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this low land of sorrow, to prove the vaildity of their' title, the truth of his representation, and the right of his claim, while justice, holiness, faithfulness, power, and love, are unitedly engaged to bring them to the city above, which while here they are seeking ; consequently, “ here we have no continuing city.”
But the exercise of seeking this city which is to come, deserves a few thoughts ; I therefore proceed to mention some things implied in
First. It iinplies a revelation of the glory and blessedness of that city as centering in the Lord Jesus. None can desire that of which they have no knowledge, but both scripture and christian experience testify that of the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. ii. 14. Such who are in the flesh (or a carnal state) do mind the things of the flesh, having no real capacity to enjoy or seek after the things of the Spirit. But those who are taught by the Holy Spirit, well know that there is no solid, lasting happiness, but in Christ. A sense of their own guilt and vileness forbids them to trust in themselves; a believing view of the personal glory and beauty of Immanuel attracts their souls; and his most precious mediatorial work encourages their hope in him. A sense of pardoning mercy through his blood, and of acceptance in him the Beloved, whose righteousness for ever justifies them, sweetly draws their souls to him in love. Having found the pearl of great price, they can part with all for his sake, counting all things as sordid dross compared to him. The more his grace and love appears to them as Zion's Redeemer and Mediator, the more their affections glow towards him, and the more ardently do they seek him in all his appointed ordinances, where by faith he is seen in all his transcene dant beauty: there they praise, adore, and love, and with the church exclaim, “ This is my Beloved, and this is my friend.” His gracious presence they highly prize, and diligently seek to experience deeper and more lasting enjoyments of his love. Communion with him is to them a taste of heaven on earth, and when interrupted (as it often is) they sensibly feel it, and mourn on account of it, and often adopt the sentiments of the devout psalmist, “ Then shall I be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.” The glory and bliss of heaven, they well know, consists in the full vision of Jesu's face; he is the light and glory of the new Jerusalem, the city above, where they most ardently desire to arrive. The holy principle they possess, naturally ascends toward heaven from whence it came; having risen into spiritual life with Christ, they seek the things which are above, where Jesus is; that being the prize to which they press. Seeking this city, then, implies a spiritual knowledge of Jesus, and of that salvation which is in him ; supreme love unto him, sacred delight in him, communion with him by faith, and an insatiable desire to see him as he is, in the new Jerusalem. Worldly honours, riches, and titles, to them are mean and insignificant, while an interest in the heavenly world, and all that stands connected with their entering there, are things of infinite moment. “ We seek one to come.”
Secondly. Such seekers are equipped for the journey which is between them and the city they are seeking: in a spiritual sense they are true pilgrims. The gospel of Jesus brings sweet peace of con science; they stand upon the foundation of love, merit, and power; and therefore are prepared by grace to travel homeward amidst the dangers of the way. This preparation is called, “the preparation of the gospel of peace;” and again, “ be will keep-the feet of his saints.” Their clothing is the imputed righteousness of Jesus; that royal robe never decays, nor can its spotless beauty ever change by all they meet with in their journey. Their girdle is the doctrine of truth, which girds their loins about, and affords them strength to persevere. Their staff, the precious promises of a faithful God, who keepeth truth for ever, which yieldeth them sweet support. The map of their way is drawn in the written word, which the Holy Spirit, their unerring guide, is pleased to explain as he leads them on; and from the provision of his house above he feeds them in his appointed ordinances below. Thus equipped, guided, and supplied, they move along with the wheel of time which is bringing them still nearer the city they are seeking
Thirdly. This seeking implies a cheerful hope, which sometimes rises into a blessed assurance that they shall one day find this city. Hope rests upon something future. The promise of future glory made to seeking souls, encourage them with increasing ardour to persevere, even when hosts of enemies unite against them, or when accumulated afflictions and distresses, like rolling billows of the sea, threaten to overwhelm them. This the psalmist found to be true, for in the deeps of swelling trouble he exclaims, “Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm xlii. 11.) O precious words these! “ My God." My covenant God in Christ, my everlasting portion, my final home. Nor does our God refuse to own the relation here claimed by seeking souls; as it is written, “ but now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly; wherefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Heb. xi. 16.)
