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into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. When our Saviour taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to say, “ Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven :”— living daily in the habit of submitting to the righteousness of Christ, we shall then, and then only, see every attribute of God engaged to save us.
To improve the subject-deprecate the idea of being left to yourselves, for a single moment. The experiment of being independent has been made by the creature, twice-in heaven and in earth; and it has failed. It is not in us to stand upright for a single moment, if God do not uphold us.
Again: trust him universally; commit into his hands all your earthly, as well as your heavenly concerns; and look up to him to enable you to keep his glory in view, in all you are doing. There is a melancholy inconsistency in some believers; they will trust God for their souls, but not for their temporal things. He sometimes shews us the folly of this ; he permits us to involve ourselves in repeated and increasing difficulties, till at last we are compelled to trust him for every thing; and he convinces us, he cares for us comprehensively.
Again : remember, that amidst all the vicissitudes of time, your eternal interests are
secured ; and when we know God to be our portion, we shall see every thing earthly, in its true light. This wisdom flows from him who not only requires obedience, but also gives a power to obey. Every dispensation to the true believer, is the minister of God, to procure him a blessing.
Again: remember, our time is very short. May God teach us to know himself in Christ, and grant that when we cease to see each other in time, we may meet together for ever, in eternity.
THE EFFECTUAL CALLING OF THE BELIEVER.
For the gifts and calling of God are without
repentance-ROMANS XI. 29.
In Scripture, God is sometimes said to repent; by this expression, it is not meant, that he himself changes; it is an infinite impossibility ; he changes his dispensations, his visitations, while he himself remains the same. He is said to have repented that he made man; and, in another place, that he made Saul king of Israel. These things imply no change in God: this is eternally and infinitely impossible. He only changes his dispensations. He is sometimes said to promise, and not to fulfil ; sometimes, indeed, it has been said, that he promised without any intention of fulfilling ; this is absurd and blasphemous; and it is lamentable that such language is ever uttered by professors of religion. . Now, whenever anything is promised by
God, and not fulfilled; mark, the promise is made conditionally; the condition was not fulfilled, and, therefore, the promise was not performed; I shall mention a passage or two to illustrate this; “Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel; and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry; and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies." I In this promise a condition was implied, and, not being fulfilled, the promise was unperformed. It is awful to hear that said of infinite truth and holiness, which would be disgraceful in a man: that he promises and does not, and did not intend to perform. The condition, I say, is implied, though not stated. Another passage, “ O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do
1 Psalm cvi, 43–45.
unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.”] “ The gifts and calling of God are without repentance," but it may be, and has been asked, May not the Lord's people desert him? God has provided for that : if indeed it were possible for them to desert him, he doubtless would desert them; but he has taken care they should not. What I have said respecting the nonfulfilment on God's part of the promise, where the implied condition was not performed, does not militate against the immutability of the Deity. His character is ever the same; and these things only prove it, by shewing he is ever the eternal enemy of evil, and the eternal lover of good. God is immutable in himself: he is necessarily so, because he is eternal, and, therefore, he must be immutable. Connect this with what is said of Christ, “he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” This is a proof of his Deity, immutably, and eternally the same, and, therefore, God.
Again : God is immutable in his covenant ;
1 Jeremiah xviii. 6–10.