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and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Aram escaped out of thine hand. The Ethiopians and the Lubims, were they not a strong host, with chariots and horsemen exceeding many, yet because thou didst rest upon the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth, to show himself strong unto all them who are of perfect heart towards him: thou hast then done foolishly in this: from henceforth thou shalt have wars." Beloved, we see that if we rely in any thing else, save in God, if we trust in any thing else, what do we but forsake God, setting up an idol in our hearts in place of him? Nay, nay; as thou trustest in God, so must thou rely only upon him, and nothing else. As his must be all the glory of our deliverance, so must he be the sole object of our trust, it must be mingled with nothing else.
A fourth and further sure mark of this trust is, to see whether in the course of our life we can rely upon God's providence, to see if now that we have trusted him for ourselves, we can also trust his providence in things to come. Canst thou trust his providence for thy wife and children; canst thou rest assured that thy God will provide for all their necessities; canst thou give them freely over unto his providence? Canst thou be content not to care for to-morrow, but let it care for itself, and so forth in all other things, dost thou trust in his providence? O this is a blessed estate; it is a sure sign thy trusting is unfeigned.
But, may some say, What, must we then leave off all caring, and only trust? I say no. Thou must not leave to use the means, but thou must shake off this distrustful care, being assured, that God in thy honest endeavours will bless the means. Thou must trust that he will bring it to pass, committing thy way unto him. Therefore although thou use the means, yet must he only be trusted with the blessing and issue of the same: thou must trust him in all things. He who trusteth him not in all things, trusteth not God at all. The true child of God, therefore, who must trust God in higher matters of eternity, salva
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tion, and the life to come, he must much more rely upon him for the small things of this earth. We are taught by our Saviour Christ, to trust in God and pray for our daily bread. Now, he who will not trust God in this, that man trusteth not in God at all. For, trust thou God for one thing, thou must as certainly rely upon him for all. The like argument is in the love of our brother. If we trust in God, and love him, we must also love the brethren. If we say we trust in him, and yet love not them, there is no truth in us. He who loveth the brethren, must needs trust and love God; for unless he trusted in God, it were not possible for him to love the brethren. By this love of God's children, we are assured, that "we abide in the light," yea, "that" we are transported from death to life." And this is our joy, that, as it is in the third epistle, "Wey walk altogether in verity." Some may object, that such are most contemned, who thus trust and rely upon God; they in the eyes of men are most contemned. But no matter what they do or say, we know that the whole world lieth in blindness, unless with us they find Christ, and trust in him. We know that if we rely upon him, he hath commanded us to be of good comfort, for he hath overcome the world; andz in him shall we be more than conquerors in all these things.
Let us therefore trust perfectly in that grace which is brought unto us, when all comforts seem to be absent, assuring ourselves that so long as Christ vouchsafeth to call us brethren, so long are we in a most blessed estate. So long as he taketh us by the hand, presenting us without spot and blameless (by his righteousness made perfect) unto the Father, saying, Behold", here am I, and the children which thou hast given me, so long let us fear nothing. Let us go on constantly in this trust, "still1 1 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the glory which was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is set at the right hand of God, in the
* 1 John, chap. 3. ver. 14.
* Rom. chap. 8. ver. 87.
» Heb. chap. 2. ver. 13.
throne of God." If we be constant in this trusting in God, he hath promised that if we overcome, so shall we sit with him in his throne, as he overcame, and sitteth with the Father in his throne. Which that we may all do, let us now earnestly call upon God, for his own and our Christ's sake, that we may attain to this high degree of Christianity, to trust in God with all our hearts, that so mercy may compass us. To whom with the Father and his blessed Spirit, be all honour, glory, power, might, majesty and dominion, now and evermore. Amen.
Psalm XXXII. Ver. 11.
Be glad, ye righteous, and rejoice in the Lord, and be joyful (or shout for joy) all ye that are upright of heart.
I Have formerly declared unto you the end and scope of this psalm, that it was a psalm of instruction, wherein the whole drift of the prophet is, to show how a man in this life might attain to perfect blessedness; so that he propoundeth, for a most infallible ground thereof, a blessed man only to be he who hath his sins forgiven unto him, sealed, as it were, with the great seal of heaven, having obtained (although with much strife) peace with God. Therefore I show unto you how the prophet having laid this general ground, proceedeth to the application thereof"1, where knowing that he had to meet with two sorts of men; the wicked first, who are always froward, and negligent in the ways of God; whom he compareth to horses and mules for their hardness of heart;—the godly next, who have tender hearts, striving to love and trust in God; those he comforteth with assurance that mercy shall compass them, though the wicked would have many sorrows; where I show you that the prophet telleth them, that if they would follow the example of his experience, he would guide them in the right way, even in all their actions, if to learn at him, they should make use of God's mercies. But the prophet thereafter (as I show you) changeth his style, knowing, that for the most part mercies are preached in vain unto the wicked. Firstb (to make them inexcusable) having forewarned them not to be as horses and mules,
hard-hearted creatures, lest the Lord at length should curb and bind them with bit and bridle, showing his mighty power in taming their rebellion; if, notwithstanding all these instructions, they would still continue as horses and mules, next he proceedeth to threaten them with many sorrows. 1 showed you here how exceeding cross it was for flesh and blood to overcome so many lets as seemed to be in their way; to overcome and master affections, crucify darling sins, and being altogether poor and empty of any feeling in ourselves, to rely upon God, and sue unto the throne of grace, as it were in forma pauperis. For we are all of that nature, that we delight rather to run into any other wandering by-paths, than to have recourse unto God in the time of tentations.
Yet must we learn not to strive against God, but rather to hang upon him by faith, forcing acquaintance upon him. Otherwise, if we will not, I showed you how in the tenth verse the prophet threateneth unto them many sorrows, wherein he comprehendeth all manner of sorrows, both in this life, and that to come, in soul and body, in the deprivation of so infinite eternal joys, and the fruition of so many and so infinite torments in hell-fire for ever, where the justice of God should set his mighty power on fire for their eternal torments, being glorified in their destruction. And therefore, although the wicked in this life of all men seem to have fewest sorrows, having the abundance of all earthly things, as though they were the only men who had cause to rejoice. Yet let none of you be discouraged, although the wicked flourish like a palm tree: for if thou couldest but look unto the fearful hearts of most of them, and see how many sorrows do incessantly gnaw and torture their fearful consciences, and their miserable estate, who without the Lord's infinite mercy, are but like oxen fed for the devil, hast thou, I pray thee, any cause to envy their estate? Nay, rather look unto thine own most happy and blessed estate, which the prophet (having threatened them) comforteth thee withal; that mercy0 shall compass thee.
c Psalm 32. ver. 8.