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therefore respecting him it could be true only in a spiritual and mystical sense: and in that sense it is equally true respecting every believer at this day. We are all “a kingdom of priests:” and we live altogether upon the great sacrifice, even the flesh of Christ, and the blood of Christ, which were offered for the sins of the whole world. By the very terms of the New Covenant, God, whilst he takes us for his people, gives himself to us as our God8: so that all who believe in Jesus may claim him as their God." This, I say, is not the privilege of Prophets and Apostles only, but of every the weakest believer in the Church of God: for we are expressly told, that “to as many as received him Jesus gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name h.” The
very instant they believed in Christ, the relation between God and them was formed, and God became their Father, their Friend, their Portion, “ their eternal great Rewardi." To us then belongs this privilege as well as to David ; and with him we may say, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lordk."] This portion too is secured to them,
[Israel in Canaan were surrounded with enemies on every side : but God, who had allotted to every tribe its portion, engaged to “ maintain their lot.” Even when all the males assembled thrice a year at Jerusalem, God undertook to be a Protector of their families and their possessions: and to this hour would they have enjoyed their inheritance, if they had not by their transgressions provoked God to forsake them. But us, who have him for our inheritance, he will not forsake: as he has said, "The Lord will not forsake his people; because it hath pleased him to make you his people':” and again, “I will never leave thee; I will never, never forsake theem.” Not but that he will punish us for our transgressions; and so punish, as to make us feel what “ an evil and bitter thing it is to depart from him: but his loving-kindness will he not utterly take from us, nor suffer his truth to failo." It is not with us as with Israel in Canaan: they were left to forfeit and to lose their lot: but God, in his mercy, engages to preserve our inheritance for us, and us for ito: and not only never to depart from us, but so to put his fear in our hearts that we may not depart from him P."
Such then is thy portion, Obeliever; and such is thy security that it shall be continued to thee.]
And is such the inheritance of all God's people ? We shall not wonder then at,
& Jer. xxxi, 31-33.
h John i. 12. i Gen. xv. 1.
II. The feelings which they have in the contempla
tion of it Behold how David expresses, 1. His delight in it
[All the pious amongst the Israelites would find some reason to be pleased and delighted with the portion that was assigned them. To some their proximity to the sea would be a matter of joy; to others, their pasturage; to others, their rocks and fortresses: so that all in their respective places would say, “ The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” But how well may they adopt that language who have the Lord for their portion? Tell me, Believer, what else canst thou want? What can add any thing unto thee? What is there which thou dost not find in thy God? If thou possessest ever so great a portion of earthly goods, are they not all as dung and dross in comparison of this? Or, if thou art destitute even as Lazarus himself, is not all sense of indigence lost in the contemplation of thy better wealth? What the worldling has, he holds by a very uncertain tenure, and that only for a moment: but what thou hast is secured to thee by the promise and oath of God, and is to be enjoyed by thee with ever-augmenting zest for ever and ever. Say, Dost thou not, in this survey of thine inheritance, pity those who can rest in any earthly portion ? Art thou not ready to weep over those as maniacs, who fancy themselves kings and emperors, whilst they are but little elevated above the beasts, yea, in some respects inferior to them; because they fulfil in a far less degree the true ends of their creation ? well indeed mayest thou exult when thou surveyest thy portion ! When thou beholdest the sun and moon and stars, together with this globe whereon thou standest, and callest to mind, that the Maker of them all is thy friend, thy portion, thine inheritance; methinks it is almost strange that the contemplation is not too much for frail mortality to bear. To be lost in wonder, and be swallowed up in ecstasy, is no more than what may be expected of thee from day to day.) 2. His thankfulness to God for it
[David clearly saw that of himself he would never have chosen such a portion as this. His earthly mind would have been as grovelling as that of others, if God himself had not “ counselled him," and discovered to him the vanity of all earthly good. Amidst the various trials which he had endured, God had drawn nigh to him; and in the night-seasons of affliction had instructed him, and had revealed himself to him in all his beauty and excellency and glory. Thus he had enabled David to make a fair estimate of the portion offered him, as compared with that which the world around him enjoyed. In this view of the mercy vouchsafed unto him, David says, “I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel; my reins also instruct me in the night-seasons." And is it not thus with every believer? Do you not know assuredly, that of yourselves you would never have chosen God for your portion? Are you not well convinced, that you would not have chosen him if he had not chosen you," nor“ loved him, if he had not first loved you?” Did you not even hold out against his counsels for a long time, till he forced conviction on your mind, and " made you willing in the day of his power?” If you have been kept awake in the night-seasons, and “ your reins instructed you,” till with a compunction you were "pricked to the heart;" or, if you have been visited with trials that were necessary to wean you from the things of time and sense, do you not bless him for it, and for “the instruction which he then sealed upon your minda?”. Yes; and with your whole hearts. You see in what a portion you would have rested, if these means had not been used to bring you to a better mind; and, if they had been a thousand times
heavier than they were, you would now account them as unworthy of a thought, in comparison of the blessings, to the possession of which they have introduced you. I hear you adoring God, and saying, “I know that in very faithfulness thou didst afflict me: for “ before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy law.” Go on, then, blessing and praising God; and never forget that " by the grace of God you are what you are."] To those who possess not this portion, I will “ give
a word of COUNSEL” in the name of the Lord
[Survey the portion of the worldling, and see how empty it is. Look back on all that thou hast enjoyed, and see how little solid comfort it has afforded - Then survey “ the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Think what it must be to say of God, “ O God, thou art my God;" and of Christ, “ Thou art my Friend, and my Beloved
Then turn to the Holy Scriptures, and see what counsel God has given thee there: “Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness"." Nothing does God desire more than to give himself to you for a portion, if you will but receive him. He complains,
He complains, “Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life. “ How often would I have gathered you, and given myself to you, but you would not!” Dear Brethren, let God choose your inheritance for
