Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: Be ready always to

give an unswer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear....1 Pet.

ii. 15.

When the Lord Jesus is the glory of the soul, it is the soul's glory to sanctify him, and him only. How joyful to have one's heart detached from every other object and hope, and its whole delight to glorify our Saviour! How ravishing to dwell on the wonders of his love, the riches of his grace, the greatness of his sufferings, the fulness of his redemption, the perfection of his righteous. ness, the prevalency of his intercession, and all issuing in the eternal life of such vile sinful wretches as we are! Verily, under such views, most cheerfully does the believer sanctify the Lord Immanuel in his heart. Hence, how powerful is his soul animated with holy boldness against the fear of man! Yea, inflamed with love to the truth, how ready to give a reason of his hope! Perhaps, through the warmth of his zeal, and the heat of his affections, he does not always act wisely herein; but does what he is forbid by his Lord, “casts his pearls before swine.” Hence he finds, as they were ignorant of the worth of his jewels, they turn upon him with wrath. The apostle seems to guard against this.

Christian, thou art to be always ready to answer, and to give a reason of thy hope. But to whom? Every man that asks with meekness and fear: meek to receive instruction; fear of error; and desires to know the truth as it is in Jesus. As the christian has freely received, so it is his delight freely to give to others. He hopes the Lord may make him the happy instrument of conviction, conversion, and edification to other souls. Far is it from the nature of a christian “to eat his morsel alone.” He is to imitate the meekness of the lamb in his temper. The boldness of the lion is to accompany his concern for God's glory and the cause of his truth. Meek in speech, but not with timid fear to answer. When God's truth is the subject, the strongest confidence and the greatest courage are our glory. What is thy hope, O christian? Is it any other than “ God's mystery, CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory?"....Col. i. 27. Dost thou see such infinite charms, such inestimable glory in that despised Jesus, who was hanged upon a tree as an accursed maleface tor? that he is the only hope of thy soul? the ONLY glory of thy heart? O, blessed, highly favored art thou! Is it not thy joy to say, “ Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul?”....Psalm Ixvi. 16.

Let the vain world pronounce its shame, With joy we tell the scoffing age, And Aing their scandals on our cause; He that was dead has left the tomb; We glory in our Saviour's name, He lives above their utmost rage, And make our triumphs in his cross. And we are waiting till he come.

се.

Great peace have they which love thy lar: and nothing shall

offend them....Psalm cxix. 165. . All inward peace and tranquility of mind arise from the knowledge and love of the law of the Lord. But hath not the apostle told us, “ the law worketh wrath?"....Rom. iv. 15. Have not believers experienced a sense of wrath in the conscience, through “ the knowledge of sin by the law?" Yes, verily. But this law, the moral law, is subservient to the everlasting law of love, the eternal covenant of grace and peace; therefore in time “ it was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made;" even Jesus, the seed of the woman, in whom the law of peace and salvation centered; of whom the ceremonial law'was a shadow; and by whose holy life, the moral law received perfect obedience to all its demands, and a full satisfaction for all its curses and penalties by his sin-atoning sacrifice. : This eternal law, or purpose of God, was manifested by promise from Jehovah himself to the sin-convicted pair immediately after their fall; and confirmed again both by promise and oath to Abraham and his seed, which is Christ. “ This law or covenant that was éonfirmed before of God in Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”....Gal. iii. 17. No; this law of life, by promise, is “sure to all the seed.” It is immutable, it is unchangeable, therefore not one of them can perish. Hence this law of salvation is the delight of believers. They have great peace from it. For with Paul, they know “the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death."....Rom. viii. 2. Hence with David they say, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." Though many things from within and without grieve and offend them, yet nothing from the law of grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ shall. Christ is not “ a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to them; they stumble not at the word of his grace." They are not offended because it teacheth that salvation is all of grace, according to election, through the blood and righteousness of Christ, applied to their souls in faith by the Holy Spirit. No; all this is their consolation and joy. The commands of Jesus do not offend them, they are all in love: “ His commandments are not grievous.".... 1 John v. 3. Thus, all their joy and rejoicing is in Christ Jesus only, while they confidently and comfortably hope for eternal life, by God's purpose and grace, according to the everlasting law of love, and his free gift by Jesus Christ.... Rom. vi. 23.

The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peace.

able, &C....James iii. 17.

True knowledge centers in this one point, namely, that Jesus is our wisdom; even as the sun is the only source of all light. From hence light is communicated to the earth freely. As that hath no. power to influence the sun to shed forth its comforting beams of light, so neither are we able or willing, while in a state of sin and folly, to exert any power to procure wisdom. But unasked, unsought, unmerited; Jesus, who is emphatically stiled wiSDOM, came down from above, that wisdom might once more be found in our nature. In him most conspicuously shone forth every perfection of purity, peace, gentleness, &c.

This is our gospel to believe, that' thus Jesus hath "abounded towards us in all wisdom"....Eph. i. 8.

So also it is the rich experience of his members, that “out of his fulness we all receive." Hence we are made wise unto salvation, for we know, love, and approve of Jesus, as “made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” This is our chief glory, to glory in him, who is our greatest glory: this our highest wisdom, to glory in him who is our wisdom.

Nature with all its powers is averse to this; but wisdom seeks and apprehends us ; causeth us to hear her voice, to be in love with her beauty; or we should never have had so much as one desire after her. The cry after wisdom, is wisdom in the heart. A desire after Jesus, is from Jesus being known to the soul. Thus Christ prevents us; he first cometh from above to us, then we soar from beneath towards him.

