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bewildering paths of life? Where were 3 E R M. then the God of love? Where, those inn- ,LV";_r nite compassions of his nature, in which all his worshippers have been encouraged to trust ?—No: He will send forth his light and his truth to bring them to his holy hill. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and his countenance beholdeth the upright. With him there is no oblique purpose, to turn him aside fromfavouring the cause of goodness. No-undertaking to which he has given his countenance shall prove abortive. No promise that he has made shall be allowed to fail. Whomhe loveth, he loveth to the end. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him., and he will shew them his covenant. The meek will he guide in judgment, and them wilt he teach his way. His grace shall be sufficient for than, and hisstrength be made perseb"l in their weakness. Theygo fromstrength to strength; every one of them appeareth before God in Ziori*.-— Such* are the hopes with which goodmen
SERM. men in a present life set forth on a course ^J^j of piety and virtue. Thou -wilt/hew me the path of life. Let us now proceed,
II. To consider the termination of these hopes in a future state. In thy presence isfulness ofjoy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. All happiness assuredly dwells with God. The fountain of life is justly said to be with him. That supreme and independent Being must necess? rily possess within himself every principle of beatitude; and no cause from without can possibly affect his untroubled felicity. Among created dependent beings, happiness flows in scattered and feeble streams; streams that are often tinged with the blackness of misery. But from before the throne of God issues the river of life, full, unmixed, and pure; and the pleasures which now in scanty portions we are permitted to taste, are all derived from that source. Whatever gladdens
the hearts of men or angels, with any s E R M. real and satisfactory joy, comes from ^Z_j heaven. It is a portion of the pure influence'. flowing from the glory of the Almighty; a ray ifjuingfrom the brightness of the everlasting life. It is manifest, therefore, that every approach to God must be an approach to felicity. The enjoyment of his immediate presence must be the consummation of felicity. and it is to this presence that the Psalmist here expresses his hope that the path of life was to conduct him.
The whole of what is implied in arriving at the presence of the Divinity, we cannot expect to comprehend. Such expressions as these of scripture, beholding the face of God; being ?nade glad with the light of his countenance, and satisfied with his likeness;seeing light in his light; feeing no longer darkly as through a glass, but face to face;seeing him as he is; are expressions altogether mysterious, conveying sublime though obscure ideas of the most perfect happiness and highest exaltation of human nature. This we
S E R M. know, that the absence of God, the C^l^> distance at which we are now placed from any communication with our Creator, is one great source of our infelicity. Faith exerts its endeavours, but often ineffectually, to raise our souls to him. He is a God that hideth himself. His ways seem intricate and perplexed. We fre^quently cannot reconcile them to the conceptions which we had formed of his nature; and with many a suspicion and doubt they perplex the inquiring mind. His works we survey with astonishment. We wonder and adore. But while we clearly trace the footsteps of their great Author, his presence we can never discern. We go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but we cannot perceive him; on the left hand, where he worketh, but we cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that we cannot see him*. Hence amidst the various sorrows and discouragements of the present state, that exclamation
* Job xxiii. 8, 9.
mation of Job's is often drawn forthSERM: from the pious heart, O that I knew ^J^j where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat*!
Surrounded by such distressing obscurity, no hope more transporting can be opened to a good man, than that a period is to come, when he shall be allowed to draw nearer to the Author of his existence, and to enjoy the fense of his presence. In order to convey some faint idea of that future bliss, by such an image as we can now employ, let the image be taken from the most glorious representative of the supreme Being, * with which we are acquainted in this world, the Sun in the heavens. As that resplendent . luminary chears and revives the universe, when, after the darkness of a tempestuous night, it comes forth in the. morning with its brightest lustre, and inspires every heart with gladness j as ascending gradually through the heavens, it converts that Vol. IV. K whole
* Job. xxiii. 3.