Preached at Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London, on Behalf of the Aged Pilgrims Friend Society, on Thursday Evening, July 24, 1845
"But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord; in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute." Psa. 141:8
There are times and seasons when the language of praise is most seasonable and suitable for a living soul. There are times also when the harp is hung upon the willows, and "the organ," as Job speaks, "is changed into the voice of them that weep;" and then confession, bewailing, and lamentation are suitable and seasonable to the soul. And there are times when the Lord pours out a Spirit of grace and supplications into the heart; and then praying, begging, wrestling, and leading with the Lord are most suitable to the soul. We have no command over ourselves as to what shall be our spiritual state; we cannot put ourselves into a praising, lamenting, or praying frame. For these matters we are absolutely dependant upon "God the Lord," who worketh in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, and bringeth forth that which is according to his own good pleasure. But we may lay this down as a rule generally in consistence with the experience of God's people, that the times of praise with them are very few in proportion to the times of prayer; and that could we sit by their side, when the harp is strung and when the harp is unstrung, we should find that the seasons of prayer and lamentation far exceed in number the seasons of praise and thanksgiving. And thus we find, that the Psalms, which are a manual of Christian experience, bear a similar proportion. If you were to look over the Psalms, and compare the number of those which are psalms of praise with those which are psalms of lamentation or prayer, you would find that the former bear a very small proportion compared with the latter.
The words of the text are not the words of praise; they are the words of prayer; and, being the words of prayer, they are often more suitable and more seasonable to the hearts of God's people than if they were the words of praise. For there are many times and seasons when we can use the words of prayer, and find a sweetness and suitability in them, when the accents of praise would falter upon our stammering lips.
I.--The first petition, though it does not altogether assume the language of prayer, is this, "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord." We will view this as the experience of a child of God. We will not consider it so much David's particular state and case here; but we will endeavour to view it in a more general light, as applicable to the experience of every living soul.
Now observe, first, the character pointed out by the words, "Mine eyes." For who alone has "eyes?" Is it not the living soul; one taught of God the Spirit; one in whose heart the Holy Ghost has begun and is carrying on a gracious work? In fact, before the Lord the Spirit begins this gracious work, we have no "eyes;" we are altogether shut up in nature's blindness, and the very light that is in us, as the Lord said, is but darkness. None, then, but a living soul can use such words as these with real spiritual feeling:
"Mine eyes are unto thee."
But observe, in the second place, the condition of the soul here pointed out. This condition is one of soul poverty, soul exercise, soul distress. So that it is necessary not only to be a living soul, but it is also necessary to be placed by the Spirit in a certain condition, before we can know anything of the experience set forth in the words before us.
But having taken a glimpse of the character and condition implied in the text, let us now look at what is more specially contained in the words themselves: "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord."
1. By "eyes," we may understand three different things as taking place in the soul's experience. First, it may signify the eyes of the understanding; as the Apostle says, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." (Eph. 1:18.) Before divine life enters into the heart and conscience, there is no spiritual light in the understanding. We require therefore a special illumination of the understanding in order to see the things of God; and more especially to see the Person of the Son of God. For, you will observe, our text refers altogether to "God the Lord." Before, then, our eyes can be unto "God the Lord," we must have the eyes of our understanding enlightened to see who this Lord God is. Now, I believe in my heart and conscience that every living soul of God's family is brought to know, believe in, to worship, and to love a Three-One God. There are no--there can be no Arians, or Socinians, in the Lord's living family. The Lord the Spirit leads all his quickened ones into a personal experimental knowledge of, and faith in a Three-One God, by unfolding to their understanding, and opening up to their heart and conscience the sacred mystery of three glorious Persons in one undivided Godhead. For instance; when the Psalmist says, "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord," his eyes were unto God the Father, desiring to experience a measure of the spirit of adoption in his soul, enabling him to cry, "Abba Father;" unto God the Son, as the treasure-house of all spiritual blessings; and unto God the Spirit, as the only teacher and revealer of salvation to the soul.
