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THE BLESSEDNESS OF GOD’S PEOPLE
Psalms 91:1-4. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and, under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
TO unfold the doctrines and duties of our holy religion is a matter of indispensable necessity to every one who would discharge the ministerial office with acceptance. Yet it is not necessary that a minister should always be laying the foundation of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ: there are times and seasons when he should “go on unto perfection [Note: Hebrews 6:1.],” and exhibit Christianity in its highest stages of practical efficiency. The psalm before us will afford us ample scope for this. The words which we have just read are somewhat disconnected: but a slight alteration in the translation, whilst it will not affect the sense of the passage, will cast a light and beauty over it, and render it doubly interesting to us all. Two prelates of our Church agree in reading the passage thus: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, that abideth under the shadow of the Almighty; that saith of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I will trust.” Then the Psalmist, instead of proceeding regularly with his speech, breaks off, and in an apostrophe addresses the person whom he has been describing; “Surely he shall deliver thee [Note: Bishop Lowth and Bishop Horne, See Bishop Home on the place.],” &c. &c. According to this rendering, we have a clear exposition of the character and blessedness of every true believer. Let us consider, then,
He is not described either by his religious creed or by his moral conduct. We are led to view him rather in his secret walk with God: and in this view his character is portrayed,
[It will be remembered that God dwelt by a visible symbol of his presence in the tabernacle; and that the high-priest on the great day of annual atonement went within the veil, and abode there till he had sprinkled the blood of his sacrifices upon the mercy-seat, and covered the mercy-seat with his incense. Now, what he did corporeally once in the year, the true Christian does spiritually every day in the year; for through Christ we all are “made kings and priests unto our God.” Paint to yourselves, then, the high-priest in his occasional access to God; and there you see the Christian going continually within the veil, or rather habitually dwelling there, and “making God himself his habitation [Note: ver. 9.].” And truly this is “a secret place,” of which an unconverted man has no conception: it is “the secret of God’s pavilion, the secret of his tabernacle [Note: Psalms 27:5.].” But we must divest ourselves of the notion of locality: for this place is wherever God manifests his more immediate presence: and therefore David beautifully calls it, “the secret of his presence [Note: Psalms 31:20.].” There the Believer dwells: and, O! who can conceive “the fellowship which he there enjoys with God the Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ [Note: 1 John 1:3.];” whilst they, with condescending and affectionate endearment, come to him, and abidingly feast with him [Note: John 14:21; John 14:23.Revelation 3:20; Revelation 3:20.]. In truth, the communion between God and the soul is such as no language can cunvey: it is nothing less than a mutual in-dwelling, resembling that which subsists between the Father and the Son; they being in God, and God in them; yea, and being one with God, and God with them [Note: Compare Joh 6:56 and 1 John 4:15-16. with John 17:21-23.] — — — This is a mercy which the Believer alone enjoys. But some little idea of it may be formed from the favour conferred upon the camp of Israel in the wilderness. The cloudy pillar led them in all their way, affording them shade by day from the heat of the burning sun, and light throughout the night season. To no other people under heaven was this ever vouchsafed. And so it is with the camp of the true Israelites at this day: they, and they only, behold the light of God’s countenance in the nightseason of adversity; and they alone are sheltered from every thing that would oppress and overwhelm their souls; as it is written, “The Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming file by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence [Note: Isaiah 4:5.].”]
In plain terms—
[The workings of his mind, under all the trials and difficulties which he has to encounter, are here set forth. He is convinced that no created arm can be sufficient for him. Hence he directs his eyes towards the Creator himself, and saith of him, “He is my refuge” from every trouble: “He is my fortress” against every assailant: “He is my God,” all whose powers and perfections shall be employed for me. “In Him will I trust,” in Him only and exclusively; in Him always, under all circumstances; in Him, with perfect confidence and unshaken affiance. The man is not like the ungodly world, who know not what to do, and are at their wit s end when trouble comes: he is “in the secret place of the Most High;” and, where others can see nothing, he beholds “chariots of fire and horses of fire all around him [Note: 2 Kings 6:17.],” or, rather, he beholds “God himself as a wall of fire round about him [Note: Zechariah 2:5.],” and has the very glory of God resting on him [Note: 1 Peter 4:14.]. Thus is the true Believer distinguished from all others: “he beholds Him who is invisible [Note: Hebrews 11:27.];” and walks us in his immediate presence, saying, “If God be for me, who can be against me?”
