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be but gratified? No, says Isaiah, when we apply images to God, we must strip them of all their imperfections; we must apply them to him completely, and, as far as possible, divinely. The feelings of nature are nothing, compared with the kindness of God. The heart of Thornton and Howard was all ice and all steel, compared with the benevolence of our God. He inspires all the tendernesses that creatures feel, and he infinitely surpasses them himself. "If ye, being evil," says he, "know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you," says he; yes, and much more abundantly: she "may forget; yet will I not forget thee."

Observe, therefore, secondly, the certainty of the assurance ; 66 yet will I not forget thee." Here you have assurance; you have his word, his own word; the word of a God of truth and of faithfulness, a God whose faithfulness reaches unto the clouds; who is incomprehensible; a Being, concerning whom Balaam, all hell as he was, could say, The Lord" is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" The word of a Being, who is free from all the sources of unfaithfulness, such as forgetfulness, such as a change of mind, such as the failure of resources to make his word good. To render all this more striking to us, but not more binding to him, he has been pleased to add to his word his oath; and "because he could swear by no greater, he swear by himself," says the Apostle. "An oath for confirmation is an end to all strife;" "wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise"-not to make, but to show "the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things”—(for his word was as immutable as his oath)—" that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us." Hence, says God, in the fifty-fourth chapter," This is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee nor rebuke thee; for the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Here you find God's oath interposed with regard to two things, the drowning of the world, and the desertion of his church. You believe the former; you entirely believe it. Why do not you dread a second deluge? Do you think there is not water enough, if God was to break up the fountains of the great deep, to drown it? O yes; but you say, he has sworn that he will not. Very true; so you rely upon his oath: well; and whatever enemies may assail his church, what has he said? Therefore " upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." How then can the church, that is, his church, be in danger? Here, also, you have the oath of God to rely upon.

Is this all? Dr. Watts says, he


'Lays the foundation of our hope
In oaths, and promises, and blood."

Covenants formerly were ratified, not only by oath, but also by sacrifice. So

was this covenant of God, by the sacrifice of his own Son, a sacrifice of infinite value, and to which Zechariah refers, when he says, "As for thee, also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." The apostle, referring to this, says, God "brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the everlasting covenant." Is this enough? No; he has not only given us the assurance in all these modes, but he has done every thing that he can do at present, in the way of pledges and of earnest: for you are not yet come unto the rest and inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you; you have not yet crossed the Jordan, nor entered the land flowing with milk and honey. All this will be done, and as surely as that he has delivered you from the land of Egypt, and caused you to pass through the depths of the Red Sea. He has remembered you in your low estate: he has given his own Son for you: he has called you by his grace: he has adopted you into his own family: he has loved you with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness he has drawn you: and " he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" If, while you were enemies, you were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, you shall be saved by his life.


Then, observe, finally, the all-sufficiency of the truth established; that is, the perpetual regard of God towards us. We all naturally look towards creatures, especially if they are placed above us, if they are wealthy or powerful, to gain their countenance and their assistance. Therefore, Solomon says, Many will entreat the favour of the prince; and every one is a friend to him that giveth gifts." But there are four differences between your seeking after the favour of a mortal, and your seeking after the favour of God. In seeking after the favour of a mortal, you may debase yourselves; you may be obliged to submit to the meanest compliances, and to make the most improper sacrifices, in order to flatter or to please such an individual. If you are following after a swine or a dog, though he may be starred or gartered, if you are following after a swine or a dog, you must not mind, must not stand much about the road by which he draws you after him: you are at his disposal; you must be what he would have you to be. But in seeking the favour of God, the very exercise elevates us; the very exercise dignifies us; the very exercise improves and profits us. Then, in seeking after the favour of a mortal, you are never sure of success; after you have been toiling for weeks or years, you may find that you have been labouring in vain, and spending your strength for nought. But if you seek the favour of God, you are sure of succeeding; "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find;" "their hearts shall live that seek God." Then, if you gain the favour of a mortal, you are never sure of keeping it. Who has not been tempted, in passing through life, to say in his haste, "All men are liars?" This is uncandid and uncharitable; yet, after all, the Scripture says, "Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie; if they are laid in the balance together, they are altogether lighter than vanity." What dependence can you place upon men? "Confidence," says Solomon," in an unfaithful man in the time of trouble, is like a broken tooth, or a foot out of joint"—not only useless, but painful to you. Whereas, if you obtain the favour of God, you are sure of keeping it; there is no change ableness, no variation with him; he is without variableness, or the shadow of


