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thy word above all thy name” (Psalm cxxxviii. 2). He standeth much on his truth, is punctual in his promises. It is a great disgrace done to God if we do not trust him upon his word, we * make him a liar." “He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar” (1 John v. 10), and so not God. (3.) He is able to make it good, his word never yet found difficulty; he spake the word, and it was done. There is the same power that goeth still along with his word, if he say he will do this, who can let ? Therefore none that ever yet trusted in God were disappointed : “ They trusted in thee and were not confounded” (Psalm xxii. 5).
4. From the benefits of this trust.
(1.) This fixeth and establisheth the heart against all fears which so often prove a snare to us: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (Psalın cxii. 7). Il news and cross accidents falling out in the world do not dismay him, because he looketh higher, because he hath set God against men, the covenant against provi. dences, eternal things against temporal; he is not fearless, yet his heart is established and fixed.
(2.) It allayeth our sorrows, and maketh us cheerful in the midst of all difficulties and discouragements : “ I have trusted in thy mercy, my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation” (Psalm xiii. 5). So, “ I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever” (Psalm lii. 8). As some trees are green in winter, this will make a man flourish notwithstanding opposition, and all the bitter cold blasts of trouble and worldly distress.
(3.) It quiets the heart as to murmurings, and unquiet agitations of spirit, to wait God's leisure; when there was a storm in David s spirit, he allayeth it thus: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul, hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him” (Psalm xlii. 5). On the contrary, murmuring, impatience, and vexation is the fruit of distrust: “They believed not his word, but murmured in their tents” (Psalm cvi. 24, 25). They that distrust God's promise fall a quarrelling with his providence ; did we believe that the wise God is still carrying on all things for our good, we would submit to his will.
(4). It banisheth and removeth far from us distracting cares and fears, these are a great sin, a reproach to our heavenly Father : “ Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on" (Matt. vi. 25); and, “After all these things do the Gentiles seek, for your hearenly Father knoweth that ye bave need of all these things" (verse 32). As if your children, when you are able to maintain them, should distrust your allowance, and beg their bread from door to door. We are forecasting many things, take God's work out of his hands, and are anxious in inquiring what we shall eat, what we shall drink, what shall become of such a business and affair. Now, how shall we be eased of these tormenting thoughts ? “ Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Prov. xvi. 3.) “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established" (2 Chron. xx. 20).
(5.) It keepeth us from warping and turning aside to crooked paths : as long as we are persuaded that God will maintain us by honest and lawful means, we are kept upright with God, but an unbelieving person makes haste, right or wrong he will be his own carver. Men, if they have not faith enough to trust God in an ordinary course of providence, think God is a
, bad paymaster, and therefore take up with present things : “ She obeyed not the voice; she trusted not in the Lord” (Zeph. iii. 2), that was the reason of her corruption, oppression and deceit; this was the reason why they rose up against Moses, and would go back to Egypt; they would not believe God could maintain them in the wilderness, warping and declining from God cometh from want of faith.
USE I.—The first use is to persuade us to trust in God upon his word. I will direct you,
1. As to the means.
1. Know him : “ They that know thy name will put their trust in thee" (Psalm ix. 10); if God were better known he would be better trusted : . I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. i. 12).
2. Get a covenant interest in him; if our interest be clouded, how can we put promises in suit; but when it is clear you may draw comfortable conclusions thence: “I trusted in thee, O Lord, I said thou art my God” (Psalm xxxi. 14). "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" (Psalm xxiii. 1), he will provide for his own. “The Lord is my portion saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him” (Lam. iii. 24).
3. Walk closely with him : “ The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money, yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, is not the Lord among us? none evil shall come upon us” (Mic. iii. 11). God will shake them as Paul did the viper; shame, fear, and doubts do always follow sin; will a man trust him whom he hath provoked ? Doubts are the fumes of sin, like vapours that come from off a foul stomach. If we mean to make and keep God a friend, we will be careful to please him. A good conversation breedeth a good conscience, and a good conscience trust in God.
4. Observe experiences when he maketh good his word : “ As for God his way is perfect, the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psalm xviii. 30). All these providences are confirmations that feed and nourish faith : “In God will I praise his word : in the Lord will I praise his word, in God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm lvi. 10, 11).
