistently with their profession and hopes, if any thing from without can disturb their inward peace and tranquillity. I propose, therefore, in dependence upon divine aid,
First, To shew the import of this gracious promise, “ I will never leave thee nor forsake “ thee.”
Secondly, I shall inquire who the persons are that may apply the comfort of this promise to themselves. Thirdly, I shall lay before you some of
those those grounds of assurance on which the people of God may depend for the accomplishment of this promise ; and then direct you to the practical improvement of the subject.
I begin with the import of the promise itself, “ I will neyer leave thee nor forsake “ thee."-And, · ift, It is here supposed, that all other things may forsake us : for in this promise God plainly intends to distinguish himself from the creatures, by claiming this perfection of conftancy or unchangeableness, as an attribute peculiar to himself. Vanity is engraved in deep and legible characters upon every thing below the sun. All things on earth are perishing in their own nature, and so fleeting and deceita ful, that they who lean upon, them, only fe. cure to themselves a more intense degree of pain and vexation ; for sooner or later they will slide from under them, and leave nothing in their room, but the disgrace of a foolish choice, and the bitterness of disappointed hope. History affords us innumerable proofs of this. The wisest men in every age have