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composed his soul, alleviated his grief,
He had been dwelling in imagination on the house of God;-he had been praying, as it were, for the wings of a dove, that his soul might fly to it and be at rest; and the very impossibility of reaching it, only serves to increase his desires, and inflame his love. Often had the Psalmist of Israel rejoiced, when he beheld the tabernacles of the Lord of hosts. Often had every pious feeling of his soul been roused when he approached them. Often had he been elevated, as it were, from earth to heaven, when he entered their doors, and appeared in the presence of his Maker! But never did this seem so precious, so lovely in his estimation, as now when deprived of this delightful privilege. Perhaps he thought that God had
thus afflicted him, and banished him from his sanctuary, for not having sufficiently prized and valued his former advantages; and he wished and resolved to be more warm and fervent in his future devotions. He seems here to have mourned over his situation, as on a former occasion, when he exclaimed, in these plaintive strains, “ As the hart panteth after the water“ brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, “ O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for “ the living God. When shall I come and appear
before God in Sion !" Corresponding with these expressions of David, will be the sentiments of
every devout Christian at all seasons, but especially when, like him, debarred by distress from the house of God, and the ordi. nances of religion. Distress, my brethren, can melt the hardest heart, and produce lively sentiments of devotion in breasts that were almost, if not utterly devoid of it before. Distress draws us from the world, and brings us near to God. It shews that in ourselves we are mean and weak that without God we are nothing; and that without Christ we are worse than nothing: we are wretched. And if, in the
hour of affliction and exclusion from God's sanctuary, even the heart of the pious David could reproach him with former coldness, what ought to be the feelings of many professing Christians of the present day in a similar situation? How often have they entered into the house of God without one emotion of awe or delight? How often have the souls of their fellow Christians ascended on the wings of fervent prayer to heaven, while theirs lingered cold and listless behind ? How often has Jesus laboured, by the mouth of his servants, to recall them from their wanderings, and to bring them back to the green pastures and still waters of religion; while their minds, engaged by the frivolous vanities of earth, disregarded his entreaties? But those whom the invitations of the Saviour could not move, the frowns of heaven may awe. Then may the tabernacles of God, that before had no charms for them, appear truly amiable. Then may they long to behold them again. Happy if God grant their desire; happier still, if, when they return to his house, they return to God himself, and
do not forfeit, by renewed and redoubled ingratitude, his mercy for ever.
Reflect all of you, my friends, even the most pious and devout among you,
that however much you may now love and prize the house of God, you will love and prize it much more, when, by distress or accident, you are from it debarred. Improve, therefore, the precious opportunities you now enjoy, and when; in the season of affliction, your soul burns with the desire of again beholding the amiable tabernacles of the Lord of hosts, he will hear your prayers, as he did those of his servant of old, and bring you once more to the place where his honour dwelleth.
VERSE 2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
In the warm and genial climes of the East, the mind and body possess a degree of delicacy and sensibility, to which we are in a great measure strangers. Their joys and their griefs are more exquisite than those of which we, in these colder regions, are susceptible. Many of you, my brethren, I doubt not, when debarred
by distress from the house of God, have longed to revisit that sacred place. But where is the man that could adopt the language of David in all its
and say, “ My soul longeth, yea, even faint“eth, for the living God.”
But though the frame of our minds should not, at all times, permit us to adopt this glowing and animated language, yet the colder temperature, both of our climate and constitution, is not to be regarded as any apology for insensibility and lukewarmness in the exercises of religion. For, be it remembered, that we live under a more perfect dispensation than the Psalmist, and enjoy a much greater measure of light and of love. These superior advantages ought to have a suitable effect on our feelings, and to warm the coldest heart with corresponding emotions.
Did David, when driven from his capital by the unnatural conspiracy of Absalom, when stripped of his kingdom and crown, when obliged to fly from place to place with a few faithful adherents, and exposed to constant danger from every quarter, did he seem to forget all these