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the soul, and draw it forth in a way of love to God, delight in him, confidence in his word, and in a steady walking in his blessed ways.
The Almighty does prove himself to be a God of all grace in bearing with the provocations of his people in this world, and in the number of sins that he freely forgives. “He abundantly pardons," or, as it reads in the margin, “ he multiplies pardons ;' in the many awful backslidings that he heals, the soul-wounds that he cures; in the perpetual care that he exercises over his children, the large family that he has to provide for ; and he loads them all with benefits, supplies their every need, and often causes their cup to run over. They often drink of the brook by the way, and lift up their heads. A sweet word from the Lord is applied to their hearts, which makes every crooked thing strait, burden light, and yoke easy; and when it is allotted them to walk in darkness, they are enabled to stay upon the Lord ; and if at any time they murmur, or grieve the Holy Spirit, they are grieved, for they find that they cannot pray, praise, converse with christians, read or hear to any profit without his influence. Jesus is without form or comeliness, his word and work are not prized, his holy ordinances are not frequented, and the company of saints not sought after. He should then be prayed to; and his quickening grace invoked at all times. . . . . .
The church sees him as the God of all grace, in the standing ministry of the word, in the different gifts bestowed upon the servants of the Lord. Each have their appointed work; the talent of some good men is very instructing and informing ; they throw great light upon the doctrines of grace, upon the ceremonial dispensation, upon the prophecies and providence of Jehovah. Others have a most charming gift in preaching the Lord Jesus Christ, as suited to the guilt, wretchedness, and cares of the children of God; so that sinburdened souls are very often relieved, the lame leap like an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing. The tempest-tost pilgrim finds a hiding-place in a dear Redeemer; the weary traveller enjoys a transient rest ; the awakened sinner, who has long been toiling at Mount Sinai, is brought to Mount Zion, and ceases from all his own works, (as a foundation for heaven) by believing upon the Son of God; the blind here are led to see the beauties and excellencies of Jesus, and the garment of praise freely given for the spirit of heaviness; here hungry souls meet with the bread of life, and the thirsty drink at the well of salvation, and forget their poverty; many savoury truths drop upon the mind never to be forgotten; and sweet sermons are heard, sweet seasons are enjoyed, the sweet light of the Lord's loving countenance experienced, which make the bitter afflictions, trials, and temptations of the saints light and easy to be borne.' Other dear servants of the Most High God are very useful in the work of conversion. Many fire-brands are snatched from the burning through their instrumentality; many unlikely characters called by grace; their trumpet gives an alarming sound, and many are made to tremble on account of sin. Thus our God manifests his grace: some to plough
up the fallow ground; some to cast in the seed and plant; some to watch and water; others to ring the alarm; others to bring the oil and wine to heal and cheer the half dead sinner; some open the very heart of Jesus, and preach his person, life, passion, death, and resurrection, in such a feeling manner, that it is like a dew from the Lord to wounded sinners, and they find peace and pardon, life and salvation, and an earnest of glory everlasting.
It is worthy of remark, in the above text, that there is no coming unto eternal glory, but by Jesus Christ. There may be a calling by men, and a calling to men; a calling to ordinances, and to doctrines, to an outward reformation, and to many changes, and not to glory eternal. But all who are effectually called, it is by Jesus Christ; no other way to heaven, glory, and God, but by this almighty Saviour, the only foundation to build upon, the only righteousness to justify, to cover our naked souls, and to obtain admittance where saints and angels join in singing the praises of Zion's Lord and King.
Well, it is one of the greatest of blessings to have an interest in this grace and in the God of grace; to be united to Jesus, complete in him, to be represented by him, to be loved as he is loved, John xvii. 23. to be the righteousness of God in him, loved with an everlasting love ; to have all our mighty mountain of guilt removed, every sin blotted out ; to have access to God, a saving acquaintance with him, and to be receiving out of his all-sufficient fulness. But there is a 66 suffering awhile," to remind us what land we are in at present, a land of darkness, enemies, and sin; and much suffering should be expected from every quarter. For all who are interested in this gracious God, are opposed to the world, flesh, and devil, and these three enemies will mightily oppose the children of God; they combine together for that purpose. Many suffer from cruel mockings, many from horrible temptations, many from the deep and dreadful depravity of the heart, many from great and heavy providential trials; many experience so much deadness and darkness of soul, that their lives hang in constant doubt; some become aliens to their mother's children, because sovereign grace has selected them and left the rest : and there will be a replying against God frequently when this is the case.
And very much the grace of God the Holy Spirit is manifested, in keeping the graces alive that he has planted in the soul ; under the pressure of guilt, the foods of error, the many stones thrown in the way. Hence, there is a little love to God, and a desire to love him more; a holy reliance upon God, and a constant cry, “ Lord, increase our faith ;'' a following on' to know him, a feeling after him, a hanging upon him, and a longing to hold communion with bim, and to see him face to face. All this is effected by the influences of the Holy Ghost. How exceedingly consolatory it is, to those who feel their personal pollution, who are constantly covered with shame and confusion of face, arising from the burden and pressure of sin and guilt, and who have a deep conviction of their lost condition, to find from God's own word that Jehovah is the God of all grace! Nothing can relieve a sin-oppressed conscience but this, the all-sufficient and abounding grace of God, flowing down through the atoning blood and justifying righteousness of the ever-blessed Redeemer, applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit !
May the Lord in mercy grant, that writer and reader may be much under the influence of the sanctifying, quickening, and comforting grace of our covenant God. This will sweetly support us in all our sufferings : we shall then sing in the ways of the Lord, 10) ASKED
« How sovereign, wonderful, and free,
My Jesus hath done all things well !”
