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things bitter to you, because his sweet presence is aw.iy, it is matter of praise.—There is here ground to sing of judgment, in that desertion makes you prize the light of his countenance the more, saying, " O to see thy power and glory, as I have seen it in the sanctuary!" When the night of desertion makes you welcome the rising of the Sun of righteousness, it is a happy parting; that
contributes to make a joysul meeting.-; There is
here ground to sing of judgment, in that desertion makes you hate sin that caused the same, as a stone in the pipe, hinders the current of the water: that desertion is matter of praise, that makes sin odious to you, as that which robs you of your best jewels, and that makes you lament his absence, and the cause of it. It is indeed matter of sighing, to want his presence; but it is matter of singing, to lament his absence. It is ground of sorrow, to be without him at any time; but it is ground of praise, that you cannot live contentedly without him: I mean not a sinsul discontent, that frets at his absence; but a holy discontent, that longs for his presence, and laments his absence ; this I call matter of praise. There is ground
to sings of judgment, in that Christ drank cut all the wrath of God out of the cup of desertion, when he suffered that heavy desertion himself, that made him cry, "Eti, Eli, Lamasabachthani; My God, my
God, why hast thou forsaken me ?'* Further, there
is ground to sing of judgment here, in that this desertion makes the expectation of heaven sweet here, and the possession of it pleasant hereafter; when the believer longs for heaven the more now, and loves it the better, then is it not matter of praise? O there is no hiding, no desertion, no cloud there, but a constant vision of glory; "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." In a word, there is ground to sing of judgment, in that desertion makes room for saith and hope, till vision and fruition come. It is matter of sorrow indeed, when there is occasion to say, "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour;" but it is matter of praise, when the soul is brought
to to say, " I will wait on the Lord, that hideth his sace from the house ot Jacob, and I will look for him," Isa. viii. 17. It may be, ye get a breathing now and then in the air of sensible manisestations, but ye must up to faith and hope again; and through the cloud ye must .look for him, and bless him when he helps you to do so; for, though it were a killing desertion, or a flaying-like dispensation, yet there is reason to sing, when he helps you to say, "Though he flay me, yet will I
trust in him." Thus you see what ground there
is to sing of judgment, even when desertion is the judgment.
4. What ground to sing of judgment mny a child of God have, when sin is a part of the judgment; when either the sin- of others are the affliction, or his own sins are the affliction? When the sins of others are the affliction, can there be any ground to sing of judgment? When I see the generation loaden with sins and abominations, grievously departing from the Lord, surely it is ground of sighing and lamentation; and it is. duty to sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst of Jerusalem, Ezek. ix. 4. It is true, and yet the song of praise must not go down among the children of God; for there is ground to sing in this case, when ye can say, "I beheld transgressors, and was grieved." For, as it is child-like to be grieved for the injuries done to your Father; so it is Christ-like, for he was grieved for the hardness of their hearts: Yet it is matter of singing, as it is a mark of love to God; for one may weep for his own sins from sear of hell, but he weeps for the sins of others from love to God.—It is matter of singing, when the more sin you see in others, it makes you hate sin the more, and swim against the stream when the saster they run to hell, it makes you run the saster to heaven, and sets you a-praying; that when they are hastening to the prison, ye may hasten to a palace.—It is matter of singing, when the sins of others are the glass wherein you see your own hearts, and see the roots of all that wickedness to be within you; and theresore are made the more thanksul, that God restrains you by his power from doing the same; and constrains you by. his grace to do otherwise. When ye are helped to say thanksully, what: the Pnarisee said boastingly, Tne Lord be thanked that I am not as other men; and that I have not so learned Ciirist.—It is matter of singing also, when their sins make you more holy; and when their uniavouriness makes your graces to send forth a fragrant smell: and when thereby the Lord gives you an occasion to convince and convert them; and to
be the instruments of doing good to their souls.
