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angels and archangels are standing, with their "faces and their! feet covered with their wings," crying,*" Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts :" he who " stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth :" he who " weighs the mountains in fcales, and the hills in a balance, takes up the waters of the ocean in the hollow of his hand, and doth whatfoever he nleafeth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth." O! is it not furprising and wonderful, that this great and insinite Jehovah, who hath all being, life, light, glory, and perfection, inherent.in himfelf, and stood in no need of man nor angels, that he should take fuch knowledge of man, or the fon of man I Lord, What is man i
(2.) It is furprifing, if we confider what man is, what a poor inconfiderable, contemptible creature he is, both as a creature, and as a sinner, of which I fpake in the entry upon the sirst head, in anfwer to that question, What is man? &c.
(3.) It is furprising and wonderful, becaufe it cannot be conceived or expressed, it runs beyond all thought and all words; *' Eye hath not feen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive," of the kindnefs and condefcension of God to man: fo much is clearly imported in the pfalmist-s-way of fpeaking, of the goodnefs of God in the text; Lord, what it mart, that thou taiest knowledge of him? Hence are thefe or the like expressions of wonder and amazement, " How excellent is thy loving-kindnefs, O God! Howgreat is thy goodnefs which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee r Oh the heighth, the depth, and breadth, and length, of the love of God, which paffeth knowledge!" Thefe expressions, they are just a posing and putting our sinite minds to an eternal stand: and therefore we must stop, for what can wt fiy more?
V. I he fifth thing was the /Application. And becaufe I have been ah ad.ng practical in the doctrinal part, therefore I fhall conclude with a few inferences.
lit, Stt hence the tolly of all fuch as are taken up in adnvriug any creafed excellency, either to be found in them' feves, or others of the human race, without running up to the fountain head, an insinite God, from whom all being, beauty, glory, and excellency doth flow. The fpirit of God fpeaks of it as a piece of biutilh lolly, for man to look at the creature, withour tracing it and all its excellency to God, as its original: Pf:l. xciv. 8. "Understand, ye brutifh among the people ; and, ye tools, when will ye be wile? he that pi.:.-ted the dr, fhall he not hear? he thai formed the ey* shall he not fee?" ver. 10. " He that tcacheth man knowledge," shall not he know? These are questions that
may confound all the atheistical fools in the world, who fay in their hearts or practice, "There ib rio god;" and at the fame time difcover to us, that man. is but a poor dependent creature, deriving all his powers in foul and body from ail in- sinite God : hence is that challenge, If ii. at the clofe, " Ceafe ye from man, whofe breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?" This challenge, together with the words in my text, are enough to stain the pride of all gloriation. in man ; Lord, what is man, for -wherein is he tobe accountedOj'? Efpecially when balanced with the excellency of his glorious Creator, he just evanifhes into nothing. You heard upon the sirst head of doctrine, what man is in general j as a creature and as a sinner. Now let us take a view of him in his best, excellencies and qualisications, and fee what they will amount to in God's reckoning, or compared with the insinite excellency of his insinite Creator? What account is to be made of his being before God? why, he is not, fot 'tis God only whofe name is, 1 AM. What account is to be made of maa in his pedigree, which fome, like the princes of Zoan, boaft of? why, he is the " degenerate plant of a strange vine." What account is to be made of his riches? why, thefe take the wings of the morning; and fly away, and cannot " prosit man in the day of wrath." What account is to be made of his honours? they cannot " defcend to the grave after him." What account is to be made of all his projects and fchemes i why, that day " his breath departs, his thoughts perish," and are all difconcerted and dashed in pieces. What account is to be made of his beauty? it is quickly turned into rottennefs and deformity. The wisdom os man before God is but folly; his knowledge fpecious ignorance, his strength and power is but impotency. What is his life in the world, but a vapour which the wind of sicknefs and death blows away, out of time into eternity? upon the whole, then, may we not well cry, herd, what is man, and wherein is he to be accounted off Let us ceafe from trusting in man; for "curfed is the man, that trulteth in man, and inaketh flefh his arm, and whofe heart departeth from the Lord: but blesfed is the man, that trulteth in the Lord, and whofe hope the Lord is," jcr. xvii. 5.6.
2dly, See hence the horrid ingratitude of tinners, in waging war against that God, who is fo good and fo kind unto man. Oh, what tongue can exprefs, or what heart can conceive, the monstrous ingratitude of sinners, in rejecting his laws, tram* pling on his authority, assronting him every day to his face I May not the Lord say to us, "Do ye thus requite the Lord, Oh ye foolish and unwife? Oh my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify againft
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me \ was I ever a barren wilderness, or .a land of darkness' unto you?
3<J/j, See hence the way arid method that God takes to "lead sinners to repentance: why, he just pursues them with his kindness, and draws them "with cords of a roan, with bands of love ; knowtst thou not, O man, that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" The first thing that melts and thaws the heart of a sinner, in a kindly way, is an uptaking of the love and kindness of God to man, especially as it vents through the death and blood of Christ, in the free pardon of fin, and acceptance through Christ. Whenever the foul comes to fee that love, that grace, that meTcy and bowels, that it has been spurning against, it begins to sinke upon its thigh, with Ephraim, faying, " What have I done?" and with David, " Against thee, thee only, have I finned, and done this evil in thy fight." And it is this that influences the turning of the foul from sin unto God, with full purpose and endeavour after new obedience; saying, with Job, "That which I see not, teach thou me, if I have done iniquity, I will do no more:" the soul is just killed and melted with a senfc and uptaking of the love of God.
