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too often, as St Augustine prayed before his conversion, Not yet. Such seekers, if they continue still seeking in such a manner, shall never obtain, nor be able to enter in at the strait gate, Luke xiii. 24., for the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Thirdly, All true wrestlers with God esteem communion with him dearer to them than every thing else in the world; hence Jacob, to obtain this, stayed behind not only Leah and her children, but even his beloved Rachel and Joseph, that ever memorable night to him, in which he was honoured with the name of Israel, Gen. xxxii. 28.
gay flowers are these which grow on the brink of the river! Let me draw near and explore their beauties.
All aghast, I spring back from the awful spot ! Poor flowers, for all your gaiety, the brook is undermining you,
you will soon be swallowed, and all your beauties destroyed. Just so is it with respect to the wicked and careless in this life; though they may be gay and prosperous, having
more than their heart can wish, the brook of God's infinite wrath is undermining them, and will soon overwhelm them : then shall their beauty consume in the grave from their dwelling, Psalm xlix. 14. From this we may see the state of the wicked, however prosperous, is not to be envied.
This water likewise bringeth me in mind of that near which Gideon and his company gained such a signal victory over the host of Midian, by only using the means of sounding trumpets, breaking pitchers, and holding lamps in their hands, crying,
“ The sword “ of the Lord, and of Gideon," Judges vii., 19---22.
Just so true believers obtain a complete victory over the devil, the world, and the flesh, these worse than Midianites, through using the means of God's appointment, viz. attending to, and knowing the joyful sound of the everlasting gospel; breaking the empty pitchers of self-confidence, and corrupt reason, and holding the lamp of divine revelation in the hand of faith ; believing that in and through the sword of the Most High having been awakened against the man that is
his fellow, Zech. xiii. 7. even Christ Jesus, on our account, because he had taken upon him our suretyship, our debt is now paid, law and justice perfectly satisfied, and we acquitted from the charge ; which is made manifest by the Lord our surety having been taken from prison, as one who had fully paid the debt of the elect, and therefore ought no longer to lie there, Isa. liii. 8. Matt. xxviii. 2---8.
This brook also recalleth to my remembrance that striking comparison which the Psalmist maketh betwixt himself, longing for the ordinances of God's grace in the tabernacle, and the hart thirsting for the brooks of water.
After that creature has been long and sorely hunted in a dry and parched wilderness, the ardour with which it pants and longs for brooks of water to quench its almost insatiable thirst, is only felt by such a believer as David was, when debarred from holding communion with his God, in the public ordinances of his grace.
Thus did the man after God's own heart, when banished from the public ordinances of God, either by the wicked persecution of Saul, or the unnatural rebellion of his son Absalom, or both, saying, “ As the hart panteth ce after the water brooks, so panteth my soul “ after thee, O God: my soul thirsteth for “ God, for the living God: when shall I
come and appear before God?" Psal. xlii. 1, 2. “ O God, thou art my God, early will “ I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is ; to see thy
power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee “ in the sanctuary." Psal. Ixiii. 1, 2. “ How “ amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of “ hosts ! my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth “ for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and my
flesh crieth out for the living God!” Psalm lxxxiv. 1, 2.
The more any person longeth for communion with God in the ordinances of his
grace, the greater are his evidences for heaven ; for he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness, Psalm cvii. 9. And our ever blessed Lord hath said, “ Bles“sed are they that hunger and thirst after
righteousness, for they shall be filled," Matt. v. 6.
On the contrary, the less that any one longeth for communion with God in his ordinances, the less is his evidences for heaven. If they are pronounced blessed who hunger and thirst after righteousness, certainly they who do not so, nor ever will, are, and shall be cursed.
O may I then, whatever others do, often be communing with my own heart concerning what appetite I have for spiritual things, and praying, whatever this be, that it
may be increased,
Water is very refreshing to the thirsty traveller; and so are the ordinances of divine grace
to the Zion pilgrim : to him they prove as refreshing and strengthening in his heavenly journey, as those wells which the Israelites dug up in the dry valley of Bacca were to them when going to Zion, Psalm Ixxxiv. 6, 8.
And as the spies who went to view the land of Canaan returned not without some