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of his eye.” (Zech. ii. 8.) Saul was persecuting the Lord's people; and Jesus called to him from heaven, saying, “ Saul ! Saul! why persecutest thou me ?" (Acts ix. 4.) There is somewhat so very gracious and accomniodating in this to all the cases and circumstances of the Lord's whole family, that I cannot pass away from it, until that I have first desired every one, and the poorest and least of Christ's little ones, always to have it in view,--Jesus comforts all that mourn in Zion.

You will observe that I have assumed 'for granted every one knows by whom the words of my text were spoken; it were to hold a candle of the night to add to the light of the sun at mid-day, to suppose any one need information who

was the Almighty Speaker: none but him “who spake as never man spake ” could have used such language, or been competent to the acts proposed of comforting. But that no possible doubt might arise on this ground, we find the Lord of life and glory opening his very first sermon in the days of his flesh, in the Jewish synagogue, with the same words as he had before spoken by the prophet ; and when he had so done, Jesus added, “this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke iv. 21.)

The whole passage is beautiful, had you time to attend to it. Jesus opens it with speaking of his unction. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all that mourn." All these are one and the same characters, though expressed differently, under different features; they are all of the sons and daughters of Adam, and alike condemned in the Adam-fall transgression. It is not to the world, neither to natural man unrenewed, the expressions are suited. The meek, to whom the good tidings are preached, doth not mean such as the world call men of meekness, who by dint of natural education, or restraints from the fear of men, sometimes appear very gentle and affable; and can, and do, in the presence of those they fear, or wish to stand well with, smother the natural anger boiling within. The pharisees and scribes excelled in this in Christ's days; and the race is not extinct in our days. But had this been the meekness Jesus had in view, when he said to such he came “to preach good tidings,” ancient Greece and Rome had men that prided themselves in not resenting injuries, and assuming the appearance of meekness. My brethren, the meekness of the gospel differs as widely from this natural hypocrisy, as the east from the west. Our Lord hath defined this meekness, of which he spake, when in his divine sermon on the mount, he said, “ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. v. 5.) The whole is a comprehensive statement of precious souls brought under the sentence of condemnation in their own hearts; they are meek and lowly in their own eyes; they have read, or heard, in the word of God, of their guilt and misery, as they stand in themselves before God; and, as such, they rejoice to hear Christ preaching good tidings to the meek; and, under divine teaching, they wait as broken-hearted, to be bound up,andas captives of sin and Satan, to be delivered. It is of such, and to such only, the Lord speaks, when declaring himself the healer of his people, and “to comfort all that mourn ;" similar to that divine promise of Scripture, “ for the Lord taketh pleasure in his people ; he will beautify the meek with salvation.” (Psalm cxlix. 4.)

What I farther propose in the prosecution of this subject is, to consider in the first place the comprehensive nature of this comfort; which not only furnisheth ample resources as a remedy against all sorrow, but extends to all the varied and multiplied calamities of the Lord's people through life. When I have finished this branch of the subject, it will be proper, under the second particular, to enquire into the character of those mourners whom the Lord will comfort, and how they are distinguished from that sorrow of the world which worketh death. These preparatory enquiries will best pave the way for the contemplation of Him, in his infinite fulness, ability, and suitableness to comfort all that mourn. The good Lord, if it be his blessed will, realize the truth to the spiritual joy of all his people here; that each may find his own case particularly visited by the Lord, according to his own words, wherein he saith, “ I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” (Jer, xxxi. 25.)

I am, first, to consider the comprehensive nature of this comfort, wherein the Lord Jesus undertakes to comfort all that mourn. And, without advancing a step farther, it will be very obvious that the whole is comprised in himself; all the persons in the GodHEAD have concurred, and do concur, in the mighty act; but it is in the person of our most glorious Christ the infinite treasure is contained for communication : “I, even I, am he that comforteth you.” (Isaiah li. 12.) And hence, when proclamation was made in the holy mountain, that the church should be refreshed with the abundance of consolations, the cry was, “ Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received at the Lord's hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah xl. 1.) It is sin which is the cause of all sorrow ; on the supposition, therefore, that sin is taken away, with the departure of sin would cease sorrow : yea, even the afflictions of life would be sanctified blessings. Now as the Lord Jesus “hath put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, hence he is in himself the source of all comfort ; and in the spiritual knowledge and enjoyment of him, Jesus comforts all that mourn ; he gives (as this Scripture states)“ beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah lxi. 3.)

But we must not stop here. Such is the comprehensiveness of this incalculable blessing, that when Jesus comes to comfort his people, and them that mourn, he converts their very troubles into sources of joy, and makes their tears richer than the “spiced wine of the pomegranate.” Here we discover a divine hand, and have such manifestations from the Lord, during our mournful seasons, as shew that, but for those seasons, we should have lost a thousand comforts. And it was the consciousness of this made one of old cry out, “it was good for me to have been afflicted.” (To instance but one among many.) What blessed communion hath been produced by the means of soul exercises ! how often have they constrained the people of God to visit the throne of grace, when a state of uninterrupted prosperity hath made them strangers at court ! When, therefore, the Lord hedges our way up with thorns; and if thorns will not do to keep us from our earthly lovers, the Lord makes a wall, that we shall not get over. Oh ! how gracious is it in the Lord, to allure us into some wilderness-dispensation, and there speak comfortably to us! (Hosea îi. 13, 14.) Brethren! pause over this statement; make it personal ; see in the example of your own history, since you knew the Lord, whether, in looking back, you cannot trace how the Lord straitened you in this or that providence, threw a damp upon this or that ordinance, and the several means of grace, at times; and at others enlarged your hearts, on purpose to call off your attention from secondary considerations, to have your whole regard directed to him alone. Here is the way by which the Lord brings about his sacred purposes, to comfort “all that mourn in Zion;" that by drying up all creature resources, as the prophet's brook, we may be brought to live wholly on the fountain : and learn that divine riddle of the apostle, which none but a child of God can understand, “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ; as poor, yet making many rich ; as having nothing; and yet possessing all things:” (2 Cor. vi. 10.)

But it is time to proceed to what I proposed under the second particular, namely, to enquire into the character of those mourners in Zion whom the Lord will comfort, and how they are distinguished in their afflictions from that “sorrow of the world which worketh death.” (2 Cor. vii. 10.)

I begin with observing, that the mourners in Zion are such, and such only, as have been by regeneration, or the new birth, brought into a state of spiritual life, and are thereby rendered capable of spiritual discernment. All men, the church, as well as the world, by the Adam-fall transgression, are alike “dead in trespasses and sins ;and until quickened by sovereign grace into spiritual life, no child of God is capable of mourning for sin. Sorrow for sin is a spiritual act, which the natural man in his unrenewed nature cannot feel. (1 Cor. ii. 14.) Hence it is expressly said, that “ Christ is exalted as a Prince, and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.” (Acts v. 31.) And there is a beautiful order in these sovereign acts of grace, observed by the Holy Three in One towards the church, as distinguished from the world. God the Father hath

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