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We have not an high-priest who cannot be touched with the
feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are; yet without sin.... Heb. iv. 15.
“ WITHour sin!" 0, cries the sanctified soul, that this was my happy state. And verily, as sure as the word of God is true, thou shalt enjoy this perfect freedom from thy worst enemy. But thou must be content to wait God's time, and live in God's way; that is, by faith upon thy best friend Jesus. Thy present blessedness is to understand and rejoice in this great mystery, that Christ who knew no sin was made sin for us. Therefore, by faith we glory, knowing that God looketh on us, blesseth us as righteous in Christ, and doth not imputė sin unto us. As the head is without sin, so åré all the members, viewed and beloved in the sight of God. And this is the evidence that we are born of the Spirit and have the mind of Christ, that we hate all sin and long for entire deliverance from it, and aspire after full conformity to the image of God. But this we čannot enjoy in the body. We must first sleep in Jesus ere we awake up after his perfect likeness.
In the mean time we have a loving, sympathizing high-priest before the throne of God. This is our comfort. That very
What ev'ry member bears.
His mercy and his pow'r;
Pour'd out his cries and tears, In the distressing hour.
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience....
i Tim. iii. 9.
From a seeming zeal and regard to the ark of God, when it shook, and as he thought was in danger of falling, Uzzah put forth his hand to save it. It seems a very rational act, but it argued distrust of God's power to preserve what was for his glory and honor; therefore the Lord highly resented it.
If the displeasure of Jehovah was thus displayed in regard to the type of the covenant, how jealous is the Lord of hosts of his own glory, contained in the truths of the everlasting covenant, laid up in the sacred ark, Jesus, for all his people! If a trembling ark, touched by an officious hand, was death; one should fear and tremble to attack the revealed truths of God's everlasting love to his people, power to preserve them, and grace to enable them to persevere in the faith unto eternal glory. Human efforts often spring from unbelieving hearts. The hand of nature is often stretched forth to assist when it only counteracts divine purposes. Carnal reason ever opposeth the mystery of the gospel, but faith is supported by God's truths. The conscience can only be purified by Jesus' blood. This mystery of faith is only known to enlightened minds. To hold by it, and to hold it fast in the conscience, is the life and joy of our souls. So the Holy Spirit maintains vital, living union between Jesus and his members. So love is excited to him. A life of dependence maintained on him. A throne of grace is delightful to such. Sin becomes more and more hateful in their sight, and the fruits of righteousness are increased to God's glory. O, this is an amazing mystery of our faith! That we, who are guilty sinners in ourselves, yet are in Christ pure and free from all sin; unrighteous in ourselves, yet in Jesus clothed with perfect righteousness; filthy and polluted by nature and practice, but in Jesus, all fair, without spot, beautiful and comely in God's sight. In ourselves, no right to God's love, no title to his inheritance; but in Jesus our right is clear, our title legal, our enjoyment of it infallibly certain. Hold fast this mystery of faith: all thy peace and comfort depend on it. Thus, disciple, fix thy steady eye on Jesus; daily view the promises in him; look constantly for the Spirit's power through him. So shalt thou have “the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus.".... 1 Pet. iii. 21. “ Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe; and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.".... Psalm cxix. 117.
Why does your face, ye humble souls, Awake our hearts, adore the grace
That buries all our faults,
And nourish your despair? (faith, Our follies and our thoughts.
.. Nowour Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God even our
Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, comfort your heurts, and stablish you in every good word and work.... 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17.
BELIEVERS in Jesus know that “the remembrance of sin is grievous, and the burden intolerable." A sight and sense of sin 'affects their conscience with sorrow and distress. There is daily need that their poor hearts should be comforted; and also that they should be established in every good word and work. But from whence shall they derive this? from striving to forget, paliate, or excuse their past sins? by promising to be more stedfast for the future in the truths of God and obedience to his will? Alas! he who truly knows what a sinful nature is, who is really acquainted with his own weakness and insufficiency to that which is good, and his proneness to all evil, will not, cannot thus deceive his own soul. But the converted soul will ingenuously confess his sins to his God and Saviour, Jay them open with their aggravating circumstances, mourn over them with a godly sorrow, own his just deserts for them; and in the exercise of faith, look “ to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." Here is the everlasting spring of consolation which God hath given us, “ the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Here is our good hope, through the grace of Jesus we are completely righteous in Christ. We stand perfectly accepted in God's beloved Son. Faith and hope are inseparable. We believe the truth as in Jesus; we hope daily for more and more of the consolations of it. In this way, disciple of Jesus, thou canst never believe nor hope too much. Nay, is it not thy distress and 'heaviness that thy faith is weak, thy hope languid, and thy love so cold? But why is this? Not for want of a foundation for faith and
our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father hath loved us." Who? only the prophets, apostles, holy men of old, righteous persons ? Nay, but sinners of mankind: such was the character of all those whom the apostle includes in the pronoun us. And as the consequence of this love “ he hath given US EVERLASTING consolation." Not the effect of time; not subject to mutability ; but solid, perpetual, and eternal. Founded in the everlasting covenant, established in everlasting righteousness, issuing in everlasting salvation, revealed in the everlasting gospel, and applied to the soul by the everlasting Spirit. Consolation and comfort are enjoyed in stability in the good word of God, and in the good works of faith, " to the praise of the glory of God's grace."....Eph. i. 6.
