« AnteriorContinuar »
of old prolonged beyond the date and continuance of empires or kingdoms now, yet this was the winding up such a one lived so many years, and then died;' Gen. v. And what are we poor worms, whose lives are measured by inches, in comparison of their span? what are we before the eternal God? God always immutably subsisting in his own infinite being ? a real consideration hereof will subdue the soul into a condition of dependance on him, and of waiting for him.
2. The immensity of his essence, and his omnipresence is of the same consideration. Do not I fill heaven and earth ? saith the Lord;' Jer. xxiii. 24. The heavens, even the heaven of heavens, the supreme and most comprehensive created being cannot contain him,' saith Solomon. In his infinitely glorious being he is present with, and indistant from, all places, things, times, all the works of his hands, and is no less gloriously subsisting where they are not. God is where heaven and earth are not, no less than where they are; and where they are not is himself; where there is no place, no space, real or imaginary, God is, for place and imagination have nothing to do with immensity; and he is present every where in creation, where I am writing, where you are reading; he is present with you, indistant from you. The thoughts of men's hearts for the most part are, that God as to his essence is in heaven only; and it is well if some think he is there, seeing they live and act as if there were neither God nor devil but themselves. But on these apprehensions such thoughts are ready secretly to arise, and effectually to prevail, as are expressed, Job xxii. 13, 14. “How doth God know? Can he judge through the dark ? thick clouds are as a covering unto him that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of the heavens.' Apprehensions of God's distance from men, harden them in their ways. But it is utterly otherwise ; God is every where, and a man may on all occasions say with Jacob,
God is in this place, and I knew it not.' Let the soul then who is thus called to wait on God, exercise itself with thoughts about this immensity of his nature and being. Comprehend it, fully understand it, we can never ; but the consideration of it will give that awe of his greatness upon our hearts, as that we shall learn to tremble before him, and to be willing to wait for him in all things.
3. Thoughts of the holiness of God, or infinite selfpurity of this eternal immense being, are singularly useful to the same purpose. This is that which Eliphaz affirms that he received by vision, to reply to the complaint and impatience of Job, chap. xxxiv. 12—19. After he hath declared his vision, with the manner of it, this he affirms to be the revelation that by voice was made unto him ; Shall mortal man be more just than God ? shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold he puts no trust in his servants, and his angels he chargeth with folly. How much less on them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth ?'. If the saints and angels in heaven do not answer this infinite holiness of God in their most perfect condition, is it meet for worms of the earth to suppose that any thing which proceeds from him is not absolutely holy and perfect, and so best for thern? This is the fiery property of the nature of God, whence he is called a consuming fire, and everlasting burnings: and the law whereon he had impressed some representation of it, is called a fiery law, as that which will consume and burn up whatever is perverse and evil. Hence the prophet, who had a representation of the glory of God in a vision, and heard the seraphims proclaiming his holiness, cried out, 'Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips;' Isa. vi. 5. He thought it impossible that he should bear that near approach of the holiness of God. And with the remembrance hereof doth Joshua still the people with the terror of the Lord, chap. xiv. 19. Let such souls then as are under troubles and perplexities on any account, endeavour to exercise their thoughts about this infinite purity and fiery holiness of God. They will quickly find it their wisdom to become as weaned children before him, and content themselves with what he shall guide unto them, which is to wait for him. This fiery holiness streams from his throne, Dan. vii. 10. and would quickly consume the whole creation, as now under the curse and sin, were it not for the interposing of Jesus Christ.
4. His glorious majesty as the ruler of all the world. Majesty relates unto government, and it calls us to such an awe of him as doth render our waiting for him comely and necessary.
God's throne is said to be in hea
ven, and there principally do the glorious beams of his terrible majesty shine forth. But he hath also made some representation of it on the earth, that we might learn to fear before him. Such was the appearance that he gave of his glory in the giving of the law, whereby he will judge the world, and condemn the transgressors of it, who obtain not an acquitment in the blood of Jesus Christ. See the description of it in Exod. xix. 16. 18. So terrible was the sight hereof, that Moses himself said, I exceedingly fear and quake;' Heb. xii. 21. And what effect it had
all the people is declared, Exod. xx. 18, 19. They were not able to bear it, although they had good assurance that it was for their benefit and advantage, that he so drew nigh and manifested his glory unto them. Are we not satisfied with our condition ? cannot we wait under his present dispensations ? let us think how we may approach unto his presence, or stand before his glorious majesty. Will not the dread of his excellency fall upon us? will not his terror make us afraid ? shall we not think his way best, and his time best, and that our duty is to be silent before him? And the like manifestation hath he made of his glory, as the great judge of all upon the throne unto sundry of the prophets; as unto Isaiah, chap. vi. 1–4. to Ezekiel, chap. i. to Daniel, chap. vii. 9, 10. to John, Revelation i. Read the places attentively, and learn to tremble before him. These are not things that are foreign unto us.
