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of heaven. Blessed are they who hunger, battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the and thirst after righteousness: for they shall wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, be filled.”—This is what we mean by being nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and poor and needy, experimentally.
chance happeneth to them all." There are As all believers feel this to be their condi- those who have met with losses which no talent tion, so we may observe no difference is could have prevented. Every time they have made in their sense of it by their worldly attempted to row, the wind and waves have circumstances. David was a king; yet this been contrary. Is this the case with any of did not alter the view he had of himself, as a you? Are you set back in life? Are your fallen, sinful, perishing creature before God. visions fled? Are your purposes broken off'? His palace was not a substitute for heaven, Remember, this has been the case with mulnor even caused him to forget it. He had titudes of your brethren who were before you fame, and armies, and riches; yet these in the world. Your elder brother had not could not supply the place of all spiritual where to lay his head; was a man of sorblessings: he therefore prays, “Remember rows and acquainted with grief. Your conme, O Lord, with the favour that thou bear- dition is not the result of chance, but appointest unto thy people: 0 visit me with thy sal- ment. Your safety and welfare required it. vation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, In more easy and flattering circumstances, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy na- you would have had less love to the Scription, that I may glory with thine inheritance." | tures; less business at a throne of grace; “I am poor and needy," says the believer, less longings after a better country ; less t" unless as I obtain the true riches, the un-proof of the tender care of Providence and searchable riches of Christ: and I often fear the all-sufficiency of Divine grace. This is I have none of them. But if I am a pos- what we mean by being poor and needy, in a sessor-O how small a portion do I possess! temporal sense. Let us, How little, compared with what I want and Il. Examine THE GLORIOUS ASSURANCE wish! How little, compared with the in- “ I am poor and needy ; yet the Lord thinkfinite fulness there is in the Redeemer! How | eth upon me.” This is, little, compared with the acquisitions of First, the language of confidence. David others! They have received from him fulness, speaks without hesitation, and so may every and grace for grace. But I have not attain Christian; for there is nothing of which they ed: I am not already perfect. How weak can be more certain than this That God is my faith; how wavering my hope; how thinks upon them. flameless my zeal. How far-ó how far am It is proved by his relations. He calls I from being filled with all the fulness of himself their deliverer; their friend ; their God -I am less than the least of all saints! | husband; their father; and as a divinity is I am nothing!”—This is what we mean by attached to these relations, they must all being poor and needy, comparatively. | therefore be perfectly exemplified. His beni
But David was liable to affliction; and ficiaries, his bride, his children therefore, can there had been periods when he was low in never be forgotten. his outward estate. He was originally a It is proved by his promises. “Remember shepherd, and often acknowledged, with these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my equal humility and gratitude, his elevation servant: I have formed thee; thou art my in life. Even after he had the throne of Is- servant: 0 Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten rael promised him, and the holy oil had been of me."--"I will never leave thee, nor forpoured upon his head, he was driven out sake thee.” These are words found in a from his inheritance, and was an exile in book we know to be divine. They are the other lands; pursued from place to place, words, not of a man, that may lie, or the son “ like a partridge upon the mountains;" re- of man, that may repent, but of the God of duced to the necessity of imploring of a truth. Talking and doing may be two things foreign prince an asylum for his father and with creatures, but they are the same with mother; and compelled to beg a sword and him. He is often better than his word; but even bread for himself at Nob. Years after who ever found him worse? he was enthroned he was betrayed and op! It is proved by his works. What has he posed, and forced by a rebellion the most un- not done, O Christian, to justify your hope! natural to leave his palace and his capital! He remembered you in your low estate. Some believers, through life, have had very Without your desert, and without your delittle of this world's goods. They have found sire, he raised up for you a Saviour; and it hard to provide things honest in the sight seemed to love your souls better than his own of all men. We sometimes censure and con- Son. “He spared not his own Son, but dedemn; as if men were the absolute masters livered him up for you all; and shall he not of their secular condition: but they are not. with him freely give you all things?"--He It does not depend upon every man to rise found you wandering the downward road, and and prosper: “I returned, and saw under the turned your feet into the path of peace. He sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the l has admitted you into his service, and adopt. ed you into his family. Had he a mind to "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord think. kill you, he would not have shown you such eth upon me.” things as these. You have had your fears, It is rendered wonderful by the greatness but he has shown you their folly. You have of God. What a trifling elevation leads we said, “I am cast out of his sight;" but you man to overlook another! How generally are have been enabled to look again towards his the lower ranks disregarded by those who holy temple, and the shadow of death has have a few acres of land, a little shining dust, been turned into the morning. You have or an empty title to distinguish them-while not advanced as you ought to have done, and they are only worms themselves, and are you mourn it; but you can say, to the praise crushed before the moth. “But behold, God of the glory of his grace, “Our heart is not is great, and we know him not. All nations turned back, neither have our steps declined are before him as nothing.' Well, therefore, from thy way: though thou hast sore broken did David, when he surveyed the universe, us in the place of dragons, and covered us exclaim, “Lord, what is man, that thou art with the shadow of death.”
mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou How many things are there worthy of par- visitest him!” This is nothing less than Lticular review in your history. Though they finite Power and Majesty stooping to weakhave been less marvellous, they have not been ness and meanness. less merciful than his dispensations towards It is rendered wonderful by our unworthihis people of old. Have you not been deli- ness. The more holy any being is, the core vered - from the land of Egypt and the house must he be offended with sin. How then of bondage, by a strong hand and an out-must God be provoked by it, who is of purer stretched arm?”—I mean have you not been eyes than to behold iniquity! “And vet bow “ delivered from the power of darkness, and much has he seen in me," says the Christian, translated into the kingdom of God's dear “ to try him, not only before I knew him, but Son ?" Have you not had the bitter waters since I have been called by his name. I canof Marah healed by casting a tree into them? not take the most superficial review of mv-I mean, have not your sufferings been self without seeing that it is of the Lord's sweetened by the cross of Christ? Have you mercies I am not consumed. Where is there not been fed by ravens ?-I mean, have not any other benefactor that would have conti the most unlikely instruments befriended nued his regards, or have given me anoiber you? Have not the oil and the wine multi-thought, after such instances of perverseness plied ?-I mean, have not inconsiderable re- and vileness as I have been chargeable with sources been rendered sufficient for your ex- from year to year towards God ?" igences; so that, while you had nothing to 1 Thirdly. It is the language of consolation, depend upon, you have lacked nothing ? “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh 66 Whoso is wise, and will observe these upon me.” This is enough: this will wore things, even they shall understand the loving-than counterbalance every thing that is dekindness of the Lord;" and be able to say, “Ifective or distressing in my condition. There am poor and needy- yet the Lord thinketh are three things in God's thinking upon us upon me."
that are solacing and delightful. Secondly. It is the language of wonder. Observe the frequency of his thoughts. InIt is said by the apostle Peter, that God calls deed they are incessant. You have a friend his people out of darkness into his marvellous whom you esteem and love. You wish to light; and one of the things which fill them live in his mind. You say, when you part with surprise, and continue to fill them with and when you write, “ Think of me.” You surprise through life is, that God fails not to give him, perhaps, a token to revive his reregard such creatures as we are.
membrance. How naturally is Selkirk, in It is rendered truly wonderful by the “con- his solitary island, made to say ; duct of men." This we continually witness; and we are prone to judge from what falls
“My friends,- do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? under our own observation. How many,
O tell me I yet have a friend, alas! of those with whom you have to do,
Though a friend I am never to see! prove either frail or treacherous ! How many
“ Ye winds, that have made me your sport, have abandoned you, after the warmest ex
Convey to this desolate shore pressions of friendship and kindness! How Some cordial, endearing report
of a land I shall visit no more." often have you heard the voice saying, “Cease from man ! Cursed is the man that trusteth But the dearest connexion in the world in man, and maketh flesh his arm!” In this cannot be always thinking upon you. Half way you have been peculiarly tried when re- his time he is in a state of unconsciousness; duced; for people reverse the maxim of So- and how much, during the other half, is he lomon, and suppose a friend born for prosper- engrossed! But there is no remission in the ity. The flower that, while fresh and green, Lord's thoughts. He never slumbers: and is put into the bosom, is thrown away when though he manages worlds, and calls the shriveled and dry. But it is otherwise here. I stars by their names, he numbers the hairs
of thy head, and regards thee as much as if | God, for good. Seek the Lord, and ye shall thou wert his only care..
