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Learn of me, for I uni meek and lowly in heart; and yje shall find rest to your souls....Matt. xi. 29.
Thus, with tender affection, speaks Jesus our prophet to the lambs of his flock. He well knows we stand in need of daily instruction from him: he teaches us in the truth as we are able to bear it; he knows the weakness of our understandings; he is “touched with a feeling of our infirmities.” Therefore, lest our poor hearts should at any time conceive thoughts of him contrary to his nature and office, he says, “I am meek and lowly of heart." You find that you are poor sinners; ignorant of many truths; exercised with many conflicts, trials and temptations: do not think of me only as the high and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity, but as dwelling also with humble hearts. Look not on me as an austere master, a terrible lawgiver, a severe judge, who watches over you for evil, and is ever ready to take all advantages against you, No: I am your condescending, meek and lowly Saviour; your loving friend and kind instructor; therefore come and listen to my words: “Learn of me."
What sweet encouragement is this! Art thou, O soul, tossed with temptations? Harassed with corruptions? Beset with sinful passions? Do these bring disquiet upon thy mind, distress to thy conscience, and are a wearisome burden to thy spirits, so that thou dost not enjoy settled ease and composed rest? Remember thy Saviour's lowly character and kind advice. He hath an ear for thy complaints, a heart of love to pity thee, a powerful arm to relieve thee. With sweet familiarity pour out thy heart to him: as a bosom-friend tell him of thy sorrows, thy complaints, and fears. Always bear in mind his kind invitation; the loving meekness and lowliness of his heart, and the blessedness of his promise. He hath spoken it, and will he not bring it to pass? He hath said it, and will he not fulfil it? “ Ye shall find rest to your souls:" sweet tranquility and inward composure as can be found in no object besides Jesus. Could the children of this world persuade us there is no evil in their vain diversions and carnal delights, still we know we cannot expect our Lord's presence, nor shall we find rest to our souls from the bewitching scenes of the play-house, &c. No; but the more rest we find to our souls in Jesus, the more we are delighted with him, and become dead to all things that are contrary to spiritual peace and joy from him. “We who have believed, do enter into rest.”. Heb. iv. 3.
Let me but hear my Saviour say,
I glory in infirmity,
(me; That Christ's own power may rest on When I am weak, then I am strong, Grace is my shield and Christ my song.
I will bring the blind by a way that they knero not; I will
lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight: These thingswill I do unto them, and not forsake them....Isa, xlii. 16.
HERE is a full proof of the personality of the divine Spirit, the third glorious person in the adorable trinity; and also the nature of his office in the economy of the covenant of grace for the salvation of the elect. He will lead them into all the paths of truth. Truth is of the very essence and perfection of Jehovah. The Father “ hath chosen us from the beginning to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.”....2 Thess. ii. 13. Jesus is essentially “the way, the TRUTH, and the life,”....John xiv. 6....by whom we are saved; and the Holy Spirit performs his office as our guide to HIM.
We poor sinners “ are all gone out of the way:" we are blind and see not the way, ignorant and know not the way, proud and have “turned every one to his own way;" and if left to ourselves, through the darkness that is in us, should seek death and destruction in the error of our lives. But, adorable grace! the Spirit of love prevents this. He will guide to Jesus, THE WAY, and into “ all the truth, as it is in him.” So we enjoy life from him: a life of love and holiness now, and eternal life and glory hereafter. Othe loving condescension of this heavenly guide! yet it is natural for us to resist the Holy Ghost, to grieve the loving Spirit, and quench his blessed motions. This is our chiefest grief. Yet such is his amazing love, such his sovereign power, that, like a most affectionate friend, a benign comforter, he takes us by the hand, yea takes our hearts into his hand, and will guide, counsel, and direct us. This he doth outwardly by his word, and inwardly by his secret but powerful influences. In the light of his word of truth, we see how-sinful, miserable, and wretched we are in ourselves. But why, doth he teach us this? Because we should not trust in ourselves that we are righteous, and deceive our souls into perdition. By the word of his grace, he teaches us the knowledge of Jesus. In him he shews us the love of the Father, the super-aboundings of grace over the aboundings of sin. He turns us from the crooked paths of pride, self-will, and self-righteousness, into the straight paths of grace, truth, and holiness.
