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with indignation the impiety of those who cast off his fear, and walk after the imagination of their own hearts. Whether their actions be more or less decent in the eyes of the world, it makes but little difference in his eyes, so long as they live to themselves, instead of unto him. He looks for them to repent, and “turn to him:" and for this event he waits with much long-suffering and forbearance, “not willing that any of them should perish, but that they all should come to repentance and live.” If they would turn to him, he would lay aside his anger in an instant, and receive them to the arms of mercy. But, whilst they continue impenitent, he meditates nothing but to display towards them his merited indignation. With a view to their excision," he whets his sword, and bends, with an unerring hand, his bow for their destruction.” Could we but see with the eye of faith, we should behold the arrow, now already on the string, pointed at their hearts; and nothing remaining, but that the string be loosed from his hand, to bring them down, and to cast them into everlasting perdition. For them, too, he is preparing the instrument of death, even of everlasting death : as it is written, “ Tophet is ordained of old; for the King it is prepared: he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood: the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." Happy would it be if a thoughtless world would consider this: for, whether they will reflect upon it or not, “their judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth noth"]
This equitable discrimination will be rendered visible to all, II. In his judicial proceedings at the last dayThen will he approve and reward the righteous
[Here they are traduced, and loaded with all manner of obloquy: but there, “ He, that trieth the hearts and reins,” will appear in their behalf, and vindicate them from the calumnies with which they have been aspersed. He will bear testimony to those secret principles of faith and love whereby they were enabled to live to his glory; and then shall “ their righteousness shine forth as the noon-day." All that they did for him in this world was misinterpreted, as proceeding from pride, or vanity, or hypocrisy: but he will acknowledge them
“ Ísraelites in whom was no guile;” and, in the presence of their now prostrate enemies, he will exalt them to thrones and kingdoms for evermore.]
But the wicked he will then consign to merited shame and punishment
& Isai. xxx. 33. h 2 Pet. ii. 3. i Ps. vii. 9.
[It is remarkable that the day of judgment is called, by St. Peter, “the day of the perdition of ungodly menk." Yes, here, for the most part, they escaped punishment: but there they shall all, without exception, meet a just reward. Wheresoever they have fled to hide themselves, “his right hand shall find them out;" and to his attendant angels he will say, “ Bring hither those that were mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me." Hear how God contemplates the judgments that await them: “To me belongeth vengeance and recompence: their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste .... If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh!” True it is, that these judgments have a primary reference to this world; but they shew how inconceivably awful must be the vengeance which he will execute on the ungodly in the world to come. Who can think of these judgments and not tremble? for “who knoweth the power of his anger ?” and “who can dwell with everlasting burnings?”] See, then,
1. The importance of ascertaining your real character
[If you will inquire who the wicked are, to whom this fearful doom will be assigned, you will scarcely find one: all hope that they are in a better state. But God will not judge us by the standard which we have fixed for ourselves, but by that which he has established for us in his Law and in his Gospel. To what purpose, then, will you deceive yourselves now, when you will so soon be undeceived, and reap the bitter fruits of your folly? O! turn to the Lord without delay; and never rest till you have received in your souls the favourable tokens of his acceptance.] 2. The blessedness of having God for your
friend[If he be your enemy, the whole world cannot protect you from his avenging arm. But if he be your friend, who, or what, can harm you? As for man, he cannot touch a hair of your head without God's permission: and if he be suffered to assault you for a time, you shall have an ample recompence in the eternal world. Realize the idea, that God is governing the world, and will judge it in the last day; and then you need not fear what all the confederate hosts of earth and hell can do against you.]
k 2 Pet. üi. 7. 1 Deut. xxxii. 35, 41, 42.
THE NAME OF GOD A GROUND OF TRUST. Ps. ix. 10. They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
IN reading the Holy Scriptures, we should not be satisfied with inquiring into their sense and meaning, but should mark very particularly the character of God, as set forth in them. In the sacred volume, the portrait of Jehovah, if I may so express myself, is drawn, as it were, at full length : so that, as far as such weak creatures as we are able to comprehend his Divine Majesty, we may form correct notions respecting him? Few persons ever enjoyed better opportunities for discovering his real character than David, who was favoured with such ample manifestations of God's power and grace. On what occasion he wrote this psalm, we know not.
