HEAVEN OPENED: God is in the Covenant

Taken and adapted from, “Heaven Opened: A Brief and Plain Discovery of the Riches of God’s Covenant of Grace”
Written by Richard Alleine, 1665

Covenant

Good news from heaven!

The Day-spring from on high has visited this undone world! After a deluge of sin and misery, behold the bow in the cloud. The Lord God has made and established a new covenant, and this it is that has cast the first beam on the dark state of lost and fallen man, and has brought life and immortality to light. This covenant is the hope of sinners, the riches of saints, the Magna Charta of the city of God: the forfeited lease of eternity renewed; God’s deed of gift, wherein he has, on fair conditions, granted sinners their lives, and settled upon his saints an everlasting inheritance.

Hear, you forlorn captives, who have sold yourselves to eternal bondage, spoiled yourselves of all your glory, sealed yourselves up under everlasting misery. You are dead in your sins, guilty before God, under wrath, under a curse, bound over to eternal vengeance. But behold, there is yet hope in Israel concerning this thing; the Lord God has had compassion upon you, and has opened a way for you to escape out of all this misery and bondage. Lift up the hands that hang down, strengthen the trembling knees: an ark, an ark has a rod prepared, in which is salvation from the flood; a covenant, a new covenant has he made and established, which, if you lay hold on it, will recover all you have lost, ransom you from death, redeem you from hell, and advance you to a more sure and blessed condition than your original state from which you have fallen. This is the hope of sinners; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.

Glorious tidings, good news indeed! But what is this covenant? Or what is there that is given and granted therein? “Why, in sum, there is all that heaven and earth can afford, all that can be needed or desired; and this, by a firm and irrevocable deed , made over, and made sure to all who will sincerely embrace it.

Particularly, God has in his covenant granted and made over Himself; his Son; his Spirit; the earth; the angels of light; the powers of darkness; death; the kingdom—all the means of salvation.

The Lord God has made over himself in this covenant. This is the great and comprehensive promise: “I will be their God.” Jer. 31: 33. I am God; and what I am is all theirs: myself, my glorious incomprehensible essence, all my glorious attributes, my omnipotence, my omniscience, my wisdom, my righteousness, my holiness, my all-sufficiency, my faithfulness. I will make over myself to them to be henceforth and forever theirs: their Friend, their Portion, their Sun, and their Shield.

Their Friend.

I was angry, but mine anger is turned away; I was an adversary, I had a controversy with them, but I am reconciled; I have found a ransom, the contest is settled, my wrath is appeased, I am their friend: “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. 31: 34. I will take away their iniquity and receive them graciously; “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from them.” Hosea 14: 4. Fury is not now in me; favor and friendship, love and good-will is all they may henceforth expect from me. “Glory be to God on high, on earth peace, good-will towards men!”

Sinners, what is there to be feared, what is there more dreadful, but an angry God? Thence is sorrow and anguish, thence is famine, and pestilence, and sword; thence is death and hell: he does not know what the wrath of God means, who does not see in it all the plagues of earth, and all the vengeance of eternal fire. Whatever terrors or torments have seized upon you—upon your body, upon your soul; whatever losses, crosses, vexations, afflictions, plague you on this earth; whatever horror and anguish, whatever amazing, confounding torments are like to meet you and feed upon you in the lake beneath,  you may say of all, This is the wrath of God. When the Lord says to you, Fury is not in me, he says also, Fear shall be no more to you. The hour the Lord saith, I am your friend, death and hell vanish; the day is broken, the shadows flee away. This is one thing included in the promise, “I am their God”—I am their friend.

Their Portion.

