Page images
PDF
EPUB

lation, he may rely on the declaration, Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: 0 death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.

Does he require an assurance of his part in THE FUTURE GLORY OF HEAVEN. Let him say with Job, Though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another. Or with the Psalmist, Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Finally, do any other IMAGINABLE DIFFICULTIES, distinct from those which we have men tioned, occur to his mind? They are all included in the promise; Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, bed cause he trusteth in thee. The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Are not these promises, then, and the almost unnumbered variety of similar ones which it is impossible for me to detail, EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS ? Are they not of the widest extent and of the most inestimable price? Whether you consider them in the aggregate, as they are contained in the covenant of grace, or

whether you regard them as to the particular adaptation of them to the necessities of the true servants of God, does it not surpass all the capacities of our minds to describe their richness, or estimate their amount?. It is not common, indeed, that greatness and worth should be equally united in the same object. What is magnificent as to the extent of its power, is not often in a like degree valuable for its excellence. But in the promises of God greatness and worth are found in the same profusion, and serve to augment the glory and effulgence of the whole

They are EXCEEDING GREAT, if you regard the author of them, God; who bestows them in a manner worthy of himself, confirming them by his oath, and fulfilling them by the greatness of his power and faithfulness. They are great, if you consider the subjects of them, deliverance from all evil, the bestowing of all good, every thing that man, a needy, guilty, weak, sinful creature, burdened with a corrupt nature, and beset by powerful and crafty spiritual foes can want, in a world of temptation and misery. They are

you view the multitude which no man can number of every nation and kindred and people and tongue, to all whose several necessities, in all ages of the church, and under every variety of circumstances, they are exactly adapted. They are great, if you look forward to the final end which they are to accomplisli,

great, if

1

the eternal salvation of the faithful in the vision of God. In short, they cannot but be exceeding great-the very greatest possible when you consider that they come from God and lead to him, that they satisfy and fill the utmost desires and even conceptions of the Christian's mind in his most matured state of knowledge and feeling; that they contain all that man can receive, and all that God, in the munificence of his bounty, sees it necessary to bestow,

Nor is their value less than their greatness. The impenitent indeed can know nothing of the real worth of the promises of God, because they were never in a state of mind to perceive their need of them or to experience the relief they afford. General notions of God's mercy bring little blessedness into the heart. But a holy apprehension of our personal concern in the precious promises of God, is as life from the dead. It is as a fragrance which restores the fainting traveller. It is as a reprieve to a condemned criminal. It derives an inestimable value, not only from the benefits which it conveys, but also from the urgency of the danger from which it delivers us. What must be the value of the promise of pardon and eternal life to a soul-trembling with a sense of its guilt and agitated with despair! What the importance of consolation, in the very tide and torrent of affliction! What the assurance of strength and

victory, under the very pressure of the conflict ! The promises are to the true Christian treasures of light and truth, seals of salvation, securities of future bliss, conveyances of the inheritance of heaven. They are fraught with peace, and hope, and joy; they assure us of our interest in the love of our dying and risen Saviour, and of our participation in all the rich communications of the Holy Spirit; they serve to fill the empty and raise the drooping heart, to excite the sinking faith, and quicken the exhausted patience. Let him speak their preciousness who has felt it, who has lain a penitent at the foot of Calvary, who has wrestled in tears against a rebellious nature, who has anticipated the horrors of that gulf, to which his șins would have sunk him, and the bright radiance of that bliss to which the promises exalt his hope. í

And if the promises as they were revealed in the Old Testament were thus exceeding great and precious, what must they be now that they have received all the explications and additions of the New-all those which our Lord himself uttered with his gracious lips-all those which abound in the various parts of the inspired books with which the canon of Scripture closes. Here we have the promises unfolded and enlarged, placed in the brightest light, and communicated with the most attractive benignity. What was dark before is now clear, what was preparatory

[ocr errors]

is now perfect, what was earthly is now spiritual, what was temporary is now eternal. The blessings of the promises are now exhibited in all their profusion and all their glory, since Christ has actually appeared ; whilst the manner in which they are conveyed is no longer figurative and obscure, but direct and intelligible, open to every understanding and unveiled to every heart.

Such then are the promises which are GIVEN TO us through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue. The freeness with which they are bestowed, enhances inconceivably their worth, Our guilt as sinners would for ever have excluded us from the blessings they unfold, if they were to be purchased by our own merit; our alienation from God, would have equally prevented our employing any efforts to obtain them, if they were to be sought for, in the first instance, by our own spontaneous exertions. But they are given. When God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son to die for sinners; with him he freely gave us all things. All the promises of God in Christ are yea and in him amen to the glory of God by us. They are thus set before all mankind in the Gosa pel, and every penitent sinner is invited to come and partake of the blessings comprised in them. Nay, they are actually bestowed on every true penitent. When by divine grace he inclines his

« EelmineJätka »