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to their lips a live coal from the altar, and say, Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged "Are they bowed down under a weight of persecution, and destitute of human aid? He will strengthen them in their inward man that they shall even rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer for his sake Are they buffeted by Satan? He will clothe them with armour, whereby they shall be enabled to resist him manfully, and to bruise him under their feet "And has he himself forsaken. them? It shall be but for a little moment", that they may learn when in darkness to stay themselves on him, and rejoice with more exalted joy in the renewed expressions of his loveThus it is intimated in the text itself, that whether it be strength or protection, or whatever else, that we want, he will surely impart it to us-]

2. A seasonable help

[God may suffer his people to lie a considerable time under their afflictions: but in the very instant that he sees it best to interpose, he will come to their support-This is not only intimated in the parable of the importunate widow, but absolutely promised, as a deduction from that parable; "shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? Verily I say unto you that he will avenge them speedily," that is, in the very best and fittest season-And how remarkably was this exemplified in his conduct towards Abraham! That holy patriarch was made to go three days journey to the mountain where he was to slay his son; he was permitted to take the wood, the fire, the knife, for the execution of the divine command; he was even suffered to bind his son, and lift up the knife that was instantly to inflict the fatal stab; and then it was that God stopped him by a voice from heaven-Thus in ten thousand other instances has that proverb been verified, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen-And it is remarkable that the poor illiterate fishermen, who followed our Lord, were even ordered not to think beforehand what they should say, when summoned before their rulers, but to expect that the Holy Ghost should suggest to them at the moment what they ought to speak And though their example does not justify a want of foresight and premeditation in us, yet the promise made to them warrants us to look to God as an help, a present, "a very present help in the time of trouble;" and to expect his interposition then, when "the storm" would otherwise overwhelm us-]

* Isai. vi. 6, 7. Isai. liv. 7, 8. 9 Gen. xxii. 14.

Acts v. 41. 2 Tim. i. 17.

• Isai. 1. 10.

Matt. x. 19, 20.


3. A suf

Eph. vi. 11.

P Luke xviii. 7, 8.

• P9. xlvi. 1.

3. A sufficient help

[However "needy and distressed" we be, God is able to support and deliver us-Though we be as "worms, yet will he enable us to thresh the mountains "-And though earth and hell conspire against us, yet will he make us "more than conquerors"-Our weakness is no ground of discouragement; for "his strength shall be perfected in our weakness ""-He has undertaken for us, and he will perform his engagements,: and, sooner than not make us triumph over our enemies, he would cause "the very stars in their courses to fight for or the earth to open and swallow up our adversaries-Never has a child of God yet failed for want of his effectual aid; nor shall any one to all eternity: sooner shall heaven and earth pass away than "one of his little ones shall perish"-] We may IMPROVE this subject by observing


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1. How ignorant of God must they be, who are ignorant of themselves!

[To know God aright, we must know him experimentally as an ever-present and almighty agent interesting himself in the concerns of his people-We must know his readiness to answer their prayers, together with his wisdom and love, his power and faithfulness in supplying them with seasonable and sufficient aid-But what acquaintance can they have with these things, who are strangers to their own guilt and helplessness? a mere speculative knowledge indeed they may possess (for even the devils are not destitute of that) but while they think themselves rich and increased in goods, they are blinded by Satan, and need to "apply to Christ for eye-salve that they may see yea, because they say, we see, therefore their sin remaineth--]

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2. What reason have we to be thankful for the gospel of Christ!

[By the creation, we may discern the power, and, by the law, the holiness of God; but it is by the gospel alone that we can behold his love and mercy: it is the gospel only that reveals his glory, as it is seen in the face of Jesus Christ-It is in Christ alone that he is the "Father of the fatherless, the husband of the widow," and "Comforter of all them that are cast down "Let then this gospel be precious to us; let us hear his voice speaking to us in it; and let it lead us to a more intimate acquaintance with our God and Saviour-]

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3. What

2 Cor. xii. 9.

z Rev. iii. 17, 18. “A man,” &c, that is, Christ.

3. What consolation is provided for us under all afflictions!


[Affliction doubtless is not, at the present, joyous, but grievous but what blessed fruits does it often bring forth!How little would any of us have known of God, if we had not been visited with temporal or spiritual troubles! how little conception could we have formed of his power and grace, if we had not seen their operation in the day of adversity!-Is there a godly person in the universe who must not say, It is good for me to have been afflicted?-Let then the troubled or tempted saint comfort himself with the thought, that God is a sure refuge, and that his trials are only the necessary discipline to prepare him for a richer discovery of the divine perfections, and a sweeter sense of the divine love-So will "patience have its perfect work; and we shall be perfect and entire, lacking nothing"-]*

* If this were the subject of a Charity Sermon, we might in the place of these inferences substitute an exhortation to admire, to trust in, and to imitate our God; and, under the last branch of the exhortation, we might state the particular circumstances that called for relief, and urge those who have experienced blessings from God to impart them to others with a liberal hand.



