Imágenes de páginas

potence, the foundation is in the holy mountain, where no enemy can approach, much less spring a mine there! 2ndly. Strength in the walls is essential; for without this precaution the building which could not be undermined, may be quickly battered down. Here also our sacred tower is for ever safe : for the walls are Salvation ! 3rdly. The height of the building is a matter of great moment; for if this provision be not made, the enemy may scale the walls which he could neither sap nor beat down. But here, likewise our glorious tower is perfectly secure: for the battlements are high as the throne of Jehovah! 4thly. To render the tower a secure retreat, it must be well stored with provisions; or they who could not be taken by strength, or stratagem, may be forced by starvation to surrender. But here again our strong tower is pre-eminent; for as infinite wisdom erected the citadel, so boundless goodness provided an inexhaustible supply of all that can ever be needful : here is the bread of life, the living fountain, medicine for every disease, yea, all that is requisite to make and keep all the inhabitants secure and happy for ever! Lastly. To make the earthly tower safe, there must be no traitor admitted; for that would expose the strongest fortress to the danger of falling into the hands of the besiegers. But of this our eternal tower can be in no danger; for it admits of none but known friends; none but loyal subjects ever betake themselves there ; and both their loyalty and their safety are preserved by the favour of their Sovereign! It is a blessed privilege for the church of God on earth to know, that all who run to this strong tower are so effectually secured, as that neither the power nor the policy of their enemies can ever really injure them, or in the least degree endanger their safety.

By “ the name of the Lord,” in the text, is certainly to be understood our Lord Jesus Christ, with all the many names he bears. Moses sweetly sings, Ps. xc. 1. “ Lord, thou hast been our dwellingplace in all generations;” and every renewed soul is warranted by the word of truth to say the same. In each of the precious names our condescending Lord sustains, the grace-taught soul can read his eternal security. Ask such an one, which of his Lord's precious names he can dispense with ? he will unhesitatingly answer, not one. The divine, the endearing, the fragrant names of Christ, furnish subjects for the sweetest and most profitable contemplations. In them the babe in grace has every thing needful to remove his fears, to encourage his hopes, to strengthen his faith, and to draw forth his love and praise. The young man has all that can possibly be requisite to animate and strengthen him in the war he is called to wage with the powers of darkness. The father in the faith of Christ finds abundant cause for perpetual praise and triumph, and feels himself justified in challenging the foes and inviting the friends of his Lord to walk about Zion and tell the towers thereof; confident that the enemies shall eventually own they are all impregnable, and that the friends shall all exultingly declare, in each of these towers we have eternal safety! May the writer of these humble remarks, and all his spiritual-minded readers, dwell with constant delight on this important subject: a subject of all others the most sweetly calculated to fill the soul of a poor sinner with humility, joy, and peace; to impress the mind with the deepest concern for the glory of Christ; and to draw forth the warmest affections of the soul to him.

The dear little ones in the Lord's family, the babes in grace, not knowing their safety in Christ, it cannot be expected of them to be always rejoicing in the God of their salvation; brit that any who know the name of the Lord should prove themselves indifferent to the glory of him whom their souls love, or be backward in talking of all his wondrous works, is truly, lamentable; as it shews them to be living below their privileges; gives occasion to every observer to suppose they feel no interest in what they profess; and exposes the ways of truth to contempt. That a Laodicean spirit should prevail among true believers, and the enemies of truth be active, as they are in the present day, is truly awful. It would be honourable in the servants of Christ were they as alert in their Lord's service at all times, and as strenuously concerned to shew forth his praise, as Deists and Socinians are to blaspheme his glorious name; or as many deluded professors of the gospel are to becloud its fundamental truths. Why should not the subjects of the all-glorious Sovereign be as active in the service of their prince, as the slaves of the infernal usurper are in his? The avowed enemies of the gospel, in all their laboured opposition to truth, have no higher aim to gratify than a deluded mind, or to win the applause of others who are in their delusions; while those who know the name of the Lord, have every argument that truth can furnish to encourage their activity, and point them to the noblest end,—the glory of Him who hath called them to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. May the Lord the Spirit dispose and strengthen the people of his grace to be more decided in their Lord's cause, more alert in his service, and more ready to speak, of all his wondrous works.

