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Sith God; and the hopes awakened in his heart, fill him withi joy unspeakable and full of glory. Hearken to the exhortation of the Psalmist, “ Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye rightes “ous, and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart. Let “ those that seek thee, be glad and rejoice in thee. Thou hast "put gladness into my heart more than in the time that their “ corn and wine encreased."
But the renovated person has likewise new sorrows. It is true, religion's ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Yet the pious man hath often great cause for sorrow and mourning. At seasons God hides his face, and then bis heart is troubled. His own improper behaviour brings on clouds and darknesshence, distress and mourning must succeed. In such a case, “ As a crane and a swallow will he chatter, and mourn as a dove." He grieves for the inconsiderable advances he makes in religion ; Jaments his barrenness and unfaithfulness; and often utlers before God in secret, the bitter moan, “ O my leanness, my lean“ ness!” The waste and desolation of his soul, its not being more replenished with divine grace, often fills him with pain and anguish, and breaks his heart. It also affords him the tenderest concern to behold redeeming love, and the charms of a precious Saviour neglected and despised. It afficts him deeply to behold men dishonoring God, and instead of working out their salvation with fear and trembling, rushing with a dreadful resolution into everlasting destruction. For these things he weeps in secret places, and rivers of water run down his eyes. Blessed are they that mourn, and blessed are they tliat rejoice. The various and different operations of the passions and affections, in the regenerated and enlightened soul, must be the subject of some future lectures. Let the hints thrown out, suffice for the present, to show some of the effects, fruits, feelings and experiences, immediately flowing from a principle of holy and spiritual life, implanted in the heart by divine grace, in that great work stiled Tegeneration,
This discourse shall close with a brief application. And how can it be more usefully applied, than by calling upon you, my hearers, to examine into your respective states and characters, and try the same by the things you have heard. It is a subject of the last importance, and in which we are all most intimately concerned. If any have carefully attended to it, and with understanding considered and appiied the same to themselves, they must by this time come to some conclusion, whether they are regenerated persons, or yet strangers to experimental religion. Allow me, with all nieekness and humiliation, to ask you whether ever you have found those exercises and motions of affections, which are the effects of the regenerating principle, and always, in a greater or less degree, arise from a new heart. Did you ever so behold the glories and excellencies of the divine perfections, as they shine forth in the scriptures, in creation, providence and redemption, especially in the designs of grace, mercy ard love, as excited in you astonishing wonder, and overwhelm. ed you with admiration ? Have you. felt the determination and bias of your wills, the tendency and bearing of your inclinations towards God, and the remembrance of his naine forever? Are the longing desires of your souls prevailingly after communion with him, and conformity to him? Are your sorrows for sin, both in yourselves and others, causing you often to weep before your heavenly Father ? At seasons do your spiritual joys shed a sweet pleasure through your souls, and in experiences something like raptures, do they cry out, with regard to God, “ Whom “ have we in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth we “ desire besides thee ?" I trust, my beloved brethren, that exercises and affections similar to these, have been experienced by numbers of you. My soul congratulates you, upon your blessings, graces, comforts and happiness. O christians, rejoice in the Lord, and evermore rejoice. And let your holy affections always appear in holy living.
But, alas! as to many, is not your case much the reverse ? You never felt or experienced any of these things. Instead of any inclination of heart towards God and divine things, you are strangers to it, and have strong propensities to a thousand other inferior and worldly objects. You never saw any thing in God, in Christ, or the glorious gospel, to awaken your wonder, or arouse your thoughts to divine admiration. All your contemplations of these things were cold, spiritless, and indifferent. If you turn your eyes inward, you can casily perceive a preference of the creature to the Greator. Do not your own hearts condemn you ? And do not your consciences at times raise convictions in your bosoms, that you are in an undone, forlorn, and dangerous condition? Are not your souls reproaching you under this dise course, that you are still in a state of unregeneracy, graceless and unconverted and thus continuing, you must perish, eternally perish? Is not the heart of many now whispering to them, “O my soul, thou art an utter stranger to all these shings."
Therefore, give me leave, in all tenderness and compassion, to leave these few words of exhortation with you. As you fear the reproofs of your own minds, dread the consuming wrath of Almighty God, and wish for the happiness of your immortal souls, no longer indulge this awful and fatal security. Suffer me to ad dress you, as the angel did lingering Lot. Though the sun had just arisen fair, yet it was instantly obscured with lowering clouds, impregnated with fire and brimstone, impending the storm of destruction over the fatal city ; in this tremendous moment, his voice sounds, “ Escape for your life, look not behind “ you, stop not in all the plain, flee to the mountain." Had I an angelic voice to reach your hearts, thus would I say, O sin. ners, flee to the mountain of deliverance, tarry not in the plains of death, look not behind you on the valley of destruction, escape to Jesus Christ, the Zoar of safety, and the refuge of protection, from all the tempests of divine vengeance. Behold his spreading and extending wirgs of salvation, ready to cover you, and brood you in eternal and ineffable felicity.
PSALMS xix. 7.
The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.
THERE are two grand volumes, which display the travscend ant glory of God, have been publislied for the instruction and edification of the children of men ; to wit, the volume of creation, and the volume of divine revelation. Both these are beautifully considered in this Psalm, and strongly recommended to our attention and study. The sweet Singer of Israel, finely illustrates the perfections of God, directing our contemplations to the lieavenly luninaries. The sun, moon, and stars demonstrate the power, the wisdom, and goodness of the glorious Creator. The heavens declare the glory of God; the rotation of day and night sheweth infinite knowledge ; the circuit of the sun, coming forth from his morning tent, till his retirement to his evening chamber, illuminating and warming universal nature, speak with a loud voice, and in language easy to be understood, the wonderful works of the most Higli.
The Psalmist then proceeds, in the words of our text, to ano. , ther illustration of the attributes of Jehovah, more excellent than the foriner, which he stiles the perfect law. He does this partly to prevent an excessive admiration of the splendor of the
visible heavens, which became the occasion of muck idolatry among the heathen, an evil from which the Israelites were not always free ; and partly to make the latter sensible of their obligations of love and duty to God, who, besides the common light of the celestial bodies, had given them the more necessary and beneficial light of divine revelation. This latter volume, was to be for the advantage of the whole world, as well as the former. For the direction and instruction of the Gentiles, as well as the Jews. Hence, as it was designed to be of superior use, he pours forth superior encomiums upon it. We should be all attention to this important and grand assertion, “ The law of the Lord is “perfect converting the soul.”
By the law of God, various things are understood in the sacred oracles. Sometimes it signifies the sacrifices, rites and ceremonies of the Jewish worship ; sometimes the Pentiteuch or five books of Moses, as distinguished from the rest of the old Testament, called the prophets. At times, it means the whole of the old Testament, in distinction from the new, frequently termed the gospel. It is used to express the compend of morals in the ten commandinents—and for a still briefer summary, comprehended by our Saviour, in love to God and our neighbour. (Sometimes the term law, is employed to express the written word of God; and this appears evidently to be the meaning of it in this place. Thus, by an easy and natural extension, it may be applied to the whole scriptures. And this law of the Lord is perfect. With the utmost propriety this epithet is predicated of all the scriptures, of the law and prophets, of the old Testament and the new. “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God," is full and perfect, without blemish or defect; discovering the nature, will, and perfections of God; as also the nature and whole duty of man, in his various relations to God and his neighbour ; whatsoever be is, to believe and practi se, in order to glorify his Maker, and to obtain compleat felicity in the eternal fruition of him. The exceeding great excellency of the law, is its virtue in converting the soul,