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as he realizes his interest in this blessed heritage, and perceives the inexhaustible mines of wealth which are stored up in him; so he is enabled to draw upon this exhaustless treasury day by day for his supply. And, in this respect, faith is to the soul what the hand is to the body, the mere instrument of communication ; the mercies bestowed being freely and solely given from above.
A view of Christ in the matchless beauty of his person, and the everlasting glory of his finished work, casts a veil over the tinselled vanities of time: and all the gay, yet short-lived and fading allurements which so much obstruct his course, lessen in his esteem as he views Jesus by faith on Calvary's mount; for the glorious radiance of his rising converts every surrounding object into shades of darkness. A sight of our beloved in the splendour and loveliness of his person, and an enjoyment of his conjugal attachment to the soul, as the fruit of his dying, bleeding, and victorious love, will produce sickness of a two-fold kind, as revealed in the Song of Solomon; a sickness of mortal toys, and sublunary vanities, and a sickness of love to him whom Paul was taught the heavenly arithmetic of counting all else but dung and dross.
It is not the province of every saint to be thus highly favoured with the over-powering charms with which Paul the favoured apostle was indulged in communion with his Lord ; but for the consolation of the mourner in Zion be it remembered, that the smallest degree of faith, known and expressed by a simple desire after his redeeming love and pardoning mercy, is equally the fruition of almighty grace, as its very fullest exercise and manifestation. The faith, of Abraham, as contrasted with that of the dear disciple who said, “ Lord, if thou canst do any thing for us,” appears more desirable, as it brings a greater revenue of praise to its author; yet both are the offspring of one principle, are the same in kind, and proceed from the same root. Blessed be God, salvation, in all its parts and branches, is not the creature's work either in whole or part. There can be no patchwork in the perfect robe of righteousness. Could it be once admitted, how infinitely lessened would be its value, and how tarnished would be its lustre : tarnished did I say? How completely enveloped in darkness would be its pristine glory. A salvation like this, which disrobes the Redeemer of his beauty, strips the crown from his head, and shrouds 'the excellency of his work in a cloud of human praise and self-adulation! Invidious thought! No,-to the real saint it must be matter for joy and gladness, burdened as he is by sin, that salvation is of the Lord ; that in its origin, carrying on, and termication, rich, free, and sovereign grace must have all the glory.
And is Jesus, indeed, a hiding-place for his people in every afflictive season? Does he really make their cause his own ? Does be conceal them in his pavilion, and shelter' them from the desolating blast of the bleak desert underneath his wings, as a hen protecteth her brood when the storm is approaching? How astonishing and benevolent! Yes; surprising love! It is really true, dear believer,
unspeakable as is the mercy, that Jesus is every thing to thee. How safe is thine anchorage on this Rock of Ages; in vain may earth and hell assail thee, thou art on an unchanging rock. Let storms arise, let tempests blow, let the billows roll mountains high over thy little vessel- let Sinai roar-let Satan combine with all within thee in the loud vociferations of guilt ; fear not! justice is satisfied, and condemns thee not; the law thou hast broken, and art continually 'violating is fulfilled, so that thou hast a perfect righteousness to plead; and to thee there is no condemnation. He that sits upon the mighty deep, and permits thine enemies to worry thee, has some gracious end to answer by thine experience. He controuls every surge, and so moderates them as to make thy vessel ride harmless. Like the mariners in company with our Lord, thou mayest fear if left to 'an unconsciousness that he is present; but there is no real ground for thy fears, though thou art under the hiding of his reconciling countenance. Then bless the name of thy adored pilot and look upward ;'every storm is as absolutely needful for thee, as the brightest dispensations, and all are wafting thee homeward. All' are adapted to thy circumstances, and situation; and grace is measured out to thee in the purpose of God in equal weight with the degree of tribulation thou sustainest. To be strong against the various assualts of thine enemies is to commit all thy concerns to the Lord, even the fighting of thy battles ; 'and be assured, under divine influence, thine armour will be proof against, and even repel their malevolent darts. When called up from thy peaceful slumbers to the field of action, beware of self-confidence and carnal security, which are thy deadly foes ever waiting in secret ambush to surprize thee off thy watch tower. Remember, that to look merely to thy corruptions operating within thee, while Satan is accusing thee, however justly, is to look too low, is to yield the combat; but to look to Jesus in spite of all thy scars, to look to him notwithstanding every discouragement, as Jacob did by prayer and supplication, thanksgiving and praise, having on the whole armour of righteousness, is a certain way of gaining the desired conquest : but even this is the work of the Lord, who will perform it for thee in the time of need; therefore be of good cheer, and fear not...
