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This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shull so come in like manner as ye have seen him
into heaven....Acts i. 11.
· The parting of dear friends is very grievous and affecting; but sorrow is alleviated from expectation of meeting again. O the joy of meeting our dear friends in glory, who are gone before! but what will heighten all, will be sight and enjoyment of our best friend and dearest Saviour. The disciples were looking stedfastly to heaven, after their dear master ascended to glory, when they received this.assurance : they saw his human form, the same dear many their beloved companion with whom they had so often eat and drank and taken sweet counsel, and who was lately crucified, dead, and buried; this very man Jesus they saw ascend; the Son of God came from heaven in Spirit; he assumed a body of Aesh and blood ; he lived in it on earth; and having “finished the work his Father gave him to do, he took the same body with him to glorý: this same Jesus shall so come again in like manner." Every eye shall see him in the last day in his human form.
Thus in all the transactions of Jesus by faith, we “behold the MAN." View him in his birth, an 'outcast babe in poverty; in advanced years of life, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, despised and rejected of men :" in death he died as another man ; yea, an accursed death, as a malefactor; in his resurrection and ascension with a human body like our own; such was thy Saviour, believer, a man "like unto thyself in all things, but without sin;" and having perfectly expiated and atoned for all our sins, he is now at the right hand of God, the glorified MAN, still in human form pleading our cause. “ And he is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession.”....Heb. vii. 25. God is in Christ; thou canst not come to the Deity but through the humanity of Jesus : mind that. Who can tell the uttermost of Jesus' salvation ? It is unt all manner of perfection both of soul and body. How sweet and encouraging is this to faith, that our Saviour, our brother, our friend, is in our nature before the throne ! «He ever lives; he is able to save." And canst thou ever doubt of his love and willingness?' O, remember Calvary! think of his agony and blood-shedding there. And canst thou want a proof of his love, poor sinner? If thou, whilst an enemy, wast redeemed and reconciled to God by his blood, how much more, being reconciled shalt thou be saved by his life ! It is thy happiness to be ever looking upon and unto Jesus as the man and Mediator by whom thou comest to God; be looking for him to see him in his glorified form. “He shall come again in like manner," "to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them who believe.”....2 Thess. j. 10.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to 'you...e
James iv, 8.,
How sweetly is the children's duty and the father's promise joined together! The latter is a most powerful encouragement to the former; though we were "sometimes afar of, yet being made nigh by the blood of Jesus," we are exhorted to DRAW nigh to God in prayer, in full assurance of faith, firmly believing that "faithful is he who hath promised,” he will draw nigh to us to bless us. To live near God is our heaven below; to experience a distance from him is our misery; we cannot draw nigh. to God but in the way he hás drawn nigh to us, that is in Christ, in the humanity of Jesus his Son; in all our approaches to God, consider this, Jesus is the object of our faith, and GOD IN HIM; all other objects drawn nigh to, will leave the soul in a painful sense of distance from the true God and real comfort. Happy, only happy canst thou be, while thou art daily living in close communion and near fellowship with thy God and Saviour. While the terrors of the law drive legal spirits to duty to fulfil terms of peace and conditions of acceptance, evangelical promises ever sweetly constrain and encourage to every duty thoso
are not under the law, but under grace." To live in neglect of our duty and God's ordinances, is devilish licentiousness; but to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, is true christian liberty: here is our mercy, we have a sure way of access; by Jesus we draw nigh; in him God and man meet; the holy Spirit is our strength, "praying in the Holy Ghost.” As it is the office of Christ to intercede FOX Us, so the Holy Ghost intercedes IN US; as an advocate within, he enables us to plead in faith what Jesus is to us, what he hath done for us; so we speak with confidence to our dear Father: he helps in prayer, as a nurse helpeth a little child that is unable to go of itself, or as a weak decrepit person is upheld by the arm.
