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rejoice the hearts of saints, shine only in the face of Jesus Christ. Men are, as finful, guilty and de. filed, children of wrath, and deserving of destruction. The kindness which is shewn to them is free and undeferved. It is the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In what Respects the Favour of God is Life.
HAVING made a few remarks concerning
the favour of God, and that life which is in it, we now proceed to consider, in what particular respects his favour may be termed our life. . And we apprehend it may juftly be said to be the cause, the object, the rule, and the end of life to a good
1. The favour of the Most High is the cause of life. The apostle James tells us," that every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and .cometh down from the Father of lights.' Every natural endowment and accomplishment is derived from his favour, and much more that grace which makes us alive to him. This is the blessed product of divine and distinguishing love. In our natural
--> 4.4 estate we are dead in trespasses and sins, and if we are brought out of that dreadful condition, into a state of spiritual life, it is not owing to any thing in ourselves, but to the favour of God. Thus the apostle Paul taught the Ephefan converts, “ God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Chrift; by grace are ye faved." The important change so absolutely necefsary to our present safety and final happiness, is effected by his power, in consequence of his abundant mercy. The comfort, peace and joy attendant on a new and spiritual life, are the fruits of divine favour. Grace and peace proceed from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Chrift: grace to constitute us christians, and peace to keep our souls comfortable in that state. The Psalmist speaking of the felicity of God's children, makes use of these animating words, They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them to drink of the river of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fountain of life." Psal. xxxvi. 8, 9. The term life, which is in the plural number in the Hebrew text, may denote, that God is the fountain of whatever may be denominated life; the life of nature, the life of grace, the life of comfort, of tranquillity, and of refined satisfaction and
delight. He in whose presence is fulness of joy, and • at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore, is the Fountain of all. In his favour is life.,
2. The favour of God is the object of life, as well as the cause of it. It is that to which a gracious soul looks for its felicity. The knowledge of God, as reconciled to us in Christ Jesus, gives life to our hope, our peace and our joy." This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou haft fent. It is the work of faith to view the complete atonement of the all-glorious Redeemer, and to believe that in him the Father is well pleased.
When faith presents the Saviour's death,
And whispers, “ This is thine," Sweetly my rising hours advance,
And peacefully decline.
While such my views, the radiant sun
Sheds a more sprightly ray,
I sing my cares away.
It is on this ground, that a just man is said to live by faith. All his present life of comfort consists in that which is apprehended by faith, the friendship and favour of God to him in Christ Jesus. He therefore says with the Psalmist,“ When thou hideft
thy face, I am troubled. The world in vain tries to entertain me. All it can offer is like a jest to dying men, or like recreation to those in misery. On thy favour alone my tranquillity depends. Were I to be deprived of that, I should figh for happiness in the midst of paradise. Thy loving-kindness is better than life. I have, in seasons of darkness, waited for the renewed manifestations of it, more than they that watch for the morning. The returns of the light of thy countenance are more welcome than the springing day-light, after the horrors of a gloomy and melancholy night; more welcome than ease to the fick, than cold water to the thirsty soul, or than rest to the weary and fatigued traveller."
When that gracious Being, with whom is the fountain of life, shews his reconciled face, the drooping foul revives, like the opening flowers at the rising of the fun. How heavenly, how divine are its comforts and joys! What indeed is the heaven we are waiting for, but the blessed, the uninterrupted vision of God? When the heirs of glory are admitted into his presence-chamber, and behold the King in his beauty, they will need nothing more to complete their happiness. “We now see through à glass darkly; but then face to face. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Tis heav'n on earth to taste thy love,
To feast upon thy grace;
Is but to see thy face.
3. The favour of God may be considered, in some respects, as the rule of life. The will of God, as revealed in his holy law, is, properly speaking, the rule of our conduct, and serves as a lamp to our feet, and a light to our paths. But does not a good man regulate his life and his actions with a conscientious regard to the divine approbation? When the apostle Paul says, “ We labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him," he does not speak so dire&tly of personal acceptance to eternal life; for of that he exprefses the fullest fatisfaction in the context, 2 Cor. v.
But it was his concern, and that of his fellow saints, that all their labours, services, and sufferings, might find gracious acceptance with God through Chrift; that so they might enjoy the supporting and confolatory manifestations of his favour in all. A truly good man would undertake nothing in which he might not warrantably hope for the favourable approbation of the Most High. We may observe this in the case of Mofes, the man of God. His words are these, when pleading with the Almighty for the tokens of his favour; “ Now therefore I pray thee,