David Black.

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to renounce kindred, country, friends, com-
forts, — every thing, in short, which the
world holds dear, at the command of him
whose we are, and to whom we owe our e-
verlasting all. Only let the grace of Christ
be sufficient, and his strength made perfect
in our weakness, and love will make pain
easy, and labour delightful.

3. To animate us to the exercise of pure
and disinterested zeal, let us recal to our
minds the example of the best and holiest
men who have lived in past ages.

All seek their own, says the apostle, not
the tilings which are Jesus Christ's — and
too much cause has there been for the same
complaint in every period of the church.
But, blessed be God, there have been, and
still are, many noble examples of the con-
trary spirit. The Lord has not wanted
faithful witnesses to his truth, from the ear-

* Acts xxi. 13.


liest ages of the world, through all succeed-
ing generations, to the present times. Mo-
ses, the renowned lawgiver of the Jews, was
a man on whom the Spirit of God rested in
no common measure ; and for no quality
was this eminent servant of God more dis-
tinguished, than for a noble superiority to
narrow and selfish views. Among many
proofs of this that might be mentioned, it is
recorded of him upon one occasion*, that
when Eldad and Medad, two men who were
of them that were written^ but went not out
unto the tabernacle^ prophesied in the camp;
Joshua, the servant of Moses, offended at
their presumption, proposed that they should
not be allowed to prophecy any longer. My
lord Moses, said he, forbid them. But Mo-
ses, better instructed in the spirit of true
religion, nobly replied, Enviest thoii for my
sake ? Would God that all the Lord's peo-
ple were prophets, and that the Lord would
pat his Spirit upon them. In the same
temper John the Baptist, the forerunner of
our blessed Lord, spoke and acted, when

* Numb. xi. 26—29.


some of his disciples came to him, telhng
him, by way of complaint. Rabbi, he that
r»as with thee beyond Jordan, to zvhom
thou barest witness ; behold, the same bap^
tizeth, and all men come to him. Greatl}'
superior to all their little jealousies, John
answered and said, A man can receive no-
thing, except it be given him from heaven.
Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said,
I am not the Christ, but that I am sent
before him. He that hath the bride is the
bridegroom: but the friend of the bride-
groom, which standeth and heareth him,
rejoiceth greatly because of the bride-
groom's voice : this my joy, therefore, is
fulfilled. He must increase, but I must
decrease *.

But in none was this blessed temper ever
more conspicuous, than in Paul himself, the
apostle whose words we are now consider-
ing. How ardent and disinterested was the
zeal of this great apostle, for the honour of
his Master ! From the time that his Lord

* John iii. 25— SO.

448 DUTY or SEEKING SEll. 14.

met him on his way to Damascus, to the
close of his hte, a period of more than thirty
years, his whole soul was engaged in devis-
ing and carr3'ing into execution schemes for
the advancement of the Redeemer's kino;-
dom. Nor did he seem to * think he had
' done any thing, while any thing remain-
' ed to be done *,' in this glorious warfare.
He spoke — he lived — he acted — he breath-
ed for no other purpose. Sometimes the
apostle met with ungrateful returns from
those w^hose best interests he laboured to
promote ; but even ingratitude itself could
not damp the generous ardour of his love.
Speaking to the Corinthians, he says, I-will
very gladly spend and he spent for you,
though the more abundantly I love you, the
less I should be loved -X- And to shcM' how
far this great man M^as superior to those
narrow selfish views which operate so strong-
ly upon httle minds, he informs us in this
epistle X, that some preachers of the gospel

* Nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum.


t 2 Cor. xii. 15. ± Phil. i. 15—18.


had so far departed from the true spirit of
their office, as to preach Christ even of
envy and strife^ supposing to. add affliction
to his bonds. The apostle does not com-
mend their spiteful spirit ; but in so far as
he himself was concerned, he shews that he
was not in the least affected by it. What
then, continues he, noiTmthstanding every
way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ
is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea,
and will rejoice. In the prosecution of
this arduous work, the apostle was some-
times exposed to incredible dangers and
hardships. But none of these things mov-
ed him, neither did he count his life dear
to himself, that he might finish his course
with joy. Yea, says he, a few verses be-
fore the text *, and if I he offered upon
the sacrifice and service of your faith, I
joy and rejoice with you all.

