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doubt, whether there are any such beings as men, as whether they be fallen sinful beings. The one is an object of sense as much as the other. And therefore unless you have taken your rest in absolute scepticism, and are quite settled upon the lees and dregs of infidelity, you must allow that mankind are sinful and miserable. Sin is the parent of all their misery: for it separates them from God, who is the parent of all good. It separates them in this world from his grace, and it will separate them in the next world from his glory for ever and ever. And now (my brethren) being convinced of your lost state and sinful condition, what do you resolve to do in consequence of this conviction ? Will you go away from hence with this conviction upon your minds, and sin on as securely as you did before ? God forbid. Your guilt would then be increased, your case would grow more desperate, you would then choose misery-even eternal misery, with your eyes open. O what a dreadful infatuation would this be! may the Lord Jesus keep you from it, and may his heavenly grace second my intreaties, that you may now-this very moment, see your lost state by nature, and cry out unto him in the anguish of your souls for his grace ! and if it be but a deep sigh from the heart, or a short prayer, Lord Jesus save, or else we perishthis the God of love will hear, and answer. For it follows in the next words of the text, 66 when they cried 66 unto the Lord in their trouble, then he delivered 6 them out of their distresses.” They could do no more to deliver themselves, than you can do; they could only cry to him in prayer to save them, and according to the greatness of his mercies he freely gave them full redemption. This is the established method of his proceeding. So soon as he sent his grace to shew them their wretchedness, and to dispose them to cry to him for deliverance, he was ready and able to save them to the uttermost; and he is now as ready and as able to deal thus graciously with you. If you cry unto him for help, he will save. How sweetly does he invite, how powerfully does he persuade you now to cry aloud for his redeeming grace. “ Call upon me, “ says he, in the day of trouble, so will I hear thee, " and thou shalt praise me.” Therefore now call upon him, let the sense of your guilt and misery now make you earnest and importunate in your requests call upon him in the day of trouble, and what an encouragement does he give you to persevere-So I will hear thee I shed my blood for thy guilt, and my grace is almighty to remove thy misery--only seek them in prayer and I will hear and answer, and thou shalt praise me—thou shalt have reason to praise me for the abundant mercies of my free and full redemption. O that men would therefore praise the Lord Jesus, &c.
I have been very short upon the three last particulars in the text, viz. the sense which these sinners had of their misery, their crying for deliverance, and the tri-' bute of thanks due to Christ for delivering them, because I shall have frequent occasion to speak upon them in the following parts of the Psalm. But enough I hope has been said to lay open this most sweet and comfortable portion of scripture, and to warm your hearts with the consideration of it. You see that the mercies of our God are above our misery. Though by nature we wander like sheep in the barren wilderness of this world, yet we have a most tender shepherd, who is always seeking to bring us back into the fruitful pas. tures of his church. Though in this wilderness we can find no abiding city, yet within the fold and pale of his church, we may find rest unto our souls. Though we have no spiritual support in ourselves, yet his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed, and when his good Spirit applies the merits of them to our hearts, then we have true spiritual life abiding in us. Though our souls fainted within us, while we wandered in the wilderness, yet Jesus the God of all consolation will refresh the fainting soul with his reviving grace, and will supply it with every manner of thing that is good through the ages of eternity. So that he is more mer
ciful than we are miserable and in this respect his mer. cies are over all his works, for that he only waits until we have seen our misery, and are humbled enough to cry to him for relief, and then he shews he is at hand, a God to save. O that you may all this day experience his almighty power, and have fresh proof of his redeeming love and every one of you who desires it, will readily join with me in requesting his blessing on what you have now heard.
O most mighty God and Saviour, we acknowledge and confess our lost estate by nature : for all men have wandered in the wilderness out of the way, and have found no abiding city—they could find no way out of the wilderness no place to rest, and no food to support them in it, hungry and thirsty, their souls fainted in them-But so soon as the sense of their misery disposed them to cry to thee, blessed Jesus, thou wast ready to deliver them out of all their distresses. Now almighty Lord deliver us, and extend the same mercies to this whole congregation-and let not one person among them leave this place, without being first convinced of his own misery, and then of thy all-sufficiency to redeem him from it. Bring what has been said upon these truths home to all our hearts, and carry it with thy divine power and efficacy to our consciences, that we may now cry to thee with one voice-Lord Jesus save, or else we perish. Hear us thou God of love, and be unto us an almighty Saviour, that we may bless thee with grateful hearts, for having brought us up this day out of the wilderness of the world, here to the house of the Lord--where we found reason to be thankful as long as we live, and to declare the wonders which thou hast done for our salvation. Grant this, O most adorable Jesus, to the glory of God the Father, and by the influence of the holy Spirit upon all our hearts, now and for ever. Amen and Amen.
PSALM cvii. 10–17. Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death,
being bound in affliction and iron, because they rebelled against the words of God, and condemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour, they fell down and there was none to help; then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses; he brought them out of darkness and out of the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Othat men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men for he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.
The holy Spirit sets before us in these words a second image of our misery by nature. He has called upon the redeemed of the Lord to be thankful to Jesus the God of their redemption, and in order to exalt and raise their thankfulness the more, he gives them four images, in which the misery of fallen man is placed in different views. In the first he is represented as lost in a wilderness, where after much wandering and weariness, fainting with hunger and thirst, he is just ready to perish. But finding no help upon earth, and being brought to a deep' sense of his distress, he cries unto the Lord in his trouble, and Jesus was at hand to save: for so soon as the sinner was disposed to accept, the Saviour was willing to bestow free and full redemption. This was the subject of the last lecture. We have in the words before us a second image of man's fallen condition, in which the distresses of it are greatly heightened, and if I were able to paint the exquisite misery of it, so that you might see it in a strong light, it could not fail of having a great influence upon every uncon.
verted person. I will therefore endeavour to set it before your eyes in as striking colours, as I am able, and I hope the same good Spirit who inspired this passage will be pleased to accompany us this day in the consideration of it, and to supply the imperfections of my discourse by his divine grace in your hearts. O eternal Spirit now preside over us, and shew thyself to be a God, by applying the doctrine with power and energy to every one of our consciences, while I am
First, Laying open the sense and meaning of the words, and
Secondly, Considering their spiritual use and application.
It must be remembered, that the words belong to the redeemed of the Lord—they are the persons called upon to be thankful and the motives to excite their thankfulness are taken from a review of their miseries and distresses, before they obtained redemption : and these miseries and distresses were of so many various kinds, and so very numerous, that they could not be represented to the life in one picture. In order to set them before our eyes in full proportion, it was necessary to draw them in different scenes: and therefore the holy Spirit has given us in these four paintings a perfect description of man's sinful and miserable condition by nature: in the first he is represented as having lost the way to heaven, and wandering in a wilderness, weary with fatigue, faint with famine---ready to perish-in the second, bis distress is heightened, for he falls into a pit of darkness, and the shadow of death, where the enemy finds him, and puts him into close confinement, binding him with the heavy chains of affliction and iron. The scripture and every days experience confirm this description, for the first words, such as sit in darkness, are true of every son of Adam in his natural state. Sin cut off all communication between God and us, and thereby rendered us quite ignorant and blind in all spiritual knowledge; for if the eye of the mind have no light from the eternal Sun of righteousness, it is in the