Thus the eyes of the understanding are not merely enlightened to see the Person of God the Father, but they are enlightened also to see the Person of God the Son. They are enlightened, for instance, to see the Godhead of Jesus; and what a sweet glory is cast into the soul, when the eyes of the understanding see the Godhead shining forth in the Person of Immanuel! And what an infinite preciousness, unspeakable value, and glorious dignity this stamps upon every word and action of a suffering Jesus, when we see the Godhead shining forth through them all! When the eyes of our understanding are also enlightened to see the manhood as united to the Godhead; when we view this mysterious, secret, and indissoluble union; when we trace the human nature of the Lord of life and glory having a distinct existence from, and yet intimately united unto, his glorious and eternal Godhead;--when the eyes of the understanding are thus enlightened to see the union of the infinite Godhead and the finite manhood in one glorious Person, and to view him not only as God, and not only as man, but to view him as the God-Man exalted far above all principality and power, a risen Mediator, a glorious High Priest, an ever-living and ever-loving Advocate, Mediator, Friend, and Intercessor,--what glory and beauty then shine forth in this Immanuel!
But not only are the eyes of the understanding enlightened to see the Person of the God-Man, "Immanuel, God with us:" but they are also enlightened to see the distinct personality of God the Holy Ghost; and not merely brought to see it as revealed in the Scriptures, but to see it in that peculiar indescribable way whereby a living soul only can see it.
2. And this leads me to shew, that not only are there eyes of the enlightened understanding, but that there are also eyes of faith; for we read, "By faith he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Wherever there is spiritual understanding, there must be spiritual faith. The graces of the Spirit are never separated; they are all in blessed and holy union one with another: yet they may be distinct in the matter of personal experience. Thus, sometimes we may see things by the eyes of our spiritual understanding; and yet find faith too weak to embrace that which is thus seen. Nay, when we are in this state, we may even fear lest the portion of Balaam seem to be ours, that we "shall see him, but not nigh." He had his eye upon, but never had faith in the glorious Person of the Son of God. But the Lord gives to his people not merely spiritual eyes of the understanding, but also gives them the eyes of living faith, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And when these new eyes, the eyes of faith, are given, then indeed we see. There is a sweet and solemn looking up of the heart unto the Lord; there is a going forth of faith upon his glorious perfections; there is a gracious internal act of the soul, whereby the person of the God-Man is looked unto, believed in, hoped upon, and cleaved to with purpose of heart. And wherever the soul has had, not merely the eyes of the understanding enlightened, but also has had the eyes, the believing eyes of living faith communicated to it, to lay hold of the Person, blood, righteousness, work, and love of Immanuel, that soul is passed from death unto life, and saved with an everlasting salvation.
3. But there are not only the eyes of the spiritual understanding, and the eyes of living faith; there are also eyes of loving affection. Therefore the Bridegroom says to the Bride, "Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck:" and then, turning to her, he says, "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me." The eyes of the Bride gazed upon the Bridegroom, and cast upon him a languishing look of love. It is so naturally. If there be a beloved child; if there be an endeared wife or husband; if there be a cherished friend, do not the eyes look upon them with tenderness and affection? Can we ever look too much? can we ever look too long? And as the eye rests upon the beloved object, do we not drink in deep draughts of still more tender affection? So spiritually. Wherever the eyes of the understanding are spiritually enlightened, and wherever the eyes of faith look up unto the Lord, there also will be the eyes of affection. And these eyes of affection look up unto the Lord with sensations of the tenderest love; they look up unto him not merely as casting all our hopes of salvation upon him, not merely with admiration of his glorious Person, viewing his surprising majesty and beauty; but also with tender affection and devoted love, flowing forth out of the heart unto him who is "altogether lovely."
If ever I knew what it was to have the eyes of my understanding enlightened, the eyes of my faith opened, and the eyes of my affection looking up to the Lord of life and glory, it was during an illness I had last Autumn. There on my bed I knew what it was, I believe, in the actings of living faith and living affection to be looking up unto "God the Lord." And sweet and blessed indeed was the sight of "Immanuel, God with us," in his beauty, loveliness, and glory. It indeed softened my heart; and I knew a measure of what the Scriptures speak of in those words, "To be spiritually-minded is life and peace." Therefore in describing these things, I speak of what, I hope, the Lord has shewn me, and wrought with divine power in my heart; and from time to time I do know what it is to be able to say, "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord." For I am sure there is no other Object in earth or heaven that we can look to with any hope, or with any confidence; nor is there an object worthy of our heart's affection or trust but "God the Lord." God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, Israel's Three-One God in covenant love and covenant ties, is worthy of, and will claim all the faith, all the hope, all the trust, all the admiration, and all the affection of every believing, hoping, loving heart. And when these blessed realities are brought with divine power into the soul, we are enabled to say, "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord," and to no other.