In these examples, brethren, we see the
power of genuine magnanimity — we behold
the effects of the grace of God upon men

*Phil. ii. 17.
3 E


of the same ilature, and of like passions with
ourseh es ; and by these and similar exam-
ples, we ought to be excited and encoura-
ged in the strength of God, to aim at the
same excellence and dignity of character.

In the Fourth and last place, Let a re-
gard to our own best and eternal interests
determine us to seek the thing's which are
Jesus Christ's in preference to our own.
This, at first view, may appear paradoxical,
that we should be exhorted to consult our
own interest by seeming to overlook and
neglect it. But this difficulty vanishes at
once, if we recollect, that the highest inter-
est of man is the salvation of his immortal
soul, which forms a part of the things which
are Jesus Christ's ; and that even with re-
gard to our temporal interest, if zve seek
first the kingdom of God and his righte-
ousness, all other things, which are truly
good and necessary for us, will be added
unto us *. This seems to be the import of
our Lord's gracious promise -f; Verili/, I
— »« - — — —

* Matt. vi. 33. f Luke xviii. 29, 30.


say unto i/ou, there is no man that hath
left house^ or parents^ or brethren^ or wife,
or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
who shall not receive manifold more in this
present time, and in the world to come, life

If we simply follow the Lord in the path
of duty, devoting our time and talents to
his service and glory, and minding the in-
terest of his kingdom above every other con-
cern, the power and promise of God are en-
gaged for our temporal support *. We may
be brought into difficult and trying circum-
stances — former friends may frown, or for-
sake us — adverse dispensations of provi-
dence may add to our perplexity and dis-
tress — the cruise of oil, and barrel of meal
may be nearly exhausted, and the means of
future supply may seem to be cut off; — but
they that fear the Lord shall not lack any

* It is remarkable, that God secured the possessions
of the Israelites when their males came up to Jerusalem
to worship three times a-year, and promised that the
heathen should not so much as desire their land at those
times, Exod. xxxiv. 24. Compare Prov. xvi. 7.



thing that is good. Sooner will the Lord
open windows in heaven than suffer any of
his children to be utterly forsaken. Their
bread shall be given, and their water
shall be sure *. And though, for the sake
of Christ and a good conscience, they
may be sometimes called to abandon the
dearest earthly comforts — to take, not only
the spoiling of their goods, but what is
much harder to bear, the loss of their good
name ; — though they may be hated, revil-
ed, and persecuted for Christ's sake — ^}'et
the Lord, who has the hearts of all in his
hands, can, in ten thousand ways, restrain
the wrath of their enemies ; or, if he allow
it in any measure to break forth, he can,
by his wonder-working wisdom, render it
subservient to their greater good. In every
case, and at all events, it shall be well with
the righteous -if. They shall receive ma-
nifold more in the present time — a well-
grounded sense of the divine favour, — peace
with God throuo^h our Lord Jesus Christ —
Fellowship with him in the ordinances of his

■■'^ Isa. xxxiii. 16. f Isa. iii. 10.


grace — the indwelling of the Holj Spirit —
the testimony of an approving conscience
— and the joyful reviving hope of heaven.
These are sufficient to compensate the loss
of all earthly comforts, and to preserve the
soul steady and serene amidst the raging
billows of adversity. If God be for us, who
can be against us ? If the Almighty be our
friend, our protector, and our guide, what
have we to fear from the malice of men, or
the rage of devils ? In foreign lands and dis-
tant climes, as well as when surrounded
with our families and friends, our compas-
sionate Saviour will be near to comfort us.
His presence can cheer the gloom of soh-
tude, remove the apprehension of danger,
strengthen under the severest suffering, and
overcome the dread of dying.

And no sooner shall our connection with
things seen and temporal be dissolved, than
we shall find m the world to come, life e-
vcrlasting. Them that honour Christ, he
will honour. Our seeming losses for his
sake will then be found to be unutterable
gain. Thei/ that be wise shall shine as the



brightness of the firmament ^ and they that
turn many to righteousness, as the stars for
ever and ever *. Even a cup of cold wa-
ter given to a disciple, in the name of a dis-
ciple, shall in no wise lose its reward -f*. Our
gracious Redeemer will not forget our work
of faith and labour of love. His own infinite
merit, it is true, will appear in that day to be
the only ground of hi.s people's title to the hea-
venly inheritance ; but the works which have
been performed under the influence of his
blessed Spirit, he will acknowledge and re-
ward, not, indeed, as the cause of his love to
them, but as the evidence of their love to
him. The meanest and most despised of
his humble followers he will welcome into
his blissful presence with these transporting
words. Well done, good and faithful ser-
vant, enter thou into the joy of thy
Lord J.

