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city is the highest representation of civil com- | very inadequate image of his grace. We munity. There have been famous cities; but sometimes see persons who “ condescend to what are they to all this? “Glorious things men of low estate;" but they are only men are spoken of thee, O) city of God!" It is the themselves, deriving their nature from the city of the living God. It is the city of the same original, inheriting the same infirmigreat King. It is the city which hath foun- ties, and doomed to the same corruption. dations, whose builder and maker is God. God even condescends to behold the things The foundation is of precious stones. The that are done in heaven: well, therefore, pavement is of pure gold. The gates are of when we meet with him on earth, may we pearls. “I saw no temple therein; for the exclaim, “Lord, what is man, that thou art Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the mindful of him? and the son of man, that temple of it. And the city had no need of the thou visitest him?" sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for We congratulate those of you who have the glory of God did lighten it; and the reason to conclude that you are the people Lamb is the light thereof." But who can es- of God. We hail you, on the ground of your timate the honours, the provisions, the plea- present privileges. You are under a Divine sures of the place? As it is written, “ Eye guide ; and you are in the right way. One hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have enter- of these necessarily results from the other. ed into the heart of man, the things which If you are under the Lord's direction, though God hath prepared for them that love him," he may lead you in a strange and a thorny It is to display the munificence of his good way, it will be it must be it is, a right ness, and to prove to men and angels, that he one: and you cannot indulge too firm a confihas not called himself their God in vain. dence. You know his name; and should put “But now they desire a better country, that your trust in him. What have you to do with is an heavenly: wherefore God is not asham- to-morrow? Events are his. Duty only is ed to be called their God, for he hath pre-yours; and in the performance of this, he alpared for them a city."
lows, he commands you, to rely upon him for Not a city of inspection! Many–(Eternal wisdom and strength. “Be careful for noGod! will it be any of this company ?-) will thing: but in every thing, by prayer and suplook in; and “there shall be weeping, and plication with thanksgiving, let your requests wailing, and gnashing of teeth, when they be made known unto God. And the peace shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the of God, which passeth all understanding, shall kingdom of God, and they themselves shut keep your hearts and minds through Christ out." Not a city of visitation. Christians Jesus.” shall not only enter, but abide. They shall But still greater reason have we to bail go no more out-It is “a city of habitation." you, on the ground of your future expecta
This conveys the idea of repose. The lion. Though you have much in hand, you Christian is now a traveller; then he will be have more in hope. He is now guiding you a resident: he is now on the road; he will by his counsel, but he will afterwards receive - then be at home: “there renaineth a rest for you to glory. He is leading you by the right the people of God.”
way ; but the way, whatever may be said in It reminds us of a social state. It is not a praise of it, is not the city of habitation. But solitary condition; we shall partake of it with there—there the journey ends. an innumerable company of angels, with all
" See the kind angels at the gates, the saved from among men, with patriarchs,
Inviting us to come; prophets, apostles, martyrs, our kindred in
There Jesus the forerunner waits, Christ.-—"These are fellow-citizens of the
To welcome travellers homc." saints, and of the household of God.”—
Unhappy sinners! How much are you deThe subject requires from us an admira- priving yourselves of while sacrificing all the tion of God. “His greatness is unsearcha- present, and all the future advantages of relible.” “He dwells in the light which no gion! You may banish thought, and remain man can approach unto.” “Heaven is his insensible of your loss for a while, but it can throne and the earth is his footstool.” “ Thou- be for a while only-you must soon be consands minister unto him, and ten thousand vinced of your folly; and how dreadful, if you times ten thousand stand before him." And should learn your error when it is too late to what are we?-" Of yesterday, and know be rectified! As yet, however, this is not your nothing. Our habitation is in the dust. We state. Your harvest is not yet past; your are crushed before the moth.” Numbers will summer is not yet ended. You are yet in not relieve our meanness; all nations before the number of those who are within the reach him are as nothing, and they are counted to of mercy. May you " seek the Lord while he him less than nothing, and vanity-And will may be found, and call upon him while he is He make our concerns his care? His con- near." descension admits of no comparison. A king | And what says all this to you, my young deigning to lead a poor beggar; a philosopher friends? Will you not “from this time cry stooping to teach an infant his alphabet-isa unto him, My father, thou art the guide of my
youth?” You are entering a world full of figure of speech to make them stand for the temptation. You are beginning life without individuals themselves. Thas it is with God. the advantage of experience, and yet in all His name means his perfections, his nature, the strength of passion. How liable are you his being, himself; and they who love his to err! And yet how much depends upon name mean those who love himself. every wrong step you take. Would you be Such there have been in every age of the wise, and safe, and happy ? Yield yourselves world; for he has never left himself without unto God; saying, “ Lord, I am thine, save witness. But do not all men love God! So me. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me : far from it, that we read in the Scripture of for thou art the God of my salvation ; on thee the “ haters of God:” a charge which, howdo I wait all the day.”