Fury ceases; fears vanish; friendship, favor, life are granted. But what shall the soul have to live upon? Man was never intended to be self-sufficient; he was created under a necessity of dependence on something without him, not only for the continuance of his being, but for the comfort of his being; he cannot live upon the air, though he has escaped the fire: the soul of man is too big for all the world; like Noah’s dove, it can find no rest below; and where shall it find it, or on what shall it subsist? Why, God will not starve his friends; he who has saved their lives will find them a livelihood; he himself will be their portion, their maintenance, and their heritage forever. As their deliverance is from him, so their dependence shall he on him; he is their substance, and on him is their subsistence; he writes himself ” the portion of Jacob,” Jer. 10, 16, and as such his saints accept him, ” The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance,” Psalms 16:5; he is their bread and their water, their stock and their store. The Lord gives portions to his enemies: not only the young ravens, but the old lions and tigers; the worst of men seek their meat from God; they “have their portion in this life, whose belly you fills with your hid treasure.” Psalms 17: 14. They have their portion: some of them have their portion in the city, others a portion in the field; to some he gives a portion of gold, to others a portion of worldly glory, to others a portion of pleasures; with all these he deals as the father of the prodigal, he gives them their portion and sends them away. But while he gives portions to these, He is the portion of his saints: he makes over and settles himself upon them, as their inheritance forever: they shall never be in want while there is fullness in him to supply them; they shall never be in straits while there is power in him to relieve them: all their wants are upon him.

The Lord is their portion, and he is an all-sufficient portion. “With you is the fountain of life.” Psalms 36. “In your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalms 16. The Lord God is all things to them: “In my father’s house there is bread enough, and to spare.” He that has all things below God, but not God, has nothing; he that has nothing besides God, but has God, has all things; enough and to spare; filling up, and running over: there is still more, to be had, if more could be held. The soul has never enough till it has more than enough, is never full till it runs over—never full while it can contain and measure and number all that it has: this is its judgment of all. In God is enough for filling up, and running over; enough there is in him to fill up all their faculties.

Their Understandings.

There are infinitely beautiful perfections on which we may gaze and fill our eyes with unspeakable delight; but when we have looked the furthest into them, when the most searching eye, the most intense thoughts have searched and run their utmost, they come not near the end; they shall look, and look, and see, and see, and when they can reach no further, then they shall wonder at those treasures of light and beauty that are still beyond them. Admiration is the understanding full, and running over: when it is nonplussed, and can reach no further, then it wonders at what it perceives still beyond it. The apostle tells us that the gospel, which presents God in flesh, has in it a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, Eph. 3: 18, and I may tell you from him, it is a height without top, a depth without bottom, a length without limits, a breadth without bounds; in one word, immensity; unmeasurable, and therefore unspeakable, unsearchable glory. While the blind world deride and despise the portion of the saints, looking on God and all the things of God as shallow things that have no depth in them, they will be found by those who search into them, to be deep things that have no bottom, “The deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2: 10. All the raptures and ecstasies of the glorious joy of the saints in the other world break in upon them from their vision of God.

There is enough to fill up their wills and affections: there is infinite goodness, incomprehensible love, marvelous loving-kindness, unspeakable delights, and glorious joys. “Oh, how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you!” Psalms 31: 19. “Oh, how great is your goodness:” it is the voice of exultation, an admiring word; great beyond expression, great beyond imagination. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him:” it is the voice of a heart leaping for joy, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God which is laid up for his saints. “Laid up; where?” Why, laid up in himself: that is the fountain, that is the treasury; there is love, there is joy, there is satisfaction; our life is hid with Christ in God. “Love the Lord, all you his saints. Bless the Lord, all you his saints. He that is mighty has done for you great things:” Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, God, besides you, what he has prepared for him that waits for him.” Isaiah 64: 4. Or, as it is in the margin, “There has not been heard or seen a God besides you, which doeth so for him that waits for him.”

There is enough to fill up our time: there is admiring work, and praising work for ever; there is matter for love and joy to live and feed upon forever; endless praises, eternal pleasures, everlasting rejoicings, “everlasting joy,” “pleasures for evermore.” There is enough to reward all our labors, and repay all our expenses; there is a full reward. “Fear not, Abraham; I am your shield and your exceeding great reward.” Gen. 15:1. Christian, you shall not serve the Lord for nothing, he will reward you: and it is little in his eyes that you should serve him for corn and for wine, for sheep and for oxen, yes, for the crowns and kingdoms of this world; these shall not be your hire; the everlasting God will be your reward, your exceeding great reward; exceeding not your work only, but your very thoughts also. A little is too much for your earnings, but the whole world is too little for his bounty. Less than nothing might satisfy for your labors, but less than himself will not satisfy for his love: the eternal God will be your reward. Oh, the unsearchable riches of the poorest of saints. Poor; what, and yet Have a God? In want; what, and yet Have all things? Is he God that is your, and are you still in dire straits? Would a few sheep and oxen, vineyards and olive-yards make you a rich man, and can God leave you a beggar? Is not a pearl more than pebbles; milk and wine better than mud and water? Men use to say, Money is all things—meat, and drink, and clothes, and friends, and land—virtually all things. And is not God more than money? Sure he has said to his gold, “you are my god,” who cannot say, Let God be mine, and then go you your way. Have you a God, and yet are you poor? Nay, further, would the fatness of the earth and the fullness of heaven, if you had both, would it be enough for you? Would corn, and wine, and houses, and lands, and pleasures here, and eternal life hereafter suffice you? And is not God alone as much as all this? Do you want starlight when you have the sun? Is the ocean more full for the rivers that run into it? Or would there be any want there, if all these were stopped and dry? Can they contribute to it which have their rise from it? Has the Almighty God self-sufficiency? Has he not enough to satisfy a poor worm? Is he blessed in himself, and may you not be blessed in him? He that thinks anything less than God will suffice, understands not a soul; and he that wants anything more, understands not God. God alone is as much as God and all the world; and this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, God is their portion.

If enough be not yet said, look awhile, and consider from where you are taken up into this blessedness. What have you left! What an exchange have you made!  You were taken with the prodigal from the trough, with the beggar from the dunghill, yea, as a brand out of the burning; there your lot had fallen. Oh, where have you left the rest of the world? Blessing themselves in vanity, pleasing themselves with shadows and apparitions, feeding on ashes, warming themselves at their painted fire, sporting themselves with the wind, rejoicing in a thing of nothing: their crackling thorns, their flattering pleasures, their drinkings and dancings and roarings, their horses and their dogs, their hawks and their harlots; making a time to make merry with these while they are hastening to the pit, to that fire and brimstone which is the portion of their cup.

Consider, what is the chaff to the wheat? What is a comet to the sun? What is the night to the day? What are bubbles and children’s toys to the durable riches? What are things that are not, to him whose name is I AM? But Oh! What are death and wrath and the curse, which were once all your heritage, to that life and love and peace and joy and glory, which you now possess in that God who is your portion? What a poor wretch were you once, when you had nothing but sin and shame and misery that you could call your own. These  you might call your—sin was your, woe was your, death and the grave and the curse and the pit were your own; but that was all  you had: your good things  you lived upon, had they been of ever so great value, were none of your; your house and your lands are none of your; your gold and your silver and your substance are none of your; they are all but borrowed, or committed to you as a steward, and all to be given up on demand; and what  you Have spent of them  you must be brought to a reckoning for: a poor wretch  you wert, and had just nothing; for all that you had was not yours.

But now, God is your own, all that he is, all that he has is thine; never could  you lay such a claim to anything  you possessed; not to house, or wife, or child, or body, or soul, as now you may to your God. God is as surely thine as you are yourself: as sure as you are a man, you have a God.

Come, Christian, here is now your portion; the light of thine eyes, the lifting up of your head, the joy of your heart, the strength of your bones, your stock, your treasure, your life, your health, your peace, your rest, thine all: “Whom have I in heaven, but you? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart fails; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Psalm 73: 25, 26. Here is your portion, know it for your good, take it for thine own; live upon it, and. live up to it.

Live upon your portion.

Here you may feed, herein you may rejoice, herein you may bless yourself forever. “Let him that blesses himself on the earth, bless himself in the God of truth.” Let him that rejoices in the earth, rejoice in the God of truth. Let the strong man live upon his strength, let the wise man live upon his wits, let the rich man live upon his lands; but come thou, live upon your God; come, enjoy God and your soul; enjoy God in your soul, enjoy your soul in God.  You Have possession, what should, hinder your fruition? In fruition, the schools tell us, there are three things which go to make it up: knowledge, delight, and satisfaction.

Knowledge.

According to the clearness or cloudiness of our apprehensions of any good, we more or less take the pleasure or comfort of it; and therefore the full fruition of God is not till at last, when we shall know as we are known. Here we see as but in a glass, and darkly; we know but in part, and while we know but in part, we love but in part and joy but in pare; the dimness of our sight makes an abatement of our joy. When the veil shall be taken away, when we shall come to see face to face, then we shall fully feel what it is to have a God. Christian, know you the God of your fathers; the more you know, the more you have.