Animated by these glorious hopes, Be-
loved, seek not great things for yourselves,

* Dan. xii. 3. f Matth. x. 42.

X Matt. XXV. 21.


hut seek the things which are Jesus
Christ's. Be diligent, that ye he found
of him in peace, without spot, and hlame-
less at his coming. Occupy your talents
till your Lord come. Be stedfast, immove-
able, always abounding in the work of the
Lord : forasmuch as ye know that your
labour is not in vain in the Lord *.

Such, then, are the encouraging motives
which ouo-ht to determine us to cultivate
and exercise that noble and disinterested
zeal, the nature and principles of which I
have endeavoured to explain. The appli-
cation of this subject to the occasion of our
present meeting, is abundantly obvious. In
seeking the things which are Jesus Christ's,
it is impossible to avoid turning our thoughts
to the miserable condition of a great por-
tion of the human race, who are sitting in
darkness, and in the region of the shadow
of death : wretched slaves of the most ab-
ject superstition, and sunk in the most de-

* Jer. xlv. 5. 2 Pet. iii. U. Luke xi>:. IS.
1 Cor. XV. 58.


grading vices. A benevolent mind cannot
iriew this object with indifference. A Chri-
stian heart cannot think of it without the
tenderest pity. The gospel is evidently fit-
ted and designed to become a universal
blessing. It has nothing in its nature local
or limited. But its progress and extension
have hitherto been lamentably retarded,
not by the malice and w ickedness of its open
foes, but by the criminal sloth and negli-
gence of its professed friends, by the almost
universal prevalence of the spirit which the
apostle here condemns, of sctking our own
things, in preference to the things which
are Jesus Christ's. $f^-

Brethren, are we verily guiltless in this
matter ? If we except the Moravians, who
have for many years patiently laboured in
the field of Missions, and some particular
exertions made by respectable and long-
established societies in Eni!:land, and in our
own country, have not all denominations of
Christians among us been shamefully defi-
cient in employing the means which provi-
dence hath put into our hands, of spread-


ing the gospel throughout the world ? In-
stead of hastening with generous emulation,
to the aid of the heathen, we have gone,
one to his farm, and another to his merchan-
dise ; or we have wasted our zeal in bitter
contentions about the modes and forms of
religion, while our poor fellow-sinners have
been passing into the eternal world by hun-
dreds and thousands, without one effort
made to save them. Blessed be God, a
more excellent spirit hath of late appeared
in the Christian world. — May it continue
and increase still more and more ! The
friends of the Redeemer, of different deno-
minations, pitying the condition of the mil-
lions around them, who are perishing for
lack of knowledge, have either among them-
selves, or in conjunction with other Chri-
stians, formed associations for the purpose
of sending the gospel to the heathen ; and
though partial failm'es and discouragements
have attended their pious efforts, in no in-
stance have they proved altogether unsuc-
cessful. On the contrary, the dispensations
of God's providence have, in many cases,
wonderfully concurred with his faitlifal pro-

458 DUTY or SEEKING SJEIl. l4;

mises^ to animate the zeal, and stimulate
the patient persevering endeavours of those
who, out of love to Christ and perishing
souls, have engaged in this noble cause.
The Society, in whose name I now address
you, has no separate interest in view. It
most cordially co-operates with every socie-
ty, and every individual that holds the great
essentials of Ghristianitv, and desires to
promote the salvation of the heathen. It
seeks the advancement of no sect or party,
but the common interest of the Redeem-
er's kingdom. It apprehends no danger
from any interference with those who are
labouring in the same cause, for here there
is employment for thousands and ten thou-
sands more, could so many be found will-
ing and qualified to engage in so glorious a
service. The harvest indeed is great, for
the Jield is theworkV^.

With confidence,, therefore, I solicit your
countenance and aid on this occasion. If
you are seeking the things which are Jesus

* Matt. xiii. 38.