ever dreadful, we have reason to fear will apply to the generality of mankind. Will it
apply, my dear hearers, to you? In answer DISCOURSE LXXXVIII.
to this question, it is in vain for you to say
that you are not haters of God, because you FELLOWSHIP WITH THE RIGHT.
never speak against him: for there are
works, as well as words, of enmity; yea, koEOUS.
tions speak louder than words, and you are Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto accustomed to lay more stress upon them, in
those that love thy name.-Psalm cxix. 132. judging of the disposition of a fellow-creature
Man is the subject of numberless wants and towards you. We read of our “ being enedesires. He feels himself unhappy, and is mies to God by wicked works." And there therefore restless for a change. He supposes is a “ carnal mind, which is enmity against the future to be better than the present, and / God, because it is not subject to his law.* ls is therefore alive to hope. He imagines the it true, that “God is not in all your thoughts ?" condition of others superior to his own, and that you do not like to retain him in your hence the spirit that is in him lusteth to envy, knowledge ? That the conversation is unin
And how many are there who only envy teresting which turns upon his glory! That those upon whom the world smiles; or who, you have no desire to enjoy his presence ! if ever they pray, are saying, “Lord, rank That you never strive to please him In me with the healthful, the rich, the honoura- vain also, you say, that you join in his verble!” But there are some who have the ship, and do not find your attendanee irkknowledge of the holy, and are made wise some. For, not to inquire whether this is unto salvation. These no longer ask, " Who true; whether your heart never rises up will show us any good ?" But their language against the doctrine of the Gospel, the strictis, “ Lord, lift thou up the light of thy coun- ness of God's commands, and the spirituality tenance upon us." " There is only,” says of his service-let me ask, How do you feel such a man as this, " there is only one class towards the same Being, alone? Do you of persons I envy. They are those whom relish private devotion ? If you were with a the world overlooks and despises. They are person you dislike, in a large and entertainthe redeemed; the pardoned; the sanctified. ing company—though even then, you would They are those who are blessed with all | rather he was absent; the hour would pass of spiritual blessings in heavenly places in less disagreeably, perhaps, even pleasantly, Christ.' These, and these alone, I envy: not! –because you would have other attractions that I grudge them their privileges, or wish and engagements : but suppose all the rest to deprive them of their portion; but I long were withdrawn, and you left with this indi
above all things to share with them. “Re- vidual only—your situation would then be in- member me, O Lord, with the favour that tolerable, and your only wish would be to es
thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with cape. The application is easy. It is little thy salvation; that I may see the good of thy proof of your regard for God, to intermingle ehosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of with a large and respectable congregation in thy nation, that I may glory with thine in the sanctuary, especially where all the esheritance! Be merciful unto me, as thou terior of devotion is inviting; where the palusest to do unto those that love thy name." pit is distinguished by talent and eloquence, From these words we observe
and the preacher is “as one that hath a I. THERE ARE SOME WHO LOVE God's pleasant voice, and can play well on an inNAME. The word name, in Scripture, is sig- strument." The question is, How do you nificant of person. Thus we read of " a few feel towards God in the want of all this? Do names in Sardis,” which had not defiled their you love to meet him in solitude? There are garments; and when Peter stood up in the those who do. midst of the disciples, it is said, “the number There are those who can say, “My soul of the names was about an hundred and shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; twenty." As names distinguish, and make and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful known, and recall to our minds, the charac-lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, ters to whom they are attached, it is hardly a and meditate on thee in the night watches.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, , " looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus O God! how great is the sum of them! If Christ unto eternal life.” I should count them, they are more in num-/ What a character does Paul give of Onesiber than the sand: when I awake, I am still phorus; of his charity, and fortitude, and zeal; with thee." They admire his excellences, yet he prays, “The Lord grant that he may and feel his goodness. They have seen him tind mercy of the Lord in that day!” Even he in the sacrifice of the cross; and on Calvary needed mercy, and would need it to the last, have complied with a demand so long resisted and then more than ever. And where is the before: “My son, give me thy heart." There man, however holy, that would think of “ that are many dear to them