The generality of mankind are forming a thousand imaginary schemes of happiness, eagerly pursuing the inviting prospect, and gadding about to change their way as often as they meet with disappointment. But the good man is a man of one business: his heart, like the needle touched by the magnet, tends to one point; his affections and desires are towards one object; his resolutions and endeavours terminate in one end - to " be found of God in peace."
1. Observe, that whatever be our state or character, we shall all be found of God. If we are sinners, and live and die such, our sins will find us out.
2. As all will be found of God at last, so there are some who will be "found of him in peace."
3. In order to be found in peace at last, it is needful that we seek it here with diligence. Let us carefully mine into the state of our souls. Be solicitous to know how matters stand between God and you. See that a foundation be laid for spiritual comfort.
Let us now enquire who they are that will be found of God in peace.
1. Those only whom God finds in this world, and brings into a state of grace. Our state by nature is that of lost sheep, and our recovery is by the interposition of the good Shepherd, who came to seek and save that which was lost.
2. Those shall be found of God in peace who have found him.
3. Those only will be found of God in peace who are found in Christ.
4. Those only will be found of him in peace in whom some good thing is found towards the Lord God of Israel.
5. Those only will be found of God in peace who he finds walking in the paths of peace. Religion d not so much consist in talking of God as in acting for him, not in theory but in practice.
(1) The subject administers reproof to the careless, who content themselves with some faint and sluggish attempts, but who are never in earnest about salvation. Strange infatuation! to be anxious for the trifles of a day, and indifferent about the all-important concerns of eternity! To strive to be rich, and not strive to be truly happy; to court the applause of men, and be unconcerned about the favour of God. Egregious folly! to gain the whole world, if possible, and lose our own souls!
(2) We may hence learn that it is possible for persons to be satisfied about themselves, and to have a kind of peace in their own minds, and yet not be found of God in peace. This was the case with the Laodiceans, who thought themselves increased in goods, and had need of nothing, and knew not that they were wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked. ''Woe to them that are at ease in Zion!" It were better to have no peace at all than a false one. Disappointed hope will turn to aggravated misery. On the other hand, it is possible for persons to be very doubtful of their state, and even much distressed about it, and yet be found of God in peace at 1ast. The gloomy darkness of the day is sometimes followed by a bright evening. "At eventide it shall be light". Or if the sun set in a cloud, it may rise on the other side the horizon with greater splendour. Some who knew but little of holy joy in their life-time, have at death entered into the joy of their Lord. The days of their mourning have been ended, and God has become their glory.
(3) We see the suitableness and importance of the advice given us in the text: "Be diligent, that you may be found of him in peace." How awful will be the day of judgment, if not found in peace! And to be thus found is a blessing that will more than compensate all our pains and labour in order to obtain it. To be found in peace, what is it but to escape from hell, and be admitted into heaven; to be delivered from the tormenting power of Satan, and received into the embraces of God! How should this excite our desires, animate our endeavours, enliven our hopes, inflame our zeal, and set the whole soul in motion towards heaven!
Some editions close with Watts' hymn 'No more, my God, I boast no more'.