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if I have found grace in thy fight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight.” He dreaded the thought of taking one step forwards in the journey through the wilderness, without the presence and favourable smiles of that God in whom he trusted. Thus again he prays in that psalm which bears his name, “ Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children; and let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” It gives some men no concern, , whether their Maker is pleased or displeased with their proceedings; but it is not so with those who put such a value on his favour, as to account it their life.. They have, in a measure, the fame mind in them which was also in Christ Jesus, who said of his divine Father, “ I do always those things which please him.” This is what I mean by saying, that the favour of God is the rule of life. In con. nection with this I add,
4. The favour of God is the end of life. His pleasure is the due and proper end of the lives and actions of his creatures. " For thy pleasure they are, and were created.” They
They are subordinate to him, as their end; for “ of him, and through him, and to him are all things.” All should tend to him,
as the lines in a circle to one common centre. The labours of man in his calling are for the support and comfort of his natural life; in like manner the holy exercises and duties in which a child of God is engaged, have for their end the enjoyment of his favour. He attends the folemnities of public devotion, that he may behold the beauty of the Lord, while he inquires in his temple; that he may see his power and his glory in the fanctuary. And why fo? “ Because,” says he, “thy loving-kindness is better than life; it is better than my existence, the life which I live, for that would do me little good without it.
When the church, as represented in Solomon's divine pastoral, had lost the sweet sense of God's favour, through negligence and sloth, fhe took great pains in seeking the restoration of her former comforts. She quitted her bed of sloth, she rose and went about the city, in the streets and broad ways thereof; that is, she renewed her diligence in the public ordinances of divine worship; she inquired of the watchmen upon the walls of the city, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” And fhe refted not till he had restored unto her the joys of his falvation. What is it that a child of grace would not do, what is it that he would not endure, for the enjoyment of a sense of God's favour? It is
more to him than all the world without it. In prayer, in hearing and reading the divine word, in meditation, in approaching to the Lord's table, still his cry is, “ Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me.”
Thus, the favour of God is the cause, the object, the rule, and the end of a good man's life.
III. The third general head of our discourse is, to consider to whom God's favour is life, and at what particular seasons it is so,
To the preservation of natural life, the providential favour of the great Governor of the universe, is neceffary to every one, and necessary every hour, every moment.
But I would particularly speak of his special favour, as more immediately intended in our text.
All the children of God most certainly know that his favour to them is life, and they know it is fo at all times, particularly in religious duties, under trying dispensations, and even when they are in the full enjoyment of created comforts. But there are some special seasons when they will not only acknowledge this as a truth revealed in the scriptures, but when they will lie under a strong conviction and impression of it.
This I believe is always the case, in a sinner's first conversion to God. This is the period when he begins to put a proper' value on the divine favour. In his state of ignorance and stupidity, alas! he forgets God, and is awfully indifferent concerning either his anger or his love. But in converfion, the poor finner, who was before at case, thoughtless and secure, is enlightened, convicted, and pricked to the heart. His awakened soul begins to cry with Peter's hearers, “ Men and brethren, what shall we do ?” Or with the jailor at Philippi, Sirs, what shall I do to be saved ? I have ruined and destroyed myself, and want a: friendly guide, to set me in the right way. I know not what to do, or which way to look for relief. I have wandered from God, and from the
peace till now, and am utterly at a loss what steps I ought to take. I am fully convinced, that if I proceed in my former course, I am utterly and everlastingly undone. Some other path I must tread, but how to find the way of safety I know not. Most earnestly do I desire to fly from the wrath to come, but alas ! whither shall I fly? Ye ministers of Christ, ye servants of the Most High God, give me your counsel. Tell me, is there any hope for such a wretch as I am ? I have gone aftray like a loft sheep, upon the mountains of fin E
and error even till now. The terrors of an angry God set themselves in array against me; Otell me how I shall escape them.”
To such a sinner, the most distant prospect, the smallest degree of hope concerning God's favour, and reconciliation with him, would be as life from the dead. If the reader has felt the terrors of an awakened conscience, he will not be at a loss to know what we mean. He who has a just sense of God's awful displeasure against him, because of fin, can find no words expressive enough to set forth his value of the divine favour.
Now the God of all grace hath promised to guide bewildered souls into the way of life and peace. “ I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye. Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. faring men, though fools, shall not err therein. For thus faith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way which thou shouldest go. I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and