on earth, and more in day,” and not sink into despair and horror, but heaven; but they can say, “Whom have I in for the prospect of mercy! “ If thou, Lord heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall that I desire beside thee!" For though they stand ?' do not love himn perfectly, they love him su- III. THE LORD HAS BEEN ALWAYS ACCUSpremely. There is no one they so fear to offend. TOMED TO DEAL MERCIFULLY WITH THEM. It There is no one whose favour they so long to is not a single, casual, occasional exercise; enjoy: “Ilis lovingkindness is better than but a well known and invariable wispensation, life." Their eyes run down with tears because to which David refers: “Be merciful unto men keep not his law. They delight to speak me, as thou usest to do unto those that love good of his name, and recommend him to thy name.” others; while they glory in the success of his It cannot be otherwise, if his word is the cause; and holding themselves at his disposal, faithful word; for he has promised it. He ask, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" has said to every believer, “I will surely do
II. His MERCY IS THE SOURCE OF ALL THE thee good. All the ways of the Lord are GOODNESS THEY EXPERIENCE. It is not neces- mercy and truth unto such as keep his covesary so set aside compulsion; for Deity can nant and his testimonies. For the Lord God suffer no impression from external power: 1 is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and what is constrained has no value in it. and glory: no good thing will he withhold But the great opponent of mercy is merit: from then that walk uprightly.” Here is and for this, man, who is naturally as proud the rule by which he has bound himself to as he is poor, will always strive to find a place. act towards his people. And that his conAnd yet where will he find it? Only in the duct has been conformable to these assurances creed of ignorance, and presumption : not, 1 even their enemies have been judges. They am sure, in the testimony of the Scriptures, have frequently been so struck with the disor in the language of believers. They “look plays of his goodness, as inwardly to venerate to the rock whence they were hewn, and to the godly, and to commend their condition. the hole of the pit whence they were digged." " Verily, there is a reward for the righteous." They know that it was the mercy of God “How amiable are thy tents, O Jacob, and alone that brought them in the state which thy tabernacles, O Israel! Let me die the now attracts his regard, and inspired them death of the righteous, and let my last end be with all those dispositions in which he de- like his." Thus it is said, “ All that see them lights: "not by works of righteousness which shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed we have done, but according to his mercy he which the Lord hath blessed.” But they themsaved us; by the washing of regeneration, selves are the best judges of the Divine conand renewing of the Holy Ghost." Nor is duct towards them. They can judge spiritualtheir consciousness of unworthiness confined ly; and see mercy in dispensations which may to their natural condition ; but since they appear to the world as the effects of wrath. have known Gol, or rather have been known With what pleasure do they look back, and of him, they see enough in their daily walk compare the words of his mouth with the and temper, in their non-improvement of works of his hands; “as we have heard, so means and privileges, yea, in their very du- have we seen, in the city of our God!” What ties, to convince them that mercy is the prin Ebenezers have they reared as they passed ciple of God's conduct towards them. Hence, along; inscribing on each, “Hitherto hath as they are spared from year to year, they the Lord helped me !" How often, among exclaim, “ It is of the Lord's mercies that we all their complaints of themselves, have they are not consumed, because his compassions looked up, and said ; “ Thou hast dealt well fail not.” Hence, in their suferings, they see with thy servant, O Lord !" Time would fail that they have no right to complain; but much me, to specify all the instances in which he reason to acknowledge under the severest has been used to deal mercifully with them. trials, “He has not dealt with us after our - He has been accustomed to appear for them sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniqui- in their temporal exigences; and though they ties." If they pray, it is with the sentiment have not had the miracle of the ravens, and of Daniel : “ We do not present our suppli- the meal, they have had the mercy: “Their cations before thee for our righteousness, but bread has been given them, and their water for thy great mercies." If they hope, it is a has been sure; and he has blessed their bread
