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his own merciful promise, makes all our bed in our sickness, we shall surely find ease in the midst of pain; and though the outward man seem to be perishing, the inward man will be renewed day by day.
Sometimes the people of God are afflicted in their relative capacity, and have much trouble on account of those who are bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh. Some of those who lie nearest their hearts, are oppressed with all the weight of violent attacks of fickness, or otherwise wear out a dying life under the languors of flow disease. A feeling heart cannot but be deeply affected in such cases. Others of their relations are sunk in all the depths of poverty and necessity; while others, if not poor, are profane, and have not the fear of God before their eyes. They are violent opposers of all. that is good, and in them the words of our Redeemer are verified, “ A man's enemies are they of his own house.” In any of these cases the trial is heavy, and the christian is under the necessity of looking to the Lord for relief and comfort, as in the circumstance last mentioned, the prophet Micah resolved to do. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide; keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up
against her mother. Therefore I will look unto the Lord : I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” As if he had said, “ I am willing to lose the favour of my father, my mother, my wife, my brothers or sisters, if I may but enjoy the favour and friendship of the God of my life. From him I expect all my felicity.”
Thus in all outward troubles, the favour of God is life. If it is inquired for what ends, and on what accounts it is so earnestly desired in these circumstances, much might be said in reply; but I fhall only observe, That a sense of God's favour sweetens the bitter potion of affliction, and lightens the burden of diftress. Our heavenly Father most certainly corrects his children in love, in wisdom and in faithfulness. The end he has in view, is their profit, to make them partakers of his holiness, and to fit them for his heavenly kingdom. Alliction in itself is not joyous, but grievous, and if not alleviated by divine consolation, it would be still more fo. Hence the afflicted christian sometimes says, “ If I can but fee that the heart of my heavenly Father is towards me, while his corrective hand is upon me, I shall be satisfied. If he is pleased to wound me in the tenderest part, I shall be contented, if I may but be assured that it is the wound of a friend. I will say, “ It is
the Lord, let him do to me as seemeth good in his sight." But how can I bear the pressure of affliction without a sense of his favour !"
Let the afflicted christian consider well these divine declarations, and take the comfort of them. “ If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. We had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in fubje&tion to the Father of spirits, and live ? For they verily for a few days chastened us, after their own pleasure ; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit, to take away his fin. For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried : they shall call on my name, and I will hear them; I will fay, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
But besides the outward troubles which we have just mentioned, there are troubles of a more internal and spiritual kind, in respect to which, the favour of God is the best relief. Such, for instance, as arise from conscious guilt, and an ap
prehension of God's displeasure, because of fin. What can a guilty, condemned malefactor desire, so much as the Judge's favour? To one oppressed with the fear of God's anger, the only remedy is a discovery of his love.
Much inward trouble arises froin a sense of the power and prevalence of the impurity and corruption of the heart. This makes the christian often cry out with the apostle Paul, “ () wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” A sense of the divine favour will lead us also to say with him, “ I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The furious assaults of temptation are likewise very trying to the children of God, and assurance of his favour the best shield of defence, whereby they are enabled to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. The temptations of the grand adverfary of fouls, who goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, occasion much trouble to the pious man. He often says within himself, When shall the happy moment arrive, that God fhall bruise Satan under my feet? O when shall it once be? When the enemy comes in like a flood, may the Spirit of the Lord lift up a standard against him. When the messenger of Satan comes to buffet me, may Jesus manifest his favour, and say G3
-->> Rood unto me, “ My grace is sufficient for thee, my ftrength is made perfect through weakness.” May he who was tempted in all points like as we are, and who knows how to succour them that are tempted, succour me, and surround me with his favour, like a fhield. He knows how I am hur. ried and harassed, and sometimes even terrified by the roaring lion of the bottomless pit, may he strengthen me with strength in my soul, to fight the good fight of faith, and make me more than conqueror through his love.
The Favour of God is life to dying Perfons.
W E come now in the laft place, under this head,
to consider the words of our text with reference to dying persons. In that awful period to which we must all come, wlien we must pass tlırough the valley of the shadow of death, meet the king of terrors, and be personally engaged in close conflict with that last enemy, we shall find, that an interest in the divine favour will be of the greatest importance. When, not only all created enjoyments must be given up, but life itself must be re