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2. It points out the number and variety of Divine blessings, as one drop falls after another when the rain is poured out from the clouds; so there is a constant succession of the various blessings which the Lord bestows upon his people. Like the waves, they constantly succeed one another. From the moment of conversion, to all eternity, he pours out blessings without intermission. Though these should be in different degrees, and though the soul should not always equally apprehend them, his loving-kindness is never taken away, and he waters the whole of his vineyard every moment.
Justly is the promise called running, as it attends the saint in every period of his life, and supplies his wants. In it there is the sound of abundance of rain, which drops down in various successive blessings. With the greatest propriety may Christians resolve to bless God, while they håve any being, for these various blessings; for God has promised to bless them while He lives. Thus it is the comfort and saint, “ God lives, blest be
Rock." Then may we number the variety of Divine blessings, when we understand the fulness of the covenant of grace, and are perfectly acquainted with the trials, necessities, and supports of the saint; when we know the designs and attacks of his enemies, and the infinite and unceasing care of God in his momentary keeping of his vineyard ; and when we can comprehend what is contained in that most extensive blessing, I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; or can number the drops of rain or dew which fall from the clouds. Of these blessings we may justly
say, as in Psal. xl. 5, “ Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works, which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."
3. It seems also expressive of the extent of the blessing, or the number of those who receive it, When the sky darkens, not one place only, but vast numbers are watered. When Israel brought the tithes, many more would receive the blessing than in their present condition when they robbed God. Under this judgment those who enjoyed Divine countenance were so few, that they would appear in their own eyes as the prophet when he seemed to be left alone. This promise evidently respects New Testament times, and points out the superior extent of the blessing under that dispensation. When used by the prophets, the term pouring commonly has a reference to the Christian church. The seventy-second Psalm respects the kingdom of the Messiah. There it is promised that he shall come down as the rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth. We have similar expressions in many passages in Isaiah's prophecies. In Joel ïi. 28, God promises to pour his Spirit upon all flesh. Then New Covenant blessings, instead of being confined to Judea, shall fill that dominion which extends from sea to sea. Then that remarkable prophecy about the Gentile church, in Isai. liv. 1-3, will he accomplish : “ Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that
didst not travail with child : for more is the children of the desolate than the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations ; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen then thy stakes. For thou shalt break forth on the right-hand, and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities inhabited."
4. It points out that the blessing is under the direction of an infinitely wise God. In however great quantity or variety the blessing may be poured out, still it is by God himself ; and it must and will fall where he inclines it. When he opens the natural clouds, the rain falls upon one city and not on another; and so it is, when he comes down as showers upon the mown grass, or as the former and latter rain. He can water a fleece, when all around is dry; or keep the fleece dry, when all around is wet. This proclaims comfort to the poor believer, who is ready to apprehend that he is unnoticed or forgotten. If his fleece is dry now, it will be watered in the Lord's time. It likewise secures the election of grace The Lord knows them that are his. Wherever they are, he will seek them out, and water them with the blessing. No enemy or event can hinder this, more than they can prevent the falling of the rain. At certain times, and from sinful or selfish views, many have wished that the natural rain might not fall; but they never attempted to prevent it. Every method which hell and earth can devise has been tried to obstruct the blessing. The united efforts of deceit ind violence have been often employed to prevent
the means of grace from reaching certain places, or being fixed in them. When settled, every attempt has been used to mar the success, and defeat the end. Sometimes the deepest plots have been laid and the strongest exertions made to remove the candlestick out of its place. But sooner shall the drops falling from the clouds be kept from reaching the earth, than the Lord's blessing from reaching those for whom it was designed. The Christian's enemies have all joined in the closest combination to prevent him from enjoying the blessing. Sin tries to separate between him and his God; but all his iniquities shall pass away as a thick cloud. In the same wicked cause Satan makes continued and cruel exertions; but the God of peace shall bruise Satan, and rebuke the devourer. The world too uses every alluring art and terrifying method to prevent him from seeking or receiving the blessing ; but more and mightier are they that are with him, than all who can be against him; and he shall be blessed. The most crafty counsels of his enemies shall be defeated, and their most vigorous efforts rendered abortive. Like the natural, the spiritual rain shall fall irresistibly; and the Lord's people shall be watered.
5. This manner of expression has a respect to the Holy Spirit. We have a proof of this, Isai. xliv. 3, *+ I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground : I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring : and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.” The term pouring out does not
so much respect the person of the Holy Spirit, as his precious influences. He himself is given absolutely to every saint, and dwells in his heart; but his influences are poured out in various measures. This is intimated, Titus iii. 4–6, “ But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” His quickening and sanctifying, his strengthening and comforting influences are frequently mentioned in Scripture as having qualities and effects corresponding to water and rain. They drop down upon the dry parched ground of the human heart, and make it fruitful in all good works.
In fine, it intimates that the blessing is free. They must be strangers to themselves who think they either deserve the natural rain, or can do any thing to procure it. Though it falls down upon us, it is always without any merit or exertion of ours. The spiritual rain is still more undeserved. If we should never enjoy it till we deserve it, we would suffer an eternal drought. These showers tarry not for man nor wait for the sons of men. The first blessing is preventing; and every succeeding one is free and undeserved. We do much to provoke the Lord to withhold the blessing; but nothing to deserve it.
That the blessing may be poured out, God promises to open the windows of heaven. This expression is significant, forcible, and emphatic