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SUMMARY OF DISCOURSE XXV.
PSALM LXXVII.-VERSES 9, 10.
THE text shows that the author of this psalm was manifestly under great dejection of mind when he penned it; as he speaks of himself here and in the following verses as deserted of God, and preyed on by the sorrows of his own tormented heart. The particular grief is not mentioned; the sting of it however lay in this, that the Psalmist apprehended himself to be forsaken of God, which is doubtless the most insupportable and incurable of all afflictions, and one which neither medicine nor reason can assuage; for the soul refuses to be comforted. These fears and sorrows belong not to the vicious and profligate, who have not God in all their thoughts: they live without reflection, and therefore without concern, and can be diverted by hearing or seeing what modest and humble sinners suffer from a sense of religion: but their day of fear is not far off; and when it comes, it will convince them that the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. There is a great difference between the misgivings and misapprehensions of a religious.
mind, and the fear which sinners often experience: this difference explained; whence we can distinguish between the fears to which religious men are subject, and the fears of the guilty; the former of which alone our text leads us to consider. The Psalmist manifestly speaks of the sorrows of a well-disposed heart, from the description which he gives of his conduct under distress; though he might doubt as to his own condition, and the favor of God towards him, yet of the being, power, and wisdom of God he never doubted. This faith was the sheet-anchor of his salvation. A consideration of this afflicted good man's train of thought, and of what he regarded his only comfort and support, recommended. Whether the calamities which afflicted him were public or private, yet as long as his thoughts dwelt on them, and led him to expostulate with God for the severity of his judgments, he found no ease nor relief: a weak man cannot judge rightly of the actions of a man wiser than himself; much less can a man judge of the ways of God, to whose councils he is not admitted: this topic enlarged on. Since then it is weakness to complain, and folly to judge, of the methods of God's providence, what part must we take? Must religion be senseless and stupid, and shut out all reflexion on the ways of God? No: one way is open to us; to trust and depend on God; which is so far from being senseless and stupid, that in the pursuit of it we shall see opening before us the noblest views which reason or religion can afford. The method here prescribed is that which the Psalmist prescribed to himself. God has not left himself without witness: the great works of nature and of grace proclaim his loving kindness to men; hence we must admire his power and adore his goodness; and therefore throw ourselves on his protection. Here then was the comfort of the Psalmist here the cure of his grief, though the scene around him was dark and gloomy. The text then leads us to consider: I. that all complaints against Providence proceed from