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gels, who have received a charge for the preservation of the servants of God. Wicked men have no liking to this subject; as if they expected no good to themselves from the attention of heaven. Good men have no greater support in this world: they love to think and discourse upon it; and they celebrate the mercies they have received. Jacob, in his blessing, addresses himself to the God day, which had fed him all his life long unto that, and to the angel which had redeemed him from all evil. St. Paul, looking back upon the persecutions and afflictions of his life, had a certain knowledge, that out of them all the Lord had delivered him. And the same knowledge will be more or less in every Christian, who reflects upon the occurrences of his life past. He may not be able to say, as the Apostle did, once was I stoned; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I have been in the deep but, if his eyes are open, and he speaks the truth, he may say in other words, "at such a place, and at such a time, was I preserved, when my fortune, my comfort, my "health, my life, my soul were in danger: "many perils have I seen, from which nothing "but the hand of God could save me; many "more there must have been, perhaps worse "and greater, which I could not see: but out
of them all the Lord delivered me, and I am "alive at this day to praise him."
Without a firm belief of God's preventing and directing power, good men would not know how to live; and they see, that for want. of it, many are lost. He that has lived long enough to observe how many dangers there are in the world, of which he has no foresight, and thinks there is nothing to preserve him, but that chance, by which others seem to be destroyed, is in a miserable condition; and I would not be in the like for all the world. When it is found, that health is uncertain, and pleasure deceitful; that there are evils, which wealth cannot remove; nor wisdom provide against; and when with all this there is no sense of God's Providence correcting our sins, and bringing good out of evil; then only disappointment becomes intolerable, and men send themselves out of the world in despair.
As the navigator, who has sailed round the world, and is arrived in safety at his own dwelling, delights to survey the dangers of the voyage, with his many deliverances from storms and shipwreck and as the Israelites, when conducted to the land of Canaan, discoursed together on the miracles God had wrought in
Egypt, with the perils of the wilderness, their various encampments, the victories they had obtained, and the cities they had destroyed; and repeated the wondrous narrative to their children, listening around them; so we may suppose, it will constitute a part of the blessedness of heaven, to look back upon the vicissitudes of this mortal life; and that the saints will delight for endless ages, in comparing the trials they underwent, the dangers they escaped, and the mercies they received in this their pilgrimage; adding thereto the greater wonders of their walk through the valley of the shadow of death, their resurrection, ascension, and glorification, which are yet to come; all of which will furnish matter for such songs, and be celebrated with such sounds, as no ear hath yet heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man to conceive.
In some passages of the Revelation, we have a slight prospect of this scene, with a foretaste of this heavenly entertainment. " I "saw (saith the beloved disciple) as it were a "sea of glass mingled with fire, and them that "had gotten the victory stand on the sea of
glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God,
" and of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of "Saints." Rev. xv. 2, 3.
FOOLS MAKE A MOCK AT SIN: BUT AMONG THE RIGHTEOUS THERE IS FAVOUR. PROV. xiv. 9.
BEFORE we consider rightly, it may be imagined, that the words of Solomon in this place give encouragement to sin; as if sin were favoured by the righteous, while it is mocked at by fools. But the words have another meaning, and that a very instructive one; they teach us, that fools, those inconsiderate people who are without a proper sense of religion, mock at sin, as a matter of ridicule; while the righteous have compassion upon sinners, as upon persons under the greatest misfortune in this world. He only can mock at sin, who knows nothing of the danger and misery that attends