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it lives by union with him, as my body does by union with it, and he hath laid up life eternal for me.” Would Christians think thus indeed, the light of this consideration would dispel their distrustful fears. Certainly there is atheism at the bottom of them; if not a denial nor a misconceit of God, at least a forgetfulness of God. See Isa. li. 12, 13. I, eren I am he that comforteth you: Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the Son af Man, which shall be made as grass, and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, &c. Consider then that men have no power of our present life, but by the appointment of God. And beside that we have another life, which is infinitely more precious than this, a life spiritual, and which is the beginning of eternal life; and this is altogether out of their danger. Our life is hid with Christ in God”. It is hid, and wicked men cannot so much as see it: How then should they take it from us, seeing it is hid, and that not meanly, it is hid with Christ in God? What then shall become of it?
Read the next verse, and read it to your comfort, for there is abundance in it, if you look right upon it, When Christ who is our life shall appear, we likewise shall appear with him in glory. They that are in God, being united to him through Christ, can never by any power be separated from him. It is an indissoluble union: Death itself, that is the great dissolver of all other unions civil and natural, is so far from untying this, that it consummates it; it
veys the soul into the nearest and fullest enjoyinent of God, who is its life, where it shall not need to desire that God would command or send his loving kindness, as it were at a distance, it shall be then at the spring-head, and shall be satisfied with his love for ever, &c.
a Col. iii. 3.
HEREFORE do you spend money for that
which is not bread, and your labour" for that which satisfies not? says the prophet“. ?
All men agree in this, that they would willingly meet with some satisfying good; and yet if you look right upon the projects and labours of the greatest part, you shall find them flying from it, and taking much pains to be miserable. And truly considering the darkness that is upon the soul of man, it is no great wonder to see these miss tiveir way, and continue wandering, that hear not the voice of the gospel to recall them, and see not its light to direct them. But this is somewhat strange, that where true happiness, and the true way to it, is propounded and set before men, so few should follow it in good earnest. If the excellency of that good did not allure them, yet one would think that their many disappointments in all other things should drive them home to it. How often do we run ourselves out of breath after shadows ? and when we think we have overtaken them, and would lay hold on them, we find nothing. And yet still we love to befool ourselves, even against our own experience, which we say, uses to make fools wiser. Still we chuse rather to shift from one vanity to another, than to return to that sovereign good, that alone can fill the vastest desires of our souls ; rather to run from one broken cistern to another, as the prophet calls them, yea and to take pains to hew them out, than have recourse to that fountain of living waters. One main thing that makes men thus rove and wander is, that
a Isa. Iv, 2.
they do not reflect upon their own course nor themselves, what is the main end they aim at, and then see whether their way be suitable to that end. If they would be happy (as who would not) then sure things that are empty, and uncertain, and certainly perishing, will not serve the turn. And truly as this thought would be seasonable at any time, so especially to us in these times wherein, besides the cominon uncertainty of outward things, there is an apparent visible hazard that mens lives and fortunes are likely to be put to. Will you make advantage and gain of your trouble? Thus, the looser you find other things tied to you, and as it were upon a running knot, secure that one thing, and your portion in it, which is worth all the rest; yea far above them all, and that alone which can be secured, and made certain. Wanting this, what though you had peace and health, and all imaginable prosperity, you would still be miserable, being liable to the wrath of God, and eternal destruction. But if once united to Christ, and in him reconciled to God, and entitled to Heaven, what can fall amiss to you? You shall have joy in the midst of sorrow and aMiction, and peace in the midst of war, yea and life in death. But think not to attain this assurance, while you continue profane and godless, not seeking it in the way of holiness, for there alone it is to be found, and withal beg it of God by humble prayer.
PRALM cxix. 136.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes : Because they
keep not thy law.
Love is the leading passion of the soul, all the rest follow the measure and motion of it, as the lower Heavens are said to be wheeled about with the first.
We have here a clear instance of it in the Psalmist, testifying his love to God, by his esteem and love of the law or word of God. What is each of the several verses of this Psalm but a several breathing, and vent of this love, either in itself, or in the causes, or in the effects of it? Where he sets forth the excellencies and utilities of God's law, there you have the causes of his love ; his observing and studying it, his desire to know it more, and observe it better, these are the effects of his affection to it. The love itself he often expresseth, ver. 47, 48, 113, and ver. 140. Thy word is pure, therefore thy servant loveth it, and rer. 127. I love thy commandments above gold, yea above fine gold. But as scarce accounting that love which can be uttered how much it is, ver. 97, he expresseth it most, by intimating that he cannot express it; O how I love thy law ! Henee are his desires (which are love in pursuit) so earnest after it. Amongst many, that is pathetical, ver. 20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. Hence likewise his joy and delight, (which are love in possession) ver. 14. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies as in all riches; and rer. 16. I will delight myself in thy statutes ; I will not forget thy word. We have his hatred of things opposite, which is love's antipathy, ver. 113. I hate vain thoughts : But thy law do I love. And 165 ver. I hate and abhor lying : But thy law do I love. And in the 139 rer. you shall find his zeal, (which is no other but the fire of love stirred up or blown into a flame) My zeal hath consumed me : Because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
And to omit the rest) in the 158 ver'. his love to the law shews its sympathy in sorrow, for the violation of the law, I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved: Because they kept not thy word. And here you find this grief swelling to such a. heighth, that it runs over into abundant tears. Rive ers of waters run down unine eyes; because they keep not thy law.
The words have briefly, these rivers, in their channel and course, Thcy run down mine eyes ; in
their spring and cause, to wit, bis sympathy with God's law broken by men, in the latter clause of the verse, Because they keep not thy law. But both together clearly teach us, That godly men are affected with deep sorrow for the sins of the ungodly.
More particularly consider, (1.) The object of this affection. (2.) The nature of it. (3.) The
, degree or measure of it. (4.) Its subject.
1. The object is the transgression of the law, or to take it (as in the text) in concreto, men transgressors of the law. They keep not thy law. It is true, the whole creation groaneth under the burden of sin in effects of it, as the Apostle speaks; but sin itself, is man's enemy, he being that reasonable creature to whom the law was given. Now in the general, it is matter of grief to a godly mind, to consider the universal depravedness of man's nature; that he is a transgressor from the womb : that the car. nal mind is enmity against God, not subject to his law, neither, while it remains such, can it beb. And this grief will go the deeper, by remembering from whence he is fallen. When he was new come forth of the hands of his Maker, that image of God that he stamped upon him, shined bright in his sou! : The whole frame of it was regular and comely, the inferior faculties obeying the higher, and all of them subject unto God. But how soon was he seduced, and then what a great change ensued ? Quantum mutatus ab illo ? There is ever since such a tumult and confusion in the soul, that it cannot hear the voice of God's law, much less obey and keep it. Hence is that complaint of the Psalmist oftener than once, They are all gone out of the way, and become abominable, there is none that doth good, no not one. Mundus immundus šv adıxía xeitai lies buried in it, as t'ie word is used in the inscription of tombs *»I82€ XETT 46. Look abroad in the world, and what shall ye 'see, but a sea of wickedness over the face
b Rom. viii. 6. Vol. III.