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promised; which is a further degree of injustice. Therefore we must take heed how, either directly or interpretatively, we ascribe such a lie to God. The Apostle telleth us, “ He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar" (1 John v. 10); which is the highest dishonour you can cast upon him, which in manners and civility we would not offer to our equal, and which éven a mean man would scorn to put up with at our hands. God hath made many promises; as, that he will be with thee in six troubles, and in seven he will not forsake thee (Job v. 19), that he will dispose of all things for the best to them that love him (Rom. vii. 28), that no good thing shall be wanting to them that fear him (Psalm xxxiv. 10). Doth not God mean as he saith? and dare we trust him no more? Your diffidence and drooping discouragements give him the lie, and you carry it so, as if these were but words of course, without any intent to make them good.
2. Fidelitas. The next thing in the promise is faithfulness, and that referreth to the keeping of the promise. A man may be real in promising, he did not intend to deceive; but afterwards he changeth his mind : there may be verity in making the promise, but there is not fidelity in keeping the promise, But God is faithful; hath he said, and shall he not do it? Ail the promises are yea and amen in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. i. 20). God's word is not yea and nay, but yea and amen ; it doth not say yea to-day, and nay to-morrow, but always yea. So it is amen; so it shall be ; and this in Jesus Christ, on whose merit they are all founded, and who was the great instance of God's truth: for the great promise wherein God stood bound to the church, was to send a Saviour to redeem the world ; and, if God hath made good this promise, surely this is a pledge that he will make good all the rest; for, if he spared not his Son, he will not stick at other things.
3. There is justitia, righteousness; for this is righteousness, jus suum cuique tribuere, to give every one his right and his due. Now, by promise, another man cometh to have a right in the thing promised; therefore justice requireth that you should give him the right that accrueth to him by virtue of your promise. So God, promittendo se fecit debitorem, maketh himself a debtor by promise. It was his mercy and goodness to make the promise, but his justice bindeth him to make it good. This is often spoken of in Scripture : “ Faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (1 John i. 9); “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (2 Tim. iv. 8). By his promise, he is become a debtor to us; he cannot go against his own word; his justice will not suffer him to change. It is a debt of grace indeed ; but a debt it is, which it is justice for God to pay. Thus you see it is a word of righteousness.
1. Because God hath in his promises pawned his truth with the creature, and so given us a holdfast upon him. Chirographia tua injiciebat tibi, Domine, Promises, as in a contract, are more than simple declarations, and bare assertions of what good he will do us. With man it is one thing to say, This I purpose to do; another, This I promise to do. A promise addeth a new bond and obligation upon a man for fulfilling his word. An intimation or signification of God's will and purpose, showeth the event will follow ; but a promise doth not only do that, but giveth us a right and claim to the things promised. Scripture prophecies will be ful
filled because of God's veracity ; but Scripture promises will be fulfilled, not because of his veracity, but his fidelity and justice. And the heirs of promise may have strong consolation by God's word and oath, “ two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie” (Heb. vi. 18). There is a greater obligation upon God to make it good.
2. Because none that ever depended upon God's word were disappointed; not one instance to the contrary: “The word of the Lord is tried; he is a buckler to all those that trust in him" (Psalm xviii. 30). Search the annals and records of time; and all experience hath found the word of God exactly true. If any build not upon it, it is because they are not acquainted with God and the course of his proceedings : “ They that know thy name, will put their trust in thee” (Psalm ix. 10). There is so little believing and trusting God upon his word, because they are men of no experience; otherwise, they would find God punctual to his promise : “ Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you” (Josh. xxiii. 14). He speaketh, not only as his own observation, and the result of all his experiences, and that in a time when there was no room for dissembling, “ I am going the way of all the earth;” but also, “ Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls ;”. and he repeateth it, “Not one thing hath failed.” Unless you be impudent, you cannot deny it; try him, you have found support and relief hitherto.
3. Because God standeth much on the credit of his word. Heathens have acknowledged it to be the property of the gods αληθεύειν και ευεργετείς; certainly the true God hath showed himself to the world in nothing so much as doing good and keeping promise: “ Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm cxxxvii. 2). Above all that is famed or spoken or believed of God, this is most conspicuous, as being punctual in keeping covenant and fulfilling promises. God hath ever stood upon that, of being tender of the honour of his truth in the eye of the world. Therefore we should build securely upon the word of his righteousness.
