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Lafthy, The Metaphor under which this Serm. is described. Ligbt is sown for the
Of each of these particularly. Let us briefly consider,
I. The Character that is here given of good
Which Words may stand,
1. As Terms of the same Import and Signification. Every Righteous Man is an Upright Man; and the Upright Man is the only Righteous Man. Or,
2. They may be put as explanative of each
It is very possible for a Man to appear
pne who is truly upright before God, not
SERM. Because all Men do not judge righteoudy;
and no man infallibly.
The righteous and the upright Man then, is one who not only appears so in the Eyes of Men, but is sincerely so in the Eye of God. One in whose Heart there is no Guile ; no Deceit or Hypocrisy; no latent or allowed Iniquity; who takes as much Care to approve his Heart to God, as to
I come now to consider the next thing I
II. The present state of good Men implied, viz, Darkness and Sorrow.
Which is the Reverse of what is here promised them. The Promises of God's Word are all suitably adapted to the Circumstances and Neceflities of his Servants.
Nor can any thing be more suitable to them SERM. than the Promise of those things which they
IV. most want; or of those Blessings which are most contrary to their prefent Calamities. So that by considering the particulars of that Happiness which God promises to confer upon them hereafter, we may learn the Circumstances of their destitute Condition now. Thus, for Instance, does he promise them Perfection and Strength ? we infer, that at present they are in a state of Imperfection and Weakness. Does he promise them here- . after Glory and Honour ? that implies that they are Strangers to these things now; and must for a while be content to put up with Ignominy and Reproach. And does he (as in our Text) promise Light and Gladness? we may infer then, that at present they are in a state of Darkness and Sorrow. Thus
you see the Propriety of that Inference upon which this second Observation is built; which I come now more particularly to confider,
1. Then I say, that the state of good Men in this World is ordinarily a state of Darkness.
Serm. Their Light, indeed, will fometime hereIV. after break forth as 'the Morning. But they
must wait a while for it. During their present state, they are in much Darkness.
Darkness denotes either Ignorance, or a ftate of Doubts and Fears. In either Sense it may
be here applied. 1. Ignorance,
Alas! how little do the best and wiseft among us know of God, of themselves, of things present, and things future? Some may imagine they know a great deal, who at the same time know nothing yet, as they ought to know. A Conceit of Knowledge is always a sign of great Ignorance and great Pride united.
O, who can by searching find out God! They, who by Contemplation, Faith, and Prayer, and a diligent Study of the Works and Ways, and Word of God, have happily attained the best Acquaintance with that blessed Being, of any Creatures on Earth, are most ready to confess after all, that it is but a small Portion they know of him. Clouds and thick Darkness are round about him. His Works and Ways, and Nature, are past finding out. What can we think of his
Eternity? or a Being that never had a Be- SERM. ginning? Of his Immensity? or a Being IV. that fills all Space ? Of infinite Perfections ? that is, all possible Perfections united in an infinite Degree ? These are Things far beyond the reach of human Minds. Yet such a Being is the great God whom we worship; who inbabits Eternity, is every where prefent, and infinitely perfect. He maketh Darkness bis secret Place, bis Pavilion round about bii aré dark Waters and thick Clouds of the Sky (a).
And where is 'the Man who hath a just Knowledge of himself? I do not mean of his animal Frame ; of the Texture and Organization of his Body, and Laws of Union by which the Flesh and Spirit are tied toġether ; of which it is certain the
wisest among us know but very little ; and which perhaps is one of the greatest Mysteries in Nature ; but how little does he know of his Soul? of it's Nature, Powers, Operations, Wants, Tendencies and Desires ? How many do evidently shew that they know not what Spirit they are of? who perhaps are grievously lamenting their Weakneffes in
(a) Psal. xviii. 11.