Shall this be thought an exaggerated description? I do not say that the Divine presence is equally realized by all, or by any equally at all times: there are seasons when a Peter may be “of little faith [Note: Matthew 14:31.];” and a Paul may need a special revelation for his support, saying to him, “Be not afraid; but speak, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee; and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee [Note: Acts 18:9-10,].” Nevertheless, in the general habit of their mind, their language is like that of David; “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies [Note: Psalms 18:1-3.].”]
With such views of the believer’s character, you can have no doubt of,
Here let the abruptness of the address be borne in mind. The Psalmist, instead of proceeding, as might have been expected, to declare the blessings which a person of this description should receive, addresses himself to that person in these animated terms: “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence; he shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” now, in these terms, he, in the very name of God himself, and in the most assured manner, pledges to him the protection,
Of God’s power—
[If war were raging in our country; or pestilence, like that which desolated Judea after David had numbered the people, and which probably gave occasion to this psalm, were carrying off multitudes all around us; we should enter more fully into the subject before us, and see more forcibly the exalted privileges of the true Believer. But we must remember that there is a moral “pestilence” raging all around us, and sweeping myriads into the pit of destruction. We should remember, too, that there is a spiritual “fowler,” who entangles, in his net, millions, unwary as the silly bird, and “leads them captive at his will [Note: 2 Timothy 2:26. Τοῦ διαβύλου παγίδος ἐζωγρημένοι.].” What is the example of men in every walk of life, but one deadly contagion, from which it is almost impossible to escape? And what are those lusts and temptations with which we are continually beset, but baits, whereby the devil seeketh to ensnare us to our everlasting ruin? And who can preserve us from these snares, but God himself? Little will human wisdom or power avail against such potent enemies. Peter imagined himself secure enough from denying his Lord, when he formed so steadfast a resolution respecting it: but, as our Lord had forewarned him, “the cock did not crow twice, till he had denied him thrice.” And whomsoever Satan should get into his sieve, he would prove us all to be chaff, if we should be left without timely succour from on high [Note: Luke 22:31.], But “God will keep the feet of his saints [Note: 1 Samuel 2:9.],” and not suffer them to fall a prey to the destroyer. The care of a hen over her brood is well known. When a bird of prey is hovering over them, she calls them under her wings, and there preserves them in perfect safety. The bird of prey, when searching for them, can behold nothing but the dam. Thus will God preserve his people from all their enemies: “He will cover them with his feathers, and under his wings shall they trust:” yea, “their lives shall be hid with Christ in God,” beyond the reach of harm: and because “Christ himself is their life, when he shall appear, they also shall appear with him in glory [Note: Colossians 3:3-4.].” What was done by God for Israel in the wilderness, shall be done by him for every soul that puts its trust in him [Note: Deuteronomy 32:9-12.] — — —]
Of his faithfulness—
[For every believer the very truth of God is pledged; and “life is promised” to him by a “God who cannot lie [Note: Titus 1:2.].” It is not said that the believer shall not be tempted, or “be in heaviness through manifold temptations: but that he shall not be finally overcome, God docs engage; as the Apostle says: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it [Note: 1 Corinthians 10:13.].” Here, I say, the very faithfulness of God is pledged; and we may be sure, that “of all the good things which he has promised to his people, not one shall ever fail [Note: Joshua 23:14.].” No doubt they may through weakness be overcome for a season, as the lives of the most eminent saints but too clearly prove. But in such a case God has told us how he will act towards them: “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail; my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips: for once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David [Note: Psalms 89:30-35.].” Of course, we are not to understand this of one who sins wilfully and habitually: for, whatever he may profess, he is no child of God, but a downright hypocrite: but of the weakest of real saints it is spoken (and to him it shall assuredly be fulfilled: for “it is not the will of our Father that one of his little ones should perish [Note: Matthew 18:14.].”]
