« PoprzedniaDalej »
affected with the unsearchable riches of Christ; we should supremely regard our souls, and those spiritual blessings which belong to our everlasting welfare.
Minds truly gracious measure their situations and conveniences in this world by the opportunities they give them of service for God and of communion with him. Hezekiah asks in distress, “what is the sign that I shall go up into the house of the Lord? One thing, (says David,) have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.”
Are you like-minded? If you are, you will not suffer a little trouble, or a little expense to keep you from the house of God. When compelled to abstain from his courts, you will feel your exclusion painful: with a mournful pleasure, you will think of the seasons when yo went to the house of God, with the voice of joy and gladness:" with longing desire you will ask, When shall I come and appear before God?
This will influence servants in the choice of a place. They will forego a number of advantages, and put up with a number of difficulties, rather than be deprived of the means of grace.
This will actuate the man of property in fixing the bounds of his habitation.—Many persons in leaving off business go down into the country ; and looking around them, say, behold yonder is a fine wood, there are beautiful meadows, and here is a fine stream of water. But the Christian would inquire before he pitched his tent, is the tree of life here? Can I here have access to the wells of salvation? Can I go in and out and find pasture? II. See his faith in Divine Providence. David views his defeat or his success, his exile or his return as suspended entirely on the will of God. He does not balance probabilities : “ These things are for me, and those are against me: when I think on these circumstances, I feel hope, but when I dwell on those I tremble for fear. I know the issue turns upon the pleasure of the Almighty. He bringeth down, and he lifteth up. When he giveth peace, then who can make trouble? And when he hideth his face, then who can behold him, whether it be done against a nation, or a man only ?”
Not that he acted the part of an enthusiast, and despised the use of means. This
appears obviously from the measures he devised, especially his employing the counsel of Hushai. But while he used means, he did not trust in them. He knew that duty is ours, and events the Lord's. He therefore looks beyond all instruments and second causes, to an Agent, “ who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." • If I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and show me both it and his habitation.”
David knew it was easy for Him to take wisdom from the wise, and courage from the brave; and to confound all his devices. He knew, also, that it was equally easy for God to turn again his captivity. He knew that his wisdom is infinite, his power almighty, his resources endless: he knew that “ his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure.” It would be well for us to rernember this in our difficulties, and to view a change in our distressing circumstances, as turning simply on the will of God. "If he speak the word, I shall be healed.-If he favour my cause, I am released. He knows how to deliver. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. It does not become his
people ever to despair. He cannot come too late. Balaam may prepare altars, and offer sacrifices; but how can he curse whom God hath not cursed ? Nebuchadnezzar may heat the furnace, and the faithful servants of God may be even thrown in : but the God whom they serve is continually able to deliver then. Had he interposed earlier, the salvation would not have appeared so marvellous and divine. He often makes our extremity his opportunity.- For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself of his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.”
III. He professes a full acquiescence in the disposal of the Almighty : “But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I; let him do to me as seemeth good to him.” Here are no imprecations of vengeance against seditious subjects, and a rebellious son; no bitter complaints of instruments; no charging God foolishly; no teaching God knowledge. He falls down at his feet, wishing to be raised up,
but wil. ling to remain. He mourns, but he does not mur
Thus Eli before him had said, “ It is the Lord : let him do what seemeth him good.” And thus David's Son, and his Lord, long after, and almost in the very same spot, exclaimed, “ O my Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.'
I have been thinking what helped to produce this disposition in David. Now there were two things in himself, and two in God, which promoted this resignation; and I mention them because they ought equally to influence us in our calamities.
There were two things in himself. The one
was a sense of his own unworthiness. A con. sciousness of our desert is necessary to our submission under the afflictive dispensations of Providence. When this prevails, instead of wondering at our trials, we only wonder at our exemptions and mitigations, and say, “it is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” It was thus with David. A recollection of the ungrateful and guilty part which he had acted, stopped his mouth, and made him silent in the dust." 66 I have behaved more undutifully towards my Father and my Sovereign than ever Absalom did towards his.- I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin ? Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more. That which I see not, teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.”
The other was—his ignorance. For while the former convinced him that he had no right to choose, this persuaded him that he had no ability. He knew that he had often been deceived-deceived both by his hopes and fears ; that he had desired things which would have been his ruin, and dreaded things which had proved some of his chief mercies ; " that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”
Hence he referred himself to God, as to one who knew what was best for him, saying, “ Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty ; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother; my soul is even as a weaned child."
There were also two things in God which aided this acquiescence. First, his sovereignty. “ Has he not a right to do what he will with his own? Did he not find me a poor shepherd-boy? Did not he raise me to the throne ? And, if he require me to lay down the sceptre, and reduces me back again to humble life he is righteous : his authority is unquestionable. I have nothing which I can call my own; and he can take nothing which is not his. Secondly, his goodness. The authority of God awes us, and we say,
“ Peace all our angry passions, then,
Let each rebellious sigh
And every murmur die." But it is something else that produces the cheerfulness of submission. It is the principle which actuates him ; which is love: it is the end he has in view, which is our profit: it is a belief, that however things may be determined, with regard to our feelings—they “shall all work together for our good :" it is a conviction that if we suffer, these sufferings are as necessary as the knife to the vine, the furnace to the gold, or medicine to the body—this, and this alone, can enable us cordially to say,
Behold, here am I; let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.”
Let us be followers of David in this holy resignation of ourselves to the pleasure of God. There are two reasons why we should aspire after this state of mind :
First. It will be very advantageous to yourselves. In passing through a vale of tears, you must expect to weep: and, as you cannot escape afflictions, surely common prudence will lead you