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hath proved as good as his word in ten thousand instances; hatli verified his promises in my experience, and in all the diversified movements of his providence hath caused all things to work together for my good and for his glory. He hath supported me in temptation, strengthened me in weakness, comforted me in affliction, and in every situation of life, however painful the circumstances attending it may have been, yet I have proved his faithfulness to be great, and his promises to be sure, and that " he is a very present help in every time of trouble." All his dispensations to his people though they may be trying and painful, are nevertheless exceedingly profitable and necessary; like some useful medicine when administered it may prove unpalatable, but which in the issue is found to be highly beneficial and salutary. His visitations are messengers of mercy, and tend under the Spirit's teaching to empty us of self, to wean us from the world, to shew us our vileness and unworthiness, and that all we have and are is of his abounding goodness and mercy.
In proportion as this is experienced by the soul taught of God, so in proportion will Christ become increasingly precious, and all he is to his redeemed family be opened and developed with greater sweetness to the soul, as the Holy Spirit instructs him in those heavenly lessons which are only to be learned in the school of Jesus. The farther we advance in this heavenly science the more glorious will Christ appear to the eye of faith, and such an infinite efficacy in his blood, such a freedom and fulness in his salvation, such perfection in his unspotted righteousness, such boundless and distinguishing grace, and such proofs of the eternity of his love to his people be discerned, as shall compel them to exclaim, "He is the chiefest among tea thousand, yea, he is altogether lovely." Every thing the believer can want is found in him; he is the fountain of blessedness from which all the streams of mercy flow into our hearts, and which is always flowing and overflowing to his chosen family; while every new-covenant blessing in which they participate, are proofs of his covenant love and unchanging affection, which nothing can weaken or annihilate. He suits his mercies to their multiplied necessities, and being empty1 in themselves they come continually to the heavenly almoner, the Almighty sufficer of his people, in whom all the blessings are deposited, to receive from his royal bounty, grace upon grace, emanating from "the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Oh! how precious doth such a view of Christ appear; how suited to the wants of Zion's poor, weak, and weary pilgrims, whose every need is supplied out of his boundless riches in glory, even the unsearchable riches of Christ. All they require in their pilgrimage home to their Father's house he has engaged to supply; all needed grace and strength, direction, counsel, support, and consolation; withholding nothing that is good for them, but every thing that would prove an evil; he conducts them safely through an host of enemies by which they are surrounded, and, borne on the arms of everlasting love, these many sons and daughters shall arrive safely in glory, and shout victory ! victory! through the blood of the Lamb.
And when they come to the close of their pilgrimage, and all created objects fail and shrink into nothing before the departing spirit, even then his love and faithfulness shall be most conspicuously displayed; and should the last enemy appear terrific and formidable to nature, standing on the brink of eternity and fearing to launch away, then he will assuredly comfort their hearts, and say, "fear not, Jacob, to go down into Egypt, for I will go with thee." He softens the pains of death; he makes their bed in the grave, where they shall lie in peace until the glorious resurrection morning, when the echo of the last trumpet shall rouse their slumbering dust, and the scattered particles collected from the four winds of heaven be re-united to the glorified spirit; and though vile by nature and by sin, yet it shall he changed and fashioned like unto the glorious body of their glorified Lord. In prospect of a consummation like this, so glorious and eternally sure, every tried pilgrim of Zion may well contemplate the dissolution of the mortal tenement, not only with calm tranquillity, but " with joy unspeakable and full of glory." He will then leave for ever a world of sin and sorrow, the arrows of the hellish archer no longer touch him; for he will be eternally beyond the reach of the enemy. The trumpet will sound a retreat from the field of battle, and he shall ride as a vessel of mercy safely over the swellings of Jordan, and finally enter the promised land. There the soldiers of the cross shall rest after the toils of the campaign, the conflict be for ever over, and all tears be wiped away from their eyes : all " the ransomed of the Lord, coming to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
May the Lord grant to all his redeemed family an increased acquaintance with these eternal realities; and as every successive year of their lives shall pass away may they die more to the world, live more to Christ, enjoy more communion with him, and see by faith more clearly, when standing on the summit of Pisgah's mountain, the inheritance to which they are predestinated, which they ere long shall inherit; and consider that all the afflictions of this sublunary state, but light, fleeting and transitory, since they are working for them " a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
(Far the. Spiritual Magazine. J THE FORTHCOMING OF GOD'S SHEEP ALL SECURED IN THE RESPONSIBILITY AND GLORY OF THE CHIEF SHEPHERD.
