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Title: The Believer's Confidence in a Faithful God - and the needless triumph of his enemies
Author: Church, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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FAITHFUL GOD***


Transcribed from the 1817 R. Thomas edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

                   [Picture: Public domain book cover]



                                   THE
                         _Believer’s Confidence_
                                   IN A
                              FAITHFUL GOD,


                             AND THE NEEDLESS
                          Triumph of his Enemies
                               CONSIDERED,

                                    IN

                                A SERMON,

            Preached on LORD’s DAY MORNING, November 23, 1817.
                            AT SEVEN O’CLOCK,

                       _At the Surrey Tabernacle_,

                              BOROUGH ROAD,

                             BY JOHN CHURCH,

                          _ON HIS TAKING LEAVE_.

                                * * * * *

    THOUGH I WALK IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLE THOU WILT REVIVE ME;
    THOU SHALT STRETCH FORTH THINE HAND UPON THE WRATH OF MINE
    ENEMIES, AND THY RIGHT HAND SHALL SAVE ME.—_Psalm_ cxxxviii, 7.

                                * * * * *

                                Southwark:
             Printed by R. THOMAS, Red Lion Street, BOROUGH.

                                  1817.

                                * * * * *



_A SERMON_, _&c._


    MICAH VIII, 6th.—“REJOICE NOT AGAINST ME, O MINE ENEMY; WHEN I FALL,
    I SHALL ARISE; AND WHEN I SIT IN DARKNESS, THE LORD SHALL BE A LIGHT
    UNTO ME.”

MY DEAR FRIENDS,

I am come this morning to perform one of the most painful tasks that ever
fell to my lot.  I am come to take farewell of those who are dear to God,
dear to angels, dear to each other, and dear to my heart upon the most
noble principles.  Though I trust it is but a temporary farewell in
general, yet to many it will be perhaps a long farewell, even till we
meet in glory, where parting shall be known no more for ever; and to
others who live and die enemies to the dear and adorable Saviour—to
hypocrites in Zion, to formalists and pharisees, dying such, I say it is
an eternal farewell.  We shall meet no more perhaps on praying ground—but
be it known unto you, my testimony for God and truth you have heard many
times, will never be out of your consciences, either in heaven or hell;
it will be for or against you, either a savour of life unto life, or of
death unto death.  And now behold, many among whom I have preached the
gospel will see my face no more—painful thought! but I bow to the solemn,
awful, just, and I may add, I am sure, merciful dispensation; fully
persuaded it is my duty, nay, more, it is my salvation, to bow to the
will of the great head of the church.  Nature shrinks, but faith looks
forward to the grand end which my heavenly father has in view—and being
already assured by his word, and by his spirit, that I shall be favoured
with his manifestative presence, I prefer submitting to the mind of
infinite wisdom, to any other plan which nature, friends, and present
interest may suggest.  My heart sinks, my spirit fails, my mind is
distressed, when I take the painful retrospect, accompanied with the
grief of my friends, the troubles of my family, and my own situation; and
what is most mortifying, the triumph of the envious, the joy of the
enemies of the cross; the pleasure of Satan, and the satisfaction of his
emissaries; these things all meet in my mind, and perplex me not a
little; but perhaps the grief of the former may be but comparatively for
a moment, and the joy of fools is compared to the crackling of thorns
under a pot, which make a noise and a blaze, but soon will expire, for so
the word of God assures us.  And then, what have my enemies effected?
What advantage have they gained?  Are they any the better?  Will their
cruelty add to their felicity on a dying bed?  Some perhaps may suppose
they have done God service; others have not God in all their thoughts;
while others, who ought to act better, because they profess better
things, join with worldlings, pharisees, and formalists, against a man
they know nothing of, but by hear-say.  While erroneous characters of
every description hate me for the truth’s sake alone, and rejoice if they
can find any fault as a ground of persecution; and if not in reality, an
evil report is quite enough for them, that they might have cause to
oppose the truth, as it is in Jesus.  But perhaps before many years roll
along, they may hear that John the Baptist is risen from the dead; that
Sampson’s locks are grown again, and when he comes forth, they may yet
hope to make sport with him.  But perhaps the Lord may take vengeance on
them, and enable his servant to be avenged on Satan and sin for the loss
he has sustained; and by fervent prayer, faithful preaching, and a holy
life, he may take hold on the main pillars of the Devil’s kingdom,
_ignorance_ of God and an _empty_ profession, and make them tremble;
while the power of the Holy Spirit may bring them down, through his
feeble instrumentality, at least, in the hearts of some.  I therefore
humbly presume to adopt the language of the church of old, as personated
by the Prophet in my Text, as before recited.

