صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ficult times; this was the encouragement given them, 1 Cor. i, 8, 9. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be "blameless in the day of our Lord Jefus Chrift; God is faith"ful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jefus "Christ our Lord." Ah Lord! might thofe Corinthians fay, the powers of the world are against us, fuffering and death are be fore us, a treacherous and fearful heart within us. Ay, but yet fear not, Chrift fhall confirm you, whofoever opposes you; though the world and your own hearts be deceitful, yet comfort your felves with this, your God is faithful.

3. The faithfulness of God is given by promise for his people's fecurity in, and encouragement against, all their fufferings and afflictions in this world, 2 Theff. iii. 2, 3. That we may be "delivered from unreasonable and wicked men, for all men have "not faith; but the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and "keep you from evil." He prays they may be delivered from abfurd, treacherous, and unfaithful men, who would trepan and betray them to ruin; but this is propofed as their relief, that when the treachery of men fhall bring them into troubles, the faithfulness of God fhall fupport them under, and deliver them out of those troubles; they fhall have spiritual supports from God under their deepest fufferings from men, 1 Pet. iv. 19.

2. God's faithfulnefs is engaged for his people's indemnity and fecurity, amidst the temporal and outward evils whereunto they are liable in this world; and that, either to preserve them from troubles, Pfal. xci. 1, 2, 3, 4. or to open a seasonable door of deliverance out of trouble, 1 Cor. x. 13. In both, or either of which, the hearts of christians may be at rest in this troublesome world; for what need thofe troubles fright us, which either shali never touch us, or if they do, shall never hurt, much lefs ruin us?

Section . Having taken a short view of God's faithfulness in the promises, it will be a lovely fight to take one view of it more, as it is actuated, and exerted in his providences over his people. Believe it, Chriftians, the faithfulness of God runs through all his works of providence, whenever he goes forth to work in the world, "Faithfulness is the girdle of his loins," Ifa. xi. 5. It is an allufion to workmen who going forth in the morning to their labour, gird their loins or reins with a girdle; now there is no work wrought by God in this world, but his faithfulnefs is as the girdle of his loins: The confideration whereof should make the most defpondent believer, Gird up the loins of his mind, that is, encourage, and ftrengthen his drooping and difcouraged heart, Those works of God which are wrought in faithfulaefs, and in

parfait of his eternal purposes, and gracious promifes, fhould rather delight, than affright us, in beholding them. It pluckt out the fting of David's affliction, when he confidered it was in very faithfulness, that God had afflicted him, Pfal. cxix. 89, 90. But more particularly, let us behold with delight the faithfulness of God, making good fix forts of promifes to his people, in the days of their affliction and trouble, viz.

1. The promises of preservation.
2. The promises of fupport.
3. The promises of direction.
4. The promises of provision.
5. The promises of deliverance.

6. The promises of ordering, and directing the event to
their advantage.

1. There are promifes in the word for your preservation from ruin, and what you read in those promises, you daily fee the fame fulfilled in your own experiences. You have a promife in Pfal. Ivii. 3." He fhall fend from heaven, and save me "from the reproach of him that would fwallow me up Selah. "God fhall fend forth his mercy and his truth." Say now, have you not found it fo? When hell hath fent forth its tempta tions to defile you, the world it's perfecutions to destroy you, your own heart its unbelieving fears to diftract and fink you, hath not your God sent forth all his mercy and his truth to fave you? Hath not his truth been your shield and buckler? Pfal. xci. 4. May you not fay, with the church, it is of his mercy you are not confumed, his mercies are new every morning, and great is his faithfulness, Lam. iii. 23.

2. As you have seen it actually fulfilling the promises for your prefervation, fo you may fee it making good all the promifes in his word for your fupport in troubles. That is a sweet promife, Pfal. xci. 15. "I will be with him in trouble: I will "deliver him." You have alfo a very fupporting promile in Ifa. xli. 10. "Fear not thou, for I am with thee: be not dif66 mayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will "help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right-hand of my righteoufnefs." Oh! how evidently hath the faithfulness of God fhone forth in the performance of his word to you in this refpect! you are his witneffes, you would have funk in the deep waters of trouble if it had not been fo. So fpeaks David, Pfal. Ixxiii. 26. "My heart and my flefh faileth; but God is "the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Have you not found it fo with you as it is in 2 Cor. xii. 10. " Therefore



"I take pleafure in infirmities, in reproaches, in neceffities, in perfecutions, in diftreffes for Chrift's fake: for when I am "weak, then am I ftrong." God's ftrength hath been made perfect in your weakness, by this you have been carried through all your troubles; hitherto hath he helped you.


3. As you have feen it faithfully fulfilling the promifes for your prefervation, and fupport; fo you have feen it in the direction of your ways. So runs that promise, Pfal. xxxii. 8. "I will inftruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Certain it is, "That the way of man is not in himself," Jer. x. 23. O how faithfully hath your God guided you, and ftood by you in all the difficult cafes of your life! Is not that promife, Heb. xiii. 5, faithfully fulfilled to a tittle, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake "thee?" Surely you can fet your feal to that in John xvii. 17. "Thy word is truth;" had you been left to your own coun fels you had certainly perished; as it is faid of them in Pfal. Ixxxi. 12. "I gave them up unto their own hearts lufts: and "they walked in their own counsels."

