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a wide religionica, eternae ad shall and com
pride. As Christ is not in it, furnish it with what you please, it will want all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, of which the Christian church is full: for it is a building made of God, the foundation of it is laid upon the rock of ages, even upon Jesus Christ, and in him alone it is built up and supported. And it shall stand for ever, and be as beautiful as the paradise of God, when all human systems shall be in ruins; for this shall survive the flames of the great day, and all its members, with Christ at their head, shall ascend into the church triumphant with eternal glory. And then they who built a religion without Christ will be turned away into a wilderness indeed-even the wilderness of mere moralists, of the profane, and the infidel, unto the place appointed for their eternal reception and torment,
O what a melancholy and terrible state of things is this! and now let us consider, thirdly, how the prospect of it ought to affect us. And whatever our condition be, I think it must affect us greatly : for what grief of heart must it be to every true believer to see the church which once flourished and multiplied exceedingly, now thus diminished and brought low-to behold the in. terest of their sovereign Lord lost, and his princes contemptible, how afflicting is the thought! but it is indeed distressful, when the danger comes nearer to us, and we see the once fruitful church become a wilderness. Such as the poor ignorant heathens were before Christ came, such are we like to be, with this heavy circumstance to add to our misery, that they wished and "longed for what we reject. They saw their want of a Saviour, and embraced the good tidings of the gospel with great joy. But we want no Saviour. Natural religion is enough for us. And the gospel in any other light, than as a system of morality is absolutely rejected. Thus we are in a worse condition by refusing Christ's offers of mercy, than the poor heathens
were ; and consequently our wilderness will be more - dismal and melancholy than theirs. And how soon
our church may be turned into this wilderness God only knows: but of this I am certain, that we deserve it, and we have lately had many loud calls to prepare us for it, and some of his judgments are still heavy upon us, and unless they lead us to repentance, we must perish. Our destruction is at hand. And while our national sins are crying aloud for vengeance, 0 let every one of you, who have any interest in the Saviour of the world call aloud unto him for mercy. Let us pray without ceasing for the continuance of his blessed gospel among us. And let this consideration inflame our hearts, and add zeal to our devotion, that our Lord has promised to set the poor Christians on high out of the reach of affliction.
This is the fourth and last remark which belongs only to believers, who are of Christ's family and flock. Let the times be ever so bad and corrupt, they shall be safe-let the times be ever so tempestuous, they shall be set on high out of the reach of the storm. His grace shall keep them from corruption, and his almighty power shall defend them from the distresses of the times. What a sweet promise is this, and how full is it of consolation ! God grant you may all taste the comforts of it, and then you will be thankful indeed. You will see how gracious a master we serve, and you will have reason to bless his holy name. He will pour down upon you, not contempt, but the riches of his free and unmerited graces : by which you will find, that though the Christians be few, and poor and mean, though the church be diminished low, yet the head of it is still the almighty God. Jesus has all power in heaven and earth, and he can give his followers, howéver the world may despise them, such joys as the world has not to give, and such, thanks be to him for it, as the world cannot take away. And these joys he here promises to them who are of his family and flock. And we know that he is faithful who hath promised. We have experienced his faithfulness. God grant you may all experience it this day, that you may happily
meround then place in ys, omh, and be dull
begin the new year. And though the weather be dull and cloudy like the state of the church, and the sun has not appeared for many days, O may the day star arise, and supply his place in all your hearts with a better light-and then you will go away thankful. And . may the mercy of our most adorable Saviour be extended to this whole church and kingdom, as well as to this congregation. O may he send out his grace to reform the morals, and his good Spirit to stop the infidelity of our people. Blessed Jesus, spare them a little. Now the sound of the gospel is heard in our land, be pleased to accompany it with thy blessing. And if they to whose ears it is brought still reject it, then indeed they will deserve destruction. But in thy wrath, O think upon mercy. Spare thy people, o Lord, spare them, and turn not thine once fruitful heritage entirely and finally into the wilderness. Hear us, thou God of love, and answer our prayers to the glory of the Father, and the eternal Spirit the Trinity in unity-to whoma be equal honour, and wors ship, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
PSALM CVII, 42, 43. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice, and all iniquity
shall stop her mouth. Whoso is wise and will oserve these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.:
The holy Spirit finishes this divine hymn with these words. He here sums up the argument, and makes the application. His subject is thanksgiving. The argument used to inspire us with thankfulness is taken from redemption. And since redemption is the great'est blessing which the Almighty has to bestow upon his creatures, it is consequently the strongest argument for their thankfulness. In order to shew the greatness "of the blessing, the all-wise author of this Psalm has painted under several images the exquisite distress and misery of mankind, before they were redeemed. And these images are just and expressive. They are founded in nature and drawn to the life. And all the redeemed of the Lord have seen their lost estate by sin, which is represented under these images, and can bear their testimony to the truth of the representation: they remember when they wandered in the wilderness out of the way when they fell into the bondage and prison of sin--and were there sore diseased with its plagues and always uneasy and disturbed, like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, tossed and agitated with the storms of vice. The retrospect of these miseries now makes them thankful to their Redeemer, who shewed them the way out of the wilderness, by enlightening their understanding, who delivered them from the prison and bondage of sin by justifying them with his most precious blood, and he sent his word and healed them of all their plagues, by sanctifying them with the holy
anointing of his good Spirit, and thus he calmed and composed all the storms of vice, 'which had threatened their destruction. And then he placed them in the secure haven of the church, where they flourished and multiplied exceedingly. In the early ages of Christianity this part of the Psalm was fulfilled, when the first preachers carried the sound of the gospel into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world. But in these latter days the church is again diminished and brought low by the cruel oppressor, and by sin, and by misery. These are the three causes of its decay, and they have now reduced it into the same wretched state, in which it lay before it had the knowledge of redemption. But in these times of reproach and blasphemy the Redeemer has still a small flock left, over whom he watches with the care and affection of the most tender shepherd. And when he comes to destroy a wicked infidel church, he will set these poor humble Christians on high, out of the reach of affliction, and will make them families like a flock. The righteous “ shall see it and rejoice, and all iniquity shall stop her 6 mouth. Whoso is wise, and will observe those things, 66 even they shall understand the loving kindness of the “ Lord.” God grant that every one of us may be wise to observe those things, and that we may have the true experimental understanding of the loving kindness of the Lord: and then we shall be able to join our thankful hearts and voices with the church militant and triumphant, and to ascribe praise, and honour, and glory to Jesus our redeeming God. And may the eternal Spirit now be present among us, and direct our hearts by his grace, enabling us to finish our meditations upon this Psalm, with that thankfulness and gratitude, with which he intended it should inspire us. And may this be the happy effect of our considering; · First, The sense and meaning of the words, which contain the application of the whole Psalm. The righteous shall see it. The word here rendered righteous is not what the scripture commonly uses to signify righ