My dear hearers may perhaps recollect I have often referred them under
their various exercises to this very important chapter.  The prophet
predicts the state of the church in gospel days; and our dear Lord, no
doubt, had his mind on this chapter, when he forewarned the disciples
what they would experience, even from their nearest and dearest
relatives, for the truth’s sake; that no earthly ties would subdue or
remove the carnal enmity of the human heart—that the father and mother
would betray their dear children, and children would rise up against
their parents, in consequence of their adherence to the truth; which was
the case may times during the heat of persecution, and to this hour,
where sovereign grace has been manifested in a family, where one has been
taken and another left, there has been a most awful opposition, which may
be seen in many lamentable circumstances—_Mat._ 10th chapter.  Perhaps
Solomon alludes to this when he says, _For three things the earth is
disquieted_, _and for four which it cannot bear_.—_Prov._ 30th.

The conquests of grace have ever disturbed the earth, and those who have
preached all the words of this life are represented as having turned the
world upside down, and as the troublers of Israel; while the gospel in
its power has caused those who were servants to sin to lay down the arms
of their rebellion, and God has set up a kingdom in their hearts which
shall never be destroyed, and made them kings and priests unto God.  But
the prophet, no doubt, in this chapter, may allude to the state of the
Jewish church, before and in her captivity, this I apprehend is the
primary sense of the chapter.  He laments the fewness of those who were
valiant for the truth.  Then represents the sins of the great, and of
those in office, both in church and state.  The decay of true godliness
was his grief, accompanied with many heart-breaking sights of the
treachery of those who were in a profession, with the weakness of the
children of God themselves; _The best of them is a briar_, _the most
upright is sharper than a thorn hedge_.  Trust ye not, therefore, in a
friend; put no confidence in a guide!  _Keep the doors of thy mouth from
her that lieth in thy bosom_—that is, even from the saints themselves,
knowing the best of men are but men at the best: and well may one of our
own Poets exclaim—

    _Lean not to earth_, _’twill pierce thee to the heart_:
    _A broken reed at best_, _but oft a spear_!
    _On its sharp point peace bleeds and hope expires_!

The prophet’s mind is turned to the true centre of solid joy and peace,
amidst all the trials he experienced—_therefore will I look to the Lord_;
_I will wait for the God of my salvation_, with this sweet confidence, my
God will hear me.  My enemies then need not rejoice; for as I have God in
covenant to be my God—and of this I am confident, from his word, and by
the many tokens of his love; therefore though I fall into trouble, and
remain in the darkness of my captivity a long time, yet I am fully
assured I shall be delivered in God’s time and way; and till that period
arrives, the Lord Jesus will be my light, my love, my portion, and my
joy.  Persuaded of this, I will bear in his strength, the fatherly
indignation of the Lord, manifested in his providences, because I have
sinned against him, until he plead my cause, appear for my help, and as
my glorious deliverer, in bringing me forth to the enjoyment of his
favour, and to sweet peace, through the imputed righteousness of the dear
Redeemer, which I shall behold as my own, and which will cause me to
adore his righteous proceedings with me; and when I am humbled and
delivered, then she that is mine enemy will see it, and shame shall cover
her that said, Where is the Lord thy God?  She shall see it in this and a
coming world.  _Rejoice not_, therefore, _O mine enemy_; _when I fall_,
_I shall arise_; _when I sit in darkness_, _the Lord shall be a light
unto me_.

