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* There are Three that bear record in heaven, the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLT
GHOST : and these Three are One." 1 John v. 7.
Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jttde 2.
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
THE BELIEVER LEANING UPON HIS BELOVED.
THERE is no truth more evident than that Christ is the supreme object of the believer's affection: his person and work have an attraction which nothing else has. Earth, with all its beauties, is nothing without Christ; and heaven without him would be destitute of real happiness. All the believer's fresh springs are in Christ; and it is not so much he that lives as Christ that lives in him. As he advances in the divine life, Christ becomes encreasingly precious; his soul is absorbed in Christ, and he exclaims with the church, " He is altogether lovely: this is my beloved, and this is my friend."
Whilst Christ becomes encreasingly precious, self becomes encreasingly hateful. The believer is convinced that in Christ is all his fruitfulness and strength—that left a moment of the Redeemer he should fall into every sin. He becomes therefore more and more dependant upon Christ; his whole life consists in leaning upon riis beloved. Not a hope has he separate from Christ; not a blessing does he expect but from him. As he passes through this wilderness he leans upon the blood and righteousness of Christ for security; he is daily convinced of his own vileness, and prizes more the precious truths that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin; and that his righteousness endureth for ever.
He depends upon the fulness of Christ for the supply of all his wants, and rejoices that out of his fulness he can receive grace for grace. He depends upon the power of Christ for daily support; no victory he expects over his spiritual foes,—no walking closely with God in the paths of holiness, but as he is upheld and strengthened by Christ. He depends upon the wisdom of Christ for direction:—utterly
Vol. IV—No. 40. K
unable to direct himself, he comes daily to Christ, saying, "shew me the way wherein I should walk." He relies upon his promise, "I will instruct and teach thee in the way wherein thou shouldest go;" and says with David, "thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."
He relies upon the faithfulness of Christ. Feeling himself prone to wander every moment, he trusts to the promise; "the Lord is faithful who shall establish you."—Upon this faithfulness he rests for eternal glory, believing that what the Redeemer hath promised he is able to perform. The happy effects of this simple dependance upon Christ are evident.—Afflictions lose their terror. Resting upon Christ, the believer is enabled to bless a taking, as well as a giving God. He knows that whilst thus leaning upon Christ, all things must work together for good.—Whilst thus dependant upon Christ the arrows of persecution produce little effect; he sees Jesus in all, and he enjoys the smiles of Christ amidst the slanders of the world. Depending upon Christ the believer bids defiance to the king of terrors. He views death, to use the language of a late revered character, only as " a shadow," the substance being taken away by Jesus. With cheerfulness he exclaims, " Into thy hands I commit my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth!"
If such ave the effects of the believer depending upon Christ, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, what must be the happiness of the believer in dwelling with Christ above? in continually participating of the blessings of his love, and praising his redeeming grace? Then afflicted, tried, and persecuted christian, remember it is thy privilege to lean upon thy beloved. The exhortation given thee is, " Trust in the Lord at all times, for with the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." In every trial, every conflict, lean upon Christ, and ere long you shall quit this wilderness; the storms of life shall be over; your sun shall no more go down, neither your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord is thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
.* (For the Spiritual Magazine.J
THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST.
* They that know thy name will put their trust in thee."—Psalm ix. 10.
Every man by nature is a pharisee: pharisaical pride and obduracy are the result of his apostacy. These opposing principles to the gospel of free grace are so interwoven with his very frame, that both root and branches abide with him through life; nor can they become extinct in the recipient of sovereign love, until he slumbers in the silent tomb. In the unregenerate this baneful principle reigns without a rival, as is manifest by his actions; and unless his mind be warped by scepticism to the denial of an obvious truism, the doctrine of a hereafter, he has some secret dependance founded in self, on which to repose his future hopes for prosperity here and beyond the grave. The psalmist exclaims that some trust in horses, and some in chariots, meaning outward things; and experience proves that these are refuges of lies, the pursuit of which is cheerless and forlorn, and their termination death. The joy revealed in the gospel of peace has its centre in Christ; it is far beyond the ken of human sight, because it is spiritual, and is consequently only spiritually discerned. Let us briefly enquire,
First. What is included in the name referred to, and to whom it refers.
Secondly. Prove the absolute necessity of divine knowledge to a right apprehension of the subject. And,
Lastly. The blessed result of the whole.
I apprehend that the glorious name referred to is, ««the Lord," "the Lord thy God." Not only Jehovah in his threefold character of person, but "thy God," or a God in covenant with his redeemed. In this cheering, soul-animating view, is included his essence, attributes, perfections, counsel, will, and purpose, which all meet, centre, and shine in the church, in and through their glorious Redeemer. In this view is also included all his glorious revelations in the person of their adored Sponsor, the Mediator of the Covenant; his grace, love, wisdom, mercy, and all the unspeakably rich constellations of glories manifested in Christ to his people, in the kingdoms of nature, providence, grace, and glory. "It hath pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell;" and how infinite is that fulness treasured up iri him! He is one with the Father and Spirit iri essence; and what seems to add a charm to the whole and to enhance its value is, that in his complex character he is God and man in one Christ—divinity veiled in humanity. Blessed union! though essentially God, he is the Head, Representative, Surety, Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate, Judge, Prophet, Priest, and King of his people. He is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in purpose; he" is their everlasting Father, elder Brother, and constant Friend; his name and character are one, "the true and faithful;" all things are committed into his hands. For the purposes afore appointed, all comprehended in redeeming love, he went forth in all the splendour of majesty, travelling in the greatness of his strength for the redemption of his chosen; and in consequence of the completion of the work he had covenanted to perform, he has become an Almighty Saviour, both able and willing to save to the very uttermost. The whole government of the elect is on his shoulders; he manages the sea' of tribulation over which they pass, and metes out with consummate skill every trial, and proportions with infinite exactness the degree of grace to bear them through; while every passing dispensation is hastening them onwards to their desired haven. Blessed indeed then is the man who trusteth in him.