Christ's — if you are anxious to know how
you may contribute to tlie success of the
gospel, and the honour o£ Jesus' name, em-
brace the opportunity which is now afford-
ed you, of promoting these objects. De-
vise liberal thitigs. Honour the Lord with
tliij substance, and with the Jirst fruits of
all thine increase *'. Many of you know,
that a favourable opening for the spread of
the gospel, has lately occurred in a distant
part oi' the Russian empire, whither two
Missionaries, sent out by this society, have
gone, in whose ability and zeal we have rea-
son to place the most entire confidence. The
Lord has hitherto smiled upon this under-
taking. By means of the unexpected friend-
ship of a Russian Nobleman, in a high offi-
cial department, our Missionaries have ob-
tained, not only the protection,, but the fa-r
vour of tl}e Russian government. For this
singular blessing, which, under God, can-
not fail greatly to facilitate the object of
pur wishes, let our thanks this day ascend
to the Father of mercies, who hath thus ia,r

* Isa. xxxii. 8. Prov. iii. 9.


exceeded our most sanguine hopes. But in
such a situation, the labours of one or two
missionaries are not sufficient. The place
is centrical. The state of the surrounding
countries, in a moral and religious view, is
deplorably wretched. Their misery strongly
solicits our aid, — it cries, even from that
distant region, Cojne over and help us *.
And, for your encouragement, my Friends,
and to excite your thankfulness, I have the
satisfaction to inform you, that some have
been found ready to obey the call, provid-
ed you will furnish them with the means of
carrying their benevolent purpose into exe-
cution. And is there a lover of Christ in
this assembly, Avho does not burn with the
desire of lending his aid to this good work ?
How small a sacrifice is it to part with a lit-
tle of your superfluous wealth — nay, to de-
ny yourselves in some lawful indulgence for
the sake of Christ, and the eternal salvation
of your perishing fellow-creatures. Shew,
then, the ardour of your love, by the cheer-
fulness with which you give on this occasion
^ccoi'ding as God hath prospered you -f-.

■■ Acts xvi. 9. f 1 Cor. xvi. 2.


And let your prayers, as well as alms asr-
ceud for a memorial before God. Pray for
the extension of the Mediator's kingdom. — .
Pray for a blessing on the means employ-
ed for that purpose.: — Pray for the ministers
of the everlasting gospel, in every part of
the world, and that the great Lord of the
harvest would be pleasedy from time to time,
to send faithful labourers into his liar-
vest ^^. Finalli/, Brethren, pray for iis^
that the zoord of the Lord may have free
course and be glorified f, that a great door,
and effectual, may be opened, for the preach-
ing of the gospel in every land J, tliat men
may be blessed in Christ, and all nations

call Ilim blessed \\ Blessed be the Lord

God, the God of Israel, who only doth
wondrous things. And blessed be his glo-
rious name for ever : and let the whole
earth be filed with his glory. Amen, and

* Matth. ix. 38. f2 Thess. iii. 1.

$ 1 Cor. xvi. 9. II Psal. lxxii.17,

§ Psal. Ixxii. 18, 19.



2 Samuel xxiii. 5,

Although my house he not so with God,i/et
he hath made with me an everlasting co-
venant, ordered in all things, and sure ;
for this is all my salvation, a)id all my
desire, although he make it not to grow.

W E are naturally disposed to be more
than ordinardj attentiv^e to the words of
dying persons, of those, especially, whose
lives have been remarkable for piety and
■usefidness. Every expression that drops from
their lips in these solemn circumstances, is
watched with peculiar care, and the solem-

sER. 15. sirppojiT IN, Sec. 463

nity of the occasion gives dignity and weight
to all that they say. Here, then, we have the
dying testimony of an eminent saint, to the
reality and comfort of true religion ; the
testimony of one who had passed through
various, scenes, and had experienced singu-
lar vicissitudes in his lot, who had seen the
world in very different aspects, having been
imcommonly elevated, and depressed by

David had been much exercised in the
school of adversity. Before his advance-
ment to the throne, he endured a long and
severe persecution from Saul, his blood-
thirsty and implacable enemy. But the
latter part of his life was attended with trou-
bles still more insupportable than any he
had fonnerly experienced. After his la-
mentable fall, the bitter remembrance of
which seems never to have left him, what a
scene of calamity does the history of David
present! How rapidly does one affliction
succeed another, threatening to overwhelm
his soul! The defilement of Tamar — the
wickedness and murder of Amnon— the re-

464 s rrp p^ u t i x se r . i 5;

bcllion and death of Absalom — and the
treason of Adonijah, were trials peculiar in
their nature, and that could not fail great-
ly to embitter the old a^-e of this venera-
ble servant of God.

