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being alone, because you are afraid to awaken | not only his relation to the Messiah, but the or to meet inquiry? If so— Are you not peculiar providences at distinguished him. ashamed of a peace of mind that is only pre- He is one of the most interesting characters served by shunning reflection?-And will you be always able to shun it?-If you cannot meet conscience, how will you meet God? If you live in company, remember this-you must die alone.

But he whom you have neglected and contemned has yet thoughts towards you, and they are thoughts of peace. He has opened a new and living way to himself. He waits to be gracious, and is exalted to have mercy upon you. Return to him through an atoning and interceding Saviour, and live. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.

The subject requires us to comfort others. Perhaps you approve of all we have saidbut you are so straitened in your circumstances that you have not a room to retire in-and are so necessarily engrossed with the difficulties of life, that it is scarcely possible to secure a moment for devotional solitude in the field.

See that, this is not your fault, but your affliction, and you may hope that God will indemnify you in some other way.

recorded in all history. His life was singularly eventful; and as in nature we do not wish for a continuity of level, or an uniformity of aspect, but are most gratified with hill and valley, and wood and lawn, and intermixtures of the beautiful and sublime: so we are most attracted to the lives of those who have been placed in a variety of scenes, especially in conditions so opposite and extreme, that we marvel by what kind of process they could have passed the gulph between. Had we seen David a stripling in the field of Bethlehem, keeping his father's sheep, who could have thought that he would emerge from obscurity, and become the champion of Goliath, the terror of the Philistines, the conqueror of the Ammonites, and Moabites, and Edomites; and one of the most renowned heroes, monarchs, legislators, and writers of the East!

His religious experience is as interesting as the events of his life. Indeed much of the one grew out of the other, and was diversified by them. Many of his psalms, as we see by the titles, were composed in consequence of his dangers and afflictions. trying situation produced the language I have read. It consists of two parts-His FEARand his FOLLY.


I. HIS FEAR "David said in his heart, 1 shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul."

II. HIS FOLLY. "There is nothing better than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines."

But others are more favoured. You not only love retirement, but you are able to enjoy it. Yet you find it much easier to withdraw the body than to separate the mind from earthly things. The world follows you, and invades and defiles the very sanctuary of silence. You value the presence of Him who manifests himself to his people and not unto the world; and wherever he meets with you, the place is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven. You would gladly pass in such enjoyment the hours that duty requires to be devoted to inferior claims. Your intercourse with God, therefore, is short and interrupted; but it is refreshing and instructive. It shows you what heaven is, and makes it desirable. "Ah,” you say, "if these views, these feelings, were but perfect and permanent!" Well, soon, very soon, they will be perfect and permanent; and you will-restrained probably by prudence and kindbe for ever with the Lord.

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O Thou by whose inspiration all Scripture is given, render these words profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness!

I. Observe HIS FEAR.

It was the language, not of his lips, but of his feelings-he "said in his heart, I shall now one day perish by the hand of Saul." He does not seem to have uttered it in words

ness. It is not necessary, or proper, to trouble others with all our uneasy feelings. It is a noble and magnanimous mind that can suffer without complaint. Indeed, if a man hawks about his trouble from door to door; if he loves to talk of his trials in every company he meets, we may be assured he will never die of grief. Profound sorrow, like wounded at heart, like the smitten deer, the deep river, flows noiseless: the man leaves the herd for the shade-" He sitteth alone, and keepeth silence: he putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope."

Religious people should be concerned peculiarly to appear peaceful and cheerful. Nothing recommends godliness more, or is

