And he said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.
I. THE PROMISED PRESENCE OF GOD WITH HIS PEOPLE WILL, SO LONG AS THEY ARE FAVOURED WITH IT, PRODUCE A WIDE DIFFERENCE AND SEPARATION BETWEEN THEM AND ALL OTHER MEN. When God comes to dwell in the soul, He imparts to it a portion, not only of His own views, but of His own feelings. He not only illuminates the understanding with His own light, but, as an apostle expresses it, sheds abroad His love in the heart.
II. THAT IN PROPORTION AS GOD WITHDRAWS THE MANIFESTATIONS OF HIS PRESENCE FROM HIS PEOPLE, THIS DIFFERENCE AND SEPARATION BETWEEN THEM AND OTHER MEN WILL DIMINISH. God is the Sun of the soul. When He favours it with His presence and exerts upon it His influence, it is enlivened and enlightened, and made to glow with love, and hope, and joy, and gratitude. But when He withdraws and suspends His influences, spiritual darkness and coldness are the consequence. Then it is night, it is winter with the soul. In proportion as He thus withdraws from His people, they cease to view Him as a present reality; they cease to have those views, and to exercise those affections, which constitute the grand essential difference between them and other men. Nor is this all. As holy affections decline, sinful affections revive. It remains only to make a suitable improvement of the subject.
1. With this view, permit me, in the first place, to say to each individual in this assembly, Do you know experimentally the difference between the presence and the absence of God?
2. Let me improve this subject, by inquiring whether this Church now enjoys the peculiar presence of God, as it once appeared to do?
(E. Payson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.