to it: "Thy people fhall be willing in the day of thy power," Pfal. cx. 3. If this has been your attainment, then cherish the spark. Quench not the Spirit. Satan will endeavour to rob you of it; but if it be tenderly watched and preserved, the Spirit will break out into a flame: Hof. vi. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord."- Let those who have had a more than ordinary meeting with God, and have been filled with confolation, admire God's mercy towards them, and prepare themselves for trials and temptations, which will try their ftrength. God's children are fuffered to eat no idle bread. Watch, therefore,


and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. Carefully cherish and preferve what God has done for you, and improve it to your progress in fanctification. This is the true way to keep your candle fhining. Let us attend,

And as

III. To the posture of the Angel. He stood, he did not fit down, because he was not to stay. This was an extraordinary vifit to Paul, he was not to look for this as his ordinary entertainment from heaven. Extraordinary manifestations are what we cannot expect to be continued, without interruption, while we are here. God will have a difference betwixt heaven and earth. two fummers are not to be looked for in one year, fo a lafting heaven of comfort upon earth will not be found. Though the Lord may fometimes feed his people with strong sensible manifeftations in this world, this is not their ordinary. They must for the most part live by faith, without extraordinary manifestations: 2 Cor. v. 7. "For we walk by faith, not by fight." Let Chriftians then lay their account with a struggling and wrestling

Dd 3

wrestling life, with the clouds returning after the rain. For we are as those who travel by night, with the light of the moon, which fometimes fhines clear, at other times hides her head under a cloud: Pfal. xxx. 7. « Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled."-We are,

IV. To confider the time of this manifeftation : This night. It was a fad night in that fhip, all hopes of being faved were loft, and then the Lord appeared to help. This may lead us to obferve, that when things are brought to an extremity, this is a special opportunity which the Lord takes to appear for those that are his. This is the promife Deut. xxxii. 36. "For the Lord will judge his people, and repent himself for his fervants, when he fees that their power is gone, and there is none fhut up or left." And agreeable to this has been the experience of the faints in many cafes. Thus, as to the church of God in Egypt, their bondage was moft hard, before the Lord delivered them. The reafons why the Lord does this are many.-Among others,

1. By this the hand of God appears moft eminent in the deliverance. The more desperate that the cafe be, the love of God in thinking upon his people, his wisdom in contriving their deliverance, his power in bringing it to pafs, appear the more confpicuous: Ifa. xxxiii, 10. "Now will I rife, faith the Lord; now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself." He has the greater revenue of glory, by curing the disease when past all hope.— Another reason is,

2. That it brings the greater advantage to the faints: John, xi. 15. “And I am glad for your fakes that I was not there, to the intent you may believe." For hereby their eyes are opened to fee

their own weakness more, their patience is tried, their faith in God confirmed and ftrengthened, and their high thoughts of God and his perfections raised to a higher pitch.-As an improvement of this, I observe, that this affords ground of hope and comfort to the Lord's people, when matters are come to the lowest ebb with them, Zech. xiv. 7. Faith has ground to ftand upon, when all things fail to fenfe. It is God's special time of beginning to work, when men can do no more. Thus Hagar at the well. Many a time the Lord makes the wheel of providence drive downward and downward, till we are almost at its extremity; and then is the turning point.




ACTS, xxviii. 23. For there flood by me this night the angel of the Lord, whose I am, and whom I serve.



AVING explained and improved the first branch of the text, I now come to the Second branch, namely, Paul's fpecial relation to the God of heaven: Whose I am, and whom I ferve. And this is the chief thing I would insist And here Paul declares two things. upon. To whom he belonged: I am God's, I own no other Father, Lord, Mafter, or Proprietor.' The centurion might fay, I am Cæfar's;' but Paul avows a more honourable Proprietor. 2. What was his bufinefs: Whom I ferve. He was on the fervice of that God to whom he belonged.

This word, the Lord, whofe I am, is very important. There were four things implied in it.

1. A comfortable view of God's special interest in him. He was convinced, that whoever others


belonged to, he belonged to God, that there was a faving relation betwixt God and him.---There is,

2. A recognifing God's special interest in him. He had faid it before at his first accepting of the covenant, I am the Lord's ;' and he did not repent the bargain, but repeated it over again, I am his.'-There is,

3. An open profeffion of his fpecial relation to God. He was not ashamed of his Proprietor, his Lord and Mafter; but he gloried in it, accounting himself happy in the relation.-There is,

4. A rejoicing in it, particularly with respect to this feafon of diftrefs. As if he had faid, The fea rages, the waves threaten us with death; but this is my happiness, I am the Lord's, in whose hands all these are. From this fubject I would take the following DOCTRINES.

DOCT. I. That it is the duty and intereft of thofe who have truly given themselves away to the Lord, to look on themselves as his.

Docr. II. That those who are the Lord's ought to make, and will make, God's fervice their bufinefs. We begin with

DOCT. I. That it is the duty and intereft of thofe who have truly given themselves away to the Lord, to look on themselves as his.

IN treating this point, I fhall,

I. Confirm this doctrine.

II. Shew in what refpects thofe who have given themselves away to the Lord in his covenant are to lock upon themselves as his.

III. Affign reafons why it is the duty of thofe who have truly given themselves away to the Lord in his covenant, thus to look on themselves as his.


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