« AnteriorContinuar »
our souls actually, as we daily receive it from kind. Christ would live and flourish, if any one soul whatsoever was separated from him ; but this could not be so with us : :0 no, our souls would die of course. Hence we may see the dreadful mistake that the antinomian makes, who tells tis, “ All my righteousness is in Christ, 'all my boliness is in my living Head, I am perfeet in Christ,” and the like. All these expressions may be used either in a very good, or in a bad sense. * All our righteousness is in Christ;" very true, " and Christ is made of God to us, wisdom and righteousness.” “ All our holiness is in our living Head;" yes surely, and we have received it from him: “ For we have this treasure in our earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be of God” Yea, we are in Christ, and Christ is formed in us the hope of glory.
6. It is by the power of faith, that we are enabled to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil : We fight the good fight of faith, and in due time lay hold on eternal life. With respect to the world : “ This is the victory that overcometh the world,” saith the Apostle, “ even our faith.". The frowns of the world have generally been the portion of the children of God, in all ages: And supposing the men of the world to hate, despise, and cast out our name, as evil; by faith we are inspired with courage, with patience, and Christian fortitude ; are made willing to endure the reproach of Christ, to bear his cross, and to suffer with him, so that we may reign with him hereafter. We learn of him, to love our enemies; “ To do good to them that hate us, and to pray for them who despitefully use and persecute us:" If we are “reviled, we revile not again ;” and no longer return“ railing for railing, or evil for evil; but contrary-wise blessing. If any one will say, “ But I will never be of such a cowardly spirit; no one shall take any liberties with me: if they do, I will let them see, that I know how to defend myself; I will give them as good
as they send." All this may be manly enough; but then the : matter is, is it Christian? Is it not said, " vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay it !" And again : “Avenge not yourselves, neither give place unto wrath ?"
But supposing the world should smile upon us, this would be a time of great danger ; for as little as many may think of it, the smiles of the world are a thousand times more dangerous than its frowns. Many, while the world frowned upon them, have continued stedfast and immovable, who when it began to smile, have withered away. It is not without good reason that we are taught to pray, “In all time of tribulation, in all time of our wealth, in the hour of death, and in the
day of judgment, good Lord deliver us.
But by faith we see the emptiness of all that the world contains : we see vas nity and vexation of spirit, wrote by the finger of God, upon every ereature, and on all created good; and that all these things, however great and good they may be, however needful, comfortable, and convenient for us, yet they are not our treasure of our happiness: They all perish in the using, and we ourselves are only strangers and sojourners uponi earth, and shall very soon have no need of them. Thus does faith raise our minds above this transitory and fluctuating world.
It is by the power of faith that we overcome the devil: so saith the blessed Apostle, “ Take unto you the shield of faith, whereby you may quench all the fiery darts of the wicked
Hence we learn, it is the design of God, that we should never be overcome, but that we should always conquer. By faith we derive fresh strength from Christ; we claim the promises, which are made to the tempted, we lay hold upon the truth and faithfulness of God, he makes good his blessed word, and our strength is according to our day: we fight under the banner of Christ, and through him are enabled to conquer all our enemies.
By faith also we overcome the flesh, the remains of the carnal mind, our evil and degenerate nature. By faith we retain a constant power over these inward evils, and look for the destruction of them. Faith views the promises which contain a full salvation, a complete deliverance from every root of bitterness; and hereby we are not only encouraged to stand our ground but to press after entire sanctification of body, soul, and spirit: Ánd we are encouraged the more, as we see deliverance near, our Lord having said, “ According to your faith, so shall it be done unto you.” Faith fills the soul with lively hopes and earnest expectation, that the Lord will speedily cleanse us from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and stamp his lively image upon our minds.
Faith is to the soul what the feet are to the body. Now the feet are the instruments of motion : so David prays, my soul at liberty, O God, then will I run the way of thy commandments. By faith we are set at liberty, so that we run without weariness, we serve God chearfully, yea, delightfully, and go unto him for all we want.
Faith is to the soul what the eyes are to the body. By the eye we see the beauty and discern the excellency of all the outward objects that surround us: Thus by the eye of faith we discern the beauty, and the inestimable value of those spiritual blessings contained in the promises of God; and in par
ticular, we see the desirableness of full salvation, of an entica renewal of our hearts; hence lively desires after these things spring up in the mind, we hunger and thirst after righteousness, after all that God has graciously promised in his holy word.
