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Giving thanks to the Father, roho hath made us meet to be
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.... Col. i. 12.
Too many of God's dear children seem to abound more in complaining of what they find and feet in themselves than in praising God for what he hath done for and in them. Why is this? They do not live enough in their own kingdom; they do not enough consider their own privileges; they dwell not enough upon the rich love of God their Father to them; the free-grace of Jesus their Redeemer For them, and the work of the comforter in them. But, what from a sense of their corruptions, the devices of satan, the sight of the spirituality of the law, the legality that is in them, they cannot think themselves made meet for God's kingdom; therefore they do not praise God for it. Say, O ye sons and daughters of the Most High, is this right? What! because you find sin - abound in you, will you not give praise that grace doth much more abound towards you and in you also? Consider, God the Father HATH, made ug meet. Who? Us vile sinners. How? by taking away the being of all sin in us? No, no more than by taking us out of the body. If we never have meetness for glory till all sin is perfectly destroyed in us, we shall never begin the work of praise till we get to glory. But praise.is á present work for what God. HATH already done in us. First, " God HATH delivered us from the power of darkness." The prince of darkness no more blinds our eyes to the evil of sing the curse of the law, the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus, and the preciousness of his salvation. For, secondly, “God HAT# translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.". We are out of the kingdom of nature, sin, pride, and unbelief; we live under the spiritual reign of Jesus. Therefore, thirdly, we possess all the graces of this kingdom; FAITH in the king of saints, love to the king of saints, and “ love to all the saints;" to all our fellow-sinners who confess Jesus the Son of God, and salvation by him only. : Is sin our burden? Christ our glory, our life of holiness? Is holiness the desire of our souls? we have light, life, faith, love, holiness; then God hath made us meet for the enjoyment of his glory. Nay, we do enjoy him now. We have fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, therefore, we are now to give him thanks; we shall never have any other meetness for heaven on earth, though greater degrees of the comforts of this may be experienced. O my. soul, art thou no longer in the darkness of sin? satan's slave? under : the curse of the law? blinded by pride to the charms of Jesus? tied and bound by the chains of unbelief? an enemy to God's grace, his truth, and his people? “Lord, thou art my God, I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name, for thou hast done wonderful things." &C.... Isa. XXV. l.
I hud fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living....Psalm xxvii. 131
In times of sore distress and affiction, whether in soul or body, saints are taught many sweet lessons. Chastenings froin the Lord are all in love ; by them our God teaches the soul to profit. “No chastening for the present is joyous, but grievous.” In the dark night of suffering, christians sigh out many a doleful strain. Sonietimes according to all appearances from nature, sense, feeling, and the judgment of reason, they are ready to cry out, “All things are against me." Hence their courage sinks, their hopes and their hearts fail them, and they are ready to faint ; but they have an invis sible friend always near them; he supports them by his power under all their trials and conflicts ; supplies with comforting cordials; retives their spirits with the consolations of his word; and when he brings them out of their troubles, then how sweetly do they sing of him! how many a joyful psalm! What a rich treasury of experience are we favored with from the pen of David, dipt in the ink of affic tion! How sweetly does he indite to the glory of his God and the comfort of his Father's children in after-ages ! He believed, therefore he spake. Unless he had believed, he had fainted.
Faith will support when all things else fail. O, what a soul-supporting grace is faith! Why so? Because it looks to, depends upon, trusts in an almighty, faithful, covenant-keeping God.
Faith consults not flesh and blood, but the word of grace and truth. 'By faith we endure every fight of affliction, every onset of the enemy; seeing him who is invisible. As faith is the support of the soul, so the object of faith, Jesus ; he is both faith's author and strength. “Thy faith shall not fail,” saith Jesus to Peter; “I have prayed for thee.” It failed not as an abiding principle in the heart unto salvation, though it did in the confession of the lips. While the precious head is praying above, the dear members shall be kept in faith below. Though poor souls, through the enemy's power, the corruptions and rebellions of the flesh, may speak unadvisedly with their lips as David did, (Psalm cxvi. 10, 11.) “I was greatly afflicted, I said in my haste, all men are liars." But in their right mind they give all glory to God, confess his goodness, and take shame to themselves for such base declarations, and from their own experience give sweet advice to their brethren. I had fainted' unless I had believed. Therefore do thou “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait I say on the Lord.”
Great God, thy glories shall employ And will this glorious Lord descend
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love
is better than wine ....Solomon's Song i. 2. · Suci is the familiar, loving language of chaste virgins espoused to Jesus. Love in the heart begets desires after tokens of affection from the object beloved. “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?" asks the enquiring heart. “If ye have taken away HIM,” says sorrowful Mary. “That I may know him," says affectionate Paul. “Let IIM kiss me," saith the church; as though all the world knew whom is meant or who is their beloved. Every heart that is blessed with the discovery of Jesus, will be excited with such desires after him. Here is a very short and abrupt request ; “Let him kiss me, that will make me quite happy: My heart is simple, I have but one ob, ject in view. O, if Jesus will but favor me with a love-token all my fears vanish, my scruples are at an end, my doubts are all silenced ; peace, happiness, and joy shall possess my mind. So the loveallured leart reasons and prays. But sometimes delays excite impa. tience, and promote jealousies, which issue in mourning surmises. «Hope deferred, makes the heart sick." ," I fear Jesus doth not love me, or sure he would hear, and not delay, affording me sweet evidences and pledges of love." But so Jesus proves the soul's faith and stedfastness to him ; so he draws out its importunity after him, “Whom having not seen, we love ; and though now we see him not, yet believing; we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory....Pet. i. 8. · Such is the language of faith. Where revealed love is received in the heart, sensible tokens will be longed after and shall be enjoyed; nor can the believing heart rest satisfied, nor be truly happy without them ; its cry is none but Christ, none but Christ! What are the smiles of the world if Jesus frowns? What is life itself without his presence and favor? His presence creates a paradise; nearness to him is heaven on earth; his cross is our glory; his kisses our comfort. “For thy love is better than wine." I have tasted both; I have felt the sweet effects of each. Experience has taught me, that as wine revives and cheers the heart, so doth love; I cannot live without love; I cannot be happy without a sense of it. I cannot be holy, I cannot serve cheerfully, or obey perfectly, nor conquer sin powerfully, but while love, thy love, O my beloved Jesus, inspires, enlivens, and influences my heavy, sluggish heart. Such sentiments possess loving, longing souls. O, this love is a precious plant! It springs not in nature's garden; its original is divine; it comes from God. “For GOD IS LOVE.”....John iv. 8. Those who have obeyed the Father's voice, “kiss my Son.".... Psalm ii. 12...." Know that the love of Christ passeth knowledge."....Eph. iii. 19.