4thly, Is God so good and so kind to worm man? then see hence, what a reasonable command the first command of the law is, " Thou shalt have no other gods before me :'* that is, 'Thou (halt know and acknowledge me as God, and as thy God, and (halt worship and glorify me accordingly.' Ob' fliall we give any thing, any creature, any lust, any idol, that room in our hearts, that is due unto such a kind Lord? flia'l we not say with Ephraim, "What have I to do any more with idols r O Lord, our God, other lords besides thee hare had dominion over us, but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. All people will walk in the name of their God; and we also will walk up and down in the name of the Lw* . our God. Whom have we in the heavens but htm ? and there shall be none in all the earth whom nvt desire besides him F
$thly, See hence the criminal nature of the fin of unbelief, which is a saying upon the matter, God is not to be trusted, notwithstanding all his kindnesses, pity, and love to man. He calls him a liar: and fays there is no good to be got at his hand; that he is a hard master, and his words are no indications of his mind: an evil heart of unbelief turns us away from the living God: why, what way doth it this? h just acts the part of the false spies that went up to Canaan, and brings up an ill report of a good God, of a true and faithful God: it fays "His mercy is clean gone, he will be favourable no more, his promise fails for evermore :" and as Israel turned back to
Egypt, when they heard the ill report that the false spies brought of Canaan; so the soul, when it hears the ill report, rait unbelief brings up of God, the heart turns away from him.
0 Sirs! take heed of an evil heart of unbelief, especially after that you have been at a communion table. There is no* tiling that the/levil more cherishes and fosters folk in, than in their unbelief: this was the way that he ruined man at first; be nude our first parents, first to conceive harsh thoughts of that good God who had been so kind to them, and then quicklyhe ruins them ;and this is the very way that he still goes to work with his posterity; he tells you, that whatever God has done in sending his Son, whatever he has said in his word, whatever experience of his love you have met with, yet you have no ground upon which to trust him, his promise fails, he his forsaken and forgotten. If he once brings you this length,
1 know not how far God may be provoked to give you up to the will of the roaring lion.
6/i/y, Is God so kind to man? worm, worthless man? Is she regard that he (hews to us so surprising and wonderful? then let us discover a regard to him, and to every thing that •belongs to him.
I ilia.il instance in a few particulars, wherein we are to discover our regard to him and for him.
'■ Let us regard him even in the works of nature; the works of creation in heaven above, and in the earth below. This is a large volume, opened and spread out before all mankind: it was a book in which David was frequently reading, and he took great pleasure to see God there, "O Lord my God, how great and manifold are thy works? In wisdom hast thou made them all." The whole 104th psalm is a lecture upon the works of creation, and the order God has established among the creatures. See also psalm 8th beginning, and psalm 10th beginning, &c. ~"
2. Let us regard him in his works of providence, in the government of the world, and in the government of his church, through all periods of time; and let us regard him in all the dispensations of his providence towards the hnd we live in, and to our families and ourselves in particular, Psal. evii. at the close, " Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even 'hey shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord." When' he is trylling us with favourable dispensations, let us observe •his with praise: and when he is trylting us with afflicting dispensations, let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand, 'hat he may lift us up, &c. Psal. xxviii. 5. " Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, h: shall destroy them, and not build them up."
3. Let us regard him in his Chrift, and the glorious Wotlc of redemption through him, and, beholding him, lift up the
'everlasting doors of our hearts unto '' the Lord of hosts, the Lord mighty in battle." It is the great sin of Scotland, for which the Lord is contending, that Christ has not been received and regarded, eicher in his prophetical, priestly, or kingly ossices. You know what came of them who did uot regard the Lord, and reverence him, in the perfon of his Son : he "fent forth his armies, and miferably destroyed them :" I fear nrmies of men, whofe language we do not understand, fhall travel through our land, and avenge the quarrel of a defpifed, contemned,'and assronted Christ, &c.
4. Let us regard him in his boek of the fcriptures. "We call the fcriptures the book of God; and fo it is, for it is given by the infpiration of th'e Holy Ghost ; and therefore let us regard it, by reading and fearching and diving into it, till wje sind the pearl; John v. 39. "Search the fcriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of fne." And to encourage a regard to it, fee Prov. ii. 2—4. Cod obferves what regard is paid to his book among folk'; "Take heed to it, as unto a light shining in a dark place."
5. Regard him by attending his courts, I mean the ordinances of his worfhip, word -and facraments, efpecially the word preached/ where his heralds are fent to proclaim and intimate his mind" in the high places to men, and to the fons
'of men." David, though a great king, looked on it as his honour, to attend the courts of the King of kings, and esteemed " a day'in his courts better than a thoufand in the tents of wickednefs. God's way is in his fanctuary :" thefe are the galleries where he has many a fweet interview with his fubjects. "One thing (fays David) have I desired of the Lord, that will I feek after, that I may dwell in the houfe of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire after him in his temple." Thefe are the banqueting-houfes, where he entertains them with '' fat thing's full of-marrow."
6. Shew a-regard to his great name. This is one of the ten commands of his moral law, '* Thou fhalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; for he will not hold him guiltlefs that taketh his name in vain." Oh !" fanctify that great name, the Lord your God," and make it " your fear and your dread." 'Be aware of profaning it either in your common converfation, cr by your unneceffary customary fwearing by it, or by a flight'mentioning of it even in rehgious duty; and ay when ye go to mention that mme in any duty of worship, study to sill your minds with a holy awe and dread of it, fee. .; 7. bhev