The vision of hope may tarry long, but at length it shall speak; and truly its radiance shall burst through every darksome cloud. It shall then be seen in fuller light that, in opposition to thyself and in spite of every foe, thou art saved “as by fire," and that had not sovereign love snatched thee out, thou wouldest, like the ungodly, be a brand of hell. When thou arrivest at home, astonishment will accompany the review of the fearful schemes of thine adversaries for thy destruction; then wilt thou perceive that all events which appeared to be against thee, were but links in the chain of decrees curiously wrought upon by Jehovah himself, to make them redound to his own glory as the chief end, and thy good as the subordinate issue. Thine enemies have ever been plotting evil; thy Lord has been subverting. their projects, and extracting the evil; and so over-ruling their malice
as to render it harmless to thee, and to recoil with double poignancy and sorrow on their own heads, which were before time predestinated to destruction too lamentable for reflection. . . « Oh! that in every storm we may hasten to Jesus, under whose standard there is alone safety. He that directeth the storm effects his purposes of love by tossing thee to and fro, even should it cause thee to reel and stagger like a drunken man. Jesus is ever with thee; his love is constant and unabating ; his arrival home to advocate thy cause, to shew his hands and his mangled feet and side, is a sufficient guarantee of safety. He hears thy cry, regards thy prayer. however broken, and will soon deliver; and as a blessed consummation of the whole, he will soon disencumber thee of mortality, and take thee to himself for ever and ever. Oh! then what bursts of hallelujahs shall resound, and what heavenly raptures shall fill thy soul at thy arrival, while thy perpetual anthem shall be redeeming love. • A right knowledge of Jesus, how precious and desirable! Such a blessing yieldeth peace. In proportion to it, will be our triumph in his cross: and he is ever faithful. In proportion to the knowledge we enjoy of the fulness and faithfulness of Jehovah, which meets, centres, and shines in him, in such proportion shall we confide in him for all things, resting well assured that she hath done all things well,” -that he doeth “ all things well.” Peckham, July 9, 1827.
(For the Spiritual Magazine.) THE SAFETY AND BLESSEDNESS OF THE CHURCH IN
(Concluded from page 37.) We now consider the righteous character, who is said to run into the strong tower and enjoy safety. And as the subject is truly spiritual, the word of truth must be our only guide. Reason alone cannot comprehend the sublime doctrine; nor could it ever have been known, but by revelation from heaven. The sacred scriptures inform us that man in his first state was perfectly innocent and capable of rendering obedience to his Maker's will, and was in the rich enjoyment of his favour; and from the scriptures we learn, that through Adam's first transgression the race of man is depraved, rebellious, and justly deserves the vindictive wrath of an offended God. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Rom. v. 12-19. Here we have most clearly stated what the scriptures throughout witness and fully prove,—that man fallen in Adam is a defiled, a guilty, a condemned creature. How then is the sinner to stand justified before his Maker? The gospel gives a full and satisfactory answer to the solemn question; for while the Eternal Judge declares, that to escape the
sentence of his most holy law man must be righteous, the glorious gospel most blessedly explains how he is made so. And in unfolding this mystery to creature apprehension, each distinct person in the glorious Trinity displays equal condescension and grace.
