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PSALM CXVI. 7. Return unto thy Rest, O my Soul, for the
Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
"HESE words were uttered by the P.Jalmist
after some heavy afflictions he had met with, but by the goodness of God was now delivered from. After a dark and gloomy night, a cheerful morning opened upon him, and he had a quiet harbour in view, which he bespake his soul to put into: Return to thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
Observe here, I. Something this good man would cast his
soul off from, which is implied in the term
here used, Return. II. Something he would call it to, and this is its
Reft, its proper and peculiar rest.
This Reji is not to be understood to denote a quiet, sedate, or even a cheerful temper, which the Psalmist called his soul to, now when he faw himself to be in Safety, after he had been tempestuously tossed and ruffled with his late afflictions : But as the rest of a faint is something more excellent than that of a natural man, it may be justly taken to point to the rich fountain of the saints reít, viz. God himself; and to him in opposition to the whole creation, in which rest could not be found. And so it is as if the Psalmist had said,
" This “ world is not the place I was made for, nor
am I ever to expect fatisfaction in it: though “ I am necessarily employed about its affairs, it “ is what I cannot take my portion in. I am a
stranger here, and it is no wonder if I am treated “ as such. I have been long wandering in it, as “ in a foreign and barren land: ” Wherefore, return unto thy rest, O my foul, to thy rest in God. He is thy rest, the rest of fouls, the only proper and peculiar one, and thine by a claim that shall not leave thee ashamed, Return unto thy rest, 0 my foul. III. We have the argument added to urge this,
viz. the consideration and experience of God's goodness in his dispensations towards him ; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
As the words refer to some foregoing trouble that disturbed his soul, we may note,
1. That faints have their trials under which the best of them, whilft they are in the body, are liable to be discomposed and put out of frame.
2. That whatever God's people suffer, they have still reason to think and speak well of him, as one who has dealt bountifully with them.
3. That the experience of this should be an argument with them to endeavour to repress irre
gular workings with them, and calm and compose their fouls to rest.
I shall not distinctly handle all these, but sum up what I design in this one doctrinal Propofition, viz. That gracious fouls have their rest in God, to which
upon all occasions they should call upon themselves to return ; and encourage themselves to it, by the confideration of his abounding goodness towards
This the Psalmist here does, Return unto thy reft, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
Here I shall shew,
Pfalmift calls his soul to it, Return.
his foul. V. How the confideration of God's bounty deal
ing with them, and in what instances, should
engage them hereunto.
I. 1 shall Thew that gracious souls have their rest in God, This I shall endeavour to open in a few particulars.
1. Gracious souls are provided of a rest. The soul is the better part, and this, the people of God, as being made wise from above, know how to value, and are most concerned about. Whilft the generality of the world are follicitous for the body, how that may be fed and cloathed, protected and preserved, gratified and pleased, a be
liever's chief care is for the spiritual inhabitant, his immortal soul, and cannot sit down fatisfied and easy, and say, all is well with him, when he is abundantly provided of earthly Goods, respecting the body and suiting the senses : That, and that only deserves the name of rest, which can give rest to the soul. How empty and insignificant must be that rest (cries such an one) that is only common to me with brutes, and in which the soul considered either as spiritual or as boly, has none or very little thare ?" The wants of the soul to a faint are the greatest wants; and the rest of the soul, the most desirable rest.
If the soul is at rest and safe, provided for as to another world, and at ease in the expectation of it, the body shall partake of its happiness in the end ; and its temporal sufferings will signify little by the way. The rest of the soul is bállance enough against the afflictions of the outward man: But whatever rest the body may enjoy for a time, in present sensual good, it is far from being well with the man, whilst the better part is neglected, and hath no foundation for true rest in this world, and stands upon the brink of eternal torments in another, in which the body must also Thare with it. The rest and happiness of the soul, is therefore of the highest importance ; both in itself, and in the saint's account. The faint will be thankful for outward accommodations respecting the body; but tastes far greater sweetness in the promise, that bis foul Jhall dwell in ease, Pfal. xxv. 13.
Gracious souls have their proper rest, which they are most taken up about and concerned for.
2. They 2. They have this their rest in God: In God truly, and in God only.
(1.) They have a rest in God truly. It is not a name only, but a reality, though it is better felt than described. Whatever tranquility and peace, content and pleasure, fatisfaction and joy go to make up the rest of a foul, which others seek in vain in the creatures, these the faint hath in God. The Psalmist here speaks of it as one that knew what it meant, as one who was experimentally acquainted with it. There is a rest for fouls, a reit in God, which how empty a notion it may seem to be to others, the real christian knows to be a truth, and something which he would not part withal, for all other pleasures in the world.
(2.) Holy soul rest in God only. Nothing below him can satisfy their desires; and beyond him, and besides him they can neither desire, nor want any thing more. They look upon all this world, and seeing and fore-seeing its vanity, they deprecate their having of their portion in it, and being put off with it. O Lord, deliver me from the men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou filleft with thy hid treasure, &c. O let me be none of the number who have this to be their all
, and who can be satisfied with it: my business, O Lord, lies with thee, and my happiness in thee. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness, Psalm xvii. 14.
By this a saint is distinguished from all others, his taking up his rest only in God, Pf. iv. 6, 7: There be many that say, Who will Shermo