For a just improvement of this passage, let it be remembered,
In what way alone we can have access to God—
[We have spoken of the believer as “dwelling in God:” but how came he into that sanctuary? and where did he find a door of entrance? This is a point that should be well understood. There is but one way to the Father; and that is by Christ. Our blessed Lord himself tells us this, when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” It must never be forgotten, that in ourselves we are altogether departed from God; and that we can be “brought nigh only by the blood of Jesus.” It was by the blood of his sacrifice alone, that the High Priest, of whom we have before spoken, could come into the holy place of the Most High [Note: Hebrews 9:7.]: and it is by the blood of Jesus alone that we can venture into the holiest [Note: Hebrews 10:19.], or presume to ask any thing at the hands of God [Note: Hebrews 10:20-22.]. I beseech you, therefore, to bear this in remembrance, and never to call God yours, until you have come to him in his appointed way — — —]
What is that kind of confidence which we ought to maintain—
[It must not be presumptuous confidence, that overlooks the use of means or supersedes the necessity of holy fear. Satan could not be better served than by such confidence as that. And hence it was, that, in tempting our blessed Lord, he cited this very psalm, and urged a part of it as a warrant for him to cast himself down from a pinnacle of the temple; saying, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone [Note: ver. 11, 12. with Matthew 4:6.].” Our Lord’s reply to him shews us our duty in relation to this matter; “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” We are not needlessly to expose ourselves to dangers, in the expectation that God will preserve us: nor are we to neglect the use of means, as though God were engaged to work miracles in our behalf. We must be humble, watchful, diligent; as it is written, “Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.” God has, indeed, engaged to “give us both to will and to do:” but, whilst we depend on him for his effectual aid, we must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling [Note: Philippians 2:12-13.].” In every step of our way to Zion, we must cry, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.”]
What should be the frame of our minds after we have come to him—
[I have said, ‘We should fear;’ for “blessed is the man that feareth always.” But this fear should temper, not weaken, our confidence in God. Hear what the Prophet Isaiah says: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for. ever; for with the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength [Note: Isaiah 26:3-4.].” St. Paul maintained to the uttermost the fear of which we have been speaking; for he “kept under his body, and brought it into subjection; lest that by any means, after he had preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away [Note: 1 Corinthians 9:27.].” But his confidence in God was entire. He defied all the powers in the universe to separate him from the love of God [Note: Romans 8:33-39.] — — — And you, also, may possess the same blessed hope, “knowing in whom you have believed [Note: 2 Timothy 1:12.],” and assured that none shall ever pluck you out of the Saviour’s hands [Note: John 10:28.].]
THE SECURITY OF THOSE WHO DWELL IN GOD
Psalms 91:9-10. Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee.
IT is scarcely possible to conceive any terms more strong, or any images more lively, than those in which the Scripture represents the privileges of believers. We need look no further than to the psalm before us for a confirmation of this truth. Indeed, according to the view given of this psalm by a learned prelate, there is, in the first verses of it, an emphasis which cannot be surpassed [Note: Bishop Horne reads the two first verses thus: “He that dwelleth &c. who abideth under &c, who saith of the Lord,” &c. Then at the end of ver. 2, he supposes the Psalmist to break off abruptly, and, instead of continuing his description, to address himself to the person before described; “Surely he shall deliver thee.”]. And the whole may be considered as the believer’s charter, in which all his privileges are contained, from his first acceptance with God to the consummation of his happiness in glory.
