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showing that it is not found in the ments,- It is in all these points of view, original, and therefore the sentence lies I suppose that Jacob calls the Lord, Gen. thus, “it is the whole of man"-re- | xxxi. 42, “ the fear of Isaac,” and thus presenting that the fear of God which he is the object of this fear, to all those manifests itself in the producing implicit who walk in the steps of the same faith and unreserved obedience to all the Lord's as that which was possessed by our father commandments, whether pleasing or | Isaac—they “ fear God,” they “fear displeasing to flesh and blood, is the whole before him." Dear friends, may the of man; not only the duty of man in Lord then this day look down upon us, respect to his original relation to God as and, delivering us “ from all blindness of his Creator, but his privilege and his heart, from pride, vain glory, and hypohappiness, in respect to the new relation crisy,” put within us that fear of his to him into which he is brought as a name which he here speaks of, and enable believer, viz, that of a child to a Father us from henceforth to “ fear God,”— who he knows loves him, and whose love yea, to “ fear before him," and then we he has been taught and enabled by the Spi- shall have the truest evidence that we are rit cordially to return.-Thus did this fear his, the Spirit of God bearing witness operate with Joseph, when the temptation with our spirits that we are indeed the was brought before him, with godly de- children of God. cision and determination to put it away! We have now to consider, from him, and his word was, “how can II.-God's solemn declaration conI do this great wickedness and sin against cerning his dealings by those whose God ?” and so it was with Abraham the characters answer this description that father of the faithful and the friend of " it shall be well with them."-"Surely God; when he was tried as to obedience, (he says) it shall be well with them.”— he gave it cheerfully and unreservedly, Similar to Isaiah iii.--10, “ Say ye to though it were the slaying of his beloved the righteous that it shall be well with son Isaac : and the word of the Lord after / them.” the trial was, Gen. xxii. 12, “now I Oftentimes we look at such characters know that thou fearest God, seeing thou as these, and to the eye of sense it is hast not withheld thy son, thine only son not well with them, they are afflicted from me."
perhaps in their bodies, tried and disThis then, is the nature of that fear tressed in their temporal concerns, under which is peculiar to those who are indeed severe pressure from pecuniary difficul. the people of God, and is quite distinct ties, and pained perhaps and harrassed by from any fear of God which may exist or domestic calamities; but seeing that the even prevail in the unconverted man, Lord has said concerning such, that under it is a godly fear of him, a grace of the all circumstances “ surely it shall be well Lord's own implanting in the soul of the with them,” we would look a little more believer-it is a fear of him, which in the closely into the subject, and consider midst of the posssession of the greatest some of those respects in which this is privileges, and the attainment of the always the case with them. highest spiritual enjoyment, never per- Ist. It is obviously well with them aş, mits him to lose sight of the glorious regards their spiritual interests—upon Majesty of him with whom he has to do, these, outward circumstances can produce but causes him to walk thus in the habitual no change. fear of him all the day long,--and a fear They have, for instance, the pardon of of God which makes him to hate and their sin by Christ, and the full and avoid sin, to love his will, and to give everlasting deliverance from the condemcheerful obedience to all his command nation which is due to them for it, and of
this no outward calamity can deprive, and thus it is that those who, through faith, them.-yea, let it be with them out- are partakers of the blessings of the new wardly as it will, nothing can deprive covenant in Christ, are as it were taken them of that blessedness which is spoken up into this chariot, and in it are not of, Psalms xxxii.-1, when in the comfor- only sheltered from the curse due to them table assurance of the possession of this | for their sin, but borne in safety towards benefit, the Psalmist exclaims—“ Blessed the possession of their everlasting inheri. is he whose transgression is forgiven, tance, encompassed on every side by whose sin is covered— Blessed is the man divine love. Behold the believer, then, unto whom the Lord imputeth not under all the varying circumstances of iniquity.”_Great may be the outward | life, and in this respect “it is well with trials to which the child of God is him.” Does his outward estate wither exposed, but how light and trifling are all and seem to be utterly destroyed? yet in comparison with that tremendous still the Lord loves him.-- Is he poor? weight of everlasting condemnation which still God loves him.--Is he sick ? still is hanging over him on account of the God loves him. Is he in disgrace? still sin of his soul! Let this be removed God loves him. Do friends and rela-, then, let him have the assurance of the tions forsake him ? still God loves him pardon of his sin and acceptance with and will cleave to him for ever, as the God through Christ, the less is swallowed friend who is nearer than a brother. up by the greater, and let outward circum- How well! O how very well is it then stances be as they will, he knows-yes ! | with those who are thus beloved of God: and he feels that “it is well with him." | however outwardly they may be tried and