II.--But this leads me to what we read in the next clause, "In thee is my trust." Now before we can be brought to trust in the Lord, depend upon it, we must have been cut off and cut down from all creature confidence. I am well persuaded in my soul, that as long as we can look to the creature we shall look to the creature; as long as we can hang upon man we shall hang upon man; and therefore it is needful for "God the Lord" to cut us up and cut us off from resting upon the creature in any shape and in any form, in order that our trust may be simple, childlike, and implicit, so as to be wholly and solely fixed upon him.
But what are the ideas connected with the expression trust? "My trust is in thee." Before we can trust a person, must we not know that person! "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee." Must I not, then, have some spiritual and experimental knowledge of God--of this Object that is so trustworthy, before I can trust in him? How can I trust in him whom I do not know? of whose character I am altogether ignorant? I must have some experimental knowledge of God in my soul before I can say, in the language of truth, faith, uprightness, and simplicity, "In thee is my trust." Knowledge, then, experimental knowledge, is the very ground of trust. An experimental knowledge of the true character of God as a covenant God, full of mercy, full of faithfulness, full of lovingkindness and truth; an experimental knowledge of the grace and glory of God the Father; of the Person and work of God the Son, through the teachings and operations of God the Holy Ghost, must be ever the foundation of gospel trust.
Besides that, there is another idea connected with the word "trust," and that is confidence. I may know a person, and believe that he is trustworthy; and yet not have had any such personal experience of his trustworthiness as to confide in him. But when, in addition to my knowledge of him, he has done that for me which has given me a confidence in him, then my trust arises, not from a bare knowledge of his character, but it also springs from a knowledge of what he has done for me. So that all true spiritual trust is composed of these two elements--a knowledge of God, and a confidence in God on account of what he has done for the soul. Now, in order that our trust may be in "God the Lord," we must see him worthy of it. Trust and confidence in God comprehends the Three Persons of the Godhead. When David said, "My eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord," it was to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, Israel's Three-one Jehovah, that his eyes looked. So, when he says, "In thee is my trust," it is, in the same manner, Jehovah the Father, Jehovah the Son, and Jehovah the Spirit, in whom his heart reposed all its childlike confidence. He trusts in the Father, because he has made a "covenant ordered in all things and sure;" because he has chosen him in Christ before the foundation of the world; because he has shewn forth his mercy in the face, Person, work, love, and blood of his dear Son. He trusts in God the Son, because he sees in him everything trustworthy; he views him as having died for his sins; beholds him as having brought in an everlasting righteousness; sees every action and every suffering of the blessed Immanuel stamped with infinite dignity and glory; and feels he can commit his soul into his hands, for he beholds a cursing and condemning law completely fulfilled, the justice and purity of God's character amply satisfied, Satan cast down, dethroned and destroyed, death abolished, and life and immortality brought to light by the gospel. He sees also that he has at the right hand of God the Father an ever-living and ever-glorious Head and Mediator, to plead his cause for him; and to keep him by faith through the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. And thus he sees in the Person of God the Son every thing on which he can repose with the most implicit confidence. And so, with respect to trusting in God the Spirit, who has borne with his manners in the wilderness, whom he has often grieved, but yet who has from time to time brought him back when he had backslidden after idols, melted his soul into penitence and sorrow, smitten the rock that the waters might gush out when his heart felt like an adamant, and led him, with weeping and supplications, to the feet of the Saviour, the exalted and glorified God-Man in his heart's affection--having had this experience of his love and power, he can trust in the Holy Ghost to carry on the work that he has begun till he brings it to full and final perfection.
Thus, when the believer is enabled to say, "My trust is in thee," all his hope, all his confidence, and all his expectations are founded upon the Three-One God, in his distinct personalities, and yet unity of essence. But, as I before observed, before we can come to this spot, "My trust is in thee," we must be thoroughly weaned from the creature; we must be cut off from an arm of flesh; our own righteousness must be dashed to a thousand shivers before our eyes; our wisdom must have become utter foolishness; our strength must have become thorough weakness; we must have felt the misery of our previous idolatries; we must have mourned over our perpetual and unceasing backslidings; and we must have seen in the Lord everything to draw forth the affections and desires of our soul. Thus also before there can be trust in the Lord, there must be secret divine communications from him. So that if there be trust in the Lord, there will be not only a going forth of the soul to him, but there will be a coming down of that very Lord into the soul, enabling it to trust in him. There will be also trials, and promises in those trials; there will be temptations, and deliverances out of those temptations; there will be afflictions, and consolations proportioned to those afflictions; there will be exercises, and relief in those exercises; there will be miseries, and mercies suitable to those miseries. And these things being wrought in the heart, and brought into the conscience by a divine power, there will be strength to trust in the Three-One God, such as the Lord communicates only to those who truly and earnestly seek his face.
