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-Let it lead us to trust in him both for body and soul -- And let a sense of it shed abroad in our hearts, be the one object of our desire and delight? – --]
y Ps. xxvii. 4. z Phil. iii. 8.
CHRIST THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE AND LIGHT.
Ps. xxxvi. 9. With thee is the fountain of life; in thy light
shall we see light. BY a sober consideration of Scripture metaphors we obtain a more full and comprehensive knowledge of divine truth, than could easily be obtained from the most laboured discussions. Besides, the ideas suggested by them strike the mind so forcibly, that they cannot fail of making a deep and lasting impression. Let us but notice the rich variety of figures whereby the Deity is set forth in the passage before us, and we shall be filled with admiring and adoring thoughts of his goodness. The Psalmist, illustrating the loving-kindness of his God, represents him first under the image of a hen gathering her chickens; then as an opulent host feasting his guests with the richest dainties; and then, in a beautiful climax, he compares him to the sun.
In our text there is no confusion of metaphor, as • there would be if the former part referred to a fountain, and the latter to the sun. It is the sun alone that is spoken of: for that is the fountain both of light and life: and in discoursing upon it, we observe, that, I. Christ is an inexhaustible source of all spiritual
may be considered as peculiarly referred to in the metaphor before us
[It is in Christ only that the perfections mentioned in the foregoing verses are combined. It is in him only that God unites justice with mercy, or adheres, in faithfulness, to his covenant engagements. Besides, it is in this view that Christ
& ver. 5, 6.
b Rom. iii. 26.
c 2 Cor. i. 20.
is set forth throughout all the sacred oracles, by prophetsa, by Apostles, and more especially by himself well therefore apply to him the comparison before us: and we shall find it admirably descriptive of his real character.]
He is to the spiritual, what the sun is to the material, world
[The sun is “the fountain of light and life" to this lower world. When that is withdrawn, the earth is left in darkness, the vegetable world decays, and myriads of animals are secluded in a state of torpor. But when it returns in its brightness, it both dispels the darkness, and restores to nature her suspended powers
Thus, where Christ has not shined, universal darkness and death prevail. But when he arises on the soul, he enlightens it, and infuses into it a principle of life, whereby its faculties are made capable of spiritual exertions; and it is rendered “ fruitful in all the fruits of righteousness to God's praise and glory" --]
We have abundant encouragement to seek his influence, since, II. They who live in communion with him shall
surely participate his blessingsAs the sun shines in vain to him who secludes himself in a dungeon, so, unless we come forth to “Christ's light, we cannot possibly behold his light.” But if we view him as we ought, we shall then attain the light of knowledge, the light of comfort, the light of holiness, the light of glory.
1. Our minds shall be enlightened with divine knowledge
[By the light of the sun we behold the objects around us; and by the light of Christ we discern the things belonging to our peace. In his face all the glory of the Godhead shines, insomuch that he who has seen him, has seen the Father also'. Nor is there any one subject relating to salvation which does not receive its clearest illustration from him-]
2. Our souls shall be enriched with heavenly comfort
[The consolation we derive from other sources is light and unsubstantial: and the things which promise us most happiness, often prove only a fleeting meteor, or a delusive vapour. But a sight of Christ, of his fulness, his suitableness, his all-sufficiency, affords a ground of comfort, firm as the rocks, and lasting as eternity -]
d Isai. lx. 1. Mal. iv. 2.
e Johni. 4,9. Luke ii. 32. 2 Pet. i. 19.
3. Our hearts shall be “renewed in righteousness and true holiness"—
[Nothing produces such effects as a sight of Christ. We may hear the law proclaimed in all its terrors, and yet experience no abiding change. But a view of Christ as crucified for us, will break the most obdurate heart?—raise the most desponding soulm-inspire the selfish with unbounded love? and fill the mourner with unutterable joyo: In a word, it will change a sinful man into the very image of his God and Saviour P.
