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in them, yet are very faulty in thinking of Him seldom, and in the slightness of such thoughts; they are not deep in them, We do not accustom ourselves to walk with God, to' a continued and delightful converse with Him, to be still with Him. We can turn our eyes no way but He is visible and legible; and if He were our delight, and His name sweet to us, we should eye that more in every thing, than the things themselves,
The heart will readily espy and take hold of every small occasion of remembering that which it loves. That which carries any impression of the person on whom the affection is set is more looked upon on that side, and in that reference, than
Certainly, were God the choice of our hearts, our natural use and enjoyment of things would not relish so much with us, nor take us up so much, as the viewing of Him in them all. In our affairs and our refreshments, in company and apart, in the beholding of heaven and earth, and all that is round about us, our eye would be most on Him whom our soul loveth. What a pity, and what a shame is it, that we who profess ourselves to be His children, and even they who truly are so, should so little mind our Father and His greatness and glory, who is continually minding us and our good! It is indeed a double standing wonder in the world which he hath made, that God should take so much notice of Man, and Man should take so little notice of God.
Were this known truth of the creation wisely improved, we should find much in it that we commonly observe not, at least that we use not. This one thing, surely, it might gain upon us, to fear His displeasure who is so great, and so powerful, who hath the whole host of heaven, and the great army of all creatures, at His command.
What he commands they must obey; for He commanded and they were made: they have their being from His command. How quickly can He crush those who proudly rebel against Him! How easily can He shake them to pieces, the greatest
and the strongest of them! He poureth contempt upon princes! and, what are they? Base potsherds of earth striving with their Maker, though somewhat bigger than others, yet as easily broken by His sceptre. () you that, after all warnings, dare walk on in your wicked ways, in drunkenness, or swearing, or any secret heart-wickedness, you know not who is your party; the great God, the Former of all things. Who would not fear Thee, O King of nations? You who do not fear Him are in a fearful estate. Learn to know Him, and seek unto Him. Seek the Lord, and ye shall live. Seek Him who hath the seven stars, and Orion; who turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night. Amos v. 8.
There is in this a strong ground of spiritual confidence, both for the Church's concernment and our own in every estate. This first work of God, rightly looked on, answers all the difficulties of the greatest works we can expect at His hands. Let Zion's enemies grow to their highest, they cannot rise so high as to be above this Almighty God, who framed the heavens. Let' the Church be brought to the lowest depths of distress, yet cannot she fall so low, but His everlasting arm is long enough to reach her, and draw her out of it, which drew the whole world out of nothing. He doth therefore often represent, by His prophets, this very work as a certain evidence of His unbounded power. See Isa. xliii. 13 ; xliv. 24; and li. 12, 13. Jer. li. 19, 20. Zech. xii. 1. What task can be so great as to surcharge Him, who so easily brought forth a world ? What number can be too small, what instrument too weak in His hand, for the greatest work, who, without either working instrument or materials, built such a palace ?
Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel-Why? Wherefore have they no reason to fear, they being but as a worm ?-I will help thee, saith the Lord. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth, and thou shalt thresh the mountains, and make the hills chaff. (Isa. xli. 15.) A worm in thyself, but in My hand a threshing instrument. Weak Jacob and his strong God are too hard for all the world.
On the other side, what serve multitudes without Him? All were originally nothing, and when He wills, they prove as nothing. Severed from His concurrence, as ciphers, multiply them as you will, still they signify nothing. Ten thousand men, without God, are ten thousand nothings. We have had very late and very clear experiment of this, both to our grief and to our comfort. But both are forgotten, and indeed were never duly considered ; for if they had, they would not so soon, yea, they truly would never be forgotten by us. Well, however, it grieveth us, by reason of our own continuing hard in wickedness. Yet this I am sure of, that the strong arm of the Lord is engaged in this work: He hath already appeared in it, and therefore will not let it fall; and though we were at a lower ebb than lately we were, yet should we rise again by His strength. Doubt it not, the enemies of our peace shall be ashamed, and God shall be yet more glorious in the world than ever, not only in our outward deliverance, but in that which is far richer and of higher beauty, the power and glory of His ordinances. He shall make things that are not, to be, by the mighty power of His mouth, and throughout the world Jesus Christ shall go on conquering. In His Name lies the reason of His prevailing. His name is called THE WORD OF God, that same Word by which all things were made ; therefore, no opposite power is able to stand before Him. It is a great work to ruin great Babel, but His strength is enough for it. Mighty is the Lord God who judgeth. It is a great work to restore His Church, but here is power enough for it, and it is spoken of under the resemblance of the creation, Isa. li. 16.
