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ye should inherit a blessing. The reason is given why Christians should act in a different manner from the people of the world. They are called to inherit a blessing. It is their high privilege to look forward to eternal blessedness as their portion, when they have done with this world and its concerns; and they are therefore to live as becometh the expectants of a glorious immortality; they are to look beyond the things of time and sense, to the glory which shall be revealed in them; they are to look upwards to God and heaven, and to have their conversation as the heirs of God and of blessedness ought to do. What a blessed hope is this, which the believer in Christ is permitted to indulge, that he shall inherit a blessing. Oh! that our hearts were more set upon the heavenly inheritance, which is reserved for the children of God, which He hath prepared for them that wait for Him. The more our minds and affections are directed to it, the more happy shall we be, and the less disquieted by the passing events of this present evil world.
The apostle quotes a passage from the thirtyfourth Psalm, for the purpose of enforcing his exhortation. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers ; but the face
of the Lord is against them that do evil. may observe the authority which the apostle ascribed to the holy scriptures of the Old Testament, by adducing them in proof of the propriety of the exhortations which he had given, and for the purpose of enforcing them. This passage shows us the manner in which it becomes Christians to act under injuries. They are to remember that the eyes of the Lord are upon them, and that He is the Hearer of the humble supplications of His people who call upon, Him. They are therefore to cast all their care or anxiety upon the Lord, under the persuasion that He careth for them, and that His "overruling Providence ordereth all things, both in heaven and earth.” In like manner as David acted, when he was cursed by Shimei. He said, It may be that the Lord will look upon mine affliction; and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day. The Christian is to recollect that the Lord's ears are open unto his prayers; and therefore he is to open the fulness of his heart before God; in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let his requests be made known unto God. And thus, making known his troubles and complaints to his almighty and most merciful Father, pouring out his heart before Him, and making Him his refuge, his mind will be relieved from the burden which would otherwise
What a relief is it, in trouble of
mind, body, or estate, to have a God to go to, who heareth and answereth the prayers of His people that call upon Him. Our Saviour asks, Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him? and replies, He will avenge them speedily. He declares, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. And respecting His people He asserts, He that toucheth
toucheth the apple of His eye 165 that part which is most sensitive, and of which the greatest care is taken. For this reason our apostle exhorts, in the following chapter, Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to Him, in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. Let them not distress themselves on account of the afflictions which they may be called to endure for Christ's sake, but let them take occasion to commit themselves and all their concerns into the hands of their heavenly Father, who will protect them from all evil, and will cause all things to work together for their good, and for His own glory.
In order to show the good will which a compliance with the exhortations that he had given would produce in the minds of people in general, the apostle asks, Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? or, as it might be rendered, if ye be imitators of Him who is good. If you act as the children of your heavenly Father, who is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil,66 your conduct will gain the good will of many; so that they will not be disposed to injure those whom they observe to be so harmless, and inoffensive, and benevolent. But if this should not be the case in some instances, If ye even suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye. It may well be an occasion of rejoicing, that your conformity to the image of God should make you an object of hatred to the ungodly. Be not therefore afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. Consider that those who oppose you are frail dying creatures, who are about to fall into the hands of the living God ; 67 and therefore they are in a state truly pitiable; which should make them rather objects of your compassion, than of your ill will; for they shall be called to give an account of their conduct to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.68 Fear them not therefore. Dread not the displeasure of mortal men, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread; and that will effectually remove all fear of man.
62 2 Sam. xvi. 12. 63 Luke xviii.7,8. 64 Rom. xii. 19. 65 Zech.ii.8. 66 Luke vi.35.
Did we thus realize the Divine presence continually; did we consider ourselves as in His sight whose eyes are actually upon us, recollecting who He is, how much we are indebted to Him, and our accountableness to Him hereafter; considering the blessedness which He has promised to bestow upon His children, and the dreadful punishment which He will inflict upon
67 Heb.x.31. 68 1 Peteriv.5. . 69 Psalm xix. 14.
His enemies; this would be a great means, under His blessing, of making us indifferent as to the applause or the opposition of our fellowcreatures; and anxious only to please Him well in all things, not only in our outward demeanour, but in the spirit of our minds; that the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts, may be acceptable in His sight, who is the Lord, our strength and our Redeemer ,69 our strength for the performance of what He enjoins us to observe; our Redeemer, to pardon our short comings of what He requires at our hands, and all the iniquity of our holy things.
We may see then the importance of sanctifying the Lord God in our hearts, or of having our best affections devoted to His service. The love of Him will make us happy under all circumstances. It will excite us to fulfil our duty in every station of life, as to the Lord and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord we shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for we serve the Lord Christ, to a blessed Master, who will not fail, nor forsake them that trust in Him; but will bless them both in their bodies and in their souls, both here and hereafter. It will arm us against the fear of death; for it will assure us that in life