Fourthly. Those seekers are favoured to hold intercourse with the King of the city they are seeking; and that in consequence of their freedom there. To this the apostle alludes when he says, “ Our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”. Phil. iii. 20. Their names are written in heaven, as having an interest, through grace, in the heavenly world, and when they arrive at the pearly gates of this city, they shall be opened to receive them, and admit them to all its riches, dignity, and blessedness; where Jesus on his majestic throne for ever reigns, and sheds infinite delight on all the free-born sons of Zion there. The steady belief of this truth often inspires the bosom of travellers below with cheerful hope. Their freedom being established
by purpose, by oath, by covenant, by blood, they may well adopt the language of the Psalmist, “ thy statutes have been my song in the house of my pilgrimage.” Thus their spirits often rise by faith, in prayer and praise, holding converse with their Lord who lias bought their freedom from condemnation and slavery, and who ultimately will give them in full possession all the glories and royalties of this city, which grace has sovereignly bestowed; all which are implied in the passage before referred to, “ your names are written in heaven.” This should teach the Lord's family who are but strangers and pilgrims on earth, the poverty and vanity of all earthly things : their heavenly Father has not given them their portion here in earthly possessions, but hereafter in heavenly possessions. The greatness and splendour of a Babylon, and other cities of renown, have long ago been buried in oblivion ; and those who have sought to find substantial happiness in them have been miserably disappointed. But the New Jerusalem is founded by the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, whose all-sufficiency makes the bliss of its inhabitants complete, and whose throne shall stand unmoved when all the kingdoms, states, and cities of this lower world, shall be overthrown, and not a wreck remain. Yes, then the saints of the Most High shall take this kingdom, and reign in this city, in the purest friendship, the strongest union, the sweetest harmony, and highest felicity, for ever, even for ever and ever.
Come, then, ye travellers to this city, “ gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you, at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Then shall your sandals be put off, your staff laid by, and your wilderness lanterns” (Psalm cxix. 105.) of gospel ordinances be needed no more. Your path may, indeed, be a throny maze, like Israel's passage through the wilderness, but the pillar of God's presence shall guide you safely through; for he hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.'' (Heb. xiii. 5.) Do you meet with trials, persecutions, darkness, and temptations ? as sanctified of God you are taught thereby, that this is not your rest, and you are caused to long more ardent for home. The city you are seeking is already yours; your kindred who are gone there, will soon welcome your arrival. Angels are attending you on your journey, and will be your convoy over Jordan's food, through the ethereal region, and up to Jesu's throne, the moment he gives command, saying, “ Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, thy wintry journey is past, the (storm and) rain is over and gone, the flowers of this celestial paradise are all in bloom for thy arrival.” Thy former days of sorrow shall now be forgotten, or only remembered to heighten thy felicity.
This is the prospect set before every one who is truly seeking the city which is to come. Oh! for stronger faith to believe it, and to enjoy the blessed assurance of it.
GAIUS. VoL, IV.--No. 48. 2 Z
Hephzibah : or Jehovah's Infinite Delight in his Church, plainly
Stated, and Clearly Demonstraled, from the Lively Oracles and Infullible Standard of Truth. Part II. By Henry Heap, Minister of Bury Street Chapel, St. Mary Axe. Palmer.
The first part of this work was noticed on page 377, vol. 1. of the Spiritual Magazine; and, among other remarks suggested by its perusal, we took occasion to speak warmly in praise of the author, and the valuable undertaking he had commenced. On the appearance of the second and concluding part, our opinion of the writer is strengthened, and we have an inducement offered to review the subject more at large. The arrangement of chapters in continuation, the titles of some of which we are obliged to abridge, is as follows.
The time of love-The distinguishing favours the Lord confers on sinners, when returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls, are unequivocal demonstrations of his good pleasure – The intimate communion the Lord condescends to hold with his people, declares them to be those in whom he delights—The relations subsisting between Christ and his people, prove them to be the objects of his special regard-Jehovah the 'Husband of his church- The endearing names by which Jehovah calls his people, are additional proofs of his sovereign good pleasure.
