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Thus then it is, my brethren, the Lord is our Shepherd, therefore can we want nothing : our life we neither gave to ourselves, nor can preserve to ourselves one moment against the Almighty's will. He has provided for our wants in a thousand various ways: it is through Him that we lie down to take our rest when we are weary, and through Him that we rise again to our employments when refreshed by sleep. There is no power upon earth that can deprive us of our life without His permission: the Lord only who gave is able to
take it away.
Thus we have seen how God is the light, the salvation, and the strength of his life to every Christian : may we not, then, when we think of Him as such, may we not take comfort to our souls, and ask as the psalmist does in the text, “ The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom then shall I be afraid ?” whom shall we fear? of whom shall we be afraid ? If we continue in our sins, if we live on in wickedness, we have every thing to fear: an angry God: a day of Judgment: a place of torments. But if we repent of and forsake our sins, if we seek the Lord with honest and true hearts, and strive as far as we are able, with His help, to prepare for His heavenly kingdom, He will then be our Light, He will then be our Salvation, as every day shews us that He is the strength of our life. And whom or what shall we fear with such a guardian, such a friend as this ? if God be for us who can be against us? Shall we be afraid of man? no: let him do his worst, he can but kill the body; he cannot hurt the soul. Shall we be afraid of Satan? no': God will give us grace to tread him under foot. Shall we be afraid of sickness and affliction ? no: they are messengers for our good from God, who chastiseth every son whom He loveth. Shall we be afraid of death? no: it will bring us to His glory. What is there, then, of things in heaven, of things on earth, or of things under the earth, that an earnest Christian has to be afraid of? there is nothing, but himself alone: for the danger is, lest after he has walked a while in
the ways of righteousness and holiness, he should leave them again for sin and folly, and his last state became worse than the first.
God grant unto us His heavenly grace, that whilst we live we may be watchful! that we may never cause Him to forsake us by our forgetfulness of Him! God grant unto us that it may be always our chief desire to serve Him truly in this life present, that our breasts may be full of peace and free from fear, and that having had Him for the strength of our life here on earth, and followed the light which He has given us, we may hereafter, to our great and endless comfort, find Him our salvation also, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
PSALM vii. 12.
God is a righteous Judge, strong and patient, and God is
provoked every day.
THESE few words give a most true description of that great Being whom we call God, and of man's behaviour towards Him: they tell us what God is, and what men do. They set before us the Almighty as a Being whom we ought both to love and to fear, and tell us, what our own experience and our own consciences tell us no less plainly, that He is not loved, that He is not feared as He ought to be. I shall endeavour, in my present sermon, to turn your attention to the truths contained in these words of my text, God is a righteous Judge, strong and patient, and God is provoked every day: and I heartily pray that He, without whose grace no good is to be done, may bless my humble endeavours, and make them of service both to you and to myself.
The first thing, then, which my text reminds us of, is that great truth which is so often declared to us in the Holy Bible, that we shall one day have to account to Him who made us, for the manner in which our lives are spent on earth : it tells us that God is our Judge. If it were not for our belief in a judgment to come, this world, wicked as it is, would be ten times worse : for though God has mercifully set before us the hopes of everlasting happiness, for Christ's sake, if we do well during this our life of trial; yet many of us have shewn Him that we would rather enjoy the short pleasures of sin for a season, than give ourselves the trouble of doing any thing to make sure of those heavenly joys which we know will continue for ever to them who shall be so blessed as to be thought worthy to receive them. I say there are many of us who have shewn that we are willing to forfeit these, so as we may continue to. enjoy the pleasures, vanities, and sins of