more necessary to counteract the prejudice | afraid?" now said in his heart, "I shall one so commonly and injuriously entertained day perish." against it, as the mother and nurse of mo- By perishing, he means dying. There is pishness and melancholy. We would not a perdition of a more dreadful import. It wish you to be hypocrites, avowing joys to means not annihilation, but misery; not the which you are strangers; but you are not destruction of being, but of all comfort and required to publish all your painful emotions, hope. This perdition the sacred writers especially before those who cannot under- never pretend to define. They tell us that stand, and are likely to misinterpret, them. it is "a fearful thing," but not how fearful a I have often admired the holy delicacy of thing "to fall into the hands of the living Ezra, when returning to Jerusalem from Ba- God." Indeed they could not; for who bylon with a number of his countrymen. knoweth the power of his anger?" From "Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river this destruction a Christian is secured: he is of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves be- redeemed from the curse of the law; he is fore our God, to seek of him a right way for delivered from the wrath to come; and there us, and for our little ones, and for all our sub- is nothing penal in all the sufferings he enstance. For I was ashamed to require of the dures. Yet he is not always free from apking a band of soldiers and horsemen to help prehension, but feels many a shivering us against the enemy in the way: because thought how it may go with him at last. Is we had spoken unto the king, saying, The there a Christian present that has not somehand of our God is upon all them for good times, if not often, said, "I shall one day that seek him; but his power and his wrath perish!" And you could have drawn no is against all them that forsake him." There other conclusion while you considered only was really no inconsistency between his pro- your own ignorance and weakness, and the fession of confidence in God, and asking for enemies that were seeking your soul to dea convoy for God works by means. But so stroy it: but having obtained help of God, it might have appeared to a heathen prince: you continue to this day the living, the living he would therefore rather expose himself to to praise him. You are now saying, to his peril than bring a cause, dearer to him than glory, "Our heart is not turned back, neither life, not only under reflection, but under sus- have our steps declined from thy way; though picion. thou hast sore broken us in the place of draWhen we see persons filling up their sta-gons, and covered us with the shadow of tions in life with diligence, and declining no death." And what is the Saviour saying? duty in their power, how little can we often" My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, imagine what they feel, at the very time, within!-Truly "the heart knoweth his own bitterness." While David appeared cheerful and courageous, lest by his deportment he should confound or dismay his followers, his very soul was cast down within him.

and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand."-But, by perishing, David means dying.

"I shall one day perish by the hand of And was this the case with a man of such Saul." And suppose he had? This was all superior attainments?- Where are the hands the injury he could have done him: and we that never hang down: and knees that never are forbidden to fear those that kill the body, tremble? We are prone to think that many and after that have no more that they can do. of our feelings are peculiar, and to cry, If I He must have died according to the course am his, why am I thus?-Here we see the of nature, in a few years: and what is death advantage of pious intercourse. The com- in any form, to a good man, but falling asleep, munication of Christian experience will con- or going home? He ought then, you say,to vince us that nothing has befallen us that is have risen above the fear of death. But the not common to the partakers of divine grace; fear of death is a natural principle; and there and thus, things that were stumbling-blocks is nothing in it more sinful than in hunger or before become way-marks, and marks of our thirst. Adam had it in a state of innocency; being in "the way everlasting." We some- or there would have been no threatening in times think that the saints recorded in Scrip- the words, "In the day that thou eatest ture were a class of beings very different thereof thou shalt surely die." Our Lord from ourselves; but the Spirit of God has himself felt it, and "with strong cryings and taken care to show us that there was nature tears made supplication to him who was able in them, as well as grace; and that while to save him from death." There was no they were made holy, they were left human. want of resignation in this; it was the effect We see their sorrows, as well as their joys; of a natural aversion to suffering, and which their conflicts, as well as their victories. Da- rendered his submission the more illustrious vid, who, in the triumphs of faith, had exult--when he said, "Nevertheless, not my will, ed, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be

but thine be done." Had we no appetite for food, there would be no virtue in fasting. Death is not always desirable even to a good man.

When Hezekiah was ordered to set his house | himself seems to be fighting against us; it is

in order, he turned his face to the wall, and wept sore, and prayed for recovery. And if you take a man better acquainted with the way of salvation and a world of glory, yet his evidences of a personal interest are not always satisfactory-And can he be willing to go in a state of uncertainty? He may also have peculiar attractions, and detentions, in his connexions: the benefactor may feel these in his dependents; the father in his children; the minister in his people. It was this that placed Paul in a strait between two: he longed to depart to be with Christ, which was far better; but to abide in the flesh was more needful for those among whom he laboured.-David had a father and a mother who fled with him, and depended upon him for support.

But David was in no danger of perishing by the hand of Saul. Saul was indeed a malicious and powerful enemy; but he was chained, and could do nothing against him except it was given him from above. And the Lord was on David's side. And he had the promise of the throne, which implied his preservation. And the holy oil had been poured upon his head. And he had already experienced many wonderful deliverances. And he should have reasoned from the past to the future, as he had done before-"The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." But here we see how hard it is to trust in God in the hour of difficulty.

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I am far from thinking that it is an easy thing to trust in God at any time. Some, I know, are accustomed to say, "O, it is easy enough to trust in God in prosperous scenes." But they are mistaken; and mistaken because they probably never made the trial; or, at least, never made it in earnest. In such scenes it is difficult to see God, and realize him. When we have health, and peace, and affluence, and friends, it is difficult to determine whether we are relying on these, or on God. When they are removed, then our dependence is obvious. If God was the strength of our souls, he will be our support: if the creature was our portion, we shall faint in the day of adversity. The nests appear in the trees and hedges when stripped of their leaves; the winter discovering what was done in the summer, but hid before by the foliage. And thus it is with us: adversity betrays the resting-places we had in prosperity.

