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Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also 2....Rom. iv. 9.
“BEwARE lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”....Col. ii. 8. Why this caution from the voice of inspiration? Our daily danger makes it expedient, “lest any man beguile you of your reward. Beware of men. Call no man Rabbi,” saith thy Lord, lest any man judge against your privileges, impair your comforts, or distress your mind. Here is every blessing to make poor sinners happy. Righteousness imputed without works; iniquities forgiven, and sins covered; sin not imputed. This trinity of blessings flow from the unity of free grace. Such blessedness com Eth, free as the air, unmerited as the light, comforting as the sun: possessed by the unworthy, enjoyed by the ill-deserving, sure to all the redeemed, the inestimably rich privileges of every believer in Jesus. Here the wise God and vain man differ in judgment. Legal hearts. are ever thinking of obtaining a righteousness by works, and pardon upon conditions: but God imputes a righteousness without works, even the best robe. None but untoward children find fault with the father's gifts; none but proud children object to the father's clothing. For thy righteousness, even if perfect, O soul, is at best but the righteousness of a creature; but Jesus' righteousness is the righteousness of the God-man; infinite in value like his precious blood, by which our sins are atoned. They are not imputed to us, because laid upon Jesus. God pardons them in justice to him. Christ hath performed every condition for us. Faith takes its views, and forms its judgments from revealed truths. So it evidences its divine original. Thus it gives all glory to God; while the sense of pardon is applied to the soul by the Spirit, who comforts the soul in truth. And thus a living, vital union is preserved between Jesus and his members through faith. From a joyful sense of pardon, love is increased, holiness incited, man is humbled, Jesus exalted, free grace gloried in, hope, encouraged, slavish fears ejected, and the heavenly inheritance longed for as a free gift by Jesus. Thus all is of God, all is of grace, all cometh freely. Even eternal life is the free gift of God by Jesus Christ, who saith, “Fear not, little flock, 'it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”....Luke xii. 32.
And doth the Lord impute no sin? Reject the legal prate of those
Spurn unbelief, and Satan's wiles, ‘Who strip free grace of its just due,
God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ....2 Cor. iv. 6.
This is a glorious confession of faith, worthy to be wrote in letters of gold, and set with the most precious jewels, and ever to be worn as the believer's ornament and glory. For here is the rich display of sovereign grace, and the glory of almighty power, in producing light in the hearts of sinners, who are by nature not only in the dark, but even darkness itself. The knowledge of Jesus is commanded by the same omnipotent agent, who called forth light in the beginning, upon this dark terraqueous globe. Light gladdens the whole creation of nature; and this spiritual light causeth joy in the soul; for it gives the knowledge of God's glory. In what respect? that God is glorious in majesty! O this strikes us with horror. Glorious in power? That fills us with terror. Glorious in holiness? This causes despair. So every attribute and perfection of Jehovah would sink sinners into dread, astonishment, and death. But here is our relief, ‘It is the knowledge of the glory of God, in the person of the anointed Saviour.” In HIM, God's glorious favor, eternal love, everlasting counsel of peace, covenant of grace,
promises of mercy, scheme of salvation, shine with the most
resplendent lustre. Hence pardon, love, peace, joy, holiness, hope, security, heaven in possession, glory in reversion; all, all center in the person of Jesus. Thus we behold the glory of God. God in HIM. This is the only comfortable knowledge, the only reviving experience of the christian heart. And here we see how inseparably connected God’s glory and his people's comforts are. Each leads to the other, and both tend to lay sinners low in humility, and sink them to nothing before a sovereign, gracious Lord. Could a dark chaos contribute any thing to the production of light? Canst thou,
'O worm of the earth, exert any power to cause that glorious lumionary, the sun, to send forth its reviving beams of light? No, the
first is by the command of the sovereign agent; the latter acts by the laws of its wise Creator. So as to spiritual light, saving knowledge, it is given to those who sought it not; it is made manifest to them who asked not after it. What then becomes of terms and conditions of salvation? O thou once spiritually blind and dead soul, if God hath commanded the light and knowledge of Jesus in thine heart, all boasting is excluded, all glorying in self is at an end. Surely thou wilt say....Thine is the power; to thee, to thee alone, Jehovah, be all the glory!
Now be the God of Israel bless'd, He makes his great salvation known; Who makes his truth appear; By Christ he pardons sins;
His mighty hand fulfils his word, While sov’reign grace and heav'nly love And all the oaths he sware. In its own glory shines.
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high....Heb. i. 3.
What St. Paul says of the resurrection of Jesus, 2 Cor. xv, may, with equal truth, be applied to his divinity. If Jesus be not truly and essentially the self-existing God, “all preaching is vain; all faith is vain;' all the saints of God must perish in their sins. But we have not so learned Christ, if so be we have heard him, and know the truth as it is in Jesus. His eternal power and Godhead angels adore, devils tremble at, saints rejoice in, and only poor, blinded, proud sinners dare cavil against and deny. That Jesus is both Lord and God, lies at the foundation of our faith. That he uphold all things by the word of his power, is the joy of our hearts. That, as man, he hath purged our sins, causes all our hope and comfort. That he is entered into heaven for us, and there pleads our cause, O this is the glory of our souls. For our hope entereth into that within the veil. There Jesus our forerunner is For Us entered. On this rock Christ's church is built, and neither the “powers of earth and sin, nor the gates of hell shall prevail against it.” When the Spirit brings the soul up to Nebo, the mount of prospect and prophecy, it has glorious views of the inheritance; it speaks of it; it fructifies; the grace of faith, hope, love, peace, and joy, abound in the heart. But, alas! all is barren as a wilderness; unfruitful as a desart, while sin in its guilt and punishment is not known and believed to have been purged by the blood of Jesus. This is the only physic for sin-sick souls, the most reviving cordial for drooping spirits. The same blood, which was all-sufficient to purge away sin in the court of heaven, is also all
sufficient to cleanse the guilt of it from the conscience. Sweet con
solation for the members of Jesus! Their living head, in his human form, is at the right hand of the majesty in glory; the blessed object to whom we are ever to look, through whom every comfort flows, and on whom is our hope in every soul-conflict with sin and Satan. This is the reasoning of faith: “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Much MoRE, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”....Rom. v. 10.
