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Who can doubt of this, for one moment, who seriously cong, siders that soul-reviving promise, “When thou passest, through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkese. through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Here we have the express declaration of the God of truth, whose promise cannot be broken, we may therefore trust and not be afraid, for he will fulfil the counsel of his will, to all those who rely upon his truth and faithfulness.
This brings us to the third particular, the inestimable value of divine love: “ If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned," Some understand the words thus, If a man give all the substance of his house to Christ, instead of love, it would be rejected, " If a man give all his goods to feed the poor, and his body to be burned, and have not love, it is nothing," in the sight of God. Others put this sense upon them, All the substance of a man's house, nor all that the world contains, is not sufficient to tempt, or to withdraw a man's heart from Christ, who really loves him: As when satan tempted our Lord, by shewing him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, he rejected the temptation ; with disdain. So the Apostle tells us, that he was crucified to the world, and the world was crucified unto him; and the grace of God must have the same effect upon every one who enjoys it.
Nor is this heavenly treasure to be purchased, by any price which it is in the
Let a man be ever so righteous in his own eyes, and let him regulate his conduct in ever so exact a manner, he can claim nothing at the hand of God upon this ground, he has no merit of his own to plead before the Lord, but he must be saved by grace, through faith, if ever he is saved at all. Such people do not consider, that while they are going about to establish their own righteousness, as the ground and foundation of their acceptance with God, that they are, as far as it lies in their power, rendering the grand design of his love, in send. ing Christ into the world, unnecessary and of no effect, inasmuch as they vainly think that they can be saved without it. How greatly do such men dishonour the blessed God, and what contempt do they pour upon the sufferings and death of our infinitely gracious Saviour? But these men must be told, that there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we can be saved, but by the name of the Lord Jesus, and that there is salvation in no
vary from it,
other but in him. His design was to save his people from, their sins, and accordingly his precious blood sprinkled upon the conscience, takes away every spot and stain of contracted guilt, and his love shed abroad in the heart first subdues, and then destroys all our original depravity; so that gospel salvation stands in the free and full justification of all those who truly believe, and in the renewal of their souls in righteousness and true holiness.
By his meritorious death and passion, he hath procured this great salvation for us, and in his blessed Gospel he freely offers it to us, without money and without price. Nay, he condescends, affectionately to invite, and lovingly to intreat us, guilty rebels as we are, to accept of this inestimable blessing: But it is his unchangeable decree, and he will not
“He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” He will magnify his own mercy and love, and put honour upon the sufferings and death of his well-beloved Son, in the salvation of man. Those then, who will not submit to be saved by grace, who will not accept of a free pardon, who think themselves holy already, so that they see no necessity for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to create their souls anew, and therefore do not, and will not be persuaded to seek it; but will bring the substance of their own house to purchase salvation, vainly thinking that because obedience to the preceptive part of the word of God is so much insisted on, and so strongly recommended in the Holy Scriptures, that this is the whole of true religion, and that they have this already: They forget that the tree must be made good, before the fruit can be good, and that nothing under heaven can make the heart good, but the love of God shed abroad therein. This then is the one thing needful, and is of such infinite value, that it cannot be purchased but must be received by faith, as the free gift of God, through Christ Jesus.
From what has been said, it appears absolutely necessary for every one to take a particular care, in the first place, to obtain a saving interest in Christ, in order that he may enjoy communion with God, be interested in the intercession of Christ, and experience all the great and inestimable privileges of the Gospel. Let them never think of resting till they clearly see, and sensibly feel, that they are accepted in the Beloved: For till then, they can neither be safe nor happy; but are exposed to the greatest danger, the everlasting displeasure of God. So, on the other hand, let them consider that they will be infinite gainers by laying hold upon the hope which the Lord hath set before them.
let none be discouraged or cast down: The door of mercy is wide open, and the Lord himself invites them to come, and receive pardon and peace, and every new covenant blessing, at his kind and gracious hand. O how greatly ought every self-condemned, every poor, guilty, helpless sinner to rejoice, in hope, when he hears the holy Jesus himselt
“Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."
