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The Lord is in his holy temple: Let all the earth keep silence before him....Hab. ii. 20.
What God's people of old were favored with in type and figure, we now enjoy in reality and substance. The temple of old was an eminent type of the body of Jesus. In it Jehovah made his presence known. Here troubled consciences sought relief. The mercy-seat was set up for poor sinners to approach to. Here Jehovah was consulted. From hence he spoke in grace and love to his people, and silenced every guilty fear. Thus God was in his holy temple: thus God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Was this ministration glorious in the eyes of spiritual worshippers ? How doth ours exceed in glory! The fulness of the godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus. This is the temple in which God delights to dwell. Hence grace is dispensed, peace communicated, mercy bestowed, life and salvation freely given.
Here, christian, believe and adore; behold and wonder; look and admire; admire and love! Jesus is the Lord thy God, worship thou him....Hear the gracious words that are spoken from this living temple. KEEP SILENCE, at the last and most joyful words Jesus spoke, IT IS FINISHED: my Father's work is done, my dear member's salvation is completed. Hear this with joy, meditate on it with love, let the voice of pride and self-righteousness be exalted no more, hear the voice of Jesus only. So shall words of legal terror and wrath be silenced: conscience shall be at peace: the murmuring cry, and the lustful desires of the flesh shall cease. Thus attend the voice of Jesus. Silence every carnal cavil: every lofty word and proud imagination, which exalt themselves against him.
Doth the Lord thus speak in and from his temple to his children? Yea more, he dwells in them. Each sanctified member of Jesus is also called his holy temple.... I Cor. iii. 17. What exalted honor are believers called to! “ Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost!”....chap. vi. 19. Most powerful motive to holiness! Be atten, tive to the voice of Jesus within. The temple of thy heart is the throne of his residence. Here he speaketh comfort to the troubled conscience: like as Jesus spoke to the tempestuous sea, PEACE, be still.” And as he called to his affrighted disciples, “ It is I, be not afraid :” so to the listening soul, who saith, “ I will watch to hear what he will say"....to every waiting heart at his feet, Jesus will speak silence to the clamours of the law, the commotions of sin, and the accusations of satan.
[hand, Send comforts down from thy right And in thy temple let us see While we pass thro' this barren land. A glimpse of love, a glimpse of thee.
He will guide you into all truth....John xvi. 13.
Our Lord here gives his disciples a farther exhibition of the covenant of grace, and a fuller display of the grace of the covenant. Here is a full proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit, and also of his sovereignty in his operations and influences upon his members. Christ did not tell his apostles, as some ignorantly talk, ye
will but be yielding and tractable, and suffer my Spirit to lead you, ye shall enjoy his kind assistance.” No: this were to degrade the glory of this divine agent, to exalt the pride of the creature, and render the gracious guidance of the Spirit dependent upon the will of the flesh. As though instead of being the cause of life, he was to be only a mere auxiliary to aid and assist man's pious motions and good dispositions. Far be such thoughts from our hearts.
All glory to this heavenly paraclete, “ he will work, and who shall let him?", He WILL GUIDE into the whole truth of covenant-love and salvation by Jesus Christ. This is the adorable person the Spirit is to testify of, and to glorify in the sight, heart and affections of his people. The apostles themselves were at this time in much ignorance about, and strong prejudices against many things concerning Jesus. As to the nature of his kingdom, they still dreamed of the grandeur of a temporal one. Their prejudices were great in favor of their own nation, and they thought “ God was a respecter of persons:" of Jews above Gentiles; and were very hardly brought to give up the types and shadows, particularly the sign of the covenant-circumcision, as not fully seeing that Jesus the substance was really come, who is essentially. THE TRUTH itself.
There is no hope for poor guilty sinners but in the truth. For when the Lord declares his name to Moses, this is part of it, “ I will by no means clear the GUILTY,' .Exod. xxxiv, 7. This must be very distressing to sensible sinners. I know one who has found it so, My poor soul has been sadly distressed with this text. But the Spirit teaches that the truth of God is inviolably preserved, while the guilty sinner is perfectly saved in the Lord Jesus, with an everlasting salvation. Jesus stood as our guilty substitute.
The Lord laid all our iniquities upon him. He suffered as our surety all the wrath due to our transgressions, “and with his stripes we are healed.”.... Isa. liji. 5. The reputed guilty died. The real guilty become guiltless. “ His blood cleanseth them from all sin,".... 1 John i. 7. “ God is just while he is the justifier of the ungodly sinner who believes in Jesus,".... Rom. iii. 26. Glory to the condescending Lord, who leads us out of the destructive paths of natural pride, self-will, and selfrighteousness, " and gives us repentance to the acknowledging of the truth,”....2 Tim. ii. 25...." that we may be sanctified through the truth."....John xyii. 17.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering: (for he is faithful that promised)....Heb. x. 23.
