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own fouls, and would 'be happy in time, and through eternity, earnestly to seek to be united to him, by a sincere fnd lively faith, that so you may partake of that forgiveness, tft^t spiritual lise, and strength, and confolation, which he is ready to impart to you. 4* Behold," fays he, " I stand at the'door, and knock; "if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I ** will come into him, and will sup with him, and he "with me."
4. Let me intreat you, who are sincere believer* in Christ, to apply to him daily for the supply of all' your wants. And surely, the experience you have of your own weakness, and a regard to your interest, should engage you to this application; for you have no strength of your own; nay, the Spirit of truth tells you, that you are not sufficient, of yourselves, to think fo much as a good thought, far less to perform the many duties that are incumbent upon you. To whom should you apply for assistance? Not surely to those who are weak and helpless, and require assistance as much as yourselves. Necessity, then, and a concern for your own best and everlasting interest, should oblige you to have constant recourse to the sulness that is in Christ. And have you not the greatest encouragement to do fo? It hath pleased the Father, that in him all sulness should dwell; and for this very end, that you may receive, and grace for grace. Why, then, complain of darkness and spiritual decay? Here you have a never-failing supply of all-sufficient grace provided for you; and you are kindly invited to come, that you may obtain mercy, and sind grace' to help in every time of need. Let the lise you live in the flesh be by faith on the Son of God.
And, sinally, walk worthy of the high privileges which you enjoy ; for divine communications demand the most gratesul returns. Be diligent in your attendance on gospel ordinances ; in reading and hearing the word of God; in serious meditation, secret prayer, and a devout participation of the Lord's Supper, as pften as you have an opportunity; for these
are the instituted means of your communion with Christ, and they are alfo expressions of thanksulness. Walk in subjection to the law of Christ. Shew that you love him, and are obedient to him; that you live under the government and dominion of his grace, and are devoted to his will. Beware of every thing that might justly provoke him tp withhold the communications of his love; and make it evident to all around you, that his grace bestowed upon you, is not without its natural and proper fruits.
Walk, in a word, as witnesses for the Lord Jesus. Give testimony of him before the world; and O be concerned to give a just and proper testimony. You have declared this day before God, angels, and men, that you glory only in him as your exalted Lord and Head. Walk, then, agreeably to that prosession; proceed in his ways, humbly depending on his assistance and direction, and indulging the hopes that he will enable you to persevere in your duty, and at last present you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.
And now, unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to do exceeding abundantly above all that you can ask or think; to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
RESIGNATION TO GOD UNDER THE AFFLICTIVE DISPENSATIONS OF HIS PROVIDENCEINCULCATED.
MAN is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upwards. None of us can foretell the trials that may await us in this house of our pilgrimage; and therefore, it is both our duty and our interest, to lay our account with them, and to prepare for them, that, when they come, we may bear them with that meekness and resignation, which David expresses in the words that I have now read :—" I know, "O Lord, that thy judgements are right, and that "in faithsulness thou hast afflicted me."
This amiable .temper I shall, First, Endeavour to explain. Secondly, Represent to you the deformity and sinsulness of its opposite. Thirdly, Lay before you the grounds and reafons of meekness under affliction, and of resignation to the will of God. Fourth" ly, Specify fome of those particular situations which call forth the exertion of this amiable spirit. And,
K 2 Lastly* Lafily, Direct your minds to a practical improvement of this subject.
I. I begin,- then, by briefly describing this amiable temper. And,
1. The least degree of it, is that which David exemplisies, when he fays, "I was dumb, and opened ,c not my mouth, because thou didst it (a)." The chastisements of God must, at least, be received in humble silence'. We have no right to murmur or complain. It is meet that we lay our hand upon our mouth, and our mouth in the dust, if we cannot open it to the glory of God; as Aaron did, of whom it is faid, when his two fons were flain by sire from heaven, that he held his peace. This I call the least degree of resignation; because,
2. The heart, as well as the mouth, must be silent before God. It is of little importance to guard our lips, if we secretly entertain discontent in ourminds. Our inward tempers must be resigned and composed, no less than our outward behaviour. Oar very hearts must consent to whatever is done by the great Father of our spirits; and no objection must be listened to against the wisdom or righteousness of any of his dealings. But surther,
3. We must consent to the divine procedure, and acquiesce in it as good, because it is the will of God. Of this acquiescence, we have an instance in Hezekiah, who, when the prophet intimated to him the awsul sentence that was gone forth against his family, replied, ** Good is the word of the Lord which thou ** hast spoken (b):" not only just, but good. Our submission must not be like that of a flave to an arbitrary master, but like that of a child to a wise and good parent. For God is not glorisied, till the will acquiesce in the dispenfation, and receive it as a medicine for curing the inward distempers of the foul. Such was the temper of David, when he thus expresses himself, "I know, O Lord, that thy judge
(a) Ps. xxxiil ($) is. mxix. g. -
"ments are right, and that in faithsulness thou haft "afflicted me." To susfer quietly, because we cannot help it, is the resignation of a Heathen, but not of a Christian. Resignation is founded on two things* a. conviction, that God is just when he asflicts us,and a persuasion, that the affliction which he sends*is intended for our benesit. Hence it follows,
4. That our submission will be accompanied with; love to God, and a disposition to praise him amidst all our trials. We are commanded to love our enemies, even at the time when they are intending our hurt; and seeing they are only our sellow-creatures, and, as such, we can have little or no dependance upon them, how much more are we bound to love God, who only appears to be our enemy, and corrects us,not for his own pleasure, but for our prosit, that fo we may partake oP his resemblance. It was a noble refolution of David's, " I will bless the Lord at air "times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth (*-)."" And we have a beautisul example of the fame disposition in Job;." Naked,"' fays he,came I out of "my mother's womb, and naked will I return: The "Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be'' "the name of the Lord."'
5. Upon this head, 1 shall only add, that this mufti be our general temper at all times, and in all conditions. Our obedience must be univerfal no less inv susfering, than in action. As it is not lawsul to object to any duty, fo, neither is it to remonstrate a-• gainst any affliction. In both cases, the will of God' must be cheersully submitted to, without exception,. and without limitation.. They who pretend to choose' their own rod, do not submit to God, but to them- • selves. It is not a cup of out own: preparing, but that which our Father gives us, that we are command - ed to drink. But we must not only ; be content tp > endure our present trials, but refer ourselves entirely' unto God for the suture; being ready, as Paul fays' of himself, not only to be bound, but to die for the
K 3 name: