DONALD CARGILL - Sermon One
"Now we shall say that word over again, 0, sweet Author,
and 0, sweet action!"
This note of joyful confidence is continued in the following sermon, which is now published for the first time.
Isaiah lxiii. 9 "In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them."
The heart of God is strangely knit to some. It goes through all with them. It is said of a friend that he loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity, but where can this friend be found? Surely God is this Friend. But with whom is He well pleased? It is with those who are in Christ Jesus, that is, not only these who are in the eternal purpose of God, but such as are actually engrafted into Christ. He loves them, not with the love of benevolence or the love of election, but with the love of complacency. But though He loves them he does not, as some might expect, give them the fulness of the world or make them free of the Cross. On the contrary, no sooner is he reconciled to them than he puts them under the yoke and removes from them these superfluities that might keep them from delighting in Himself. For that delight is mutual: the more you delight in God, the more He will delight in you. Do not expect, then, that you will escape affliction, but rejoice in what the text says- "In all their affliction He was afflicted." Now in speaking a little to these words-
Observation. 1. The love of God in its acts or outgoings to his people. It shews itself
(1) in His tender sympathy with them in their afflictions.
(2) In saving them by the angel of His presence. It would be accounted a wonderful kindness for a king to send his own physician to cure some person at a great distance. How great, then, the kindness and condescension of God in sending the Son of His love.
(3) In redeeming them. Redemption and salvation differ in this, that salvation is merely the deliverance of a person oppressed or detained, whether justly or unjustly. Redemption is the payment of a ransom in order to procure his deliverance.
(4) By bearing and carrying them all their days. They have no feet. They would never go to heaven unless He carried them. 0, how long hath He thus borne the church of God! When He hath set down one generation in heaven He takes up another on the earth, and so the work goes on. Now, whether are you carried by God or the devil? The end is twofold. The devil carries all his and throws thern into the pit of destruction. God carries all His to glory.
Obs. 2. That God sinews his love to his people in all their affliction. He could keep them from these altogether if he pleased, but sympathizing with them in their projects and bringing them out of them is His glory.
(1) We must not expect the Lords love to be a fond love that will not suffer a breath of cold air to blow on us. That, you know, is but a mother-like fondness, and there is no wisdom in it. But there is the greatest of wisdom here, and the greatest of love although the wisom is sometimes so great that it overshadows his love.
(2) They will not only have afflictions, but many of them. We could say something here that ye would wonder at. We know not if there have been any more afflicted on the earth than the elect of God. It is true that some of the wicked and reprobate have been greatly troubled, but we are persuaded that there are some of the afflictions of Gods people greater than what any of the ungodly ever suffer on the earth. Still, in all these afflictions there are two sources of comfort at least- (1) They are for their good. It may have been long since He hath laid aside their sin, but He is pursuing them with affliction ; and why? it is for their good. Our earthly parents sometimes corrected us for their pleasure, but He for our profit to make us partakers of His holiness.
(2) He sympathises with them in all their troubles. But to speak of the Lords sympathy with His people in their afflictions, wo confess before you all we cannot well understand it. We cannot understand how He can be afflicted, yet there are some things we can guess and only guess at a little.
1. His glory suffers with us. Sometimes it is trampled under foot or given to another. As it is said: "He delivered His glory into the enemys hand."
2. The sufferings of His people go near to His heart, as the sickness of a child goes near the mothers heart. Its true God cannot properly suffer. Sorrow and suffering have somewhat of weakness in them, and He is above all this. But speaking after the manner of men, the sufferings of his people go near His heart. It may be some think that the Lord regards them not; let others say so, but not not us.
3. Jesus Christ has a mans heart within Him. His nature was in all points like our own, but without sin; and the more excellent the nature the more true the love and sympathy.
4. The sympathy of Christ extends to all our afflictions. 0 the greatness and constancy of His love! He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In conclusion, rejoice, and again I say rejoice. Are they afflicting you? then they are afflicting God also. Be assured, then, that God will avenge you. Are our sufferings great, are they painful sufferings? His glory will be more conspicuous in redeeming us from them. We should submit to God, the, who hath marked out for its this path to walk in, namely, through the deep waters of affiction, in order that his glory may appear in bringing us through, when the world has been thinking we were past all hope and saying, "look no more after them, for they can never extricate themselves." Now saving and redeeming is the great thing the Church must look for, and not for being kept free from persecutions and afflictions. Especially whem the waters have come deep unto our very souls, and deep calleth unto deep, and all Gods billows pass over us, then it is the time for Him to interfere. His love will never us to remain in a state of affliction if it be in His power to deliver us. And we know that it is in His power, we may feel assured we shall be saved and rdeemed."
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