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. SERMON XVII.
Psalm, tv. 6. 7.
T^rt £<? ?«<z«y that say, Who •willjhcw us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
THE chief distinction between a child of God, and a man of the world, lies in the prevailing. tendency of their desires. Both of them are engaged in the pursuit of happiness. But the one aims at nothing higher than the present gratification of his appetites, while the other rises above this world, and aspires at the supreme .felicity of his immortal nature. The one seeks information from every quarter concerning the object of his pursuit ;i, the other asks the blessing directly from
--. . the the Giver of all good. The brie seeks a happiness separated from God: the whole earth, without the light of God's countenance, would appear to the other a barren wilderness, and a place of exile.-*—I proposes in discoursing on this subject,
First, To make a few remarks on the Psalmist's description of these opposite characters.
Secondly, To illustrate the two following propositions, which naturally arise from the text, namely, That wordly men have little cause to rejoice in the temporal advantages which they possess; and that the light of God's countenance is sufficient to gladden the heart of a saint in all circumstances whatsoever.
The illustration of these particulars will give rife to a practical improvement of the subject.—'Let us,
First, Attend to the description of worldly men in the first part of the 6th verse, "There be many that say, Who will shew "us any good ?"—It is obvious, in the
ist place. That this question betrays a B b 2 great great degree of inward dissatisfaction and perplexity. They speak like men who have no. relish for what they possess, and who are ut-' terly at a loss to what hand to turn for en/ jbyment. They' do not ask, who will shew us the chief"good $ But, ** Who will shew ** us any good ?** any thing to fill up the craving vacuity of our minds: a plain intimation that hitherto they have been miserably disappointed in their pursuits, and that at the time of the question they cannot find any' thing in their lot that deserves the name of good. They are unacquainted with happiness, though they have been always in search of it, and neither know wherein it" consists, nor how it is to be obtained;-1*-!* deserves our notice,
adly, That the only good which they inquire for is some present sensible enjoyment,. which may be pointed out to the eye of sense, and may be immediately laid hold of. " Who. ** will shew us any good f They are strangers to the operation of that faith, which is~ ** the substance of things hoped for, and the "evidence of things not seen." They look riots' at the things which are unseen and eteri '* "nal; ** nal;" their views are confined within the narrow limits of this present life; and they covet no other portion than they suppose may be found in the world of sense.—It may be observed,
$dly, That they make no discrimination of the objects which they seek after. Any good will be welcome to them: let it be good food, or good clothing 5 a good estate by lawful means, or a good estate by any means whatever; a good bargain in business, or a good booty by theft or plunder: no matter what it is, provided it gives them pleasure ia the mean time, or relieves them from the irksome labour of thinking on themselves, and on the great end for which they were made. —Once more, in the
4A& place, You observe, that amidst all their dissatisfaction with their present. state, and their eager desires after something better, they do not turn their thoughts at all to God, but seem rather determined to banish the remembrance of him from their minds. They seek counsel from others, but none from him: they inquire at weak and erring mortals like B b 5 themselves, themselves, but they neither ask wisdom "not grace from God.
Such is the representation which the Psal.r mist gives us of the temper and of the lan/ guage of worldly men. He further tells us, that the character of which he gives this description, was a common one in his time: *' There be many that fay, Who will shew ** us any good?" And it is but too apparent, that multitudes of men do still exhibit the fame temper. They have no relish for spiritual and divine enjoyments; their only care is, " What they mall eat, and what they "shall drink, <md wherewithal they shall be "clothed."—" They labour abundantly for "the meat which periiheth, but not at all *' for that meat which endureth unto ever"lasting life." And though they meet repeated disappointments in every new experiment; yet instead of seeking after happiness where it is alone to be found, they still renew the fruitless search among the creatures around them, and cry out with as much keennels as ever, " Who will shew us any ** worldly good?"
Let us now turn our eyes to a different ob