Here, O believer, is thy mercy. WILL work and none shall let it.” O, this is the crowning mercy of all, “I WILL not forsake them." Here are four absolute declarations, I WILL. Bow proud free-will to thy Lord's WILLS.
He WILL certainly guide thy soul through all the mazes of a sinful world to eternal glory. “ As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”.... Rom. viii. 14.
Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners
against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds ....Heb. xii. 3.
Come, christian, look up, look forward, and be of good courage. Though thy exercises are many, and thy conflicts great, though weary in, yet grow not weary of, the ways of the Lord. Verily, in due time we shall reap an harvest of eternal felicity, after all our present toil and labour. Paint not; continue to the end; persevere in the work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope. The battle is the Lord's; thy foes are all conquered; victory is obtained; the crown is held forth by thy conquering Lord. Press on. But alas! thou findest contradiction and opposition from every quarter, from within and from without: numerous are thy foes which rise up against thee; thy strength is small; thy power weak: most true; but know thy calling; study thy privilege; behold thy comforter holds forth a' reviving cordial this day to thy drooping spirits: “ lest thou be weary and faint in thy mind,” consider JESUS. Here is faith's mystery, the christian's triumph: hence derive fresh life and vigour to thy fainting mind. Consider Jesus: in his divine nature, thy covenant God; in bis human nature, thy redeeming brother: as God and man in one Christ JESUS, thy salvation; thy Almighty Saviour. Consider Jesus in his innocent life, enduring contradiction of sinners against himself on thy account; fulfilling all righteousness for thee; that thou art perfectly righteous before God IN HIM. Consider Jesus, on the cross bearing thy sins; amidst taunts and jeers, while making atonement for thy transgressions. Consider Jesus entered into heaven, and appearing in the presence of God FOR vs. Consider Jesus infinite in wisdom to know thy wants; infinite in love to sympathize with thee in all thy sorrow: infinite in power to support and strengthen thee under them: consider what infinite riches of grace he has in glory to supply all thy need. O, consider the fulness of grace that dwells in him for needy sinners; live upon his fulness day by day, so as to receive out of his fulness grace for grace. Is it said “the blood of martyrs was the seed of the church?” Confident we are, the life and death, the blood and righteousness of Jesus are the life of our graces, the spring of our comforts, the support of our weary minds, and the only reviving cordials for our fainting spirits. Are we panting sinners at his footstool? Considering Jesus makes us joyful before his throne now, soon we shall stand eternally happy in his presence. Imitate the Father of the faithful; be not weak in faith; consider not thy own body, which is « dead because of sin. Know the Spirit is life, because of the righteousness of Jesus."....Rom. viii. 10.
And they laughed him to scorn....Matt. ix. 24,
WONDERFUL indeed is our master in patience, meekness, love, and goodness, under such insult and scorn. " When Herod saw Jesus he was exceeding glad: he desired to see him of a long season, for he hoped to see some miracle ne by him." Miracles may satisfy the curiosity; they do not of themselves convert the heart to the truth. This is plain. Herod saw in Jesus a most astonishing miracle. Behold innocence itself arraigned and accused....death in its most cursed and ignominious form threatened. Amazing to consider! Jesus stood mute; his tongue locked up in silence. His mighty arm, which could have dealt destruction at a blow, he suffered to be bound; himself set at nought, mocked, and in derision arrayed in a robe of mock royalty.... WHITE, saith Beza. So Herod, though undesigned, gives him a token of his innocence; as Pilate, contrary to his judgment and intention, gives him a title, “This is the King of the Jews.” Though requested to alter the words, he was constrained to be inflexible ; replies, “ What I have written, I will not revoke."
