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plished. Whereas, any other expectations make men ridiculous, and expose them to scorn, in that they look often for most contentment in those things that deceive them. The brooks that grow dry in summer, are an emblem of wordly hopes. Thus, Job vi. 19, The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither and were ashamed. But this waiting on the Lord, never yet

deluded

any.

I waited patiently for the Lord, says the Psalmist, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. Psal. xl. 1. Then he makes his experience a common good ; draws it to a general conclusion, v. 4. Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust. Thus he confirms that general truth by his particular experience, and, as the Apostle says of them who believe, sets to his seal that God is true. Thus ought every one, upon his experience of the Lord's goodness in his deliverance, speak to the advantage of the Lord's faithfulness, and say, As He is called abundant in goodness and truth, so, I have found Him, and I would have others to rely upon Him: if my testimony could do any good to that, or persuade them, they shall be sure to have it wheresoever I come. Thus Psalm xxxiv., the Prophet will not smother the Lord's goodness which he hath found: This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him. And verse 8, he invites all to taste and see that the Lord is good : blessed are they who trust in Him. He will advise others to this

upon his own experience. Surely, he will know where to seek, when he is again put to it. As he loves the Lord for what he hath found, so he will make use of Him always in all his straits. Psal. cxvi. 1., I love the Lord; and seeing He hath inclined His ear to me, I am resolved upon

this course,

I will call upon Him as long as I live.

The difficulties which the Prophet's faith here encounters, and which commended the strength of it, are these two: 1st. The multitude of unbelievers round about, as a mighty torrent which he was to come against ; that so few would rely on the Lord. But he resolves against it, as Joshua did for obedience,

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yet

Choose you whom you will serve, so here, for faith; Let others take their course, each one run his own way, my choice is this, I will wait on the Lord. And this is no small matter, to maintain the preciousness of faith against the profaneness and atheism of the world. And considering the disregard of God that there is in the society and converse of the greatest part, it is much if a godly mind do not sometimes suffer something by it; and we have need to beware of it.

Adly, The other difficulty is in the thing itself, which looks šo dark and unlikely, that many of His people are giving over trusting on Him, and He seems to give over helping them. He hides His face, yet I will wait on Him alone, says the prophet. Though all other hearts fail, yet I will wait on Thee. Though Thou withdraw Thyself, and hide Thy face,

I will look to no other, I will stay by Thee, and wait on Thee. And although not only my days may pass, but ages, before the things be accomplished 1 look for, yet I will believe they shall come to pass. I will look on them in this notion, though I cannot live to see them. And, indeed, besides that the great temporal deliverances which the Prophet foresaw and here looks into, came long after his days, it is likely that he looks beyond these too, to the coming of the Messiah, of whom hé speaks so clearly both in this chapter and the former, and also in the following. Notwithstanding all the sins of this people, and all the heavy judgments their sins call for and have brought, or shall bring on them, yet, he believed the Lord would send them that great Deliverer and Saviour, His only Son, whom He had promised. Thus the eye of faith looks over the head of many difficulties and of many ages betwixt it, to the thing it expects, and sees it beyond them all; (so the word here, I will look for Him, is to stand upright as a line and look out, answering to that word, 'Azoragadónia, Rom. viii.) desiring and confidently expecting good from Him to His Church. In these kingdoms, though the outward face of affairs look quite contrary, and the Lord for a time suffer our troubles to increase, and hide His face as not regarding us;

suffering things, by the perverseness of men on all hands, to turn to a universal confusion and disorder, yet still, you that know the Lord and His dealing, pray, and believe, and wait, and be assured your prayer shall be answered in due time.

Thus for your personal condition. You that desire the light of God's countenance above all things, though He seem to deny and hide His face from you for a time, yet wait on Him, leave Him not, for if ye do, you are sure to perish; but if

ye wait on Him, ye may say, It may be He will be gracious, but if He will not, I know no other to go to; I will still wait and try Him. What think ye of Job's purpose ? Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him: though I saw Him ready to throw me into hell, yet I will look for mercy. Faith cannot be nonplussed. There is in it a pious obstinacy that will not yield to the greatest opposition, nor give over so long as there is any possibility of prevailing. I said, says Jonah, I am cast out from Thy presence, yet for all that, I cannot give the matter up for desperate; I must have leave to look towards thee: Yet, I will look towards Thy holy Temple. Jon. ii. 4. Invincible faith, as here, I will wait-I will look. His doubling the word is meant to express his resolvedness, in the beginning of the verse, and in the end of it. And so, faith conquers the difficulty that makes against it. And this is the purest acting of faith, when there is nothing of sense to support it, and yet it holds out, and, as Abraham did, against hope believes in hope. When the soul is at the hardest pinch, faith will say, I will lie at the footstool of the Throne of grace until I be thrown from it. I will not away from it. I will wait on till the last moment.

456

A SERMON

PREACHED TO THE CLERGY.

2 Cor. v. 20.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech

you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God.

It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after that to come to judgment, saith the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Two sad necessities to sinful man. This last, nature's light discovers not; but the other, though it be seldom deep in our thoughts, is almost always before our eyes ; and though few seriously remember it, yet none can be ignorant of it. Against this known and universal evil, the chief of heathen moralists, the stoics, have much endeavoured to arm themselves. And others have bent the strength of their wits to master the fear of death, and have made themselves, and some of their hearers, conquerors in imagination : but when the king of terrors really appeared, he dashed their stout resolutions, and turned all their big words and looks into appalment.

And the truth is, there are no reasonings in the world, able to argue a man into a willingness to part with a present being, without some hopes at least of one more happy; nor will any contentedly dislodge, though they dwell never so meanly, except upon terms of changing for the better.

The Christian, then, (not the nominal Christian, but he who is truly such,) is the only man that can look death immediately in the face ; for he knows assuredly that he shall remove to a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,

The discourse beginning this chapter, occasioned by the end of the former, continues to the 12th verse, where the Apostle subjoins an apology for his high and confident manner of speaking; which apology serves likewise for a very pertinent re-entry to the main discourse of the former chapter, concerning the worth and work of the ministry. But because of the Apostle's frequent, yet seasonable digressions, proleptic and exegetic, divers may model the analysis after divers manners.

To take, then, the discourse as it lies here together, abstract from precedent and consequent, I think, (with submission,) it may be divided into these two heads: First, the Apostle's resolution for death. Secondly, His course and manner of life. Each is supported with its proper grounds or reasons: the former to verse 9, the other to the end of the chapter.

The resolution is so strong, that he expresses it by the words of earnest desiring and groaning. And this resolution for death, springs from his assurance of life after death: We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. He speaks in his own and his colleagues' names. And the whole matter of both is set forth by an elegant continued metaphor. Both the desire, and the assurance causing it, are illustrated, First, by their chief cause, verse 5. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God; who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Both in his gracious purpose for this, hath He made us, and in a pledge of performance He hath given us earnest, even His Spirit. Then they are illustrated by their subordinate cause, faith, verse 7. For we walk by faith, not by sight.

His course and purpose,-for he both signifieth what he doth, and how he intends to continue to do,-His course and purpose of life is, in general, to walk acceptably in this absence from the Lord, (ver. 9). And in particular, walking diligently and faithfully in the ministry. Ver. 11. 18.

One reason of this course and purpose, is implied in that

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