« FöregåendeFortsätt »
WHEN? In the seasons of my greatest difficulty, in all my times of sorrow and danger, when filled with fears and doubts, when in poverty and deep afflictions, and when passing through the valley of the shadow of death. When all creature help failed us. When our hearts misgave us. When our enemies were just ready to rejoice over us. When our feet were almost gone, and our steps had well nigh slipped. In the darkest nights, in the dreariest days, on the moun. tain tops, and in the low vallies, the Lord was our stay. Our journey has been long, our road peculiarly trying, our hearts weak and our enemies strong, and long ago we must have perished in our afflictions, or been a prey to our foes, but the Lord was our stay. O‘for grace to praise and bless his glorious name, and to render again according to that which he hath done for us! But the Lord was,
WHAT! “ Our stay," that on which we rested, against which we leaned. Our sup. port, our prop, our defence, and our deliverer. When our hearts fainted, and all around us seemed to give way, we then stay. ed ourselves on his word. His precious word of promise, that he would never leave us, that he would uphold and strengthen us, and that as our day, so shall our strength be. We leaned on his faithfulness. That glorious feature of his character, which inspires the hopeless with hope, and the feeble with cou.
rage. Leaning on the arm of a faithful God we found support, and were enabled to press on our way. We looked to his mercy. That sweet attribute of his nature. His propensity to sympathize with the miserable, relieve the distressed, and hold up them that are falling. We, as well as David, can say, “When my foot was slipping, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up." Then we reflected upon his past goodness, which had been so freely exercised towards us, and was so powerfully exerted for us; and on this we felt that we could rely, persuaded that having begun & good work, he would carry it on, and complete it. Also on his unchangeableness. For he is ever the same. Always in one mind. Without variableness. So, that, though our inward frames, and outward circumstances changed, and we were tempted to think that all things were against us, we had this to de. pend on, that our God is, what he ever was, and ever will be what he is. Then there was his blessed covenant, entered into with his Son before the world was. A covenant ordered in all things and sure. A covenant that anticipates all the wants, variations, and trials of time, and provides for them. A covenant, which is all our salvation and all our desire. This covenant has cheered us in many a stormy day, has comforted us in many a dark night, and has been our solace in many a wintry hour. But for the covenant, and its gracious provisions, where might we not have been! But for the covenant, we had perished in our afflictions. Finally, the res lationship into which God has taken us with himself; he is our Father, and we are his children. And because, that, like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him, we have been enabled to stay our minds on him, and have enjoyed protection and repose. Yes, the Lord has been our stay, and we have been upheld, supported, and supplied, by his gracious word-immutable faithfulness-tender mercy-abundant goodness—unchangeable covenant-and paternal relationship. The Lord was our stay,
How ? *On our part, we were enabled to believe his word, to hope in his mercy, to plead at his throne, and to meditate on his past dealings. On his part, he gave us his word of promise, not only putting it into his book, but into the hand of our faith. He gave us grace to trust in him, as our father and our God. He secretly imparted strength unto us, making us strong in the power of his might. He quietly led us forward step by step, and from stage to stage. And at length, he completely brought us out of every difficulty, danger, and trial ; and will soon place us before his face for ever. We may well say, with the Psalmist, “If the Lord had not been on our side, when men rose up against us, then they had swallowed us up quick.” But blessed be his holy name, he has been for us, and he has been with us, and it is haring ob
tained help from him, that we continue unto this day. We should have fainted under our burdens, we should have yielded to the temptations with which we have been plied, we should have fled before the foes, by whom we have been assaulted, but the Lord was our stay. To his free grace, to his inviolable faithfulness, and to his unchangeable love, we must ascribe, that we are where we are, and what we are.
The Lord, at times, knocks away every prop, removes away every stay, and leaves us himself alone, on whom to rely and de. pend. This experience is very painful, but it is very profitable. It is a great blessing to be brought off, and away from every dependence, but the Lord alone. When we honour God, by trusting in him, he always honours us by supporting, supplying, and delivering us. The source of David's strength, courage, perseverance, and exultation, was the Lord, and the Lord alone ; for the Lord was his stay; and so it must be with us, let as therefore look to him, trust in him, plead with him, and expect from him. In so doing, as in the past, so in the future he will be our stay; and often when heart and flesh are fail. ing, will he whisper, “ Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah, is everlasting strength :" and we shall have to say, "My heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Let us then withdraw our dependence from all creatures ; let us never stay ourselves on any gifts, grace, or experience, we may have ; but let us stay ourselves on the Lord our God. His faithful word, may always be depended on. His gracious covenant, may always be trusted. His ever enduring faithfulness, will always warrant hope, and yield us comfort. His solemn oath, will give us strong consolation. And his paternal love, will make us more than conquerors. To him therefore, who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for over. Amen.
My soul, triumphant in the Lord,
Sball tell its joys abroad;
Supported by its Ġod.
His hand hath been my guide;
My heart shall still confide.
An unexhausted stream;
Shall be my endless theme.
These distant courts I love;
To view thy house above.