2ndly, As to the nature of this trust. Let me commend to you,
1. The adventure of faith : “At thy word I will let down the net" (Luke v. 5). At thy command, when we cannot apply the promise, ven·ture for the command's sake, see what God will do for you and what believing comes to.
2. The waiting of faith when expectation is not answered, and you find not at first what you wait for, yet do not give God the lie, but resolve to keep the promise as a pawn till the blessing promised cometh : “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa. xxviii. 16); it is carnal affection must have present satisfaction, greedy and impatient longings argue a disease. Revenge must have it by-and-by ; covetousness must wax rich in a day; ambition would rise presently: lusts are earnest and ravenous; like diseased stomachs, must have green trash.
3. The obstinacy and resolution of faith ; resolve to die holding the horns of the altar : you will not be put off: the woman of Canaan turned discouragements into arguments : and cried so much the more, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job xii. 15).
4. The submission and resignation of faith : “ Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. vi. 33). Set your hearts upon the highest interest, make sure of Heaven, and refer other things to God: be at a point of indifferency for temporal supplies.
5. The prudence of faith: settle your mind against present necessities, and for future contingencies leave them to God's providence: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. vi. 34). Children that have to allay present hunger, do not cark how to bring the year about, they leave that to their father. Manna was to be gathered daily; when it was kept till the morning it putrified.
6. The obedience of faith: mind duty and let God take care of success, let God alone with the issues of things, otherwise we take the work out of his hands. A Christian's care should be what he should do, not what shall become of him: “Be careful for nothing” (Phil. iv. 6); and, “ Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter v. 7). There is a care of duties, and a care of events. God is inore solicitous for you, than you for yourselves.
Use II.-Do we thus trust in the Lord ? All will pretend to trust in God, but there is little of this true trusting in him in the world.
1. If we trust God we shall be often with him in prayer: “ Trust in the Lord at all times—pour out your hearts before him” (Psalm lxii. 8). “ The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, the God of my rock : in him will I trust. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation; my high tower and my refuge: my Saviour thou savest me from violence, I will call on the Lord who is worthy to be praised ; so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (2 Sam. xxii. 2—4). We act our trust at the throne of grace, encourage ourselves in God.
2. It will quiet and fix the heart, free it of cares, fears, and anxious thoughts : “ Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. iv. 6, 7). “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul” (Psalm xciv, 19).
3. A care to please, for dependence begets observance, they that have all from God will not easily break with him.
DOCTRINE II.-Those that do trust in God must look to be reproached for it by carnal men.
1. There are two sorts of men in the world, ever since the beginning; contrary seeds: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed, and her seed" (Gen. iii. 15). Some born of the flesh, some of the spirit; the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent; some that live by sense, some by faith; ever it will be so : and there is an enmity between these two, and this enmity vented by reproach. “But as he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now” (Gal. iv. 29); that persecution was by bitter mockings, so Ishmael : “Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had borne unto Abraham, mocking” (Gen. xxi. 9).
2. The occasion from their low condition; hence they will take liberty to mock at their interest in God, and to shame them from their confidence, as if the promise of God were to none effect. Carnal men measure all things
by a carnal interest, and therefore the life of those that live by faith is ridiculous to them, those that trust in a promise are exercised with delay and distress : “ Be ye followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises" (Heb. vi. 12). Here is matter for faith and patience. Now, they that know no arm but flesh, no security but a temporal interest, no happiness but in the things of this life, have them in derision that look elsewhere.
