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great change, they “were enemies in their minds by wicked works.
They are “his people” in purpose and grace ; chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love; predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son.
When Paul was at Corinth, the Lord appeared to his persecuted servant and said: “ Be not afraid, but speak; hold not thy peace, for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, for I have MUCH PEOPLE in this city.”
O! that my proud heart could submit to receive salvation as the free gift of unmerited mercy.
Lord, make me willing in the day of thy power, to yield myself unto thee, a living sacrifice, as my most reasonable service.
We see what is the effect produced by this power on the minds of “his people." “They shall be willing"-willing to receive Christ-willing to suffer for Christ-willing to give up all for Christ. This change in their will, is not effected by any natural effort of their own, or by the moral suasion of others; but solely by the power of God, through the instrumentality of the Gospel.
“ I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ," wrote the apostle to the Romans, 6 for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Those favoured souls, who are thus made willing in the day of God's power, are not compelled by an unwelcome force to embrace salvation; but are sweetly and lovingly inclined, through the soft influences of heavenly grace, to choose, delight in, and appreciate the work and service of Emanuel. They are made willing. Their whole heart goes forth towards the Saviour, as when Jesus said to Levi at the receipt of custom : “ Follow me.” They love
the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. They embrace him as their only Saviour-his precepts as their only rule—his promises as their only support—his cross as their only glory-his righteousness as their only boast his people as their only friends—his heaven as their only home.-0! what a change! Lord, may I long, and pant, and labour after this blessedness. Stir up my soul to seek it more and more.
I have here an evidence to judge of my own character. Thy people shall be willing.” If then I belong to this happy number, I must be willing to be saved on God's terms ; to delight in his salvation, to choose his ways. Do I feel my will subdued, and cheerfully inclined to embrace, in humble faith, the whole revelation of mercy, as made known to me through a crucified Jesus? Lord, put forth thy mighty grace. Let this very day be the day of thy power. To-morrow
find me in the world of spirits. O! may I now be willing to be wholly thine ; that every succeeding hour may only increase my willingness to do and suffer thy whole righteous will.
How different is earth to heaven! Here, an awful disinclination of heart to love God, is discoverable in all the fallen children of Adam. Even the regenerate feel with grief this hated deadness of soul to God. My soul cleaveth unto the dust,” was the lamentation; “ quicken thou me, according to thy word,” was the fervent prayer of David.
In heaven, all is governed by the sweet constraining principle of pure, undivided love. Were a soul to leave this world under the influence of alienated affections ; how could such a soul be either meet for, or happy in that blessed place, where every note is harmony, and every heart is love.
Reason, even, in its present beclouded state, must see the unfitness of such a soul for glory; when that
glory consists in loving God with a supreme affection; and being made like him in all his communicable perfections.
How great, then, is the happiness of loving and serving God, whilst journeying through this vale of tears!
This is the sweet peculiarity of the religion of Jesus. It diffuses joy and gladness, wherever it is received in the simplicity of faith. “God is loveand
every one that loveth, is born of God and knoweth God." To love God, and to be the object of his love, constitutes the bliss of angels. The opposite of this, is hell. What poor,
miserable creatures we are, whilst in a state of nature, and under the power of sin and Satan! We smile, when we should sigh. We laugh, when we should mourn.
We appear gay and sprightly, when we should be of a sorrowful spirit. But 0! the blessed change which takes place when the gospel comes to the heart, not in word only, but in power. Then we receive beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Then we are privileged to rejoice alway, and to delight ourselves in the abundance of peace. O! happy, blissful state, thus to be the genuine disciples of the blessed Jesus; who hath assured his faithful people, that he will manifest himself to them, as he does not unto the world ; yea, even come unto them, and make his abode with them. Who can contemplate these wonders of grace, and not feel the holy influence of this precious revelation-"God is love ?" Surely none but they who know not God : for thus saith the apostle: “ He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love,”
Thou trembling saint, cast off thy fear,
O ! listen to the voice of love,
Blest Jesus! cheer each drooping heart ;
Then shall thy church more beauteous grow,
Ye trembling saints no longer fear,
XIV. ON THE GIFT OF A SAVIOUR.
Before the earth was formed, or man created upon it, the Almighty foreknew that his moral creatures would apostatize from him. The angels had already sinned, and were cast into the place prepared for them. They were doomed in righteous judgment to be the eternal monuments of divine indignation.
A just, yet infinitely gracious sovereign did not determine to leave man under the same hopeless condemnation,
The revelation is truly wonderful. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, “ God over all, blessed for evermore," was fore-ordained in the counsels of heaven to be a sacrifice-a propitiation-an atonement for the sins of apostate man.
As “ all things were made by him," so all things were made " for him.” Earth was to be the theatre, on which should be displayed the mercy and justice of Jehovah.
The glorious plan was gradually unfolded through succeeding ages. The bleeding lamb was instituted as the appointed emblem of the Saviour of the world. When offered up in faith, in humble reliance on the divine mercy,
and with a contrite heart, the believing suppliant, thus approaching the mercy-seat through the bleeding victim, found pardon and peace.
In this way, the ancient believers obtained rest unto their souls. They trusted in God and were not confounded.
The prophets depicted in glowing colours the glories of Emanuel, whilst they blended the deepened shades of his amazing humliation, with the resplendent lustre of his divine nature. When the "fulness of time” was come, how grand to the eye of saints and angels, was the entrance of the Messiah into our world.
The angel Gabriel was commissioned to convey the glad tidings to Zacharias, that he should be the father of him, whom Isaiah and Malachi had predicted, as “the voice"_“the messenger," who should prepare the way
of the Lord. He was then sent with joyful news to the humble virgin at Nazareth ; announcing to her, that she should be the highly favoured mother of the Messiah, of whose kingdom there should be no end. The tender fears of Joseph were next dispelled by a dream, in which he was assured that he, who