turning; "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." And then if you could not only gain, but even retain the favour and friendship of a superior mortal, yet, after all, what could it do? What could it do for you in the many emergencies and incidents of life? What could it do for you in the agonies of conscience? What could it do for you in the adversities of life? What could it do for you in a dying hour? What could it do for you in the judgment-day? But when God says, "I will not forget thee," this is saying every thing; this meets every want, every failing, every fear. O, his presence can sustain us under the loss of every creature possession, or comfort, under the loss of every relative or friend; and we may say, with our Saviour, "I am alone, and yet not alone, because the Father is with me.' If he says, "I will not forget thee," why, what is it but saying, "I will guide thee with my counsel; I will keep thee with my power, lest any hurt thee, night or day. I will sympathize with thee in all thy sorrows, I will attend thee in all thy afflictions. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. I will not suffer thee to be tempted above that which I will enable thee to bear. My grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength shall be made perfect in weakness." On this assurance you may rely, and say, with David, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." Leaning on this assurance, you may witness, with composure, the dissolution of the universe, and, looking beyond it, say, "We look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteous ness."

See, then, in conclusion, first, that distresses and discouragements are not incompatible with religion. You may sometimes think that your case is peculiar, and that no one ever had such depressive and melancholy feelings as you have had. Well, but who was it that said, “I shall one day fall by the hand of Saul?" Who was it that said, "When I would do good, evil is present with me. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" Why, Zion said, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me."

Secondly, see how concerned God is, not only for his people's safety, but for their comfort also. Their doubts and fears might continue, and they be perfectly safe too; but he will not have them to be continued: he is concerned to have them removed. You know how he threatened the base prophets in the days of Jeremiah, who made "the hearts of the righteous sad," when he had commanded them to make them merry. And he issues this commission to all his ministers, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God."

Thirdly, let his people fall in with his design. Let them be humbled, and mourn over their ignorance, and perverseness, and impatience, and unbelief, that they have entertained such hard thoughts of God, that they have charged him foolishly, and unrighteously, and unkindly. Let them remember how dishonourable these conclusions are to him, how injurious to themselves, and say, with David, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God." If a Christian must err, I would rather he erred

on the side of privilege, than on the side of legality. I am sure it will have a better influence over his experimental and practical religion. O, let him take care that he is not, in any measure or degree, robbed of his confidence-his confidence in a God of grace-his confidence in his security-his confidence in his final perseverance in the ways of God. Without this, how could he rejoice, or ought he to rejoice? But "my sheep," says he, "hear my voice, and I know them, 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, lastly, do not take the comfort belonging to a gracious state, unless you are the subjects of a gracious character. It will be dreadful, to fall from an imaginary way to heaven into the depths of hell. But such a way there is; yea, there are many such ways, according to Solomon, which "seem right to a man, but the end is death"-death eternal. Why, do not you think people may go mourning to hell, as well as to heaven? Why, it is not the cross, but it is the cause, that makes the martyr. Why, there are many people that mourn, who are not in Zion; and I know nothing that is more pitiful, than to see persons that are poor in this world, and yet not rich towards God; to see them perplexed and distressed with the calamities of life, and with the apprehension of death, and yet have no God, no portion, no comfort in Zion. But, says the Saviour, I am appointed "to give, unto them that mourn in Zion, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Wherefore, pray that he would remember you with the same favour, and number you with his saints in glory everlasting. Amen.




"Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet."-JOHN, xiii. 13, 14.

"WHO went about doing good."-This is the shortest, and at the same time the noblest eulogium ever pronounced. I will not "give flattering titles unto man," said Elihu; for "in so doing my Maker would soon take me away." Yet the practice is too common. We call the proud happy; the churl is sometimes said to be liberal, and the ungodly to be bountiful. How have authors degraded themselves in their dedications, by ascribing to their patrons qualities, the very shadow of which they never possessed! Charles the Second, with all his unbridled licentiousness and wickedness, was called, even in the service of God, "our most gracious and religious sovereign." There is one thing to surpass this; we all know what God means in the scripture, by "the man of sin," and yet the Pope, forsooth, has always been called "his Holiness!" But now, as to the Lord Jesus, whatever we say of him, whatever we style him that is noble and glorious, we say well, for so he is; yea, our goodness extendeth not to him; yea, he is exalted above all blessing and praise; he "went about doing good."

Some of this good was mediatorial; he had to approach God on our behalf, as our surety, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, to make peace by the blood of his cross, and to bring in everlasting righteousness. Some of this good was miraculous; he had to establish his divine mission, and to show that he was mighty to save. Some of this good was corporeal; he fed the multitude; he healed all manner of sicknesses and diseases among the people. Some of this good was spiritual; he preached the kingdom of God, and the poor had the Gospel preached unto them. And some of it was expressly designed to be exemplary in this connexion stands our subject this evening, a connexion which exhibits one of the most wonderful and striking transactions, to be found in his whole history. It may be necessary to read it.

"Now, before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,) Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God, he riseth from supper and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that, he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to

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