Use I.-Not to count it strange when this is our lot, to be exercised with reproaches, because of our trust; so was Christ: “I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people: all they that see me, laugh me to scorn, they shoot out the lip, and 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. 6–8). “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross," &c. (Matt. xxvii. 39–43). If Christ Jesus was mocked for his trust, we should bear it the more patiently; so the people of God: “ Therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God" (1 Tim. iv. 10). It is no new thing for the adversaries of religion to scorn such as trust in God, and rely upon his promises, therefore bear it the more patiently. (1.) Whether they be upbraidings of our trust: “He trusted in God, let him deliver him now if he will have bim, for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matt. xxvii. 43). “ Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?" (Job iv. 6.) (2.) Or, insultings over our low and comfortless condition; men will tread down the hedge where they find it low; the Psalmist complaineth : “ They talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded” (Psalm lxix. 26); pour in vinegar and salt where they find a wound, and add affliction to the afflicted. You will hear bitter words; Christ himself was thus exercised : “ Hail! king of the Jews” (Matt. xxvii. 29): to be mocked and scorned we must expect, and that men will insult. (3.) Or, whether they be perverse applications of Providence; thus Shimei insulted over David in his distress : “ Come out, come out, thou bloody man, thou man of Belial: the Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul,” &c. (2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8). So men will say this is for your rebellion, &c.
USE II.—Since there are two parties in the world, they that trust and they that reproach them for their trust, consider in what number you are. It is needful to be far from the disposition of the seed of the serpent, and not to have your tongues set on fire of Hell, to be far from the disposition of those that are governed by sense and carnal interests. (1.) It is unmannerly to insult over any in distress, and to reproach them with their condition. Places blasted with lightning were accounted sacred amongst the Heathens, because the hand of God had touched them ; so, you should not speak to the grief of those whom God hath wounded, but pity them, and pray for them, if they are fallen into God's hands. (2.) It is unchristian to reproach those that trust in God. It is easy to know them, who are they that pray, that plead promises, that carry not on their hopes by present likelihoods; though they have their faults, they are for the main, strict, holy, charitable. (3.) It is dangerous to offend any of Christ's little ones, and to grieve their spirits.
DOCTRINE III.—That these reproaches are grievous to God's children,
and go near their hearts; therefore David desires God to appear for him, that they may have somewhat to answer them that reproached him.
1. Man's nature cannot endure reproach, especially a scornful reproach: every man thinketh himself worthy of some regard.
2. Religion increaseth the sense of it, as the flood increased when the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of Heaven were opened (Gen. vii. 11). When the deep below and Heaven above united, the flood was the greater: so, when grace and nature join, it is very grievous. David said, “ As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?” (Psalm xlii. 10.) These were cutting words to David's heart.
(1.) It is a dishonour to God, and they are sensible of that as well as a misery to themselves. It is a dishonour to his power, as if he could not help; to his love, as if he would not; to his truth, as if he would fail in the needful time, or were fickle and inconstant, as if he would desert his friends in misery ; to his holiness, as if he favoured wicked men in their evil courses, and formal dead-hearted services : “ These things hast thou done, and I kept silence, thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself” (Psalm 1. 21). How can a soul that loveth God endure this, that the power of God should be lessened, or his truth questioned ? “Rabshakeh said, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you saying, The Lord shall deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and Arphad ? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand ?” (Isa. xxxvi. 4, compared with 18—20.) As if the living God had no more power than dunib idols ; therefore, Hezekiah goeth and spreads the letter before the Lord : you touch a godly man to the quick when you strike at God's honour; they have a tender sense and feeling of this.
(2.) It reflects upon the ways of God, to bring them out of request; you thought you were one of God's darlings, you thought nobody served God but you, this is your godly profession, your fasting and prayer, what need such niceness: thus they count his way folly, his life madness.
(3.) These reproaches strike at the life of faith, and therefore go very near the hearts of God's children. Trust and confidence in God, it is the life of their souls: “There is no help for him in God” (Psalm iii. 2). Such temptations are very catching when he seemeth opposite to them, Now, our unbelief put in to make the temptation stronger, there is some visible pretence for wbat is said. Where are the promises thou talkest of? where the promises and the deliverance? what have thy prayers brought from Heaven? Thou hast called and none answered, cried and none hath pity on thee. What profit in serving the Lord? And then what followeth after this open objection: unbelief cometh, and whispereth in our ears, Do you think those things true the word speaketh ?
Well then, open your hearts to God as Hezekiah did Rabshakeh's letter; tell him of these cruel mockings as they are called (Heb. xi. 36). It is the manner of saints so to do : “ Wherefore should the Heathen say, where is now their God?” (Psalın cxv. 2.) And, “On the fasting day let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to