4. The light of glory itself shall also be enjoyed by us
[Christ is the one source of happiness to all the hosts of heaven”. To behold his beauty, to taste his love, to celebrate his praises, this is their employment, this their supreme felicity". Such too is the occupation, such the happiness of every true believer: he has an earnest of heaven in his soul; and this earnest is a pledge that, in due season, he shall receive the consummation of all his wishes in the immediate vision of his Saviour's glory, and the everlasting fruition of his love_] INFER,
1. How great is the folly of seeking happiness in the creature !
[Created things, in comparison of Christ, are no more than a broken cistern to a fountain", or than a star in comparison of the meridian sun. Let us then seek our happiness in Christ, and in him alone. In him, as in the sun, there is a fulness and a sufficiency for allu. And to him all may have access, if they will not obstinately immure themselves in impenitence and unbelief*. Let us not then “ kindle sparks for ourselves, or walk in the light of our own firesy," but “come forth to his light,” and “walk in it” to the latest hour of our lives?.]
m 1 Pet. i. 3.
k 2 Cor. i. 5. i Zech. xii. 10.
t Jer. ii. 13. y Isai. 1. 11.
2. How unspeakable is the blessedness of knowing Christ!
[If we could conceive ourselves in a region where a winter's midnight was perpetuated; and then be transported in idea to a climate, where noontide light, and vernal beauty, were uninterruptedly enjoyed, we might have some faint image of the change effected by the knowledge of Christ'. Truly the Christian is in Goshenb: or. if, for a little moment he be in darkness, there ariseth up a light unto him in the midst of ito, and his darkness becomes as the noon-day d. And, in a little time “his sun shall no more go down ; but his Lord shall be unto him an everlasting light, and his God his glorye.” O that this may be the constant pursuit, and the happy attainment of us all!]
a 1 Pet. ii. 9. b Exod. ix. 26. and x. 22, 23. c Ps. cxii. 4.
d Isai. lviii. 10. e Isai. lx. 19, 20.
DLXIII. GOD'S CONTINUED CARE IMPLORED. Ps. xxxvi. 10. O continue thou thy loving-kindness unto them
that know thee, and thy righteousness to the upright in heart!
DAVID, in all his troubles, “ encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” He was in great trouble at the time he wrote this psalm; but whether from the persecutions of Saul, or the rebellion of Absalom, is not certain. But his views of the Deity were exceeding grand : “ Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” To this God he commits his cause; and, in behalf of himself and all his persecuted associates, prays, “O continue thou thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee, and thy righteousness unto the upright in heart!” The same petition will every faithful minister urge in behalf of himself and his people, under a full assurance that “all their fresh springs are in Goda ;" and that God himself, if ever they be saved at all, must“ work all their works in them b.” In this view, I will endeavour to shew
a Ps. lxxxvii. 7.
you, I. What need we all have of the blessing here im
The term “ righteousness,” in the Old Testament, is of very extensive meaning. In my text it imports “goodness,” and, as joined with “ loving-kindness," must be understood to mean, a continuance of God's tender and watchful care even to the end. And
Of this, all, whatever be their attainments, stand in need
[Of the ignorant and ungodly I am not at present called to speak; but rather of “those who know God, and are upright before him.” Now all of these, without any exception, "offend God in many things,” and, " if God were extreme to mark what is done amiss, must perish.” From gross and wilful transgressions they may be free: but“ who can say, His heart is clean?” How many sins are committed there, which no eye but God's beholds! – But, waving sins of commission, how greatly do we offend in a way of omission! See how “exceeding broad are the demands of God's Law.” Our duties to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, who can be said perfectly to know them all; and much less to do them But, waving these also, let us mark only our sins of defect. Be it so: We do really love God: but do we love him “with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our soul, and all our strength ?" We love our neighbour, too: but do we love him with the same intenseness, and constancy, and activity “as ourselves?” We believe in Christ also: but is our habit of dependence on him, and communion with him, like that of " a branch united to the vine ?" We devote ourselves to his service: but are all our faculties and powers, both of mind and body, put forth into action, as if we were running a race, or fighting for our lives? look at our very best services, whether in public or in private; our prayers, for instance: Are our confessions accompanied with that brokenness of heart which we ought to feel? or our petitions urged with that importunity which God requires ? or our thanksgivings presented with that ardent gratitude which God's mercies, and especially the great blessings of redemption, call for at our hands? I must say, that the grossest iniquities of the ungodly do not, in my apprehension, more strongly mark our alienation from God, than do the very prayers and praises,