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The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." Here are no less, in a few words, than eight appropriations. And how desirable is it to be able to ascertain and express our own interest in all his engagements!—
"When I can say my God is mine,
Then I am satisfied with his goodness. But can the thing be made out?-and how? They mistake, who suppose this relation results from our choosing Him, and giving ourselves to him. We do this, indeed; but it is by his grace. And, in us, this is the effect, and not the cause. But as it is the effect, it is therefore the evidence. And in this way we are to trace back the stream to the fountain; making our calling, and thereby our election, sure. If we have chosen Him, we may be assured he has chosen us; and if we love him, we may be assured he loves us: for one is the consequence of the other-We love Him, because he first loved us.
It is the language of a permanent proprietary. This God is our God for ever and ever. Without this, the blessedness would make us miserable. The dearer and greater a treasure be, the more alive we are to anxiety and fear; and nothing but the assurance of its safety can enable us cordially to enjoy it. No confidence is so well founded as the Christian's. Every other possession is precarious. Every other relation is breaking up. But he may, he can say, "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It is the language of an exulting proprietary. Boasting is excluded by the law of faith. But what boasting All glorying in ourselves-but not in God. "My soul," says David, "shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." "This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O ye daughters of Jerusalem-What is yours?" So here. This God is our God for ever and ever-What is yours, O ye sons of men?
Their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies themselves being judges.
Nov. 6.-" There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets." Dan. ii. 28.
DANIEL was perhaps the most blameless character recorded in the Scriptures. Of course He is excepted from the comparison, who was "fairer than the children of men."-Neither do we mean to intimate that he was sinless. He had an evil heart to lament before God; but, with regard to his conduct before men, as a professor of religion-rothing is laid to his charge. And what an honour as it to be spoken of, while living-and while yovag, too-by a prophetin company with Noah and Job-as one of those who were most likely to have power with God, as intercessors!
Here we see his humility. The king said unto him, "Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret, which the king hath commanded, cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets." 3 c
Why does he mention this, but because he would prevent the commendation of himself? and that the only wise God should have the glory that was due unto his holy Name? And thus another fine character, jealous of the Divine honour, said to his sovereign, "It is not in me. God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace." The most eminent of all characters in the Christian Church also said, " By the grace of God I am what I am and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." Contrast with these, two of the most famous of the Heathen philosophers and moralists: one of whom said-"That we have riches, is of the gods; but that we have wisdom, is of ourselves." And the other-" A good man is, in one respect, above the gods themselves: for they are good by the necessity of nature; but he is good by choice!"
But what is the praise that Daniel transfers from himself to God? The revelation of secrets. Men are fond of secrets. With regard to themselves, they are always wishful to pry into futurity. Almanacks must therefore have something to feed this humour, or half their number would not be sold. Mistresses, as well as servant-maids; the old, as well as the young; would shew their palms to the fortuneteller, were it not for the fear of ridicule. Were the Witch of Endor alive, many would repair to her; and, like Saul, consult the Devil himself at secondhand.-People, too, are fond of being entrusted with secrets concerning others. But they should not. The very injunction of silence, excites propensity to transgress: and the breach of confidence, when known, often produces disgrace and strife. Envy makes us inquisitive, with regard to rivals; fear, with regard to enemies; and love, with regard to friends. It was curiosity, operating in a way of attachment, that led Peter to enquire after the des
tination of John-"Lord, and what shall this man do?" But the Lord did not even encourage this"What is that to thee? Follow thou me."
The secret things belong unto God; but things that are revealed are for us, and for our children. Concerning many things, he is silent: and, where he says nothing, we are not to be wise above what is written.
But He can reveal secrets. His understanding is infinite. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
He has revealed secrets. He enabled Daniel to explain the import of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and foretell the succession of the four monarchies. He shewed Moses what the Jews would be, at this very hour. What a Divine prerogative was prophecy! We may conjecture; but we really know not what a day may bring forth. We may argue from causes to effects; but the existence and operation of the causes themselves depend upon the will of another. We may infer from probabilities; but the natural tendencies of things are liable to accidental derangements-and the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Besides, as to the predictions of Scripture, many of them regarded things so remote, that what immediately preceded them, could not possibly be discerned. And others regarded events the most unlikely to take place of all occurrences in the world-And yet, when we look into history, we see how it accords with these announcements. How can we account for this, but by admitting, that prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
He does reveal secrets. How many now liv ing has he called out of darkness into his marvel
ous light! Not that he has communicated to their minds, things new in themselves; but they were new to them. The sun had been shining; but they had been in the dark, because they were blind. All the doctrine was in the Bible before; but he now leads them into all truth; and shews them, not only the reality of Divine things, but their importance and glory. Give a man a taste for a book of music, or science of any kind; and he will see a thousand things entirely new to him, though he possessed the work before. So "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned : but the spiritual judgeth all things." So the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he shews them his covenant, as to their interest in its engagements and provisions. And what a discovery is this! How anxious will How anxious will every awakened mind be to possess it!
"Oh! tell me that my worthless name
"Shew me some promise in thy book
Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. And what is the promise? "I will give him to eat of the hidden manna; and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."-He also shews them the secrets of his providence, as well as of his grace. They know what he is doing, and what he will do. They know that he is fulfilling his own word, and making all things to work together for their good. They know, that "behind a frowning providence, he hides a smiling face;" and that even when he slays them, they have reason to trust in him. "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things?