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We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good - works, which God hath before ordained that we should , walk in them....Eph. ii. 10..
Upon a survey of the works of creation, the psalmist cries out with admiration, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all!” is such a display of wisdom and glory visible in the objects of time and sense, which perish in the using, and are destined to destruction? 0, what infinite riches of wisdom, glory, and love, are manifest in the new creation in Christ Jesus, which are of a spiritual and eternal nature! Such is the æconomy of the covenant of grace, the glorious three persons in the ever-adorable trinity concur in the salvation of sinners. God the Father elects in Christ Jesus to glory, and ordains good works, as the fruits of everlasting love, for all the heirs of salvation to walk in. Jesus, in whom they are chosen, atones for all the guilt of their sins, and frees them from all the condemnation of the law. And the divine Spirit creates their souls anew in righteousness, peace, and holiness. But why doth he say, “created in Christ Jesus?" Because we are his members; one with him, beloved in hini, chosen in him, viewed in him; loved with the very same love, as Jesus our head is....John xvii. 23. What is wrought in us by the power of God the Spirit, is not to glorify us in our own eyes, to make us independent of our head, Jesus; but to glorify him, and keep us in close union to, and sweet communion with him; that so our good works, our fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, may abound to the glory of God. How awful is this delusion, under pretence of exalting Jesus to depreciate the work of his Spirit in us? How fatal the mistake of thinking our good works are to recommend us to God's favor? But how does the devil amuse poor dead sinners with notions of good works, and swell them with the pride of their works! as though they were the price of God's favor, and the purchase of his kingdom. All such works are of the flesh, they flow from pride and unbelief, and are accursed. The seventeenth article of our church speaks of “walking RELIGIOUSLY in good works.” As though there are no good works, but what spring from the religion of Jesus. Christian, what thou art called to in life, that thou art created to in thy soul. Those duties exhorted to in the word, thou hast strength to perform by the Spirit. Therefore, though sinful and lost, in thy first creation, yet thou art saved and righteous by thy new creation in Christ Jesus. In him, being one with him, thou mayest say with Paul, “I have all things and abound."....Phil. iv. 18. ... i Not to the terrors of the Lord, But we are come to Sion's hill ** The tempest, fire and smoke,
The city of our God, Not to the thunder of that word Where milder words declare his will, . Which God on Sinai spoke.
And spread his love abroad. • Vol. I.
The God of peace shall bruise satan under your feet shortly....Rom. xvi. 20.
It is very common for the followers of the Lamb to reason, but not right, after this manner: “how can I be a son of the God of peace? how can I be a subject of the prince of peace, seeing I am daily in war and fightings? If at any time the sweet sound of peace is heard in my heart, and the comforting sense of peace is felt in my conscience, soon some rebel lust, some sinful passion, or some fiery dart of the enemy, makes an attack upon me; hence war commences and peace is banished.” Nay but, soul, Jesus is still thy peace. God is ever at peace with thee. Glory in this always. Know thou art to fight the good fight of faith as a soldier of Jesus. Thy present state exposes thee to enemies. Being born again of the Spirit, thy flesh lusteth against thee, and thou feelest it, art groaning under it and striving against it. The strong man, satan, who heretofore kept thee in possession, when thou wast at peace with him, is now cast out by Jesus; therefore he besieges and attacks. The world with its vanities, its children with their smiles and frowns, promises ańd threatenings, animated by “the god of this world,” are at war with thee; because thou art not of this world, but of the kingdom of Jesus. - - That this combined power opposes thee, is a scriptural mark that thou art born of God. That thou art at war with them, is an evidence, a happy evidence of the life of thy soul, and of thy faith and love in Christ Jesus. Rather let this strengthen thy confidence than deject thy mind. Was it any proof that Jesus was not the Son of God, because satan tried to finake him question it, and tempted. him to idolatry, covetousness and self-murder? Did this destroy his hope and peace in his God and Father? Nor need his temptations interrupt thine. Thy God knows thou art conflicting with satan. It is his good pleasure to permit it for a season. Yea, he knows also thou canst not bruise satan, much less overcome him. Natural men are ready to ask what is this bruising of satan : we sée no need of it. No, it is because they lie fast asleep in his arms. But those who are awake, and flee from him, he ever tries to distress. But, O. christian, here is thy comfort, Jesus has bruised the serpent's head: Thy assurance of victory lies in the almighty power of Jesus, and faithful promise of thy Father. Look up with confidence for as sure as satan's head is bruised, thy God, who is at peace with thee, is at war with every enemy that is against thee. Fight with courage. He will strengthen thee to stand against, yearmore, give thee perfect victory over all the powers of darkness, all the malice of hell. As a vanquished foe thou shalt tread satan under thy feet shortly. “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, (against the enemy) he will come and save you."...Isa. xxxv. 4.
Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ....Rom. xiii. 14.
MAN is an active being. Happiness is his pursuit. “Who will shew me any good?” is his continual enquiry. , But to seek it from wrong objects is his constant practice. Hence naturally we are ever restless and uneasy. The new-born soul only has found the centre of true felicity, real good, and permanent happiness, in the knowledge and enjoyment of his Saviour! Here paradise is regained: a heaven of bliss is restored to his soul. It is the peculiar glory of the gospel, it ever presents a precious object to our mind, even the Lord Jesus, from whom alone we derive peace of conscience, joy of heart, and transport of soul. Is there, believer, a day in the year, an hour in the day, wherein thou wouldst pray to be excused from putting on the Lord Jesus Christ as the perfection of thy nature, and the adorning of thy soul? Surely not. As “one made alive from the dead,” the Holy Ghost, by the word, stirs up thy “pure mind, by way of remembrance.” Thou art not called to dream over dry, heathenish lectures of morality; nor from philosophic rules to acquire this and the other habit of virtue; neither art thou left to licentious liberty, to make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. But it is to be the daily exercise of thy believing mind to put on the Lord Jesus Christ as the essence of every virtue; for in this consists all thy present comfort and holiness. And by this thou wilt become dead to all the pleasing, inviting objects that stand so thick around thee to beguile thy mind, and draw thine heart from its best friend. The miser calls his gold his own, it is his god. Hence he exer. cises all his affections upon it, and derives all his happiness from it. The man of pleasure is in continual search after the enjoyment of new delights from the gay surrounding objects of a perishing world. Infinitely greater blessings are christians called to... O, believer, Jesus is thine. In the exercise of thy mind and the affections of thy soul; put on thy Lord continually as thy righteousness, thy strength, thy riches, thy pleasure, thy honor, thy glory, thy all. Oppose Christ to all the pleasures of the world, to all the delights ef sense, and every scene of vanity. Put on Christ in thy conscience; there plead the atonement of his precious blood against the guilt of sin, the perfection of his righteousness, to every demand of the law, the prevalency of his intercession against all thy fears, the freeness and fulness of his promises against all thy doubts. Boldly withstand every accusation from satan with, “Christ hath died, yea rather is risen again; and ever lives to make intercession for us:” “Who is he that condemneth?"...,Rom. viii. 34.
