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word of God fhews his right in you, pleads his caufe, and challenges your apoftafy. It is exceedingly rare that those who have fairly turned their backs upon God's inftituted worship, are difturbed in their fecurity; but are fuffered to fleep on till they fleep the fleep of death. But it frequently happens, that those who attend ordinances, even from no higher principle than curiofity, cuftom, or form, find that the word of God is a fire and hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces: "that it is quick and powerful, fharper than any two edged fword, piercing, even to "the dividing asunder of foul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a difcerner of the thoughts and intents "of the heart."
3. In the last place. Let me befeech you, often to feat yourselves in the immediate prefence of God, or rather, frequently to recollect, that you can no where go from his fpirit, or fly from his prefence. There is, if I may speak so, a light and glory in the presence of God, that discerns, and discloses the works of darknefs. We may often excufe, or palliate our conduct to men, and even hide its deformity from our own view, when we could not justify it to ourselves, if we reflected, that "it is open and manifeft, "in the fight of God."-If therefore there is any thing in your practice, which you are inclined to palliate, and apt to excufe-fuppofe you were standing at the judgment feat of Chrift, where all of us fhall fhortly be; and think, whether your excuses will then stand the test of his impartial fearch.
If our hearts condemn us not, God is greater than our "hearts, and knoweth all things." It is therefore the duty and interest of every finner, to take fhame and confufion of face to himself, and apply to the "blood of fprinkling, which speaketh better things, than the blood "of Abel."
TRUST IN GO D.
ISAIAH 1. 10.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon`
Tis faid of every real believer, that he walks by faith and not by fight. If this is true it will follow, that his faith muft be expofed to a variety of trials, while he continues in a world of fenfe. Thefe trials arife from the ftate of his own mind-from his outward conditionfrom the ftate of the world with which he ftands connected-and from the mutual influence of all thefe, one upon another. From this fituation it is eafy to fee, that there are few duties, for the exercife of which a good man will have greater or more frequent occafion than that of truft and reliance upon God. Truft is the God. Truft is the duty and the refuge of the needy-of the dependant of the weak-of the timorous, and the diftreffed. How many are included under one or more of thefe characters; or rather, who is it that can fay he is altogether excluded?
Agreeably to this, we need but open the facred volume, to perceive how frequent the exhortations are to trust in God, and how many views are given us of his power, VOL. II. Z
wisdom, mercy and faithfulness, to encourage us to an unfhaken reliance. At the fame time, I am forry to say, that there are few duties which are more imperfectly understood by many profeffing Chriftians. Even pious perfons often fin both on the right hand and on the left, that is to fay, both by diffidence and prefumption. I have, therefore, laid hold of this opportunity, and made choice of this paffage of fcripture, in order to open and illustrate a little this important duty of a fervant of God. How seasonable it is you will eafily perceive, for in the facrament of the Lord's Supper we have set before us Chrift Jefus the unfpeakable gift of God-the great pledge of his love, and the great foundation of our reliance upon him, not only for his faving mercy in general, but for every neceffary bleffing in our way to eternal reft.
This paffage of fcripture is alfo well fuited to the fubject. It was fpoken to the Jews in a lax and diffolute age, when many had turned their backs upon the fervice of God had deferted his ordinances and defpifed his fervants, which is always an occafion both of affliction and temptation to his own children. This appears from the firft words of the chapter. "For thus faith the Lord, "where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I "have put away? And which of my creditors is it to "whom I have fold you? Behold, for your iniquities 66 you have fold yourselves, and for your tranfgreffions is your mother put away." put away." As alfo from the 3d and 4th verfes. "I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make "fackcloth their covering. The Lord God hath given "me the tongue of the learned, that I fhould know how "to fpeak a word in season to him that is weary."
In difcourfing further on this fubject, it is propofed, through the affiftance of divine grace,
I. To open a little the character and state of those who are called upon and exhorted to truft in the name of the Lord.
II. To explain the duty of truft, and point out the foundation of it.
III. To apply the subject for your inftruction and com
In the First place then, I am to open a little the character and state of those who are here called upon and exhorted to truft in the name of the Lord.
Their description is as follows: "Who is among you "that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his fer"vant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let "him truft in the name of the Lord, and ftay himself "upon his God." It will help us to enter into the spirit and meaning of the prophet's words, if we keep in view the ftate of the Jewish church, hinted at a little while ago. "Who is among you;" that is, if there is one or moreif there is a small felect number in the midft of general corruption and depravity, who have kept their garments unpolluted, though iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxeth cold. "That feareth the Lord? " You know it is common in fcripture to defcribe religion in general by fome particular leading branch of it. The fear of God is often made ufe of for this purpose, as in that paffage, there fhall be no want to them that fear him." It may, therefore, fignify those who have a fincere and unfeigned regard to the commandments of God, and have chofen him as their portion and hope. Those who defire and deserve to be distinguished from the profane defpifer the fecure formalift, or the difguifed hypocrite. Thofe, in a word, who are, and who defire to appear to ufe the ftrong language of fcripture upon the Lord's fide in every struggle, and who refolve with Joshua, that whatever others do, for their part they will ferve the Lord.
But I cannot help thinking, we may also, with great fafety, explain the words in a closer and stricter fenfe, and fuppofe, that by fearing the Lord is to be underflood a due reverence for his infinite majefty, a humble veneration for his facred authority. This is a moft excellent fence or guard to the confcience in an evil time, and a noble prefervative from the fpreading infection and infinuating poifon of prevailing or fafhionable fins. It is alfo the ufual character of a diffolute age to have caft off fear, to treat the most facred things with fcorn, and to look upon that