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The children of this world, if they have an estate fallen to them, will be curious about the title. They will grudge no labour in searching into records, and will not cease till they have made it all sure. Are you equally zealous and indefatigable in vours to ascertain your interest in God? Is it often your úrst language in the morning, and your last at night, “O that I knew where I might find him ?” lf your consciences give a satisfactory answer to these and similar questions, you may assuredly conclude, that the Lord is your portion.
I therefore only add, in the fourth place, - Walk worthy” of your portion.
As a rich nobleman thinks himself obliged to observe a behaviour suitable to his rank and estate, so you, that have a portion in God, or rather God himself for your portion, should be careful to act in a manner becoming your high and holy condition. Let there be a visible difference between
and others. It would be a shame for a prince to appear like a beggar ; for one who is heir to a crown, to herd with the lowest of the people ; and it would be equally disgraceful for you, whose treasure is in heaven, to be as vain and trifling, as careful and troubled about many things, as those who have no hope in the favour of God.
I would exhort you to cherish a cheerful disposition. There is a sinful sadness which some Christians indulge. It reflects dishonour upon God; and, in effect, tells all the world, that he is not such a portion as they suppose him to be, and that there is not enough in him to give them satisfaction. It is a stumblingblock to many. Will they part with their portion in
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the world, or will they think highly of God, when they see you so melancholy, notwithstanding your pretended interest in him? For the honour of God, therefore, and the encouragement of your fellow disciples, delight yourselves in the Lord. way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”
Act also in a holy conformity to God. Let your temper and conduct be suitable to your portion. Be concerned, that your thoughts and actions be heavenly. It is vain to expect happiness separate from holiness. Every man, who has this hope, purifies himself even as God is pure. Therefore, as “ he which has called you is holy, be ye holy in all 'manner of conversation : because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.”
Finally, be thankful. Let your lives be one continued thank-offering to God, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever :-To him, who chose you to be his portion, for his mercy endureth for ever: and gave himself to be your portion, for his mercy endureth for ever :--- To him, who has done great things for you already, for his mercy endureth for ever; and has promised to do infinitely more and better, for his mercy endureth for ever. thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy endureth for ever.
THE CHURCII THE PORTION OF GOD.
DEUT. XXXII. 9.
of his inheritance. It is impossible to read, without delight and astonishment, the description which is given of the honour and happiness of the people of God. Were we not informed concerning whom such glorious things have been spoken, we should imagine them to be the exalted inhabitants of one of the worlds with which we are yet unacquainted. We should suppose them to be creatures who had never rebelled against their Maker, or lost their integrity; who are ever “hearkening to the voice of his word,” and ready instantly to fulfil the slightest intimation of his pleasure. Yet would a world of such exalted spirits be a fit portion for Jehovah, who could make or unmake ten thousand of them in a moment ? Nothing that we know, nothing that we can conceive of, deserves such transcendent honour and blessedness. Wonder, then, O Heavens! and be astonished, 0 Earth! The Lord's portion is not angels, nor archangels, nor cherubim, nor seraphim; “ The Lord's portion is his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”
These words are part of a song of Moses respecting God's conduct to the children of Israel : but though
they immediately refer to them, yet they are applicable to all the people of God. We shall, therefore, inquire, what is implied in their being called his portion and inheritance.
By this it is not intimated, that God needs us, or any creature, to add any thing to his blessedness: It is impossible, it is almost blasphemy, to suppose it. Indeed, ainong men, our portion means our all: that particular estate by which we are maintained; or that sum of money which falls to our share, and on which we particularly depend for subsistence. So that if we be disinherited, and deprived of it, we are undone, and are no better than beggars. But cannot the everlasting Jehovah support himself without the work of his own hands? Can a man be profitable to God, as he that is wise is profitable to himself? Cannot the infinite Creator be happy without creatures who are daily affronting him; and who, in the most flagrant manner, insulthis authority, question his truth, doubt his power, and despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance? What can the Lord need of any of us? Does he need our praises ? Our incense is an abomination. Our services? We are transgressors from the womb.-Our love? The carnal mind is enmity against God.Our company? The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. If, therefore, called the Lord's portion, it cannot mean that we are any way necessary to his happiness and glory: For if we had never existed, or if we were this moment to drop into nothing, he would be still glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders; and if he lost our services, he would at the same time lose our provocations. So that we cannot be necessary to the
Lord, otherwise than as we supply him with opportunities of displaying his grace and all-sufficiency. But though it implies not any thing so derogatory to God, it means something of the greatest consequence
In the first place, it implies tender care.
A man's portion is the most valuable part of his substance, which he is solicitous above all things to preserve: and if it be at any time in danger, he is restless, uneasy and indefatigable, till it be secured. In like manner, are the church, and every particular member of it, the charge of the providence of God. Every Christian, however concealed or unknown, or however persecuted or oppressed, is part of the Lord's portion which he keeps as the apple of his eye, and which the utmost rage of earth and hell cannot pluck out of his hand. Thus Israel of old were preserved amidst the dangers of Egypt; agreeably to this expressive promise delivered by Moses ; “But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast; that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” To the same purpose are these words by the prophet Isaiah ; “ Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers : shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself, as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast: for behold the Lord cometh out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth.” So God speaks in the prophecy of Ezekiel ; “set a mark upon the foreheads of them that sigh and cry for the abomination in the midst thereof. Slay them utterly, the old and young: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark.”