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Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they
shall zvalk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.... Psalm lxxxix. 15.
The psalmist alludes to the jubilee-trumpet, which was sounded throughout the land on the great day of atonement. This was an ordinance of the Lord....Lev. xxv. 10. It was a joyful sound of liberty to God's people. A true type, and just emblem this, of the blowing the great trumpet, and the sound of the everlasting gospel restoring life, liberty, and salvation, to perishing captive souls. Has the gospel thus proved the power of God to the salvation of our souls ? Surely then, we must esteem it, as the most joyful sound that ever saluted our ears! Joyful, that it is not clogged with any terms and conditions: : Joyful, that it is not, as some call it, a milder law, proposing mercy on easier performances than the legal yoke. No; such notions are subversive of the very nature of the gospel; they only humor self-confidence, and elate the pride of sinners.
We are all naturally deceived by such human, anti-evangelical systems. Hence we grow vain in our imaginations, and our foolish hearts are darkened to the freeness and glory of the gospel. But when the Sun of Righteousness arises upon the heart, these mists of ignorance and error are scattered. Then we truly know the gospel to be nothing but good news, glad tidings, a joyful sound indeed: a free declaration of what the infinitely blessed and eternally glorious Trinity have planned, and what the adorable God-man hath effected, for the salvation of the lost and guilty. It is one joyful, consistent, harmonious sound of free grace, undeserved love, and unmerited mercy; free from any jarring discords of wrath and terror. It proclaims not pardon-to-day, and condemnation to-morrow to believers: now peace with God, anon war against us: now happiness in the heaven of his love, by and by a hell of misery from his
anger and hatred; once justified by his grace, and after all left to perish to eternity in our sins. God's blessed people reject such debasing now tions, knowing they are contrary to the truth, and destructive of the joy of the gospel, damp their love, deaden their affections to a God of love, cool their zeal for his glory and service, and stop their progress in true holiness. ' But by the love of the truth, they solace themselves with the joyful sound, are enabled to walk in the light of God's countenance, in the comforts of his love, and in the joys of Jesu's salvation. Such are blessed now in the knowledge of God's truth; they shall be blessed in the enjoyment of God's eternal glory.... John X. 18.
O blessed day! O happy hour! o Spirit divine ! thine was the pow'r, That brought this joyful sound, Which
gave the hearing ear: Of pard’ning love thro’ Christ's rich My heart, with love, in praises join,
To heal my mortal wound. [grace, To thee, my Lord, most dear. M.
Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee....Psalm 1xiii. 3.
FORSAKE all, and possess all. "Give up all, and enjoy all. This is the doctrine of Jesus, and the experience of faith. So we overcome the world, by preferring the love of Christ to every thing beside. Most blessed enthusiasm! really tasting that the Lord is gracious....truly feeling the comforts of his love....actually partaking of fellowship with Jesus....communion of the Holy Spirit....freely conversing with the Father of all consolations....O how transporting to the Spirit! how ravishing to the soul! With what holy indifference does the enraptured heart look down upon the objects of sense! The gilded toys of time, that so attract the views....the glittering vanities of life, that so enslave earthly minds....the empty shadows of sense, that so bewitch the heart; yea, life itself, with all its comforts, What are all, compared to one moment's enjoyment of the loving-kindness of the Lord! In competition, as shadow to substance; in worth, as the dust of the earth to the gold of Ophir. Sense is but short-lived fancy: Faith is reality and substance; for it brings love, the kindness of love, yea, the God of loving kindness himself into the sinner's heart. This changeth a fallen son of Adam into a glorious saint in Christ; a miserable sinner into a comfortable, hoiy, humble praiser of our covenant LORD.
