ePub 版

AUG. 12.-"Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." Ps. xxx. 4.

It would be perfectly useless to call upon others to do this, in their present state

"None but the soul that feels His grace
"Can triumph in His holiness."

Since the Fall, this attribute, which renders God so amiable in himself, and which draws forth the highest praises of heaven, makes him unlovely to an apostate creature. There is nothing the sinner thinks of with so much dislike, as a perfection that justifies all his fears, and opposes all his inclinations and pursuits. What an enemy the world naturally is to the holiness of God, may be seen in the practice of the Heathens. Among all the heroes they deified, they advanced none for those qualities which approach the most nearly to it; but frequently for passions the most remote from it; and at best, only for some physical power, valued or useful, in the concerns of this life. Esculapius was deified for his skill in curing discases. Bacchus for the use of the grape. Vulcan for his operations in fire. Hercules for his destroying monsters; and so of the rest. But not one of them all was advanced to this honour for the virtue of holiness-as if this property was beneath their notice in the formation of a deity; or they loved a god better that had nothing to do with it.

It was upon this principle that they, who are now saints, "would" once themselves "have none of Him;" and really said unto God, "Depart from us; we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." Hence, if they loved the Sabbath, it was as a day of leisure and recreation; not as "the holy of the Lord, and honourable." Hence, they disliked his people, as renewed, because they were images of this pure original.



What a blessed evidence it is in their favour, that they can now "glory in his holy Name;" and " "sing and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness!" But such is the change they have experienced, that they do contemplate him with pleasure as holy in all his ways, and righteous in all his works. It is a relief, a satisfaction to their minds, in every perplexity in nature or providence, that the Judge of all the earth must do right. They delight in the law of God, which is holy, just, and good, after the inward man. The Gospel appears to their minds glorious, because "therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." This attribute now smiles upon them. They have a vast interest and hope in it. As holy, they can depend upon his truth; and are assured of the fulfilment of his word. They know that He, who has said, I will abundantly pardon; I will never leave thee nor forsake thee; is a God that cannot lie. Yes, says the Christian, since he who loves me is purity itself, and his influence is almighty, he will sprinkle clean water upon me, and I shall be clean. He will destroy in me the sin which he infinitely hates. He will make me a partaker of his holiness, and render me meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

But without this love to holiness we cannot see the kingdom of God. We are, both by Scripture and by the nature of the case, excluded for ever from his presence, which could only make us miserable? What fellowship hath light with darkness? What communion hath righteousness with unrighteousness?

Some talk of the less amiable views of the Supreme Being-yea, of the darker side of the Deity. I wonder what side this is. The Book tells me; and-I believe it-I feel it: that "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

Therefore, thus saith the Lord: "Let not the wise

man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might: let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord."

AUG. 13.-" And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness, for Jonathan's sake ?" 2 Sam. ix. 1.

LET me not pass by this, without remark.

See the low estate of Saul's house! He had a very numerous family, sufficient to have replenished a country; and yet it was now so reduced, dispersed, concealed, or unknown, that it was necessary to enquire whether any remains of it were left. So God setteth the solitary in families. Some houses, distinguished by their wealth and nobility, fall into indigence and obscurity; while others are completely terminated, their last branch having withered in the dust. "Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling-places to all generations: they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish." "Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased." Vanity of vanities! saith the Preacher-all is vanity!

[ocr errors]

See a fine instance of the forgiveness of injuries. Saul had been David's sworn foe; and had pursued him to the last with remorseless malignity. Yet, while he was alive, David never took an advantage to injure him, when he had him completely in his power. And when he died, he mourned over

him; and eulogized him, far beyond his desert. And, years after, he enquires whether any of his family was left-not to cut them off, lest they should disturb his government-or to punish the sins of the father upon the children. Thus Athaliah arose, and destroyed all the seed royal. Thus Abimelech would leave none remaining of his father's house, and slew his brethren, the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone-And the same barbarous exterminations have been always practised in the East-But David asks if any is left, to "shew him kindness." Let us learn from hence, not to avenge ourselves; but rather to give place unto wrath. A greater than David has said, "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you."-And he perfectly exemplified his own command: "When reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not"-but prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

We have here a proof of real and refined affection-That I may shew him kindness, "for Jonathan's sake." Jonathan had been his bosom-friend; and his open and generous conduct had justly endeared him to David. We love steadiness of attachment. Thy own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not. A friend is born for adversity; and loveth at all times and his regard will extend beyond the individual, to his connexions and offspring. God himself acts upon this principle; and tells us that the children of his servant shall continue, and that the generation of the upright shall be blessed. "I have been young," says David, "and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." And shall not we act upon the same principle in another case? Who remembered us in our low estate? Who, when rich, for our sakes became poor? and died, that we might live? He was received up into glory; and is no more in the worldBut are there none left of his family who stand in

need of our assistance? Let us pity and relieve them. Whatever we do unto one of the least of all these, he will esteem as done unto himself.

It was honourable in David not to wait to be addressed, but to endeavour to search out the object. We are to devise liberal things: and not only to seize, but to seek opportunities of doing good. The most needy and deserving are generally the least clamorous; and, like the stricken deer, retire, and bleed alone. And such we must seek after.-We should not wait for the enforcement of claims, if conscience tells us they are due. Yet some, we fear, would never pay a debt, if they thought the creditor had forgotten it. But justice is the rule of our duty.

[ocr errors]

We can go no further in our praise of David. Surely his kindness loses somewhat of its excellency in its lateness. Mephibosheth was five years old when David ascended the throne; and was now married and had a son. Thus a considerable number of years must have elapsed since God had delivered him out of all his adversity-He, therefore, (though better late than never) should have made this enquiry much earlier. What shall we say to this? We ought to make the best of every thing, especially in the conduct of great and good men. But none of them are faultless. And the Sacred Writers always shew their impartiality. They always record things just as they occurred, regardless of consequences-their only aim is truth.-It has been said, in exculpation of David, That he was so much engaged in war, and pressed with such a multiplicity of engagements! There was a truth in this; but it does not entirely excuse him. He had entered into covenant with Jonathan: and should immediately have shewn his seed "the kindness of God;" that is, the kindness which he had sworn in his presence to exercise. Let us take heed that indulgence does not harden the heart: and when we prosper, let us watch and pray, lest we

« 上一頁繼續 »