Use I.-To bless God that we are upon such sure terms. All people that know there is a God, wait for some good thing from him ; but they are left to uncertain guesses, it may be they may have them, it may be not: but we have it under hand and seal, and have God's warrant for our hope, and so deal with God upon sure terms. Well may we take up David's song, “In God will I praise his word ; in the Lord will I praise his word” (Psalm lvi. 10). It is twice repeated in that psalm ; that is ground of rejoicing, that God will assure us aforehand what he will do for us. God might have dealt with man by way of dominion and command alone, without any signification of his goodness, and left us to blind guesses. Promises are the eruptions and overflows of God's love; he cannot stay till accomplishment, but will tell us aforehand what he is about to do for us, that we may know how to look for it.
Use II. — Is to exhort us to rest contented with God's word, and to take his promises as sure ground of hope. I shall show you how you should count it a word of righteousness; what is your duty; and that, First, You are to delight in the promise, though the performance be not yet, nor like to be for a good while: IIacolévtec kai šonaoáuevói, “ Persuaded of them, and embraced them” (Heb. xi. 13). Oh! how they hugged the promises at a distance, and said in their hearts, O blessed promise! this will in time yield a Messiah: “ Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad ” (John viii. 56). You hold the blessing by the root, this will in time yield deliverance (Heb. vi. 18); not only yield comfort, but prove comfortable: “ Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart ” (Psalm cxix. 111). For your duty,— . Secondly, You are to rest confident of the truth of what God hath prumised, and be assured that the performance will in time be: Telolevres (Heb. xi. 13). Faith is not a fallible conjecture, but a sure and certain grace: “We know that all things work together for good to them that Jove God” (Rom. viii. 28). So, “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor” (Psalm cxl. 12). There is a firm persuasion, 'I know I shall find this to be a truth.' Men who are conscionable and faithful in keeping their word, are believed ; yet, being men, they may lie : “ Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. üi. 4). Every man is, or may be a liar, because of the mutableness of his nature; from interest, he will not lie, but he can lie. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. Surely God cannot deceive or be deceived. He never yet was worse than his word.
Thirdly, You are to take the naked promise for the ground of your hope, however it seem to be contradicted in the course of God's providence ; when it is neither performed, nor likely to be performed, it is his word you go by, whatsoever his dispensations be. Many times there are no apparent evidences of God's doing what he hath said; yea, strong probabilities to the contrary. It is said that Abraham “ against hope believed in hope," napędzioa ¿' la ride (Rom. iv. 11). Abraham had the promise of a son, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed; but there was no appearance of this in nature, or natural hope of a child, both he and Sarah being old; yet he believed. It is an antanaclasis, an elegant figure, having the form of a contradiction; he goeth upon God's naked word. Then faith standeth upon its own basis and legs, which is not probabilities, but his word of promise. Everything is strongest upon its own basis, which God and nature have appointed; for, as the earth hangeth on nothing in the midst of the air, but there is its place, faith is seated most firmly on the word of God, who is able to perform what he saith,
Fourthly, This faith must conquer our fears and cares and troubles : “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings ; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm cxii. 7). He must fix the heart without wavering : “ In God will I praise his word, in God I have put my trust : I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm lvi. 4). The force of faith is seen in calming our passions and sinful fears, which otherwise would weaken our reverence and respect to God.
Fifthly, Above all this, you are to glorify God publicly; not only in the quiet of your hearts, but by your carriage before others : “Set to his seal that God is true” (John iii. 33): it is not said, believed or professed; but, put to his seal. We seal the truth of God as his witnesses, when we confirm others in the faith and belief of the promises by our joyfulness in all conditions, patience under crosses, diligence in holiness, hope and comfort in great straits. God was angry with Moses and Aaron, “because ve believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Num. xx. 12). We are not only to believe God ourselves, but to sanctify him in the eyes of others; as, when the Thessalonians had received
the word in much assurance, in much affliction, and much joy in the Holy Ghost, the Apostle telleth them they were “ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thes. i. 5). The worthiness and generousness of our faith, should be a confutation of our base fears, but a confirmation of the Gospel ; but we are so far from confirming the weak, that we offend the strong; and, instead of being a confirmation to the Gospel, we are a confutation of it.
USE III.- Is reproof to us, that we do no more build upon this word of righteousness.
1. Some count these vain words, and the comforts thence deduced, fa. natical illusions ; and hopes and joys, fantastical impressions : “All they that see me, laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him” (Psalm xxii. 7, 8). Nothing so ridiculous in the world's eye, as trust, or dependence, or unseen comforts. Ungodly wits make the life of faith a sport and matter of laughter.
