« ZurückWeiter »
to the Author of the benefit, “ By thy right hand, and thy holy arm, because thou hadft a favour unto them." God's favour was their armour;
pro. duced weapons of success, both offensive and de fensive. For thou Lord wilt bless the righteous, with favour wilt thou compass him, as with a fhield. To this we are indebted for all that protection, that safety, and that comfort, which constitute what may be emphatically called life. “ Thus," said David to his men, “ shall ye say to him that liveth," that is, to him that is in the full possession of ease, plenty, and prosperity.
It is in this sense we are to understand the term to live, as used by the apostle Paul; “ Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” Does he mean, that they would die if it were otherwise? No; if ye Atand fast in the Lord, we shall be very happy and comfortable. Rebekah complained of being weary of her life because of the daughters of Heth, "and," added she, “ if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, what good shall my life. do me?” A life of forrow is a dying life, scarcely worthy of the name of life, in the estimation of him who is bitter in foul. But God's favour produceth relief, delive. rance, comfortable provision and accommodations, which
be termed a kind of resurrection, or returning from death to life; fo very great is the
change. We have an instance of this in Hezekiah, when God restored him from a mortal disease, and in love to his soul, redeemed it from the pit of corruption. “Thou wilt," says the Psalmist,“ save the afflicted people; thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” A thousand dangers are prevented, presling calamities are removed, and we are loaded with multitudes of benefits, whereby our lives are again rendered com. fortable unto us. The ground of all this is the divine favour. It is owing to this that our life is not a continued scene of bitterness and woe, as our fins have deferved, but at times, through merciful deliverances, and favourable turns of providence, we taste the sweets of tranquillity, rest and joy, to that degree, that our hell is turned into a kind of paradise. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the chil., dren of men! We hear him saying of the man who is governed by his fear ; " Because he hath fet his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will fet him on high because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him : I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” The Lord's people acknowledge themselves to be indebted to his fac
--> vour for the happy change of their circumstances. " Lord, thou haft been favourable to thy land: thou hait brought back the captivity of Facob. Thou has taken away all thy wrath : thou hast turned thy. self from the fierceness of thine anger.” All this may serve to confirm and illustrate the doctrine under consideration, In his favour is life.
3. By God's favour may be meant, his special and distinguishing grace and kindness, vouchsafed to his own children. It is in this fense we are to understand that ardent and pathetic request of the Pfalmift, “ Remember me, O Lord, with the fa. vour which thou beareft unto thy people; visit me with thy falvation !" From this peculiar favour our spiritual life flows, as well as all the streams which nourish and feed that life. It is the fountain of regenerating and converting grace, whereby we are made to live unto God. It implants the seed of divine life in the heart; and they who thus live, live not unto themselves, but to him that died for them, and rose again, It is the favour of God which makes us his people. “ It hath pleased the Lord," faith Samuel, “ to make you his people.” It is owing to this favour that the Lord takes complacency and delight in his faints,
“ The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in bis love, he will joy over thee with singing."
From this source are derived all the glorious gifts of gospel grace; the gift of God's eternal Son, the revelation of him in the promises and proclamations of the divine word, the remission of our fins, the juftification of our persons, the sanctification of our hearts, our communion with God, and our everlasting salvation. All the divine blessings and privi. leges which the people of God enjoy in this world, and all the felicity and glory which they shall posfess in the world to come, proceed from the favour of God. His favour therefore is life, both spiritual and eternal. The faith by which we live to him here, is his gift, and a fruit of his favour. This is life eternal begun in the soul; it is that which is worthy to be called life, without which we are dead, in a moral sense, and muft die eternally. The divine Redeemer said to the woman at Jacob's well, “ Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. It is no wonder therefore that the gracious soul says with the Pfalmift, in his requests to God,“ Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.” The love of God to his people is their life, both spiritual and eternal..
4. The favour of God sometimes is to be under.. stood of the sweet, comfortable, and satisfying manifestation of it to the soul. When the Psalmist says, “ I entreated thy favour with my whole heart;" we are to understand it in this sense. He not only prays for the blessings of his grace, but for the manifestation of his love, the light of his countenance, the shining of his face, the comfortable assurance of his special favour. Thus he expresses himself in another place, “ Make thy face to shine upon thy servant.” This is sometimes called the beauty of the Lord, his splendour, the light of his countenance; “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us." For the enjoyment of this, the Pfalmift desired that he might dwell in God's house, to“ behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” The servants of the Most High in geneneral, earnestly seek the manifestation of his fayour, and look upon it as their light, their help, and health; nay, they value it as life itself. We find them frequently breathing out their souls in such language as this, “ Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine, and we shall be faved. O God, be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause thy face to shine upon us.”
When a prince, a sovereign, a man of power and authority, is well pleased with his friends and