by Thomas Manton
That which a man would make his portion, it must be sufficient to supply all his wants, that he may have enough to live upon. Now, saith the Lord, 'I am God all-sufficient,' Gen. 17:1; sufficient for the necessities of this life, and that which is to come. He is the fountain of all blessings, spiritual, temporal, eternal; not only their power for ever, but their portion for ever, satisfied with him now and in the life to come: Ps. 142:5, 'Thou art my portion, O Lord, in the land of the living.' They expect all from him; not only peace and righteousness, grace and glory, but food, maintenance, defence, to bear them out in his work. The creature is but God's instrument, or as an empty pipe, unless God flow in by it. If God help them not, the creature cannot help them. These are streams that have water only so long as the spring fills them. Well, then, here is a portion that is every way sufficient. All other portions are accompanied with a want, but this alone sufficeth all. Some things give health, wealth, but not peace; some things give peace, but not honour. But God is all to us—health, wealth, peace, honour, grace, and glory: 'All things are yours, because you are Christ's, and Christ is God's,' so runs the Christian charter; there is omne bonum in summo bono—all things in the chiefest good. So Rev. 21:7, 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things.' How so? 'For I will be his God.' He that hath God hath him that hath power and command of all things, and therefore shall inherit all things, 'For I will be his God.' And that is the reason of the apostle's riddle, 2 Cor. 6:10, 'As having nothing, yet possessing all things;' that is, all things in God, when they have nothing in the creature. Many times they are kept bare and low, but God carries the purse for them; all things are at his dispose; and we are kept more bare and low that we may be sensible of the strange supplies of his providence. Alas! without him in the midst of our sufficiencies we may be in straits.
That a man would choose that for his portion wherein he may be contented, satisfied, and sit down as having enough. Now this is only in God. When we choose other things for our portion, still our sore runs upon us; there are some crannies and vacuities of soul that are to be filled up; if we could satisfy our affections, we cannot satisfy our consciences; nothing can content the desires of the soul but God himself; other things may busy us, and vex us, but cannot satisfy us: 'All things are vanity and vexation of spirit.' If a man would make a critical search, as Solomon did; he set himself to see what pleasures and honours would do to content the heart of man, and what riches and learning would do; he had a large estate and heart, and so was in a capacity to try all things, to see if he could extract satisfaction from them; yet he concludes, 'All is vanity and vexation of spirit.' Whosoever will follow this course will come home with disappointment. But in this portion there is contentment; we need no more but God, and there is nothing besides him worth our desire. Necessities that are not supplied by him are but fancies; it is want of grace if we want anything else when we have God for our portion: Ps. 17:14, 'From the men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure.' A carnal man's happiness is patched up with a great many creatures; they must have dainty fare, costly apparel, this and that, and still their sore runs upon them; they have a fulness of all things, and yet they are not filled. But now, saith David, ver. 15, 'As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.' Though God do not make out himself in that latitude and fulness as he will hereafter, yet at present to have communion with God is enough: 'I shall be filled.' There are some desires that are working after God, but they will be filled hereafter. It is true we are not now perfect, but that is no fault of our portion, but the defect of our capacity. Though we have not that fulness that we shall have hereafter, yet we have it initially. Here we have the first-fruits, have it virtually, hope and look for it; there is something begun in the soul that will increase towards this satisfaction. Certainly this is a portion that can alone be possessed with content. God is satisfied with himself and sufficient to his own happiness, therefore surely there is enough in him to fill the creature. That which fills an ocean will fill a bucket; that which will fill a gallon will fill a pint; those revenues that will defray an emperor's expenses are enough for a beggar or poor man. So, when the Lord himself is satisfied with himself, and it is his happiness to enjoy himself, there needs no more; there is enough in God to satisfy. If our desires run out after other things, they are desires not to be satisfied, but to be mortified. If we hunger after other contentments, they are like feverish desires, not to be satisfied, but to be abated in the soul; for he that fills all things hath enough to fill up our hearts.
Excerpt From Commentary on Psalm 119, by Thomas Manton (verse 57)