This is the purity of true wisdom : it hath no mixture with any thing from beneath. All the human systems and carnal schemes which the “wise of this world” call religion, as well as the impurity of the flesh, it turns from. It brings purity of affection to Jesus only, like a chaste virgin who has but one object of love : it brings peace to the soul through the same object. Thus where Christ dwelleth in the heart by faith, that soul dwells in wisdom, and is united to purity and peace, &c. When the soul hath but once tasted this wis, dom that cometh from above, there is an insatiable thirst after more; that so from this uncorrupted fountain the pleasing streams of purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, and good fruits, may incessantly flow. “Thus wisdom is justified of all her children."....Matt. xi. 19.

Nature with open volume stands Here, on the cross 'tis fairest drawn To spread her Maker's praise abroad; In precious blood and crimson lines. And ev'ry labour of his hands

0, the sweet wonders of that cross, Shews something worthy of a God. Where God the Saviour lov'd and dy'd! But in the grace that rescu'd man Her noblest life my Spirit draws His brightest form of glory shines; From his dear wounded bleeding side.

Now I know thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not with

held thy son, thine only son from me....Gen. xxii. 12.

So spake Jesus to his friend of old. What! did not God know that Abraham feared him before this? Doubtless he did. But now. in the exercise of faith and love he approved himself to God. He gave full evidence that God's commandments are not grievous: that it was his joy and delight to obey his God. Lord, give what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt, is the breathing of faith and love! Thus was the faith of Abraham justified by its fruits. Seest thou how his faith wrought by his works?. And by works he gave full proof that he possest the faith of God's elect. Thus he obtained this glorious testimony to his own soul from the mouth of the Lord: “ Now I know that thou fearest God with a loving, filial fear. Thy faith worketh by love: it has influenced thy heart to this eminent act of cheerful, unreserved obedience to me.” His faith consulted not flesh and blood ; it surmounted carnal reason. The command of the Lord was the only rule of his conduct. He both sacrificed and enjoyed his Isaac. Thus saith Jesus to every believer, “ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."...John xv. 14. The Spirit of God, by St. James, stiles him a “ vain man,'? who thinks he may have faith destitute of works....James ï. 20.

It is the wisdom of a christian to know that his justification in the sight of God, through the blood and righteousness of Jesus, is "perfect and entire, lacking nothing." This is received by faith only. But this belief cannot exist without its object, Jesus ; theref re it canpot be alone in the heart without love. Faith works by love, and love lives by faith. This inward principle manifests itself by obedi. ence, as an outward evidence. Thus the believer's works are mani-fest that they are wrought in God, and that the soul walks in the light of God's truth and love. But alas! it is an awful case amongst professors, as Paul said on another occasion, “Many are sick and weak: among you, and many are fallen asleep," through the intoxicating draughts of the love of this world, and living after the flesh. Such have no inward testimony that they please God. They possess not joy and peace in believing. They give no outward evidence that they are married to the Lamb, and live by faith on him. “Examine thys". self, O christian, whether thou art in the faith ; prove thy own self.

Knowest thou not thine own self, how that Jesus Christ is in. thee, except thou be a reprobate.”....2 Cor. xii. 5.

Grace. like an uncorrupted seed,

Abides and reigns within; Immortal principles forbid

The sons of God, to sin.

Ņot by the terrors of a slave,

Do they perform his will;
But with the noblest pow'rs they have,

His sweet commands fulfil.

Whom he justifted, them he also glorified.... Rom. viii. 30.

What poor scanty thoughts do we too often entertain of the love and beneficence of our covenant God! At best our conceptions are too contracted : we are straitened in our own bowels, while we have no cause to be straitened in the super-abounding grace of our Lord: we have little reason to borrow contracted thoughts of God's love from Egyptian task-masters. Our own corrupt nature too, too often furnishes with carnal pleas and unbelieving suggestions, which weaken our faith, cool our love, damp our zeal, deject our spirits, and grieve our hearts. Simple hearts should have nothing to do but with the plain simple truths of God. Hath the Lord said it?' He will also do it. Faith defies satan's power, and smiles at human contradictions. Though humbled souls lie low in self-abasement, yet their views are exalted to the highest confidence, by God's purposes, declarations, and promises in Christ Jesus. So they are established in the truth.

- All the blessings of grace and glory are sure to every believer; for all such are in Jesús beloved, justified and saved in the sight of God. So also in themselves, they are discharged from guilt, absolved from punishment, acquitted from the curse of the law. When the comforter brings the sweet knowledge of this to the conscience, then how do they triumph in Jesus! Satan cannot see this without envy

Then he stirs up all the powers of nature and corrupt reason to stop their glorying. Some miserable teachers are not aware whom they serve, when they talk of Jesus' righteous, justified members being consigned over to eternal damnation. Justification by faith is a fruit of electing love. 'All such as are chosen to salvation, they can never perish. Says St. Austin, “ If any of the elect perish, God is deceived; but God is not deceived, therefore none of the elect can perish; for the Lord knoweth who are his." In Jesus they have a sure right and title to glory. And the Lord the Spirit glorifies every justified soul. The church, the King's daughter, he makes all-glorious within now. So each meniber hath á meetness for glory above. The glory of God lies near the hearts of sanctified souls. The way of truth and the paths of holiness are their delight. Sanctification of the Spirit is inseparable from belief of the truth. 'Both spring from the electing love of God the Father, and shall“ most assuredly issue in certain salvation of every happy subject. This is the challenge of Jesus: “Father, I wilI. that those whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."...John xvii. 24. To God the only wise,

Soon all the chosen seed Our Saviour and our King, Shall meet around the throne, Let all the saints below the skies Shall bless the conduct of his grace, Thèir humble praises bring. And make his wonders known. Vol. I.

Ff

« EelmineJätka »