« EelmineJätka »
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.....Psalm Jv. 22.
The soul, having lost its innocency by the sin of the first Adam, can never be happy till it knows righteousness is restored to it again by Jesus, the second Adam. Sensible sinners would be truly miserable when they see their nakedness and feel their want of righteousness, was not righteousness revealed as God's unspeakable gift by Jesus Christ. By him a glorious robe of righteousness is wrought out and imputed to naked and destitute sinners. Grace reigns through his righteousness. All the mercy and favor we receive from God is in a way of righteousness. · We enjoy the knowledge and comfort that we are righteous before God through faith. If this point is not clear and settled in the mind, it is because the clouds of ignorance and unbelief are not chaced away; the sun of righteous ness hath not yet arose upon such hearts; therefore they are perplexed and distressed touching the hope of salvation. For this is the essential and leading point in christianity. We may toil all the days of our life to get righteousness, but we shall go to bed in the dark without it, unless we are made righteous in Christ. Infinite are the blessings, most precious the promises which abound in God's word to the RIGHTEOUS. When we read of the righteous in scripture, we are ever to remember Jesus, and give glory to him who is our righteousness by faith.
God “will never suffer the righteous to be moved from their hope." There is also a holy boldness and sweet familiarity between a righteous Lord and such righteous souls. As he has clothed them with the garments of salvation, they have always a sympathizing friend in their hours of trouble to flee to. This is the hope that supports then; Jesus will support their weak souls and sustain their heavy burdens; they cannot sink though they may be often ready to faint. But why is this? Truly we are apt to struggle with this difficulty and toil with the other load upon our poor minds, instead of casting all upon Jesus who careth for us. Sense opposeth faith, hence Jesus is forgotten, and the mind remains troubled. But here is the wisdom and glory of faith; whenever we feel our souls are bowed dawn on any account, to refer all our griefs and cast or roll all our burdens off from our own minds upon Jesus, and simply to cry out with Hezekiah, “O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.".... Isa. xxxviii. 14.
But I with all my cares,
Will lean upon the Lord ;
And rest upon his word.
His arm shall well sustain
The children of his love; (stands The ground on which their safety
No earthly pow'r can move,
I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling : of God in Christ Jesus....Phil. iii. 14.
By effectual vocation the soul is called from a death in sin' to a life of righteousness. By spiritual illumination the most desirable objects are discerned; the faith of God's elect manifests itself to be an operative grace in the heart by the conduct of the life. Blessed Paul, though such a zealous champion for sovereign operations and free-grace truths, though so averse to the pride of free-will and the confidence of human righteousness in his writing and preaching, yet his life and exhortations are equally opposite to all licentious practices and unchristian sloth; he had a race to run, a prize to win, the end of his calling to attain. Thus is it with all who are partakers of like precious faith ; folding the hands, sitting down contented, resting in ease and indolence, may suffice when doctrines are only received as notions in the head. Truth may be assented to in the judgment as dry speculations, so as to engage the tongue, without warming and influencing the heart, and producing the fruits of holiness in the life. If sitting still and talking, or walking contrary to the hope of the gospel, be to imitate the apostle's blessed conduct, followers of him abound greatly every where ; but the truth received in the love of it excites to activity.
Says the christian,“ I press forward,” like a racer who considers the mark before him, turns his back upon the place he set out from, and is solicitous so to run that he may obtain the prize. Jesus is the christian's mark, he presses towards him, he is solicitous to enjoy much of Christ below, he longs for full enjoyment of him above; this is our glorious high calling. What can be put in competition with it? the world, with all its sinful customs, vain pleasures, and carnal delights ? No; we forsake these, and leave them behind us. We fear being entangled with the objects of time and sense, prefering Jesus above all. Earthly things grow more and more mean and contemptible to us. The more we see our all in Jesus, and expect all from him, so much the more we press towards him. Hence means of
grace are prized, ordinances attended to, Christ's word is precious, the prize is glorious. Thou man of God, ever exercise a godly jealousy of being brought into bondage to the world or the flesh. Remember how unloving, how dishonorable thou actest when any object engages thy attention and rivals thy Saviour.
“Sa run that you may obtain."
How vain are all things here below! Dear Saviour, let thy beauties be
My soul's eternal food;
From all created good.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in
him....1 John ïi. 15.
The voice of carnal reason cries, “God hath created passions within us, therefore gratify them.” At this bar, inconsistency is pronounced upon scripture; but the voice of inspiration proclaims, « The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are not of the Father;" therefore teaches, crucify them. Let no disciple of Jesus think this a hard saying. Nay, but the soul can find no happiness but in the love of God. If other objects attract our affections to seek happiness in them, as they stand in competition with, so they will keep us from the sense of the love of God; where the treasure is, there will the heart be. When the love of God lives in the heart, the love of the world dies. If the love of the world gains the affections the love of the Father subsides. We can no more love two such contrary objects with a supreme love than we can exist in time and eternity, in heaven and on earth at one and the same time; one will necessarily give place to the other in experience and enjoyment. The carnal gratifications of the flesh, vain indulgences of pleasing the eye, with whatever promotes the pride of nature; the riches, pleasures, honors of this perishing world, are all contrary to the love of God in the heart, which is the essence of all true holiness and real happiness. These things war against the soul. Alas! awful instances we see of many professors being bewitched and ensnared by the enchanting allurements of the world to forsake Jesus and the hope of the gospel. Melancholy complaint of St. Paul: "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.”....2 Tim. iv. 10. Saints are delivered from this evil world; they are redeemed from a vain conversation by Jesus: they are forbid by his Spirit to be conformed to the world. O, it is a blessed thing to die to the world before we die in it. The men of this world are declared enemies to God's children; it is our wisdom ever to be on our guard against them; though it is our duty to behave with all kindness and courtesy, to do them all the good in our power, yet let us beware that they do us no harm. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and not be burnt?”.. Prov. vi. 27. Close intimacy with carnal friends exposes to danger; alluring smiles from them often wound deep where open opposition could do no harm. What is all the gain of the world to the happy sense of God's love? He who buys a fine suit of clothes, though ever so cheap, infected with the plague, hath no great bargain.
