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THE BLESSEDNESS OF TRUSTING IN GOD.
Psalm lxxxiv. 12. "O Lord God of Hosts, blessed is the man that
trusteth in thee.”
In a former discourse on these words I have endeavoured to prove, that the man who trusts in God possesses the only solid foundation of true and lasting blessedness; inasmuch as, in the first place, he, and he only, possesses true wisdom and sobriety of mind. I proceed now to show, in the second place, that the man who trusts in the Lord is blessed, because he is truly virtuous.
I. True virtue is not merely an external decency of conduct, or even an outward and regular conformity to the services of religion. It is an inward purity of heart. It is to have the imagination and the passions subdued and regulated, and the motives free from all that is base and selfish and unworthy. Now the more a man confides in God, the deeper and more pervading must be the singleness and sanctity of his mind. It is impossible to trust God as He is revealed in the Scripture, without feeling such continual checks and corrections, from both Scripture and our own consciences, as will compel us to aim at purity of heart. Thus the Psalmist says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me !” The man who has a firm and habitual confidence in God, and is accustomed to see and recognize His hand in the every-day events of his life, cannot but feel an increasing delight in Him; an increasing desire to please Him, an increasing dread of harbouring a thought or indulging a wish which can displease Him or grieve His Holy Spirit. To be brought thus by the habits of his renewed mind
into perpetual contact and communion with the Fountain of all goodness, must be to become daily more like unto Him; and that, not merely in outward conduct, but still more so in that hidden devotion of the spirit, which is known only to our Father that seeth in secret.
Such a man's goodness is not transient and occasional and capricious; it must be habitual, in proportion as his reliance on God is habitual; steady and uniform, in proportion to the steadiness and uniformity of his faith.
His virtue is not partial, but universal. He has respect unto all God's commandments, and all false ways he utterly abhors'. He knows that it is vain to pretend to trust God, or to hope in His salvation, if he allow himself in any wilful violation of His precepts. He cannot select one commandment, and disregard the rest. His principle of obedience, and his delight and enjoyment in obedience, are as extensive as his dependence on God, and his delight in recol
lecting and acknowledging His continual favour and protection.
II. Trust in God gives the highest possible security for our continuance and stedfastness in this course of goodness, and our perseverance in seeking all the aids of divine grace to enable us to resist every temptation by which we may be assailed. No man can know God, as He is revealed in the Scripture, and as He manifests Himself to those who trust in Him and walk by faith with Him, without a gradual growth of a disposition, which at last will amount to a cordial submission to the will of God, because it is his will, altogether independent upon any perception he may have of the wisdom and justice of the divine command or dispensation. If it be His will, he is satisfied. “ It is the Lord ; let him do what seemeth him good'.” This is partly owing, no doubt, to the growth of the divine nature in his soul, and his gradual assimilation to the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is likewise owing to the fact, that the more he trusts God, the more reason he finds to trust Him; and therefore, sooner or later, he must come to the conviction, that he can never consult his own interest or happiness by resisting the will of God. He feels that he ought to confide in Him, notwithstanding all contrary appearances. He knows that, if he should be tempted as righteous Job was, still it would be his wisdom and his duty to say with Job, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him ?.” It is evident, therefore, that here is a high security indeed for his continuance in the path of righteousness. Meantime his own weakness and daily infirmity must lead him to seek more earnestly for the strength and protection of the Holy Spirit, and to labour more diligently to obtain deeper and more lasting inpressions of the reality and importance of religion.
11 Sam. iii. 18.