It is clear that he wrote it subsequent to his bringing up of the ark to Mount Zion, and before he had vanquished all the surrounding nations. But, from all that he had seen and known of God, he gives this testimony respecting him : “ They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
For the elucidating of these words, I will endeavour to shew, 1. What the knowledge of God's name imports
It imports, not merely a knowledge of the different names by which he is called, but a knowledge of him, 1. In his own essential perfections
[He was pleased to reveal himself to Moses in express terms, declarative of all his glorious perfections: “ The Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guiltya." But he had previously placed Moses in a clift of the rock in Horebb; which rock was a very eminent type of Christo: and I doubt not but that this was intended to shew, that in Christ alone he could be so viewed by fallen man. It is in Christ alone that all these perfections unite and harmonize; and in Christ alone can God be called " a just God and a Saviourd.” Now, to apprehend God aright, we must have a view of him as revealed in the person of his Son, who is "the image of the invisible God," the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person." It is in his face alone that all the glory of the Deity shines forth.] 2. In all his diversified dispensations
a Exod. xxxiv, 5—7.
[A view of God's dispensations is particularly marked in my text, as necessary to a just estimate of his character:
They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” In truth, it is from the history of God's dealings with his people, far more than from any abstract descriptions of him in the sacred writings, that we learn to estimate his character aright. When did he ever forsake one who sought him? “ When did he ever say to any, Seek ye my face in vain h?” Never did he reject one mourning penitent, or abandon one who humbly and steadfastly relied upon him. His compassion to the penitent, and his fidelity to the believing soul, have never failed. From the beginning of the world has he been, in these respects, “ without variableness or shadow of turningi.” This we learn from the Prophet Samuel: “The Lord will not forsake his people, because it has pleased him to make you his peoplek.” True, he may chastise his people for their offences; but yet he will not utterly forsake them? He may even “forsake them for a time; but he will surely return to them in tender mercy,” at the appointed season m. His assertions on this head are as strong as it is possible for language to express. He has said to every believing soul, “ I will never leave thee; I will never, never forsake theen. Now, it is a view of God's character in these respects, illustrated and confirmed by his actual dispensations ; it is this, I say, which properly constitutes "the knowledge of his name."]
Having ascertained what this knowledge is, I proceed to shew, II. How it will evince its existence in the soul
b Exod. xxxiii. 19-23.
c1 Cor. x. 4. Isai. xlv. 21. Rom. iii. 26.
e Col. i. 15. f Heb. i. 3. 8 2 Cor. iv. 6.
h Isai. xlv. 19. i Jam. i. 17. k 1 Sam. xii. 22. 1 Ps. lxxxix. 30–36. m Isai. liv. 7, 8. n Heb. xiii. 5. See the Greek, VOL. v.
Beyond a doubt, it will lead the person, in whom it is, 1. To renounce all false confidences
[Man, whilst ignorant of God, is always leaning on an arm of flesh. See God's ancient people, how continually were even they, notwithstanding all their advantages, trusting in the creature, rather than in God. To Egypt or Assyria they looked, in their troubles, rather than to their heavenly Protector°. Indeed, there was not any thing on which they would not rely, rather than on God. But, when they were made sensible of their folly, and had discovered the real character of God, they instantly renounced all these false confidences, saying, “ Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy 9."
The same proneness to creature-confidence is found amongst ourselves. Who does not, at first, rely on his own wisdom to guide him, his own strength to support him, and his own goodness to procure for him acceptance with God? But, in conversion we learn where alone our hope is to be placed, even in “ God, who worketh all our works in us",” and “in Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." This was the effect of conversion in St. Paul, who accounted all his former attainments to be but " loss for Christ, and desired to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, which was of the Law, but the righteousness which was of God by faith in Christ'." And the same effect invariably follows from a discovery of God as reconciled to us in Christ Jesus.] 2. To rely solely upon God
[Yes, indeed, they who know his name will trust in him." See in David the confidence which such knowledge inspires. “ The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not wantu." See him when he goes forth against Goliath: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel *." See him when all
o Isai. xxxi. 1. Hos. v. 13. and vii. 11.
P Isai. xxi. 8—11.