live." Observe, in the next place, the wisdom of O believer! If God thinks upon you, ought his thoughts. You have a dear child absent you not to think upon him? David did. “How from you, and you follow him in your mind. precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O But you know not his present circumstances. God? how great is the sum of them! If I You left him in such a place--but where is should count them, they are more in number he now? You left him in such a condition than the sand : when I awake I am still with but what is he now? Perhaps, while you are thee.” If he minds your affairs-Be not you thinking of his health, he is groaning under forgetful of his. Ever ask, “Lord, what wilt a bruised limb, or a painful disorder. Perhaps, thou have me to do?" Ever cry, “Speak, while you are thinking of his safety, some Lord, for thy servant heareth." enemy is taking advantage of his innocency. Perhaps, while you are rejoicing in his prudence, he is going to take a step that will
DISCOURSE XCVI. involve him for life. But when God thinketh upon you, he is perfectly acquainted with your situation, your dangers, your wants. THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. “ He knows all your walking through this great wilderness"—and can afford you the In that day there shall be a fountain opened seasonable succour you need.-For again, l for sin and for uncleanne88.--Zech. xiii. 1.
Observe the efficiency of his thoughts. THERE are many curious things in nature; You think upon another; and you are anxious and there are things useful and necessary. to guide, or defend, or relieve him. But in But we have things, shall I say, of the same how many cases can you think only! Solici- kind, in the world of grace, far superior; and tude cannot control the disease of the body; superior, because they regard the soul and cannot dissipate the melancholy of the mind. eternity. How is the rising of the orb of day But with God all things are possible. He surpassed by “the Sun of righteousness, who who thinks upon you is a God at hand, and arises with healing under his wings !" How not afar off; he has all events under his are the meekness of the lily, and the fracontrol; he is the God of all grace. If, \ grance of the rose, excelled by “the rose of therefore, he does not immediately deliver, it Sharon and the lily of the valley!" It is is not because he is unable to redress, but be-pleasing to behold a number of trees adorned cause he is waiting to be gracious. “ The with blossoms, or bending with fruit—but we Lord is a God of judgment, and blessed are have in the Church “ trees of righteousness, all they that wait for him.”— Let us con- the planting of the Lord, that he might be clude.
glorified.” It is delightful to view a river Here we see how it is that the believer refreshing and fertilizing the meadows through stands while others sink. He has supports which it murmurs—but we read of “the river peculiar to himself; and when creatures of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceedfrown or fail, he encourages himself in the ing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Lord his God. “ Although my house be not There are fountains. We hear of remarkable so with God, yet he hath made with me an ones abroad. We have some very valuable everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, ones in our own country. One of these buband sure: for this is all my salvation, and all bles up in the place of our residence; and to my desire, although he make it not to grow. which multitudes repair for relief. But I Although the fig tree shall not blossom, nei- have to invite your attention this evening to ther shall fruit be in the vines; the labour a fountain infinitely more wonderful and efof the olive shall fail, and the fields shall ficacious, and of which Zechariah speaks, in yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the words which I have read: “In that day the fold, and there shall be no herd in the there shall be a fountain opened for sin and stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will for uncleanness." joy in the God of my salvation. I am poor For, my brethren, to what can he refer, and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me." but the exclamation of John, the forerunner
Is this your portion? How anxious are of the Messiah--Behold the Lamb of God, men to gain the notice of their fellow-crea- that taketh away the sin of the world !" tures, especially if they are a little raised Nothing less will be found sufficient to jusabove themselves in condition! “ Many will. tify, or imbody the language. Even allowentreat the favour of the prince, and every ing that Zechariah had not the same distinct one is a friend to him that giveth gifts." and explicit views of the Saviour that we But in this case you are never sure you shall have who possess the explanations of the succeed; and you have gained nothing if you New Testament writers; it does not follow do. Whereas here—the success is sure, and that this was not his object; for we know the success is—every thing. Pray therefore, that the prophets often delivered predictions with Nehemiah, “ Think upon me, O my which they did not completely understand;
and therefore studied them after they had and yet undiminished. He is in himself an announced them: “ searching what, or what infinite and everlasting source of all the inmanner of time the Spirit of Christ which was fluences and blessings we need: “In him in them did signify, when it testified before- dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodihand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory ly: and of his fulness have all we received, that should follow. Unto whom it was re- and grace for grace." vealed, that not unto themselves, but unto. Secondly. This fountain was to be opened. us, they did minister the things, which are If a fountain was shut up, and sealed, though now reported unto you by them that have the contents would be equally precious in preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy themselves, they would be useless to us; yea, Ghost sent down from heaven; which things they would only provoke our desire, to torthe angels desire to look into."