To a great extent our author enlarges on the parable of the Prodigal Son, and is particularly excellent in his illustration of the nature and application of the righteousness of Christ, as intended in the command of the Father, “ bring forth the best robe and put it on him !" It affords us the means of quoting an admirable passage in corroboration of our oft-expressed sentiments on the indwelling Godhead,'— a scheme so unscripturally handled, and so much mystified of late..
“ I. It is the best robe; for none are arrayed in it but the sons of God, the heirs of salvation, and the favourites of heaven. The felicity possessed by believers, by virtue of this righteousness, is as firm as the inviolable oath of the Eternal I AM. And their right to the unfading inheritance reserved in heaven, as indisputable as the heirship of Christ, and the glorification of the Son of God. “We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.” The integrity of innocent Adam was good; the obedience of angels, is better, being creatures of a higher order; but the obedience of Christ is emphatically the best. The borrowed rays of their garments have no glory, by reason of that infinite blaze of glory which excelleth ; for the spotless and perfect robe of the Lord Jesus is underived, independent, abiding, and immutable.
“2. This white raiment in which repentant sinners are clothed, is called “the righteousness of God; the righteousness of Christ; the righteousness of faith; and the righteousness of the saints.” It is not the essential righte
ousness of God the Father, of which we read in many places of scripture, expressive of the infinite holiness of his nature, and clearly displayed in the exercise of his power, justice, faithfulness, and truth, in the government of the world. In the subjoined passages of holy writ may be seen fully developed, the purity of his nature, the equity of his government, his wisdom and faithfulness in the certain accomplishment of his word, both in a way of promise to his people, and threatening to the wicked. “For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness.” “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” “Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness.” “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee.” “For thou art glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders.” “Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds." To Thy righteousness is like the great mountains.” “Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne."
“The righteousness in which a sinner stands justified, is distinct from this, for the infinite holiness and immortality of God are incommunicable, being attributes peculiar only to the essence of Jehovah. “Thou only art holy." Rev. xv. 4. “Who only hath immortality dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto." 1 Tim. vi. 16. It is the mediatorial righteousness of Christ, consisting of his active and passive obedience to the law, in the character of a Surety for the whole election of grace. This work is placed to the account of believers, and made theirs, according to the strict claims of justice, and is designated the righteousness of faith; for faith receives it, and adorns the soul with the wedding garment, the righteousness of the saints. It is with marked energy styled the righteousness of God, for he who hath wrought it out, and brought it in, is God as well as man. The Great Shepherd judicially smitten for the sheep, by the two-edged sword of punitive justice, was God's fellow or equal, as well as the man. In this exalted character the church confides ; in Him is all her salvation. “This is the name whereby he shall be called, Jehovah our righteousness!” She knew well that no obedience would fully satisfy the demands of the law but that which is divine, and no other righteousness will bear the penetrating eye of Omniscience, but that which is absolutely perfect. Every true citizen of Zion, in the great and momentous concern of his justification before God, will despise all other coverings, however pleasing and honourable among men, and trample them under his feet as the mire and clay of human inventions, which must shortly crumble to dust. He can at all times with heart and hand cheerfully subscribe to the unqualified affirmation of St. Paul : “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him ; not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God, by faith."
The treatise is carried on from chapter to chapter with great and encreasing interest, and is interspersed with a variety of historical allusions, and pertinent quotations from eminent divines. There are passages from Dr. Owen and Abraham Booth on the pardon of sin, whose effect we should fear to lessen by any commendatory remarks.
“The great Dr. Owen, upon this gospel theme, writes like one who deeply experienced, extensively knew, and sweetly enjoyed this inestimable privilege. Hear his profound, animating, and rarely, if ever equalled description : _“The forgiveness that is with God is such as becomes him; such as is suitable to his greatness, goodness, and all other excellencies of his nature; such as that therein he will be known to be God. What he says concerning some of the works of his providence, Be still, and know that I am God, may be much more said concerning this great effect of his grace; Still yourselves,