■ a Them also I must bring.'*—John x. 16.
Here the great Shepherd announces the certain return of all the sheep anciently committed to his charge: he goes forth, in this expression of his love, and gathers in the people that lay in his bosom from everlasting. The one great fold is perpetually in his eye; the sheep that are lost (not from his eye, nor his heart,) in the grasp of justice, he is now seeking at the cost of his life; and he ever lives to gather them into his fold on the shoulders of his power. Now surrounded by a few of his sheep of Jewish extraction, he looks forward to the countless host of Gentiles that are to come Meeting to the fold, when they should hear his life-giving voice of omnipotent energy, and enter into the possession of life given them of old.
In looking at this sacred clause, every word is replete with importance, consolation, and certainty. It is the declaration of eternal independance, with majesty, and foreknowledge all divine. It is expressive of the sublimity of his character, and is the opening of an eternal design: "them also I must bring," said the ever-loving tender shepherd. We may here mark, the sheep now straying in the wilderness are as certain of heaven as those that are enclosed there. The salvation and glorification of the church is founded in God's acts: all that will finally rise to bliss were embraced in the arms of infinite love before time: every act of returning is the effect of eternal purpose, and the fruit of the ransoming death of the great Shepherd. "Them also I must bring," for I receive them by deed of gift from my Father's hand; them, whom he gave me in the counsels of eternity; them, that I took up in my love-thoughts from of old; them, that have a grace union to my person; them, that I entered into covenant for, and pledged the honours of my name; them, for whom I have laid aside my glory, left my Father's bosom, and am now shrouded in flesh; them, for whom I now lay down my life to redeem, and take possession of heaven; them, upon whom my eye is fixed, and my heart ever dwells.
"Them also I must bring," for all the honour of my attributes are at stake—I must bring, or my oath will be violated, my promise broken, and my engagements unfulfilled—I must bring, or my glory will be lost, my character for ever sullied, and my name covered with endless disgrace—I must bring, to shine in my mediatorial crown, for one jewel missing would mar its lustre for ever—I must bring, from the territories of sin and darkness, or devils would shout in everlasting triumph—I must bring, or angels would be filled with everlasting disappointment—I must bring, for they are entrusted to my care—I must bring, or justice would be tarnished for ever (as they are honorably redeemed) my faithfulness impeached, and all my designs frustrated—I must bring, or my characters and relations would be incomplete for ever—I must bring, or my mystic body would be imperfect, the cabinet would be wanting, some of the family missing, the building for ever unfinished, the sheep told out would come short, the book of life not filled up, the treasure would be lost, and some of the heavenly mansions vacant, my Father disap
Eointed, and my head uncrowned for ever. But "them I must ring," for my arm is all-sufficient, my knowledge all-comprehending, my wisdom infinite, my goodness unbounded, my love unceasing, and my grace all-conquering and triumphant. "Them I must bring," for I am to be glorified in, by, and through them for ever.
He has been bringing them in through all the dispensations of time, by his Spirit, through the gospel, awful providences, reading the word, and various other means he brings them to see their ruin, brings them to his cross for salvation, to his feet for instruction, to his ordinances for refreshment; he brings them to rest in his character, confide in his care, and trust their final salvation with him; he brings them through all their troubles, temptations, afflictions, and all the wilderness trials; he brings them through life, through death, into his kingdom and gloryj; and will finally bring them up from the grave, and present the whole flock to his Father without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing.