This subject is truly interesting, and exactly suitable to the state of
an afflicted Church, or an individual Believer; and it is the general
privilege of all the children of the most high, if it suits them, for the
Scriptures are designed to furnish the children of God unto every good
word and work; to furnish them with matter for faith, hope, prayer,
humiliation, and encouragement in God.  This is the design of every
precious doctrine and promise, which at once opens to our wondering view,
the very heart of the God of all grace; the glorious person of God our
Saviour; his covenant transactions with the Father, his acting for and on
the behalf of his Church, his wonderful incarnation, his meritorious holy
life of obedience, his sufferings and death, whereby he removed the guilt
of his dear people; his sacred burial, his most triumphant resurrection
from the dead, his glorious ascension, his appearing in heaven as the
advocate of his people, and as their ever prevalent intercessor.  This is
the glorious foundation, hope, and comfort of those whose hearts are
under the influences of his Spirit, who are driven from every other
refuge, and are enabled to believe to the present salvation of the Soul.
This faith, which is the work of God on the hearts of his people,
evidences their election of God, their complete redemption from the ruins
of the fall, and that the work is genuine; it is the earnest God has
given them, and all their present peace and joy is according to the
strength or weakness of this grace.  This makes Christ precious, the Word
sweet, and the Saints dear.  This creates in their hearts a most earnest
desire to live to the glory of God—this renders them the butt of the
Devil’s malice, the hypocrite’s envy, and the world’s scorn.  These, in
connexion with the old Man of Sin, which the Believer daily groans under,
renders his road very rough; often exposes him to the deepest trouble and
heart-felt grief.  His own daily infirmities, his own constitutional sin,
creates him much wretchedness, and the enemies of the Cross are daily
watching for his halting, longing for his fall, envying his comforts, and
contriving his overthrow.  But though he is safe in the unchangeable love
of God, as it respects his soul, yet he is still exposed to the malice of
man, the temptations of Satan, and the shafts of calumny.  If a fault can
be justly found, Oh! the triumphs of the Philistines!  And if not,
perhaps they will try to make one, that they may bring the cause of
Christ into contempt.  The combined enemies of God are the same combined
foes of the people of God, for, as by virtue of the union subsisting
between the Lord Jesus and his people, they have a mutual interest; his
cause is theirs, his friends are theirs, and his enemies are theirs: as
they bear his image, possess his favour, cleave to his person, love his
name, esteem his word, feel his power, trust his faithfulness, and follow
his dear foot-steps, so they must expect that share of his sufferings
allotted them, from the same enemies, their glorious master was
encompassed with—these are the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, the three
great foes of Christ and the Believer.  From Satan the dear Redeemer was
assaulted, the world hated him, and sin, as imputed to him, made him
tremble, when it fell upon him in all its malignity.  Satan rejoiced when
the dear Saviour was afflicted by God and man; but he had very little
cause to rejoice, for by the Saviour’s obedience unto death, he destroyed
death, wounded the head of Satan, took vengeance on him for all he had
done to his people, and has threatened to shut him up in the prison of
Hell a thousand Years; at the expiration of which he shall be loosed from
his prison, and dragged before the awful tribunal of Christ, and then
receive his full torment, even that torment he was afraid Christ was come
to put him to at his first appearance, when he cried out, _Art thou come
to torment us before the time_?  So that while our dear Lord was
suffering, Satan might have rejoiced, but had very little cause, neither
had the world much reason to triumph; they hated both Christ and his
Father, his person, his mission, his miracles, his doctrines, and his
followers; but they hated him without a cause, nor could they rest until
they had imbrued their hands in his Blood!  And when they had done it,
they rejoiced, but short indeed was their joy, the Captain of Salvation
rose triumphant over all their hellish spite, ascended to glory, and will
come again in the last great day to judge the quick and the dead; then
shall all the kindreds of the earth mourn!—mark that—_the kindreds of the
earth_, but none of the kindred of Christ; they shall rejoice when he
comes to be glorified in his Saints, and admired by all them that
believe; and surely if we are led by the eternal Spirit to admire Jesus
on earth, this will be our sweet employment in heaven; but as Satan and
the World were the enemies of Christ, so they are the formidable foes of
the people of God; the old Serpent has an inveterate hatred to the
saints, and though he well knows he cannot destroy them for ever, yet he
will endeavour to make their path to glory as miserable as he can.  He is
called the accuser of the brethren; he attempted to move God against holy
Job, but in vain; he traduced him as an hypocrite and mercenary
professor, and vented all the bitterness he was permitted on his body and
mind; and he would, if he could, act the same in all the rest of the
elect, and finally destroy both soul and body; but he must ask leave of
our Father before he can do that—yea, he cannot so much as tempt a
Believer without leave from God; and as we are well aware he is permitted
to tempt every vessel of mercy, how truly important those petitions of
our Lord which he taught his disciples—and _lead us not into temptation_,
_but deliver us from evil_.  The same learned Greek scholars read
it—“Thou canst _not_ lead us into temptation, _therefore_, deliver us
from the evil one.”  And how suitable to our desires is that part of the
Litany of the Church of England, “From all evil and mischief, from sin,
from the crafts and assaults of the Devil, and from thy wrath, and from
everlasting damnation—_Good Lord deliver us_.”  But though it is the work
of Satan to tempt, to harrass, to vex, to grieve, and to hurl his darts
into the mind; to bring the soul into bondage, to terrify or lull to
sleep, to ensnare, or tempt to despair, to fill the mind with legality,
or tempt it to real Antinomianism, that is, to sin that grace may
abound:—whatever may be his temptations, and whatever his malicious joy,
to see a chosen vessel fall either into sin or sorrow of any description,
_he_, as a creature, a fallen spirit, the enemy of Jehovah—I say, _he_
has the least reason to rejoice, as _he_ only adds to his own
damnation!—_he_ helps to fill up the measure of his own iniquity.  Much
as the believer has to blame himself for on account of not taking heed to
his own ways, yet Satan need not rejoice in his falls, for he only falls
to stand more firm, to see native weakness of his own arm, the
deceitfulness of his own heart; and as grace is displayed to his soul, he
finds the dear Redeemer more precious to his heart, after the inner man;
he is made more watchful, more sedate, more careful: he is humbled in the
dust before God, and as pardoning mercy lifts him up, so repentance flows
forth to his forgiving.  God and this repentance is attended with all
those excellencies described by the apostle Paul, (2 _Cor._ vii, 11),
Carefulness, clearing, indignation, fear, desire, zeal, and revenge on
sin and Satan, for the injury they have done him.