But to return. It is hard to repose, and maintain a becoming confidence in God in the hour of difficulty. When means fail and we are forbidden to look for miracles; when our way is hedged up with thorns, and we dare not break through the fence; when Providence opposes the promise, and God

not every Job that can say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." In these cases our diffidence often extends to the power of God, as well as his goodness. People, indeed, think that they only question his will; but if they did not doubt his all-sufficiency too, why does their faith waver as difficulties multiply? Does God know any thing about difficulties? Why are they disheartened as means fail? Cannot God furnish means if he does not find them? What was the language of the Israelites?-Will he? No-But can he furnish a table in the wilderness? Can he give bread to his people? What is the commendation of Abraham's faith?-That he believed God's goodness? No-but his power: "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God-being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform.”

You would, therefore, do well to take the advice of an old writer. "Never," says he, "converse with your difficulties alone." How is it when you suspect that a man wishes to entangle you in your talk, or to take advantage of your weakness? Fearing that he will prove too much for you, and induce you to commit yourself, you take with you a third person, a wise and an able friend. When your difficulties wish to parley with you, let God be present; God in promise, or God in experience then they may tell you any thing. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble: therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."-But we are,

II. Reminded of David's FOLLY. “There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philis tines.' But nothing could have been worse. For by this step-he would alienate the affections of the Israelites from him-he would justify the reproaches of the enemy-he would deprive himself of the means of grace and the ordinances of religion-he would grieve his soul with the vice and idolatry of the heathen-he would put himself out of the warrant of Divine protection and lay himself under peculiar obligation to those whom he could not serve without betraying the cause of God.

I cannot enlarge on these: but I would remark two or three of the evil consequences naturally arising from this measure. For how could he expect to gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

First. The king of Achish gave him Ziklag for his residence. Thence he invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites; " David smote the land, and left

neither man nor woman alive, and took away | ing to our mind, should we not have been the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and cursed by many an indulgence? and should the camels, and the apparel, and returned, we not have shunned those trials which enaand came to Achish." But when questioned ble us now to say, "It is good for me that I concerning this business by the king, he used have been afflicted? Who knoweth what is a dissimulation unworthy his character; in- good for a man in this life?" We cannot ducing him to believe that he had destroyed distinguish between reality and appearance; Israelites only, and gaining his confidence by between the present and the future. We falsehood. "Achish said, Whither have ye look forward into new and untried conditions made a road to-day? And David said, with our actual views and feelings; not conAgainst the south of Judah, and against the sidering that new and untried conditions will south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the draw forth new views and feelings; and that, south of the Kenites. And Achish believed like Hazael, we may become the very chaDavid, saying, He hath made his people Is-racters we abhor. Lot thought he could do rael utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever."

nothing better than choose the land of the plain, the vale of Sodom, well watered as the Another embarrassment attends him. War garden of the Lord. But in doing so, he sebreaks out between the Philistines and Israel; parated himself from intercourse with his unand Achish orders David and his men to ac- cle Abraham-his soul was vexed from day company him to the battle. Now if, when the to day with the filthy conversation of the armies engaged, he should retire, or betray ungodly-he was taken a prisoner by the his post, he would be chargeable with cow-confederate kings-he was driven out of the ardice, and treason, and ingratitude towards place by fire and brimstone-his wife became the king, who had been his friend, and ho- a pillar of salt-his daughters plunged him noured him with the command of his life-into unheard-of infamy.

guards. On the other hand, if he should Take care, therefore, how you say, "There fight against his own people, under the banners of the uncircumcised, he would be justly considered an enemy to the Israel of God, a betrayer of his country, and would render his ascension to the throne more difficult. Out of this strait, God, who does not deal with us after our desert, delivers him. The lords of the Philistines are dissatisfied with David's going along with them, and insist upon his dismission.

But behold a third result of this wrong measure. He returns; but little does he imagine what had befallen him at home. By accompanying Achish he had left Ziklag, where his substance and his relations were defenceless. The Amalekites took advantage of his absence, and burned the town, after carrying away the spoil, and making his friends and his wives captives. Informed of all this, David was greatly distressed; and the anguish of loss was embittered by self-accusation, and the reproaches of the people: for "the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters."

