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These are fome of the encouraging things contained in the promise made to them that feek God, that they shall not want any good thing.
I now proceed to fhew,
III. By what fuch a promife as this is to be measured, That they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
This is neceffary upon the account of the objection that may be made from the variety of trials, which fuch as are dear to God, and fincerely feek him, often labour under. Their cafe is fometimes fad, and leads them with deep fenfe to fay as the Apfile, If in this life only we had hope in Chrift, we are of all men most miserable,
1 Cor. xv. 19.
But however, They that feek the Lord fhall want nothing that is good here on earth, i. e.
1. So far as is fuitable to their prefent imperfect state, out of which they are gradually recovering. And thus God fulfils his promife, though he bestow not all that is defirable upon his children; this not being the place of our compleat felicity and rest. A place of unmixed enjoyment of all good, and perfect freedom from all evil is the defcription of heaven, and not to be expected on this fide it.
To have light without darkness, ease without pain, health without sickness, plenty without all want, holinefs without fin, and life without death, is referved for the promised land, and what our condition in a wilderness will not admit.
To have no forrow, fufferings, fears, or straits; no enemies, temptations, wearinefs, or wants: To have every defire filled up, and all matter of
complaint removed, is the privilege of those who have finished their travels, and are called home by their heavenly Father, to take poffeffion of the inheritance prepared for them. And while we are followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promifes, if we have enough to our fafety and fubfiftence, direction and progress, we want nothing of good belonging to our infant unfettled ftate, and fuitable to it.
2. They that feek the Lord fhall want nothing that is good, with reference to the great defign he is carrying on, viz. his own glory, and his people's falvation; which all his proceedings towards them, make way for, and fhall iffue in. And thus he performs his promise, notwithstanding the troubles wherewith his fervants are fometimes exercifed. Afflictions are grievous, and fo not defirable in themfelves : ' But yet as they have an influence reaching to eternity, and as they tend to promote the divine honour, and our everlafting bleffednefs, they are matter of our rational choice now, and will be of our thankfulness and praise hereafter.
Mofes having refpect to the recompence of reward, chofe rather to fuffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of fin for a feafon; efteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treafures of Egypt, Heb. xi. 25. For our light afflictions that are but for a moment, work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. By this therefore fhall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit to take away bis fin, Ifa. xxvii. 9. We are chaftened of the
Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world; that we may be made partakers of his holiness, and fo prepared to behold his face in glory.
Now what are the great things we should defire, were it put to our choice, but to be delivered from fin the worst of evils, and from hell the deepest misery? To obtain falvation with eternal glory, that God may be everlastingly honoured in our everlasting happiness? And if he over-rules his various difpenfations to this end, though fome of them are harsh and severe, how plain is it that those with whom he deals thus, want nothing that is good? And with what thankfulness fhall we acknowledge this, when we are well inftructed in the method of grace to bring us to glory? We fhall confefs with wonder and joy, That it was good for us that we were afflicted, and that in very faithfulness God did it.
How pleafing a scene will it be at last to behold the excellent counfels and designs of wifdom extending to all the circumftances and turns. of life? That this way we were to go? Through fuch ftraits and trials to be led? By fuch means and methods to be brought into the divine favour, and kept in it? By fuch croffes and afflictions to be faved from pride, weaned from earth, kept back from fin, excited to duty, and a diligent pursuit of heaven? Which have all been observed, and with a steady hand guided to a blessed iffue. With what triumph fhall we use the words of the Pfalmift, as fulfilled: Surely goodnefs and mercy fhall follow me all the days of my
life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, Pfal. xxiii. 6.
Though I was led through a howling wildernefs where I was often ready to murmur upon account of the ftraits I was in, or the dangers I was encompaffed with, I find it was the best way to the promised Land. I now perceive the reafon, and the need I had of the various difpenfations of providence towards me, the ufefulness of all the hard circumftances I was in, how nothing was omitted or could be fpared, how well and wifely all things were over-ruled for my eternal good: And now, adored be that wisdom that watched over me, and directed my fteps; that mercy and goodness that chofe my ftate for me, and attended me therein; that power that kept me from falling, ftrengthened me in weakness, delivered me from every evil work, and preferved me to his heavenly kingdom. How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God? how great is the fum of them? They are more in number than the fand.
3. They that feek the Lord fhall want nothing that is good, with refpect to the service he calls them to, the work they have to do, and the part they are to act for him in the world: And fo the promise is fulfilled, though he does not give to all his fervants alike. By fome he will be honoured in a higher, by others in a lower ftation; and accordingly to one he gives ten talents, to another two. Now whatever he fees fit to bestow on me, his will and wisdom are to measure my defires, as knowing the fitteft proportion for me. And if I honour him VOL. II. E
less by my substance, I am to honour him more by my patience and humble fubmiffion to his will; and having food and raiment, which is all that is abfolutely neceffary, therewith I am to learn to be content.
4. They that seek the Lord fhall want nothing that is good, as it fhall become seasonable: And fo he fulfills his word, though he does not presently or all at once beftow all the good he intends. His fovereign will is to determine the time and order, as well as the measure of our mercies.
The Ifraelites in the wilderness, when fed with Manna, had nothing denied them that was good, though they had no more than would last them from day to day; to teach them to live in a constant dependence upon God, and as their wants returned, to look up to heaven, from whence fupplies were to be fent in the fitteft feafon. And how tafteful must those mercies be, that descend fresh out of the hand of God?
Lastly, They that feek the Lord shall want nothing that is good, either in kind, or in value; in outward comforts, or in inward content with the divine difpofal and allowance. Godliness with contentment is great gain, 1 Tim. v. 6. If God denies the joy of harvest, and gives the joy of the Holy Ghoft; if he fuffers men to be in outward trouble, and gives them that peace that paffeth understanding, who can fay he deals hardly with them, or that they want any thing that is good?
To remove our burdens, or else increase our ftrength: To answer our defires in taking off an affliction, or fay, My grace is fufficient for thee: