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to create in his mind desponding fears: but his confidence in an almighty Protector kept him steadfast"; and determined him to preserve an undaunted spirit, however great or multiplied his trials might bei Paul also, in the view of certain and accumulated troubles, could say, “ None of these things move mek.” Thus may every believer triumph. The man who trusts in God is in an impregnable fortress, that has salvation for walls and bulwarks!. If only our eyes be opened to see clearly, we may behold ourselves, like Elisha, encompassed with chariots of fire and horses of fire; and may laugh at the impotent attempts of men or devils m.]
The more immediate scope of the prophecy is to declare, II. His comfort in death
Our blessed Lord submitted cheerfully to his death in a certain expectation of a speedy resurrection
[Greatly as he was oppressed and overwhelmed with sorrow, he yet restrained not his tongue" from joyful acknowledgments. His last discourses, and his intercessory prayer, abundantly testify the composure of his spirit, and the elevation of his mind. Look we for the ground of his consolation ? we shall find it in those repeated expressions, “ I go to my Father;" “Father, I come to thee." He knew that his flesh, that holy thing formed in the virgin's wombp, and which he gave for the life of the world, should never become an abomination", but that, though immured in the silent tomb, it should be raised thence, before it could corrupt: and that his soul, though separate from it for a season, should soon be re-united to it, to be a joint partaker of the same kingdom and glory.]
Such consolation too have all his members in a dying hour
[Christ rose, not as a private individual, but as “the firstfruits of them that slepts." And every one that believes in him may consider death as a sleep, and the grave as a bed whereon he is to rest till the morning of the resurrection. The bodies of the saints are indeed doomed to death and corruption on account of sin u: but they shall be raised again, and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body*: this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. In expectation of this, the martyrs of old would not accept deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection?: and, in the hope of it, we also may put off this tabernacle with joy, knowing that it shall be reared anew in a far better form a "]
h Ps. xi. 1–4. i Ps. xxvii. 1, 3. k Acts xx. 23, 24. 1 Isai. xxvi. 1. Ps. cxxv. 1, 2.
m 2 Kings vi. 16, 17. n This is meant by “my glory" rejoiceth. • John xvi. 28. and xvii. 11.
p Luke i. 35. 9 John vi. 51.
r Christ's resurrection on the third day was typified by that ordinance of the law, Lev. vii. 17, 18.
81 Cor. xv. 20. + Acts vii. 60. Isai. lvii. 2. u Rom. viii. 10.
Connected with this hope in his death, we behold, III. His prospect in eternity
The state to which Jesus was to rise was a state of inconceivable and endless glory
[No sooner were death and the grave vanquished by Jesus in the resurrection, and he was thereby "declared to be the Son of God with power,” than the way to the regions of glory was opened to him; that way, which, with myriads of attendant angels, he trod soon afterwards, that he might receive all the fruits of his victorious death. Then sat he down at the right hand of his Father, not any more to taste a cup of sorrow, but to possess a fulness and perpetuity of unutterable joy. Blessed prospect! well might he be animated by it in the midst of all his trials; and, for the joy set before him, endure the cross, and despise the shame b.)
Such too are the delightful prospects of all his saints
[They see, in the death and resurrection of Christ, the way to heaven opened: and, if they look to him as the resurrection and the life', a fulness and perpetuity of joy awaits them also at their departure hence. Who can conceive what happiness they will feel in the vision and fruition of their Goda? Well may they long " to depart, that they may be with Christ ;” and account all their afflictions light and momentary, in the view of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, with which they will be crowned in the day of the Lord Jesus] INFER,
1. What rich sources of consolation does faith open to believers under all their troubles !
[Faith beholds God always present, always active, to succour his people: it looks forward also to the future state both of body and soul, enabling us to weigh the concerns of time and eternity in the scale together, and thereby to see the vanity of
x Phil, iii. 21. y 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54, a 2 Cor. v. 1,
2. b Heb. xii. 2. Rev. xxi. 3, 4, 21, 22. VOL. V.
z Heb. xi. 35.
the one in comparison of the other. To be happy, therefore, we must live by faith.]
2. How certain is the salvation of those who believe in Christ!
[If Jesus be the Messiah, and have in himself a sufficiency for the salvation of his people, then have we nothing to do but to believe in him. But St. Peter, quoting the entire text, infers from it the certainty of his Messiahship'; and St. Paul, referring to the same, infers his sufficiency to save his people. Let us then make him our refuge, our foundation, and our all.]
f Acts ii. 25—28, and 36. & Acts xiii. 35–37, and 38, 39.
THE MAN OF GOD.