Here is our encouragement, the word of promise, “God will draw nigh to you." This, O soul, is thy happiness below, thy heaven on earth, to have access to the God of mercies, and the Father of all consolations draw nigh to thee; thou sweetly findest it so; not merely to draw nigh to duty, but to God in. duty; to find and feel the special presence and blessing of the Lord; without this, loving hearts cannot be satisfied; communion and fellowship with God, finding nearness of spirit, delightful intercourse, having to do with God, and receiving inward peace and love from him; O, this is the glory of the life of faith on Jesus! and this draws us away, from, and makes us dead to all things beside. When God and Christ, and heaven is within, all without becomes truly mean and despicable in comparison. It is good for me," saith Asaph, "to draw near to God."....Psalm lxxiii. 28.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not 1,
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which now I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me....Gal. ii. 20.
The state of a christian is a seeming paradox. No niarvel the things of God are foolishness to natural 'men, and that we are accounted fools for Christ by them; for the truths of God, as well as the life of his children, appear to be absurd to them. But “the life of Jesus is made manifest in our flesh.".... 2 Cor. iv. 11. Hence he saith, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.". Matt. xvi. 24. Deny the PRIDE of his own righteousness, the corrupt Lusts of his sinful flesh, and own me as his life, and follow me as his Lord in the regeneration; in this crucifixion of nature, this death to every hope but Jesus, this life of faith on him, consists the peace, love, holiness, and joy of our souls; this springs from love, excites to love, and is nourished by love; so we enjoy heaven below. Thus is heaven above insured to us.
Blessed life! happy believer! to feel Christ living in thee, to live on him by faith. Envy you, ye sons of folly and vanity! we do not; join with you in your carnal delights we cannot; joys infinitely superior are ours; pity you, indeed we do; nor with you, ye sons of the bond-woman, can we live on our works and duties, derive life from terms we fulfil, and conditions we perform; as if for so much work we earn so much wages: our God owes us nothing; yet he gave his Son freely, '“ that we might live through him." The beloved Son of God himself is our life, our all; though wretched, guilty, damnable creatures by nature and practice, yet astonishing grace! " he loved us, and gave himself for us." Of this we are bold and confident; this truth bears the divine impress; the Lord hath confirmed it with an oath; here to admit the least doubt is base and unreasonable: the life of faith springs from truth itself, and is as contrary to doubting as it is to sensuality; yet, while in the flesh, it will be opposed by both. But is every believer in Jesus assured with Paul, " Christ loved me, and gave himself for me!" No: though this knowledge is essential to the comfort of our souls, yet not to the being of faith in the heart, nor is it the object of faith; yet it is the joyful privilege of every believer, and as such is earnestly to be coveted, and all diligence given to attain it; we are loved with the same love, saved by the same truth, the same faith given us by the same Spirit which Paul had, and to the same end to make us holy and happy; and the comforter, who testifies of Jesus in the word, will sooner or later also bear witness to the heart, and fill the soul with the fruits of faith and the joy of assurance; every faithful, abiding soul in the Lamb shall rejoice to say, “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with. my spirit, that I am a child of God."....Rom. viii. 16.
Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not
the man....Matt. xxvi. 74.
SELF-RIGHTEOUS. hearts are ready to think, better to have con cealed Peter's abominable wicked conduct No; the Spirit of wisdom hereby stains the glory of all flesh, and exalts the superabounding riches of Jesus' grace over the aboundings of sin. He shews, in. Peter's denying his loving Saviour, what human nature is, and what shocking depths of sin a believer may fall into when left to the workings of carnal nature and the buffetings of satan. Dreadful to think of! Most earnestly to be prayed against! Yet we see the affectionate heart of Jesus is ever towards his wounded, fallen mem-' bers. Love is within, and by a look of love, how suddenly, how effectually did Jesus raise and restore Peter! Three denials of Jesus, each attended with higher aggravations, though deserving only a look of wrath, and a frown into hell; yet were followed with a look from Jesus which brake Peter's heart into affection, and melted his very soul into love. Amazing grace! Astonishing kindness! Let no disciple think, I am not in danger of falling, after the like example of unbelief; for every one is.