Well,- say ye, but the great question is, when my own, sins a/e the affliction, can there be any ground to sing of judgment? Indeed sinning can be no ground of singing; for sin is in itself a damnable thing, worse than hell: and, in God's name, I will say, Whatever tends to discourage holiness, and encourage sin, let it be Anathema; and cursed be the preaching that tends to encouragement of sin; yea, cursed be the thought, in the preacher or hearer, that makes the doctrine of grace an encouragement thereto. Many such thoughts may enter into us all; but may vengeance from heaven come down upon them, and destroy them in us, that we may not blaspheme a holy, sinless Jesus, to make him a minister of sin. However, sin being the worst of all affliction and judgment, it would be an everlasting damp to the song of mercy and judgment, is a sovereign God could not, in his insinite wisdom, bring a song of praise out of the evil of sin. Why then, there is ground to sing, notwithstanding of sin, when God makes your sin a burden to you, and you to look upon yourselves as wretched because of it, laying, " O wretched man that I am! Who stiall deliver me from the body of this sin and death?" When the burden of sin makes you weary of this lise; saying with Rebecca, 'I am weary of my lise because of the daughters of H=th.' —There is ground to sing notwithstanding of sin, when God makes the prevalency of sin the mean of drawing you to a Saviour, and to the blood of Christ that cleanses from all sin; when daily sin makes daily application to the fountain open for sin and uncleanness; when the bitterness of sin makes Christ sweet and precious to you, and the sting of sin. draws out your eye to look to the
brazen brazeri serpent; and so the man sees God get more' glory, and Christ more honour, and his righteousness more renown, then he sings and glories in his Insirmities, that the power of Christ may pest upon him.—< There is ground to sing, notwithstanding of iin, when the sense of iin makes a man to judge himself, and*condemn himself, that he may not be judged and condemned of the Lord; when it makes him examine himself more strictly, saying, " Search me, O God, and try is there be any wicked way in me and observe himself more-closely, so as to watch over his heart and way, so as to sind out sin, and expel it, thro'grace, and live more circumspectly for the iuture.—There is ground to sing notwithstanding of sin; when sin makes a man to abhor himself, and to repent in dust and allies; when it makes him, with David, to water his couch with his fears; and with Peter, to gp out and weep bitterly, and lays him low in the dust besore the Lord: 'Theresore, * as one says, Better is the sin that 'makes us humble, 'than the duty that makes us proud.' The hypocrite's rising is the mean of his sall; but the believer's sall, is the mean of his rising. While the sense of his sirt makes him holy, and sense of his pride makes him humble, his hypocrisy sincere, his hardness makes him soft,' his carnality makes him spiritual; happy that victory of sin over a man, that ifl'ues in a bloody war against it: yet no thanks to sin, but to a sovereign wise God, that turns the malady into a medicine.—If any should hereupon take encouragement to sin, let them consider, is they do so, whether their spot can be the spot of God's children; for, to sin» that grace may abound, is a presumptuous sin of the highest degree; and true grace dare not draw such a bitter conclusion from such sweet promises; or, is a child of God should do so, and make bold with sin, let him consider, is this be all his kindness to his friend? Though God do not damn you, he may send you to a hell in this lise, and sill you with horrors, terrors, 'and , agonies of foul, such as I spake of besore: let this theresore be a rail to keep you back from the burning mountain. To sing of judgment in respect; of Vol. II. }G 'sin> sin, is not to sing of our folly in committing it, but to sing of God's wisdom in destroying it: you have no cause to sing of sin, which of itself brings death, ruin, and damnation; but Hill cause to sing of judgment concerning sin, or of the Lord's executing judgment upon it. But what is hell be the judgment at
last, would you have me to sing in that case? 1 sear I go Jo hell when all is done; I sear I never get to heaven; and how mould 1 sing? I answer, Have you not cause to sing, that ye are out of hell, and that it Is not as yet your lot? But I will tell you, is you were beginning to sing, it would be the beginning of heaven: "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee." Will you say, as an honest exercised Christian once said, when tempted to sear hell, and thereupon to give over the duties of religion, ' Why, says he, is I shall never praise him in 'heaven, I shall endeavour to praise him all that I can • on earth.' This would be a sweet token that you shall sing in heaven for ever, among the redeemed. And thus you see, whether we view judgment with respect to affliction, temptation, desertion, or sin, in what respects it is that we are to sing of judgment; it is even to sing of the mercy that God exercises in these judgments: and so " I will sing of mercy and of judgment." It .comes all to this, as is the psalmist: should say, " I will sing of Merciful Judgments;" for judgment is mercy, as it is the matter of the song: or, to take them separately, "I will sing of mercy In mercies;" and, "I will sing of mercy In judgment:" and so I will sing of my blinks and of my mowers; I will sing both of my cloudy and my clear day; both of my ups and downs; both of smiles and frowns; I will sing both of frowning and savourable-like dispensations; "I will sing of mercy and judgment; to thee, O Lord, will I sing."—So much for the second head.
III. The Third general head proposed was, What this singing imports; and how we are to sing of mercy and judgment to the praise of God. I stiall speak a little to the quality and import of this song.