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None can love this work of grace, but the subjects of grace. This sadly wounds the pride of man, but so it is. We must for ever stand indebted to upmerited love for this great salvation. All boasting is here excluded. He that glorieth, must glory in the Lord. The language of the redeemed is : “ in the Lord, have I righteousness and strength.”
0! that I may now put the crown upon the head of Jesus. May all my affections centre in him. To him may I devote every power, and be altogether consecrated to his praise.
O! my soul, for ever bless thy beloved Lord, for thus becoming thy Redeemer. He is always near his people to support and comfort them. He dwells in their hearts by faith. He abides in them by his Spirit, to enlighten their minds, to purify their hearts, to regulate their wills, to direct their walk, to lead them in the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake.
Thus they are safe and happy under the Shepherd's care.
Their union with their divine Lord, is sweet and constant. They “lean upon their beloved," and are supported through the wilderness. They are made strong by his strength; wise by his wisdom; righteous in his righteousness, holy by his grace. They daily receive out of his fulness, who of God is made unto them, “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
Jesus is the head over all things to his church. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth.
As he rules over all—so he over-rules all for the good of his people. Hence the apostle could confidently declare," all things shall work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called aecording to his purpose."
Well may the believer triumphantly exclaim: “ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?" “ We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Jesus is the universal Lord, to whom every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. Jesus will be the Almighty Judge, when all nations shall be assembled before his throne, and when he will render unto every man according to his works.
All this is cheering to the humble followers of the Lamb.
Are they in trouble? Their Lord appoints it for their good.
When through faith the sinner is admitted into the family of God, and changes both his state and nature, through the blood and spirit of Jesus, then his desire is, to maintain the peace which he has happily obtained through believing.
This he learns to do from the prophet Isaiah: “ thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."
A wandering, backsliding, double heart, can never enjoy peace. To possess the blessing of mind must be stayed upon God. This is the same
“abiding in Christ;” being “stedfast in the faith,” “rooted and grounded in love."
It implies stability, constancy, perseverance.
The mind must be stayed upon the covenant of grace as an unchangeable, everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. In this covenant every thing is treasured up, which can furnish the believer with grace here and glory hereafter. Staying his mind, therefore, upon this covenant of life and peace, he finds rest unto his soul.
The mind must bow with humble reverence to the authority of God.
Pride and rebellion destroy peace. Humility and submission promote it.
The believer must wait the Lord's time for deliverance; “O! tarry thou the Lord's leisure ; be strong and he shall comfort thine heart," is the af. fectionate advice of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel.
This childlike reliance on the divine goodness tranquillizes the mind in seasons of darkness, perplexity, trial, and temptation. That soul is the most happy, which can the most cheerfully acquiesce in the appointments of infinite wisdom. Murmuring and repining grieve the Holy Spirit. Resignation and contentment produce serenity and sweetness of mind.
Whilst cultivating these important duties, which are brought into daily exercise by the very nature of Christian experience, the mind is kept in peace, holiness is promoted, and God, the author of all good, is glorified.
Who then dare say, that the doctrine of grace abounding to the chief of sinners, through a crucified Redeemer, is a doctrine which tendeth to licentiousness?
As a vitiated stomach may corrupt the most wholesome food; so a wicked heart can turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and, under a most dreadful delusion of Satan, sin that grace may abound. But let not this evil be charged upon the holy Gospel of Jesus, any more than the disordered
the wholesome food. The natural and spiritual consequences in both cases are similar. The one, arising from a bad stomach-the other, from a bad heart.
Blessed Jesus! bestow upon me, thy unworthy servant, that realizing faith, that tranquillizing hope, that operative love, which will enable me to know and serve thee more and more, till my soul shall be made meet for that happy world, where all
sin and sorrow shall flee away; and where perpetual peace and purity shall gladden the redeemed for ever and ever!
What soul can reach the lofty height,
Angels who stand before the throne,
O! for a heart of faith and love,
Blest Spirit ! beautify my soul,
XV. ON THE DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL.
What a dreadful change sin hath made in man! His heart, once the abode of peace and every heavenly disposition, is now the cage of every unclean and hateful bird ; a den of wild beasts; a nest of vipers; a loathsome sepulchre.
How is the gold become dim-how is the fine
gold changed ! In this deplorable condition grace finds us, and from this state of wretchedness grace redeems us !
The glorious design of the Gospel is to throw a lustre around the Godhead, by affording a display to all intelligent beings of those infinite perfections, which harmonize at the cross of Christ; and by this sacred union of mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, to restore fallen man to the favour and image of his Creator.
Holiness is the glory and happiness of man. When he lost his holiness, he lost his happiness. Through the atoning blood of Jesus, we obtain the removal of our guilt; and by the power of the divine Spirit, the renewal of our nature. Being thus made holy, we become, once more happy.
A great spiritual change is effected; no less than a new creation ; for if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature.
This then is the will of God, even our sanctification. Hence we find that the Gospel is designed to reveal to us, yea, to put us in possession of the richest blessings; pardon of sin, justification of our persons by faith in Jesus, the renovation of our souls, adoption into the family of God, peace with God, access to God, union with Christ, communion with the Father and the Holy Ghost through him, victory over sin Satan and the world, consolation in trouble, light in darkness, life in death, assurance of future glory, and fruition of bliss in the world to come.
How little is the genuine nature and design of Christianity considered by the generality of professing Christians !
How inadequately is its power felt and its sweetness yed, even by those who sustain the character of believers in Jesus. We live lamentably be