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2. Let the benefit we have received from the Lord's looking upon us in former afflictions, engage us to pray, and encourage us to hope, that he will now look upon us again.
It is, no doubt, soothing and refreshing, to have a number of friends kindly calling and looking upon us: it makes us in some degree forget our trouble, while they stay: but when they go away, they leave us as full of pain and distress as they found us. They would relieve us if they could; but it is not in their power. We thank them for their good will, and, when they are gone, we sigh, and say, "Miserable comforters are ye all!"-And thus, if all the world were to sit looking upon us from morning to night, we should be never the easier. Therefore, as the
Psalmist says, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help: my help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." (Ps. cxxi. 1) and pray, "Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, Ọ God of my salvation." (Ps. xxvii. 9.)
In our application to creatures, we are often discouraged by the greatness of the request we have to make. If it were only a trifling sum we wanted to beg or borrow; or if it were only some little matter we wished them to do for us, and which they could do without any trouble or expense; we should not hesitate to ask it: but when it is thousands we want, or when the business we would put them upon is difficult and hazardous, we are ashamed to apply; and rather pine away in secret grief, than burthen our friends with our distresses, which it would cost
them so much to relieve. But, truly, in our applications to GOD there is no room for any such scruples: He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask, or think;" and is best pleased when we come oftenest and ask most. The promise is gracious and unlimited: "Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John xv. 7)—as if he had said, Ask that your sins may be blotted out; and it shall be done unto you: Ask that your na tures may be renewed; and it shall be done unto you Ask that the Spirit may be sent down, to abide with you for ever, as a guide and a comforter; and it shall be done unto you: Ask that my Son may be made unto you wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption; and it shall be done unto you. O Christians! when you have been accustomed to ask such great things as these, you will make no difficulty of asking for one kind look. You will go boldly to the Throne of Grace, and pray,-• Lord, look upon my affliction and my pain. I do 'not presume to ask that thou wouldst immediately remove my affliction, or ease my pain; for I know • not whether either of these would be proper for thee to grant, or for me to have: only vouchsafe to look upon it: let me only have the satisfaction to know that thou takest notice of what is laid upon • me, that my groaning is not hid from thee; and then I shall be easy as to all the rest. If the immediate removal of this affliction would be best, I do not doubt but it will be removed: but if the 'continuance, or even the increase, of it would be ' best-behold, here I am; let Him do as seemeth him good. I know, O Lord, that thy judgments
are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted I wait for the Lord: my soul doth wait: and in his word do I hope.'
3. If a kind look from God be so comfortable, what must heaven be !
When these vile bodies shall be changed and fashioned like unto Christ's own glorious body;when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; and there shall be no more sorrow, nor death, nor crying, nor pain;
when, instead of a kind look now and then, he will, in the highest sense of the words, set us before his face for ever;-and when those that come thither out of great tribulation shall shine with peculiar lustre ; "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth upon the throne shall dwell among them.They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat: for the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!" (Rev. vii. 15.) Wherefore,
comfort one another with these words."
CHRIST A COVERT FROM EVERY STORM.
ISAIAH Xxxii. 2.
And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.
SHALL he so? Is there a man-(who or where he is, we do not now inquire)—is there a man who can shelter us from trouble; and, in spite of dangers, death, and devils, will undertake to guide and guard us safe to heaven?-Then, we will not be afraid of evil tidings. Then, let the rain descend as soon as it will; and the winds blow as hard as they will; and the floods come, and beat as furiously as they will: none of these things move us: we have now an anchor to our souls sure and stedfast, entering into that within the vail.
There are some storms against which nothing in the world can defend you: all creature dependencies fail, and leave you exposed to the fury of the tempest, after all that you can do yourselves, or friends can do for you; and if you have nothing better to depend upon in the day of visitation, you will find, to your confusion and cost, that you have been trusting to a broken reed, that will not merely not support you, but will pierce and sorely wound the hand that leans upon it.-It is a troublesome
world we live in; and many a storm we must expect to pass through, if we stay any time in it;and no wonder, when we consider how full the world is of wicked men, and how wicked we ourselves have been, and are.-Well, let the world be never so wicked and tempestuous, I am now sent to inform you of a refuge, suitable and sufficient for every distress and danger:." And a man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.
A man! (you cry, with visible disappointment.) Is all your boasted refuge come to this?-A man? What can a man do-what can all the men in the world do, to screen me from trouble, or support me in it ?-Ah! if you can tell me of nothing bet'ter than a man, there is no hope! No!-A much less storm than this before me, would crush me to atoms.A man my hiding-place! You do 'but mock my woe. If you had told me of Michael the Archangel; or if you could have assured me, and convinced me, that twelve legions, or one legion, of angels, that excel in strength, would be instantly dispatched for my relief; that would ⚫ have been something. But to bid me be easy, and fear nothing; and then tell me of a man that will • undertake to secure me! How can you expect. that I'
Not so fast. I did say, "A man shall be a hidingplace from the wind;" and I say it again: and when you come to know who this man is, you will be satisfied I could not have directed you better; and that it is the same as if I had said, "Turn ye to the Strong.hold, ye prisoners of hope."-Know, then, that the man here alluded to is no other than