Thus blest, he again travels on in his Redeemer’s righteousness and
strength, hating sin more than ever, and vowing eternal war against Satan
and his works.  But the world is also the enemy of God’s children—not the
creation of God, but the men of the world, who are of the earth, earthy,
whose portion and joy is in the world, whose hope is the sand of their
own doings, who are enemies by nature and by practice, who are ignorant
of God, of Jesus, his word, his grace, and the reality of religion.
These, whether open opposers, or formal professors of any religion, are
enemies to God, and in the enmity of their hearts they live, and, if
grace does not prevent, they will die, and as those trees fall so they
will lie till the resurrection of the wicked dead, even a thousand years
after the righteous dead—these will rise in all the enmity in which they
died, and will manifest it as soon as they spring up from the dust, (see
this awful subject in the 20th chapter of the _Revelations_, 8th and 9th
verses)—as they will then appear in the image of Satan so they possess
that image now, which is hatred to God; for as love is the image of
Jesus, so enmity is the image of Satan; and these bear his image as his
children—they are engaged in his service, are his drudges, his fools;
they hate what he hates.  God and his saints—they oppose whom their
father opposes, and they rejoice and delight in that which he delights
in—they eat the same food, for _Dust is the Serpent’s meat_—they rejoice
in the same spite, and are engaged in the same cause, they bear the same
name, and will come to the same end, _for the wicked shall be turned into
hell_, _with all the nations that forget God_.