Ps. xvii. 15. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness :
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. IN respect of outward appearance, there is but little difference between “the man of God," and “ the men of this world”
But, in their inward principle, they are as far asunder as light from dark
The Psalmist here contrasts them, 1. In their desires
The men of this world affect only the things of time and sense
[“They have their portion in this life.” Pleasure, riches, honour, are the great objects on which their affections are set, and in the attainment of which they suppose happiness to consist. For these they labour with incessant care: and if they may but transmit this portion in rich abundance to their children, they bless themselves, as having well discharged the offices of life ---] The man of God has his affection set rather
upon things invisible and eternal
[There is a remarkable decision manifest in that expression, “ As for me," I will do so and so. It resembles the determination of Joshua ; who, if all Israel should forsake the Lord, declared this to be his fixed resolution, “ As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
In that other expression, too, “I will behold thy face in righteousness," there is, I think, a peculiar delicacy and beauty. It is not merely “I will seek thy favour,” or, “ I will follow after righteousness;” but I will seek thy favour in the only way in which it can ever be obtained, namely, in an entire compliance with thy holy will, as revealed in thy blessed word. In this view it imports, “ I will seek thy favour in the way of penitential sorrow; for how shall an impenitent sinner ever find acceptance with thee?
“I will seek it in a way of believing confidence :” for thou art never more pleased than when a perfect reliance is placed on thy dear Son, and in “thy promises, which in him are yea, and in him Amen" " I will seek it in a way of incessant watchfulness :" for if I practise iniquity in my life, or “regard it in my heart,” thou canst never receive me to mercy
“ I will seek it also in a way of universal holiness :” for it is the obedient soul alone on which thou canst ever look with complacency and delight
We mean not to say that “the man of God is perfect;" for there is yet much imperfection cleaving to him: but we do say, that, in the habitual desires and purposes of his soul, he accords with the description here given.]
Nor do the two characters differ less, II. In their prospects
“ The men of this world” can hope for nothing but disappointment
[Admitting that they attain the summit of their ambition, they only grasp a shadow. Possess what they may, they feel an aching void, a secret something unpossessed: “In the midst of their sufficiency they are in straits.” As for an eternal state, they do not even like to think of it: their happiness depends on banishing it from their thoughts; and if at any time it obtrude itself upon their minds, it brings a cloud over their brightest prospects, and casts a damp over their richest enjoyments
Not so “ the man of God:” his pursuits are productive of the most solid satisfaction
[Even in this life he has a portion which he accounts better than ten thousand worlds : so that in him is fulfilled what our blessed Lord has spoken, “ He that cometh to me, shall never hunger; and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst.” He has gained a superiority to earthly things, which no other man, whatever he may boast, is able to attain But when, at the resurrection of the just, he shall “ awake" to a new and heavenly state, how rich will be his satisfaction then! Then will he“ behold God face to face:" then, too, will he have attained God's perfect image in his soul: and then will he possess all the glory and felicity of heaven. Could we but follow him into the presence of his God, and behold him in the full enjoyment of all that he here desired and pursued, methinks we should every one of us adopt the Psalmist's determination, and say, “ As for me, this shall be my one desire, my uniform endeavour, and the one great object of my whole life” ---] OBSERVE, 1. How wise is the Christian's choice!
[The world may deride it as folly, if they will: but I appeal to every man who possesses the least measure of common sense, whether he do not in his heart approve the very things which with his lips he ventures to condemn? Yes; there is not one, however averse he may be to live the Christian's life, who does not wish to “ die his death ;” nor one, however he may dislike the Christian's way, who does not wish, if it were possible, to resemble him in his end. Let it be a fixed principle, then, in all your minds, that “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”- --] 2. How happy is the Christian's way!
[Because the Christian renounces the vanities of the world, those who have no other source of happiness than the world, imagine that he is deprived of all his pleasures. But we might as well represent a philosopher as robbed of his happiness, because he has ceased to amuse himself with the trifles which pleased him in the years of childhood. The Christian has lost his taste for the vanities which he has renounced : “ Whilst he was a child, he occupied himself as a child: but when he became a man, he put away childish things.” He now has other pursuits, and other pleasures, more worthy of his advanced age, and more becoming his enlarged mind. When the question is asked, Who will shew us any good?" His answer is, “ Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me!” Know ye then, Brethren, that, however deeply the Christian may mourn over his short-comings and defects, and however ill he may be treated by an ungodly world, he is incomparably happier than any ungodly man can be. What says our blessed Lord to the
poor, the mourners, the meek, the pure, the righteous ? Blessed, blessed, blessed, are ye all.” On the contrary, upon “ the rich, the full, the gay, he denounces nothing but woe, woe, woe.” Be assured, then, that they only are blessed who seek the Lord; and that “in keeping his commandments there is great reward" ---]