ment us. And what would the Saviour's exI am not unmindful of the day* which has cellences and benefits be to us, if unattainassembled us together; but my choice of a able and inaccessible? But they are placed subject shows that I consider it of little im- within our view, and within our reach. This portance, to dwell upon the crucifixion of fountain was actually opened in his sufferings. Christ, as a wonderful, or a tragical scene. His blood flowed in the garden, and upon the I am aware that such a pathetical represent- cross. His back was wounded by the scourge; ation might be given of the history as would his temples with the crown of thorns; his draw tears from every eye-while the mind hands and his feet with the nails; his side remained uninformed of, and the heart un- with the spear. Then was the fountain openaffected with, the nature and design of the ed; and one, hard by, beheld it event The grand thing is, to know why
“The dying thief rejoiced to see the dispensation was necessary; and, real
That fountain, in his day;" izing its accomplishment in ourselves, to be able to say, “He was wounded for our trans
And oh! that each of us, with humility and gressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
confidence, may be able to add ; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; "And there have I, as vile as he, and with his stripes we are healed."
Wash'd all my sins away !" I have two things in view.-I. TO EX- The apostles laid it open doctrinally, in their PLAIN THE PROMISE.-II. TO IMPROVE THE preaching. Paul could appeal to the CorinthiTRUTH IT CONTAINS.
ans, and say; " I determined not to know any I. In THE EXPLANATION ON THE PROMISE, thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him three things are observable. The fountain crucified.” And referring both to the subject the opening-and the end.
of his preaching, and the plain and lively First. The fountain. This image holds manner in which he had delivered it, he could forth the Redeemer. In distinction from crea- say to the Galatians, “ Before your eyes Jesus tures, which are cisterns, broken cisterns, Christ hath been evidently set forth crucithat can hold no water,” he may well call|fied among you." himself the fountain of living waters." The It was, unquestionably, open, when the Jews were accustomed, on the last, which apostles wrote their epistles; for thousands was called the great day of the feast, to fetch were rejoicing in the efficacy of this fountain, water from the pool of Siloam, singing the and could say, “We are come to the blood words of Isaiah, “ Therefore with joy shall of sprinkling—We are redeemed with the ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The On that very occasion, we find our Saviour blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from preaching; and he takes advantage of the all sin !"-And is it closed since ? No: it ceremony to proclaim himself to the multi- stands open now-open, in the means of grace tude as the true source of blessedness: “In |-open, in the invitations of the Wordthe last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus open, in the nearness, the power, and the stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let grace of the Saviour-how open while he him come unto me, and drink. He that be- says, “ Him that cometh unto me I will in no lieveth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out wise cast out !" of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Thirdly. This fountain is “ opened for sin To the woman of Samaria he had said before, and for uncleanness." There had been “ The water that I shall give him, shall be provisions for ceremonial pollution, under the in him a well of water springing up into Mosaical economy. There was the brazen everlasting life.”He shall possess a pleni- sea, fifty feet in circumference, and ten in tude himself: but the fulness of the Christian depth; in which the priests were to wash is limited; is derived; is the fulness of a ves- their hands and feet. There were also ten sel. This vessel is supplied from the fulness lavers, in which the things offered in sacrifice of a fountain and this fountain is the Lord were washed, and whence the water was Jesus. His fulness is original and boundless, taken to sprinkle the offerers. There were It is the fulness of a spring; always flowing, also fountains for bodily diseases—the pool * Good Friday
of Siloam to which our Saviour sent the man
born blind; and the pool of Bethesda, where | And as things strike us most forcibly by conlay a great number of sufferers, waiting for trast, the more he is enlightened to see the the troubling of the waters. These probably purity and glory of God; and especially his had a preternatural quality imparted to them, grace and love in the person, work, and sufabout this period, to rouse the mind to expect- ferings of his dear Son; instead of being reation, and to prepare it to contemplate the ap- conciled to himself, the more will he feel of proaching Recoverer of the human race. He the temper of Job, who exclaimed, “ Behold, differed from all these, as a fountain for moral I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? whereand spiritual defilement—" for sin and for un- fore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and cleanness."