Nor does an empty profession of religion alter this image; there is the
same spirit, the same hatred to truth, the same rejoicing in the heart at
a real believer in all his falls, whether it be into sin or into trouble;
and the Lord sometimes permits it to be so, that they may manifest by
what spirit they are influenced, for by these fruits you are to know
them.  They are not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph, therefore woe
to them that are at ease in Zion.  Sad, indeed, to see professors join
with the world in opposing the grand leading doctrines of the gospel.
Sad to see them join in their sins, in their pursuits, in their enmity,
and in their cruel joy, in the downfall of any chosen vessel.  Sad to see
them join in the same hue and cry, do the same work of spreading an evil
report, and boasting of the goodness of their hearts; but they have their
reward.  _Woe unto you that laugh now_, says the Saviour; that is, at the
truth, or the trouble of the afflicted and depressed, _for you shall
mourn_—Recollect your present state, and if grace prevent not, your
future end.  _Rejoice not therefore against me_, _O mine enemy_!

Perhaps the pious Prophet here personating the church, spoke this in
allusion to the city or inhabitants of Babylon, who had long been enemies
to Israel’s God, and to the people of Jerusalem.  These triumphed to see
them forsaken, desolate, afflicted, and led into a state of captivity; to
see them bowed down and punished because of their sins.  The spirit of
holy confidence and prophecy inspired the church, and she utters the
voice of the text, and adds a very solemn declaration:—_Thus she that is
mine enemy_, _shall see it_; _shame shall cover her_; _she shall be
trodden down as mire in the streets_.  When God had set his people free;
when all the grand ends of his chastisement were answered; then he poured
out his vengeance on those who afflicted them.  Hence he calls his
enemies his rod, his staff, his sword, which when he is done with them,
he will lay them aside, or devote them to destruction.  For what God
intends, and they intend, is very different.  God intends their spiritual
growth, their holiness, and final felicity: they intend their
destruction.  And as they act from a base principle, after God’s purposes
are accomplished, he punishes their enemies.  _He that leadeth into
captivity_, _shall go into captivity_: _he that killeth with the sword_,
_shall die by the sword_.  I refer my afflicted friends to the 30th chap.
of _Jeremiah_; and I intreat any cruel foe to read the 16th verse, and
remember it is the voice of a God that _cannot_ lie.  I must just observe
that I do not speak this in reference to the administrators of justice,
for they bear not the sword in vain, they are the ordinance of God, and
should be feared, and revered, and woe unto those who resist this
ordinance.  But I speak the above truths in reference to all cruel,
unjust persecutors; to liars, false swearers, perjurers, and peace
murders; verily they have their full reward, therefore they have very
little cause to rejoice.  This leads me to notice the falls of the
believer; and these alas! are daily!  Solomon says, they fall seven
times, but rise again, because of the work of the Lord upon them, and
because the love and mercy of the Lord endureth for ever.  They can never
fall out of his heart, nor out of his arm, nor out of his covenant, nor
out of his thoughts, for they that trust in the Lord shall be as mount
Zion, as the covenant of grace, which can never be moved.  But though
this is a most glorious Scripture truth, yet in themselves considered,
and situated as they are, in an enemy’s land, surrounded by snares and
traps, trials and temptations, from without and within, Satan and a
corrupt heart, the prevalency of error, and the aboundings of impiety,
the poor believer is in constant danger of falling, in constant need or
divine keeping, and in constant need of that humble petition, _Hold thou
me up and I shall be safe_.  The Lord permits his children often to fall,
but never to turn enemies to the truth, to mount the scorner’s chair, or
really to apostatize—backslide in heart and conduct they do, _but_
apostatize they never shall, they never can; they may fall into _sin_, as
the most eminent saints have, which has caused them many a heart-break;
they may fall into spiritual distress, even after they have been sweetly
led along, as David, Job, and Hezekiah did—they may fall into some
_temptations_, from which scarcely any of the children of God are exempt;
they may fall from their _first_ love, which the Saviour complains of one
of the Churches, they may fall into gross errors for a time, as Peter and
others have, through an accommodating spirit to the manners of the times.
They may fall into _persecution_ as Daniel predicted.  Many among them
shall fall by the sword, by fire, by spoil, and by captivity many days:
but they shall be holpen with a little help.  But they may fall into
_trouble_, as was the case with the Church, to which the text refers.
These may be sent by the hand of God in a sovereign way.  These may befal
a Believer, from the world and from false brethren—they may be brought
very low, into deep poverty, sore affliction, and great embarrasments; to
these things, the brightest saints upon earth are liable, and the Lord
may bring upon them sore and great troubles when they need it; and I
believe the Lord never does it without a reason—for he doth not afflict
willingly, nor grieve the children of men.  There is, doubtless, a need
for every cross and for every enemy; but the fall the Church alludes to
in the text, is not a fall into sin, but a fall into trouble; and while
we lament their miseries, may we not exclaim, _Is there not a cause_?
And perhaps, if we were deeply to investigate the trouble of God’s
children, we might be able to trace a cause.  The Church of Jerusalem was
in deep tribulation, but was not their Sins the sad cause?  Had they not
been negligent of the daily sacrifices, of the Sabbath day, and of many
other duties, which pointed out the only possible method of Salvation, by
the doing and dying of Jesus?—therefore, while these were forsaken,
Christ was despised; and how has the great Apostle applied this
subject—_How shall we escape if we neglect so great a Salvation_?  And am
I not speaking to some this morning who are highly culpable of sad
neglect of the dear Saviour?  All backsliding begins here—secret neglect
of Jesus! then all the sad consequences follow—love of the world, an
inordinate love of the creature, levity of manners, indulgence of secret
sin, with a sad train of evils beside; for these things sake the rod is
sent, trials fall heavy; the hand of God is seen in his disapprobation of
a sinful conduct, but woe, woe unto that people where this is the case
and the hand of God does not fall on them; better be under his chastening
hand, learning wisdom and receiving instruction from all we meet with,
than be left to receive the dreadful sentence, _He is joined to idols_,
_let him alone_!

