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"had in heaven a better and an enduring substance." "They were troubled on every side, yet not distres"fed; they were perplexed, but not in despair ; per"secuted, but not forsaken; call down, but not de"stroyed." And how did this happen? The same spostle explains it, when he informs us in what point of view they considered affliction: "For our light af"fliction," says he, " which is but for a moment, "worketh for us a sar more exceeding and eternal "weight of glory: while we look not at the things "which are seen, which are temporal; but at the "things which ate not seen, which are eternal {a)."— "For we know," says he, (you see he does not speak of it doubtsully, but with a sirm unshaken saith,) "we know, that when our earthly house os this taber"nacle is dissolved, we have a building of God, an, "house,not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." And thus, also, may every servant of Christ look cheersully beyond all the distresses of lise, to that blessed rest which remains for the people of God. Iri a word, they who have the Lord for their God, are possessed of an all-satisfying and never-sailing portion. They are begotten again to a lively hope, the hope of an inheritance incorruptible, undesited, and which fadeth not away. And therefore, at all times they may encourage themselves in the Lord, and say, in the triumphant language of the apostle, " Who shall "separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribu"lation, or distress, or persecution, or samine, or "peril, or nakedness, or sword i Nay, in all these "things, we are more than conquerors through him. "that loved us."•

Thus, you sea what abundant encouragement the gospel-covenant holds forth to the people of God in times of affliction. The Lord their God is graciously present with them. All their afflictions, instead of hurting them, will issue. in their happiness; and they have the assured hope of being, ere long, in heaven, where those afflictions shall be selt no more, and O 2 where (*) 4 Cor. iv. 7, 8.

where they shall be abundantly compensated with sulness of joy for ever.

IT. I am to shew you what solid grounds the people of God have to trust in him for those encouragements under affliction; and I shall briefly mention the three following:

1. The consideration of his insinite wisdom, power and goodness, is a sufficient ground for our trust and considence in him. For, being insinitely wise, he not only knows all the various wants of his children, and the dangers to which they are exposed, burhe knows the most proper means for their relief, and how to mt'ke all things work together for their good. And ::s his wisdom is insinite, so his power is almighty. He can support his people under the heaviest weight of afflictions; protect them from every storm that can arise against them; and command, when he pleases, the tempest into a calm. But, sinally, his goodness is equal to his power and wisdom; for the riches of his grace are unsearchable, and his love pafleth. knowledge. Here, then, is the sirmest foundation for the Christian's saith and trust in God : insinite wisdom directing almighty power, and all under the influence of the most disfusive goodness and parental affection, JEor his support, consolation, and deliverance. Let Israel then hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there^-is mercy, and plenteous redemption.

2. The people of God may sasely trust in him for ihese encouragements, when they consider the promises he hath made them. Hath he not expressly siiid, " I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."— "When thou passest through- the waters, I will be "with thee, and through the rivers, they fliall not ** overflow thee; when thou walkest through the "sire, thou.shalt not be burnt, neither fliall the flame "kindle upon thee (d)."—" I will strengthen thee, "yea, I will help thee. I will uphold thee with the ** right hand of my righteousness." As an affec

. - tionate W Isa xliii. ».:

tionate parent watches over his children, and will not [cave them wholly to the care of strangers; so, the Lord has promised to watch over his people. Like "as a sather pitieth his children, so, the Lord pitt— "eth them that sear.him. For he knoweth their "frame; he remembereth that they are dust (*)."— "He will give his angels charge over them, to keep "them in all their ways (f)" Angels guard the people of God through the ordinary paths of lise: but, view them in affliction, and you will fee what is promised them. "He mall call upon me, faith the "Lord, and I will answer him (g,-"—" I will be "with him in trouble, and deliver him." Is not this, then, also a solid foundation, upon which you may build vour trust and considence in God? For, is ha' «ot saithsul who has promised? ** He is not a man "that iie ihould change, neither the-son of man, that "he should repent." The' promises of men are never absolutely certain. The insincerity, the mutability, and want of power in human nature, make it vain to trust in princes, or in the son of man, i;i whom there is no help. But truth and uprightness arc the unalterable persections of the Supreme Being. With him, there is no variableness, nor shadow us turning; and 'he can never want power to accompliih iiis promises. Happy, then, is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

