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****..gongoo necessity of leaving those, with painful fears that we shall never see them numbered with the saints at God's right hand, in the day when he maketh up his jewels.
Since the danger of being deceived is so great, and the consequences so awful, of what importance, my dear reader, is a real sense of interest in the divine favour! Qught it not to be sought with the greateft and most earnest solicitude ? While men live in prosperity and affluence, and enjoy abun. dance of worldly comforts, they may live in a kind of security ; drowning the noise of conscience, and lulling themselves asleep in the cradle of ease ; yet a day is coming which shall burn as an oven, when all the proud and the profane shall be as stubble, and the day shall consume them, and leave them neither root nor branch. Their worldly wealth shall perish, and their delusive hopes give up the ghost, when the heavens shall be dissolved, and the earth tremble under their feet. O what will God's favour, and the smiles of the Redeemer's love be * worth in that day, when he shall call the dead out of their graves, and command them to stand forth, that they máy hear their final sentence of absolution, or of condemnation, according as their state shall be! Then, O then to have the favour of the Lord, the great Judge of heaven and earth, will be worth more than it is possible for language to express !
Dopor..... The Almighty will presently summon us hence by his messenger death, the king of terrors, and say to us, “ This night shall thy soul be required of thee; thou must go hence, and give an account of thy stewardship! O then what will a well-grounded hope of interest in God's favour be worth to us! Such a confidence is indeed of great importance to us while we live, whatever be our circumstances in outward respects. In prosperity, what can give rest to the capacious mind, which is ever looking beyond sublunary things for satisfaction ? His favour alone can do it, the letters of whose name, in the Hebrew language, are called quiescent, even the great JEHOVAH. In adversity, there is still greater need of the divine favour. When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? But when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? In the day of calamity, God's favour is most seasonable, when it frequently happens that the favour of men is withdrawn, and all things look dark about us. What a sovereign support in trouble is the light of God's countenance! It is indeed light in darkness; it is life even in a dying hour.
Hence it is, that the children of God have earnestly desired and fought some tokens of his love, while they have been in this vale of tears. Let others think lightly as they please, of this their importunity, the divine word gives encouragement to
*** *** it. “ Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Our gracious Redeemer says, “ He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” This is a sufficient warrant for our prayers and ex. pectations in God's way. We have the divine precept to direct and regulate our desires, and the promise of grace to encourage our hope of success. God has promised great things to those who seek him, and his promises have been made good in instances without number.
What that token for good was, for which holy David prayed, Pf. lxxxvi. 17. I will not positively determine; but without doubt it was some evidence of God's favour to him, in his ordinances, or by his providence, for the confirmation of his faith, the quickening of his soul, and the comforting of his heart.
It must be owned, if this man after God's own heart, had some special ground to expect extraordinary manifestations of divine power in his favour, in a miraculous way, it becomes not us to follow his example in this instance. We have no such ground to go upon as he might have. Let us adhere to the law and to the testimony, and look for fuch tokens of the divine favour as God has promised to afford.
">>> **** The ordinances of God are tokens of his favour. He gave the fabbath to Ifrael as a sign of his being their sovereign, as a nation. The ark was a token of his presence, as the word and ordinances are among us. God forbid that we should be deprived of these indications of his mercy. A famine of the word would be a fore calamity indeed. The people of Antioch were fo fensible of the privilege of fitting under the lively and fervid ministrations of the gospel, that they once faid, in the warmth of their zeal, “ We had better be deprived of the light of the sun, than of the preaching of Chrysostom.
It is a token of God's favour when the word and ordinances are rendered efficacious. When this and that man are born in Zion, it is a sign of his mercy to her, and that the Most High will establish her. O that the Spirit of the Lord may be poured forth on his ministers and churches in this our day! Where is the Lord God of Elijah? It is a rich and great mercy to see a day of his power, when finners are made willing in the beauties of holiness.
It is a token of God's favour when the Spirit of fupplication is plentifully beftowed, and his peo. ple stirred up to earnestness in seeking him. When he prepares the heart to pray, it is an indication that he will cause his ear to hear. A lukewarm and flothful disposition is a fad token of God's anger and absence.“ There is none that calleth upon thy
*********** name, that stirreth up himself to take hold on thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and haft consumed us because of our iniquities."
It is a token of God's regard when he bestows a penitent heart, and a deep concern for reformation. This is apparent in the case of the Ninevites. O that God may pour upon us his Holy Spirit, in his humbling, quickening, and fan&tifying influences. This will be a token indeed of our interest in his favour.
The heavenly Comforter bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, is a blessing of unspeakable value, and greatly to be defired. “I entreated thy favour,” says the Pfalmist, “ with my whole heart," the comfortable sense and enjoyment of it, the sweet assurance of interest in it. This is life indeed. Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us ! shed abroad in our hearts the love of Christ, by the Holy Ghost given unto us, that we may no longer anxiously doubt of our safety, but, according to the command of our divine Redeemer, rejoice that our names are written in heaven. Let the Holy Spirit of promise seal us, by way of security, to the day of redemption, that we may know, with heart-felt satisfaction, that when the earthly house of this tabernacle is dis. solved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens !