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is that household that is in such a case; yea, hap-
"Yes, indeed, gratitude does become us, but "we must rejoice with trembling. Our parental
eye cannot overlook the shining graces which "render our beloved daughters as corner stones "polished after the similitude of a palace, the va"ried excellencies which lead us to hope our sons "will be plants of renown; but if pious parents "are partial, they are also anxiously solicitous, "they watch over their children with a godly jea"lousy, they fear lest by any means they should "be corrupted from their beautiful simplicity in "Christ, which makes them our hope as well as "our joy; but hope implies in its very nature and "exercise, a probability of disappointment." Is this your language? Are these your feelings?
Thirdly. Consider then our text as containing an antidote to your apprehensions. Where he begins any good work, the commencement is the best pledge of its completion. A voice on this subject is heard from the fields, whence spring those very blades of corn which will be kindly fostered by the various seasons, until fully ripe they shall be brought into the garner. If God had meant to destroy your expectations, he would not have shewn
you such things as these. The fears and anxieties which possess your breast, were found pervading those of the inhabitants of the land of promise in former times. For her children, Zion was anxious even to unbelief: with her apprehensions the Divine Being condescended to expostulate; and referring to her maternal feelings, says, "Shall I "bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? "saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and "shut the womb? saith thy God. Rejoice ye "with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye "that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye "that mourn for her. As one whom his mother "comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall "be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see "this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones "shall flourish like an herb; and the hand of the "Lord shall be known toward his servants, and "his indignation toward his enemies."*
As farmers watch over their rising corn, but God alone preserves it from danger and brings it to its destined maturity,-as fathers are solicitous about the health and support of their families, but find that it is vain to rise early or set up late, until God giveth them the needful supply,-as mothers tenderly nourish their offspring, and dandle their
*Isaiah, lxvi. 9, 10, 13, 14.
little ones on their knees, so will the Great Author be also the Finisher of their faith. He will watch with care the rising grain, he will support the life he has imparted, he will cherish the endeared resemblance of himself; he will, in fine, bless the springing of the precious seed, will not let one grain be lost, but gather all into his garner.
Lastly. Then view our text in conjunction with the previous ideas, as a solemn and believing appeal to God, that he would perfect the work he has graciously begun. Thou hast blessed the springing thereof, wilt thou not crown and complete thy commenced work? The Psalmist, in the verse following our text, deduces the same conclusion," Thou crownest the year with thy good"ness." Nor can we recognize God's general and gracious dealings in past seasons, express our gratitude for mercies received, or remember the wisdom and perfection of his plans, but we have a threefold argument to plead in prayer, which shall be of the greatest avail.
His past goodness encourages present expectation. "Because thou hast been my help, therefore “under the shadow of thy wings will I put my "trust." When Moses preferred this plea, and considered that the credit of Jehovah was pledged by what he had already done for Israel, He conde
scendingly allowed the cogency of the application, by granting an immediate and propitious answer to his intercessions for that rebellious people.* And should we, in any season of our extremity, plead our total dependance upon God, his past goodness in raising our hopes and sanctioning our present application, and cast ourselves upon his mercy, we shall find his ear is open to our cry.
If, like Hagar in the wilderness-exiled from her master's house, bereft of every kindly sympathy, the bottle, which contained the refreshing supply and only support, spent, we should call on the all-seeing Jehovah, he will be entreated of us; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Thou renewest the face of the earth: the eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
And thus, when in trouble, touching the declining state of the church or of any particular society, or on their account who are near and dear to us, our text will furnish us with a consolatory meditation and effectual prayer. He will "comfort all that "mourn;" he will "appoint unto them that mourn
* Numbers, xiv. 16, 19.
in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the "oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise "for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be "called Trees of righteousness, The planting of "the Lord, that he might be glorified. And they "shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up "the former desolations, and they shall repair the "waste cities, the desolations of many generations. "And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, "and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen "and your vine-dressers."* Do you doubt this? Do you seek some sign from the Lord? "For as "the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the gar"den causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righte"ousness and praise to spring forth before all the "nations.".
By way of conclusion, it may be observed in the first place, that although God is the great Agent, he works instrumentally-he does so in nature, we bless the Lord" for the precious things of heaven, "for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth be"neath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth
by the moon, and for the chief things of the an"cient mountains, and for the precious things of
* Isaiah, lxi. 3—5. † 11.