2. Some, though not so bad as the former, they may have more modesty, yet as little faith, since they are all for the present world, present delights, present temptations. With many, one thing in hand is more than the greatest promises of better things to come; they have no patience. Afflictions are smart for the present: “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous" (Heb. xii. 11). Yea, they do not deal equally with God and man. If a man promise, they reckon much of that; qui petat, accipiet, fc. They can tarry upon man's security, but count God's nothing worth. They can trade with a factor beyond seas, and trust all their estates in a man's hand whom they have never seen; and yet the word of the infallible God is of little regard and respect with them.
3. The best build too weakly on the promises, as appeareth by the prevalency of our cares and fears. If we did take God at his word, we should not be so soon mated with every difficulty: “Let your conversation be without coretousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. xii. 5, 6). There would be more resolution in trials, more hardness against troubles. Besides maintenance, there is no protection in the promise. If we had faith to believe this, it would effectually quiet our minds in all our necessities, and straits, and perplexities. Man can do much, bring them low, even to a morsel of bread; we need not much desire the best things of the world, nor fear the worst; need not be covetous, nor fearful. Where faith is in any life and strength, it moderateth our desires and fears. It is an ill part of a believer to hang the head.
DOCTRINE II.-From that clause, David's eyes were to God's salvation; That God's word being past, his people do and must wait for the accomplishment of it. The lifting up of the eyes implies three things, faith, hope, and patience; all which do make up the duty of waiting for help and relief from God.
Ist, The lifting up the eyes implies faith and confident persuasion, that God is ready and willing to help us: “But our eyes are upon thee" (2 Chron. xx. 12); “Unto thee I lift up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest
in the heavens" (Psalm cxxiii. 1). The very lifting up of the bodily eve towards Heaven, is an expression of this inward trust: so David in effect saith, · From thee, Lord, I expect relief, and the fulfilling of thy promises.' So that there is faith in it, that faith which is the evidence of things not seen. How great soever the darkness of our calamities be, though the clouds of present troubles thicken about us, and hide the Lord's care and lovingkindness from us, yet faith must look through all to his power and constancy of truth and love. The eye of faith is a clear, piercing, eagleeye: “ Moses endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb. xi. 27). A man is very short-sighted before: “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off” (2 Peter i. 9), can only skill in the things of sense and reason, see a danger near him, as beasts; or a bait, while it is before him, a brute thinketh of no other; or else goeth by probabilities, as it seeth things by the light of reason in their causes. But faith seeth things “afar off” in the promises (Heb. xi. 13), at a greater distance than the eye of nature can reach to. Take it either for the eye of the body or the mind, faith will draw comfort, not only from what is invisible at present, but not to come for a long time: it is future as well as invisible; its supports lie in the other world, and are yet to come.
2ndly, There is hope in it; for what a man hopeth for, he will look for it, if he can see it a-coming: “The earnest expectation of the creature,” árokapaðoria ons krioews (Rom. viii. 19); the stretching forth of the head : “They looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming ?” (Judg. v. 28.) So by spiritual hope there is a lifting up of the eyes, or a looking out for what God hath promised, or an intent observing all together: “Our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour" (Phil. iii. 20). Faith keepeth the eye of the mind fixed upon the promise, and is ever looking out for deliverance: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help: my help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth" (Psalm cxxi. 1, 2). Thence they look and wait for succour, it must come out of Heaven to them. They see it, they can spy a cloud a-coming; that which a man careth not for, he doth not look for. David saith, “I will pray and look up” (Psalm v. 3). Hope hath expectation of the thing or object hoped for.
3rdly, There is patience in it, in persevering and keeping on our looking, till mercy come, with faith and ardency in expecting God's help. Looking and waiting are to be conjoined, notwithstanding difficulties, till they procure deliverance: “ Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us” (Psalm cxxiii. 2). This lifting up of the eyes doth not imply a glance, or once looking to Heaven; but that we keep looking till God doth help: “I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him” (Isa. vii. 17). There is a constant depending and patient attending upon God, notwithstanding the present tokens of his wrath and displeasure; as a man withdraweth himself from a party, and will not be seen of him, nor spoken to by him, but the resolute suitor tarrieth to meet aud speak with him. So, « Therefore I will look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation : my God will hear me” (Mich. vii. 7); not give over upon every discouragement, as a merchant doth not discontinue trading for every loss at sea. Certainly, it is not faith and hope, unless we can endure and bear out. Natural courage will bear out for a while, but not long. A little