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glory, no zeal for his honour? Shall not we perish under a most aggravated load of guilt, when, under the meridian light of the Gospel, we prefer darkness to light, and the service of sin to the service of our Lord? May God the Spirit come down to convince us of our sin, and effectually subdue us to the obedience of faith!
SEEKING AFTER GOD.
1 Chron. xxii. 19. Now set your heart and your soul to seek
the Lord your God. THERE are many subjects, which, whilst in themselves they are plain and simple, derive much importance from the occasions on which they arise, or the circumstances with which they are attended. The duty of “ seeking after God” is inculcated in the Holy Scriptures, times without number: and the insisting upon it, though interesting and necessary in its place, may seem to promise little that is new, or beyond the bounds of common pastoral instruction. But, if the occasion on which these words were uttered be taken into our consideration, they will be found to possess a very peculiar interest. Let us, then, notice, I. The occasion on which this injunction was given
[David was now at an advanced period of life; and was deeply concerned to improve his power and influence, for the honour of God and the welfare of his people. Time was when both he and all his people were in a very different condition from that which they enjoyed at this time; he being persecuted and driven by Saul, “as a partridge upon the mountains ;" and they being overrun and conquered by the Philistine armies". But now the whole kingdom being consolidated and enlarged, and all their enemies being subdued, he was desirous of building a temple to the Lord. That honour, however, having been denied to him, and transferred to his son, he in this chapter exhorts his son to prosecute the work with becoming zeal; and, because his son was yet tender,” he urges all the princes of the realm to aid him to the utmost of their power. He mentions what preparations he had made for the work, having amassed in gold and silver, at the lowest computation, eighteen millions of our money, besides materials of wood and stone and brass and iron to an immense extent; and at the same time having engaged the most skilful artificers in every department; so that nothing remained, but that they should commence the work the very instant that his son should succeed to the throneb. But, as they could not hope for the divine blessing unless they should consecrate themselves in the first instance to God, he entreats them now, without delay, to “set their heart and their soul to seek the Lord their God."
a 1 Sam. xxxi. 7.
And have not we a temple to build ; a temple that shall be “exceeding magnifical,” not only "of fame and glory throughout all countries," but comprehending within its walls every nation upon earth? And are not glorious preparations made, such as never since the establishment of Christ's kingdom in the world were seen before ? Societies without number are on foot amongst every body of Christians, for the diffusion of light and knowledge, both amongst Jews and Gentiles, in every quarter of the
globe Who sees not how greatly the face of things is altered, even within a very few years, in the Christian world? Religion, instead of being frowned upon to the extent it once was, is honoured ; and, instead of being driven into a corner, is spread over the face of Christendom, with a rapidity which but a few years ago could not have been anticipated. And, as “ Tyrians and Zidonians" contributed to David “their cedars and their workmen," so now, Hindoos and Heathens are co-operating with us in the good work; and, to change the metaphor," the fields are already white unto the harvest." Now," then, is the time for all to “seek the Lord.” As far as our personal interests are concerned, this duty is equally seasonable at all times: but for the interests of God's Church the present season is peculiarly propitious; because an union of all Israel, both of “princes” and of people, is in progress; and by such combined efforts we may hope to advance this great and blessed work.]
With a special view to these things, we proceed to notice, II. The injunction itself—
Two things are here pointed out :
b Cite ver. 145, 14–16.
(We must “seek the Lord our God.” We must seek his favour; for without that we can do nothing, to any good purpose. But let us seek it in his appointed way, by faith in his dear Son
“ Christ is the only way to the Father, nor can any come acceptably to God, but by him, and through him."
We must seek his direction also, without which we are sure to err.
The Israelites in the wilderness did not need the guidance of the pillar and the cloud more than we. therefore, watch its motions; and beg of God that we may have at all times that promise fulfilled to us, “The meek he will guide in judgment, the meek he will teach his way."
His glory, too, we must seek. We must on no account be acting with a view to our own honour or interest, but simply and entirely to the honour of our God. And this principle we must carry into the minutest actions of our lives: “ Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we must do all to the glory of Gode."
In a word, we must seek in all things His final approbation. To be applauded of men will be of little avail to us, if in the last judgment we be condemned by our God. We must proceed in the way of duty, whatever man may either say or do: and to obtain the plaudit of our God, “Well done, good and faithful servant!" must satisfy us, whatever we may sacrifice for his sake, or whatever we may suffer.] 2. In what way we are to prosecute it
[We are not to engage in the Lord's work with a stupid indifference; but to embark in it, even as David did, with
our whole heart and our whole soul?.” It is thus that God interests himself for his people: and shall we do less for him, than he us? The work which we have to do is “
our very life8:" and on the manner of prosecuting it depends our whole success. We must " set our heart and our soul to ith;” and, like Joshua, determine, that, though all other people should dissent from
- In this we may learn even from the wicked. They, many of them at least, have “ their heart fully set in them to do evil,” and they do it “ with both hands earnestlyi:" and we, also, must" with full
purpose of heart cleave unto the Lordk,” and “ be steadfast and immovable, and always abounding in the work he has assigned us!."]
c John xiv. 6. d Ps. xxv. 9. See also Isai. xxx. 21. e 1 Cor. x. 31.
f Jer. xxxii. 41. & Deut. xi. 18. and xxxii. 46, 47.
h Deut. iv. 29. i Eccl. viii. 11. and Mic. vii. 3.
k Acts xi. 23. 11 Cor. xv. 58.
1. Avail yourselves of the opportunities afforded you for public usefulness
[Verily, these are days in which it is an inestimable privilege to live. The facilities afforded for the exercise of piety and benevolence are altogether unprecedented. The poorest, as well as the rich, may contribute to the building of God's spiritual temple, and by their prayers may prevail to an unknown extent. And our encouragement is great. There is already a dawn of a very glorious day; and we see the drops that precede an abundant shower. Spread then your sails, now that the wind is favourable: and in whatever department of God's work you are employed, set your heart to it, and “do it with all your might.”]
2. Begin with a surrender of your whole souls to God
[All acceptable service to God must begin within our own bosoms. If our religion begin not at home, we shall be only like the builders of Noah's ark, who prepared for others a deliverance of which themselves did not partake. The Macedonians were commended by St. Paul especially for this, that whilst they exercised benevolence towards others with unrivalled zeal," they first gave their own selves to the Lord m." This is what we also must do: and this we shall do, if our hearts be right with God: we shall, each for himself, and all in concert, determine to “go and seek speedily the Lord of hosts:" and, when we exhort others to that good work, we shall, “ every one of us, be forward to say, I will go also"."]
m 2 Cor. viii. 3-5.
n Zech. viii. 20—22.
DAVID'S ADVICE TO SOLOMON.
.1 Chron. xxviii. 9. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the
God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts : if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
WHATEVER may have been their own conduct through life, it is the wish of most men in a dying hour, that their children should walk in the ways of
probity and honour. But men of piety have higher views : they wish their children not merely to pass through this world with credit, but to obtain happiness beyond the grave. The advice of David in the words before us, is precisely such as every religious parent would wish to give to his surviving family. Let us observe, I. The advice here given
The occasion was most solemn. David had desired to build a temple for the Lord, but was forbidden; and was directed to devolve that office on his son Solomon. All the princes and great men of the nation were convened to assist at the solemnity : and in the presence of them all did David direct his son, 1. Whom to seek
[The terms here used have doubtless a peculiar force. David does not say to his son, “ Know thou the God of Israel ;” but “ Know thou the God of thy father;" by which expression he evidently called the attention of Solomon to the character of Jehovah as exemplified in all his dealings towards him: it is as though he had said, “Know thou that sovereign God, who chose me above all to rule his people Israel Know that almighty God who, in all my dangers from Saul or other enemies, has preserved me to the present hour Know that merciful God who forgave me all my great transgressions in the matter of Uriah - and that faithful God who has fulfilled to me all his great and precious promises, in raising up thee to sit on my throne, and to build a temple to the Lord
“ Know" this God: study his character as displayed in all his conduct towards me: acquaint thyself with him in the most intimate and endearing manner: and seek him as thy friend, thy portion, thine eternal great reward! But remember that it is in Christ only that this character of God can be fully seen
Seek then to know God as reconciled to you in the Son of his love; and let “this God be your God for ever and ever.”] 2. How to serve him
[Integrity of heart is indispensable in all who would serve their God aright. Absolute perfection is not to be expected by fallen man: but that measure of perfection which consists in a total freedom from all guile, not only may, but must,