« AnteriorContinuar »
SE R MON XVII.
PSALM, iv. 6. 78
There be many that say, Wbo will few us any
good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou bast put glada ness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine- increased.
THE chief distinction between a child of
1 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 ; the other asks the blesling direaly from
the Giver of all good. The one 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 propose; in discoursing on this subject,
First, To make a few remarks on the Pfalmist'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 faint in all circumstances whatsoever. :
The illustration of these particulars will give rise 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 thew “ us any good ?"-It is obvious, in the if place, That this question betrays a
B b 2
great degree of inward diffatisfaction and per: plexity. They speak like men who have no relish for what they possess, and who are uiterly at a loss to what hand to turn for en-' joyment. They do not ask, who will fhew us the chief good? But, “ Who will fhew “ 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 fearch of it, and neither know wherein iť consists, nor how it is to be obtained. It deserves oux notice,
2dly; 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 ?” 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 not " at the things which are unseen and eter
“ 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,
3dly, That they make no discrimination of the objects which they seek after. Any gond will be welcome to them : let it be good food, or good clothing ; 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 in the mean time, or relieves them from the irka some labour of thinking on themselves, and on the great end for which they were made. -Once more, in the :. 4th 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, 1 but seem rather determined to banish the remembrance of him from their minds. They feek counfel from others, but none from him: they inquire at weak and erring mortals like
Bb 3 themselves,
themselves, but they neither ask wisdom not grace from God.
Such is the representation which the Psal. mist gives us of the temper and of the language 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 say, Who will shew “ us any good ?" And it is but too apparent, that multitudes of men do ítill exbibit the same temper. They have no relish for fpiritual and divine enjoyments; their only care is,“ What they shall eat, and what they “ shall drink, and 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