صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

6. If you would know the reft and pleafure of believers, feek to reft in the will of God, in all conditions. You cannot expect rest and pleasure while you seek only the fulfilling of your own will, and murmur at the difpofal of the will of God. If you reft in your own wills, your reft will be disturbed and imperfect; but if you reft in God's will, then you will reft in conftant peace and quietnefs. You pray that his will may be done; and if you acquiefce in the doing of his will, you hall find repofe and heart-fatisfaction, whatever befal you.-Subject yourfelves to his commanding will in every duty; for the comforts of religion attend the exercises thereof, and are not to be expected in a way of floth.And fubmit to his difpofing will; for, in this way, you will find your croffes turned to comforts, and your afflictions mixed with confolation; fuch as that, "Fear not little flock;" for, as it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the crofs, fo, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," and the crown; and, indeed, the fore-apprehenfion of this is matter of unfpeakable joy: "We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God," Rom. v. 5. As the pleasure of the carnal confifts in the fenfe of what they have in hand; fo the pleafure of believers confifts moftly in a fenfe or view of what they have in hope, or of what they fhall enjoy with God for ever, and of their being for ever with the Lord.

7. Meditate much upon the difadvantages of not delighting and taking pleasure in the Lord. Why, little pleasure in the Lord argues little light and much darknefs; and hence mifapprehenfions of God and his providences. Little pleafure in the Lord argues little life and strength, little faith and love, and humility.

8. Meditate upon the great advantages of delight and pleasure in the Lord. Why, this pleafure is your holinefs, your happinefs, your heaven: it is the heaven of the church militant, the heaven of the church triumphant; the heaven and happiness of God to delight in himfelf. And the more pleafure you take in God, the more he takes in you, John xiv. 21.

9. Know


9. Know and confider, that there is no fuch weight in your objections against this delight, as any whit can weaken your obligation thereunto. What are objections drawn from guilt, when you view Chrift as your righteoufnefs? What are objections drawn from your pollution, your darknefs, your deadnefs, when you view Chrift as your fanctification, your light, and your life.And remember in what cafes you are called to take pleafure in the Lord, even in these cafes and feafons wherein you are ready to think your duty is to be difcouraged.When God is writing bitterness upon all other things; why does he imbitter the creature, but that you may delight in Chrift? for then he is faying, Come with me from Lebanon?" Song iv. 8.-When you are difappointed of your expectations from other things, from dear relations and enjoyments; perhaps from fuch a minister, fuch an ordinance; why, then you are to go a little further. When under defpondency and discouragement, fears and faintings of fpirits; then you are to take pleafure in the Lord, and hope in him, Pfal. xlii. 11. xliii. 5. When you walk in darkness, and have no light; when you find a restleffnefs of fpirit, and know not what to do; then he fays, Come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I ain meek and lowly in heart, and ye fhall find reft unto your fouls."When you come to a place where two ways meet, and know not which hand to turn to; then you are to take pleasure in him, faying, "I will lead the blind by a way they know not, and in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things ftreight," Ifa. xlii. 16.-When troubles and afflictions are fwelling on every hand: even then you are called to delight in the Lord: when deep calleth unto deep, and his waves and billows going over us; yet then the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the day-time, and in the night his fongs fhall be with us, Pfal. xlii. 7, 8.-When the world is fo bad, that you know not whom to truft, or converse with; even in this cafe you are to delight in Chrift, who is a trufty friend to whom you may tell all your mind; "He is a friend that fticks clofer than a

[ocr errors]


brother."-When the world is turning up-fide down, and all things are turning out of course, nothing but a babel of confufion to be feen in the face of affairs in church or ftate; then is a time of delighting in the Lord, Pfal. xlvi. 1, 2, 3, 4.—In all thefe, and a thoufand fuch cafes, you may find pleasure in Chrift.