We have in the words of our text a just description of the believer:
The true Christian is one who has been “turned from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” Being once brought to God, he “makes the Most High his habitation.” He regards God, not merely as reconciled to him, but as affording him (what a dwelling-house affords to its possessor),
[A person goes familiarly to his house at all times, not doubting but that he shall gain a ready admission into it. He considers it as his own, and feels that it exists only for his accommodation. It is thus that the believer goes to God as his God: he has “access to him with boldness and confidence:” he is certain that, when he calls, he shall receive an answer; and “when he knocks, the door will be opened to him.” In this precise view the Psalmist speaks of God; “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort [Note: Psalms 71:3.].”]
[Every man, whatever be his situation in life, expects to find in his own house the things suited to his necessities. He does not seek his meals at the houses of his neighbours, but in his own; and he returns home at stated seasons to partake of them. And whither does the believer go for daily supplies of bread for his soul? It is in Christ Jesus that his fulness is treasured up; and in him the believer expects to find the “grace that is sufficient for him.” God invites him to come to him for the express purpose, that he may be filled and satisfied with good things: “Wherefore do ye spend your money for that which is not bread? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [Note: Isaiah 55:2.].”]
[If storms descend, or dangers menac, we take refuge in our house, and find it a place of safety. Thus “The name of God also is a strong tower, into which the righteous runneth and is safe [Note: Proverbs 18:10.].” It is to himself that God invites us, when he says, “Come my people, enter thou into thy chambers, shut the door about thee, and hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast [Note: Isaiah 26:20.].” And that this was a primary idea in the mind of the Psalmist, appears from the very words of the text, wherein he calls God “his Refuge,” and from the whole scope of the psalm, from the beginning to the end. With this also agrees the beautiful description given of Jesus by the Prophet, as “an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest [Note: Isaiah 32:2.].”]
[To his house a man retires from the noise and bustle of the world; and there he lays himself down to rest after the fatigues of the day. Home, though inferior in many respects to places of temporary residence, is to almost all persons the most agreeable, because they are most at ease. And such is God to the believer. “In every place, God is to him as a little sanctuary [Note: Ezekiel 11:16.],” where he finds himself at rest. He carries his wants to God, and “casts all his care on him,” and enjoys that peace which passeth all understanding. In this sense he says for his own encouragement, “Return unto thy Rest, O my soul:” and attests for the glory of his God, “Lord thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations [Note: Psalms 90:1.].”]
In connexion with this experience of the believer, let us consider,
The expression in the text seems to exceed the bounds of truth: but the more it is examined, the more will it be found to be strictly true. The man who makes God his habitation shall have no evil befall him:
[No casual evil shall befall him. There is no such thing as chance; every thing, even to the falling of a sparrow, is ordered of the Lord. As for the children of God, “their heavenly Father hath given his angels charge over them, to keep them in all their ways [Note: ver. 11, 12.];” and if any thing were to happen to them, they (the angels) would contract a fearful responsibility for their neglect. We must not however imagine that Believers are at liberty to rush into needless dangers; for our Lord, when tempted by Satan to cast himself from a pinnacle of the Temple in expectation that the angels would preserve him from injury, replied, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God:” but nothing can happen to them except by the Divine appointment: they are hid in the shadow of their Father’s hand, and “their very hairs are all numbered.”
But it may be thought that penal evil may come to them. This however we utterly deny. That they may be “visited with the rod,” we readily acknowledge: but there is a great difference between the vindictive arm of an incensed judge, and the gentle chastisements of an indulgent parent. The cup that may at any time be put into their hands may be bitter; but it has not in it one drop of wrath: it is altogether mixed by love; and not an ingredient can be found in it, which they themselves shall not one day confess to have been salutary and beneficial.
In short, no real evil shall befall them. That they may have troubles, is certain: that their troubles may be heavy and accumulated, is also certain. But who accounts even the amputation of a limb evil, if it be the only and infallible method of preserving life? Much less then are any sufferings to be accounted evil, which the Believer can ever be called to sustain: for he shall never endure any, which shall not work for good to him in this life, and be the means of increasing his weight of glory in the next [Note: Rom 8:28 and 2 Corinthians 4:17.].”]