The carnal world enjoys God not at all; God is not known in their tabernacles: in Judah is God known, his name is great in Israel; at Salem is his tabernacle, and his dwelling in Zion. But what of God in Edom, or Ammon, or Amalek, or Egypt; those dark regions wherein neither sun nor star appears? Leave them to their dunghill gods, to the gardens which they have desired and the oaks which they have chosen. The Lord is before you, know it for your good. Study your God, Christian; roll over his sweetness in your mind, as  you dost the sweet morsel in your mouth see what he is, and what  you Have laid up in him; read over daily his glorious names; walk through those chambers of his presence, his glorious attributes. Look into the chamber of his power, and see what you have laid up for you there. Go into the chamber of his wisdom, and see what that will afford you. Look into the chambers of his goodness, mercy, faithfulness, holiness, and behold what treasures are laid up for you in each of these. Enter into your chambers, they are all thine; let thine eye be there, let your meditation be there, let your soul be there every day; there is your portion, search it out and know it for your good.

Delight.

Fruition is taking the pleasure of what we have. We cannot enjoy what we do not love, and love implies delight. We cannot enjoy that wherein we do not joy. “Delight yourself in the Lord.” Psalms 37:4. “I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” Sol. Song 2:3. If his shadow be so pleasant, what will his sunbeams be? “0 taste, and see that the Lord is good.” Psalms 34: 8. Our senses help our understandings; we cannot by the most rational discourse perceive what the sweetness of honey is; taste it, and you shall perceive it. “His fruit was sweet unto my taste.” Dwell in the light of the Lord, and let your soul be always ravished with his love. Get out the marrow and the fatness that your portion yields you. Let fools learn by beholding your face, how dim their blazes are to the brightness of your day.

Let your delights in God be pure and unmixed delights. Let your spirit be so filled with God, and so raised above carnal joys, that it be no damp upon you to have nothing but God. Live above, in that serene air which is not defiled with earthly exhalations. Sickly bodies, and so sickly souls cannot live in too pure an air. Be so wholly spiritual, that spiritual joys, spiritual delights may be suited to you and sufficient for you. Do not say, I want the joy of the vintage and of the harvest; I want the joy of the bridegroom and of the bride; I want the sound of the millstones and the light of the candle, to make my comfort full. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength and your life; say with the prophet, ” Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no cattle in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Hab. 3: 17, 18.

Satisfaction.

The quiet, or resting of the soul in its portion. Therefore the schools say that the last end only is the proper object of fruition. The carnal world, whatever they possess, cannot be said properly to enjoy it, though it be their god that they live upon; as their drag is their god, their gold is their god, their plough and their plenty and their pleasure is their god; they burn incense to them, yet they cannot enjoy them; there is no rest for them in their god. “What man is he that fears the Lord? His soul shall dwell at ease.” Psalms 25: 12, 13. In the original it is, “shall lodge in goodness.” The soul is never at ease while it is in want, every want wrings it; it can never take up its lodging where it cannot take its rest. His soul shall be at ease; shall lodge, that is, shall take up its rest in the goodness of God: when we find rest in our beds, then we enjoy them. Is your soul lodged in God? Enjoy your lodging. “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” As it was said to, so let it be said by the church and every saint, “This is my rest, here will I dwell forever.” Here you may find rest when you have no other rock to lean upon; you may be at rest in your God, in your most restless state, in a weary land, in a barren wilderness, in a tempestuous ocean. However it was in the vision of the prophet, yet you may say, if the wind rise, the Lord is in the wind; if after the wind an earthquake, the Lord is in the earthquake; if after the earthquake a fire, the Lord God is in the fire; and, wherever you find God, you may find rest. If you find God in a wilderness, you will find rest in the wilderness; if you find God in the earthquake, or the tempest, or the fire, even there also your soul shall find rest. When you canst not rest in your bed, nor in your house, nor in your land, you may still rest in your God. Say, Christian, say again, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Though my helps fail me, and my friends fail me, and my flesh and my heart fail me, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. This is my rest, here will I dwell forever.”