Then all the sheep the Father loved,
Shall stand before the throne; The shepherd's power and care be proved, In folding every one. Golden Square, London, Sept. 13, 1827. E. M.
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
FURTHER REPLY TO J. H. ON "CHRIST'S LOOK UPON PETER," OR GOD'S DISPLEASURE WITH THE SINS OF HIS ELECT.
I Was not long since forcibly struck with the following remark of the illustrious Toplady, that " controversy when conducted in a christian spirit is a friend to truth;" encouraged by this, and called upon as I am by the sophistical reasoning, and unfounded charges of J. H. in his communication of the present month, and I trust at the same time impelled by the love of my exalted Lord, I dare not do otherwise, than (I hope for the last time upon this subject) again vindicate the insulted honours, and maintain the unsullied glories of the God of Jacob, and to enforce the sovereign authority of Him who reigneth King in Zion.
I cannot but think, Sir, that J. H. charges me very unjustly, when he insinuates that I have made an attempt to sap the very foundation of vital godliness, because I positively assert, upon the authority of a ** Thus saith the Lord," that if his children forsake his law, and continue not in his statutes, he will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes, although his loving-kindness he will not utterly take from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. Although I contend for this as an absolute fact, and am at any time prepared to
Erove the same upon scriptural ground, yet, permit me to add, that I elieve in the faithfulness and immutability of Jehovah, and in the perpetuity of his love, and the everlasting security of the objects thereof, as firmly as J. H. himself; nay, those mountains of brass are the joy and rejoicing of my soul, and the burthen of my song, as I travel through this dreary desert to my everlasting home. But those people who will be wise above what is written, are generally found to be ignorant of that which is written; hence arise the heresies which from time to time creep into the church, and perplex the minds of the weak ones of the Lord's household. This I am sorry to say seems to be the case with J. H. who appears to manifest a degree of ignorance in his conceptions of Him who loveth righteousness and haieth iniquity; hence he has involved himself in difficulties which I think he will have some trouble to surmount.
I adduce the following instance: on page 109, he says (what I never denied) that "the past, the present, and the future with our God is one eternal Now.';" and on the page preceding, that I bind myself to believe in the mutability of God, when I assert, that he (foe* see sin in his people, " which," he says, "makes him see at onetime what he does not see at another." Now, Sir, I leave you, and the impartial reader to judge the consistency of the foregoing with the following remark on page 112, where he says, ",Where would be the justice of God, if it were possible for him to be angry with those on whose account he poured out all that anger upon Christ, as the church's daysman." Now, if God visited his dear Son in anger, and poured upon his devoted head thecals of his wrath, what, I ask, was the cause of this sore visitation but the sins of his people? therefore, if he had not viewed those sins with infinite abhorrence, he would never have punished his Son for them, that he might have an infinite satisfaction by which his perfections and attributes might sweetly harmonize in the salvation of his church. O Sir, what an instance was this of Jehovah's displeasure with sin, although in those who were then as much the objects of his sovereign love and free favour as they are now, or will be to all eternity! This of course J. H. will readily allow; then, I argue, that if at any one time the sins of the people of God were odious in his sight, while their persons were dear to his heart, it certainly must be the case now; otherwise, to use J. H.'s own words, «' He sees at one time what he does not see at another," which is a gross insult to his very nature and perfections.
But I think it is a fact borne out by the scriptures, and confirmed by the daily experience of the children of the Most High, that God necessarily hates the sins while he sovereignly loves the persons of his elect; this position I hope to prove from the plain declarations of God himself. By the way, I observe, that I consider the error which J. H. and others have fallen into, concerning the immutability of Jehovah, and his unchanging love to his children, consist principally in having wrong views of the nature and perfections of his sacred Majesty; and here it will be necessary to consider the love of God in a two-fold point of view—1st. in that which is natural, and 2ndly. in that which is sovereign and free. By the natural love of God I mean that which is essential and necessary to his nature, for " God is love." Therefore we must consider Jehovah in his nature as the fountain of