The brightest things below the sky Our dearest joys and nearest friends, Give but a flatt'ring light ;
The partners of our blood, We should suspect some danger nigh, How they divide our way'ring minds, Where we possess delight.
And leave but half for God!
In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for
thee: The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee....Isa. xxvi. 8.
HEREIN appears the wisdom and glory of our Lord. He hath ordained the way wherein his people should walk, as well as the end which they shall surely enjoy, salvation. Thus is it manifest, by perseverance in grace and holiness, that any sinner is effectually called to the knowledge of Jesus and salvation by him.
Though in regeneration the carnality and corruption of our nature are not destroyed, yet by the word and Spirit the soul is possessed with a desire after Jesus, and the sweet remembrance of his name is fixed in the heart; he is all their desire and all their salvation ; they know and feel themselves to be poor and lost; they are humbled in soul; hope from every object but Christ is cut off. But yet some cannot speak of such manifestations of joy and tokens of comfort which others tell of. Hence they distress and disquiet their minds, are ready to question whether they have any true knowledge of love to, and interest in the Lord. But this is not right; for it is plain and evident, where there is a desire of soul to the in name of Jesus, and a remembrance in the heart of his salvation, as our only hope, this ariseth from a degree of knowledge and faith; and love also in proportion is drawn out after precious Christ. Such will be found waiting upon the Lord, for they see his grace.
There is something in the name of Jesus that is attracting; that in the nature of his work and salvation which suits their desperate state, and which they love to hear of and wait for. The secret power of the Spirit inclines the heart in the way of God's judgments, in the ordinances of his house, in private duties, secret meditation and reading, &c. Yea, though in distress and affliction, still they wait 'upon, yea wait FOR the Lord, for more knowledge, stronger faith, greater love. Therefore such who lightly ésteem, yea speak contemptibly of such “good desires,” speak unadvisedly with their lips; they make sad the heart of the righteous, whom the Lord would not have made sad.” Jesus doth not despise “the day of small things,” he loves the weakest lamb in his flock, he delights in the smallest work of his own Spirit, he doth not despise the least desire of the soul towards him, his loving heart will not “break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, till he send forth judgment unto victory." God is mine all-sufficient good, I bless thy grace, that e'er my soul My portion and my choice;
Had one desire to thee. In him my vast desires are fill'd, No name so sweet whereon to hope, And all my pow'rs rejoice.
As Jesus is to me,
I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts : According to the
word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you : Fear ye not.... Hag. ii. 4,5.
When the Lord calls his people to great work, or grievous sufferings, he animates them with strong consolations; for as their day is, their strength shall be. This passage shines bright, as it manifests the most comforting views and clearest discoveries of covenant-grace and love to saints of old, engaged in a very arduous work of Jehovah. “Whatever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we might have hope."....Rom. xv. 46 Our hope is established and strengthened through patience and comfort of the scriptures; and as they encourage our hope, they also forbid our fears; as if salvation was precarious and uncertain, as though the foundation of hope rested upon conditions we fulfil to secure it. Blessed be God faith hath a surer anchor-hold, even the word, the covenant, the oath of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit. The knowledge of this, under all the discouraging views of nature and sense, lifts the believer above himself, and makes him triumph in the everlasting, unchangeable love and sovereign grace of the glorious trinity. So children of God in every age feed upon one and the same bread of life, Jesus. He is the Logos, the word, with whom the Father covenanted for sinners. According to this, the love of the Father is towards us, even while we are in our natural state, in Egyptian bondage; yea the love of the Lord of hosts is the cause of our deliverance from it, and conversion to his blessed self; so also his Spirit remaineth with us. By his sweet agency and power our blind eyes are enlightened to see the glory and suitableness of Jesus, our deaf ears opened to hear the loving voice of this dear charmer, and an understanding heart is given us to disclaim all other hope, and to know and choose Jesus, believe in and love him as our only precious Saviour. What blessed confidence is this! We are exhorted to "hold it fast.” « FEAR YE NOT," saith the Lord, “I am ever with you.” Fear and distrust are most unreasonable; pride and self-glorying most abominable; sin and disobedience: most hateful; love, humility, and gratitude, most powerfully operate upon such highly-favored hearts. Hence faith in a covenant God, and his loving declarations, ever excite the most generous expressions from the heart. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me! Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living."....Psalm cxvi. 8, 9, 12.