The sovereign will of Jehovah, which must of necessity be the cause and rule of all his dispensations, is declared in scripture to be the source of all good to his creatures; and certainly of that in raising the ruined sinner from a state of condemnation, to stand justified at the bar of eternal equity. Of the Father it is said, “ He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Eph. i. 3, 4. Again; to illustrate the Father's free grace, we have this ineffably precious scripture: “ who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Tim. i. 9. In another place we find the apostle pouring out a most affectionate prayer, that believers may be employed in “giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Col. i. 12, 13. And to display, if it were possible, more fully the Father's love in the salvation of his people, it is affirmed, that they are “ justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Rom. iii. 24. Hence it is most plain, that those who rise from the degradation of guilt and condemnation, to the happy state of holiness and justification, are such as were beloved and chosen in Christ.
The co-equal Son of God, by what he hath done in order to bring up his church to the enjoyment of her appointed felicity and honour, hath proved the most mysterious condescension and the most wonderful love to them; and the scriptures bear witness that the love of Christ is as ancient as the love of the Father. Of our glorious Redeemer it is said, “ His going forth have been from old, from everlasting,” or, (as the margin reads) “ the days of eternity,” Micah v. 2. And as our adorable Lord guided his prophet to bear testimony to the antiquity of his engagements to become the Ruler in Israel; so he has himself, who is the wisdom and power of God, given personal testimony to the same glorious truth in these words, “ I was set up from everlasting," Proy. viii, 23. From these scriptures it is divinely evident that Christ's engagement to save his people was coeval with Jehovah's love to them. In the fulness of time, to unfold the wonders of his love, our almighty Lord in matchless mercy appeared on earth in the form of a servant, was made in the likeness of sinful men, and took on himself the nature, the cause, and the curse of his chosen. As their Surety under the holy law, by his perfect obedience he fulfilled all its commands ; and the sins of the chosen being all laid by Jehovah on him, by his sufferings and precious blood-shedding the demands of justice are
Vol. IV.-No. 40.
folly and for ever satisfied. Jesus has magnified the law; he has gone to the end of it for righteonsness to every one that believeth. Jesus has paid his people's debt; he has put away their sin : he has made reconciliation for their iniquities, and brought in for them an everlasting righteousness. Jesus, the seed of the woman, has bruised the Serpent's bead, hes spoiled the powers of darkness, has conquered death and him who had the power of death, that is the devil. In what our condescending but all-conquering Lord has done, the way is opened by which all his redeemed shall rise from the ruins of the fall, to the immortal honours and happiness designed for the righteous. Here we see the truth and beauty of that precious scripture, “ Be it known unto you, men and brethren, that through this man (this Godman Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses."
But this is not all that must be done for poor lost sinners, in order to their enjoyment of the privileges of the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. For neither the love of the Father to them, nor the perfect work of Christ wrought for them, avails as to their knowledge or spiritual enjoyment, till God the Holy Ghost displays his condescending love and irresistible power within them: and this he has promised in his sacred word to do. The promise to the church is, “ All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children." Isaiah liv. 13. And, again, “I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord : and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jer. xxiv. 7. And our blessed Lord promises his disciples, that “ He will send them another Comforter, that he may abide with them for ever, even the Spirit of truth;' and that the Father shall send that Comforter; thus signifying, that he is distinct in person both from the Father and the Son, yet one with them in the Godhead. This Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, says our blessed Lord, shall teach you all things, and will guide you into all truth; and adds, “He shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine and shall shew it unto you." See John, chapters xiv. and xvi. Thus our gracious Redeemer has taught his people that their light and knowledge depends on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And when that Almighty Agent is pleased to display his power in the souls of his chosen, those precious promises have their fulfilment. Then the child of God learns and owns, with profound humility, his true character in the sight of God, as a son that was dead but is alive again, that was lost but now is found! Christ is precious to him, and he rejoices in knowing that he is accepted in the beloved, pardoned through atoning blood, and justified before God in the righteousness of his Redeemer. For all such the Strong Tower was erected; they are already in it; and there shall they abide safe for ever!
It may be profitable to the feeble in the faith to consider, that the character of righteous belongs equally to all who run to the Strong