Secondly. The world at large are not interested in the matter referred to in our text, for man by nature is totally blind, and his darkness is more gross than Egyptian night. The wisdom of the worldly only pertains to worldly things. That knowledge which precedes the exercise of faith is a faculty of the new born soul, and is supernatural in its origin and in its growth : and as the knowledge of the preciousness of a gem must precede an ardent desire for its attainment; so must an acquaintance with the worth of Jesus, who is the subject of the present theme, be attained, preparatory to the exercise of trust or confidence in him. That divine knowledge of him which is essential to true faith and enjoyment, infinitely transcends the utmost bound of human intellect. If man be totally dead in trespasses and sins, as to all spiritual perceptions, and if spiritual knowledge of the mysteries of the cross be the free gift of God, imparted at regeneration, the absolute necessity of this divine implantation must be admitted; hence may be fairly argued the doctrine of the new birth so admirably preached by Jesus to Nicodemus,—" Marvel not, ye must be born again."
At this truth thousands have stumbled, and it is still, and doubtless ever will be, a stone of offence to the proud pharisee, who never can, in his unregenerate state, bow to the blessed truth. He perceives not any beauty and comeliness in Jesus, because he has no eyes to discern him. If he has ever heard his name extolled as the chiefest among ten thousand, still he beholds him only by the natural eye of faith, as a root out of a dry ground, void of form or comeliness, and desires not the participation of his grace. Divine knowledge is a constituent part of the new-born babe; its production is heavenly, and its end is everlasting life. From this principle proceed springs of consolation, which have their source in everlasting love. To this source its happy subject is fast tending, and in the issue faith shall be lost in its full fruition and enjoyment. Being introduced into newness of life, the regenerate are taught heavenly knowledge in the school of Christ. One of his first lessons is a consciousness of his real state and character, which is not derived at once, but in the degree best suited to his case; and under its discovery he receives support equal to his trials. The very discipline he is subjected to makes manifest his need of Jesus in all his endearing offices and characters. Finding himself amidst a barren country, surrounded by enemies in an inhospitable and barren desert, he is taught something of the preciousness of Jesus as a shepherd to lead him into fertile pastures, and by the sweetly flowing waters of peace and consolation; as a refuge from the oppressive heat of temptation, sin, and sorrow: how sweet an asylum does he find under the shade of this impregnable rock! The name of his beloved is a strong tower into which he runs and is safe. It is a safe sanctuary defended by the bulwarks of salvation, which are proof against all attacks, however insidious and malevolent, from earth or hell.
Thirdly. No language can do justice in pourtraying the blessedness resulting from a knowledge of the name of Jesus. Here Gabriel's notes must fail: we must die to know the happy consummation. At least we can only contemplate, never sound, the mysterious depths. Some of the gracious results of faith, or trust in the name and faithfulness of our Jehovah Jesus, are known and felt by the dear believer in time. The exercise of faith in him is the immediate consequence of an experimental knowledge of his worth. To confide in him in all seasons of difficulty and danger, is the work of God the Holy Ghost; this is obviously manifest by experience, and from the tenor of divine truth. Through the influence of almighty grace, he learns to trust in the Lord in seasons of difficulty and affliction; in seasons of sorrow, when the stormy waves of sin, and the seas of corruption rise high with an awful and appalling swelling around his little bark, threatening momentary devastation; in seasons of temptation and tribulation from outward or internal enemies, of persecution and buffeting from Satan; in seasons of national calamity, and in the hour of death. At such extremities the exercises of faith needful to uphold the shattered bark wreckless on the mighty ocean, or the shores of time.
The principle of faith implanted by the Holy Ghost is immortal. Tt can never die; but will hereafter be rendered needless. Its operations are circumscribed according to the good will and pleasure of him who begat it; but however faint, it abides the same in nature as its fullest manifestation ; and both are produced by the renewings of the Holy Ghost. The believer in Jesus is made an active instrument in perpetuating the work, but the sole efficiency is of the Lord; and though it is indisputable that all the effects of grace are brought into being independant of natural aid, it is nevertheless equally true, that man is not a mere machine, as some affirm, (which would imply that the graces of the Spirit are not living principles) but a willing and active subject, who rejoices to honour his Lord by crediting the promises of his ever-blessed gospel, and resting on such an immoveable and immutable Rock of Ages for every needful good in time, and for eternal life and salvation in and through him. When favoured with the heavenly gales "of grace, his soul expands from the contractedness which pinioned his spirit to the dust, its native element, to the life and liberty of adopted children, and is regaled with the sensible whispers of redeeming love, in the society of the King of kings. In such seasons his service is his delight; it is then his feet in swift obedience move, and in such sequestered moments he evinces that his element is to be made sweetly " willing in the day of his power." Ask the subject of redeeming love, who is the supreme object of his affections and confidence; and if he cannot in the full assurance of faith tell you that he trusts solely to Jehovah Jesus for all he needs, and that he is the only desire of his heart, that is surpassing all others; he will tell you that it is his supreme desire to repose on the bosom of his beloved, and to commit all his concerns into his hands, both for the present life and that which is to come. The operations of unbelief proceed not from the new born soul, but the old Adam-stock of nature; they are what " he would not." They are his daily grief, and his infirmity. In the charter of grace sovereign love has made ample provision for his every necessity centering in Jesus. In proportion