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For his anger endureth but a moment: in his favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.... Psalm xxx. 5.
VERILY here is a glorious assemblage of comforting truths like a reviving cordial of rich compounds to enliven drooping spirits. Too, too often do God's children judge of their Father's love, from corrupt ideas. Through the carnality of their natures, the depravity of their judgment, the weakness of their faith, the uncertainty of their frames and feelings, and the artful insinuations of Satan, their loving Father is considered as an implacable being, full of wrath and anger against them. But this is contrary to God's revelation of himself in Christ Jesus as a God of love. So also is it injurious and hurtful to the souls of the faithful; for it damps their love, distresses their spirits, deadens the exercise of their graces, and hinders their increase in holiness; the essence of which is founded in the love of God. Therefore such views come not from God. But thus Satan gains an advantage, and triumphs over poor souls, with, “There, there, so would I have it.’ What can the soul do? whither can he fly? what course can he take? All legal efforts are vain....creature acts ineffectual....from self and nature no hope can spring. What can he think? Truly stand amazed that he is out of hell. He cannot sink lower in his views of himself, than what his just deserts are. But never so miserable can he be in his own sight, but the grace of God in Christ Jesus is allsufficient to afford hope and help. In nature's despair, grace triumphs. A sense of momentary anger heightens returning favor. The joy of the morning is improved by a past night of sorrow. God ever rests unchangeable in his love to his people. This is the essence of gospel grace and truth. That we vary and fluctuate in our apprehension of his love, is natural to our very existence, as old and new creatures. “But we have a more sure word of prophesy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.”.... 2 Pet. i. 19. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy.".... Rev. xix. 10.
How will the pow'rs of darkness boast My heart shall feel thy love, and raise
If but one praying soul be lost! My cheerful voice to songs of praise.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.... Psalm xlii. 6.
- In times of dejection and distress, the thoughts of a dear friend, who has comforted us in times past, tend to alleviate the mind. If we are assured of his love to us, we question not his readiness to assist us. So under the affecting loss of a dear brother, Martha addresses the Saviour, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”....John xi. 21. Inexpressible blessedness, to live in a holy familiarity with the God of love! How simple are David's words! how freely doth he pour out his complaints, and tell God of his sorrows! though his soul was bowed down within him, heaviness of mind beset him, the sweet sunshine of joy was overcast by the dark cloud of sorrow, yet faith's piercing eye looks through all. Regardless of his own frames. and feelings, he has direct recourse to God. O my God, how sweet, how animating are appropriating views to the soul! Though cast down, though dejected in self, and all within heightens the gloom, yet all above is hopeful and encouraging. Though no confidence about us, yet Jesus is before the throne: for us. “I will not, I cannot, I dare not forget this. Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy; I will still remember my God; my thoughts. shall be yet towards him; my hope is in him; my expectations from him. Though it is now dark, I will remember past times of light and love. Though now bowed down, yet my God has been the lister-up:
of my head. The light of his reconciled face in Jesus hath shined upon me. Clouds may intercept my joyful views of this, but not .
prevent his sight of me, nor turn away his love from me. My case is before him. My soul lies open to his view. The times of refreshing shall come from his presence. He rests in his love. Such are the reasonings of faith. Departed saints' experience should encourage. living saints' confidence. Cast down, mourning souls, when they enjoy not God's comforts, should meditate on his loving purposes, rich promises, and free grace in Christ Jesus; holding fast by the word of his truth, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called into the . fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord.”.... 1 Cor. i. 9.
Amidst temptations sharp and long The gospel bears my spirit up;
Hope is my anchor firm and strong, Lays the foundation for my hope
Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth....John xvii. 17.
Thus prayed our great High Priest on earth. What he asked
in his humiliation, is founded upon the word and will of his Father; and he hath power to effect in his exaltation. Hence we have the fullest assurance of the perfect sanctification of , all his members. Hence the desires and breathings of souls after holiness are encouraged; and the prayers of the faithful gather the strongest confidence of success.
While our beloved expresses his affectionate concern for his people's salvation, we see an equal regard for the honor and glory of his Father’s word. Love for holiness, and love of the truth are inseparable. As the gospel prevails in the heart, holiness is increased. It is first life, then liveliness in the soul: it is the ministration of the Spirit in the sanctification of the spirit. Whatever working we find of the Spirit in the heart, it is by the word of truth. The life of believers is from Christ, who is the TRUTH; therefore increasing light, refreshing comforts, stronger affections shall abound, and all by that same law of grace and truth, whereby the soul was at first converted to the faith of Jesus. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes.”....Psalm xix. 7, 8.