But will not this trust be tried? Every thing worthy of trust is tried. The very musket that the soldier carries into the battle is sent to the proof-house before it is thought fit to go to war with; the sword or sabre he wears to fight his country's battles are tested and proved before they are committed to his hand. And will not your trust, if it be spiritual trust, if it be a spiritual weapon to fight your soul's battles, have to be tried too? Is it not "the trial of your faith," and not faith itself, which is "much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire?" Does not James tell his brethren to "count it all joy when they fall into divers temptations, knowing that the trial of their faith worketh patience?" &c. So that wherever there is trust in God, that faith will be tried. If we trust God in providence, there will be things to try that trust; if we trust him in grace, there will be temptations, besetments, perplexities, daily trying that trust, whether it be genuine. If our trust be weak, it will have weak trials to encounter; if it be strong, it will have strong trials to encounter. The back is suited to the burden; and the burden is suited to the back. The trial is proportioned to the faith; and the faith is proportioned to the trial. It is a great point then to come to, to say, "My trust is in thee;" for it is to say, "Thou hast weaned me from the creature; thou hast reduced me to thorough poverty and destitution of spirit; thou hast separated me from creature wisdom and creature strength; I have none other to look to but thee; thou art my only refuge, my only harbour, the only haven of my tempest-tossed soul." So that to be able to look to the Lord solely, and say feelingly, "My trust is in thee," is one of the strongest expressions a child of God can make use of.
III.--He adds another supplication, "Leave not my soul destitute." His soul then knew what it was to be destitute; he had known the misery of beggary and soul poverty. It was not with him as natural poverty is with the rich, a matter of speculation, a mere matter of theory; but a matter of personal and painful experience. He knew what it was to be destitute; and feeling the misery and wretchedness of being thus destitute, when he was favoured with his eyes being unto the Lord, he was enabled to say, with tenderness and implicit submission, "My trust is in thee." He was looking to the Lord, then, to obtain from him that which his soul was most specially bent upon, that upon which his heart was most intently fixed: "Leave not my soul destitute."
Now there are two seasons chiefly, or rather, two stages of experience when this prayer becomes suitable. In early days, before the Lord has much blessed the soul with manifestations of his kindness and favour, the eyes of the understanding are often enlightened to see what mercy, pardon, and the grace of God are; and though the soul is not yet fully cut off from the creature, the arm of self-righteousness broken, nor the idol of fleshly wisdom dethroned; yet the mercies, the visits, the enjoyments that the Lord favours his people with, are not powerfully brought into the heart. But this experience leads the soul to know what it is to be feelingly destitute. There is this conviction wrought in the heart, "If I have not the pardon of sin manifestly communicated, I must die in my sins; if I have not the love of God shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost, I have no testimony that the Lord loves me personally; if he do not answer my prayer; if he do not apply his word; if he do not bring home his promises; if he do not bless me with the sweet manifestations of his everlasting favour, I am undone," "I know," says the needy soul, "I cannot procure these things myself; yet I know that I must perish without them." Now one in this state of experience knows what destitution is, and can therefore say, "Lord, leave not my soul destitute." It is in the margin, "Make not my soul bare;" "Strip me not of every hope; leave me not completely naked; abandon me not to nature's beggary and misery; let me not go down into the pit with all my sins upon my head; leave not my soul destitute of pardon and peace."
One prayer, then, is of this nature. But there is another of a more matured kind. When the Lord has in some measure blessed the soul, and given it a knowledge, not merely of what grace is in the word, but what grace is in the heart; when not merely his favour is seen in the Scriptures, but has shone as a matter of personal experience into the conscience;--when this is not in present feeling, the soul is obliged to cry, "Leave me not destitute." The soul in this state is like one who has been what is called 'well to do in the world,' and then been stripped of all; who has known the comforts of opulence and then been reduced to the extreme of poverty. This is a far worse state than to have been born and bred poor. The nobleman reduced to bankruptcy, the wealthy banker compelled to beg for a livelihood, must needs feel the sharp pangs of poverty far more keenly and acutely than he who was born in a workhouse, and cradled in the depth of natural indigence. So spiritually. If the soul has tasted that the Lord is gracious; if it has felt anything of his kindness and mercy; if it has enjoyed his favour like dew upon the grass, must it not feel more keenly the deprivation of these things than if it had never personally experienced them? So that, when the Lord withholds his presence, does not drop in his favour, nor shed abroad his testimonies within, then the cry will go forth, "Leave not my soul destitute."