Faith is to the soul what the hands are to the body. With our hands we lay hold upon, or receive any thing, which appears to us desirable: So with the hand of faith we lay hold upon, receive and hold fast whatsoever we see the Lord is waiting to bestow upon us; hence all the promises of God are received by faith, and we are made witnesses of the truth of them.
In a word, faith will bring us safely through this howling wilderness; it will conduct us to the New Jerusalem, and place us before the throne of God, it will join us to the holy, happy society above, and shew uș the unclouded face of our highly exalted Saviour: and then it will have done all that it can do: Faith now ends in sight, and hope in everlasting en: joyment.
“ The saints, in his presence, receive,
“ Their great and eternal reward, “ With Jesus, in heaven they live,
“They reign in the smile of their Lord;
“ Is kindled at Jesus's face;
ci Consists in the rapturous gaze !??
Let every one examine himself, as touching this one thing, whether he enjoys the faith which brings salvation to the soul, Perhaps some will say, “ We are not accustomed to this way of speaking; we do not so well understand it; but we are no drunkards, no swearers, sabbath-breakers, or pleasure-takers; we do not liye in the commission of any of these abominable practices, we utterly abhor and detest them all.” It would be well if every one could say thus much of himself, with truth, it would be much better living in the world than it is ; yet nothing is inore certain, than that a person may say all this, and much more of himself, and yet fall far short of faith in Christ,
But perhaps you will say, " Why we can say much more; we constantly attend upon all the ordinances of God, we neglect none of them, whether public or private." This is well, as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough; it leaves the soul destitute of the peace and love of God, resting in its own supposed goodness, without any saving knowledge of God, or any experimental acquaintance with Christ." These howe , ver high they may be in their own esteem, must be plainly told, " You are yet in unbelief, and consequently under the displeasure of God, and it is high time for you to cry to him, that he may convince you of your sin and misery." But others will say,
“We are convinced; we feel that we are poor, guilty, polluted, helpless sinners, what shall we do to be saved ?” The answer is, " Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” Jesus himself invites you to come unto him, and he assures you that he will in no wise cast you out. You are going out after him in fervent prayer, as hath been observed, and you only want power to lay hold upon him; to embrace and receive him: When therefore you feel the power of God resting upon you, whether in prayer, or when hearing his word, then is the time for you to make a bold venture, to cast your whole soul
the infinite mercy and boundless love of God in Christ Jesus, and he will certainly receive you,
If faith in Christ is attended with so many and great blessings, to the soul who enjoys it, then it is no wonder that the disciples of our Lord so earnestly prayed for an increase of it: And will not every true believer do the same thing? Surely they will. O how many of us come under the same reproof which our Lord gave Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” We want, above and before all things, a more lively faith in our all-sufficient Saviour, that we may pot only see, but experience the truth of all his promises. For want of this, evil tempers, unholy desires, and carnal affections, spring up in our minds, to the great dishonour of God, and the discredit of religion. But if like the Apostles, we earnestly pray for an increase of faith, our souls shall
prosper, and we shall glorify God in our generation.
ON THE SPIRIT'S ASSISTANCE IN PRAYER.
ROMANS vii, 5.
THAT it is both our duty and interest to make all our requests known to God in prayer and supplication, no one can doubt, who duly considers the Scriptures. Surely it must be a very great privilege, conferred upon such poor sinful creatures as we are, to be permitted to appear in the presencechamber of an infinitely gracious God, that we may ask of him all the inestimable blessings, promised to us in his sacred word, and purchased for us by the precious blood of our die vine Saviour.
It is no wonder that satan, our grand enemy, who well knows our present and eternal salvation very much depend upon the right performance of this important duty, endeavours not only to prevail with us to neglect prayer, but when hé cannot do this, so to blind our minds, that we may pray to no good purpose, and quite mistake the nature of prayer.
Our gracious Redeemer taught us the necessity of prayer, both by precept and by his own example; and he hath given us all possible encouragement to engage in this blessed employment with our whole heart: “ Ask and ye shall receive, seek and
ye shall find,” saith the holy Jesus; and he adds, “Every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth.” And again, “ Enter into thy chamber, and shut the door, and pray to thy father, who seeth in secret;" and he assures us, that “ He who seeth in secret, will reward us openly.” Moreover he put forth a parable to teach us, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; and also lovingly reasons with us, saying, “ Which of you having a son, who if he should ask bread, will you give him a stone? Or if he should ask a fish, will you give him a serpent? Now if ye, being evil,-know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will my heavenly Father give all good gifts unto them who ask him.”