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of not destroying the earth any more by a flood of water : So in the rays of the Sun of righteousness, the believer beholdeth a token of that covenant of grace which God made Avith his Son Christ, in the elect's name, that he would not destroy them with the flood of wrath for his sake.
The sun in the firmament is unchangeable and constant; every morning he arises and performs his course from east to west, shining forth for the benefit of all the terrestrial creation, though his benign beams are often obscured from the earth by reason of intervening clouds. With respect to immutability, the Sun of righteousness incomparably excelleth, for he is eternally unchangeable ; he still shineth forth in the firmament of his grace, for the good of all his elected ones, although his cheering beams may often be obscured from the soul by reason of sin, which like intercepting clouds
prevent them from having this comfort: Yet let such solace themselves by viewing the Sun of righteousness with the eye of faith, as still shining for their good in the firmament of his grace, though the eye of sense may not behold him, still hoping and waiting for a brighter day, when their sky shall be cleared, and they enjoy again his gladdening beams.
The naked eye cannot directly look the sun in the face, without much danger of being hurt (unless in some secondary way) his lustre is so great. In like manner, sinful man, made naked by the fall, cannot look directly in the face of the Sun of righteousness, as he is one in essence with the Father and Spirit, the infinitely holy, just, and pure, dreadful, almighty Jehovah, without great danger of eternal destruction, unless in and through the Mediatorship of Christ Jesus ; and so through his human nature behold his divine ; for, to the sinner who is out of Christ, God is a “ consuming · fire," Deut. iv. 24. Heb. xii. 29.
The sun never takes the traveller at a disadvantage, but gives him timely warning of his going down, by his cooling the evening, and making the shadows long ; so that if he be benighted and lie in the fields, he has only himself to blame. In like manner, the Sun of righteousness giveth a warning to those who travel Zion-ward, in pro
fession only, of his total withdrawment from them, by his leaving them to a coldness and carelessness about the things of God, and to delight in the shadows more than in the substance of religion ; so that with the rest of the reprobate they have only themselves to blame for being eternally benighted. How then ought not those who observe such signs of his withdrawment, whether as individuals, or a particular church, Joshua like, to pray that this sun may stand still, and if they pray in faith, like Joshua they shall be heard, Josh. x. 12. 13.
When the sun goes down, darkness does not immediately ensue ; but though the light is protracted for a little, yet are there not the smallest hopes of his rising again that day ; no, for it is ended.
In the twilight which is quickly lost, in the blackness of the night, the votaries of lewdness walk forth, as well as the beasts of the forest, to hunt for their prey. So the Sun of righteousness may end the day of grace, and I doubt not, often doeth, before the day of a sinner's life ; but where there is the smallest hope of being again blest with his beams, or the least desire after this, it is a sign the case is not desperate: the Sun of righteousness as to them is not totally gone down; for the Lord is good to them that seek him, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; for he satisfieth the longing soul---will be found of them that seek him, and accomplish the desire of them that fear him ; at evening time it shall be light, Lam. iii. 25. Psal. xxxiii. 18. Psal. cvii. 9. i Chron. xxviii. 9. Jer. xxix. 13, 14. Matt. vii. 7. Psal. cxlv. 19. Zech.
“ Thou hast ravished my - heart “ with one of thine eyes, with one chain of
thy neck,” saith Christ, Cant. iv. 9. But, on the contrary, when sinners have not the smallest hope of, nor the least desire of seeing and being blest with his beams again, after having been once enlightened by him, and tasted of the powers of the world to come, Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. It is a certain sign to them that their day of grace is ended. In this twilight of mercy, as it were, which is protracted to them for a time, they indulge their lusts with freedom, and the wild