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keep thee. And speaking of his church as a city : 1, faith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of ber. This is the believer's security, his comfort, and the foundation of his hope for perseverance in the good ways of God—the Lord's absolute promise; who hath spoken in the word, and still speaks thus: Fear thou not, for I am with thee : be not dismayed, for I am tby God. I will strengthen thee ; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right band of my righteousness. The church and people of God are continually surrounded with enemies, temptations, and snares. The corruption of fallen nature, the exceeding deceitfulness of fin, the malice of Satan, together with the allurements of the world, would be too strong for the child of God, were he left to grapple with these enemies in his own strength. The believer would foon find fin which dwelleth in him, more than a match for all his inherent grace; and Satan would easily swallow him up, if the Lord was not his keeper. . The grace of God implanted in the soul in regeneration by the Holy Spirit, does not destroy the indwelling corruption of our sinful nature ; neither do the communications of divine grace deliver us from temptations and trials. The more the soul is under the influence of grace, the more he feels the sinfulness and opposition of his carnal heart rebelling against the holy will and law of God. The more communion the believer hath with God, the more Satan rageth, and the more his malice will be increased. It is truly marvellous, wonderful, and surprising, how the Lord preserves and maintains fpiritual life in the fouls of his people, notwithstanding all the conflicts, temptations, and oppositions which they experience both from within and without themselves. You would look on it as a miracle in nature, if you

faw in one channel, two directly contrary streams, running with a constant course and force in direct opposition to each other. The regenerate man experiences a like miracle in himself: he feels to his grief that there are two distinct, opposite principles in him, and that the flesh lufteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and that these are contrary one to the other. Sin and grace are both in the regenerate soul; and are both distinct and opposite in their operations : like water and oil which, though in the same vessel, will never coalesce or mix with each other. This is the occasion of those foul troubles and inward conflicts which God's truly regenerate people experience. It is this which fetches those fighs and groans from their inmost souls, as it did from Paul, who cried out, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Blessed be God, there is deli- . verance for us in Chrift. And believers do at times triumph in the life, death, resurrection, and intercession of Jesus, over fin, self, Satan, and every enemy, saying, Who is he that condemnetb? It is Chrif that died: yea, rather that is rifen again ; who is even at the right hand of God; who also maketh intercession for us. And though believers do not always by faith perceive it, yet blessed be the Lord, he is their keeper. It may be

you are ready to ask, how does the Lord

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keep his people? Are they always safe? Does no kind of evil befall them ? Are they always brought off, in the strength of the Lord, more than conquerors ? I will endeavour, by answering these queries, to point out to you the Lord's goodness expressed towards his people in his keeping of them. I, the Lord, de keep them. The Lord is their keeper, and he glories in it; he keeps them by his mighty power, as in a garrison, through faith, in a dependence upon himfelf. He is their house of defence, and their shield; all his power

is put forth to protect his people from the

power of hell, the gates of which shall never be able finally to prevail against them. The Lord is with his people; the name of the church is, The Lord is there ; and his presence is a life-giving, a soulquickening, an heart-warming, faith-strengthening, and hope-encouraging presence. He keeps the souls and bodies of his people, their whole persons, and hath undertaken to preserve them to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. And God is fuithful, faith Paul, to perform all this. The Lord, in the course of his dealings with them, does by the blessed teaching of his Holy Spirit, as also from their own experiences, lead them to know and feel the need of his divine guardianship and constant care. They find the Lord hath kept and will keep them even unto the end. This appears unto them from the word of promise, which cannot be broken: and from their experience, which hath been the fruit of God's faithfulness to his word and work.. For they find that he doth not forsake the work of his


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hands, and that his grace is in them as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. Though it may be, they have their falls; yet though they fall, they are not utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth them with his hand. The safety of God's people is thus expressed: The eternal God is thy refuge : and underneath are the everlasting arms; out of which they cannot fall. If they fall ever so low, yet JEHOVAH's everlasting arms of love and mercy, truth and power, are underneath them, to support, bear up, strengthen, and preserve them. And the Lord's people are safe, eternally so. He is said to be a wall of fire round about, yea, to be in the midst of, and a present belp to them in trouble. This caused the Psalmist to exult, God is our refuge and strength, ä very present help in trouble. Şome suppose this, the 46th Psalm, was penned on account of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib being raised in the time of Hezekiah; it certainly is applicable to any time of confusion and distress: and it is reported concerning Luther, that, when he saw a storm arising against the church, he would say, come let us sing the 46th Psalm, and then let the enemy do his worst. In it a strong confidence in the Lord is expressed. God is our refuge and frength, a very present belp in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea: though the waters thereoff roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the fwelling thereof. Selah. God is in the midst of ber; the hall not be moved: God Mall help her, and that right early: as, indeed, he did in Hezekiah's -time, when Jerusalem was surrounded with an exceeding great army,


yet in one night the angel of the Lord went forth, and sinote in the camp of the 'Assyrians a bundred and four score and five thousand : and when the inhabitants of Zion arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. A blessed proof this, that the Lord's presence, his being in the midst of his people, is for their protection, fafety, and good. It may be, you will be ready to ask, are they always fafe? To which the answer is, that the Lord, when he brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, weit before ibein by day in a pillar of cloud; and by night in a pillar of fire, to lead, cover, and defend them: . so also he is spiritually present with his people at all times, in all places, in all cases, by his spiritual covenant promise, which is their security, preservation, and glory. He being always with his people, they are always safe and secure. It may be you will further ask me, in what sense are they so? I reply, they are safe, under JEHOVAH's protection; and secure, as he keeps them : and in the 121st Pfalm, which was written purposely to celebrate the Lord's goodness to his people, manifested in his being their keeper, it is expressly said, The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil. How are we to understand this? The Lord's people are not in every sense kept from evil. In the Psalm quoted, it is three times repeated to awaken our attention and quicken our observation to this blessed truth, that the Lord is the keeper of his spiritual Israel. Poor believer! thou haft a keeper who takes care of thee, and that keeper is the Lord.

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