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
Mark X. 46-52. 66 As Jesus went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus, the son of Timeus, sat by the highway side, begging.” The situation most contemptible in the estimation of the proud sons of earth, is one of the most honourable in which the followers of Christ can be placed. To be found in the character of a beggar--and that by the highway side is a circumstance too degrading to obtain the commisseration of the high-minded and haughty. But in this concise and instructive narrative we find that Jesus, though surrounded by his disciples and a multitude of people, deigned to cast a glance of pity on the forlorn and afflicted mendicant. And it is said, “ Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.”
It would be doing little honour to the name of Jesus, to contrast his divine conduct with the sinful acts of a worm of the dust. It is the glory of the church, that in accomplishing the errand of mercy he came to perform, he went about doing good ;' and an important part of his mission was effected in healing the diseased, and removing the maladies under which his creatures mourned. But our heavenly healer is the physician of souls ; and this official character is eminently illustrated in the case of blind Bartimeus.
When this man, as he sat to receive alms, heard it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he began to cry out and say, “ Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!” Hence it is plain, that Jesus had had mercy on him before the cry of faith was uttered, before it was answered by the Lord personally appearing to the humble suppliant. The good news of Jesus then spreading abroad, was brought to his ear, and the report being accompanied with divine power, became glad tidings to his heart; and therefore, though charged by many to hold his peace, it is said, " he cried the more a great deal, Son of David, have mercy on me!'" Oh! who can tell the delight that filled the disciples who were within hearing of the importunate petitioner? And who can conceive the intensity of his feelings, when, upbraided by many, he reiterated the earnest cry? For though the exclamation is only once repeated, it would seem to have been uttered many times, and with increasing earnestness and rapidity. “ He cried the more a great deal.”
Who the “ many" were that desired him to hold his peace, we are not informed, neither would it be profitable to know; but when Jesus commands, they obey, and are constrained to deliver the cheering invitation, “ Be of good comfort, rise; he calieth thee!" While the effect of Jesus' command to those around is worthy of consideration, how surprisingly great was the grace manifested in the mercy-call to Bartimeus! Indeed his biddings are enablings ! The blind man immediately rose from the despicable seat he occupied, threw off his garment, and came to Jesus; and he is received with the kind and gracious enquiry, 66 What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?"
The Lord knew that he was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked ; that he was possessed of a persuasion that Jesus of Nazareth had mercy to extend to the indigent and helpless ; that the earnest cry proceeded from the operation of divine grace in his heart ;-the Lord knew that every attempt to silence him encreased the earnestness of his application; that his call of love was effectual; yea, that it was his own eternal purpose being accomplished in this blind beggar: and did Jesus desire more? Yes he would have a personal interview with this outcast, and an open confession before his disciples and the multitude, “ Lord, that I might receive my sight.”
Oye humble, fervent suppliants at mercy's door, read and ponder over the narrative and be thankful. It contains not a sentence, nor a clause, but is strictly applicable, and designed so to be, to your own spiritual state and circumstances. Mark its conclusion; “ And Jesus said unto him, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole : and immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." Never, never forget, that the poor beggar, Bartimeus, followed Jesus in the way.
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
(Concluded from page 260.) But we proceed 2ndly, to shew for what believers are to look to Jesus. It is an important truth, that all the blessings which the saints can receive are in Christ. All the joy and peace which believers have in this world, and all the happiness which the redeemed have in the celestial kingdom, are from Christ. It is his fulness that filleth all in all.
Believers are to look to Jesus for comfort. Jesus is the comforter of his people. Many of the saints have looked to Christ in the hour of affliction, and have found, that as one whom his mother comforteth, so he has comforted them. He has applied his promises with comfort to their minds, shewn them that their trials were in his hands, and caused them to bless the hand by which they were chastised. St. Paul confirms this truth, saying, “He comforted us in all our tribulation :" and every believer can say to the praise of his name, “ Thou hast been with me in trouble.” To the compassionate Saviour believers are therefore to look. They are to look off from the creature for comfort ; to look through all ordinances simply to Christ, as the consolation of Israel. Thus looking to Jesus, they shall find comfort : amidst the thickest gloom Jesus will whisper peace to their souls, he will revive them with his presence, and cause them to know that he earnestly remembers them still.
Believers are also to look to Jesus for strength. Christ is the strength of his people : it is he that strengthens them against their spiritual foes, and keeps their feet from falling; to him, therefore, believers are to look for strength. In all the various duties of their christian calling, they are to look to Jesus for strength to enable them to do the will of God. Under all trials, they are to look to Jesus for that strength by which they may be preserved from taking any wicked thing in hand, or fainting under their trials. In all temptations they are to look to Christ for strength, expecting no victory over their spiritual foes but froin him. Their view must be continually directed to Christ, that they may walk steadily in the ways of God, and do those things acceptable to the Lord. Mark the believer who looks to Jesus, in the language of our church, that he would keep him both outwardly in his body and inwardly in his soul, and see the fulfilment of the promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength is made perfect in weakness." '
Believers are also to look to Jesus for growth in grace. All true holiness as well as happiness is from Christ. “He is," says Archbishop Leighton, “ the living spring of sanctification.” It is he that makes his people fruitful in every good word and work, and completes the work of sanctification by his Holy Spirit. To him, therefore, believers are to look for growth in grace. They are to look to him as one in whom all their fruit is found, and without whom they can do nothing. Feeling their sinfulness and unworthiness, they are to look to Jesus for the sanctifying influence of his Spirit, and that holiness without which no man can see the Lord.' Whilst thus looking to Jesus, believers are fruitful in good works, their graces are brought into exercise, and their souls become like a watered garden.
But the saints are to look to Jesus for preservation and eternal life. It is Christ alone who can uphold his people, and put them