See your calling, brethren: it is to confess and follow a once laughed: at, scorned, ridiculed Jesus: never once dream of being excused pledging our Lord in the same cup. So sure as thou dost “ witness a good profession" of faith in Jesus and conformity to him, thou also shalt not escape laughter and scorn from the carnal world, nor of being arrayed by them in the contemptible garb of a fool's cap and a madman's coat. Time was when we acted as they do. Think of this, and be humble. Give him the glory who taught us better. But what harm can this do us? Harm! it is our greatest glory on earth. “ Such honor have all his saints." An honor angels share not in. Sinners only are called thus to glorify their master. True, it is galling to the flesh; but “they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." By the world's scorn, pride is, mortified, while the 'soul is joyful; and the Spirit of Christ and glory rests upon us. The world laughs us to scorn; Jesus smiles and approves. Shall we be uneasy and grieve at it? No; our master bids us rejoice, and be exceeding glad. Thus, follow Christ and fear not men.
In former times it was a proverbial expression, to shew the impossibility of a thing, “ You may as soon turn a christian from Christ as do it.” Stedfastness here is our glory. In the things of God, said Luther, I assume this title, CEDO NULLI, “ I yield to none." As God's election is irrevocable, so let our confession of Christ be: striving to imitate him in love and patience. “ Put on (as the elect of God, holy and beloved) humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering."....Col. ii. 12.
Thou hast received gifts for men....Psalm Ixviii. 18.
The dedication of this Psalm, according to Beza, is to him that excelleth, even Jesus, the excellent one. It contains a glorious dis. play of the Redeemer's kingdom. The royal prophet was highly favored with clear and comfortable views of the ample provision which is made for poor rebellious sinners in the settlements of the everlast ing covenant of grace and love. Jesus is the rich treasury; all grace is laid up in him. So it pleased the Father, so it rejoiced the heart of all his member's like Joseph's brethren, to receive all gifts from his hands. Jesus is the unspeakable gift of God the Father to us....John iv. 10. All his members were given to him: in him Jehovah loves, us, delights in us, and rejoices over us to do us goods Alas!, too, too often we are apt to think vainly, and talk arrogantly; to ascribe what we are, and what we hope for, to something in us, or done by us. . So we lose sight of our own poverty, forget our kind benefactor, and presently this fever of pride is succeeded by an ague of heartless dejection: our hands hang down and our knees grow feeble. For ever blessed be God, salvation from first to last is all of free gift by free grace, secured by free promises in Christ. So it is effectual to the hearts of sinners; so believers ascribe all the glory to the ever-blessed trinity by Jesus. Are mine eyes opened to see the exceeding sinfylness of sin? Am I sensible of my deserts, my ruined, helpless state as a sinner? Do I see the purity and spirituality of God's righteous law? Do I despair of all hope and help in myself? Is Jesus my refuge? Do I see the glory of his righteousness, and perfection of his atonement? Is the triumph of his cross, the victory of his death, the foundation of my faith, the support of my hope from day to day? These are love-tokens from Jesus. He sheds'them on us 'as the free gifts of the Holy Spirit. So our hearts are enamoured with him, and knit to him in love. And, for our. farther consolation and joy, he still lives to bestow innumerably more and infinitely greater gifts than what we have yet received; for if we have received the first fruits of the Spirit the harvest is sure: every enemy shall be conquered, every lust subdued. Nothing less than perfect holiness and perfect happiness await us. Is sin atoned for by the blood of Jesus; and shall his members live without a sense of pardon? No: “ Ask,” says our munificent benefactor, “and receive, that your joy may be full.”....John xvi. 24. Jesus is glorified; the Spirit is given to bear witness of love and salvation to us, to.comfort and sanctify us. This is the joyful reasoning of faith. “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely Give us all things?”....Rom. viii. 31, 32.