Now you may depend upon it that every living soul is brought to this conclusion that he is utterly destitute, except so far as God the Spirit has done something for him, or as God the Spirit is doing something in him. For I am convinced in my own heart, that the Lord brings all his people to this spot, to know that they have nothing spiritually but what he gives them, feel nothing but what he works in them, and are nothing but what he makes them. The Lord has enlightened the eyes of their understanding to see what his grace, mercy, and favour are; he has taught them what his manifestations are, and shown them that his visitations, and his visitations alone, preserve their spirit. It is not their piety, resolutions of amendment, nor profession of religion that can make up for heavenly manifestations of divine favour. No; these things condemn them often more than sin; for they make them appear more like varnished hypocrites. But being in a measure honest and sincere, they cannot bear to think that they should be hypocrites, have a name to live while dead, and thus perish with a lie in their right hand. Thus they know what the Psalmist says, "Leave not my soul destitute." The cry and breathing of his soul was, that the Lord would bless him with some manifestations of his goodness; that he would cause his favour to rest upon him like the dew upon the branch; that he would shed abroad his everlasting love in his soul, and fill him with joy unspeakable and full of glory; that he would come down into his heart in his precious, blessed, and manifestive mercy, and make him like a hind let loose, or like a watered garden, prepared unto every good word and work. When he has not this, when the Lord withdraws himself, when there is no answer to prayer, when there is no special teaching and power of the Lord, when all is dark within and gloomy without, when his soul sinks thus into the depths of creature wretchedness and poverty, then he cries, "Leave not my soul destitute."
Now, there are many things that a living soul is panting after, the deprivation of which makes it feel destitute. One is, the fear of God. When we see (as we do see sometimes) what snares are spread for our feet--when we know, as we painfully know, daily know, the workings of our dreadfully depraved and corrupt nature, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life--when we feel this infernal trinity all struggling for the mastery, and fighting against a Three-One God--do we not want (I at times deeply do) to feel the fear of the Lord at work in our souls, as "a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death?" When we see our weakness, when we know our frailty, and that we are walking in the midst of gins and snares; when our wicked heart is going out after every imagination of evil; when nothing seems to be too base for us to do, or too vile for us to desire, will there not be at such times a cry to the Lord, as there was with one of old, that he would keep us from evil, that it may not grieve us, and so our heart might be made tender in the fear of the Lord?
Again, when we feel full of unbelief, unable to muster a single grain of faith, or are exercised, harassed, and perplexed by the vilest temptations to infidelity, do we not then want, as the Lord raises up the desire in the heart, to be blessed with a living faith? and when we have not this, do we not often feel destitute? And do not our hopes sometimes sink very low? Are not our evidences often beclouded? Do not the testimonies of the Lord sink out of sight? Are not past feelings and favours covered with a thick cloud, so that we can scarcely think the Lord will visit our soul in mercy? Do not these feelings make us cry, "Leave not my soul destitute?" And does not sin often lie on the conscience? Do not secret backslidings bring guilt? And do not our inward adulteries and idolatries receive stripes, inward stripes, as their punishment? Does not the feeling of guilt make us long after manifested pardon and the sprinkling of atoning blood to heal the guilty conscience, and purge it from filth and dead works? And when this is withheld, does it not bring us to say, "Leave not my soul destitute?" Are we not also frequently in our feelings without life or love to God's people? without any holy affections, any heavenly-mindedness, any spirituality of soul? Will not this too lead us sometimes to say, "Leave not my soul destitute?" And do we not value sometimes the favour of God more than ten thousand worlds? the testimony of the Spirit more than thousands of gold and silver? and the sweet witness within that we are the children of God more than anything the world can offer? When our witnesses seem to be against us; when the leprosy rises up in our forehead, as in the forehead of Uzzah, and in the face of Miriam, do we not anxiously desire that the Lord would shed abroad his love in our hearts and tell us, with his own peace-speaking lips, that he is our God and Father? And do we not often want to be fruitful in every good word and work, and lament our barren lips and useless lives; lament that we have so little conformity to the crucified Lord, so little separation from the world that lieth in wickedness, so little contrition and meekness of heart, do so little for the Lord, and live so much for ourselves, and so little for his glory? Does not our heart at times desire more conformity to Christ's image? and to walk more simply, more believingly in his blessed footsteps? And when we cannot do these things, but rather do the contrary, will not this be the secret breathing of our soul, "Leave me not destitute?"
