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brought up in a vifible church of God, but in a pious fami ly, and educated in his fear; and others would have it to fignify ftill more especially, that the Pfalmift's mother was an eminently pious woman. And indeed I do not think that was a circumstance, if true, either unworthy of him to remember, or of the fpirit of God to put upon record, In the New Teftament, we find the apostle Paul, taking notice of a fimilar circumftance in the cafe of Timothy, Tim. i. 5. "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, &c." Without determining precifely in what fenfe to take the words, it is certainly added here to fignify fome peculiar and intimate relation to God, which laid him under the strongest ties of adherence and fubjection.
As there was much beauty and propriety in the Pfalmifts mentioning this circumftance, fo every pious perfon ought especially in the Lord's fupper, to recollect the peculiar relations he ftands under to God. Even as members of the visible church we are the fervants of God, born in his house, baptized in his name, favored with the light of the gofpel, bleffed with clearness and fullness of inftruction, animated by eminent and fhining examples. As many as have been brought up either as children or fervants in pious families, feparated from the folicitations, and fheltered from the infults of wicked men; careful instruction, regular government, faithful admonition and kind invitation, laid as it were a ftrict and powerful conftraint upon them, brought them into, and kept them in the paths of piety and truth: ought they not to remember it with humility and gratitude, nay, if by means of but one pious parent, or other relation, had been brought to acquaintance with God, it ought to be remembered as laying them under peculiar ties. To all which I fhall only add, that if by the goodness of a gracious God, any former means of inftruction, public or private, or fingular dispenfation of providence, has been accompanied with power, it ought to be improved in this new furrender of ourselves to God, at once to increafe our present gratitude and promote our future ftedfaftnefs in the paths of obedience.This leads me to observe,
4. That the declaration of the Pfalmift implies a fenfe of gratitude for fignal mercies, "Thou haft loosed my "bonds." I think it is probable that what he had in view immediately here was, deliverance from perfonal affliction, probably a dangerous fickness, threatening immediate dif. folution. But the way in which it is introduced and the use to which it is applied, is equally fuited to deliverances of every kind and ufe, to all fignal mercies which were greatly needed or highly prized. He afcribes the honor of it to God, he puts it to his own charge as a debt due to God, and on this account proposes a return of duty and gratitude to God. It were no difficult matter to produce examples of a fimilar conduct in the Pfalmift, on his being favored with remarkable deliverances in his family, from the enemies of his country, from flander and reproach, or in unexpected honor and advancement, as was his from the fheepfold to the kingdom of Ifrael.
Now ought not every good man, to follow the example of the Pfalmift in this particular, to remember and ac knowledge all inftances of fignal mercy. There is scarcely any perfon, but may recollect feveral examples of thefe in the course of their lives. They may remember how earnestly they defired deliverance in the time of danger, what a sense of gratitude was upon their minds, when the mercy was recent, and this may be profitably improved, for ftrengthening the ties which they lie under to God their Saviour. This will have a double effect, if the deliverance was implored by the prayer of faith, and if any marks can be difcerned, of their having obtained the fanctified improvement of it. But above all, with what propriety may they adopt the language of the Pfalmift, if they have been delivered from bondage of fpirit, as well as fear and folieitude as to their outward ftate. And it frequently happens, that these two go together. It was almoft always fo with the Pfalmift, and is natural to expect that it will be fo with every ferious perfon; for affliction brings fin to remembrance, and they not only tremble, for the iffue of the trial under which they groan, but apprehend the holy difpleasure of that God, who caft them into the furnace, and with whom they have to do. But if the candle of the
Lord again fhineth upon them, and they are walking in the light of his countenance, they may well fay with the Pfalmift, O Lord, truly I am thy fervant, I am thy fer"vant, and the fon of thy hand-maid: thou haft loofed "my bords."
