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afflictive evil whatsoever. What is the loss of father or mother, husband, wife, or child, houses and lands, health and life? What trifles are they all, compared with spiritual and eternal blessings ! There are better things left than any you have lost. You have lost a parent, or a partnet'; but you have Christ still. The world fails, but grace flourishes. Creatures change, but God's mercies are everlasting, and his truth endureth throughout all generations.--Nay, such is the wondrous virtue of this covenant, that it converts the most formidable and destructive evils into real and invaluable blessings; so that the apostle only spoke the experience of every tried Christian when he said, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. viii. 28.) Family losses may make you 'converse' more with the spirits of just men made perfect: they may make you' commune more with your own heart, and make diligent search into your past conduct, to find out wherefore it is that the Lord thus contendeth with you : they may make you more humble and circumspect in your future walk, that you may not provoke God to deprive you of your few remaining comforts ; they may even force your affections from this dying, deceiving world, and fix them on things above !-- a happy exchange ! for then there will be more room in the heart for Christ, and a better relish for heaven. • 3. A distressing concern about the eternal state of living or dead relations.
This was probably David's case, when he grieved so piteously for Absalom : - “And the - King was
much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went thus he said, O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom ! would God I had died for thee! 0 Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam. xviii. 33.) He had reason to fear that the youth was very unfit to die, and therefore shuddered to think what was the situation, of his dear, dear child, in the other world. Perhaps there is no trouble that pierces deeper into the heart of a tender and pious parent ;-and yet, even here
the balm of the covenant affords a sovereign re. | medy: for the salvation is so great, that a personal
interest in it more than, makes up the loss of their company whom we wished to share it with us, And this seems to be the circumstance that David particularly fixed upon for his support; “ He hath made with me an everlasting covenant"-as if he had said, Though I am not without my fears as to some of my family, yet I am safe myself; God hath been graciously pleased to pluck my soul as a brand out of the burning, and bring me within the bonds of this everlasting covenant; and I will bless him eternally for that, though he extend not the same mercy to others, whose souls I could have died to save.
There is no doubt but the thoughts of their mis, carrying must be grievous now: we must be di, vested of all the tender feelings of humanity, if we were not sincerely and deeply affected with it; but in the other world we shall “ know no man after the flesh:” our wills shall be so perfectly conformed to the will of God, that, let him say what he pleases, we shall approve of it, and say, “ Good is the word of the Lord ;” and whoever are shut'
out, nothing shall be heard in heaven but the voice of much people, saying, Hallelujah, salvation, blessing, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God.
Improvement. 1. Let those who are hitherto strangers to this covenant of promise labour after an interest in it.
Hereby you will be provided against the worst that can befal you in this world : it will be a sweet retreat from present trouble, and an infallible secu. rity from eternal destruction. One would imagine you should not need persuasion : your own misery and danger should be motives sufficient to make you " fly for refuge,” and “ lay hold of the hope set before you." David hath set you a noble exam. ple: he entered into covenant with God betimes, and dedicated the prime of his life to his service: and this was his plea and his support afterwards, under the infirmities of age, and the disorders and declensions of his family. Why will you not be prevailed upon to go and do likewise? It would look well to make religion your choice and your business, at a time of life when sensible objects are making the strongest opposition : and when the world is spreading all its snares, and holding up its gay enticements, then to give holiness and heaven the preference in your practical estimation ; this is honourable and praiseworthy. And let me tell you, this God expects ; and, probably, less than this God will not accept.
66 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt
say, I have no pleasure in them." (Eceles. xii.'.)
I wish I could impress this thought upon your hearts ; That not all the wealth and pleasure in the world can countervail the want of an interest in this everlasting covenant: you must bè unhappy in health, but much more so in sickness : you can have no true enjoyment of life, and at death Oh my deluded friends, what will you do at death? --when all the gay and jovial scenes you are now so enamoured with shall be withdrawn, and you shall be haunted with the ghosts of departed joys, and terrified with the prospect of approaching torments ! Then, what would you not give for å part in this blessed, soul-securing covenant ! I can give you little encouragement to hope that you shall be accepted then ; but I am authorised to invite you all to a share in covenant blessings now. God hath given his Son to be a covenant to the people : “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth :" “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Those are happy days spoken of by the prophet! (and happy would our eyes be if they could see, and our ears if they could hear, such things in our day !) “ In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they, and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the Lord : they shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” (Jer. I. 4, 5.)
2. Let those, who are interested in the covenant,
perform the duty and take the comfort belonging to it.
A well-ordered covenant demands a well-ordered conversation. Since infinite Wisdom hatl. modelled his covenant to the utmost advantage, so as to include every thing you can desire-yea, he hath promised to do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you can ask or think-surely you can do no less than serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life. And if you do, then take home the consolations of the covenant, and live upon thein, let outward circumstances be ever so discouraging. What if your house be not so with God as it hath been, he hath promised to guide you by his counsel, and afterwards receive you to glory:
wherefore, comfort one another with these words.. Let faith supply the place of sense, and show you, that, let family losses be ever so great, in this covenant you have all, and abound. Think of this, believe this, and you will soon dry up your tears. and sing, with the prophet ; “ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall : yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. iii. 17, 18.)