I have loved thee with an everlasting love : therefore with
loving kindness have I drarun thee...Jer. xxxi. 3. 23 Taus: the Lord speaks to his church as to a collected body; therefore ye members of Jesus, what foundation of comfort, what cause of rejoicing have you daily! But what doubts and scruples do often arise in your poor hearts concerning God's love to you! Why. is this? Because we judge of and determine the bounds of the love of our God, from the sense and feeling we find in ourselves, instead of abiding by the Lord's own gracious declarations in his word to us. How absurd would it be for us to judge of the dimensions of that glorious luminary the sun, by the little light and heat which we partake of! Shall we conclude from the severe cold we feel in winter's frost; or, in the sense of midnight darkness, that light and heat cease to exist in the sun? Alas! we may as well “measure the waters in the hollow of our hand, mete out the heaven with our span, weigh the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance," as truly as to estimate and judge of the infinite, boundless love of God to poor sinners in Christ Jesus, from our perception and sense of it. Dost thou, O soul, experience the drawing of thy heart to Jesus for righteousness, atonement, life, and salvation? This is not of the will of the flesh, but of the power of God, the effects of his loving kindness to thee. For, saith Jesus, "no man can come unto me, except the Father draw him."....John vi. 44. As the rays of light lead to the source from whence they flow, so this stream of love, in time, instructs our souls in the most comfortable truth of God's everlasting love. Think not, because I experience repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, am obedient to the gospel of holiness, therefore, for these graces, now the Lord begins to love me. O no! for his love is of an earlier date; this is reverse ing God's method; and in times of darkness and desertion, and under satan's buffetings, when thou hast no light to see thy graces, nor feeling sense of comfort in the exercise of them, this method of judging of God's love will be most distressing to thy poor soul. O, may the Spirit of truth help us to judge of God's love according to his own word of grace. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; and therefore (for this cause) with loving kindness have I drawn thée" from darkness to light, from the kingdom of satan into the kingdom of my dear Son; glory shall crown what grace begun. What motive so powerful, what doctrine so influential to animate and enliven the soul with fervent love and cheerful obedience as the daily reflection and constant belief of the everlasting, unchangeable love of God to us in Christ Jesus? “Not any thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”....Rom. viii. 39. Vox. I,
As nero-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby....1 Pet. ii. 2.
“What I cannot comprehend shall never be the object of my faith," is the weak language of a proud sceptic. “Where I cannot comprehend, I silently adore; what I cannot explain, yet I humbly believe, because divine truths bear the impress, “The Lord hath spoken." This is the language of an humble, gracious heart, “Marvellous are thy works, O Lord, in wisdom hast thou made them all.” Glorious is thy grace in Christ Jesus; in love hast thou revealed it to the children of men. Here is the wisdom of saints, to learn from the images of nature the mysteries of grace. From the book of the former we are taught sweet and precious instructions in the latter. How kindly has the God of nature provided for the infant cry of the new-born babe! It soon discovers its wants; and though as sensible of the provision it has brought, and its right unto it, it scarce breathes the air, but it hunts for the breast of its parent, and its tender' appetite is drawn out after the milk. No less pleased and delighted is the affectionate mother to administer to its wants and relieve its sorrows, and nourish and strengthen her new-born infant. Dwelleth such love in parents to their offspring? Infinitely greater is the love of God to his babes in Christ. Dwelleth such a disposition in the babe of nature after milk? So also is this exemplified in every child of grace in his love to and hunting after the milk of God's word. Hath the God of nature made such suitable provision for the children of this world? Glory to his grace, so hath he richly provided spiritual milk for the children of his kingdom. Desire it, saith he, and grow thereby; feed on it and be strengthened: but the Spirit of wisdom hath given us a caution to try the milk, to see that it be sincere milk; not any milk, but the pure and unmixed milk of God's word and truth; Jesus is the very essence and substance of it. If the nourishing doctrines of God's everlasting love and election in Christ, pardon by his blood, clothing by his righteousness, and final salvation of all his dear people through him, are omitted by ministers, they administer skimmed milk, which has lost its strengthening and nourishing qualities: hence, it will not edify and cause the soul to “grow strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.” When from the word of God its rich qualities are extracted, carnal reason is set up, human pride is established, creature righteousness is exalted: hence, instead of “growing up unto Christ in all things," professors grow into self-complacency and vain confidences. O, love the revealed word above all human teaching; prize and attend upon the faithful ministers of Jesus, that thou mayest be “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.”.....Tim. 4. 6.