Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
e: — Pleasure, or the enjoyment of our heart's desire, being the chief spring of action in man, the due regulation of our pursuits of it must always be of great moment; and whoever addresseth us with an offer of this kind can scarce fail of engaging our attention. Consider, then, how all our pleasures point out to us, and are improved by, a delight in God.
I. Those OF THE SENSES. How wrong are they who take their daily food without thankfulness or desire for God's blessing. See our Lord's example of thanksgiving, and that of St. Paul. But because the example of Confucius may weigh more with some men than that of St. Paul, let me add what is observed of him: that he never ate anything but he first prostrated himself, and offered it to the supreme Lord of heaven. In like manner, Whether we cat or drink, let us do all to the glory of God. This will ennoble and improve our carnal gratifications, and exalt them into religious acts of gratitude and love.
II. THOSE OF THE IMAGINATION. These are chiefly —
1. Beauty. Think of the beauty of the world and who has poured it out upon the creation, Himself, infinitely more beautiful. When we see the sun shine forth in its lustre, and nature appearing in its most advantageous dress, how can we avoid turning our thoughts upwards toward that Being, whose handiwork that sun shows, every field, every flower, contains the most edifying rhetoric to excite in us the love of that Being, who hath clothed the lilies of the field with that elegant simplicity, which was superior to Solomon's pomp, when arrayed in all his glory. But the Christian man must think of Him who has enriched the world with such a profusion of good; has beautified it with such order and harmony, and has ennobled it with such astonishing magnificence.
2. Greatness. We love to behold that which is great, solemn and majestic, and this desire was stamped upon our nature for this very purpose, that we might take delight in contemplating Him, of whose greatness there is no end. Everybody knows we hate nothing more than confinement in a prospect: the soul loves to have a free and unlimited range.
3. Novelty. This excites pleasure. How comes it that we are generally in pursuit of something new; and yet, when we are possessed of it, and the object becomes familiar to us, we cease to care for it. Does not the unsatisfactoriness of things here below admonish us to fix our rest upon Him, who alone can satisfy, and even exceed our wishes? Whom the more we know, the more amiable we shall find Him, and find no end of His perfections.
III. THOSE OF A MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL NATURE. No doubt, our highest affection, in the reason of the thing, is a tribute due to God considered as the highest good. Yet it must also be granted, that dry and abstracted reasons of love operate very faintly, unless we take into the account those affecting considerations of His being our Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and universal Benefactor. For this cause the Scripture tells us, we love God because He first loved us.
IV. THOSE OF HOPE AND EXPECTATION. NOW, present hope is present good; and a certain expectation of future blessings is in some measure a blessing in hand. Hope is the great cordial that must sweeten life, and make the nauseous draught go down. Recreations and pastimes, properly so called (for they serve for no other end but to pass away our time), may soothe the mind into a pleasing forgetfulness of its misery. But nothing can give us an exquisite relish and enjoyment of this life but the hopes of a better through the merits of Jesus Christ.
(J. Seed, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.