And how ought the believer to praise the Lord, for his manifested goodness. O how great and how precious are the privileges, with which he is favoured! A saving acquaintance with Christ; blest with communion with God; the love of God, the divine nature in his heart, conquering every bad principle, rooting up every evil temper, enabling him to conquer every inward and outward enemy, supporting him under every distressing trial, comforting him under every painful affliction, and enabling him to look death itself in the face without fear.
66 O for this love! let rocks and hills
“ Their lasting silence break;
“ The Saviour's praises speak.”
Let us then set an high value upon these unspeakable blessings; let us heartily praise the Lord for them; let us labour, with our might, to improve them; and let us earn. estly seek and fervently pray for an increase of them. Let us, with the church, perseveringly and believingly pray, "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm," till we are brought into the immediate presence of God, in his kingdom of glory.
On the One Thing Needful.
PSALM XXVII. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may
dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
holy Psalmist, and the more we shall be satisfied, that as he is said to have been a man after God's own heart, so he was in a very peculiar manner favoured by him; and that not only respecting temporal, but also spiritual and eternal things, which are of infinitely greater importance. It is true, David only lived under the Jewish dispensation, and left the present world long before lite and immortality were brought to light by the Gospel; yet we shall find, upon due consideration, notwithstanding this, his experience of the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord was exceedingly clear, and his trust and confidence in the God of his salvation, remarkably strong. He certainly enjoyed a clear sense of the love of God towards him; and of consequence, he experi. enced the
peace of God in his conscience; Yea, many times his peace seems to have flowed like a river, his whole soul appears to have been filled therewith, he frequently walked in the light of God's countenance, and enjoyed remarkably close communion with his God: And hence it is that we so often find him filled with divine consolation, with serious, solemn, sacred joy; and therefore singing the praises of the Lord his God, as if he was upon the borders of heaven already.
He appears to have been remarkably happy when he wrote this Psalm, out of which the text is taken; which he begins in the following beautiful manner: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? What could the Apostle Paul himself have said more than this ? “ The Lord is my light?" He hath illuminated my mind by his blessed Spirit; he shines upon my soul, and I am made wise unto salvation; he also is my salvation: That is, he has brought me into a state of salvation; I experience that ines.
timable blessing in my own soul: He also is the strength of my life, of my spiritual life; he hath not only quickened, and made me alive, but also nourishes and sustains the life which himself hath given, by imparting fresh supplies of spiritual lite to my mind. And seeing that the Lord is my light and my salvation, and also the strength of my life, whom shall I fear, and of whom shall I be afraid? As if he had said, “ I have no just cause to be afraid of any thing. When the wicked, my determined enemies, came against me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” And why? Because the Lord hath taken me under his gracious protection. “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident; the God in whom I trust will still deliver nte. It then follows: *One thing have I desired of the Lord.” In these words David describes the state of his own soul: He shews us the nature of that change which Divine Grace had wrought in his heart, and informs us in what spirit, or temper of mind, he walked before the Lord. At the same time, he shews us what state of mind we must be brought into, and describes the nature of that change which Divine Grace should work in our hearts: It will not, therefore, be thought unnecessary for us to weigh ourselves in this balance of the sanctuary, or seriously to examine ourselves by this part of God's holy word, that we may see whether we experience what David did, and whether our state of mind resembles that in which he lived while here below. With this view, let us endeavour seriously, and in the fear of God, to consider the meaning of these words; and take them in the same order in which they are laid down before us. But it will be necessary to observe, that David was already blest with a clear manifestation of the love of God to his soul, and expresses the longing desire of his heart, that he might dwell in the house of the Lord, so that he might see the beauty of the Lord: He desired to be a steady spiritual worshipper of God, and to enjoy constant communion with the God he worshipped, and to receive from him every spiritual blessing which he stood in need of. In considering these words, with reference to ourselves, it will be needful to look to the foundation of religion, and enquire whether we are brought into that state of salvation in which David was, when he wrote this divine song.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord:” As if he had said, “ There is one thing which far beyond all others, appears to me of inestimable value, in which I am deeply interested, and which I see it to be my highest wisdom to pursue. How remarkably does one inspired writer agree with