Take pleafure in this, that Chrift is ftill the fame, when other things bid an adieu. Take pleasure in this, that he is full: when emptinefs is written upon all things elfe, there is an immenfe fulness in him. Take pleasure in this, that he is fo free; fo free hearted to difpenfe of his fulnels. Take pleafure in this, that he is unchangeable; though you change, and the world change, yet he is unchangeable in his love, unchangeable in his word, unchangeable in his covenant: "The mountains fhall depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindnefs fhall not depart from thee, nor the covenant of my peace be removed, faith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Delight in this, that he is fympathizing; that in all your afflictions, he is afflicted; that he who toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye. Take pleafure in this, that he is fo fweet as to fweeten all the waters of Marah to you; that he is fo fib to you, fo nearly related to you; your head, your husband, your elder bro ther, your fhepherd, your friend, your phyfician, your all in all; and bone of your bone, and flelh of your flesh, by virtue of the natural fibness between him and you; your Surety, by virtue of the legal fibnefs and oneness between him and you; and your life, by virtue of the myftical and fpiritual union and relation to you: " He that is joined to the Lord is one fpirit."-Thefe confiderations may afford comfort in every cafe.





But it fhall come to pass, that at evening-time it shall bé


As S the whole fcriptures teftify of Chrift, fo this text teftifies concerning the tenor of his difpenfations towards his church and people, both in his providence and grace.-There are two buts in the verfe where our text lies; the one points at the wife difpofure, the other at the joyful iffue of God's procedure towards his church and people.


In the words them felves we obferved, 1. The fadeft croffes and calamities that befal the church and people of God in this world, reprefented under the metaphor of an evening time. The fweetelt comforts and encouragements that take place in their lot, reprefented under the metaphor of light. 3. The feafon, or remarkable time wherein this light breaks forth; it is at the evening time, when their hope is giving up the ghoft. 4. You have the infallible certainty of this happy iffue, It fhall come to pass, that at evening time it fhall be light.

These things we have formerly opened up *; out

*Thefe and other topics of difcourfe, were handled by our Author, in feveral excellent Sermons, at facramental occafions, in the year 1723. The Publishers of the prefent edition would have been very happy to have been able to have favoured the public with the whole of thefe Sermons on this text; and used every means in their power, with the relations of the Author to effect their defign; but they are very forry their endeavours were unfuccefsful.---This one, being formerly published in the folio edition, as appofite to the then prefent times, it was judged proper ftill to continue it, as now ftill fuitable.


present purpose is to evince, that the prefent time we live in is an evening time. We would have you attentively confider the figns of the time; and furely, if you do fo, it will appear too evident, that it is an eveningtime, a dark time, an evil time with the church of God." And, to affift you herein, we would reprefent fome of the Signs of an evening-time in the church. And feeing the Spirit of God expreffes the fad cafe of a people by an evening-time, he hereby allows us to allude to the phrafe in reprefenting the fame. The figns that we mention then fhall be gathered from that allufion, fo as they may be the better fixed upon your memories, when they are expreffed by fuch things as are obvious to every body, who can diftinguish between evening and morning.

Now, of thefe Signs there are two forts. 1. Some that may be called prognosticating figns, fhewing that a dark evening is approaching. 2. Some that may be called promulgating figns, fhewing that the prefent time is an evening time.

Ift, There are prognofticating figns, that not only fhew forth much darknefs prefent, but that a darker eveningtime is haftening on; fuch as thefe following.

1. It is a fign that bodes an evening-time when the fhadows are waxing long. While the fun is high, the fhadows are fhort; but the lower the fun is, the longer the fhadows are. So here, my friends, it is a fign of an evening-time coming upon the church, when empty fhadows are growing long, and of more account than fubftantial religion. When a man's fhadow is two or three times longer than himself, it fays the fun is low, and the night is nigh. Is it not fo in a fpiritual fenfe, when profeffors have much more of the form of godliness than of the power thereof; more of the fhadow of religion than the, fubftance of it? Some, indeed, have not fo much as the form or fhadow of religion either in their families or clofets; which faith that it is quite dark with them, and that they are deftitute of the light of the knowledge of Chrift: for, where there is no light, there is no fhadow at all; all is black darkness there: or, they have a fhadow of devotion, and no


« السابقةمتابعة »