« PreviousContinue »
tion. Know to thy comfort “ that through this man this day is preached unto thee," even unto thee, “the Forgiveness of Sins, and that by Him Thou, even Thou, if thou wilt believe in Him, shalt be justified from all things.”
THE LORD'S FAVOUR TO THOSE WHO TRUST
Nahum, i. 7. T'he Lord is good, a strong-hold in the day of
trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in
Him. ONE design of the Bible is, to teach us the knowledge of the true God, that God who made us, and on whom our being and our happiness depend. Accordingly, the Bible abounds with the most sublime descriptions of God, and represents in a variety of passages his aweful characterand glorious perfections. Among these passages is the one connected with the text. If we study with attention the ten first verses of this chapter, we shall then see what that Great and Almighty Being is, with whom we have to do.
On reading this description, indeed, it may appear to us to contain a contradiction. It may seem to represent the Almighty under two different characters; and we may be ready to think it impossible that He can at
the same time be, according to the Prophet's representation, “ a jealous and a furious Göd,” yet “ good, and slow to anger.” We may be disposed to ask, how can these things be? But, my Brethren, there is no real difficulty in the case. God is in Himself the same, infinitely glorious in all perfections. The seeming differences in his character, and the opposite views which He gives of Himself, arise from the different characters of those with whom He has to deal, and consequently from the opposite relation in which He stands to them. In this respect His character, like the cloud which accompanied Israel, has a dark side, and a bright one: a dark side to his enemies, to Pharaoh and the Egyptians; but a bright one to his people Israel. To his adversaries He is “ a jealous God," "a consuming Fire ;” but to his people He is rich in mercy and abundant in goodness. In fact, the different views given of God in this passage, as well as in other places of scripture, refer to Him as being either 65 in Christ,” or not “ in Christ ;' in covenant, or notin covenant. God“ in Christ” is a God all mercy; God not " in Christ” is a God all wrath. To those who lay hold of his salvation and embrace his covenant, He is “gracious and merciful, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth ;' but to those who reject his grace and despise his
covenant, He is full of indignation and fury. He “ reserveth wrath for them,” and “ will not at all acquit them.”-In which of his characters, my Brethren, shall God deal with you ? Shall He be to you a God of mercy, or a God of wrath ? Shall He pour upon you the fierceness of his anger, the fury of his jealousy? or shall He rejoice over you with joy, and delight to do you good ? Re. member, as you are to Him, so He is to you, If you join yourself to Him in Christ," and take Him for your Covenant God, He will be to you a Father in Christ Jesus, and will bless you with all the blessings of his covenant. But, on the other hand, if you reject Him, He will reject you ; if you despise Him, He will destroy you.
Such is the interesting, the momentous question daily submitted to your choice, May the Lord enable you to choose Him for your portion, that you may find Him your exceeding great reward! To stir you up the more decidedly to make this choice, let me now call your attention to the text, in which the Lord discloses His favour to His people, and, as it were, causes His goodness to pass before them. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in Him." Here you see what God is to His people. He is good to them. - “He is a strong-hold to them in tho
day of trouble :" and he “ knoweth them." Here, also, you may see who the people of God are. They are those who“ trust in Him.” Let us separately consider these things. Let us notice the description here given,
I. Of the People of God.
I. The Description here given of the People of God is short, but comprehensive.
They trust in Him.” Trust in God is often used in Scripture for the whole of true Religion ; and when so used, as in the text, it signifies a Confidence in His Power and Faithfulness for protection and support, and for a supply of all things necessary to life and godliness. But there are several particulars to be noticed, which characterize and distinguish this Confidence.
In the first place, it is habitual. The Confidence which the People of God have in Him, is not occasional and transitory. It is constant and permanent. They do not to-day confide in Him, and to-morrow in something else. This is the sort of Religion which some persons have.
At one time they are trusting in God to help and deliver them : at another they are depending on an arm of flesh. To-day they are looking to the Almighty for protection and assistance : to-morrow they are relying only on their own wisdom and strength. At one time