[It is in this life only that the Believer can meet with even the semblance of evil: when he goes hence, he is instantly placed beyond the reach of harm. No sin, no sorrow, no pain, no temptation, no weariness, no want, can ever be felt by him in the mansions of bliss. He will there enjoy for ever one unclouded day! and his happiness will be without alloy, without intermission, without end [Note: Revelation 21:4.].”]
To render this subject more instructive, we shall add a word,
[Christ, in reference to the sheepfold of his church, says, “I am the door; if any man enter in by me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture [Note: John 10:9.].” The same figure we may apply to the subject before us: “Christ is the door;” he is “the way to the Father;” and “no man cometh unto the Father, but by him.” To those who come to God in any other way, he is not “a Refuge,” or “Habitation,” but “a consuming fire [Note: Hebrews 12:29.].” But if we believe in Christ, then “will he dwell in us, and we shall dwell in him [Note: John 6:56.]:” yea, “he will be our house of defence, to save us for ever [Note: Psalms 31:2.].”]
[Who, except the believer, can apply to himself the promise in the text? As for the unbelieving and disobedient, they are in danger every hour: they know not but that God’s wrath may break forth against them the very next moment to their destruction. Of this they are certain, (whether they will believe it or not,) that in a little time his judgments shall overtake them, and the greatest of all evils shall befall them, unless they repent. O that they would be prevailed upon to flee for refuge to the hope that is set before them! O that they would now seek to be “found in Christ!” Then should the destroying angel pass over them, and “they should dwell safely, and be quiet from the fear of evil [Note: Proverbs 1:33.].”]
[The weakness of men’s faith often robs them of the comfort which it is their privilege to enjoy. Why should a believer be afraid of thunder and lightning? Were he but sensible what a Protector he has, he would feel assured that no evil could come unto him. How varied are God’s promises to him in the psalm before us! How diversified also are the assurances given him by Eliphaz in the book of Job [Note: Job 5:19-24.]! Let him only commit himself to God, and he has nothing to fear. Let us then, beloved, have faith in God; and let those words of David be our song in this land of our pilgrimage; “God is our refuge, &c.; therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the waters be carried into the midst of the sea [Note: Psalms 46:1-4.]: &c.”]
THE CHARACTER AND PRIVILEGES OF THE GODLY
Psalms 91:14-16. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set 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 Scriptures are the charter of the Christian’s privileges. They contain the most minute and accurate description of his character, and set forth, in all the variety of expression that language can afford, the blessings he enjoys. The declarations concerning him in this Psalm may certainly be interpreted as relating to the Messiah, because when a passage out of it was applied to Christ, he did not deny its reference to himself, but shewed with what limitations the passage was to be understood [Note: Compare ver. 11, 12. with Matthew 4:6-7.]. That it refers also to the church cannot admit of doubt. Throughout the whole of it the character and blessedness of God’s people are delineated; but with peculiar force and beauty in the concluding verses. In discoursing upon them we shall consider,
The character of God’s people—
They “know the name” of God—
[The name of God as proclaimed by himself, is recorded in the Scriptures [Note: Exodus 34:6-7.]; and the Christian has a view of him as possessed of those very perfections which are there ascribed to him. He particularly sees these perfections harmonizing, and glorified, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; or, if he be not perfectly clear in his views of these things, he at least is sensible that the divine mercy flows only in one channel, and can be imparted only through the atoning blood of Christ.]
They so know him as to “set their love upon him”—
[It is not a mere speculative knowledge that Christians possess (in this the ungodly may far surpass them), but such a practical knowledge as influences their heart and life. They feel an interest in every perfection of the Deity. The justice and holiness of God are as amiable in their eyes as his love and mercy. From what they know of him they are constrained to love him, yea, to “set their love upon him,” with intenseness of desire and fixedness of affection.]
They wait upon him in continual prayer—
[Others may keep up an outward form of devotion, or even be exceedingly earnest in prayer on some particular occasion; but they alone can maintain a real intercourse with the Deity, who have been taught by the Holy Spirit both to know and love him. When they have been thus enlightened and renewed, they will feel the necessity, and taste the sweetness, of secret prayer, and will account it their highest honour and happiness to have access unto their God at the throne of grace; nor will they ever be satisfied with the worship they offer, if they do not “worship him in spirit and in truth.”]
