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their own weakness more, their patience is tried, their faith in God confirmed and strengthened, and their high thoughts of God and his perfections raised to a higher pitch.- As an improvement of this, I observe, that this affords ground of hope and comfort to the Lord's people, when matters are come to the lowest ebb with them, Zech. xiv. 7. Faith has ground to stand upon, when all things fail to sense. It is God's special time of beginning to work, when men can do no more. Thus Hagar at the well. Many a time the Lord makes the wheel of providence drive downward and downward, till we are almost at its extremity; and then is the turning point.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED..
Acts, xxviii. 23. For there stood by me this night the
angel of the Lord, whose I am, and whom I serve.
AVING explained and improved the first
branch of the text, I now come to the Second branch, namely, Paul's special relation to the God of heaven : Whose I am, and whom I serve. And this is the chief thing I would insist upon.
And here Paul declares two things. To whom he belonged : I am God's, I own no other Father, Lord, Master, or Proprietor. The centurion might say, I am Cæsar's ;' but Paul avows a more honourable Proprietor. 2. What was his business : Whom I serve. He was on the fervice of that God to whom he belonged.
This word, the Lord, whose I am, is very important. There were four things implied in it.
1. A comfortable view of God's special interest in him. He was convinced, that whoever others
belonged belonged to, he belonged to God, that there was a faving relation betwixt God and him. There is,
2. A recognising God's special interest in him. He had said it before at his first accepting of the covenant, "I am the Lord's ;' arid he did not repent the bargain, but repeated it over again, “I am his.'- There is,
3. An open profession of his fpecial relation to God. He was not ashamed of his Proprietor, his Lord and Master ; but he gloried in it, accounting himself happy in the relation.-There is,
4. A rejoicing in it, particularly with respect to this season of distress. As if he had said, The sea rages, the waves threaten with death ; but this is my happiness, I am the Lord's, in whose hands all these are.— From this subject I would take the following DOCTRINES.
Doct. I. That it is the duty and interest of those
who have truly given themselves away to the
Lord, to look on themselves as his. Doct. II. That thofe who are the Lord's ought
to make, and will make, God's service their business. -We begin with
Doct. I. That it is the duty and interest of those
who have truly given themselves away to the Lord, to look on themselves as his.
In treating this point, I shall, I. Confirm this doctrine.
II. Shew in what respects those who have given themselves
to the Lord in his covenant are to lock
upon themselves his. III. Allign reasons why it is the duty of those who have truly given themselves away to the Lord in his covenant, thus to look on themselves as his.
IV. Shew how it is their interest to look on themselves as the Lord's.
V. Conclude with some practical improvement. -We are then,
« I am
I. To confirm the doctrine, That it is the duty and interest of those who have truly given themselves away to the Lord, to look on themselves as his. This is evident, if you consider,
1. The laudable practice of the saints, who had given themselves away to the Lord. They go over the bargain again, hold by it, and look upon themselves as the Lord's : Pral. cxvi. 16. “ O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy fervant, and the son of thy handmaid, thou hast Loofed
bonds." And Psal. cxix. 94. thine, save me. The spouse, Song, ii. 16. “ My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
2. The Spirit of God instructs them fo to do. i Cor. vi. 19. 20. “What? know
ye body is the temple of the holy Ghost, which is in you, which
ye have of God? And ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price : Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 'There is great weight in it, whose we look on ourselves to be. It is the fin of many, that they say, Psal. xii. 4. * Our lips are our own : Who is Lord over us?” This proceeds from Satan, and the corrupt heart. The Spirit of the Lord teaches his own to look on themselves as his.
3. The Lord looks on such to be his, by a special relation : John, xvii. 9. 10. "I pray for them : I pray not for the world, but for them which thou haft given me ; for they are thine, And all mine are thine, and thine are mine ; and
I am glorified in them.” Yea, he takes a pleasure to assert his interest in them; he calls them, and pleads with them, to own the mutual relation betwixt him and them : Jerem. iii. 4. “ Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth?”
Lastly, The nature of the thing requires it, for they are his indeed. Honest covenanters with God, give themselves to the Lord: 2 Cor. viii. 5. “ But first gave their own felves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” They yield themfelves to him, so that they are his, and therefore fhould look upon themselves as such.-Let us now,
II. Shew in what respects those who have given themselves away to the Lord in his covenant, are to look
themselves as his. 1. They are to look upon themselves as his, in opposition to all his competitors. The Lord will not divide share in his covenant-people with any whatsoever : Isa. xxvi. 13. “ O Lord our God, other lords besides thee, have had dominion over us ; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.” He will admit no rival with him, but if ye take me, let these ge. The foul, till it comes within the covenant, is in restless case, like a bee going from flower to flower, or a bird from bush to bush. The man has many mafters and lords. But when come into the covenant, he breaks his league with them all, and is married to Christ, to live in undivided society with him : Psal. xlv. 10. “ Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house."
Believers, ye are not your own, and you must no more look on yourselves to be your own; 1 Cor. vi. 19. (quoted above). Have you given yourselves