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camest thou, and whither wilt thou | after his first sin—"Adam, where art go ; why hast thou forsaken him, wilt thou ?" Oh let 'the same question thou proceed on to destruction? Oh, speak to each of us after, not our how often has this been God's lan- first, nor our second, nor yet after guage to ourselves! Have not mi- our thousandth sin, but after that last nisters sounded this language in your of all those sins more in number than ears? Have not troubles, domestic the sand upon the sea shore,-Sinner, or personal troubles, often re-echoed where art thou, wbither goest thou ? this question ? When you lost a rela- Similar, again, was the question put tive or friend, had the visitation no to the first murderer after his dreadsuch voice as this, “ Whither wilt ful sin. “ The Lord said unto Cain, thou go?" When you read your where is Abel thy brother?” These Bible, have its solemn pleadings never Scriptural questions probably give us startled you, Where am I, in what specimens of the manner in which road, in the broad way leading to God will question the convicted sindestruction, or in the straight and ner, who lives and dies in his impenarrow way leading unto life? If nitence, on the day of judgment. never before, with some of you, will Where art thou? where hast thou you not now hear, kindly hear, the been? what hast thou being doing voice of God meeting you in his word, with the life entrusted to thee? where arresting you in that your thoughtless are all the talents committed to thy giddy course, and earnestly and affec- care? Sinner, where art thou ? tionately calling by the still small But, you will observe from the voice of his spirit, Sinner, whence history, God not only pleading with camest thou? What has been thy Hagar by a solemn question, but he course hitherto? From what company, also made gracious promises to her with what mind, after committing what this is our third thought. Here, again, sins, camest thou hither and whither“ Thou God seest me," each of you wilt thou go? What is thy determi- may think. For what promise does nation for eternity to which we are the Saviour make to us and propose all speeding? “ Whither wilt thou for our acceptance ? He promised go?” Shall it be to heaven with the Hagar, you remember, a posterity so people of God to be made more happy numerous that it should not be numthan tongue can describe for ever, or bered for multitude. This in those shall it be to hell with the wicked days was accounted a great blessing, and all them that forget God, where yet it often proved in the end only their worm dieth not and their fire is a doubtful blessing. How few, comnot quenched? Oh, let the sinner re- paratively, of Hagar's seed have been member how the Lord met Saul the numbered among God's children. persecutor; and so let him meet thee, But the blessings which God prohear the Saviour saying with the so- poses to us in and through Jesus Temin question-" Saul, Saul, why Christ are as the prophet speaks, a persecutest thou me?” Listen to the name better than that of sons and of Holy Spirit pleading eloquently for daughters, a new name, a believer's God in the counsel chamber of the portion, an interest in salvation, an 'heart. There is something, my breth- inheritance in heaven. He offers ren, which ought to touch the very to us a full and complete pardon soul when God in his word of grace for all the sins which he has seen puts the question to the sinner. What in us, and “ thou God seest me,” and a question was that to the first man thou knowést that they are many : He offers to cleanse the polluted soul / which seemed to have no response in the blood shed by Jesus Christ. but the serpent's hiss or the wild He offers the polluted sinner a new bird's shriek, her tears as they moisheart and a right spirit: He offers to tened for a moment the burning sand, give grace wherewith to live, having all had a voice, as the angel assured strength wherewith to serve him, sup- her, “ The Lord hath heard thy afflicport in every trouble, guidance in all tion.” Now that angel was Christ, difficulties, comfort in every afflic- and he who afterwards was with his tion, joy in every tribulation, and children in the wilderness. And heaven at length to crown all. Oh, when Christ meets any of us with think of this ; God, who seeth you at the offers of his grace, does he not, this moment, looks on you with in- in fact, say, as we afterwards disterest, and watches what are your cover with thankfulness, “The Lord feelings towards him; though he has hath heard thy affliction.” He knows seen so much of sin in you, yet he that you were not at that time truly looks on you with pity, for he bids his happy ; he understands your want ministers propose to you all the rich of genuine peace; he perceives the things contained in the promises of heart to be aching in the midst of the Gospel of Christ. And then, let worldly gaiety; he hears your first me ask, does He, who reads the heart sighs for pardon, peace, and salvaand understands the desires of the tion; when in deep trouble, through soul, does He see each of you really the visitations of sorrow, sickness, desirous to accept these promises, to or death, he hears your affliction. believe them with the heart, to use Here then, again, think “thou God them for the gracious purpose for seest me,"—not to look on me with which he gives them ? Can you hum- insensibility or indifference, not to bly indeed, yet truly, say, Thou who mock at thy creature's sorrow, but to seest in secret, thou, O God, who hear my affliction and to bestow the hast seen all my sins, now seest my needful grace. thankful acceptance of thy promises But yet, again, the language of made to sinners in and through Christ Hagar was that of one persuaded to Jesus.
return to her duty. Remember what Hagar was also assured, and that the angel said to her,—“Return unto in a manner to her the most interest- thy mistress, and submit thyself uning, even in the name of her son, der her hands." This she was now as yet unborn,“the Lord hath heard persuaded to do; and accordingly her thy affliction.” What an expression words also mean, “Thou God seest is this! Elsewhere we hear the Lord me," once a wanderer, now made saying, “I know their sorrows,” willing to return to the path of duty. speaking of his people, “I have And, oh, how forcibly, again, does heard their cry;” but in this place this speak to us all! May the chathe affecting expression is, “the rity which hopeth all things hope Lord hath heard thy afiliction.” My that all amongst us have been sincere brethren, affliction, then, has a lan- in our confessions of sin and in the guage which our God can hear and desires we have expressed, in the understand. Hagar's affliction in the service of this day, that we might wilderness was unheard by man; return to our God and to duty, and but God knew it, saw it, and heard henceforth lead a christian and a it; all her sorrowful sighing as she godly life. God has been here trod the pathless desart, her moan amongst us, seeing and reading every
heart; did he see you made willing But let me hope better things of to come back to his pleasant ser- you ; and things that accompany salvice? Remember you cannot keep vation. You will, let me hope, come God's holy will and his command-, back to your Father, you will give ments without this return this hearty up all that vanity, that waste of time, obedient return to the way of duty. that carelessness, that pride, and conWill you, then, be henceforth en- tempt of God. Your sabbaths, shall deavouring to do this! Shall God, they not be, henceforth, hallowed who reads the heart, henceforth see seasons of communion with your you endeavouring to walk within the God? Your Bible, shall it not be limits of his holy laws, aiming and daily read as your rule, as your following toward perfection, treading counsellor and judge? Your neighin the footsteps of the Saviour, and all bour, will you not try to love him as this not in a self-righteous spirit, not yourself ? Your enemy, will you with the vain hope of meriting hea- not forgive him as you hope that ven by your own works, but from God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven real genuine love to Him who died you? Will you not, in one short for sinners, and ever making Him but comprehensive word, yield youryour only hope and dependence for self up to God? Now, if you mean acceptance with your God. All of all this, sincerely depending upon us have too much resembled the pro- the Holy Spirit, what a comfort for digal son in leaving our Father ; oh, you in the thought—"Thou, O God, will we, then, with the prodigal, arise seest me!” Oh, think of this in and go back to Him? Are we ready all your future attempts at leading to endeavour, through his grace en- a christian's life, let this thought goabling, to retrace our steps, to return vern your conscience. It is not what with a full heart to God, confessing man seeth, though that is not to be ourselves unworthy to be called his despised, he who cares not what man children. Oh! what a happy thought sees in him, cannot rightly care what for you, then, as you leave this God sees; for God has said, “let house, “Thou God seest me,” truly your light so shine before men, that desirous now to return to thy service they may see your good works, and through love to the Saviour who died glorify your Father which is in heato atone for sin; my heart's desire ven.” But still, after all, what man nowy is known to thee, what, hence- can see is but little, in comparison with forth, wilt thou have me do?“ here what God sees; He reads the heart, am I, send me"--do with me as thou he scans the motive, he fathoms the wilt. How different will it be if you secret purpose. Oh! if you rememgo back to sin. God still sees you, ber this secret rule, and the meaning even then you cannot escape his connected with it—“thou God seest omniscience : but then the thought me,” then you will dread secret sins, of that omniscience will be a thought as much as sin in the outward life ; full of terror and alarm. “Thou sin in the temper, the affections, and God seest me” a sinner, yet not thoughts, as well as gross sin, which a penitent; a wanderer determined
men point at with the finger of reto wander on; warned, threatened, proach, invited, yet not persuaded, corrected, But, lastly, Hagar's words svem or turned, determined, it seems, to also the language of gratitude.“Thou die though the offer of eternal life God seest me: for she said, Have is sounded in my ears.