This God is our God. The same throne of his greatness and majesty is still established in the heaven. Let us then in all our hastes and heats that our spirits in any condition are prone unto, ipresent ourselves before this throne of God, and then consider what will be best for us to say or do; what frame of heart and spirit will become us, and be safest for us. All this glory doth encompass us every moment, although we per- v ceive it not. And it will be but a few days before all the veils and shades that are about us, shall be taken
and depart. And then shall all this glory appear unto us unto endless bliss, or everlasting woe. Let us therefore know that nothing in our dealings with him doth better become us, than silently for to wait for him, and what he will speak unto us in our depths and straits.
5. It is good to consider the instances that God hath
given of this his infinite greatness, power, majesty, and glory. Such was his mighty work of creating all things out of nothing. We dwell on little mole-hills in the earth, and yet we know the least part of the excellency of that spot of ground which is given us for our habitation here below. But what is it unto the whole habitable world, and the fulness thereof? And what an amazing thing is its greatness, with the wide and large sea, with all sorts of creatures therein ! The least of these hath a beauty, a glory, an excellency, that the utmost of our inquiries end in admiration of. And all this is but the earth, the lower depressed part of the world. What shall we say concerning the heavens over us, and all those creatures of light, that have their habitations in them? who can conceive the beauty, order, use, and course of them? The consideration hereof caused the psalmist to cry out, 'Lord, our Lord, how excellent and glorious art thou ! Psal. viii, 1. And what is the rise, spring, and cause of these things ? are they not all the effect of the word of the power of this glorious God? and doth he not in them, and by them, speak us into a reverence of his greatness? The like also may be said concerning his mighty and strange works of providence in the rule of the world. not this he who brought the flood of old upon the world of ungodly men? Is it not he who consumed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven, setting them forth as examples unto them that should afterward live ungodly, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire ? Is it not he who destroyed Egypt with his plagues, and drowned Pharaoh with his host in the Red Sea ? Is it not he, one of whose servants slew a hundred and fourscore and five thousand in Senacherib's army in one night ? that opened the earth to swallow up Dathan and Abiram ? and sent out fire from the altar to devour Nadah and Abihu ? and have not all
been filled with such instances of his greatness and power?
The end why I have insisted on these things, is to shew the reasonableness of the duty which we are pressing unto; namely, to wait on God quietly and patiently, in every condition of distress. For what else becomes us when we have to do with this great and Holy One? And a due consideration of these things will exceedingly influence our minds thereunto.
Secondly, This waiting for God respecteth the whole of the condition expressed in the psalm, and this containeth not only spiritual depths about sin, which we have at large insisted on, but also providential depths, depths of trouble or affliction; that we may be exercised withal in the holy wise providence of God. In reference also unto these, waiting in patience and silence is our duty. And there are two considerations that will assist us in this duty with respect unto such depths, that is, of trouble or affliction. And the first of these is, the consideration of those properties of God, which he exerciseth in an especial manner in all his dealings with us, and which in all our troubles we are principally to regard. The second is, the consideration of ourselves, what are we, and what we have deserved.
Let us begin with the former; and there are four things in God's dispensations towards us, and dealing with us, that in this matter we should consider, all suited to work in us the end aimed at.
1. The first is his sovereignty; this he declares, this we are to acknowledge, and submit unto, in all the great and dreadful dispensations of his providence, in all his dealings with our souls. May he not do what he will with his own? who shall say unto him, What doest thou ? or if they do so, what shall give them countenance in their so doing? He made all this world of nothing, and could have made another, more, or all things, quite otherwise than they are. It would not subsist one moment without his omnipotent supportment. Nothing would be continued in its place, course, use, without his effectual influence and countenance. If any thing can be, live, or act, a moment without him, we may take free leave to dispute its disposal with him, and to haste unto the accomplishment of our desires; but from the angels in heaven, to the worms of the earth, and the grass of the field, all depend on him and his power continually. Why was this part of the creation an angel, that a worm, this a man, that a brute beast? Is it from their own choice, designing, or contrivance, or brought about by their own wisdom? or is it merely from the sovereign pleasure and will of God? And what a madness is it, to repine against what he doth, seeing all things are, as he makes them, and disposeth them ; nor can be otherwise.