In perfect correspondence with their character will be found,
There is nothing good which shall be withheld from them in time or eternity. God will vouchsafe to them,
Answers to prayer—
[They who offer their petitions only in a formal manner, never expect an answer to them. They conceive that all testimonies from God respecting the acceptance of our prayers are chimerical and enthusiastic in the extreme. But God is at no loss to impart to his people a clear and lively sense of his approbation. He most assuredly will answer them, though not by tokens that may be heard or seen, yet by sensible communications, and effectual interpositions. Are they laden with guilt? their burthen shall be removed, and they shall be filled with peace and joy. Are they bowed down under trials and temptations? they shall be strengthened by his grace, and be made more than conquerors over all. And though they cannot infallibly conclude from any feelings of their mind that God has answered their prayers, yet their feelings, in conjunction with the effects produced by them, will enable them to ascertain it, at least sufficiently for their own encouragement [Note: Psalms 138:3.].]
Deliverances from trouble—
[The people of God are exposed to troubles no less than others. But they are supported under them by the presence of their God. As the Son of man walked with the Hebrew youths in the furnace, so will he with all his afflicted people; nor shall a hair of their head be singed. As a refiner he will carefully watch over every vessel, moderating the heat that would injure it, and bringing out the vessel as soon as his purposes in submitting it to the fire have been fully answered. This is twice declared in the text; and in due season shall it be experienced by every true believer.]
[The saints are, for the most part, loaded with contempt and ignominy. Yet the very persons who persecute them most, have frequently, like Herod, an inward reverence for them in their hearts. But, however they may be treated by the ungodly, they are universally respected by the saints. The very angels account it their honour and happiness to minister unto them. They are lights in the world, and living witnesses for God to all around them: and “God himself is not ashamed to be called their God.” They are already exalted to the rank and dignity of God’s children; and are made “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”]
[How far length of days is to be expected as the reward of piety under the Gospel dispensation, we cannot absolutely determine. But the true Christian will be “satisfied with his life,” whether it be long or short. He does not wish for the termination of it merely because he is dissatisfied with his present state, but because he longs for his inheritance. He has Pisgah views of the promised land even here: and as soon as he has finished his appointed course, God will shew him his full salvation; causing him to behold all its glory and enjoy all its blessedness. Then shall be given to him a life which will fully satisfy his most enlarged desires. God will say to him, in the presence of the whole assembled universe, ‘Come thou servant, whom I have decreed to “set on high,” see the kingdom that was prepared for thee from eternity; take possession of it as thine own, and inherit it for ever [Note: Matthew 25:34.].’]
In how pitiable a state are the ignorant and ungodly world!
[Being ignorant of God, and destitute of any real love to him, they have no part or lot in his salvation. They are strangers to all those sublime pleasures, which are communicated to God’s peculiar people. The witness of the Spirit, and many other unspeakably precious tokens of the divine favour, are withheld from them. If they be in trouble, they have no heavenly consolations to support them. They may have the wealth of this world, and the honour which cometh of men; but they can expect no salvation from God, nor any thing but shame and everlasting contempt [Note: Daniel 12:2.]. O that they were wise and would consider these things!]
How plain and simple is the duty of God’s people!
[The privileges before mentioned, are all bestowed on us because we love and seek the Lord. Not that our services are meritorious, and can claim a “reward of debt;” but God has appointed these as means, in the use of which we shall attain the end. Would we then have more abundant tokens of God’s favour here, and secure a still richer inheritance hereafter? Let us study to “grow in the knowledge of him,” and in a more fervent and fixed love towards him. Let us wait upon him more earnestly and with greater constancy in prayer. Thus shall his blessings infinitely exceed our highest expectations, and be enjoyed by us when the fleeting vanities of time shall be no more.]
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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 91". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter