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like his person, is in the keeping and under the protection of the Son of God.
The mystery of vital union to the person of the Son of God, is not known nor regarded by the man of the world, but it is the real source of fruitfulness and devotion to God. The manner in which religion is described by many who represent the subjects of it, as performing various services by which they are desirous to recommend themselves to the notice of God, is contrary to the word of truth ; for those who worship in the spirit are first approved and sanctified in and through Cfirist Jesus, before they carry their services to God, and lay them upon that altar which is greater than the worshipper and the gift which is presented upon it. It is of great importance for the true believer to keep this fact constantly in view. Many persons who did not consider it in the day of their religious minority to be of such vital importance as it is, have when their judgment in divine things was matured, learned that Christ is the holy root of activity from whence they have derived all their fruitfulness. The ministers of the gospel too frequently forget this solemn fact when they exhort their hearers to perform the numerous duties which God has commanded them to practice; and it is quite certain that the pride of the human heart is not offended thereby, for it supposes that the hearer has a natural power within, that only requires to be excited to arouse it to activity. This is one of the reasons why we have so many professors of Christianity in the present day, who are ignorant of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. The christian man is employed for, and publicly consecrated to God. Religion is not a matter of trivial consequence. We cannot be devoted to God by means of a sponsor. We are redeemed by a Sponsor, but we cannot be personally sanctified by one; nor can we be actively devoted to God by any such paltry means. Every thing which in the judgment of God may be called religious, is the act of the man who is truly set apart for his honour. Baptism being a personal act whereby the person baptized publicly professes his faith in the eternal Trinity of persons in the one Jehovah, can never be rightly attended to but by faith; because the person baptized voluntarily gives himself up to God in this holy ordinance, which he commanded his children to observe. Indeed, a good man cannot in this respect adopt the mechanical method so much in practice at this time, viz. of performing of duties in the person of another. We find it to be our interest to mingle with the followers of Jesus, and with them to visit his throne, and to ask mercy at his hands for the whole church which he has redeemed to God; but while a brother is addressing of the Divine Majesty, and imploring of him to manifest his friendship to his waiting children, we are actually engaged in the same service, although we are employed in an audible manner, for whatever he asks of God according to his will that is ever needed by the holy brethren, and they will add to it their hearty amen. Besides this, as we are enlightened to discern that God has an immutable right in his people, they under the influence of the
sceptre of Christ surrender themselves to his government. Divine favour is the principle upon which every spiritual man worships God. The act of giving of himself to God is sacred, there is something in it different from the semblance of the thing as much so as there is in the substance and the shadow which is reflected by it. He who thus bows to the decision of God is called by him to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ the Lord, for God has a right to his person by choice, purchase, and possession. Every act of spiritual homage presented to God is offered to him upon the basis of relationship which he has constituted in Christ his Son, and by it he is glorified, and his children are favoured to have spiritual communion with him in the path of duty. Many of the followers of the Lamb think that they have no communion with him, but when they are filled with rapturous joys and elevated frames of mind ; and this idea is cherished by many men who call themselves ministers of the Son of God; but if there is no intercourse between God and the soul but what produces such effects as these, there is very little imparted to us of the immeasurable fulness of Christ. By neglecting of the distinction there is between conscious fellowship with God and the conveyance of his favour to the christian, by which he is kept as a priest in the house of his Father, presenting of his daily and hourly services to him upon the common family altar, much confusion exists, and the weak christian is greatly perplexed while he is doing of the will of God. It is very pleasant and truly desirable to taste the liberty connected with our union to the Lord Jesus; but that is imparted in a sovereign manner to the heirs of grace in the degree of it for their good and his glory. And when we are not saved from the perplexity and confusion of our minds in the path of duty, we are preserved in the fear of God, and he disposes us to regard his honour as the end of our existence.
To act in character is becoming of every saint; therefore vanity and levity are abandoned by him. Reverence for the character of God, delight in the way of righteousness, abhorrence of sin, and love for purity, are prominent features of true religion. Repentance for sin is not a thing attended to to-day, and then resigned for ever. No! the clearer our views of the work of redemption are, the deeper will be our abhorrence of these crimes, which occasioned the holy Redeemer so much sorrow, and were the procuring cause of his death. True concern for the honour of God as a legislator, appears in a penitential confession of sin to him. It is not an ostentatious pretension to humility to acknowledge that we are smitten at heart with grief, because of the offences which we have committed against God. The grace displayed through the work of the cross will ever melt the hardest heart, and cause it to feel compunction for sin by which the law of God is violated. He who confesses sin sincerely, and through the Spirit, and by faith takes up his discharge from condemnation in the sacrifice of Christ, practically establishes the authority of the law, and he confesses the rectitude of the divine government. Vol. VII.—No. 82. 2 N
There is much more in the spiritual acts performed by a believer than is usually thought of. Because the works which he does are no part of his justification before God, many people ignorantly conclude that they are of no consequence in his sight. Godly sorrow for sin we are told, " worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of." The authority of God is revered in every walk of life; whether the sun of prosperity shines, or the clouds of adversity envelope the believer, he is still an admirer of the divine conduct. He obtains repeated proofs of the love of God, and he entreats heavenly wisdom for direction that he may escape every evil way. He has given his person and all he is and has to God, and the surrender that he has made is approved iu heaven.
The relation existing between the Creator and the creature, necessarily leads to conclude, that the latter must ever remain dependent upon the bounty of the former, and a spiritual union between Jehovah in Christ and his seed, never elevates the heirs of life above a state of entire recumbency upon his mercy. It is unreasonable to suppose that any man can do any thing without divine aid. The humanity of our adorable Lord will never possess a native and inherent independency, although it is raised into union with his divine person, so that it will never be subject to change. If in this display of divine wisdom, and exertion of divine power in the union of the human nature of Christ to his divine person, none of the divine properties are communicated to it, but it is still a creature, although the most exalted of all his creatures, yet upheld by his divine nature in existence. We cannot admit that any of the feeble saints are independent, or, that they can exist happily, but as they are upheld by divine power as joint heirs with Jesus Christ. The dependent state of the saints is not degrading to them. The provision that God has made for his children in the covenant of grace has anticipated their poverty and wretchedness. The wretched case of the prodigal son, when he .came to his right mind, was not any worse for his knowledge of it; but the thought of his father's house, and the bread which there was to spare in it, disposed him to return to it in that way which was honourable to his father, and exactly in agreement with the degraded condition in which he was found; so the keen sense of want that is felt by the returning sinner, does not make his case more desperate, but he is thereby prepared to receive what God has spiritually provided for his necessitous children. The riches of grace are expressly for the use of the saints, nor can they ever be exhausted. A dependent state, and immense riches are connected, for God has so ordained, that those who cannot confide in themselves, should in Christ his Sou have all spiritual good richly conferred upon them.
To mind the things of the Spirit, is the interest and the happiness of the people of God. "To be spiritually minded is life and peace.'' There is no employment that is so truly dignified, as that in which the christian is engaged. Senators may think that the station which they fill is truly honourable, and so it is, but the services which they perform, cannot secure to them the approbation of their Sovereign, or the commendation of their country. After a life of toil and fatigue, they frequently retire from public business, wounded beyond description by those whom they have aimed honourably to serve. But the service of God has the greatest honour connected with it in this world; and when the days of a christian's sojourning in this vale of tears shall terminate, his Father will receive him to the mansion prepared for him in the kingdom of heaven. The disposition of mind with which the believer serves God is spiritual. However excellent morality is amongst men, where there is nothing else, it never can raise us to commune with God, according to the evangelical dispensation; nay, the principle out of which perfect morality, in a state of innoeence arose, could not qualify our upright father Adam to have fellowship with God in the person of the great Redeemer. Permanent friendship and genuine fellowship between two parties, ever involves a unity of design and sameness of disposition; and as we now have intercourse with God through a Mediator, it necessarily follows, that the saint is made like to Christ in the temper of his mind. The grace displayed by God in the spiritual formation of the mind to bare his image is wonderful. A creature so full of enmity as man is against God, to be effectually vanquished by him, and to be saved from sinning against him, so as to love him whom he before hated is marvellous. There is not any thing else in existence which can dethrone iniquity and save the sinner, but the love of God as it is revealed by the Holy Ghost through the blood of the cross. The conquest which is made is wonderful, and the temper of mind which is conveyed to the sinner is beyond all price. To be privileged to call God Father, and to be encouraged to do so by his word and Spirit, is the greatest favour that can be received by any one under the canopy of the skies; but every saint has the honour thus to be discriminated by his adopting Father.
The love of God in Christ Jesus, is that which kindles and keeps alive the affection of his children. He who possesses a good degree of spiritual mindedness, will discover much attachment to God and the church. Indeed, without it, how can we walk honourably through this world; for whatever may be done when the heart is not engaged in it, it will soon cease; and when God requires the performance of spiritual things, the empty professor will suddenly disappear. To ask God to bestow the blessings of the eternal covenant, when there is no love for them, is hypocritical and wicked. When, therefore, we entreat God to bestow upon us the good that he has promised to communicate, we have some knowledge of the worth of the thing which we seek, and we esteem it highly. If we ask of God the favour to satisfy us that our names are written in the Lamb's book of life, it is because we have some knowledge of the importance of its being there recorded, and an affectionate desire that we may inherit all things which are connected with being inscribed by the finger of God in that holy book. To know this is a powerful stimulus to action, yea, it is as beneficial in an evangelical sense, as the inspiration of the air is to animal life.
Humility, as a grace of the Spirit, is opposed to the native pride of the human heart, and the development of it, is a pleasing feature of the christian character. The christian is not arrogant, nor vain, insolent, or overbearing in his manner, nor temper, but in his life he is submissive to the will of God, and kind to his fellow men. Purity of life is the every day dress of the good man. He never walks abroad, and leaves this garment at home; for he is not conscious what event may transpire while he is abroad, and he is therefore clothed with it as a garment. Reverence and humility before God, are so blended together, that where one dwells, the other lives. To adore God, and to lay at his footstool submissive to his will, may take place at the same moment of time. The glory of the character and grace of God fill the soul with the deepest humility, and raises it to the most exalted and reverend awe of his name. Truth in all its parts is so blended together, that like the colours of the rainbow, we cannot say where one of them terminates, and where the other begins. The truly humble believer, as he walks through the streets of life, evades numerous difficulties, that his brother, who is less so than he, is daily exposed to. Tranquillity and contentment are present in that bosom, where humility resides. It has been said, that true religion thrives best in a humble mind, and there is no doubt but the lowly mind is favoured with much of the presence of God.
The principles upon which the christian character is formed, throws around the man of God a defence from danger, and raises in his bosom an elevated tone of spiritual feeling. All the graces of the Spirit, which are comprehensively seated in the principle of life imparted, are used in agreement with the will of God. They are an assemblage of excellencies in whomsoever they are found; and the delineation of them is a mark of the special favour of heaven, conferred upon the unworthy. Ye highly favoured sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty, remember your holy calling, consider your ultimate destination, look to God for grace, to preserve you from discovering your natural deformity, and aim to keep your garments always white, so that you may be known amongst men to be the people redeemed to God by Jesus Christ.
(For the Spiritual Magazine.J
To the Widow of P. Melvill, Esq. late Governor of Pendennis
Dr. Hawker ventures in this day, unnoticed, and uninvited, to mingle his tears with dear Mrs. Melvill, and her weeping little ones around; and to say, may that gracious Holy One, who hath