Štrangely, my soul, art thou array'd In sweetest harmony of praise
The end of all things is at hand; beye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.... 1 Pet. iv. 7. . . . - *
YEstERDAY we were born. To-day we live. To-morrow we die. The sum total of human life is justly calculated by the hoaryheaded patriarch, Jacob, “Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.”....Gen. xlvii. 9. A truth this that lies level with the common observation and judgment of all men; but is admitted - into the regenerate heart and conscience only with that importance it , demands, so as suitably to affect the mind and influence the conduct. Hence, the absolute necessity of divine faith; the continual need of the believing soul exercising his meditations upon the sure and certain approaching dissolution of all things. So he learns to die daily to the perishing objects of time and sense; and to live like himself, as an immortal inhabitant of a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. To live and lean upon our ... beloved Jesus as the stay of one's soul and the strength of one's hope this is true happiness. While all things below perish in the ... using; invisible realities ripen in prospect, and most powerfully -, engage our affections; because they are durable and eternal. Hence, the soul is excited to watchfulness, that he may stand....to prayer, that he may be kept....and to sobriety, that he may persevere. O, believer, thou canst not but count drunkenness and whoredom great sins; but know also, the cares, riches, pleasures, and honors of this world, as really intoxicate the mind and cause the heart to be , guilty of spiritual adultery against thy loving, lawful bridegroom, Jesus, as outward, gross sins do the body. What need, what daily need hast thou to watch constantly, to be sober continually, and to pray always? Pride is contrary to sobriety of judgment of thyself. Lust and intemperance are inconsistent with the soundness of thy faith, the stability of thy hope, and the exercise of thy love. These are ever at-hand to beset thee. Say, therefore, when canst thou dispense with a watchful frame of spirit? when intermit in prayer . . to, and dependence on thy God? O, the sweet exercise of watching ... unto prayer, for divine power: in prayer, for sweet enlargements: after prayer, for a comfortable answer from our Lord! Ever may ... this just reflection be on thy mind, when tempted or inclined to cast in-thy lot with the carnal, and to indulge thyself in attending the bewitching scenes of sin, folly and vanity: am I now acting like one . who knows the end of all things is at hand? do I behave as one in : his right mind?' am I watching unto prayer? can I desire, pray for, and expect the sense of Jesus's love and presence to be with me? Remember thy calling; it is to love and live upon an unseen Jesus, and to act as daily expecting to “receive the end of thy faith, the salvation of thy soul."...I Pet. i. 9.
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But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.... I Cor. xv. 57.
DEATH, though conquered by Jesus; though disarmed of its - strength and sting by our victorious Lord, so that it cannot destroy, nay, not wound or hurt the soul of any one of his dear members; yet it is still an enemy, a formidable, disagreeable enemy to nature. When we are left to our natural conceptions, death appears to us with the grim visage of “the king of terrors.” We cannot get rid of our fears, nor are we able to make him put on a more amiable aspect. But when in the simplicity of little children, we go to our heavenly • Father, and tell him how we are affrighted and terrified at the thought and approach of that dreadful enemy, he drives away our fears and - terrors, and relieves our minds. But how does our affectionate Father effect this? by telling us we are perfect and sinless, and therefore we have overcome death, we shall never die, we have nothing to fear, death cannot hurt us? No; though we are sinners in ourselves, and as such must die; though we are without strength to grapple with and subdue this powerful enemy, and though our bodies must fall victims to his stroke, yet, “praise the Lord, O my soul, praise him all his saints,” he giveth us the victory; he puts songs of triumph into our mouths, our hearts; not for what we have done, but our Father refers us to the glorious atchievements of our elder brother, Jesus; he hath obtained a perfect conquest for all the children of his Father's family; and victory is not only proclaimed but given. - Jesus is the unspeakable gift of the Father's love; victory over death is given through Jesus; faith to believe it in the heart, and triumph over it in the conscience, is his free gift also. Thus the Spirit testifies of, and glorifies Jesus; thus his members rejoice in the truth, and are comforted by the truth. - : Death was brought into the world by the father of lies, he is vanquished and destroyed by Jesus, who is essentially THE TRUTH. “The soul that sinneth shall die.” Die man, or justice must. The man Jesus, the sinner's surety, fell a sacrifice to this truth; - hence truth is fulfilled in his death, justice is satisfied, death is disarmed of its sting, which is sin. Jesus hath “put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself.”....Heb. ix. 26. “And the strength of sin, which is the law, Jesus hath perfectly fulfilled in his life for us.” He hath fully answered all its demands, and by him all its accusations are silenced. Precious Christ : Happy believer! What harm can the most fierce, poisonous monster do thee when it hath lost its sting, and is without any strength? Most precious truth ! “Death is yours.”.... 1 Cor. iii.224:
* Now to the God of victory Who makes us conqu'rors while we die, Immortal thanks be paid; Thro' Christ our living head.