There is a peculiar glory in the order of salvation, “God hath chosen us from the beginning (before the foundation of the world) to salvation.” But how is this made manifest? only “through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.”....? Thess. ii. 13. Thus faith and holiness flow from electing love. So every word of God's truth is prized; and the fulfilment of every promise is expected. We love the truth, because it discovers God's most ancient love to us in Christ: it reveals Christ's righteousness to us for our justification; revives our hearts with the knowledge of pardon by his blood, and the certainty of full sanctification and perfect glory. through his intercession. So Jesus prayed....so we believe....so poor sinners are saved. Saved, unspeakable mercy! saved from the Power of sin and the prevalence of pride. Happy the heart where the love of holiness prevails agreeable to the word of truth. Dreadful delusion! when the truth is held in unrighteousness; or zeal for holiness is contended for, while the truths of electing love, Christ's righteousness, his members' certain salvation are opposed and denied. Glory to the Father for his everlasting love. Glory to Jesus for his justifying righteousness and atoning blood. Glory to the Spirit; for his sanctifying influences will ever be ascribed to them by truly sanctified hearts. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”....Matt. xix. 6.
Vol. I. E.
Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.... Luke xiv. 33.
“MARvEL not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again,” saith Christ....John iii. 7. The blessed effects of this spiritual birth will be evident in the life. Earthly objects will be forsaken: heavenly ones prized. Jesus will be chosen as our beloved master and only hope. He being esteemed our treasure, our hearts will be with him, our affections towards him; and it will be our chiefest delight
to hear his voice, and to follow him in the regeneration. Coming
to Christ, is turning our backs upon the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” By the faith of Jesus we renounce and forsake all these things as our curse and shame. The clearer views we have of Christ's glory, and the stronger our faith is in him, so much the more we become dead to all things beside him. Thus it is manifest who are the disciples of Jesus. Their master so teacheth them. We have need to pray daily, Sun of righteousness, shine brighter on our minds! Lord, increase our faith! For the flesh, with its affections and lusts, still abide with us; and as the life of Jesus increaseth through faith in the heart, so shall we more and more groan under whatever is contrary thereto. The victory is obtained only through faith. In its nature very simple, but in its fruits and effects most comprehensive. For hereby we enjoy more happiness and comfort in Christ, than all that this present world can give us. Ye sons of earth, ye disdain us; we pity you. As ye are how, so once were we. We enjoyed your carnal gratifications, and feasted on your vain delights too, too long. We confess it, and grieve for it. Now we have found Jesus. We have another and a better life. In divine pleasures, spiritual joys from Christ, and sweet communion with him, we anticipate future glory. We enjoy a heaven of comfort in a world of sorrow. Therefore, in forsaking all, we gain all. In following Jesus, though painful and grievous to the flesh, yet it is consolation and joy to the life of our souls. Experience will ever prove, that he who walks most by faith, will be the most comfortable disciple. He who lives nearest Christ in faith, will follow him closest in love; and consequently keep at the greatest distance from the world's vain pleasures, and the carnal delights of the flesh. “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”....Rom. viii. 13.
Mistaken souls that dream of heav'n, Faith must obey their Father’s will,
And make their empty boast As well as trust his grace;
Of inward joys and sins forgiv'n A pard’ning God is jealous still
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.... 1 Tim. ii. 6.
THE Gospel is quite sufficient to answer every objection, and to silence every cavil against salvation by Christ. This sacred oracle we are to consult day after day. Do we ask, Why are any sinners saved? It assures us God hath loved them ; this is the cause. If we enquire how God doth save them? It tells us, It is in a way of strict justice, consistent with the honor of God's law, the perfection of his righteousness, holiness, and truth. Therefore redemption is, by stipulated price, the blood of the covenant, the precious blood of Christ as a Lamb without spot. Do we seek to know who are the redeemed of the Lord? Jesus assures us “he gave his life a ransom for many.”....Matt. xx. 28....even for ALL whom the Father hath given him. - The word of God mentions no one in particular; but sets forth salvation in general and extensive terms....it is exactly suited to the most vile and accursed state of sinners....it is perfectly sufficient to relieve the mind, encourage hope, forbid despair, under a sense of the most complicated sins and accumulated guilt of lost, wretched, and undone souls; for the ransom of Jesus is sufficient, is all-sufficient. The price he paid for our redemption is fully equivalent to satisfy for all our transgressions, and to answer every demand of law and justice. To this very end Christ gave himself. So is he testified of in the gospel of grace. This essential and important enquiry, Have I redemption in the blood of Christ, even the for
giveness of my sins? is also explicitly answeredf....or “he that be
lieveth, shall be saved”....“ he is justified from all things.” Thus the Holy Ghost testifies in the word. Where this is received and believed in the heart, the same Spirit also bears witness to it with our spirits. And the faith of God's elect is evidenced, by bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit. There is a time, a due time, when Christ shall be thus testified of to the souls of all God's chosen. The ransom-price being paid, he will set the captives free, and “say to the prisoners, go forth; to them that are in darkness, shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways (of light and truth); and their pastures shall be in all high places (even the mountains of consolation and the hills of joy). They shall not hunger nor thirst (after any other hope but Jesus): neither shall the heat, nor the sun smite them; (trials and afflictions shall profit them); he that hath mercy upon them shall lead them: (they shall not be left to walk in their own crooked ways): but by the springs of water (of refreshment and holiness) shall he guide them."....Isa. xlix. 9, 10.