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God the best portion of the Christian.

PSALM 1xxiii. 25.


THE Psalmist, in this psalm, relates the great difficulty that he met with in his own mind, from the consideration of the prosperity of wicked men. He tells us, ver. 2 and 3, "As for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipt. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." In the 4th and following verses, he informs us, what it was he had observed in the wicked, which was his temptation. In the first place, he observed, that they were very prosperous, and all things went well with them. He then observed their behavior in their prosperity, and the use which they made of it; and that God, notwithstanding such an use or abuse, continued their prosperity, as in the 6th and following verses. Then the Psalmist tells us by what means he was helped out of this difficulty, viz. by go. ing into the sanctuary, verses 16, 17; and proceeds to inform

Dated April, 1736.

us what considerations they were which helped him, viz. these three:

1. The consideration of the miserable end of wicked men. However they prosper for the present, yet they come to a woful end at last, ver. 18, 19, 20.

2. The consideration of the blessed end of the saints. Although the saints, while they live, may be afflicted, yet they come to an happy end at last, ver. 21, 22, 23, 24.

3. The consideration, that the godly have a much better portion than the wicked, even though they have no other por tion but God; as in the text and following verse. If it be so, that the wicked are in prosperity, and are not in trouble as other men; yet the godly, though they be in affliction, are in a state infinitely better than the wicked, because they have God for their portion. However they may have nothing else, this is enough, without the enjoyments of wicked men; they need desire nothing else; he that hath God, hath all. Thus the Psalmist professes it was with him, in the sense and aprehen. sion which he had of things: Whom have Iin heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.

In the verse immediately preceding, the Psalmist takes notice how the saints are happy in God, both when they are here in this world, and also when they are taken to another world. They are blessed in God in this world, in that while. here God guides them by his counsel; and when he takes them out of this world, they are still happy, in that then God receives them to glory. The Psalmist having thus taken notice of the happiness of the saints in God, both while here upon. earth, and also when removed into another world, was proba bly by this observation led, in the next verse, which is the text, to declare that he desired no other portion, either in this world or in the world to come, either in heaven or upon earth.


It is the spirit of a truly godly man, to prefer God before all other things, either in heaven or on earth.

I. A godly man prefers God before any thing else in -heaven.

1. He prefers God before any thing else that actually is in heaven. Every godly man hath his heart in heaven; his affections are mainly set on heaven, and what is to be had there. ́ Heaven is his chosen country and inheritance. He hath respect to heaven, as a traveller who is on occasion abroad in a distant land hath to his own country. The traveller can content himself to be in a strange land for a while, until his present occasion and business be over; but his own native land is preferred by him to all others. Heb. xi. 13, &c. "These all "died in faith, not having received the promises, but were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country. truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned: But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly."

So also the respect which a godly person hath to heaven, may be compared to the respect which a child, when he is abroad, hath to his father's house. He can be contented abroad for a little while; but the place to which he desires to return, and in which to dwell, is his own home at his father's house. Heaven is the true saint's father's house. John xiv.. 2. "In my Father's house are many mansions." John xx. 17. "I ascend to my Father and your Father."

Now, the main reason why the godly man hath his heart thus in heaven, is because God is there; that is the palace of the most high God; it is the place where God is gloriously present, where he is to be seen, where he is to be enjoyed, where his love is gloriously manifested, where the godly may be with him, see him as he is, and love, serve, praise, and enjoy him perfectly. It is for this chiefly that a godly man desires heaven. If God and Christ were not in heaven, he would not be so earnest in seeking it, nor would he take so much pains in a laborious travel through this wilderness, nor would

the consideration that he is going to heaven when he dies, be such a comfort to him under the toils and afflictions of the world, as it now is. The martyrs would not undergo those cruel sufferings which are brought upon them by their persecutors, with that cheerfulness in a prospect of going to heav en, did they not expect to go and be with Christ, and to enjoy God there. They would not with that cheerfulness forsake all their earthly possessions, and all their earthly friends, as many thousands of them have done, and wander about in poverty and banishment, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, in hopes of exchanging their earthly for an heavenly inheritance, were it not that they hope to be with their glorious Redeemer and heavenly Father in heaven.

If God and Christ were not in heaven, however beautiful the place be, and whatever excellent creature inhabitants there be there, yet heaven would be but an empty place, it would be but an unlovely place. The believer's heart is in heaven, because his treasure is there; and that treasure is Jesus Christ, the same that we read of in Matth. xiii. 44, which is there called "a treasure hid in a field, which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all he hath, and buyeth that field."

2. A godly man prefers God before any thing else that might be in heaven. Not only is there nothing actually in heaven, which is in his esteem equal with God; but neither is there any thing of which he can conceive as possible to be there, which by him is esteemed and desired equally with God. Those of some nations and professions suppose quite different enjoyments to be in heaven, from those which the scriptures teach us to be there. The Mahometans, for instance, suppose that in heaven are to be enjoyed all manner of sensual delights and pleasures. Many things which Mahomet has feigned are, to the lusts and carnal appetites of men, the most agreeable that he could devise; and he flattered his followers with promises of such enjoyments in heaven.

But the true saint, if he were to contrive such an heaven as would suit him best, could not contrive one more agreeable

to his inclination and desires, than such an one as is revealed in the word of God; an heaven o the enjoyment of the glorious God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, where he shall have all sin taken away, and shall be perfectly conformed to God, where he shall have a perfect acquaint. nce with God, and shall spend an eternity in exalted exercises of love to God, and in the enjoyment of his love. Such an heaven is to the saint better than any Mahometan paradise; it is the best heaven that can possibly be; there is no happiness conceived of, that would be better, or that would appear so desirable to him, as this. If God were not to be enjoyed in heaven, but, instead of that, there were vast wealth, immense treasures of silver and gold, and great honor of such kind as men obtain in this world, and a fulness of the greatest sensual delights and pleasures; all these things would not make up for the want of God and Christ, and the enjoyment of them there. If it were empty of God, it would indeed be an empty melancholy place.

The godly have been made sensible, as to all creature enjoyments, that they cannot satisfy the soul, and that happiness is in God; and therefore nothing will content them but God. Offer a saint what you will, if you deny him God, he will esteem himself miserable. His soul thirsts for God, to come and appear before God. God is the centre of his desires; and as long as you keep his soul from its proper centre, it will not be at rest. The true saint sets his heart on God as the chief good.

II. It is the spirit of a godly man to prefer God before all other things on the earth.

1. The saint prefers that enjoyment of God, for which he hopes hereafter, to any thing in this world. He looketh not at the things which are seen, and are temporal, so much as at those things which are unseen and eternal, 1 Cor. iv. 18. It is but a little of God that the saint enjoys here in this world; he hath but a little acquaintance with God, and enjoys but a little of the manifestations of the divine glory and love. But God hath promised to give him himself hereafter in a full enVOL. VIII.


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