For the estate of thy soul, thou that art thoughtful of that, what cause hast thou to suspect ? Is there any plea left for distrust in thy lowest condition? Thou art about great things, and findest all, not only difficulties, but impossibilities to thee. Good is it that thou shouldst find it so, and be emptied of all fancy of self-strength. But then, look up above thyself, and all created, to a creating power. If thou canst not subdue thy lusts and iniquities, resolve to wrestle. Wrestle as thou wilt; still they are too hard for thee; but look to Him who came to destroy the works of Satan. Hath not thy Almighty Lord resolved to do it for thee? Thou findest nothing within but blindness and hardness, canst not repent, nor believe, nor think à right thought of God. It is so. But one word from Him can do all this, and make all those to subsist that now are not. Therefore, lay thyself before Him, as dead, yea, as very nothing. Say, Lord, I am nothing of all that which constitutes the being of a Christian in holiness, in faith, in love; but speak Thou the word, and I shall be a new creature, to Thy praise. There is nothing upon my soul but darkness; but art not Thou he who said, “ Let there be light, and there was light ?” That word, again, Lord, say it to my soul, and it shall be so. Think not to bring any thing with thee. Renovation is as absolute and free a work, as Creation. Could His creature oblige Him to make it, before it had a being ? No more can it oblige Him to save it, or to give it a new being in Christ : all is free. The miracles of Christ, signs of power and goodness, are preludes to His greater work. It is most senseless to have a thought of preventing Him, from whom all good and all being flow. And this He does: If any be in Christ, he is a new creature: the word is, all made new, new delights and desires, and thoughts new-a new heaven and a new eartha new soul and a new body; renewed in holiness, sanctified, and made conformable to Jesus Christ. And when thou findest some work of grace, which thou canst not wholly deny, and yet wantest that peace and joy which thou desirest, look to Him for that too. Thou findest it not from the word preached ; yet, He can speak it, and even by that word wherein formerly thou didst not find it. It is the fruit of the lips, but it is so withal, that it is His creation : He only causes it to be. I create the fruit of the lips, peace, peace. (Isa. Ivii. 19.) The Father wrought by the Son in the first creation, but in a new and special manner works by Him in this second creation. He is that Word made flesh, who is the life and the spring of all the grace and comfort thou desirest or readest of. Go to Him : He delights to let forth His mercies to thirsting souls to revive them, to restore or turn them again, when they are in a swoon, as the word is, Psal. xxiii. The more thou puttest Him to it, the more shalt thou find His prevailing power, and the fulness of grace that dwells in Him, which is no more diminished by all He shews forth, than His Divine power was weakened by the framing of the world. There is no scarcity of spirit in Him; therefore, He proclaimed it as plural : If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believeth in me, out of his belly shall flow RIVERS of living water.
How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! says the Psalmist, Psal. civ. 24; and then he adds that wherein all the variety of them agrees, the holding forth of His incomparable wisdom, from whose wisdom they are: In wisdom Thou hast made them all. As there are some of them more excellent than others, they certainly do, in a clearer and more eminent degree, glorify God. In the great fabric, that part which hath the place, the heavens, hath also this advantage; the greatness of the Great Architect appears somewhat more bright in them. Therefore are they singled out from the rest for that purpose, both here, ver. 3, and Psal. xix. ver. 1. But, beyond all the rest, and even beyond them, are the wisdom and goodness of God displayed in the framing of His reasonable creatures.
There are of them two stages; the one higher, the angels, the other lower, yet but a little lower, man ; as here we have them together.
Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,--of the nature of a spirit, a rational, intelligent spirit