The troubles of the Church are called in the text, _a fall_, and so it
is: and they are likewise described as _sitting in darkness_.
_Sitting_—no doubt this is intended to shew that their trials were to be
of a long duration.  The captivity lasted seventy years; but the Lord
assured them he would not leave them in that state, and at the close of
the allotted time, he would appear for their deliverance.  These things
were written for our instruction and comfort.  The Lord has promised to
deliver us, and he will be our helper until that time comes, then he will
appear in his own way, and cause us to subscribe with the hand _God is
faithful_.  How long our trials may last on the present occasion, we know
not; but of this we are certain, that the God of all grace who hath
called us to his kingdom and glory—after we have suffered a while will
make us perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us—only we want
patience to have her perfect work, that after we have done the will of
God by suffering, we may receive the promises of deliverance.  All is
dark at present, evidences of interest are very low; a gloomy cloud sits
on the Tabernacle—providences are very dark, and we may be much in the
dark about God’s designs, and this darkness may continue a long time.
Here some Believers are said to walk in darkness, without light; though
the darkness of ignorance is past, yet much still remains, and we are the
subjects of much darkness within as well as without; yet we are
encouraged to trust in Jesus, and stay our minds upon a God in Christ,
until sensible comforts and conspicuous deliverances arise—and they will
come, the morning will dawn, Jesus will appear, though it may not be
until the fourth watch of the night, then he may shew himself, treading
on the proud waves of our trouble, and enemies, and until then the Lord
has promised to be our strength and our comfort.  Faith being enabled to
give credit to the word of Jesus confidently asserts, _When I fall I
shall arise_—when I fall into trouble, the Lord will take that
opportunity to alarm my fears, and stir me up to prayer.  This will lead
faith to act upon its proper object; for prayer and faith are inseparable
companions—faith without prayer is presumption, and prayer without faith
is ignorance.  Fervency in prayer, strengthens faith, and confidence is
the assurance of faith; this is begot in the mind by the Spirit, and
encouraged by many sweet tokens of covenant love; and the church having
been so highly favoured, was enabled to believe the Lord would be with
her, according to his word; and though it was her misery to fall into
trouble, yet it was her mercy that the Lord had engaged to be with her in
trouble, and she was enabled to triumph: when I fall, that fall will
terminate for my good, for all things work together for good to them that
love God, as well as all things work together for evil against them that
hate God.  This confidence, founded on the person of Christ, his work,
his promises, and his faithfulness, is not to be cast away in time of
trouble, but it is to be exercised as in Paul’s case, (27th _Acts_) when
on board a Ship, he said, _but I believe it shall be as God has told
me_—and no matter what Satan, carnal reason, unbelief, ill-natured
professors, nor mistaken possessors would say about the matter, What
saith the scripture?  “Fear not to go down into Egypt; I am with thee; I
will help thee;”—and “because he hath set his love upon me, I will be
with him in trouble, I will deliver him.”  And this is as true as God is
God; and so you will all find it some time or other.  _The Lord will be a
light unto me_: This was the Psalmist’s comfort, _The Lord is my light
and my salvation_, _whom shall I fear_?  Christ is the light of life, and
all the light we have in a way of covenant grace, we have from him; he is
the glorious luminary which creates the present, and he will be the
future, day of his church; their sun then shall no more go down.  This
term, _light_, is perhaps one of the most comprehensive—it includes all
that a gracious God and father is to his chosen people.  God is love—God
is light; he is the light of grace in the covenant, the light of truth in
the scriptures, the light of life in the heart, and the light of love in
the church.  In his light we see light; by his own beams we see his
glory, we see his person, we feel his love, and by the light of his
countenance we know we are pardoned and justified, adopted, and chosen;
and this honour have all the saints, more or less: Hence that most
invaluable promise, _Unto you that fear my name_, _shall the sun of
righteousness arise_, (the sun of _justification_, the learned say) _with
healing in his beams_.  For every ray of light, every influence of his
love, every manifestation of his favour, is a ray or beam from him who is
our justification before God, and whose dear, gracious, glorious, and
precious name is _Jehovah our righteousness_.  What God is to us in all
his covenant characters, what Jesus is in all his excellencies, and what
the holy and eternal Spirit is in all his blessed offices; this is our
light, our joy, our strength, and our all in all.  And very frequently
the Lord takes the opportunity of manifesting himself the clearer, when
the church is in her darkest state—man’s extremity was ever God’s
opportunity.  May he be our light in the present darkness, and may the
light of his countenance shine upon your souls when I am separated from
you.  Farewell, my dear friends! forbid even the whisper of complaint—

