Page images

ye, says the Lord, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: cease to do evil, learn to do well : seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Upon these terms, and nothing short, he bids thein come to him, and tells them, that though their fins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; and though they be as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

So true is that notable passage of the Psalmist; Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul: I cried to him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear

But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. Y

X. Much of this kind might be cited, to shew the displeasure of God against even his own forms of worship, when performed with out his own spirit, and that necessary preparation of the heart in man, that nothing else can work or give : which, above all other pen-men of sacred writ, is most frequently and emphatically recommended to us by the example of the Pfalmist, who, ever and anon calling to inind his own great slips, and the cause of them, and the way by which he came to be accepted of God, and to obtain strength and comfort from him, reminds him.


1 Psalm lxvi. 16. 20.

self to wait upon God. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my falvation ; on thee do I wait all the day long.” His soul looked to God for salvation, to be delivered from the snares and evils of the world. This shews

This shews an inward exercise, a spiritual attendance, that stood not in external forms, but an inward divine aid.

And truly, David had great encouragement so to do, the goodness of God invited him to it, and strengthened him in it. For, says he, I waited patiently upon the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

Не brought me out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock. That is, the Lord appeared inwardly to consolate David's soul, that waited for his help, and to deliver it from the temptations and affli&tions that were ready to overwhelm it, and gave him security and peace. Therefore, he says, The Lord hath established my going. That is, fixed his mind in righte. ousness. Before, every step he took bemired him, and he was scarcely able to go without falling: temptation on all hands; but he waited patiently upon God: his mind retired watchful and intent to his law and spirit ; and he felt the Lord to incline to him. His needy and sensible cry entered heaven, and prevailed; then came rescue and deliverance to David, in God's time, not David's, strength to go through his exercises, and furmount all his troubles. For which he tells us, A new song was put into his mouth, even praise, says he, to our God. But it was of God's making and putting, and not his own.

Pfalm xl 1. 2.

2 Pfalm xxv. 5.

Another time, we have him crying thus: As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, fo panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before him? This goes beyond formality, and can be tied to no lesson. But we may by this see, that true worship is an inward work; that the soul must be touched and raised in its heavenly desires, by the heavenly spirit, and that the true worfhip is in God's presence. When shall I come and appear? Not in the temple, nor with outward sacrifices, but before God, in his presence. So that the souls of true worshippers see God, make their appearance before him; and this they wait, they pant, they thirst for. O how is the greater part of Christendom degenerated from David's example! No wonder therefore that this good man tells us, Truly my soul waiteth upon God; and that he gives it in charge to his soul fo to do; O my soul, wait thou upon God; for my expectation is from him. As if he had said, None else can prepare my heart, or supply my wants; so that my expectation is not from my own voluntary performances, or the bodily worship I can give him; they are of no value. they can neither help me, nor please him. But I wait upon him for strength and power to prefent myself fo before him, as may be most pleasing to him ; for he that prepares the

► Plalm xl. 31

sacrifice, will certainly accept it. Wherefore, in two verses, he' repeats it thrice; I wait for the Lord--My soul doth wait-My foul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning. Yea, so intently, and with that unweariedness of foul, that he says in one place, Mine eyes fail, while I wait for my God. He was not contented with so many prayers, such a set worship, or limited re. petition ; no: he leaves not till he finds the Lord, that is, the comforts of his presence ; which brings the answer of love and peace to his soul. Nor was this his practice only, as a man more than ordinarily infpired; for he speaks of it as the way of worship, then amongst the true people of God, the spiritual Israel, and circumcision in heart, of that day : Behold, says he, as the eyes of fervants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eye of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us. In another place, Our soul waiteth for the Lord, he is our help and our shield. I will wait on thy name, for it is good before thy faints. It was in request with the truly godly of that day, and the way they came to enjoy God, and worship him acceptably. And from his own experience of the benefit of waiting upon God, and the faints practice of those times, he recommends it to others: Wait upon the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy e Psalm lxix, 3.

· Pfalm xxxüi. 20. Psalm lii. 9.

d Psalm cxxiii. 2.

they heart: wait, I say upon the Lord. That is, wait in faith and patience, and he will come to save thee. Again, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently upon him. That is, cast thyself upon him; be contented, and wait for him to help thee in thy wants : thou canst not think how near he is to help those that wait upon him : O try, and have faith. Yet again, he bids us, Wait upon the Lord, and keep his way. Behold the reason fo few profit! They are out of his way; and such can never wait rightly upon him.

Great reason had David for what he said, that had with so much comfort and advantage met the Lord in his blessed way.

$. XI. The prophet Isaiah tells us, That though the chastisements of the Lord were fore upon the people for their backslidings, yet in the way of his judgments, in the way of his rebukes and displeasure, they waited for him, and the desire of their soul, that is the great point, was to his name, and the remembrance of him. They were contented to be chid and chastised, for they had sinned ; and the knowledge of him so was very defirable to them. But what I Did he not come at last, and that in mercy too? Yes, he did, and they knew him when he came, a doctrine the brutishi world knows not, This is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: * O bleifed enjoyment ! O precious confidence ! Here was a waiting in faith, which prevailed. • Pfalm xxvii. 14,

i laiah xxvi. 8. da Ifaiah xxv. In

Psalm xxxvii. 34.

« PreviousContinue »