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their criminal distrust, which prompted them to say,” Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Can he give bread also ? Can he provide flesh for his people?
highly provoked the Lord.” The Lord was wroth, so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel ; because they believed not in 'God, and trusted not in his salvation'.
“ But the sin and danger of distrusting God, and confiding in created power, is represented in a very striking manner by the prophet Isaiah, in the rebuke given by him to the people of Judah, on account of their confidence in Egypt.” Wo to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, bụt not of my Spirit; that they may add sin to sin: that walk to go down into Egypt, (and have not asked at my mouth) to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt”. Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion“. Wo to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many, and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not to the holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit; when the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together o.
“ With far greater pleasure we quote the following examples of a humble trust in God in arduous circumstances.
“ Abraham bears the name of the father of the faithful; and what is recorded concerning him, shows the justness of the title. Scarcely can there be a stronger proof of an unlimited confidence in the promise of God,
y Ps. Ixxvjji. 19-22.
a Isa. XXX. 3.
Isa. xxx. 1, 2.
than the words of the Apostle import.” By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises, offered up his only son; of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure
" What a noble confidence in God did Joshua and Caleb express, when the distrusting Israelites murmured, on the report of the spies, and talked of returning to Egypt?” They spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, he will bring us into this land, and give it us. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye
the people of the land ; for they are bread for us; their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not.
“ The words of David, when going to fight with Goliah, give us one of the noblest examples of true bravery, founded on a holy confidence in the living God.” Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; that all the earth may know, that there is a God in Israel'. And all this assembly shall know, that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands'.
“ In the history of Asa, we find one distinguished instance of pious confidence in God, and another of shameful timidity and distrust. The first was, when going to battle against Zerah the Ethiopian, and his mighty host.” Asa cried unto the Lord bis God, and
Heb. xi. 17, 18, 19. * 1 Sam. xvii. 47.
• Numb. xiv, 7, 8, 9.
I 1 Sam. xvii. 43, 46.
said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power. Help us, o Lord our God, for we rest on thee; and in thy name we go against this multitude.
O Lord, thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee. So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa". “ Yet even this good king became culpable by a timorous diffidence. In order to secure himself against the designs of Baasha, king of Israel,” Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king's house, and sent to Benhadad, king of Syria'. with that prince was displeasing to God, and unfortunate for himself.” Hanani, the seer, came to Asa, king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsenen? Yet because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him".
“ His league
“ The fervent prayer, and the humble confidence of Jehoshaphat, when invaded by the vast armies of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir, was followed with glorious success. Jehoshaphat said,” O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee'. Then upon Jahazeel came the Spirit of the Lord, and he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid, nor dismayed, by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's". Ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; for the Lord will be with you".
h 2 Chron. xiv. 11, 12.
1 2 Chron. xvi. 2.
2 Chron. xvi. 7,8,9. n 2 Chron, xx. 17.
“ Hezekiah is highly honoured by the character given him in holy writ, that” he trusted in the Lord God of Israel. “ In what a noble manner did he express his confidence in God, when the land of Judah was invaded by Senacherib, that blasphemous king of Assyria! After taking every prudent measure for defence, he endeavoured to inspire his people with the same holy confidence in God, with which he himself was animated.” He gathered them together to him, in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous; be not afraid, nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there be more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us, and to fight our battles : and the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah°. And the Lord sent an angel which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria; so he returned with shame of face to his own land. Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah ; so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations, from thenceforth P.
OF RESIGNATION TO THE WILL OF GOD, AND OF
SUBMISSION AND PATIENCE IN AFFLICTION. Sect. 1. In this state of discipline and trial, we must
expect afflictions.—2. All these are directed by the eternal Sovereign, whose dominion is over all.-3. Various distresses are brought upon men, which are the natural effects as well as the just punishment of their vice and wickedness.-4. Even the heaviest afflictions are to be endured by his servants with humble submission.-5. Especially when they consider their own demerits, and his gracious purposes towards them.
• 2 Chron. xxxii. 6, 7, 8.
P 2 Chron. xxxii. 21, 22, 23.
-6. His merciful declarations and promises for their support and consolation.—7. To this purpose also are the instructions of our great Lord and Saviour.8. In his last sufferings, he has given us the most perfect example of resignation to the divine will. 9. His example is stated as a rule and motive to this duty. – 10. We have also laid before us the sufferings of his Apostles, and their worthy behaviour under them.-11. Under all our sufferings we are called to abide steadfastly in the way of our duty.— 12. With patience to wait on God for support and deliverance.
- 13. To this conduct we are encouraged by the view of the blessed fruits of affliction to the servants of God. - 14. By our being assured that the Christian's sufferings will soon have an end. - And, 15. By the prospect of the eternal recompense provided for us.16. The Apostle John's vision of the felicity to be enjoyed in the kingdom of God by those who have suffered for his sake. - 17. These views have ani . mated the Saints, so as to make them sometimes to triumph even in the greatest tribulations. - 18. The whole subject illustrated in the confessions, prayers,
and praises of the servants of God. Examples. Sect. 1. In this state of discipline and trial, we must
expect afflictions. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward *. Consider the work of God! for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful; but in the day of adversity consider. God also hath set the one over against the other 6. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the § 1. Job, v. 6,7.
• Eccles, vii. 13, 14.