Isai. xxxii. 2. A man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

THERE is no greater blessing to a nation than a well-ordered government-The due administration of justice, together with the protection of our person and property, afford to any people a just ground of joy and thankfulness-Such a government did God promise to the Jews under Hezekiah-But a greater than Hezekiah is here-Under the figure of an earthly monarch, Christ is promised-And the text informs us

I. What blessings we enjoy in and through Christ The metaphors, though four in number, suggest but two ideas

1. Security

[We have very little conception of winds and tempests in this climate-But the wind that rent the mountains before



Elijah, and the tempest that desolated the land of Egypt', may serve to shew us how welcome a secure place must be to one who is exposed to such formidable dangers-Yet no storms on earth can fully paint to us the dangers to which we are exposed by reason of sin-But the Lord Jesus Christ affords us perfect security from them all-In him we have a Goshen where no hail can come, a mountain which the wind can never affect-The billows, which shall overwhelm the whole creation besides, shall not be able to destroy us-In Christ we have an ark that can never perish-]

2. Comfort

[We, in this quarter of the globe, know as little of excessive drought and heat, as of overwhelming storms and tempests-But the state of the Israelites in the wilderness, and of Jonah at Nineveh, may aid our conceptions-How delightful was the gourd to him, and how reviving to them were the streams that gushed from the rock!And does not a soul oppressed with sin or persecution, or fainting with desire after righteousness, experience as much distress as they?-Behold then the preciousness of Christ!-He will be not only as a shade or as water to the weary and thirsting soul, but as rivers of water" that can never be exhausted, and a "shadow of a great rock" through which the beams of the sun can never penetrate-Many can attest his excellency in these respects-Nor shall any who seek refuge in him be ever disappointed of their hope---]

But as these things are spoken of Christ as "a man, it will be proper to shew

II. How we enjoy them in him as "a man".


Christ is truly and properly God-But he is God manifest in the flesh-

And it is to hin as incarnate that we stand indebted for these blessings

1. As man, he died for our sins

[To his atonement we owe all our hopes of salvation-If he had not expiated our guilt we could never have obtained mercy-If he had not purchased for us the gift of the Holy Ghost, we never could have mortified our inward corruptions -But through his death we are freed from the apprehensions of wrath; and through his spirit we are filled with righteous ness, and peace, and joyf-Hence our song will ever be, To

21 Kings xix. 11. 4 Exod. xvii. 2, 3.

h Exod. ix. 23-25.
+ Jonah iv. 8.



Ps. xi. 6.
Rom. xiv. 17.

him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and honour-]

2. As man he intercedeth for us in heaven

[As our peace was effected by the death of Christ, so is it maintained by his intercession-Now it is as man that he appears in the presence of God for us; and liveth on purpose to carry on this part of his priestly office-By virtue of this our persons and services find acceptance with God-Pardon is given us for our renewed transgressions, and strength is imparted to surmount our manifold temptations-Hence is our salvation justly ascribed, and that in a very peculiar manner, to his intercession for us ]


3. As man he is our head and representative

[Christ is the second Adam, the Lord from heaven1 Our life is now treasured up in him, that it may no longer be exposed to the assaults of our great adversary-It has pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and that out of his fulness all should receive, who shall ever be partakers of his grace, or of his glory-Whether we want wisdom to guide us, righteousness to justify us, or sanctification to make us holy, we must look for all of it in and through Christ-As in Adam, our first covenant-head, all died, so in Christ, our new covenant-head, shall all be made alive"-]

4. As man he shall judge the world in the last day [All judgment is committed to him because he is the Son of man n -And what can tend more to our security and comfort than this?-Will he, who shed his blood for us, give up what he has so dearly purchased ?-Or he who both interceded for us, and supplied our wants, consign us over to perdition?-Will he not rather bear testimony in opposition to our fierce accuser, and own the work he had wrought both for us and in us?-Doubtless, if we should feel a degree of security and comfort in having a very dear friend for our judge on earth, much more may we rejoice in having for our judge in the last day, him, who bought us with his blood and renewed us by his spirit-]

We do not mean to exclude his Godhead from this great work of redemption-It is that which gives efficacy to all which he did and suffered as man-But nevertheless it is as man, that is, as the God-man, that we feel our relation to him, and have access unto him as our sympathizing friend

* Rev. i. 5. k Col. iii.


1 Cor. xv. 45, 47.


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Cor. xv. 22.

John v. 27.

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