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He will impart to us a divine nature &
He will transform us into the very image of our Gods]
Our lives also may be holy

[A change takes place in the whole of a believer's conduct

True Christians are without any allowed guilek-
Their new nature preferves them from all wilful fin
It may be faid of them as of Zacharias and Elizabeth "-]

In these repeats the apostles were said to be innocent

Nor need any despair of attaining the same privilege II. The greatest finners may attain to it

Many, being already pure in their own eyes, neglect to seek it

But all who seek it with humility, may attain it-
This appears throughout all the Scriptures

[The invitations to accept it extend to all i The promises are unlimited, either with respect to perfons, or sinsi

There are examples of the most abandoned profligates hav. ing attained ite

Thole for whom God expressed such solicitude were idol.. aters

The voice of God by the prophet may be applied to all :-) APPLICATION 1. To those who are under the guilt and power of sin

[Such are they who are not cleansed by Christ, and renewed by the Spirit

“ How long" then Mall it be ere this proffered mercy be accepted ?

Why should any wish to defer the pursuit of it one hour? Let it be fought inttantly and with our whole hearts-] 2. To those who are longing for innocency

[To the question in the text, fone through despondency may answer,

i Never "But let not any fancied impossibilities discourage our application to God for thus rich mercy

God 6 2 Pet. i. 4.

h Pf. li. 7. Eph. iv. 23, 24. 2 Cor. v. 17.

1 John iii. 9. m Luke i. 6. n Jolın xv. 3.

• Prov. x.xx. 120 # lai. v. 1. 9 Jobu vi. 37.

: lsai. i. 18. * 1 Cor. vi. 11. i Hol. vill. 4.

2 Jer. xiii. 27. VOL. I.

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k John i. 47

God is as able and as willing to bestow it on us, as on others

Let us, however, beware of seeking it in our own firength If we look to Chriít he will “ save us to the uttermoft - -] 3. To those who have attained it

[The best have reason to be ashamed that they were so long before they fought the Lord-

Nor have they now any ground for pride and self-sufficiency

They would soon be what they once were, if God should leave them one moment

They may rejoice, however, that their innocence is not destroyed by the unavoidable infirmities of fallen nature

Let them then seek to have this innocency maintained in them

Let them study to manifest it in their temper and conduct-)

LXXXI.

CONSOLATION FOR THE DESPONDING.

Ifai. xli. 17, 18. When the poor and needy seek water, und

there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Ifrael will not forsake them. I will

open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

THE word of God is an inexhaustible fource of instruction and comfort

There are passages in it suited to persons in all states and conditions-

But it is calculated more especially for the afflicted and contrite

The paflage before us is peculiarly adapted to a defponding foul

In its priinary sense it is an encouragement to the Jews to trust in God-

In its fpiritual meaning it extends to the church of God in all ages

I. An a God, in ver. 8. reminds his people of his relation to them, allures them of his presence, and promises them frength, ver. 1o. victory, ver. 14, 15. (“thou, a worm, shalt threth the mountains,") and triumph, ver. 16. Not that they are to expect a continued series of profperity : they may be reduced to great tiraits ; but in their lowest Itute they shall still have ground for the richelt confolation.

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I. An afflicted case described

The people of God are for the most part in a low and afflicted ftate

[All men, if they knew their state, are indeed “poor and necdy"

But the generality think themselves "rich and increased with goods”

God's people, however, feel their poverty and need

They are deeply sensible how destitute they are of wisdom, strength, &c.]

They ardently desire to be eridued with holiness and comfort

[Water, as having a cleansing and refreshing quality, may well be understood to mean holiness and counfort

And these are the chief objects of a Christian's pursuit

They long to be “ delivered from the body of fin and death

They desire to be walking always in the light of God's countenauce--

They leave no means untried for the accomplisting of their wishes--]

But they often seem to be labouring in vain; “ they seek water, and find none

[They trive for victory, but the conflict remainsCorruptions still at tiines harass and defile their foulsDeadnels and darknet's ftill occasionally return upon them

And the bleiledness they pant aiter feems as diftant as ever-)

Their frequent disappointments create much dejection of mind; "their tongue faileth,” &c.