See, First: How much depends on one improper step. The effects may be remediless, and give a complexion to all our future days. Our reputation, our comfort, our usefulness, our religion, our very salvation may hinge upon it.

Secondly. Let us learn how incompetent we are to judge for ourselves. "The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh, to direct his steps." Who has not found this to be true, in his own experience! Who can look back upon life, and not see how often he has been mistaken, both in his hopes and fears! If things had been accord

is nothing better for me," than to do this, or that. Venture on nothing rashly. Move with all your moral senses alive and awake. In your connexions for life; in removing your residence; in giving up, or changing your employment," ponder the path of your feet, that your goings may be established." Let your eyes look on, and your eyelids straight before you. Pray, as you are directed, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." We may acknowledge God in words, while we deny him in works. But it is a practical acknowledgment that is required of us; and it consists in three things. First: in our taking no step without asking counsel of the Lord. Secondly in refusing to take one, when he calls us. Thirdly: in not charging him foolishly, when having taken a step, in compliance with his command, it proves unanswerable to our wishes and expectation: for we may be in the will of God, and meet with very painful exercises; but we must justify him in all that befalls us.


To conclude. See the dangers and mischiefs of unbelief, or the want of confidence in God. It is the worst counsellor we can ever consult: the most perilous guide we can ever follow. What did Moses and Aaron lose?" Because," says God, "ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them:" and no entreaty could induce God to revoke the sentence. From how many gratifications, and advantages, does unbelief


cut us off, even when it does not destroy! | DUCTIVE OF SUITABLE INFLUENCE AND EFIt robs the mind of stability-" If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established." It withholds from it peace-"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."

Without faith, the soul is like a ship, deprived of the rudder, driven of the winds, and tossed. By believing in God, we shall find that our strength is to sit still; instead of running from one creature to another. "It is good for a man, both to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord;" instead of conferring with flesh and blood, and adopting unhallowed expedients for relief. Them that honour God he will honour; but they that despise him shall be lightly esteemed. "For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee; till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on a hill."

"Now, the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."


And the grace of our Lord was exceeding
abundant with faith and love which is in
Christ Jesus.-1 Tim. i. 14.

PERHAPS Some of you are come from motives of curiosity, and expect to hear some thing new. But I have nothing new to communicate. There is only one way of salvation, and this is older than Adam: for "he hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

I. I may address you, my dear brethren, in the language of the apostle to the Corinthians, "Ye know THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

It was this that led him to remember you in your low estate; to interpose on your behalf; to assume your nature, and to give his life a ransom for many. "Surely he hath borne our grief and carried our sorrow. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Behold, how he loved him, said the spectators around the grave of Lazarus, when they saw only his tears. Behold, how he loved them, was surely the exclamation of angels, when, at his cross, they beheld his blood. Here is a love which passeth knowledge.For was he compelled to submit to this undertaking? No. Did we deserve it? When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."-Did we desire it! It was accomplished ages before our existence. And therefore, when we were awakened, and began to seek after these things, we found them already provided: we had them not to procure, but to enjoy; and the voice cried, "Behold redemption for the enslaved, pardon for the guilty, sanctification for the unholy, strength for the weak, health for the sick, . and consolation for the miserable-Come, for all things are now ready!"

In the application, as well as the procuring of our salvation, the grace of the Lord Jesus appears. Means were used; but they de rived all their efficacy, and their very being, from him. Go as far back as you please, you will find him there before you; predisposing instruments, awakening and encouraging your application, preventing you with the blessings of his goodness. A friend, by his conversation, enlightened your mind-but who made this friend? Who placed him in your way? Who inclined him to seek your welfare? You hunger and thirst after righteousness: you wait for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning. But whence sprang this desire? From conviction. What produced this conviction? Reflection. And what produced this reflection! A train of events. And what are events? Providence. I. CONSIDER THE GRACE OF OUR LORD And what is providence? God in action: and JESUS CHRIST. II. SHOW HOW EMINENTLY God, acting for the welfare of the unworthy, IT WAS DISPLAYED IN THE CONVERSION OF is grace. "Of him, and through him, and to PAUL. III. PROVE THAT IT IS ALWAYS PRO-him are all things; to whom be glory. We

You will therefore, probably, be disappointed; but this will be of little importance if you are benefited. It is at your profit I aim; and nothing is more likely to secure it than the subject we have chosen; for God only gives testimony to the word of his grace. And as for those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, they are saying, Evermore give us this bread. Let us,

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