But the very cry is a pledge that the Lord will not leave the soul destitute. Strange though it be to us; it is the light that shows darkness; it is life that makes us feel deadness; nay, more, it is fertility and fruitfulness that make us feel barrenness; it is riches that makes us feel poverty; it is God's teaching and presence that make us feel destitution. Look at the dead professor, and hardened presumptuous wretch, with a lie in his right hand. Is he ever crying and groaning to the Lord in the secret corners of the house, on his bed by night, or during his occupation by day, that the Lord would look upon him and bless him, give him a sweet testimony, shed abroad his love in his heart, and lift upon him the light of his countenance? With all his profession, he is unfruitful in every good word and work; like the barren fig tree, he only cumbers the ground; he is but a sapless branch, which the sharp pruning-knife of the husbandman will soon cut away. This very mourning over our barrenness; this very feeling of our inability to do good, is a proof of the life of God in the soul, an evidence of the work of grace in the heart. "Leave not my soul destitute." This is something genuine; this is heart work; these are the footsteps of the flock; these are the leadings and teachings of God the Spirit in the hearts of the redeemed. These things are saving; these things will lead the soul to eternal glory. And he that knows any of these things by personal experience will one day see the glory of the Lord face to face. What do we then know of these things? Can we lay our experience side by side with this experience of the Psalmist, and say, "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord; in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute." Wherever that prayer is, it will bring an answer; and wherever that answer is, there will be matter for everlasting praise. Blessed are the souls that know these things from genuine heartfelt experience. They will shine forth as stars for ever and ever; and when the Lord of life and glory comes a second time without sin unto salvation, then shall they also appear with him in glory.
I had forgotten till a late period of the day that I had to plead the cause of the Aged Pilgrims' Friend Society this evening. The text broke in upon my mind this morning as I was reading the Scriptures; it seemed suitable for this evening, though it was not taken by me with any view to the cause I am to plead for; and yet I could not but afterwards be struck with the connection between them (a connection not sought by me) and the case before us this evening.
It has struck my mind, then, that many (may we not say most?) of these Aged Pilgrims, whose cause I am attempting to advocate, are saying, "Mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord." If they are, as we have reason to hope, partakers of grace; and if they are (as we know they are) bereft of those things which the world makes its god, can they not say, "Mine eyes are unto thee?" If some of these aged saints knew that I was pleading their cause to-night, and if they could look out of their cellars, and garrets, and lonely abodes, and look upon this large congregation, would not their hearts be going out to the Lord that he would open the hearts and hands of his people to contribute to their wants? And if the Lord has brought them down in providence, has he not made them say, "My trust is in thee?" May we not add one little word to the text, (I shall not incur John's condemnation if I do), "leave not my body and soul destitute?" We can do something for the body; we can do nothing for the soul--that we must leave to the Lord. But you and I have to do now with the body. Is it not a mercy to be the Lord's almoners? Look at the mercies you enjoy--the comfortable homes--the food spread upon your table--the many comforts, shall I say luxuries? that some of you can readily procure. Are you not connected with these Pilgrims by a secret bond? If they are, as we have reason to believe--if they are, with you, among the family of God, is there not a mystical union between you and them, though they may lodge in a garret or cellar, and you may live in a house; they may lay on a hard flock bed, and you may sleep on a soft and downy couch? But if the spirit of the Lord is at work in their hearts and in your heart, there are the same spiritual feelings in your souls. You may say, lying on your soft downy couch, "Mine eyes are unto thee;" and they may say, with more feeling than you and I perhaps, from their dark cellars and hard mattress, "Mine eyes are unto thee."
I feel glad to plead for this cause at Zoar. It gave me pleasure to find the managers gave ready permission to have a sermon on their behalf here. It gladdens my heart to see the large congregation--not to hear a poor worm like me--but in the hope that the Lord may in some measure work upon your hearts and open your hands to contribute to their wants. I feel great interest in the Society; I have four pilgrims on their books for whom I have a real sympathy. But I will not attempt to work upon your feelings--I must leave it wholly and solely to the Lord. I shall therefore conclude by reading a paper which the secretary has put into my hands.