Thus it is when the soul hath found God in Christ, who is its life, its glory, its treasure, its heaven, its all. But this knowledge consists, not only in ecstacy of soul and rapturous sensations, but faith is an habitual principle; love is an active grace; hope has a purifying efficacy. Not only are the lips opened in praise, the tongue loosed, to speak of the glory of Jesus, but the life, the practice, the conversation, will also be favoured with the grace of truth, as an evidence that we know his love, and have been with Jesus. prove that he has taught us wisdom, not to prefer heaven to earth in word only, but in conduct also. Therefore, having received all from him freely, in love and by grace, we desire to do what he has commanded; to avoid what he has forbidden. The fruits of righteousness are by him, to the glory of God the Father; therefore we pray to be filled with them. The works of the flesh, the works of darkness, we desire to mortify, and have no fellowship with, because contrary to love, and the enjoyment of it....“ We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”....1 John iv. 16. Of all the joys we mortals know, Sweet are my thoughts and soft my cares, Jesus, thy love exceeds the rest : When the celestial flame I feel : Love, the blest blessing here below, In all my thoughts, and all my fears, And nearest image of the blest. There's something kind and pleasing
still. VOL. I.
Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of
the life that now is, and of that which is to come.... i Tiin. iv. 8.
While under the law, we naturally think, for so much work, so much wages....God will be faithful to his word of promise, if we perform those terms and conditions he requires of us. Such are the notions of a legal spirit...they are the result of pride....they swell with a vain conceit of doing something to make God a debtor to our works; they are founded in ignorance, both of ourselves, and of the word of God's rich grace and free promises; not one of which is made, absolutely, in respect to us, or to any thing we either believe or do; but only as we are in Christ Jesus, members of him, our blessed head....For “All the promises of God are in Christ Jesus yea and amen, unto the glory of God.”.... 2 Cor. i. 20.
Every believer in Christ is a holy, godly soul; he is exhorted to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. He has all cause for daily comfort and joy. He is fully assured of his interest in that blessed catalogue mercies, “ministers, the world, life, death, things present, or things to come, all are yours.” Why? wherefore has he property herein? “Because ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's,".... 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23....therefore he shall want nothing; he shall enjoy every thing he can will, or desire, as a godly person: for true holiness is profitable to bring the will into cheerful acquiescence with the will of God, and to enable the soul to say, Thy will be done." All the blessings of Providence, all the riches of grace, all the glories of eternity, are secured by Jehovah's promise to the godly in Christ.
Through the faith of Jesus, godly souls are profitable to their fellow-sinners, and fellow-members in him: Their good conversation, their holy walk, the Lord owns and blesses, to win others to the knowledge and love of God, to a hatred of sin, to renounce the vanities of the world, and quit the slavery of Satan.
Oh, christian, remember thy calling....be careful of thy walk.... watchful over thy conduct....see to it, lest Jesus be wounded in the house of his friends. Pray earnestly, and study daily that thy profiting in godliness may appear to all, to the glory of him “who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Are you ambitious? are you covetous? do you love gain? are you earnestly desirous to enjoy it? Hear, believe, and rejoice. “Godliness with contentment is great gain?”.... 1 Tim. vi. 6.
O my Lord,
Now the promise is, enjoy'd,
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.... Ephes. i. 6.
WHEN Jacob was about to meet his offended brother Esau, he was greatly afraid and distressed. He sends a present to appease his wrath before he durst venture into his presence.
“Peradventure he will accept of me,” says he....Gen. xxxii. 20. Now his hope was not founded on the affection of his brother, but upon the favor which his present should procure. He was not influenced by love, but fear and terror; hence his expectation arose only to a peradventure. So it is natural for sinners to conceive of and act to an offended God. Instead of believing his gospel of free grace, and confiding in his messages of rich mercy in Christ, we are prone to think of sending presents, of doing something to pacify God's wrath, and conciliate his love to us. Some terms of accommodation, some conditions of peace, we naturally think, and we hear many contend for, must be fufilled by us. This notion keeps the soul always in suspense. It may flatter it with a peradventure, God will accept me; but there is not the least ground for hope of acceptance upon such a human system. It springs from the corrupt reasonings of man, is founded in the pride of nature, which ever rejects the faith of the gospel.