3. The experience which the people of God have bad of his goodness and saithsulness to them under affliction, is another ground and reason why they should trust in him. The pious Psalmist tells us,' "that he waited patiently for the Lord, and God in"clined to him, and heard his cry: he biought him "up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry "clay, and set his seet upon a rock, and establifheii "his goings (h)." Nor was this the experience of David only, but of great numbers that lived before O 3 "him.

(#) Psol. ciii. ?3,—14. (/) Psil. xd. 11.

(t) Psal. xd. Ij. (A) Psel. ad.

him. "Our sathers," says he, " trusted in God, "and he delivered them; they cried unto him, and "were delivered; they trusted in him, and were not u confounded (b)." The apostle Paul also tells us, that God comforted him and his sellow-sufferers in all their tribulation; nay, that as the sufferings of Christ abounded in'them, so their consolation also abounded by Christ (c). And have not we the same God in whom we may trust, and the same promises on which we may rely -? Is his hand now shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear heavy, that it cannot hear } Do not his sympathy with his afflicted people, his power and his saithsulness, continue through all generations? May not this sact be appealed to the experience of many of his servants, even to the present day? Come hither, then, ye that sear the Lord, and declare what he hath done for your souls. When you were weak, and seeble in your minds, did lie not support you? When loaded with affliction, and ready to sink under your woes, have you not looked to him, and been lightened? When mourning, and almost in despair, hath he not sent you a word of consolation? Can you, in this manner, review the history of his love, and not say, with admiration and gratitude, " O, how great is thy good"ness, which thou hast laid up for them that sear "thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust "in thee, before the sons of men! I will therefore "trust, and not be asraid; I will trust in the mercy "of the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is "everlasting strength."

Thus, then, you see upon what solid principles the saints may encourage themselves in the Lord their God, under every chastening dispensation of divine Providence.

l et us then, as the improvement of this subject, give all diligence to make our calling and election

sure.

(« Psel. Jttii. 4, 5. (,) j Cor. i. 4, 5.

sure. You, that are still strangers to God, seriousy consider. the misery of your present state. When ti c storm of affliction breaks upon you, where can ycu fly for relief? God is not the portion of your fouls; vou can only have recourse to " the things which are "on earth," which, at best, are but a lying resuge, a broken reed, that will not only sail,- but wound and pierce you. What a miserable condition was Saul in! How mournsul his complaint to Samuel!" I "am fore distressed," says he; " for the Philistines "make war against me, and God is departed from "me, and answereth me no more." Give, therefore, no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids, till you have reason to conclude, that you have pasted from death 'to lise, and are united to him, who is the resurrection and tlje lise. In this way you may, with joy, draw water out of the wells of salvation, for your establishment and comfort, under all the troubles of lise; and at last, having passed through the dark valley of death under the conduct of the good Shepherd, you may enter the New Jerusalem, with songs and everlasting joy upon your heads; and sorrow and sighing shall be no more.

And, sinally, you, who are the children os God, should encourage yourselves in him, under all your trials and afflictions. What though the present dispensation of God's providence be dark and gloomy; what though the affliction that lies upon you be grievous: Have you not abundant reason for consolation, and joy in the assurance of God's presence? Are not ail things, even now, working together for your good? And, in a little, will not God wipe away all tears from your eyes, and make you persectly blessed in the enjoyment of himself? Why then, O Christian, should you droop and saint, like others, in the day of adversity? Have you not an all-sufficient resuge provided in the gospel of Christ? Is not the name of the Lord a strong tower, into which you may run and be sase? Why, then, sink under present

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