    _Tho’ painful at present_, _’twill cease before long_,
    _And then_, _O how pleasant the conqueror’s song_.

Permit me here to drop a few words more.  Suffer the word of exhortation.
As a church, many among you have professed to receive the word with power
in this place, and among this people, by my feeble instrumentality.  Let
me beg of you to keep near to the Saviour by secret, humble, and fervent
prayer, that your minds may be more divinely opened, to receive Jesus as
set forth in the gospel—that God will condescend to raise up a more able,
more faithful, and more useful preacher—that you may be fed with the
sincere milk of the word, and with _strong meat_, as the apostle
describes the great things of God.  Let me intreat you to walk in love
and humility together.  Let me beg of you all to avoid sin, secret and
public; I mean, as to the commission of it; and by looking to Jesus, to
get rid of the guilt, power, and love of it.  Let your conversation be as
becometh the gospel of Christ; and it will be the joy of my heart when I
am gone from you, to hear that you are walking in the truth, that many
are added to you, whose experience, views, and conduct, are consistent
with the Gospel.  _Walk in love_, _and the God of love and peace be with
you all_.  Amen.

I conclude this humble farewell address, in that devout Prayer of the
Litany of the Church of England.

    “_O God_, _merciful Father_, _that despiseth not the sighing of a
    contrite heart_, _nor the desires of such as be sorrowful_;
    _mercifully assist our prayers that we make before thee in all our
    troubles and adversities_, _whensoever they oppress us_; _and
    graciously hear us_, _that those evils_, _which the craft and
    subtilty of the Devil or man worketh against us_, _be brought to
    nought_; _and by the providence of thy goodness_, _they may be
    dispersed_; _that we thy servants being hurt by no persecutions_,
    _may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church_, _through
    Jesus Christ our Lord_.”  _Amen_.

                                * * * * *

                                  Finis.

                                * * * * *

             Printed by R. THOMAS, Red Lion Street, BOROUGH.





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