The text not only affirms perfect security in Christ, but gives the character, as viewed by the all-seeing God, of all those who run for safety to him. “ The righteous runneth !" Yes, verily, the righteous, they only run to this refuge, they only can enjoy safety; indeed, none but the righteous ever truly seek for salvation in Christ. The text clearly shews, they are not made righteous by running, nor yet made so by their enjoyment of safety; for they were righteous while running, before they could know their safety. Now to be righteous, as the term applies to fallen man, is to be accounted by the eternal Judge holy and without blame, fully acquitted of every charge which the holy law brings against transgressors. And who can these be ? seeing the word of truth declares, as there is none righteous, no not one!" It must therefore be of vast importance, as to the comfort of the soul, to be scripturally informed on this subject : if this be not rightly understood, comfort must be very precarious, though the soul may be really secure.

Among the diversified opinions of men on this point, one only can be right, and that must be the one founded on the word of truth; for the doctrine can be known only by revelation from Him who is the Lawgiver and the Judge. The un humbled pride of many leads them to suppose they can make themselves righteous, as the pharisees of our Lord's time did. They vainly thought that by attending to a few moral duties they were righteous: and is not this the case of all those who, ignorant of God's righteousness, are going about to establish a righteousness of their own ? Bat the language of the Judge himself to all such is, “I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” This at once determines the point with all such characters.

Others there are, not knowing the spirituality of God's most holy law, that it condemns every sinner for every work, word, and thought, who vainly suppose that the righteous character is made up by man's obedience and Christ's righteousness in conjunction. They think the holy Lawgiver will abate his demands, on such as with tears and repentance render a sincere obedience; hence they encourage a groundless hope that they shall be accepted of God as righteous; yet the scriptures know no such mode of justification: and that one sentence is sufficient to cut down for ever the dreadful presumption, “ Their righteousness is of ME, saith the Lord !""

Again; there are others who believe, or profess to believe, that man is made righteous and justified freely, who yet contend that the act of faith must secure to them the privilege of standing justified before God. It is well such persons do not attempt to shew, how long a poor sinner must be in possession of faith before he may perform the justifying act; or to what degree of strength faith must arrive before it can perform that act effectually : for if they made the attempt, they would as surely darken counsel by words without knowledge, as they already prove their ignorance of Jehovah's sovereign grace, and Christ's justifying righteousness.

If I am justified before God by my act of faith, then am I justified only while my faith is in exercise. This, as it regards my feelings alone, is very true; for in proportion to the vigour of faith will be my joy in the Lord : “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.”' No man can know he is righteous in God's sight, if he be destitute of faith; yet, it is gloriously certain, that many are accepted in the beloved, and justified in him from all things from which they could not have been justified by the law of Moses, whose faith is far from being in such strong exercise, as to bring full consolation into the mind; but their mercy is, the Lord abideth faithful, though they believe not.

E. G. (To be concluded next Month.)


(A LETTER TO A FRIEND.) Beloved Cousin, and Fellow-heir of the Grace of Life,

The blessing of a Three-One God, with a rich enjoyment of covenant love, bedew thy spirit, and the vast openings of sovereign kindness daily delight thy soul! I hope it is experimentally well with thee; that thou art advancing in the knowledge of thy nothingness, and growing in love with Jesus; that thou art discovering more of thy own insufficiency, and his all-sufficiency; more of thy emptiness, and his fulness; and, like the spouse coming up out of the wilderness, leaning on the beloved. It is sweet in the reclinings of faith to lean on the arms of Omnipotence, under every sense of felt weakness, and to honour him with growing confidence in his ability and faithfulness to his word. Some months have now elapsed since we saw each other, and communed on heavenly things; but we have daily met in spirit at the footstool of our Father; our hearts have been united in the same centre, and the great orb of spiritual delight has attracted the eye of our minds; we carry on the same employ in surveying the plans of heaven, and looking over the chartered blessings of the eternal throne.

