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The Subject applied by Way of Information.
TF the reader is pleased to review the foregoing
pages, he will find, that by the favour of God we under ftand, his kindness in a way of common providence, the peculiar instances of his goodness, the distinguishing acts of his grace, and the comfortable enjoyment of his special love. This is denominated life, as it is the cause, the object, the regulation, and the end of a pious man's life. We have considered the subject with respect to a sinner's first conversion, his being led into the way of peace, and brought into a state of acceptance with God through Jesus Christ. We have observed, that divine favour restores us from a backsliding state, supports us under every kind of affliction, and fortifies our minds in the near approach of death. We have considered, that from the favour of God proceeds a life of justification, of san&tification, of perseverance in grace and holiness, and of glorification after death. We have finally remarked the reasons why God's children put such a value upon his favour as to account it life. Their minds are divinely illuminated, their wills and affections are fanctified, they have tasted that the Lord is gra. • K
cious, and their estimation of things is not after the flesh, but by faith. If the reader will favour us with his serious attention, we shall now endeavour to apply what has been advanced. And that, first, by way of information..
It appears from what has been said on this important subject, that life is a rich mercy. It must be so, since it is the produ£tion of God's favour. In his favour is life. It is that good thing by which the Pfalmift illustrates and exemplifies the favour of God. He does not say, In his favour are to be enjoyed wisdom, riches, health and kind relations; but, In his favour is life. Though those are great mercies, yet life is greater. Natural life is a fun. damental blessing. If that is suspended, or taken away, all the comforts of life cease. Nature defires a perpetuation of its being, and shudders at the thought of its dissolution. Satan, the father of lies, can sometimes speak truth, as he did when he said, “Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give for his life.” It is owing to the favour of God that we have any being, though we are attended with many afflictions, and rank with the lowest of his reasonable creatures. Existence is what the Sovereign of the universe did not owe us. *** I will sing unto God,” said David, " as long as I live; I will sing praise unto my God, while I have
iny osport..44 my being." Because we have life or being from him, and are dependent on him for the support and continuance of it. .
The outward comforts of life are also the fruits of God's favour. As it is of his mercy that we are not consumed for our unnumbered offences against him, it is owing to the same benignity that his mercies are renewed to us every morning, yea, every moment. His favour is the life of our enjoyments, the mercy of our lives. On his goodness our daily comforts depend. He not only redeemeth our life from destruction, but he crowneth us with lovingkindness and tender mercies. When we receive a benefit from a fellow-creature, we do not fix our attention on the hand that bestows it, and own our obligation to that; it is the kind disposition of our benefactor which affects us, and excites our gratitude. In like manner, the blessings of providence are to be received with thanksgiving, because they are the fruits of divine favour. That is the source of all our supplies, since by our offences against God we have forfeited every enjoyment. Let us. then pay our constant acknowledgments to him for. them, and say with the grateful patriarch, “ I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou haft shewed unto thy ser
copit... We must still recollect the distinction already oba served, between God's special favour to his own children, and that which is common to all men, As to the latter, it is extended to the good and the bad, the just and the unjust. “ No man knoweth either love or hatred, by all that is before him. All things come alike to all, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that facrificeth, and to him that facrificeth not: As is the good, so is the finner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.” God is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. Even his avowed enemies often partake largely of his bounty,
But let it be observed, that God's peculiar fayour is infinitely better than all outward and worldly enjoyments. There is so great a difference be. tween these, that they will not bear a comparison,
Among the ancient heathen philasophers there were long disputations about the chief good of man, They bewildered themselves in endless inquiries, and were unable, after all their researches, to bring the matter to any satisfactory conclusion. But divine revelation determines the point at once. The chief good of man consists in the enjoyment of the divine favour. That alone constitutes his complete felicity, « There be many," says the Pfalmift,
>> ** " that say, Who will fhew us any good ? But, Lord, lift thou up the light of tly countenance upon us.” Let us be assured of thy favour, and we ask no more. Let others make the best of what this world can afford;
Yea, let them stretch their arms like seas,
And grasp in all the shore;
And we desire no more.
The favour of God is the spring and fountain of all favours; and without dispute, the original cause hath more in it than the effects. His favour is a full and plentiful inheritance, for he is the fountain of living waters, while created comforts are but broken cisterns, which can hold no water.
His favour alone can satisfy the boundless crav. ings of a rational and immortal foul. Created comforts cannot do it. This only gives folid peace and quietness to the otherwise restless mind, and affords full contentment to all its enlarged wishes. The Author of our being formed our souls for him. self, and they will never be at rest till they centre in him. “ Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness; I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." K 3