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ven us in the road to heaven, no less than for the promises by which we are assured of the possession of it. But what I would chiefly observe is, that the joy of a saint is not extracted from such base and perishing materials as corn, and wine, and oil ; it flows spontaneously from the fountain of living water, from the pure source of that word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Nay, so little is it dependent upon, or even connected with, any thing that belongs to a present world, that “ although the fig-tree should not blossom, neither should fruit be in the vine ; the labour of the olive should fail, and the fields should yield no meat; the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there should be no herd in the stall;" yet still the saint can rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation. Nay, when the heaven shall be shrivelled up like a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island shall be moved out of their places; he can look at the universal desolation, and say, when these materials are consumed, I shall have lost nothing. All things are mine, for I am Christ's, and Christ is God's.--God lives, blessed be my rock -The Lord is the portion of my inheritance,” and in him I possess and enjoy all things.

These three particulars, respecting the matter of the godly man's choice, the object of his desire, and the source of his joy, may help us to form a just estimate of ourselves; and this is the im

provement I would have you to make of this branch of the subject.

How are your hearts affected towards the precepts of God's word ? an outward reluctant obedience there may be, compelled by the slavish fear of wrath: but do you serve God from choice, with a free and liberal mind ? Doth the Lord Jesus appear as amiable with the crown upon his head, and the sceptre in his hand, as when clad with his garments rolled in blood ?

Is salvation, in all its extent, the chief object of

your desire ? even the present salvation of an inward growing light, and love, and purity; as well as the future salvation of deliverance from the fire that is not quenched, and the enjoyment of those positive pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore.

Do you know what it is to hunger and thirst after righteousness ? “ They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the spirit do mind the things of the spirit. If


he risen with Christ, you will seek the things that are above.” You will never think you have already attained, either are already perfect ; but forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, you will press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Once more, From whence do you derive your comfort and joy ; from the wells of salvation, that

issue forth from beneath the throne of God and the Lamb, or from the polluted streams that spring out of this footstool upon which we tread?

By this unerring touchstone of God's word let us examine and prove ourselves; and if the Spirit bears witness with our spirits, that these lineaments of the new creature, though too much blended aud marred with the features of the old man, are nevertheless legible on the fleshy tables of our hearts, let us give glory to God, who hath thus far formed us for himself, and trust, that he who bath begun a good work in us will carry it on till it be perfected in the heavenly glory. And let the many blemishes we must unavoidably discover, while they humble us in the presence of a holy God, urge us forward, at the same time, to a throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy for the pardon of past offences, and find grace to help us in every future time of need.

Having thus endeavoured to illustrate, and to improve, for self-examination, the distinguishing character of the godly man, as it lies before us in this passage, let us now attend, for our direction, to his leading requests.

1st, He prays for strengthening and upholding grace,“ Let thine hand help me.'

Dependence upon the Creator belongs to the essence of every creature. None of them subsist by themselves, neither do they possess any thing


that they can claim as their property. The highest seraph that ministers before the throne, must adopt the language of the apostle Paul, and say as he did, “ By the grace of God, I am what I

We read of “ angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, being reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” Adam created after the image of God, and furnished with every advantage suited to his rank, seduced by an apostate spirit, forfeited at once both his innocence and happiness, in consequence whereof all his posterity come into the world involved in the forfeiture he incurred, equally destitute of righteousness and strength, according to that saying of the apostle Paul, (Romans v. 6.)

66 When we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” And though this weakness is in part removed by the renewing influences of the Spirit of God, yet there will always be need for that caution, “ Be not high minded, but fear.” Who can say, “ My mountain standeth strong, I shall never be moved ?” The most eminent saints have not only failed, but failed in those very graces for which they were most eminent, and that too by means of temptations far inferior to others which they were enabled to resist. The faith of Abraham, the patience of Job, the meekness of Moses, and the courage of Peter, were all found unequal to the conflict, when left alone in the

hour of trial. These examples are recorded for our admonition; and on each of them we may read the solemn warning, “ Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Remember who it was that said, “ Without me ye can do nothing. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except yé abide in me.” Blessed be God for the assurance we have that help is laid for us upon one that is mighty; upon him let us lean in our journey through the wilderness; to his hand let us look for the help we need, and he will make his grace sufficient for us. Animated by this hope, the same apostle who said in one place, “ I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing;” in another place, setting his foot upon the neck of his enemies, utters the shout of victory, in those triumphant words, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Let us go and do likewise. To the prayer for upholding grace, David adds,

2dly, A desire for quickening grace; for this I take to be the true import of the request,

« Let my soul live.” Sometimes, indeed, we find him praying for the life of the body, as when he says, “ O spare me that I may recover strength, before I go

hence and be no more :" But here the expression is too strong to be limited to a sense comparatively so low.

Life, or conscious existence, though a valuable

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