To these I might add a fourth thing wherein fruition consists—the making- use of our portion.

He enjoys, who uses what he has. We enjoy our portion, when we have a power and heart to make use of it on all occasions. “I am thine, soul; come and make use of me as you will, you may freely; I have nothing that is not for you; you may freely come to my store; and the oftener, the better welcome.” Have you not a God standing by you to no purpose; let not your God be as others’ gods, serving only for a show. Have not a name, only that you Have a God: since he allows you, having such a Friend, use him daily: “My God shall supply all your wants;” never want while you Have a God, never fear or faint while you Have a God: go to your treasure, and take whatever you need; there is bread and clothes, and health and life, and all that you need. 0, Christian, learn the divine skill to make God thine all, to find in your God your bread and water and health and friends and ease; he can supply you with all these; or, which is better, he can be, instead of all these, your food, your clothing, your friend, your life. All this he has said to you in this one word, “I am your God;” and hereupon you may say, I have no husband, and yet I am no widow; my Maker is my husband.

I have no father nor friend, and yet I am neither fatherless nor friendless; my God is both my Father and my Friend. I have no child; but is not he better to me than ten children? I have no house, but yet I have a home; I have made the Most High my habitation. I am left alone, but yet I am not alone; my God is good company for me; with him I can walk, with him I can take sweet counsel, find sweet repose; at my lying down, at my rising up, while I am in the house, as I walk by the way, my God is ever with me; with him I travel, I dwell, I lodge, I live, and shall live forever.

Live up to your privilege.

Live according to your rank and quality, according to your riches laid up for you in God. The rich men of this world live like rich men, they sort themselves with persons of their own quality, attend on the courts of princes, are employed about the palace; you may read their estates in the whole way of their life; they wear them on their hacks, spread their tables with them; they live sumptuously, and fare delicately. Christians, feed not on ashes or husks, you have better food; you have milk and honey, marrow and fatness, the hidden manna, the bread that comes down from heaven, the water of life; you have blessed privileges, precious promises, lively hopes, living comforts, glorious joys, the fountain of life to feed your souls upon: come eat, friends, and drink! Yes, drink abundantly, beloved; out dine the rich man, who fared sumptuously every day; you have enough to maintain it; let every day be a glad day, a feast-day with you.

Let your clothing be according to your feeding. Be clothed with the sun; put on the Lord Jesus. “The King’s daughter is”—and so let all the King’s sons be—”all glorious within;” let their clothing be of wrought gold. Be clothed with humility, put on love, bowels of compassion, gentleness, meekness; put on the garments of salvation.

Let your company and converse be according to your clothing. Live among the excellent, among the generation of the just. Get you up to the “general assembly and church of the first-born,” to that “innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Live in the courts of the great King, behold his face, wait at his throne, bear his name, show forth his virtues, set forth his praises, advance his honor, uphold his interest: let vile persons and vile ways be contemned in your eyes; be of more raised spirits than to be companions with them. Learn hence a holy elevation of spirit. Regard not their society nor their scorns, their flatteries or their frowns; rejoice not with their joys, fear not their fear, care not for their care, feed not on their dainties; get you up from among them, to your country, to your city, where no unclean thing can enter or annoy. Live by faith, in the power of the Spirit, in the beauty of holiness, in the hope of the gospel, in the joy of your God, in the magnificence, and yet the humility, of the children of the great King.

He is their Sun.

He will discover and make manifest to them the riches and glory of their portion. He has granted them himself for their portion, and he will reveal and make manifest to them what a portion he is. He will make manifest both the blessedness they shall enjoy in him, and the way to it, and also the dangers that lie in the way. “The Lord God is a sun.” Psalm 84: 11. The sun is the light of the world, it discovers itself and all things else. We cannot see the glory of the sun but by its own light; the moon, the planets, the firmament, and all this lower world would disappear, if the sun withdrew its light.

Beauty and deformity, safety and danger, the right way and the wrong, are all brought to view by the light of the sun; the sunlight makes the day; night is spread over the world when the sun is set. So God is glorious; but who would be ever the wiser, did not this glory shine? “In your light shall we see light.” Psalms 36: 9. “Why is the glorious God apprehended, understood, admired, by so few among the sons of men? Because he is out of sight; the sun is not risen upon them, nor shines unto them: they have moonlight or starlight, some dimmer reflections of tins glory at second-hand; but they see not the sun.

