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Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear,
and let him be your dread....Isa. vii, 13.
In consequence of a blessed union between Jesus and his believ. ing members, the word discovers the sweet concord and delight that mutually subsists in the heart to each other. Thus of old it is declared, “The Lord's portion is his people.".... Deut. xxxii. 9. And the church claims Jesus under the same appellation: “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.”....Lam. iii. 24 “Ye shall be to me a holy nation."....Exod. xix. 6. “I will dwell in them, and walk in them,” saith our gracious Immanuel. Therefore, such highly favored souls are called to the most special and peculiar service on earth ere they attain the perfect enjoyment of Jesus in glory. What more exalted pitch of honor, than for creatures of a day to sanctify the Lord of the heavenly hosts, the Lord of the armies of the whole earth?
Is Jesus the Lord thy God? worship thou him; give him the glory due unto his name. The heart is his temple; there sanctify thy Lord. Separate every idol of self-righteousness, every vain pretension, every boasted plea for mercy, but what is in Jesus, and flows through him. Spurn from thee all things else as detestable, that would rival Jesus, detract from his glory, or cast a veil over his finished salvation, by the life of his obedience, and the blood of his atonement.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice," ....Phil. iv. 4 ....but rejoice with trembling; for the Lord our God is a holy God. Fear his frown, dread his displeasure, stand in awe of his majesty daily. The righteousness, the peace, the joy of the soul is from him; therefore thy heart should be ever towards him.....thy eye looking up to him....thy affections placed upon him....thy hands labouring to work those things which are well-pleasing in his sight ....and thy feet running the way of his commandments with delight. But, who is sufficient for these things? From daily experience we are constrained to confess, “when I would do good, evil is present with me." This is humbling, but not discouraging. Thy Master knows thy compound state....the desire to good is from him....the evil from thyself. Inspired Paul is upon a level with the weakest believer, alike naturally prone to evil, destitute of inherent power; but yet saith he, “ I can do all things through Christ, who strength. eneth me.”....Phil. iv. 13. This is the daily exercise of faith, to oppose Christ's righteousness to the feeling of sin: the sanctification of the Spirit to every lust: the strength of Jehovah to the weakness of nature. For this is the hope, the joy, the triumph of every believer, “ In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.".... Isa. xlv. 25. VOL. I.
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.... 1 Pet. ii. 11.
The soul of every disciple of Jesus is most dearly beloved by the holy Trinity. It is a precious jewel in the eyes of the loving Father, the redeeming Son, and the sanctifying Spirit; who all unite to make it happy. But it hath a world of enemies. Yea, it is at present in the closest and nearest relation to one of its greatest foes, the flesh; the lust and desires of which are at continual war against the peace, comfort, and welfare of the soul. Therefore, O christian, thy best friend sounds an alarm of love, gives thee a dehortation of kindness: “ Abstain from fleshly lusts.” He knows what great hurt compliance with and indulgence in them will do thee; thou wilt surely smart and be sorely grieved for it. Destroy thee, they shall not; but distress thee, like the prevailings of a bitter enemy, they will. Consider, beloved christians, we are strangers and pilgrims, sojourning and passing through a strange land and foreign country; our clothing is, Christ and his righteousness; our food, Christ and his fulness; our staff, Christ and his promises; our rule, the word of Christ; our guide, the Spirit of Christ; the place whither we are bound, is heaven, a better country, our father's house, the inheritance of our friends and brethren.
Settle this in your minds. Meditate daily on your calling, your hope, your heaven, where your treasure is. Where should your affections and delight be? Not on earth, this is not your rest, it is polluted; not in the flesh, this is to be denied, its motions abstained from, its lusts and affections crucified daily. Know the flesh as thine enemy, treat it as such, keep it under; in it “ dwells no good thing"....its lustings and desires cannot but be evil continually.... they will never cease to oppose the spirit, the life and liberty of thy soul; they are ever at war against the peace, consolation, and joy, which is in Christ Jesus. Daily victory is joyful triumph. Therefore ever consider the need of following this advice: “Put on the whole armour of God.".... Eph. vi. 11. Feeling foes within, and being at war against them, is a sure evidence of a good soldier of Jesus Christ. “ Fight the good fight of faith."
This life's a dream, an empty show; And flesh and sin no more controul But the bright world to which I go, The sacred pleasures of the soul. Hath joys substanrial and sincere :
My flesh shall slumber in the ground, When shall I waké and find me there! Till the last trumpet's joyful sound; O glorious hour! O blest abode! Then burst the chains, with sweet sur. I shall be near and like my God, And in my Saviour's image rise. (prise,
Who can understand his errors ? Cleanse thou me from my
secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins ; let them not have dominion over me....Psalm xix. 12, 13.
As faith gives a holy boldness at the throne of grace, so the regenerate soul is open and ingenuous in confession of sin. When sin is dethroned in the heart, its errors are its concerns; the most secret faults bow it in humility before the Lamb. To his precious blood the believer has recourse for cleansing; he has daily need of it. He cannot understand all his errors. Many secret faults cleave unto him. He is sensible that even these must be washed away, lest they defile his conscience, and spread a cloud over his mind. It is the peculiar wisdom of disciples, not only to observe the bud, blossom, and fruit of sin, but also to consider the evil root, the polluted nature from which it springs. Here is the exercise of watchfulness. This calls for their daily prayer to be kept by the power of God.