•If any poor lamb of Jesus' flock is fallen, and has been worried and torn by the wolf, let him not say that his loving shepherd has cast him off for ever, and has no more care for him or love to him. What! will the true shepherd who gave his life for the sheep, who bought every one of them with his own blood, will he suffer the enemy to rob him of his property, and destroy any one of his purchased ones? No, verily, this can never be while Jesus is mighty to save. That can never come to pass till Jesus ceaseth to love and he can as soon cease to exist; for Jesus is God, and GOD IS LOVE.... 1 John iv. 16. O, how oft are our poor souls hurt and wounded! though not in denying Jesus to a fellow-creature with oaths and curses, yet too oft are we ashamed to confess his dear person, his precious cause, his despised cross. Yea, and when we entertain unloving thoughts of our Saviour, from the working of unbelief in the heart, this naturally tends to deny Jesus in his office and character; leads to depreciate and think too meanly of his salvation, his blood, righteousness, intercession, and faithfulness to his people. Hence we encourage guilty fears, our views of his love get clouded, a sense of it in the heart grows cold, and the influence of it on the life is benumbed. Is not this in effect to say, "I know not the man?" Such are the workings of nature and unbelief. O, how little do we consider what Christ hath done, and is doing for us! We have too mean and contracted views of Jesus at best; and such at times as we are ashamed of, when we are enabled elearly to view “Christ in us our hope of glory.”....Col. 1. 27. VOL. I.
Remember Lot's wife....Luke xvii. 32.
It may do a disciple much good, it can do him no harm, to call to mind the judgments of his God. Hence he may learn from others' harm to be more wise and wary. If he sees professors fall away, it teaches him to take heed; it tends to lay him low in humility at the feet of Jesus, and excites gratitude and love in his heart, and makes him cry out in astonishment, Why am I not fallen! How am I kept! “Glory to grace!” It is well, I believer, ever to remember thou stándest by faith; "Be not high minded, but fear." O, fear to look back with a wishful eye, or a lusting heart, to the sinful vanities of a carnal world. Remember Lot's wife. What of her? She loitered; she did not keep up with her husband; she was behind him. So, soul; if thou dost loiter, and not keep close with Jesus thy husband, thou wilt be in danger. “She looked back from behind him." Here was an act of folly, unbelief, and disobedience : folly, in thinking, as she was behind Lot, he could not see her look back. Unbelief, in not stedfastly crediting God's word. Disobedience, in looking back to Sodom, contrary to his word, instead of looking forward, and up to the Lord. O soul, forget not Jesus sees the looks of thy heart if they are to this perishing world. He sees the unbelief of thy heart, if thou forgetest him, and lookest to any thing but him for happiness. He will punish disobedience to his voice, "follow me.”. “She became a pillar of salt.”....Gen. xix. 26. A lasting monument of God's judgment. Though we never see this pillar of salt,' yet we may see such every day. How many seem to turn their backs upon the world, and escape to Jesus, but their eyes look again to it. Looking begets longing; their feet are again entangled in its snares, their hearts bewitched with its smiles, they are hugged to death in the world's embraces, and become as a pillar of salt:; a monument of God's judgment upon their conduct. It is supposed Lot's wife - retained her natural shape in this pillar: so in such professors there is all the appearance of the form of religion kept up; but the heart, the spirit, the life and power of it, are entirely 'extinct in their souls. Their very hearts are given up to the world, and are as cold and as dead to God as Lot's wife, when she became a pillar of salt, was to the things of this life. The eye is a great inlet to temptation. Saints have woefully experienced this! David did. He saw; then he longed after enjoyment. O believer, Jesus is thy object. Here looking may beget love and longing, without danger of hurt; yea, with the greatest certainty of good to thy soul. Ever look to Jesus, remember him; so wilt thou, with Paul, “forget the things that are behind, and press toward the mark of the prize of thy high calling in him. Thou hast escaped for thy life.” It is the command of thy God, in love to thy soul, “Look not behind thee."