and their water." —He has been accustomed them mercy was to excite our application, to indulge them, peculiarly with his own pre- and to pull up despair by the roots. And sence, when creatures have failed them by hence the characters of many of those who death, or weakness, or perfidy: so that they have found mercy. In acts of grace among could say, “Nevertheless the Lord stood by men, the principal offenders are always exme: I am not alone, because the Father is cepted ; and the reason is, not only because with me.”—He has been accustoined to coun- they are more deserving of punishment, but teract their fears, and surpass their expecta- their pardon would be dangerous, by being so tions When they said in their haste, “I am exemplary: but God has, in every age, called cut off from before his eyes;" he has “heard and saved some of the vilest of the vile; and the voice of their supplication, when they so far from his wishing to conceal it, one of cried unto him: at even-tide it has been light: these ringleaders, in his name, says, “How. he has turned the shadow of death into the beit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in morning.” What appalled them in appre- me first Jesus Christ might show forth all hension thcy endured with cheerfulness: "as longsuffering, for a pattern to them which the sufferings abounded, the consolations" should hereafter believe on him to life evermore than counterbalanced them; and their lasting.” When convinced of sin, and feel greatest gains sprang from their greatest ing our desert, and urged to seek for the losses.-He has been accustomed to bear with greatest of all blessings, from him whom we their ignorance and weakness; to “help their have offended and provoked ; it is not a little infirmities;" to “uphold them with his free encouragement we need. And have we not Spirit;" to " show them his power and glory everlasting consolation and good hope through in the sanctuary;" to say to their souls, “I grace? Let us think of the gift of his dear am thy salvation." But where shall I stop? Son. Let us remember the promises and in
vitations of the Gospel. Let us reflect upon “My Saviour, my Almighty Friend, When I begin thy praise,
the examples of his grace. Let us consider Where will ihe growing numbers end, the invariableness of his regard to prayerThe numbers of thy grace ?"
" This poor man cried, and the Lord heard All his dealings with his people have been him, and delivered him out of all his trouble" nothing but mercy. He was merciful to them -" They looked unto him, and were lightenwhen he frowned, as well as when he smiled. ed, and their faces were not ashamed." — When he denied, as well as when he indulged. “He never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye When he took away, as well as when he me in vain." But, gave. What use ought we to make of this ? ! V. WE SHOULD BE ANXIOUS TO SECURE THE
IV. His MERCY TOWARDS THEM SHOULD | MERCY THAT IS PECULIAR TO THEM; and not ENCOURAGE US TO IMPLORE MERCY FOR OUR be satisfied with his common kindness. - Be SELVES. “Be merciful unto me, as thou merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto usest to do unto those that love thy name.” those that love thy name." “I ask nothing but what thou hast been in the God is good to all; and his tender mercies constant practice of giving. I come after are over all his works. The sun is called his millions, every one of whom has said, “It is sun; and he makes it to shine upon the evil good for me to draw near to God. O taste and upon the good ; and sendeth his rain upon and see that the Lord is good : blessed is the the just and upon the unjust. David had reman that trusteth in him.' ”.
ceived from God a crown-and so had PhaBeggars naturally love to go to a door raoh long before him. David had geniuswhere others have been successful, especially so had Ahithophel, who hung himself. Nawhere none have ever been sent empty away. | tural talents and earthly possessions and enThis, indeed, is never the case among men. joyments are common to the righteous and No earthly benefactor, however disposed, can the wicked ; and no man can infer the love or afford universal relief. But we have every hatred of God from them-David prays for thing to inspire our application at " a throne those benefits which are tokens for good and of grace." In what he has done through pledges of Divine friendship. every age, we see his resources and his Again. He knew that as ordinary mercies bounty. We see “the same Lord over all, were not distinguishing, neither were they and rich unto all that call upon hiin.”—And satisfying. The greatest abundance of them we know that he is unchangeably the same. cannot fill the void within ; and tell the im“ His hand is not shortened that it cannot mortal mind to rove no more. There is no save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear." true peace nor joy but as we are able to say -And we know that all those who have been of the God of all grace, " Thou art the saved and blessed by him, had no more to re- strength of my heart, and my portion for commend them to his regards than we have, ever." but originally stood before him “ wretched Yea, temporal blessings may even draw us and miserable, and poor, and blind, and na- astray, and become our sin and ruin. Hos ked.”_We go a step further, and we say, many are there now in hell cursing their sucthat one end God had in view in showing cess in business, because it set their affections on things below; their honour, because it that run the race that is set before them, and flattered their pride; their plenty, because it fight the good fight of faith. Therefore he fed their passions and lusts_" The prosperity will not expect, nor desire, the Divine blessof fools shall destroy them."