Happy souls! who, under a sense of peace through the blood of Jesus, are daily praying to be kept by the grace of the Spirit. Such truly know themselves....see their danger of falling....will not, dare not palliate or lessen the odious nature and hateful deformity of their sin. They will not give a softer name to sin than it deserves, lest they depreciate the infinite value of that precious blood which Jesus shed to atone its guilt. Far will they be from flattering themselves into a deceitful notion that they are perfect, and have no sin in them. The Spirit of truth delivers them from such errors...che teacheth them as poor sinners to look to the Saviour, and to beseech him to keep back the headstrong passions, the unruly lusts, and evil concupiscences which dwell in their sinful natures. Alas! the most exalted saint, the most established believer, if left to himself, how soon might the blackest crimes, the most presumptuous sins, get the dominion over him? David had woful experience of this for a
He prays from a heartfelt sense of past misery, and the dread of future danger. And he found the blessing of that covenantpromise: O believer, may it be the exercise of thy faith daily to live upon it, daily to plead it before thy Saviour! “ Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”, ...Rom. vi. 14. Why shall not sin lord it over the conscience of a believer? Truly, because the grace of Jesus reigns for him, and within him. For he saith, “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”....Jer. xxxii. 40.
O who can ever find
The errors of his ways?
I would not dare transgress.
Warn me of ev'ry sin,
Forgive my secret faults,
Whose crimes exceed my thoughts.
4. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray
the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth....John xiv. 15, &c.
He would be a traitor and a rebel who should dare to set up his standard in England, and demand allegiance from the king's sub jects, and require obedience to his commands, who had no right to the crown. So Jesus, if he is not KING OF KINGS AND LORD. OF LORDS..the King of saints....the living and true God; but only a mere man, a Prophet mighty in word and in deęd, a very good man, who taught the best morals, and set us a good example, as some proud, vain, ignorant creatures pretend; verily, if this were all, we, christians, could see no goodness in him. But he would be a bold usurper against the one eternal Jehovah, striving to alienate the affections of the heart, and the obedience of the life from God, whom ye are commanded to love and serve only, Therefore, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” saith Jehovah the mighty God, by the wonderful man Christ Jesus. Disciples know his voice. In love, he hath done all things for their salvation. From love, he requires all of them in duty. Obedience without love is slavery: Love without obedience is dissimulation. In keeping his commandments there is great reward, enjoyed in present peace, expected in future hope; both are the fruits of free grace and unmerited love, and secured by precious promises.
While others might hear of Jesus, and talk of the miracles Jesus wrought in the days of his flesh; yet those disciples only, who were obedient to his call and followed him, saw his glory, and enjoyed the comforts of his presence. So the closer disciples walk with Jesus in love and obedience, they enjoy more of the comforts of faith. And besides the gift of faith, as an evidence, they shall receive the comforting witness of their being the children of God, even from the Spirit of truth; another comforter, who shall abide with them for ever, as a seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory. So Jesus prays....so the Father bestows....so the Spirit applies and comforts. Glory be to the ever-blessed THREE, who thus agree in ONE, and bear witness on earth of salvation, to the comfort and joy of poor, sinners. Love to Jesus is the spring of obedience. Keeping his commandments, is the way in which, though not for which the Spirit comforts our hearts. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”....Matt. xix. 6.
The God of mercy be ador'd,
Who calls our souls from death, Who saves by his redeeming word
And new-creating breath.
To praise the Father and the Son,
And Spirit (all divine).
Let saints and angels join.
Turn, O ye backsliding children ; for I am married to you,
saith the Lord....Jer. iii. 14.
** I am
When a child departs from an indulgent father, or a wife forsakes an affectionate husband, they, in effect, say, they have other objects with whom they are more delighted, and from whom they expect greater happiness. O backsliding soul! is such thy conduct towards the best of Fathers, the most affectionate bridegroom? Thy present practice loudly speaks this language, “I have other lovers, and after them I will go. Monstrous ingratitude! a child of special grace, and yet fly from thy most loving Father! a spouse of the most affectionate bridegroom, and yet be unchaste to thy rightful husband! Shocking carriage! Yet, O soul, hear and wonder, hear and love, love and be ashamed, be ashamed and return ;. for, marvellous grace! though thou hast broken thy marriage contract, forfeited the privileges of children, yet the relation continues. married to you," (children, still, notwithstanding all their unkind carriage), "saith the Lord." Amazing love! instead of I will pursue with vengeance, overtake with destruction, it is, * I intreat with love, expostulate with kindness, invite with affection.'
Who are thy present lovers ? remember, the rivals of thy Lord are thy greatest foes, and seek thy present misery and eternal destruction. Dost thou “ live after the flesh?” have Satan's wiles and the shares of the world prevailed over thee? the world, the flesh, and the devil! Poor soul! canst thou be happy in their friendship and embraces? O no! thou art got into bad, yea the worst company. O what leanness of soul is brought upon thee? Thy love to Jesus is grown cold; thy faith in him weak; zeal for him and his truth have forsaken thee; the way of sin and folly pleaseth thee; sweet intercourse in private prayer; communion with thy God in public ordinances, is gone; thou neglectest thy duty; art grown shy of thy Father and his children. But still thy father calls, thy husband wooes thee again and again to turn, to return. Love, the bond of relation, never alters on God's part, notwithstanding base, backsliding, and monstrous ingratitude on thine. Special grace makes kové-calls effectual. Such shall one day call to mind “the love of their espousals;" be ashamed and confounded for all they have done, and take up this language, “I come unto thee, for thou art my Father. I will go and return unto my first husband, for then it was better with me than now."....Hos. ii. 7.
Better! yea, bost of all those times
When I to Jesus cleav'd : Return unto thy rest, my soul, -No longer be deceivid.
Thy Father stands with open arms;
Thy bridegroom calls in love, “Return, thou wand'ring soul, to me the • And my affections prove." M.