9 Job xxxiii. 15—20.
Isai. lv. 1,
you: and he will be as much delighted to enrich your souls, as ever you can be to be enriched by him. Indeed by imparting himself to you, he himself will be enriched : for he regards you as his property, and says of you, “ The Lord's portion is his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance 8.”] To those who already enjoy this portion, I will offer
a word of CONGRATULATION
[“ Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritancet:" yes, * Happy art thou, O Israel, O people saved by the Lordu.” I ask not what you possess, or what you want: if you had empires, they could add nothing to you; and if you want bread to eat, it can take but little from you. Look at Paul and Silas when in prison, and their backs torn with scourges: their situation was to them as "the very gate of heaven?.” So, if only you live nigh to God, and in the near prospect of the eternal world, you
also shall be happy under all circumstances whatsoever. Imitate, for once, the worldling who is just about to take possession of his inheritance: with what joy he surveys it, and anticipates the delight which he will experience in the full possession of it! Thus go ye, and survey your inheritance. See the state of those who are now possessed of their entire lot. Behold how they feast in the presence of their God! Think, if you can, what God is to them': and know, that their bliss is yours, in all its fulness, and for ever. Think how you will then “ bless the Lord for giving you counsel.” Live, then, now as persons sensible of their privileges; and say, as ye may well do, « The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage."]
s Deut. xxxii. 9. t Ps. xxxiii. 12. u Deut. xxxii. 29 x Acts xvi. 25. y Rev. xxi. 4, 5.
DXIV. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND GLORY. Ps. xvi. 8–11. I have set the Lord always before me : because
he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth : my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for
IF the people of God had hope only in this life, they would be in a most pitiable condition ; because they are debarred by conscience from the pleasures of sin, and are exposed to a multitude of trials on account of their religion. But their views of immortality bear them up, so that the sufferings of this present time appear to them insignificant, and unworthy of any serious concern. The Psalmist penned this psalm under some deep affliction ; which, however, lost all its force as soon as ever he directed his views to the eternal world.
But the words before us can scarcely be applied at all to David in his own person: they are spoken by him rather in the person of Christ, whom he typically represented ; and to whom, in the New Testament, they are expressly, repeatedly, and exclusively applied. In this view they are a most remarkable prophecy relating to Christ; and they declare, I. His support in life
In an assurance of his Father's continual aid, he was unmoved by any difficulties—
[Various were the trials which Jesus was called to endure; but in all he preserved a perfect equanimity. When his sufferings were fast approaching, he spake of them without any emotions of feara: when dissuaded from exposing himself to them, he was indignant at the proposalb: when warned of Herod's murderous intentions, he poured contempt on his feeble, unavailing efforts: when standing before Pilate's tribunal, he witnessed a good confession d; and, alike unmoved by hopes or fears, informed his judge, that the authority exercised by him was both given, and limited, by a superior power® He saw God as ever present to succour and support him; and was well assured, that as nothing could be done but according to his determinate counsel, so his aid should be all-sufficient for him'. Hence in the whole of his deportment he maintained an invincible firmness, a dignified composure. At all times he acted on the principles described by the Prophet Isaiah, and fulfilled in the utmost extent his prophecy concerning him.]
Nor need the weakest of his members fear, if they look for support from the same quarter
[Many of God's people have experienced the very same support as was enjoyed by Christ. David's friends endeavoured
a Matt. xx. 18, 19. b Matt. xvi. 22, 23.
c Luke xii. 31–33.