They have moreover the love of God troubled, the assurance of this love can continually resting upon them in every make up for the loss of all, and enable possible circumstance in which his | the believer in the midst of calamities to providence places them. It is to this that rejoice in the Lord with joy unspeakable allusion is made Cant. iii. 9, 10, in which and full of glory. See with what holy the Church, speaking of Christ under the complacency and delight the apostle Paul name of King Solomon standing as he dwelt upon this subject, when, speaking did an eminent type of the Messiah, says of his own experience and that of those “ King Solomon made himself a chariot who are partakers of the same faith with of the wood of Lebanon : he made the him, Rom. viii. 35, &c., he exclaimspillars thereof of silver, the bottom “ Who shall separate us from the love of thereof of gold, the covering of it of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or purple, the midst thereof being paved persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or with love for the daughters of Jerusalem.” | peril, or sword ? Nay in all these things
This chariot, made of the most precious we are more than conquerors through materials for the daughters of Jerusalem, him that loved us. For I am persuaded, represented the Covenant of redemption that neither death, nor life, nor angels wrought out and provided for his people nor principalities, nor powers, nor things by the Lord Jesus. The various mate- present, nor things to come, nor height, rials of which it was made I cannot now nor depth, nor any other creature, shall delay to speak of, but only would observe be able to separate us from the love of upon it ;—"the covering of it was God, which is in Christ Jesus.” Let us purple,” representing the blood of Christ then seek an interest in that love. Let which shelters his people from the wrath us seek to be enabled to realise our own of God, which otherwise would rest upon individual personal interest in it-to be them, and consume them for ever ;--and satisfied of its being unchangeable as the " the midst of it was paved with love,” | character of him who has freely bestowed it, and thus it shall be well with us; and added thrown, as it were, into the heap, let outward circumstances be as they will, of little comparative value indeed in we shall be able to feel that “surely it is themselves, but freely bestowed by their well with us.”
Heavenly Father, who loves them as his 2dly.-" It is well with them” as children, and cares not only for their regards their temporal concerns.
everlasting salvation, but even for their This is a point which appears not to be temporal comforts. What an example taken at all into account by many of those we have of this in the case of Job, conwho do indeed fear God, and are num cerning whom Satan himself was obliged bered among the servants of Christ. to acknowledge (Job i. 10.) that the Lord They seem to consider that the Lord had “set a hedge about him and about does care for their spiritual interests, that his house, and about all that he had, on he will abundantly supply all the wants every side,"—that there was, as it were, of their souls, so as to qualify them in an invisible hedge about him, his family, due time to enter into the enjoyment of and his property, which Satan, with all the glory which he has provided and his malice and wish to injure. him, could prepared for them ; but as for the body, not pass, so as to hurt a hair of his head; the supply of its wants, and the providing and thus, by the care and power of God, of those things which are necessary for he was protected, none able to injure its comfort and support, these are matters him, until the Lord, for a' season for of such trivial importance, that they are Job's own good, and for the instruction not or cannot be an object of his care. and edification of his church in every This mistake, however, is met and cor- / age, withdrew his hand, and permitted his rected by our blessed Lord in his sermon enemy to make a breach upon him. It on the Mount, wherein, in that part of it is in the assurance of this, then, that the in which he speaks on this subject, viz. Psalmist thus addresses the people of Mat. vi. 25–33, he tells those who are God, Ps. xxxiv. 9, 10. “O fear the Lord indeed his children, that their minds need all ye his saints, for there is no want to not be distressed or anxious about their them that fear him. The young lions temporal concerns, such as what they do lack and suffer hunger : but they that shall eat, or what they shall drink, seek the Lord, shall not want any good or wherewithal shall they be clothed thing." the future provision in fact for them. Think not, however, from these obserselves and their families.
