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For pitying us when all undone,
My soul! the Almighty Father bless;
For pardon purchased, bless the Son;
The Spirit bless, for holiness:
For full salvation to the lost,
Bless Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

is the blood of Christ, by which the covenant is | habitually ascribing to Father, Son, and Holy sealed; and the lesson conveyed by these words is Ghost, equal and endless praise! this fundamental and all-important one, that to the merit and worth of Christ's sacrifice we are indebted for peace with God, and every other spiritual blessing, We are, therefore, taught to approach God only through the mediation of the Son, and to ask for mercy and grace as benefits which can be ours, only because they have been purchased for us by our surety!

But what is the petition which we have thus


that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,' Prov. iv. 18.

so many and such strong encouragements to pre-But the path of the just is as the shining light, sent to our Father in heaven? It is a petition for sanctification by the Spirit, for the sake of Christ. The God of peace. . . make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.' We are to pray that our reconciled Father would fit us for every good work; that he would accomplish this by giving us the Spirit to work in us both to will and to do; and that He would vouchsafe all for the sake of the Redeemer's merits. What a comprehensive prayer! How cheering to think that the precious benefits which it craves are attainable, when earnestly, patiently, and habitually sought after! Inspiration taught Paul to ask them for his readers: and doubtless it would not have taught him to ask them, had there been any doubt as to their bestowment! Temporal blessings are not promised unconditionally; and it is better that the applicants should not be certain of obtaining them. But fitness for every good work, and the indwelling aid of the Spirit of grace, are blessings which we may seek under the full assurance of finding them. And shall we then, by neglect of fervent believing prayer, consent to forego them? Consent to forego them! Consent, with such treasures within our reach, to remain poor, infinitely poor, in time and through eternity! What terms of severity can be strong enough to describe the folly, ingratitude, impiety, and presumption, which such fatal neglect would imply!

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.' It is not certain whether this doxology refers to 'the God of peace,' to whom the prayer is addressed, or to 'Jesus Christ,' who is the nearest antecedent. But the point is of no importance, as such an ascription is equally due to both, and to the Holy Spirit also. The blessed and glorious three are one God in covenant for our salvation; and though the offices which they execute are distinct, yet the part which each performs is so important as well to deserve our adoration. Nor can believers more worthily anticipate the holy services of heaven, than by


THE life of the just or justified is a path of light.
Before a man comes to Christ, he walks in dark-
ness, for he is ignorant alike of his own and
the Divine character; and he has no source of
comfort beyond what the present world supplies.
But when once 'God, who at the first commanded
the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined
into his heart, to give the light of the knowledge.
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,
a new and clearer course opens upon him. Hi
own character stands revealed to him in all it
sinfulness, and that of his God in all its excel
lence; Christ is seen and sought as the only
refuge; heaven is anticipated as a grand reality
confidence in God takes the place of servile dread
a relish for Divine things supplants the love
the world; the hope of a blessed immortality
overcomes the fear of death. In a word, the mat
walks in light; so that, instead of pursuing the
journey of life in utter ignorance of his state be
fore God, and in constant dread of judgment t
come, he presses onward with a clear mind ant
a tranquil heart-following a path which
lighted up by the reflected lustre of those spiri
tual realities which, though invisible to others
are taken home with intensest sympathy by hi
believing and regenerated heart.

The life of the justified is also a path of shin ing light. The knowledge and joy which fill the believer's soul, cannot but shine out from hi temper and life, so as to attract the attention his fellow-travellers. His heavenly principle cannot but shed an unearthly beauty on his wall and conversation. The light which encircles hin while he is with God on the mount, cannot bu beam from his countenance when he comes dow into the world. It is true, that worldly men di like the example that condemns them, and ar ever ready to escape from the rebuke which administers, by questioning the purity of th motives which sustain it. But when piety

ever, he does acquire, and the more fully, the longer he sits at the Saviour's feet. The dawn of spiritual discernment gradually advances into the day; and long before he passes to that world where he shall know even as also he is known,' he is favoured with an amount of acquirement, which makes him wonder at his earlier and lengthened blindness of heart.

deep-rooted, and consequently consistent, it is sure | his people. Such comprehensive knowledge, howto live down obloquy. The world reverences in its heart the holiness which it dislikes; and however much a believer may be despised or denounced for his singularity, when he first settles in a neighbourhood, the light of his example is certain eventually to secure for both himself and his principles the respect and admiration of all around him. None will in the end be so firmly trusted -none so frequently consulted-none so reverentially deferred to, as he. And when death removes him from the scene of his usefulness, the worldliest of his neighbours will be found lamenting his loss, and inwardly wishing to be as secure as he was, of entering into glory. The justified man is thus the light of the world;' and it therefore becomes him not to hide his light under a bushel,' but to let it shine before men, that they may see his good works, and glorify his Father which is in heaven.'

