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We now proceed to the application, and from this subject we may learn,
1. That the gross of mankind are miserably mistaken about engaging in, and supporting, the Lord's work. When his truths are purely preached, and a faithful testimony maintained against prevailing corruptions, and only a few put their hands to it, the greatest part imagine that their presence and countenance would disgrace them. On this account, they can neither think of attending upon ordinances, nor supporting the good cause. Not so the Holy Spirit. He is the great agent. He is present in Sion, and supports the Lord's interest. What a source of encouragement is this to the few who engage heartily in it! Though poorly supported by men, the Spirit of God is with them, and his gracious presence can inspire them with courage under all their fears, and enable them to stem the tide of opposition. What though the mighty and wise be not for us? The Spirit is among us.
Sion should still sing her celebrated song,
6 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."
2. That all attempts to crush the Lord's interest will prove abortive. Policy and power, malice and inischief, may all be exerted against it; but Sion is safe. Her God reigns. The people imagine a vain thing. He that sits in the heaven shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in derision. The Father hath set Christ king upon his holy hill. Christ pours out his Spirit. Opposition to the Lord's interest cannot eventually hurt it; but, sooner or later, will prove ruinous to all who attempt it. The Lord's
work shall subsist. It is maintained by him who has the heart of all men in his hands, and can control them as he pleases. He can disappoint all his adversaries. He can support and strengthen his people; and he will do it. He can increase grace in every heart where it is implanted; and he can convert the most unlikely. He has done great things for his church without number. He can never do worse. She should never forget his gracious assurance, “ No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn."
3. From this subject.we may also see what the friends of Sion should most dread. They ardently desire the prosperity of the Lord's work. They would do much to promote it. The support of men of distinction and ability would be the joy of their hearts. When only a few in an impoverished condition appear for its support, they tremble and are dismayed. This is what they should fear, a provoking the Holy Ghost to depart. Wo be to us if he leave us. While he is among us, and gives gracious countenance to his ordinances, we have no reason to be afraid. He will bless his own people, and increase their number. Often when the beginnings have been small, through his gracious aid, the latter end has greatly increased. The Holy Spirit has more at stake in the prosperity of Christ's work than all the saints together. He is sent by Christ to promote his glory, and prosper his interest. Christ has shed his blood, and the Spirit will take care that it be not shed in vain. We should pray for him. In the lan
guage of the spouse, we should cry to him saying, “ Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out: let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." We should neither resist nor oppose him. We should cherish his motions, and not quench them.
4. We may also see the vanity and wickedness of indirect and improper means for promoting the Lord's interest. These are too often tried; but always evidence a carnal heart. They flow from unbelief and distrust. They savour of self-importance; and betray a dependance on an arm of flesh. They greatly provoke the Holy Spirit. Schemes of carnal policy for advancing the Lord's work can never be helpful
, but are always hurtful. They may appear to be useful for a while; but, if indulged, will discover their pernicious effects. Time and experience might wean the church from such refuges; but the carnal heart still
goes astray after its favourite objects. With the Psalmist, Sion should have all her dependance on the Lord, and her language should be, “ Wait thou only upou God: for my expectation is from him: he only is my rock and my salvation, he is my defence: I shall not be moved."
5. That about the prosperity of Sion, boasting and despondency are alike excluded. Boasting is excluded by the assurance that the Lord's work is never successfully promoted by might and power. Despondency is equally excluded when the Lord assures his people that his work is carried on by his Spirit alone. Let no man glory in man.
glories, let him glory only in the Lord. Every way has Christ given evidence of his love to Zion, and especially in committing her to the immediate care and tuition of the Holy Spirit, when his bodily presence cannot be enjoyed by her. This proves the reality and greatness of his love; and is replete with consolation to the church, and every individual member.
Believers, you should pray for the Spirit. Others need his quickening and converting grace. You still need greater measures of his influences for
promoting your sanctification. Cry for him. Quench not his motions. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of promise by whom you are sealed to the day of redemption. You can never be comfortable without him. Never forget that your comfort in general will be in proportion to your holiness. Forget not Zion. Remember her depressed condition. Pray for a revival. Insist for the former and the latter rain. Such as are in a low situation, and think they can do little for the Lord's work, should recollect that much can be done on their knees. Give the Lord no rest. Pray that he may breathe on these slain that they may live. Be encouraged. Sooner or later your believing prayers will be heard. If they should not be answered in the manner you desire, or the exact season you expect, you cannot be losers. While there is a reward of grace awaiting all the saints hereafter, the Lord's service carries a present reward in its own bosom. This is signally true of prayer. Wrestling for Zion, the soul is a gainer. Grace is exercised and increased. Pleading the promises in faith, though