I also here looked after him that
seeth me." This is the language of respecter of persons ; he is as ready gratitude to God, for meeting her to give his comforting grace to the at a time when she was not looking poor as to the rich ; and the more for God, as her counsellor and friend you feel your own unworthiness, the in her trouble. And how often has more may you be led to adore him God been found by them who sought who shews you the worthiness of him not ! How often in families Christ. where young persons had peculiar Thus, then, the thought, “ Thou disadvantages, with no christian ex- God seest me,” suits one who is ample at home, in family prayer, convinced of having strayed from the invoking blessings on them from day path of duty-who also has been to day ; no catechist on the holy there met by God with a mild resabbath! How often have indivi- monstrance-who has been farther duals, in wonderful ways, yet been comforted with the promise of gra. reached by the grace of God, and cious blessings—who has likewise brought to know, and love the been persuaded to return to the path truth as it is in Jesus ! How many of duty-and lastly, who is filled who have been to church merely with a sense of God's undeserved to see and to be seen, to pass away
kindness, a dull and tedious hour, to satisfy Now let me again inquire, if you the decencies of custom, have re- wish to profit by this discourse, do turned home to repent of sin, to pray
these five marks at all suit your own for pardon, to believe in the Saviour, case? If so go and never forget the to begin a christian life, and to adorn truth—“ Thou God seest me.” Is it the doctrine of their Saviour in all not a cheering thought to every true things! How often, also, at times penitent and real believer that God when the heart seemed most discon- knows his sincerity, is a witness of solate, and our earthly prospects his penitence, is acquainted with all seemed as dark as Hagar's, has the his heart? Can you here in the house providence of our God graciously of God, after the public profession of interposed! How often, when the faith we make from time to time, can soul was ready to sink amidst temp- you look up to him, and say, “ Thou tations, trials, and sore afflictions ; God seest me,” thou, my Father, my when the world has frowned on God, knowest the sincerity with which us ; when some, whom we thought I have expressed my faith in thee! of a different spirit from the world, Can you appeal, in short, to Him who have kept aloof in moments the most sees in secret, as having often heard trying and painful, we have known; you in secret crying for pardon, for how often has God, again, met us in peace, and for divine grace? Then the wilderness with a messuage of let this subject encourage you, walk peace!
by faith, endure as seeing Him who Now, if here, also, you can at all is invisible in worldly company; understand and follow me, if God has when others can see but three persons shewn mercy to you at unexpected present, remember, by faith, to see a times, in unexpected ways, then fourth, and the form of the fourth is remember with gratitude, “ Thou like the Son of God. Here in the God seest me." Some, like Hagar, house of God when only two or three may be in an humble rank of life. may be gathered together, remember It may have moved their admiration Christ hath promised to join then to have discovered that our God is no and be in the midst of them; when
alone remember you are not alone if God seest me,” will fill you with He be with you. In your future dismay. But let such only be pertroubles when called, as you will be, suaded through the grace of our to fight manfully against the world, God to turn, to repent, and to go and the flesh, and the devil, oh, remem- pray. Let me invite you once more ber, “ Thou God seest me," and let to behold the lamb of God, look to that thought nerve your hand and the Father willing to be reconciled, animate your heart. What soldier pray for the Holy Spirit ready to would not fight bravely if he saw the come and make your heart his faeye of his captain and his prince voured habitation; and so shall you, fixed upon him? Soldiers of Christ, even yet, find comfort and hope, joy soldiers of the cross, the eye of the and peace, in the thought of the omcaptain of our salvation, the king of nipresence of our God. Only seek kings, is fixed upon every one of this new heart, and this right spirit, you to see whether you acquit your- through the gracious influences of the selves like men in the noble warfare Holy Ghost, only seek pardon and to which he sends you.
justification from all your sins through But is there not one here who has faith in the merits and sacrifice of cared little or nothing for all these Christ, and, lo, walking under the things? Oh, let the thought, “ Thou teaching of that good spirit, you shall God seest me,” now sink into that have joy and pleasure in the thought careless heart. Go wherever you of God and his continual presence. will, do whatever you will, you can. In all his attibutes will be discovered not escape the all searching eye of to be full of interest and blessedness God; he finds you out in the midst to your soul. His power, which of a crowd ; he detects the careless- now may justify alarm, will then ness and sin of your spirit. When prove thy strength.
His justice, you go to scenes and places which which now is so opposed to thy sin, every Christian who fears tempta- will then testify that he is faithful tion ought to shun, if others there and just to forgive. His love, which can be jovial and gay, you will often cannot love thy present rebelliousperceive a hand writing on the wall, ness, will then become that of a reand this will be its interpretation, conciled Father, receiving back his “ Thou God seest me." If you at- wandering child. Then where-ever tempt to drown that thought in in- you are, whatever you do or suffer, temperance it will meet you with re- it will be a sweet and pleasant, and turning reason and pierce you with gracious thought,—thou O God, my an arrow. If you mix with infidels Father, my God, my ever present who say, Tush, there is no God, your help, thou seest me, oh, guide me conscience will whisper, — there is, then with thy counsel bere, and adand “ Thou God seest me." And mit me, through the mediation of the so, also, at the day of judgment, Saviour, to perceive more of thy glory though you should ask the rocks to hereafter, for in thy presence there hide you, and the hills to cover is fulness of joy, at thy right hand you, it will be in vain ; the thought there are pleasures for evermore. and more than the thought, “ Thou