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your station, and unblamable in every relation; you are perpetually magnifying your religion ; you " adorn “the doctrine of God your Saviour ; you "put to “ silence the ignorance of foolish men;" you sometimes allure them, according to the instructive admonition of our Saviour, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see YOUR GOOD WORKS, AND
YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN." And with what is all this connected ? “ They shall be my people, and I “will be their God.” This shews us,
IV. The blessed PRIVILEGE of the righteous. For here we are to contemplate their honour and their happiness ; every thing depends upon this relation. “Bless« ed are the people that are in such a case, yea, happy " is that people whose God is the Lord.”
When “ God gave promise to Abraham, because “ He could swear by no greater, He sware by himself ;" when he would bless his people, because He could give them no greater, He gave himself. They are all a nation of Levites, for “ the Lord is their inheritance;" and it is “a goodly” one; it “gives grace and glory, “and no good thing does” it “ withhold from them “that walk uprightly.” “It is profitable unto all “ things, having promise of the life that now is, and of " that which is to come."
Consider the meaning of the language. It is more than if He said, I will be thy friend, thy helper, thy benefactor ; for these are relations derived from creatures, and therefore notions of limited significancy. But when He says, “I will be thy God,” He takes an image from Himself, and engages to do us good ac
cording to the all-sufficiency of an infinite nature ; to bestow upon us blessings which are peculiar to Deity; to do for us what Deity alone can do, and to do it di. VINELY; to pardon, and to pardon like a God; to sanctify, and to sanctify like a God; to comfort, and to comfort like a God; to glorify, and to glorify like a God; God appearing all along, in the manner, as well as in the mercy.
Consider also the nature of the claim. He is really yours. In nothing else have you such a propriety. Your time is not your own ; your riches are not your own ; your children are not your own; your bodies, and your spirits, are not your own ; but God is
yours by absolute promise and donation ; and you may join with the church of old, and say, “God, even cur own « God, shall bless us.” And He is wholly yours; all He is, all He possesses ; the perfections of his nature, the dispensations of his providence, the blessings of his salvation, the treasures of his word, all are become your own ; and what Benhadad said to the king of Istael, and what the father of the prodigal said to the elder brother, God says to each of you, “I am thine, " and all that I have :” “Son, thou art ever with me, " and all that I have is thine." And He is yours for ever; the union is indissoluble ; his duration is the tenure of your bliss; as long as He lives, He will be your God.
Once more; Consider the final issue of the connec. tion. The relation is intended to display the immensity -of his benevolence, and of his munificence towards his people. It does much for them here ; and when they reflect upon their original meanness, and continued unworthiness, and consider what they have received, they are filled with wonder, and exclaim, “ What “ manner of love is this !” “ what shall I render to the “Lord for all his benefits towards me!” But "they $ shall see greater things than these." They have now only " the first fruits of the Spirit :" " the earnest of & their inheritance." Their alliance with God is of ten concealed from others, and from themselves; and the advantages it produces, is circumscribed by the world in which we live, and the body of this death ; it has not room in which to operate, or time in which to expand. We are therefore led to look forward; and what the apostle says with regard to the patriarchs, will apply to all his people; "wherefore God s is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath “ prepared for them a city.”. What an intimation of his infinite goodness is here! He would be ashamed of the relation into which He has entered, if He confer. red no more upon his followers than the benefits they derive from Him on earth. Behold then an eternity succeeding time; a new system prepared to receive them; an happiness in reserve, of which they can now form no adequate conception! When He has exchanged their dungeon for a palace; when He has " wiped away all tears from their eyes ;" when He has eased every pain ; fulfilled every desire, realized every hope ; when He has changed “this vile body," and fashioned it like the “ glorious body" of the Saviour; when He has entirely expelled sin from their nature, and presented them, “ faultless before the presence “ of his glory with exceeding joy," then the char, acter will be fully displayed, and the relation completely justified; and all hell and heaven will exclaim,
"He has not deceived them, He has been their “ God."
-I divide this assembly into three classes ; and, first, I address those who are careless of this blessed relation. Such were many of the Jews of old; “Israel,” says God, “ would have none of me." And you are of the same number. You say by your actions, if not by your words, “ depart from us, for we desire not the “ knowledge of thy ways." You are asking, “ who “ will shew us any good ?" but you do not, and you know you do not, pray, “Lord, lift thou up the light “ of thy countenance upon me." But is it a vain thing to seek God, or to serve Him? Allowing other things to be valuable, are they to be compared with God, who is the portion of his people? But they are not valuable; they cannot give satisfaction; they leave a void unfilled; they cannot ease the anguish of a troubled conscience, sustain the soul in trouble, or subdue the fear of death ; they fail in those seasons and circumstances, in which you most need their aid. And for these, will you hazard the loss of the supreme good? Will
“ follow lying vanities, and forsake your own mercies ?” “ Have the workers of iniquity “no knowledge ?" Now you know not the magnitude of your loss. You are not aware of the full meaning of the word “ depart ;' go from the God of life, go from the Source of all consolation, go from all mercy and grace for ever. Now you are not abandoned to reflection; you are busied, and entertained and though not satisfied, you are diverted. But,
- ye gay dreamers of gay dreams,
A loss is to be measured by the worth of the thing we lose; and
lose God! Other losses may be corrective, but this is destructive ; other losses may befall friends, but this only befalls enemies ; other losses may be retrieved, this is irreparable. Is He willing to be come mine? He is; He condescends to expostulate, to invite, to press: “Wherefore do ye spend money “ for that which is not bread, and your labour for that
which satisfieth not ? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness: incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live ; and I will “ make an everlasting covenant with you, even the
sure mercies of David.” " Seek ye the Lord while - he may be found; call upon him while he is near.”
Secondly, I would address those who are of a doubtful mind. For while some claim the relation, to whom it does not belong ; some, to whom it belongs, are afraid to claim it. Now this is lamentable ; for if God be yours, and you know it not, you sustain a vast loss of consolation. Besides, it is possible for you to obtain “a good hope through grace.” The promise implies a possibility of decision ; “They shall call
upon my name, and I will hear them : I will say it “ is my people ; and they shall say the Lord is my « God." And why cannot you say this ? Have you dissolved connection with the world, and taken “ hold " of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, I will go “ with you, for I have heard that God is with you Can you easily make the language of his praying followers your own and is this the essence of every de. sire you feel? “ Remember me, O Lord, with the