4. As there are promifes in the word for your prefervation, fupport, and direction; fo in the fourth place there are promifes for your provifions, as in Pfal. xxxiv. 9. the Lord hath pro mifed that they that fear him fhall not want. When they are driven to extremity, he will provide, Ifa. xli. 17. " When the poor and needy feek water, and there is none, and their 66 tongue faileth for thirft, I the Lord will bear them, I the "God of Ifrael will not forfake them." And is not this faith. fully performed? "He hath given meat unto them that fear


him: he will ever be mindfut of his covenant," Pfal. cxi. 5. In all the exigencies of your lives, you have found him faithful to this day; you are his witneffes that his providences never failed you, his care hath been renewed every morning for you; how great is his faithfulness!

5. You alfo find in the word fome reviving promifes for your deliverances. You have a very sweet promife in Pfal. xci. 14. "Because he hath fet his love upon me, therefore will I deliver "him" and again, Pfal. 1. 15." Call upon me in the day of "trouble; I will deliver thee;" you have done fo, and he hath made a way to escape. Our lives are fo many monuments of mercy; we have lived among lions, yet preferved, Pfal. Ivii. The burning bufh was an emblem of the church miracul oufly preferved.


6. There are promifes in the word for the ordering and die recting all the occurrences of providence to your great advanta

[ocr errors]

ges; so it is promised, Rom. viii. 28. " That all things shall "work together for good, to them that love God." Fear not, Chriftians, however you find it now; whilft you are toffing to and fro upon the unstables waves of this world; you fhall find, to be fure, when you come to heaven, that all the troubles of your lives were guided as steddily by this promife, as ever any hip at fea was directed to its port, by the compass or northftar.

And now what remains, but that I press you as before,

1. To enter into this chamber of divine faithfulness.
2. To fhut the door after you.

3. And then to live comfortably on it in evil days.

1. Enter into this chamber of God's faithfulne's by faith, and hide yourselves there. Every man is a lie, but God is true, eternally and unchangeably faithful. Oh! exercife your faith upon it, be at rest in it.

Now there are two great and weighty arguments to prefs you to enter into this chamber of divine faithfulness.

Arg. 1. Is fetched from the nature of God, who cannot lie, Tit. i. 2." He is not a man, that he should lie," Numb. xxiii. 19. "Neither the fon of man that he fhould repent: hath he "faid, and fhall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and fhall he "not make it good?" Remember upon what everlasting, steddy grounds the faithfulness of God is built. These are immutable things, Heb. vi. 18. This Abraham built upon, Rom. iv. 21. "being fully perfuaded, that what he had promised, he "was able alfo to perform." He accounted him faithful that promised. What would you expect or require in the perfon that you are to truft? You would,


1. Expect a clear promife; and lo! you have a thoufand all the fcripture over, fitted to all the cafes of your fouls and bodies. This you may plead with God, as David, Pfal. cxix. 49. Remember the word unto thy fervant, upon which thou "haft caused me to hope." So Jacob pleaded, Gen. xxxii. 12. "Thou faidft I will furely do thee good." These are God's bonds and obligations.

2. You would expect fufficient power to make good what he promifeth. This is in God as a fair foundation of faith, Ifa. xxvi. 4. "Truft ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord "Jehovah is everlasting ftrength; " Because of thy ftrength we will wait upon thee: creatures cannot, but God can do what he will.

3. You would expect infinite goodness and mercy inclining him to help and fave you. Why, fo it is here, Pfal. cxxx.

[ocr errors]

"Let Ifrael hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is "mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption." So Mofes, Exod. xxxiii. 18. "I befeech thee fhew me thy glory." The request was, a view of God's glory: The anfwer is, my good. nefs fhall pass before thee; which hints to us, that though all God's attributes be glorious, yet that he most glories in is his goodness. And then,

4. You would expect that none of his promifes were ever blotted or stained by his unfaithfulness at any time; and fo it is here, Joh. xxiii. 14. Not one thing hath failed; all are come to pass, all ages have fealed this conclufion, Thy word is truth, thy word is truth.

Arg. 2. Befides all this, you have the encouragement of all former experiences, both others, and your own, as a fecond argument to prefs you to enter into this chamber of safety, the faithfulness of God.

1. You have the experiences of others. Saints have reckoned the experiences of others that lived a thousand years before them, as excellent arguments to quicken their faith: So Hof. xii. 4. he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake. Remember there was a Jofeph with us in prifon, a Jeremy in the dungeon, a Daniel in the den, a Peter in chains, an Hezekiah upon the brink of the grave; and they all found the help of God most faithfully protecting them, and faving them in all their troubles. Suitable to this is that in Pfal. xxii. 4, 5. "Our fathers trusted in thee; "they trufted, and thou deliveredft them; they cried unto "thee, and were delivered; they trufted in thee, and were "not confounded."

2. Your own experiences may encourage your faith: So David's did, 1 Sam. xvii. 37. "The Lord that delivered me "out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear,

he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philiftine." So did Paul's experience encourage his faith, in 2 Cor. i. 10. "Who delivered us from fo great a death, and doth deliver; "in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us." Thus enter into the faithfulness of God by faith.

2. Let me beg you to be sure to shut the doors after you, against all unbelieving doubts, jealoufies, and fufpicions of the faithfulness of God? the best men may find temptations of, that nature; fo did good Afaph, though an eminent faint, Pfal. 1xxvii. 78. "Will the Lord caft off for ever: and will be he "favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever?

« السابقةمتابعة »