vations, that I would have you to suppose He assures them that their heavenly that God's people are to expect of necesFather, who feeds the birds of the air sity to be always in a state of temporal and clothes the lilies of the field, knows prosperity, and that where this is not the their wants, and will assuredly supply case, there is reason to doubt their sinthem; and then he lays down this cerity, or else to conclude that they have as the course to be pursued by his people, committed some flagrant sin which has who have cause for anxiety upon these brought down upon them the divine dissubjects—v. 33. “ Seek ye first the king pleasure ;-far from it!-my persuasion dom of God and his righteousness, and is, that in the promise that he will not withall these things shall be added unto you,” | hold any good thing from them, is included promising them, that having the Lord's the not withholding from them trials and service and glory as their first concern, troubles, if they be for their real good. the first object of their lives, they shall | These are often necessary for his children, not only be blessed with all spiritual to humble their pridemto empty them blessings in heavenly places in Christ, but of self-to teach thèm the insufficieney to these all temporal things shall be l of the creature for their comfort, and to
cause them to cling more closely to the nal state into which they have entered, Saviour, that they may have him as their bearing thus their unwilling and yet most refuge and portion for ever. But the important testimony to the truth which reason for which I do mention it, and we have now before us, “ surely it shall press the subject earnestly on your atten- be will with them that fear God, that fear tion, is, that his people may be enabled before him." to learn from these Scriptures the fact, Consider, then, those who fear God, that the Lord does care for their temporal who fear before him, in those three parconcerns—that these are as much in his ticulars in which we have spoken of them hands as their spiritual interests--that all this day, viz. as regards their spiritual are ordered by him as is most for his own interests their temporal circumstances glory and their good; and that, therefore, and their everlasting welfare-is it not whatever his providence directs concern- well with them ?-and may not he who ing them, that “it is well with them;" exercises faith in God's gracious promises that if prosperity comes, it is well with in Christ to his people, well say, “surely them, for it comes from the hand of their I know that it shall be well - with them Heavenly Father, the conviction of which that fear God, which fear before him?" sweetens all their earthly comforts; and! In conclusion, then, we would again if adversity comes “it is well with them,” inquire, concerning whom exclusively is for infinite wisdom and infinite love has this statement made, that it shall be well not only permitted it, but thus ordered with them ? it is of “them that fear it; and the trial of their faith, whatever God, which fear before him.” it may be, though painful at present, is Who is there, then, amongst you, in truth more precious than gold that whose character answers this description, perishes though tried with the fire, and whose conscience, while I was speaking will yet be found to be to the praise and upon the particulars contained in it, bore honor and glory, at the appearing of our testimony that it corresponded with your Lord and Saviour. Looking, then, even experience ? Can you or you or you at the temporal concerns of God's people, look up to the Lord, and call him to in this point of view, may not those who witness the gracious work which his Spirit walk by faith instead of sight, with truth has thus wrought in your soul? Oh! say, “surely I know that it shall be well that God may give you grace to be with them that fear God, that fear before honest in this enquiry, and enable you to him."
come to a correct conclusion in the 3dly.-- That it shall be well with them matter; for on it the spiritual and everthat fear God in that eternity which is be- lasting interests of your souls hang. fore us, all will be ready to acknowledge. I would trust that there are some However men may differ as to its bearing among you whose conscience could this upon the spiritual or temporal interests day in the sight of God bear a favourable of God's people here, none differ as to testimony in this matter ; and to such I its results in eternity ; but we find even would observe-if it be so, you have to the most thoughtless and most worldly, bless the Lord, who, of his own free when their friends have been removed sovereign grace, implanted this fear of from them by the hand of death, bow- his name in your hearts, and has ever they might have ridiculed any sin- | preserved it there hitherto. Oh! cultigularity and preciseness in religion which vate more diligently than ever this they observed in them while in health, gracius habit of mind. See that by the clinging to this as their only comfort in influences of the Spirit of God, holy and their death, from the hope that it gives godly fear is joined to your rejoicing in them of being happy in that new and eter- ' the Lord, and in the privileges of which
you are possessed through him; and exer- upon the brink of eternity-as those cise more faith in his truth, his love, his whom a single moment may plunge into power, and that glorious attribute of his, all the realities of that tremendous and unchangeableness. Thus it is that under everlasting condemnation which awaits all the varying circumstances of life, you those “who obey not the Gospel of our will enjoy peace; whether tried in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ;” and I temporal or spiritual concerns, you will would beseech of you to flee from the be enabled to possess your souls with wrath to come-to submit yourselves patience, knowing that all things sball without delay to Jesus, and earnestly to work together for your good, and that beseech of him, that while he forgives “it shall be well with them that fear you your past forgetfulness of him, God, that fear before him.” Thus it is he will admit you, through faith, into the that you will be constrained to love possession of the blessings of the new Christ to keep clear of all sin, as the covenant; and so, putting his fear into abominable thing which God hates, and your hearts, cause you for the remainder to give cheerful and unreserved obedi- of your days to cleave sincerely and exence to him to whom you are so deeply, clusively to him, as all your hope and all yea, eternally, indebted.
your salvation, and to give cheerful and If there be, however, any of you, who unreserved obedience to his will, as he are at this present time living destitute of may be pleased to reveal it to you ; thus that fear of God of which we have been “it shall be well with you,” and from speaking so much to-day, can I say to henceforth, you will be able, with holy you, surely it shall be well with you ? comfort, to sing that new song which he nay, can your own consciences even has given for his people, “O Lord I whisper to you, surely it shall be well will praise thee, for though thou wast with you? No-but to you that fearful angry with me, thine anger is turned threatening of the Lord is applicable away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, while you continue thus, “the wicked God is my salvation, I will trust and not shall be cast into hell, and all the people be afraid : for the Lord Jehovah is my that forget God.” I would then, this day, strength and my song, he also is become address you as those who are standing my salvation.”
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