| ing without prayer: for it has always been To which we may add, that these outward | God's way to make his people sensible of blessings, however good in themselves, are their wants, and to give in answer to prayer. not durable. They are “ the meat that Therefore he will not expect nor desire to perisheth." They are “the treasure that reach heaven without difficulties : for his moth and rust can corrupt, and thieves break people have always had to deny themselves, through and steal." They are “but for a and take up their cross. If they have not moment.” “O give me,” says the man like- been chosen in the furnace of affliction, they minded with David, “give me the ineat that have been purified. God had one Son withendureth unto everlasting life. Give me the out sin, but he never had one without sorrow: "treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor “he scourgeth every son whom he receivrust can corrupt, nor thieves break through eth.” “Yes," says the suppliant before us, and steal.' Tell me that the eternal God is " secure me their everlasting portion, and I my refuge, and that underneath are the ever- am willing to drink of the cup they drank of, lasting arms.' What are the wants of my and to be baptized with the baptism they body to the necessities of my soul! Not only were baptized with. I want no new, no byis every thing here going, but I am going! path to glory. I am content to keep the I am a dying creature; I have nothing, if I King's high road. “Be merciful unto me, as have not a hope beyond the grave. I want thou usest to do unto those that fear thy pardon. I want holiness. I want the ear-name-I ask no more.” nests of the Spirit. I want a better country. I conclude by observing, that with regard There are those who feel a peace which pass to some of you this prayer has been answered. eth all understanding; and rejoice in hope of You are not able, perhaps, to ascertain prethe glory of God.
cisely how it was at first awakened in your
bosom: but it was awakened ; and made you • Where is the shadow of that Rock That from the sun defends thy flock ?
to differ from others, and from yourselves. Fain would I feed among thy sheep,
From that hour it has been the prevailing peAmong them rest, among them sleep.''
tition ; nor has it been offered in vain-He • Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do has looked upon you, and been merciful unto unto those that love thy name.' ”.
you, as he useth to do unto those that love his Lastly. We sHOULD BE CONTENT IF God name. Be not afraid to acknowledge it. Be DEALS WITH US AS HE HAS ALWAYS DEALT | humble, but be grateful; and say, to the WITH HIS PEOPLE. While he could not be praise and glory of his grace, “ Thou hast satisfied with any thing less than their por- given me the heritage of those that fear thy tion, David asks for nothing better; he im-name.” plores no singular dispensation in his favour, I hope some of you are beginning to make no deviation from the accustomed methods of this prayer your own. The world does not his grace. “Be merciful unto me, as thou appear to you now as it once did; your conusest to do unto those that love thy name." nexion with it is loosened, and you long to This was the disposition of Paul: “if by any form an alliance with a better. You wish to means I might attain unto the resurrection of be companions of them that fear God. And the dead." He did not prescribe, but submit. what should hinder you? They will receive The end was every thing; the way he left, you with delight; they are all saying, “ Come with a holy indifference, to God. And it is with us, and we will do you good; for the always a good proof that your convictions Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.” and desires are from the operation of the Spi- “ And I will receive you, and be à Father rit when you are willing to conform to God's unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughorder. What is this order?. It is to dispense ters, saith the Lord Almighty.” If he is not his blessings connectedly. It is never to jus- with us, he is not far oft'; for “the Lord is tify without sanctifying ; never to give a title nigh unto them that call upon him, to all to heaven without a meetness for it. Now that call upon him in truth.” But he is with the man that is divinely wrought upon will you. It is he that has excited the desire you not expect, or desire the one, without the feel; and “He will fulfil the desire of them other. Therefore he will not expect or de- that fear him: he also will hear their cry, sire the blessing of God without obedience: and will save them. Blessed are they that because it is always God's way to connect the do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for comforts of the Holy Ghost with the fear of they shall be filled.” the Lord; and, if his children transgress his. But what can we say to those who never laws, to visit their transgressions with a rod. / yet in earnest made the prayer of David Therefore he will neither expect nor desire their own! In a little time, you must leave his blessing without exertion : for it has als all your possessions and enjoyments, relations ways been God's way to crown only those and friends, to enter an eternal world, and