But, beloved, there is one event that has taken place during the interval, that has solemonly, yet cheerfully, arrested our attention : the removal of the highly and sovereignly favoured Dr. Hawker, dear to the hearts of all the lovers of sound doctrine, whose praise is in all the spiritual churches of our most glorious Christ. His last visit was looked on by his friends, as his final one to the Metropolis ; his body was visibly tending toward mother earth, though his mental powers were strong and vigorous. The last time I heard him will not soon be forgotten, being marked with a peculiarity of circumstances the most delightful. Being on a visit in Hertfordshire, and anxious to go where the truth was preached, I walked to Welwyn, five miles, to hear Mr. O. was informed the meeting was shut up, that minister and people were gone to Codicote Church. I was not a little surprised, and being greatly fatigued by my walk, I paused for the moment in hopeless disappointment; nevertheless, hope rallied, and I determined to know the cause of attraction at Codicote Church.

I learnt on the road that a great preacher from Plymouth was there. This put new life in my feet, and thankfulness in my heart. I reached the crowded church when he had just entered the pulpit. He preached from the blessing of Abraham,” the Lord Jesus Christ, as the comprehensive fulness of all blessedness, with his usual freedom, sacred glow, and holy warmth of soul. He brought out the fulness of the blessings of the gospel of peace to view, and exalted the great acts of the triune God as they opened upon the church in Christ. The Lord the Spirit gave testimony to the word of his grace, and blest it

to the hearts of his dear people. The intense anxiety to hear, the listening countrymen in their white frocks, the enlivened countenances of the people, with the leadings of providence in my being there, all united, had an imposing and delightful effect on my mind. The people came out filled with wonder and with joy, testifying the word came in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power. I was informed that all the meeting houses were closed, even to seven and nine miles round, and ministers and people were come to hear him. I returned with unspeakable joy and gratitude, wondering at all the things that had come to pass.

In the evening I went again with prayer and expectation. He preached on these words : “But we are come unto Jesus.” He first spoke of the Person, the object of approach. Speaking of the dignity of his Person, he said, “ Every thought he had, (as Zion's representa tive and substitute) was infinite, that God the Father to all eternity could never remunerate the church for the work of Christ; for finite creatures could never receive the worth of his infinite sacrifice !" He then met the coming sinner with all his objections; the very objections were reasons for their coming to him; opened the graciousness of the heart of Christ, and the blessedness of the sinner come to Christ, and then set forth the contrast of coming to Sinai, and coming to Christ. He ministerially stripped the sinner; gave the whole glory to God the Holy Ghost of every needy sinner's approach; shewed that none could ever come but those he quickened ; and the certainty of their coming whom he had made alive. It was a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, in which my soul was drawn forth in wonder, love, and praise.

As he came down the church-yard I took my farewell view of him, solemnly impressed with the thought I should see him no more in the covering of frail mortality. The people retired in clusters, blessing and praising God that ever they heard him; the truths being opened in such a delightful manner, overpowered their minds; the little company travelling my way, entertained me on the road with their expressions of joy; the setting sun, with all the beauties of a summer's evening in the midst of harvest, added to the scene, which made it one of the happiest days of my life.

But my design was to notice the sacred manner in which he opened the great truths of the everlasting gospel. The main theme and leading feature of his ministry, was the all-glorious Three-in-One, known and enjoyed in their relation to the church. Not a dry, scholastic, distant knowledge of the Three Persons in the undivided essence, but as revealed in all their sovereign, endearing, and mighty acts of grace to Zion, in all their saviug offices, as engaged in the everlasting covenant; with all the overwhelmings of conquering and triumphing mercy in gathering the objects of electing love, lost in the ruins of the fall. Having fellowship in the mystery, he spoke out of the abundance of his heart; his chief delight was in tracing all up to the fountain head, all spiritual blessings originating in the heart of

« AnteriorContinuar »