What is the reason that truth and falsehood, good and evil, substances and shadows, things perishing and things permanent, are no better distinguished? What is the reason that men are so mistaken and misguided in their judgments, in their choice, in their way; that they are at such a loss, such wanderers from their bliss? What is the reason that men’s own sparks, the light of their own fires, their candlelight or torchlight, their fleshly imaginations, their carnal prosperity, their pleasures, their ease, their earthly glory, and their carnal joys that hence flash up to them, are so adored and admired by them? 0, they see not the sun. God is out of sight; and thence are all their foolish mistakes and miscarriages. God will be a sun to his saints. “Your sun shall no more go down.” They shall have a right to the comfort of this glorious sun; he will show them his face, he will cause his glory to appear, he will lead them into himself by his own beams; he will show them their end, and the means—the goal, and their way to it; he will show them the good part, and the right path; good and evil, duties and sins, realities and delusions, helps and hindrances, dangers and advantages, their snares and their illusions, will all be discovered to them by the light of the Lord.

Hearken, you poor and dark soul, that have chosen, but you know not what; that are going, but  you know not whither; that are wandering and stumbling on, hut  you care not how; that complain  you canst not see,  you canst not value,  you canst not be is affected with all the glory and joy of the invisible world; that find your husks and your trash to be a greater pleasure to you than all the riches of immortality; that would rather mind and choose and love and relish and seek God and things above, but  you canst not:  you see so little of the beauty of them, that they do not entice your heart after them; and when  you are seeking,  you are at a loss and in the dark as to the way that  you should take. Hearken, soul, your God calls to you: Come unto me, look unto me, and I will be your sun; I will show you all that glory, and the right way that will bring you to it; I promise you I will; trust me, I will be a light unto you.

Their Shield.

“The Lord God is a sun and a shield.” Psalms 84: 11. The gods of the earth are styled, “the shields of the earth,” Psalms 47: 9; much more the God of glory. Faith is called a shield: “Above all, taking the shield of faith.” Eph. 6: 16. This signifies the same as “God is a shield.” Faith is to the soul whatever God is. This is the grace that entitles the soul to God, and applies God to the soul. “Fear not, Abraham; I am your shield.” Gen. 15: 1. What is promised to the father of the faithful, stands sure to all the seed. Rom. 4: 16. The state of Christians in this life is a militant state, a state full of hardships and hazards; by reason whereof, richly as they are provided for, they are subject to fears of being undone and spoiled of all. They are in fears about things eternal; they have spiritual adversaries that lie in wait for their souls, that fight against their souls, that are tempting them, and enticing them from their God; that watch their opportunities to steal away their God, by stealing away their hearts from him; and such dangerous attempts of this kind they meet withal, that they often are in great doubt what the issue may be. They are in fears about things temporal; their names are shot at, their liberties are invaded, their estates, with all the comforts of their lives, are in danger to be made a prey; to-day they are a praise, to-morrow a scorn; to-day they are full and abound, to-morrow they may have nothing left; they die daily; they are “killed all the day long.” But whatever their dangers and their fears are, here is sufficient provision made against all: God is their shield.

Christian, you have enough, and all that you have is in safety.  

You are compassed about with a shield, secured on all hands, there is no coming at you to do you harm. Whatever assaults are made, your God is a wall of partition between you and harm. They are not shields of brass and iron you are furnished with; the strong God is your defense. Wherefore dost you doubt, you of little faith? A Christian, and yet afraid; shifting for yourself; taking care for the asses and oxen and sheep; vexing and loading and losing yourself, in your cares and fears from day-to-day? Where is your God, man? Does not God take care for oxen and asses and all that you have?

But O, what do you mean by this? To be shifting yourself from danger, by shrinking back from your God; securing yourself from affliction, by taking sanctuary in iniquity! What are you doing but throwing away your shield to save you from harm; making a breach in your wall, to keep you in safety? “Walk before me, and be you perfect,” saith God; and then, “Fear not, Abraham; I am your shield.” Gen. 15: 1; 17: 1. This now is the first and great promise of the covenant, “I am your God.”