Happy for us, to “hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace to his people, and to his saints,"....Psalm lxxxv. 8.... not because of their prayers, tears, repentance, faith or obedience; but, for an infinitely higher cause than all these, even because he loved them, and hath made them accepted in his beloved Son, Jesus. · Here are no legal Ifs and Peradventures; but the certainty and assurance of free love and unmerited favor. This is the most blessed, stedfast anchor-hold of faith. Its language is not, What shall I do to be accepted? but, How shall I please my God, who hath made me accepted in the beloved ? In this way only, God secures all the praise and glory of his own grace to himself. The belief of this expands the heart with love, fires the soul with gratitude, excites to praise, and influ-' ences to all true holiness. Hell may terrify with horror, the law work wrath in the conscience, a sight of sin cause us to tremble before God; but grace, the free unmerited favor of God in Christ Jesus, that alone changes rebels to saints, subdues sin, mortifies lusts, triumphs over all the curse and ruin of the fall, and raises its happy subjects to the exalted heights of salvation and glory. Happy those, who know and believe “Grace reigns through the righteousness of Christ unto eternal life."....Rom. v. 21. Content to be in Jesu's debt for all ; Freed from law-debt, and blest with At sov'reign grace's feet we prostrate gospel ease,
Our work is now our dearest Lord 10 All glory to the Lord that grace is please, free,
By living on him, as our ample stock, Else never would it light on guilty me. And leaning on him as our potent rock.
Jesus said, Ye know not what ye ask.... Mark x. 33.
STRANGE! what, James and John, two disciples of a despised and rejected Master, who had not where to lay his head, yet dreaming of earthly pomp and worldly grande:ir, and petitioning for the highest pitch of worldly glory? yes, nothing less than the right hand of preeminence, and the left hand of power, would suit them. Human nature, how earthly, carnal, and selfish! How low are we fallen! yet how lofty in pride! What are the best of men, when left to their own spirits? Truly, we know not what to pray for, as we ought. Jesus, Master, instruct us, what we are called to! Teach us what to pray for. Let thy word, "My kingdom is not of this world,” be ever uppermost in our minds !
Poor Baruch could not be honored of God, and commissioned to read the roll to the princes of Judah, but he thinks, now I am somebody; I have got in the way of earthly honor and preferment. But his brother Jeremiah is sent to him, with this question and reproof, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not.”....Jer. xlv. 5. How many distresses were brought upon the children of Israel by the mixed multitude that went with then! So the swarms of corrupt lusts, earthly affections, and carnal desires, which are found with us, are ever opposing the glory of Jesus, and exciting us to seek that happiness, in nature and sense, which can only be found in the spiritual reign of Jesus, in the heart.
But so kind and gracious is our dear Saviour, that he crosses our wills, and denies our request, when contrary to our spiritual interest. Thus in love he answers our prayers: he withholds what we ask; he gives what he knows is best for us. If disciples ask what is unfit to receive, or unlawful to beg, shall we complain of God's love if he denies? Granting is not always the effect of love. If so, Paul had been less loved than Satan. Satan asked but once concerning Job, and his request was granted. Paul besought the Lord thrice, that the messenger of Satan might depart, yet was denied in that. Yea, blessed Jesus thrice prayed his Father that the cup might pass from him ;, but that could not be. The Lord delights in the prosperity of his people; therefore withholds no good thing from them. Not our judgment, but his wisdom must determine this. We pray to be in the height of comfort, and on the pinnacle of joy. But love answers by keeping us in the safe vale of humility and self-abasement. Lord, what proud, aspiring creatures are we! enable us to obey thee ! “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.".... 1 Pet. v. 6.
I'm heard, when answer'd soon or late, Peace then, my soul, for Christ knows And heard, when I no answer get: Either to give or to withhold; (best, Yea, kindly answer'd when refus’d; On him still wait, on his word rest; By Jesus lov’d, when harshly us’d. Against thy fears be firm and bold. M.