There's none can know the Father right Then let our souls adore our God, But those who learn it from the Son; That deals his graces as he please, Nor can the Son be well receiv'd, Nor gives to mortals an account,
But where the Father makes him known. Or of his actions, or decrees.
Keep yourselves in the love of God....Jude, ver. 21. The LovE of Gon, like every other attribute and perfection of Jehovah, is everlasting and unchangeable; even as the essence of God himself. This love is manifested to his people in Christ Jesus; he is the object in whom they are viewed and loved by the Father. As “Jesus is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,” so is God's love towards them. Time, with all its concurring circumstances, can make no alteration or change, increase or diminution herein. But as to the sense and enjoyment of this love, the word of truth and experience of saints plainly testify of its ebbing and flowing, its fervor and abatement in the soul. Hence the necessity of those tender calls, kind warnings, and loving counsels, addressed to belivers, in the word of truth; because they are ever to be active as those who are made alive to God, and have their senses exercised to discern between good and evil. Exhortations excite to jealousy, and quicken to diligence. The enjoyment of the love of God is our heaven below; to keep ourselves in the happy sense of it, is our highest privilege, our greatest happiness. Keep ours Elves in the love of God! Yes: How? Use every means which love commands; avoid all things which love forbids. Account not this LEGAL. Those who do, have only the notion of love in the head, but are strangers to the constraints of love in the heart. Wouldst thou ever enjoy love, O Christian? Be much in meditation upon it....think daily, constantly of that unparalleled instance of it, God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten son Jesus to atone for sin by his precious blood....to justify sinners by his perfect righteousness. Dost thou know this by the gospel? This is love revealed. Dost thou believe this in thine heart by the Spirit? . This is love felt and enjoyed. All, all flows from the rich, transcendantly rich love of God in Christ Jesus. O be concerned daily to keep thy soul in and under a lively sense of this love? and also keep thyself by this love from worldly lusts, carnal indulgences, and sensual gratifications. These are forbidden fruits; thy flesh may long for and covet them, but by the love of God, by his mercies in Christ Jesus, and for thy soul's sake, abstain from them. Know verily, as hurtful food will impair the health of thy body; so these things as certainly will rob thy soul of its peace....damp the warm sense of God's love, and render thee cool, indifferent, and lifeless, to the love of God. Thus saith the God of love, “Consider your ways.”....Hag. i. 5.
My God, permit my tongue For life without thy love
This joy, to call thee mine; No relish can afford;
To taste thy love divine. To serve and please the Lord.
The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.... Prov. iv. 18.
Since the fall of man, there is no other way of being made just or righteous, but by the righteousness of the man Christ Jesus. Just Noah, righteous Lot, meek Moses, faithful Abraham, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, all were sinners in themselves, but “their righteousness is of me,” saith Jehovah Jesus....Isa. liv. 17. Hence the Lord calls his people righteous. They are really constituted so in his sight. This truth should ever dwell in our minds. It is the foundation of all delight in God and love to him. Hence we are com
forted in the way of truth and holiness. For Jesus, who is our righte
ousness, is also our light to direct our steps, and our path wherein we walk. He is the “light of the world, the light of life.” “I am the way,” saith Jesus. St. Paul exhorts, “As ye have received the Lord Jesus, so walk ye in him.”....Col. ii. 6. Our faith in Jesus, is no new-fangled doctrine, but the same as was from the beginning. Christians are not left to the darkness of nature; they are not led by sudden, transient flashes of light; but by the clear, steady shining of truth upon their minds. Their walk, in in the path of truth, is consistent and uniform. , Like the dawning light of the morning, the light of truth first
breaks in upon the soul, and gradually increaseth brighter and
brighter: so we see more clearly, believe more strongly, love more fervently, hope more steadily, obey more delightfully, and long more
cheerfully for the perfect day. Though at some seasons, when
vapours and mists of nature's corruption arise, and the night of affliction and desertion overtakes the just, upright soul, he may be in fear, lest he should never hold out and see the perfect day. In such seasons he is too apt to lend his ear to a whisperer, who is ever ready
to dishearten him. What with his corrupt heart, Satan's sugges
tions, and men's false doctrine, he is thrust sore at. He may fear,
lest he should fail and perish for ever; but God's power and truth
will support him. If the comforting Spirit had not left another word of proof in the whole bible for the perseverance of the just, this one is sufficient. Wisdom hath spoken it; nor men nor devils shall reverse it. Every justified soul shall enjoy the perfect day of Jesus' meridian glory and salvation in his kingdom. Till then, “the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.”.... Job xvii. 9.
By grace I see the shining path O blessed, joyful, perfect day
Will bring me where he is. Till thou dost reign above, M.