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his fellow, Zech. xiii. 7. even Christ Jesus, on our account, because he had taken upon him our suretyship, our debt is now paid, law and justice perfectly satisfied, and we acquitted from the charge ; which is made manifest by the Lord our surety having been taken from prison, as one who had fully paid the debt of the elect, and therefore ought no longer to lie there, Isa. liii. 8. Matt. xxviii. 2---8.
This brook also recalleth to my remembrance that striking comparison which the Psalmist maketh betwixt himself, longing for the ordinances of God's grace in the tabernacle, and the hart thirsting for the brooks of water.
After that creature has been long and sorely hunted in a dry and parched wilderness, the ardour with which it pants and longs for brooks of water to quench its almost insatiable thirst, is only felt by such a believer as David was, when debarred from holding communion with his God, in the public ordinances of his grace.
Thus did the man after God's own heart, when banished from the public ordinances of God, either by the wicked persecution of Saul, or the unnatural rebellion of his son Absalom, or both, saying, “ As the hart panteth
" after the water brooks, so panteth my soul . after thee, O God: my soul thirsteth for
“ God, for the living God: when shall I “ come and appear before God?" Psal. xlii. 1, 2. “O God, thou art my God, early will “I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, “ my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and “ thirsty land where no water is ; to see thy “ power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee “ in the sanctuary.” Psal. Ixiii. 1, 2. “How “ amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of “ hosts ! my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth “ for the courts of the Lord; my heart and “ my flesh crieth out for the living God !” Psalm lxxxiv. 1, 2.
The more any person longeth for communion with God in the ordinances of his grace, the greater are his evidences for heaven; for he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the, hungry soul with goodness, Psalm cvii. 9. And our ever blessed Lord hath said, “ Bles“sed are they that hunger and thirst after
5 righteousness, for they shall be filled,"| Matt. v. 6.
On the contrary, the less that any one longeth for communion with God in his or. dinances, the less is his evidences for heaven.. If they are pronounced blessed who hunger and thirst after righteousness, certainly they who do not so, nor ever will, are, and shall be cursed.
O may I then, whatever others do, aften be communing with my own heart concerning what appetite I have for spiritual things, and praying, whatever this be, that it may be increased.
Water is very refreshing to the thirsty traveller; and so are the ordinances of divine grace to the Zion pilgrim : to him they prove as refreshing and strengthening in his hea! venly journey, as those wells which the Israelites dug up in the dry valley of Bacca were to them when going to Zion, Psalm lxxxiv. 6, 8. ir
. And as the spies who went to view the lạnd of Canaan returned not without some
of the fruits thereof, having brought from the brook Eschol a cluster of grapes, also of the pomegranates, and of the figs, Num. xiii. 23. In like manner, those who go to the ordinances of the gospel, in order to get a faith's view of the heavenly Canaan, will not return without tasting some of its fruits : for by the brook of divine ordinances grow continually a large cluster of gospel promises ; grapes, pomegranates, and figs of consolation, for the refreshing, comforting, and strengthening, of all true believers ; of which precious fruits they may freely take, and eat, without money and without price, Isa. ly. 1. Nay, not only freely eat themselves, but even invite others, saying with the Psalmist, “a. “ taste, and see that the Lord is good.” Ps. xxxiv. 8. And this is one distinguishing mark of all who haye tasted that the Lord is gracious, they would have others also to taste of his goodness.
This brook likewise putteth me in mind of that out of which the stripling David chose the five smooth stones with which he went against the giant of the Philistines, and who, by only using one of them, prevailed over that blyştering defier of Israel, 1 Sam. xvii.
40.---49. Just so every believer, though but a stripling, weak and insufficient of himself to combat against Satan, the world, and the flesh, in the brook of gospel ordinances findeth five smooth stones; namely, saving faith in the merits of Christ, love to God, repentance unto life, a sight of his own emptiness, and a view of the fulness of Christ, by means of all which he prevaileth against, and finally overcometh, those mighty giants.
May I then examine myself, whether I have ever found these smooth stones in the brook of divine ordinances; and if I have ever used them with the sling of divine grace against my spiritual foes, and what success I have had in the attempt. Thus examining my. self, through grace, I may come to know how I have profited by gospel ordinances; whether I have wrestled against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, Eph. vi. 12.; and when ther, like Paul, I have fought the good fight, 2 Tim. iv. 7,