“ [“ Hope deferred maketh their bieart fick” They faint, as a traveller after a long and fruitless search for water

They begin to conclude that God will not hear their prayers

They fear that he “ has forsaken and forgotten thein ”

Such diligence; viisappointment, and delpondency were not unknown to David bam]

But in the text we have
II. Suitable confolation administered

A desponding person could not dictate more suitable matter of confolation

The Pf. xlii. 1, 2, 3, 7, 9. and Pf. lxxxvii, 1, 3, 6, 7, 14,

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The character here given of God is not without grcat force

[The defponding person thinks his case too hard to be reinedied, and his fins ioo heinous to be forgiven

He is here reminded what a God he has to deal with

God is “the Lord” with whoin nothing is impossible, whose mercy is infinite , and whose love is unchangeable

He is “ the God of Ifrael,” who, however long he may try his people, will certainly bless them at last

Thus do these titles of God juftify that consoling declaration.

The promises here made by God are exactly suited to the case in

[“ I will hear :" what an encouragement to continue in “ I will not forsake thee:" what can the fainting foul defire more?

“ The most discouraging circumstances shall be no bar to my favours"

" Apparent impoflibilitics shall be surmounted by me*"

“ Nor shall my communications to you be either small or transient?”-]

Every one who relies on these promises shall experience confolation from them

prayer !

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[David

c Jer. xxxii. 27.

d Exod. xxxiv. 6. e Mal. iii. 6. * This title is very fignificant: it is as though God said “ Remember my fervant Jacob, to what a distretfing Aate he was reduced, how he wrestled with me all night in prayer, and yet did not prevail: remember, how I made as though I would leave him ; yea, how I lamed him, and thus apparently increased his calamity. But he would not let me go, unless I blessed him. I therefore not only blefled him, but changed his name, and conferred a singular bonour upon him by calling my church after his name. Thus did I thew myself his God; and thus will I be, yea, thus I am the God of all who call upon me after his example." Or perhaps it refers rather to Exod. xvii, 1–6. where his supplying of Israel with water is mentioned. & Lam. iii. 32.

* The subject of the soul's complaint is the very subject of God's pron.se. The foul laments “ God will not hear me; he has utterly forsaken me ; it is absurd for me to cherish as hope; I might as soon expect to find rivers on a lofty mountain, as to possess grace and peace in my soul.”

Here is a particular reference to the promise made to Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 15. which he afterwards pleaded with God, Gen. xxxii. 12. and which is renewed to us, Heb. xiii. 5.

Though the heart be as a dry and barren wilderness, it fall te refreshed, I will open rivers in high places."

1 They shall be plenteous as “ pools and rivers,” and inerljunt as " springs and fountains."

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[David bears his testimony that his cries were not in vain

And all who plead like liim, shall find reason to make his acknowledgments ^_] ADDRESS

1. Those who are unconcerned about the blessings of salvation

[The generality know but little of spiritual troubles But their exemption from them is by no means to be deGred

They at the same time have no interest in thele precious promiles

They taste not the rich confolations of the gospel

And how will “their tongue fail for thirst in the eternal world !

Let all then seek to know their fpiritual wants--
Let them obey the invitation of our blessed Lord
Let them take encouragement from that gracious offer P-)
2. Those who are fainting for want of them

(Many, eminently pious, have been in your stateBut none ever waited upon God in vainThese promiles cannot potlibly fail of being accomplithed

From them, as “ from wells of salvation, you may draw water with joy ”

They shall certainly be fulfilled to you, both here?, and for ever-1

r

m PL. xxxiv. 6.

Rev. xxii. 17.

Pf. xxx. 8-11. 9 Pr. xxxvi. 8.

• John vii. 37, 38.
s Pf. xvi. 11.

LXXXII.

CHRIST PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS.

1 Pet. ii. 7. Unto you therefore who believe, he is precious.

THERE is a great difference between the views of natural and spiritual menThis exists even with respect to things temporal ; much

; inore in those which are spiritual and eternal

It appears particularly with respect to Chrift

Hence St. Peter represents him as disallowed of fome, þut chosen by others-

This

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