This is the true God and eternal life. Keep yourselves
from idols. Amen.... 1 John v. 20, 21..
It is a common objection with the men of this world against the ministers and members of Jesus: “You can preach and talk of nothing but Jesus.” Truly we “consider him as the end of all our conversation.”....Heb. xiii. 7, 8. Conscious of what he hath done FOR us, what he is to us, and what he hath done In US; verily, Jesus is all in all to our souls. We know that the Son of God is come in our flesh. We are sure that by the blood of his cross he hath made an end of sin, finished transgression, made reconciliation for iniquity;" and by his holy life" hath brought in an everlasting righteousness,"....Dan. ix. 24. All this we poor sinners wanted. Nothing short of this could save us. Yea, eternal life we have in our WONDERFUL friend, the God-man, Christ Jesus. Blessed be his infinitely precious name! he hath given us an understanding heart to know him. We desire to be eternally indebted to his name, his grace, his love; for we see our union to him, and oneness with him. Marvel not then, that we speak so highly of OUR BELOVED; 6 for if we should hold our peace, the very stones in the street would cry out against us." Say, ye first-born sons of light; say, ye children of grace, of whom should we glory, if not of Jesus our true God and eternal life? We disclaim all other gods. “We know and believe that the Father is in him, and he in the Father."....John *. 38. He teaches us the Father's love in him to us; and he sends the comforter, which proceedeth from the Father, to shed his love -abroad in our hearts.
But alas! how did we live before we knew Jesus, the only true God! Truly, though we talked of God, though we knew God, worshipped and feared him; yet we were all the while like the rest of the whole world, “ lying in wickedness:" fast asleep in the arms of the wicked-one: for we were without Christ, Atheists: “ without God in the world; and consequently had no hope,"....Eph. ii. 12. How deluded are the wise and learned of this world with their notions and worship of an unknown God! While little children are truly wise and best learned, who know Jesus as their Lord and their God, and abide in him. The truth of their faith, the uprightness of their hearts, and the sincerity of their love, are best evidenced by keeping themselves from the ensnaring vanities and bewitching idols of time and sense. Adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, &c.".... Tit. ii. 10, 13, 14.
Jesus my God, I know his name,
Nor will he put my soul to shame,
Nor let my hope be lost.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? ....Rom. vii. 24.
SPIRITUAL sense and feeling are peculiar to regenerate, heavenborn souls. While in a carnal state, “dead in trespasses and sins;" though the law thunders out its dreadful curses against us, we hear not. Though by nature children of wrath and deserving hell, yet our danger we see not. Though our sins are gone over our heads, and are like a sore burden too heavy for us to bear, yet we feel them not. But when the soul is alive to God, we groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and pant after deliverance. This was the experience of holy Paul. Such the experience of saints in all ages. But, thanks be to our God, though ever so deeply distressed and greatly depressed with sin, we sorrow not as without hope. We are not ignorant of our deliverer, but know him, even Jesus Christ. None but Jesus is able; and he hath, he doth, he will deliver. He hath delivered from the curse of sin by his death. He doth deliver the conscience from the guilt and dominion of sin through faith. He will deliver the soul perfectly from the being of sin, when the body of flesh is “sown in dishonor, to be raised in glory.” The last enemy, death, is not destroyed yet. None are so perfectly exempt from that which brought death into the world, sin. But present deliverance thou hast, Obeliever! and perfect deliverance thou canst not but pant after and long for.
Think not, that feeling a body of sin, (which, like thy natural body, consists of many parts and members,) groaning under it, inwardly breathing out ardent desires for deliverance, inscribing “ wretched man” upon thyself, like a criminal who is compelled to carry about a dead, putrified, stinking carcase; think not all this to be inconsistent with a blessed state, and being blessed “with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus." No: thou art not singular; it was once the lot of all thy brethren now perfect in glory. It is the lot of all thy companions in the faith and patience of Jesus on earth. When Paul, in such spiritual ecstacy and joy, was caught up to the third heavens, he did not know whether he was in the body or not; he might then think he was entirely freed from his burden, that he was perfect; but a little time after, experience convinced him to the contrary; and we find him “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.". 2 Cor. vi. 10. Blessed be our compassionate Saviour, who reaches out reviving cordials of consolation and refreshment; these cheer our drooping spirits under our burden; this favor no kind hand administered to him, when worn out and sinking under the ponderous load of our sins on the cross, O the joy of faith! Sin, though felt, grieved for, mourned over; yet “there is NO CONDEMNATION to them that are in Christ Jesus."....Rom. viii. 1.