ashes." And sin is uncleanness. Its very naturel But there is a fountain that washes out is contamination. The moment it touched a even the stains of the soul-and of sin! And number of angels in heaven, it turned them it was opened for this very purpose: “In that into devils, and expelled them from their first day there shall be a fountain opened for sin estate. It is so contagious, that it infects and for uncleanness." And I proceed, every thing in contact with it, so that, as the II. TO IMPROVE THE TRUTH CONTAINED IN house of the leper was to be taken down be- THE PROMISE. And should I dwell longer on cause of the inhabitant, “ the heavens shall this part of our subject than on the former, it pass away with a great noise, and the ele- will not appear wonderful to those who rements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth | flect, how much more ready people are to also, and all the works that are therein, shall hear than to apply; and how seldom practice be burned up"—not because they are guilty ; keeps pace with speculation. In order to but because they have been the witnesses, commend myself to every man's conscience the instruments, the abodes of sin.
| in the sight of God, I arrange the assembly Sin is a pollution the most deep and diffu- | in five classes; each of which has a relation sive: it stops not at the surface, but pene- to the truth before us. The first are ignorant. trates the inner man of the heart; it spreads The second presumptuous. The third selfthrough every power, from the highest intel-righteous. The fourth the fearful. The lectual faculty, down to the lowest animal fifth the believing. appetite. If any part were left uninjured, it first. The ignorant. The Apostle speaks would seem to be the conscience-but no; of some who cried, Peace, peace, while sudthe very conscience itself is defiled: and den destruction was coming upon them—such nothing has been too vile to be perpetrated a difference is there between confidence and ander its permission, and in obedience to its security. Our Lord tells us of some who are dictates. It is a pollution the most horrible “ whole, and need not the physician"-so neand dangerous, as it disfigures us before God; cessary is a conviction of our spiritual state and renders us odious in his sight. And no- to excite a proper regard to the Saviour. And, thing else does this. Poverty does not; mean- to vary the metaphor, some are not defiled, ness does not; disease does not-Lazarus full and need not this fountain opened for sin and of sores, begging at the rich man's gate, and uncleanness. We do not mean that there Job, covered with biles, among the ashes, are any really in this condition, and the reawere dear to God, and lay in his bosom. But son is involved in the inquiry, “Who can sin is the abominable thing which his soul bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?" It hates. Men often roll it, as a sweet morsel, is a law pervading all nature, that “like beunder their tongue; but it is more poisonous gets like.” A viper brings forth a poisonous than the gall of asps. They think lightly of brood. Swine produce something that loves it; but can that be a trifling thing which the mire. The skin of an Ethiopian will be causes God to hate the very work of his own black. What but depraved offspring can de. hands—“ my soul loathed them!"-and' in- scend from sinful parents? Therefore, says duce the very " Father of mercies" to say at Job, “What is man, that he should be clean, last, “ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting or he that is born of a woman, that he should fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." be righteous!” The Scripture assures us that
Have you, my hearers, such views of sin? "all have sinned and come short of the glory Does it appear to you, as it does to the Judge of God." It teaches us, that "the heart is of all, exceeding sinful ?
deceitful above all things, and desperately Such is certainly the sentiment of every wicked.” It assures us that it is not the life man who is “convinced of sin.” The Holy which defiles the heart; but the heart the Spirit leads him to see, not only its guilt, but life: “For from within, out of the heart of its defilement; and while the one excites his men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornifear, the other calls forth his aversion. Self-cations, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickcomplacency is then ruined for ever. He no edness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, longer wonders that he stands excluded, in blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil his present state, from the presence of a holy things come from within, and defile the man." God. He feels that he deserves to perish It requires no less than a change of nature, to and cries with the leper, “Unclean, unclean." show that our nature is depraved; and it re