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“ nothing." And having thus experienced the love and care of the chief shepherd, how can they withhold from him, that just tribute of praise and gratitude, which he demands ?
These are such great and weighty points, and we are so nearly concerned in them, that we ought not to pass them by unnoticed: for our present and eternal salvation depend on our interest in them, and therefore they should be constantly in our thoughts, that by meditating upon them properly, they may be the means of inspiring us with continual gratitude. And the holy Spirit recorded them in this Psalm, for this very purpose, and every believer applies them to the same end. His redemption--the guilt and misery from which he was redeemed--the free grace of the Redeemer-the great and endless blessings which he purchased for us freely, and which he bestows without money, and without price-blessings truly inestimable in this world the greatest we are capable of receiving—in the next world the highest he has to give, and of the same duration with himself, even infinite and eternal blessings; who can think on these blessings without thanksgiving ? For what must your hearts be, if there be any little dirty groveling object upon this earth, which engages your thoughts, and fixes your affections in preference to these infinite and eternal blessings? Oh! what low creatures are we, notwithstanding our boasted dignity, and fancied rectitude? How abjectly base are we, to prefer shadows to substance, and time to eternity ? To spend our lives in the concerns of this perishing world, and to have no thought or care about the business of the eternal world? This is so irrational and absurd, and so monstrously wicked, that it is indeed sinking ourselves below the beasts that perish. And although never did more men act this low part, than at present, yet was there never more boasting of the dignity of human nature. And what is the worst of all, our moral rectitude, and our other high metaphysical notions are so far from setting us right, that they indispose us to receive the only remedy which can cure us. Where nature fails, what can come in to our aid, but grace! and the grace of God is now an exploded opinion. To talk of it is mere enthusiasm, and to urge the scriptures which speak of it, and which maintain its necessity, this is called religious rant and madness: for the metaphysician wants none of the aids of grace to lead him into all truth, nor does the moralist want any assistance from grace to enable him to practise the whole duty of man. And it can be to little purpose, to persuade persons under these strong delusions to think seriously about their redemption, and to take a view of their misery without it; for they are prejudiced. They love and cherish the opposite opinions. And to work upon men of these tempers, requires some power superior to human. God alone is equal to it. And may he open the eyes of this deluded generation, that they may be disposed to hear the comfortable doctrines delivered in this Psalm, and to receive them in such a manner, that they may see the wonderful mercies of God in redemption, and may, together with the righteous, rejoice and give thanks. And when this great and happy event shall be brought about, (may our almighty God and Saviour effect it soon,) then it follows in the 42d verse, All iniquity shall stop her mouth. The adversary shall be silenced. The enemies of our Lord, seeing his tender care and watchful providence over his people, and finding all their attempts against them unsuccessful, shall hold their peace. They shall be silenced if not convinced. They shall be confounded at the wonders, which the Lord shall work for the salvation of men, and shall have no power to object, either to the Redeemer, or to his redeemed peopleAll iniquity shall stop her mouth.
0! that will be an happy day! when shall we see it? When shall iniquity be struck dumb? We hear it daily in our streets uttering hard speeches against the Lord and against his Christ--against them, although our Lord's divinity be secured by the fundamental laws
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of this land, yet we have volumes upon volumes published-against them the more polite part of the world retail the daring blasphemies of these volumes and against them the common people begin to suck in greedily the blasphemies of their superiors. When shall we see an end of these impieties? O God let it be soon. Let iniquity soon stop her mouth, and let it never be opened again, to object to those wise and gracious methods, by which thou hast decreed to bring many sons unto glory through Jesus Christ.
I am now come to the 43d verse, where the holy Spirit calls upon every reader to meditate upon the great subjects treated of in this Psalm, “Whoso is «« wise will observe these things,”—whoever has a true taste and relish for spiritual matters, and is blessed with the true wisdom that is from above, he will observe these things. He will make his remarks upon them with judgment. He will meditate upon them often, study them much, and delight himself in them greatly: and therefore having this Psalm, and the other scriptures for his direction, whereby he may investigate and trace out the ways of providence, it will be the whole bent of his soul to attain this wisdom. And there is no part of the subject, which affords more curious, and at the same time more interesting meditations, than the view of the wonders which God hath done for the redemption of man. Every time they are, judiciously reviewed, we see fresh matter for adoration and praise. Our hearts grow warm with the sense of them, our affections kindle, and our love to our most blessed Redeemer is inflamed. Whoso is wise will meditate thus to his profit, and he will so observe, so remark what he hears and reads, as to grow the wiser for hearing, and the better for reading. And would to God every one of us was wise to observe the great points of our redemption. The holy Spirit calls upon us to remark them, and he declares that we are not wise, unless we observe them. Whoso is wise, will observe these things. If this be the only wisdom, O
how few of us are wise indeed how very few are wise in the judgment of the holy Spirit. Most of us are wise enough in other matters, and are deeply read in what does not concern us; but in this great point we are very babes. We have not learned our first rudiments. And certainly we have been too long children in understanding; it is now high time to seek for wisdom, and there is no wisdom worth seeking but that which is here mentioned, viz. such wisdom as enables us to understand the wonderful works of God in our redemption, and then disposes us to practise what we understand, and further gives us the power as well as the will to live up to it. And does wisdom, true and perfect wisdom, like this, grow upon our earth? Hear what a venerable patriarch thought of this matter, “ But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the “ place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price 6 thereof, neither is it found in the land of the living," Job xxviü. 12. This was Job's opinion. If you refuse to subscribe to it, tell us, where is the true wisdom to be found ? Is it taught in any of the schools of modern philosophy? Can the metaphysician soar high enough to the regions of this wisdom, and bring it down to mortal view ? Or can the professors of ethics teach it us among the rules of their morality ? Alas! alas! it is far above the reach of their highest attainments even to discover it, and much more to practise it: for the subjects on which it is exercised are the highı and deep things of God, of which philosophy can know nothing. The great apostle gives this reason, (1 Cor. ii. 14.) “ But the natural man (and would to God • philosophers were not such) receiveth not the “ things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness « unto him: neither can he know them, because they 6 are spiritually discerned.” And this spiritual discernment is the wisdom that is from above. It is not a learned attainment, but it is the gift of the holy Spirit, and the proud philosopher so much disdains to seek it from his grace, that he calls it extravagant enthusiasm, even to suppose that the holy Spirit will give it. But if this be enthusiasm the scripture is full of it. “The Lord, says Solomon, giveth wisdom, out “ of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding," Prov. ï. 6. and it is written in the prophets" And 6 they shall be all taught of God.” And again in the New Testament; “if any of you lack wisdom"—What shall we do-go and study systems of ethics, and read volumes of morality ? No. We must take a method, that is now reckoned the highest madness of enthusiasm. “If any of you lack wisdom, says St. James, 66 let him ask it of God.” How strangely this sounds -Ask it of God, what! is he the only giver of this wisdom ? He is. For he giveth to all men, who ask it in faith, liberally, and upbraideth not. Let these men, who are wise above what is written, call it what they please, to ask wisdom of God: yet these promises are clear and full, and the humble Christian rests upon them, and knows them to be infallible: for he has experienced their truth. And may the almighty Spirit so bring down and humble our natural pride, that we may all have this happy experience, and may find the last words of the Psalm verified in ourselves whoso is wise will observe these things, and they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord, i. e. they shall know it clearly and fully, and they shall have a lively sense of it upon their hearts : for they had before made their remarks upon it, and had laid together their observations, and had applied them to use, and then the knowledge became experimental. And the original word, as well as the meaning of the passage, justifies this construction : for the verb which we render, and they shall understand, is in the conjugation bithpael, which is peculiar to the sacred tongue, and which is used here to denote, that they should build themselves up by this understanding; it should produce its proper effects upon themselves, and the end of knowing it should be fully answered. By which means it could not be a matter of mere science or dry speculation, but