Behold then, David, at the close of a busy
life, bowed down with years and infirmities,
oppressed with heavy and complicated trou-
bles, yet encouraging himself in the Lord
his God, rising superior to the afflictions of
life, and deriving from the covenant of his
God the stronirest consolation. Altlious^h
niij house be not so with God — though there
are many circumstances in my family, which
are matter of vexation and trouble to me at
this moment ; though my children have
proved neither so pious nor so prosperous as"
I could have Avished, yet here is my com-
fort, God hath inade with me an everlasting
covenaufj ordered in all things and sure :'
for this is all my salvation and all my de-
sire, although he jnahe it not to grow.

My Brethren, David's case is not singu-
lar : Many are the afflict iojis of the righ-

SER. 15. god's covenant. 465

teoiis. The heart knoweth its own hitter-
7iess. Personal and domestic troubles, in a
greater or less degree, are the common lot
of man. There are none who have lived for
any time in the world, who have not drunk
of the cup of sorrow. Happy are they who
have the covenant of God to support them.
This is a never-failing source of consolation ;
a balm for the afflicted soul, suited to eve-
ry possible case ; an anchor of hope, suiTi"
cient to keep the mind steady and serene,'
amidst the rao-ino; billows of adversitv.

In this discourse, I propose,

I. Shortly to explain the nature and foun-
dation of the covenant which God makes
with his people.

II. To consider the properties of this co-
venant, that are mentioned in the text. It
is everlasting, ordered in all things, and
sure. And,

III. To ponit out the comfort which
an interest in this covenaiit is suited


46"b' SUPPOIIT IN" SER. 15.

to impart, under every kind and degree
of trouble, particularly in the near and
immediate prospect of death and eternity.
It is nil my salvation^ said David, and alt
my desire,

I. Let us attend to the nature and foun-
dation of the covenant -which God makes
with his people.

The covenant, of which David speaks in
the text, can be no other than the covenant
of grace — that dispensation of it, I mean,
under which David lived, and which direct-
ed his hopes and wishes to nobler objects
than any that this world could bestow. No
other covenant but this partakes of the pro-
perties that are here mentioned : nor could
David have rejoiced in it as all his salvation
and all his desire, had riot Christ been the
substance of it, who is the desire of all na-
tions^ and God's salvation to the e?ids of the

For explaining this part of the subject, it
is necessary to observe, that the gospel, or

6ER. 15. god's covenant. 467

the covenant of grace (for the terms are e-
quivalent) was revealed to man, as soon as
he became a falien guilty creature. At the
very same time that God denounced the
doom of our first parent?;, he disclosed the
means of their recovery, in the gracious
promise of the seed of the woman that
should bruise the serpent^'s head. This was
the first great promise on which the belie-
vers, in the antediluvian world, rested their
hopes of salvation. Afterwards, the gospel
was still more clearly preached to Abra-r
ham, wlien God was pleased to enter into
co\'enant with him, and to promise, that in
him, even in his seed, all the nations of the
earth should be blessed. This is the pro-
mise made to Abraham, of which the apos-
tle speaks ; by believing in which, Abra-
ham became the Father of the Ikithiul, and
heir of the righteousness which is by iaith.
This covejiant, that was^ confirmed before of
God in Christ, the law (which was four hun-
dred and thirty years after,) could not dis-
annul, that it should make the promise of
none effect. David, therefore, who lived
under the Mosaic, or legal dispensation,



looked for the mercy of God in the same
way with faithful Abraham ; for he aho f/e-
scribeth the blessedness of the man to whom
Godimputeth rigid eousness without works ;
saying. Blessed are they whose iniquities
are forgiven, and whose sijis are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will
not impute sin.

■ There are not different methods of salva-
tion, for persons who have lived in different
places and periods of the world : But the
same method of salvation has been exhibit-
ed from the beginning, under different ap-
pearances. The same grace reigns through
rij:;hteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus
Christ our Lord. It was not a different co-

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