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“ faint and be weary, and the young men shall " utterly fall
1." But they that wait upon the Lord, shall “ renew their strength; they shall mount up
with wings as eagles; they shall run and not “ be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”.
And, if we look at the generations of old, and the years that are past, we shall find that he hath ever fulfilled these promises to his faithful servants, we shall find none that trusted in the Lord and were confounded, or that abode in his fear and were forsaken. " I will never leave " thee nor forsake thee,” said God to Joshua; and in him to all that rely upon him, in every age of the world. With how heavy a load of afflictions did the Royal Psalmist labour; with what a variety of misfortunes was he surrounded; dispossessed of his crown; persecuted by his own son, and even despised by those very subjects, whom kis, prudence and valour had saved from destruction! Yet, amidst this complication of distresses, with what a noble fortitude did he cleave to his God; and by what astonishing acts of providence did that God reward his fidelity and perseverance! How amazingly, again, did the same God exert his providential care in the deliverance and remuneration of his faithful servant Job! And how instructive an example does his conduct hold forth to our imitation! We behold him, in one moment, lord of the east; the father of a numerous offspring; possessed of every blessing which man could wish or heaven bestow. In the next, we see him blasted by the vengeance of heaven, a spectacle of horror, an object of compassion! Himself smitten with the pains of a diseased body; his cattle and servants destroyed by the sword of his enemies, and by fire from heaven; and even his children, those last and dearest comforts of his declining years, all, all in one cruel moment torn from him by a sudden and unexpected death! Whither then, in this dark night of affliction, amid this concentration of unspeakable miseries, did this holy sufferer flee for succour, or in whom did he place his confidence? Not in the help of man, but in the mercy of that God, who ruleth on high. " Q earth,” says he, “ cover not thou my blood, 56 and let my cry have no place: behold! my " witness is in heaven, and my record is, on * high; my friends scorn me, but minę eye 46 poureth out tears unto God.”
And what then was the event of this pious resignation ; what the effect of this humble de pendence upon the goodness of the Almighty? “ Stand still, and consider the wondrous works
- “ of
“ of God.” His mourning was changed into joy; his health restored; his possessions doubled; and to complete his happiness he lived to see a numerous offspring sharers of those blessings with which the bounty of God had rewarded his faith and integrity. So that, in all respects, his latter end, as the sacred historian declares, was more blessed than his beginning.
Since then, my brethren, we have a God who is thus ever ready to save those who flee unto him; by whose goodness we are upheld; by whose immensity of love and mercy we are surrounded; whose infinite wisdom enables him to plan, and whose infinite power enables him to execute the fittest means for our safety and happiness; what remains, but that we commit ourselves to his all-gracious guidance, and repose our souls under the shadow of his protecting wings ? Under all the afflictive events of Providence, let us withdraw our minds from worldly helps ; let us take off that confidence we are apt to place in men; and look up to God, the rock of ages, in a pious hope and assurance of his assistance. To him we have been left ever since we were born, and he has not hitherto forsaken us, but has preserved us in such a condition, as his wisdom thought most fitting and convenient for us, Let, therefore, our past experience of his directing providence beget in us a hope for
the future, that as he has thus far conducted us in safety through the mazes of life, so also he will still continue to be our guide unto death.
Examine thyself, therefore, O sinner, whether thou hast that trust in God, which is the foundation of all comfort here, and the presage of eternal happiness hereafter? Hast thou not made gold thy hope, and said to the fine gold thou art my confidence? Hast thou not said to corruption, thou art my father, and to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister? Hast thou not trusted in them who dwell in houses of clay, when the terrors of God set themselves in array against thee; or sought help from man, whose foundation is in the dust, when the arrows of the Almighty made thee afraid? Does thy heart never reproach thee with having forsaken God, or does thy conscience never accuse thee of despising his. mercies ? Didst thou never in prosperity overlook the providence that bestowed, or in adversity neglect the hand that inflicted it upon thee? Didst thou never on the bed of sickness repine at thy Maker, or in the night of distress forget the Lord thy Redeemer? These, my brethren, are important questions, which unless a man can answer satisfactorily, let him not presume to call himself a christian, or fancy, that he has that trust in God, which is the foundation of all ree
SERMON XXXVII. ligion. Pause, therefore, for a few moments; lay your hands upon your hearts, and consider seriously, whether ye are indeed possessed of this inestimable treasure, Delay not to trust in the Lord, before it be too late; flee unto the Almighty for succour, whilst yet he may happily be found. Take for your example the saints and martyrs of ancient times, who, trusting in the Lord, despised the dangers and difficulties of this uncertain span of life, and now through faith and patience inherit the promises. To them pain and disease, shame and reproach, poverty and distress, nay even death itself appeared light and easy, as being the appointment of that Being in whom they trusted, that he would raise them up to immortality at the last day. And the same promises, which were made to them, are also made to you: the same God, which was their support, shall be also your comfort: and the same immortality, which was their hope, shall also be your reward.
But finally, my beloved, as ye imitate their hopes and confidence in God, so also be careful to follow those graces and virtues, which were the foundation of thát hope and confidence. For though the Almighty be a sure anchor of trust and safety, amidst the waves of this troublesome world; yet he is so to those alone,