Poor christian! thy profession is envied by the malice of devils; it is the scorn and ridicule of natural men; and is contrary to thy carnal reason. Hence thou hast the combined force of a threefold alliance in arms against thee; if that by any means they may rob thee of thy hope. Happy christian! who like thy blessed master, in the face of every adversary, hast " witnessed a good profession," .... 1 Tim. vi. 15. What an animating exhortation backed with a most precious assertion is this! Thou must expect to be assaulted by the rage of devils, treated with scorn and contempt from wicked men; and often put to a stand by the carnal reasonings of thy flesh. Here is thy duty: “ hold fast” in spite of all opposition: hold fast the truths of God. “It is written," is sufficient to silence every carnal argument, to support thy soul against every attack from the wisdom of this world. With this weapon thy blessed master put satan to flight. Thus defend thyself with the sword of the Spirit against every foe. Thus encourage thy soul daily to "hold fast its profession.” God's revealed truths are faith's objects, faith's confidence, faith's security; for God's foundation standeth sure. “He is faithful that promised.” Why then should thy mind at any time waver, agitate, or be tossed to and fro ? The foundation of God standeth sure. To confide in the word, promises, and oath of a faithful, covenant-keeping, promise-fulfilling God, is the glory of thy soul and glorifies thy Lord. Is Jesus thy profession? is all thy hope in him? all thy expectation from him? Is he thy all for pardon, for righteousness, for sanctification, for wisdom, and eternal redemption? dost thou profess him thy alpha and omega? Then be careful for nothing but to please him....fear thou nothing but what may offend him. Whilst thou lookest to him only, thou wilt be of good courage. Remember thy foes are his conquered enemies. When they oppose, attack, assault, it is to try thy faith, that thou mayest glorify him the more. What hast' thou already ? Hast thou not thy Lord's faithful word; his precious promises; his solemn oath, all pledged for thy safety and salvation? Hast thou not found peace of conscience, comfort of heart, joy of soul in Jesus? Then cleave close to him: hold fast by him. Ever plead (not thy own) but his faithfulness. Attend his sweet call from heaven above to all his conflicting members below : “ That which ye have already, hold fast till 'I come."....Rey. ii. 25.
The fearful soul, that tires and faints, Lord, let not all my hopes be vain,
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will *I
put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.... Ezek. xxxvi. 26.
What absolute declarations are here! all display the sovereign will and almighty favor of a covenant God. As God's heart of love is towards his people in Christ, so his spirit of power works in them according to the counsel of his will. Hence they know, love and serve him. By the blood of Jesus their sins are pardoned and their consciences cleansed from guilt. By the Spirit of Jesus they are inwardly sanctified from their filthiness and idols: a new heart and a new spirit is put within them; and they are enabled to walk in his statutes, and keep his judgments. Thus “all things are of God; who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ,”....2 Cor. Vi 17, 18. “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are past way ; behold, all things are become new.”.
A christian,' as Luther says, “is a new creature in a new world He has a new heart; he is under a new government ; serves a new master, obeys new laws, is actuated by new, fears, influenced by new love, animated with new delights and new joys. 'Ah,' says a disciple,
this is sweet in theory and true in doctrine; but in experience I find and
That terrors cannot move, (wrath, To swift obedience draw.
And we shall render praise;
And he our God of grace.
My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow
me....John x. 27.
All our mercies in time and eternity flow from Jesus' knowing us as his sheep. To all such salvation is certain; both as to present grace and future glory. As a shepherd knoweth every sheep com. mitted to his care; so doth our good shepherd. All his sheep were everlastingly beloved of the Father, “ chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world," and given to Jesus in the eternal counsel. He became surety for them, he redeemed them to God by his own blood. Hence he calls theni “MY SHEEP,".... mine by gift.... mine by redemption. Thus he hath a distinct knowledge of them, and special property in them. For “ died Jesus as a fool dieth?” spilt he his precious blood at uncertainty? paid he the dreadful debt of law and justice at a peradventure, whether any soul would receive the eternal benefit or not? Surely no: for his undertaking was in infinite wisdom and counsel, as well as wonderful in grace and love. Jesus well knew the nature-state of his sheep. They were all gone astray and turned every one to his own way. They would all count their shepherd an enemy and fly from him as a destroyer, if left to themselves. But Jesus saith, I am the good shepherd. He inclines their ears to hear, and their hearts to believe in him; to come to him as such; and to follow him. They have the properties of his own sheep'; they give evidence of it. They live upon his word and feed upon his love. O alas! what deplorable circumstances were we all in when this sweet voice first reached our ears! when this powerful voice affected our hearts! It was a sound of glad tidings, love, and salvation to lost sheep indeed. It proved effectual to recall our souls from the dangerous and destructive paths in which we had lost ourselves. Truly we also may say of Jesus, "never man spake like this man." The power of his voice begets obedience; and, like the blind man restored to sight, we follow Jesus as the shepherd and bishop of our souls. We know he hath the words of eternal life. To whom then should we go but to him? and it is the delight of our souls to see the footsteps of our shepherd, that we may tread therein. Though, O soul, thou canst not see whether thy name is wrote in the Lamb's book of life; yet in the light of the Spirit thou mayest read thy name in the book of grace, if thou hast heard the voice of Jesus, and art following him. Thou mayest safely conclude, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."....Psalm xxiii. 1.
The Lord my shepherd is,
I shall be well supply'd; Since he is mine, and I am his,
What can I want beside ?
He leads me to the place
Where heav'nly pasture grows, Where living waters gently pass,
And full salvation flows.