5. In the laft place, This declaratión implies a folemn dedication and furrender of himfelf to God, and his fervice for the time to come. This is the end of the retrospect which he takes of his character and flate, "I will offer to "thee the facrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the "name of the Lord." He was refolved to live a life of gratitude to God, to take all methods of openly and publicly acknowledging him as the author of his mercies. If we would fee further his purpose, we may look back to the 8, 9, 10, ver. "For thou haft delivered my foul from "death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." He promifes therefore a life of obedience, and as the fource of thankful truft and acquiefcence in God, he feems by the 11th verfe, to have been difconcerted by difcovering the treachery of men, but every thing is rectified and made up by the goodness and all-fufficiency of God.
So my brethren, ought every person who is this day to fit down at the table of the Lord, after a serious recollection of all his paft mercies, to devote and confecrate himself unto God. Take him for your portion: place your happinefs in his favor; receive your daily bread from him as his gift; pay for every mercy the tribute of praife; live not apon the creature without God, but endeavor to enrich and sweeten created comforts, by communion with God: Refolve to ferve him with your body and fpirit which are his, ferve him fincerely, refolving that nothing fhall have quiet poffeffion of your heart, or indulgence in your life, that is contrary to his will. Serve him with zeal, efpoufe his intereft, plead his caufe, and efteem it your honor, if by your authority, by your talents, by your fublance, you can promote his glory. Put your truft in his providence. You are yet in the body, liable to all the viciffitudes of this mortal state. Be perfuaded of the infinite wifdom and allfufficiency of God. Let him difpofe of you freely. Refift exceffive anxiety and fear, and oppofe to all the gloomy
horrors of a fruitful apprehenfion, the field of faith in almighty strength, which is able to bear you up fuperior to every trial, and to every enemy. Do in every state of difficulty as the prophet Ifaiah, in the name of God, invites the people of Ifrael to do on the approach of public judgment, Ifaiah xxvi. 20. "Come, my people, enter "thou into thy chambers, and fhut thy doors about thee: "hide thyfelf as it were for a little moment, until the in"dignation be overpaft.”
I proceed now in the last place, to make fome practical improvement of this fubject,
1. Suffer me, my brethren, to plead with every finner; to plead with every hearer in this affembly, the right of his Maker to his fervice. He hath made and formed you, and his vifitation preferves your fpirits. He only holdeth your foul in life, and unto him belong the iffue from death -Of him, and to him, and through him, are all things. Have you therefore ferved him as your mafter, and placed your happiness on his favors. I choofe, my brethren, to affert God's dominion over his creatures, that if it please him to accompany it with his spirit, it may carry conviction to many who are living in quiet and felf-fatisfaction, although they are dead in trefpaffes and fins. Many, if they are free from groffer corruptions, are no way apprehenfive of the danger of being without God in the world. Ignorance of themfelves, extenuation of fin, foolishly placing a merit in a few common outfide duties, and prefumptuous hopes in God's general mercy, are the delufive grounds of the hope of fuch perfons. Nay, fometimes, alas for their folly! the chief thing they have to truft to, is the ill that they have not done. I really do not fwear, fays one, I hate drinking abominably, it is a beaftly vice. What fignify these partial juftifications? I have known, though it is not common, I confefs, an habitual adulterer that would not fwear, and I could fhew you a covetous hard hearted wretch, grinding every day the faces of the poor, that will neither drink nor fwear. But are you the fervants of God? are you devoted to his fear? believe it firs, there is an abfolute neceffity of an entire change in your nature, to fit you for the kingdom of God. You are Vol. II. M.m
his creatures, you ought to be his fervants, and in one sense indeed his enemies are his fervants, because they are under the dominion of his Providence, and fhall at laft be the monuments of his vengeance. Be warned then in time, for you may reft affured that no man hath hardened himself against him, and profpered.
2. But in the next place, I must not omit giving warning of their danger, to fuch as are living in open and avowed profanity. They are fo far from being the fervants of God, that they are his enemies, his confederated enemies, and the enemies of every thing that stands in a visible relation to him. I will once more, my brethren, take the liberty to denounce the judgment of God, against all fuch perfons, and I am preaching the gospel of Chrift while I am doing fo, for he fhall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire. And all profane fwearers that speak the language of hell on earth, fhall have it as their abode for ever. All defpifers of the fabbath of reft.