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sons and vile ways be contemned in your eyes; be of more raised spirits than to be companions with them. Learn hence a holy elevation of spirit. Regard not their society nor their scorns, their flatteries or their frowns; rejoice not with their joys, fear not their fear, care not for their care, feed not on their dainties; get you up from among them, to your country, to your city, where no unclean thing can enter or annoy. Live by faith, in the power of the Spirit, in the beauty of holiness, in the hope of the gospel, in the joy of your God, in the magnificence, and yet the humility, of the children of the great King.
III. HE IS THEIR Sun. He will discover and make manifest to them the riches and glory of their portion. He has granted them himself for their portion, and he will reveal and make manifest to them what a portion he is. He will make manifest both the blessedness they shall enjoy in him, and the way to it, and also the dangers that lie in the way. “The Lord God is a sun.” Psalm 84:11. The sun is the light of the world, it discovers itself and all things else. We cannot see the glory of the sun but by its own light; the moon, the planets, the firmament, and all this lower world would disappear, if the sun withdrew its light. Beauty and deformity, safety and danger, the right way and the wrong, are all brought to view by the light of the sun; the sunlight makes the day; night is spread over the world when the sun is set. So God is glorious; but who would be ever the wiser, did not this glory shine? "In thy light shall we see light.” Psa. 36:9. Why is the glorious God apprehended, understood, admired, by so few among the sons of men? Because he is out of sight; the sun is not risen upon them, nor shines unto them: they have moonlight or starlight, some dimmer reflections of this glory at second-hand; but they see not the sun.
What is the reason that truth and falsehood, good and evil, substances and shadows, things perishing and things permanent, are no better distinguished ? What is the reason that men are so mistaken and misguided in their judgments, in their choice, in their way; that they are at such a loss, such wanderers from their bliss? What is the reason that men's own sparks, the light of their own fires, their candlelight or torchlight, their fleshly imaginations, their carnal prosperity, their pleasures, their ease, their earthly glory, and their carnal joys that hence flash up to them, are so adored and admired by them? O, they see not the sun. God is out of sight; and thence are all their foolish mistakes and miscarriages. God will be a sun to his saints. “Thy sun shall no more go down." They shall have a right to the comfort of this glorious sun; he will show them his face, he will cause his glory to appear, he will lead them into himself by his own beams; he will show them their end, and the means the goal, and their way to it; he will show them the good part, and the right path; good and evil, duties and sins, realities and delusions, helps and hinderances, dangers and advantages, their snares and their succors, will all be discovered to them by the light of the Lord.
Hearken, thoù poor and dark soul, that hast choHeaven Opened.
sen, but thou knowest not what; that art going, but thou knowest not whither; that art wandering and stumbling on, but thou carest not how; that complainest thou canst not see, thou canst not value, thou canst not be affected with all the glory and joy of the invisible world; that findest thy husks and thy trash to be a greater pleasure to thee than all the riches of immortality; that wouldest fain mind and choose and love and relish and seek God and things above, but thou canst not: thou seest so little of the beauty of them, that they do not entice thy heart after them; and when thou art seeking, thou art at a loss and in the dark as to the way that thou shouldest take. Hearken, soul, thy God calls to thee: Come unto me, look unto me, and I will be thy sun; I will show thee all that glory, and the right way that will bring thee to it; I promise thee I will; trust me, I will be a light unto thee.
IV. THEIR SHIELD. “The Lord God is a sun and a shield.” Psa. 84:11. The gods of the earth are styled, “the shields of the earth,” Psa. 47:9; much more the God of glory. Faith is called a shield : “Above all, taking the shield of faith.” Eph. 6:16. This signifies the same as “God is a shield.” Faith is to the soul whatever God is. This is the grace that entitles the soul to God, and applies God to the soul, "Fear not, Abraham ; I am thy shield.” Gen. 15:1. What is promised to the father of the faithful, stands sure to all the seed. Rom. 4:16. The state of Christians in this life is a militant state, a state full of hardships and hazards; by reason whereof, richly as they are provided for, they are subject to fears of being undone and spoiled of all. They are in fears. about things eternal; they have spiritual adversaries that lie in wait for their souls, that fight against their souls, that are tempting them, and enticing them from their God; that watch their opportunities to steal away their God, by stealing away their hearts from him; and such dangerous attempts of this kind they meet withal, that they often are in great doubt what the issue may be. They are in fears about things temporal; their names are shot at, their liberties are invaded, their estates, with all the comforts of their lives, are in danger to be made a prey; to-day they are a praise, to-morrow a scorn; to-day they are full and abound, to-morrow they may have nothing left; they die daily; they are killed all the day long." But whatever their dangers and their fears are, here is sufficient provision made against all: God is their shield.
Christian, thou hast enough, and all that thou hast is in safety. Thou art compassed about with a shield, secured on all hands, there is no coming at thee to do thee harm. Whatever assaults are made, thy God is a wall of partition between thee and harm. They are not shields of brass and iron thou art furnished with; the strong God is thy defence. Wherefore dost thou doubt, 0 thou of little faith? A Christian, and yet afraid ; shifting for thyself; taking care for the asses and oxen and sheep; vexing and loading and losing thyself, in thy cares and fears from day to day? Where is thy God, man? Doth not God take care for oxen and asses and all that thou hast?
But 0, what meanest thou by this ? To be shifting thyself from danger, by shrinking back from thy God; securing thyself from affliction, by taking sanctuary in iniquity! What art thou doing but throwing away thy shield to save thee from harm; making a breach in thy wall, to keep thee in safety? “Walk before me, and be thou perfect,” saith God; and then, “Fear not, Abraham; I am thy shield.” Gen. 15:1; 17:1. This now is the first and great promise of the covenant, “I am thy God.”