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shall suggest. 'He is with them who is per-
fely good, yea goodness itself; who is al-
ways disposed to employ his wisdom in con-
triving, and his power in executing, whatever
is necessary for their interest and happiness.
Yea, he is with them who hath already be-
stowed on them the greatest of all blessings,
even Jesus Christ his unspeakable gift : and,
as the Apostle reasons, “ If God spared not
“ his own Son, but delivered him up for us
“ all, how. shall he not with him also freely
“ give us all things?" And is not the pre-
sence of such a God sufficient for the comfort
of his people at all times? Who would mourn
the loss of a taper, who enjoys the light of
the sun? All the creatures are nothing with-
out God: whereas he is all in all ; " In his
“ favour is life, and his loving kindness is
“ better than life.” Even Balaam was con-
strained to confess this truth in the presence of
Balak (Numb. xxiii. 23.),“ Surely,” says he,
" there is no enchantment against Jacob, nor
“ any divination against Israel : for the Lord
“ his God is with him, and the shout of a
“ king is among them.” If the happiness of
Solomon's courtiers excited the admiration of


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the Queen of Sheba, because they had access to the presence of so wife and magnificent a king, how inconceivably more happy are they who are the friends, nay, the children of the King of kings, who have the infinitely perfect and all-fufficient Jehovah continually near to them ?-Which leads me to observe, in the

3d place, That the constant presence of God with his people, is the blessing expressly contained in this promise," I will never leave “ thee nor forsake thee.” All other things may forsake you. Riches may take wings and fly away ; friends may desert you, or they may die ; your reputation may be blasted ; your health and strength may fail and decay ; yea, memory, judgment, and all the faculties of your mind, may be weakened or destroyed: “ But I will never feave you, I will ne“ ver forsake you ;" my friendship is unchangeable; « And whoin I love, I love to “ the end.”. All this, faith the Apostle, God' hath said ; but he doth not tell us when or where he hath said it, because he hath faid it so often, and upon such various occafions, that it is to be met with almost every where in Scripture, and in a manner founds through ,


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the whole revelation of his will. And indeer
I cannot illustrate this head better, than by re
citing some of those passages where this gene-
ral and comprehensive promise is particularly.
applied for the comfort of God's people, un.
der the various trials and afflictions, to which
they are exposed in this world. All who are
acquainted with their Bibles, will remember
to have read such passages as these: “ When
“ thou passeft through the waters, I will be
ss with thee; and through the rivers, they
“ shall not overflow thee: when thou walk-
“ eft through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt,
56 neither shall the flame kindle upon thee ;
“ for I am the Lord thy God.”— “When
“ the poor and needy. seek water, and there
“ is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst,
" I the Lord will hear them, I the God of
“ Israel will not forsake them. I will open'
56 rivers in high places, and fountains in the

midst of the vallies : I will make the wil- derness a pool of water, and the dry land “ springs of water.”—“The Lord will be a * refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of “ trouble."--" The Lord will not suffer the *s soul of the righteous to familh.”—“ He?.



“ Thall dwell on high, his defence shall be “ the munition of rocks. Bread shall be gi“ ven him, his water shall be sure.”_“ The “ Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of “ languishing. Thou wilt make all his bed “ in his fickness.”—“A father of the father“ less, a judge of the widows is God in his ... holy habitation.”-“ Fear not,” saith he, “ 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 righteoul“ ness.” · I might quote many other texts, where God promiseth to be with his people in every case of distress that can be supposed; but I fhall have said enough to give you some notion of the vast extent of this comfortable promise, when I have added, that it reacheth beyond the grave, and comprehends no less than eternity itself. As God will not leave his people in life, as he will not forsake them åt death; so he will at last receive them into glory, and make them to dwell for ever in his immediate presence. But who are his people? Who are the happy persons that may apply

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the comfort of this promise to themselves ? This is the *

Second thing I proposed to inquire into.

And, in general, this promise is addressed to believers in Christ Jesus, and to them only, exclusive of all others : for this is the order which God hath established. He first gives us his Son; and when this “ unspeakable “ gift” is thankfully received, then, together “ with him, he freely gives us all other " things.” Men may fancy themselves in: good terms with God upon account of some moral qualifications of which they are pofsefsed; and I greatly suspect, that many among us are ruined by this mistake : but I am not afraid to affirm, that no moral qualifications whatever can reconcile a sinner to God, or entitle him to plead any one promise from the beginning of the Bible to the end of it. The reason is plain : All the bleffings promised in the gospel were purchased by Christ with the price of his own blood. To him they belong of right; for in regard of " his humbling 5 himself, and becoming obedient unto death, “ even the death of the cross, God hath high· VOL. III.

“ ly

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