The main point, however, in the walk of the justified, which is set forth in the similitude of the wise king of Israel, is its progressive lustre. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.' As to justification, there is no progression; for the man who is once justified, is justified for ever; and, though he may become more and more certain of the fact of his justification, as his evidences of grace increase, he can never acquire a better, a different, or a more complete title to heaven, than he obtains the moment he believes on Christ. But with respect to sanctification or personal conformity to the moral likeness of God, growth is a prominent characteristic—even from the dawn of conversion onward to the perfect day of meetness for heaven.

The believer's knowledge, for example, is progressive. At first it is as the faint light at daybreak; disclosing spiritual objects to his view only in dim and shadowy outline. It is long before he becomes thoroughly acquainted either with the desperate wickedness of his own heart, or with the full glory of the Divine character as seen in the person and cross of Christ. It is only by degrees that he discovers the extent and spirituality of God's law; and learns, from a perception of its exceeding breadth, to look with wonder on its perfect fulfilment by Christ, and with shame on the narrowness of his own attain

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His faith, too, is progressive. From his entrance on the path of life, he firmly believes as much of the revealed will of God as he understands. But as knowledge is essential to faith, his faith cannot embrace a large circle of Divine truth, so long as his knowledge takes in only a limited one; nor can it rise to the strength of a habitual principle of action, while the objects to which it is directed comprise but a section of the field of revelation. As knowledge, however, increases, faith extends its range; having more objects to fix upon, it is oftener called into exercise; from being only an occasional, it becomes a frequent, and by and bye the habitual attitude of his mind; and thus at length he becomes strong in faith-nay, walks by faith. How often is the fact of such a progress evinced, especially at the close of life! You shall behold the believer displaying, in the prospect of dissolution, a confidence in the certainty of unseen and eternal things, as stedfast and realizing as if the veil which separates him from the invisible world had become so thin and transparent, as to enable him to penetrate to the scenes beyond. He sees Christ upon the throne ready to receive him. He beholds the spirits of departed Christian friends waiting to welcome him. He descries the angel of the Lord approaching to deliver him from the chains of sin, and the prison of the flesh. The light shines around him. Another moment! and the angel shall smite him on the side, and bid him go free.

The believer's love is equally progressive. Love, in truth, must necessarily keep pace with knowledge and faith. The more I know and believe of my own guilt and helplessness, the livelier must be my gratitude and love to him who remembered me in my low and lost estate. The more I know and believe of the glories of the unfading inheritance which is reserved in heaven, the warmer must be my affection for the benefactor who purchased it at the cost of his own most precious blood. To know God, is necessarily to love him; for God is love.' And it is therefore only in the natural order of cause and effect, that with every increase of knowledge in the understanding, there should be a corres

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ponding increase of love in the heart; even until the hour of his setting an hour of glorious beauty. love to God becomes the supreme and dominant affection, and the desire to be with Him in heaven triumphs over the interests and inclinations which bind to the earth.

Is not joy also a progressive sentiment? Sometimes, no doubt, the believer's joy is more vivacious immediately after conversion than at a later stage. As the first outbreak of morning light is peculiarly sweet to the watcher's eye, from its succeeding a season of darkness; so the joy which the sinner experiences when he first finds rest in Christ, is often characterized by a liveliness not afterwards felt. But joy may gain

Progress upon the
the Christian life.
tion, not the rule.
read the experience of the saints, when he ven-
tured to give a place among his Proverbs, or
maxims of general truth, to the beautiful and
consolatory saying, The path of the just is as
the shining light, that shineth more and more
unto the perfect day.'

whole, however, is the law of
Retrogression is the excep-
Nor did the wise king mis-

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of the Lord is risen upon thee,' Isa. lx. 1. THIS is the salutation of the prophet to the church, in the prospect of the advent of Christ, ‘the light of the world,' and 'the glory of Israel.' Nor are the terms in which it is couched, too glowing to express the great and happy change which the coming of the Saviour effected on the intellectual and moral condition of the human family.

in depth what it loses in liveliness. The deep-Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory est and strongest wave is not that which breaks in sparkling foam; and the happiness of a confirmed believer may be all the deeper and purer, that it does not flow over in glittering and transient effervescence. Let the young convert's joy in believing' be what it may-is it once to be compared with the calm and steadfast assurance of him whose interest in Christ is certified by the mature fruits of the Spirit? What can the inexperienced Christian know of the rejoicing' which Reflect, for instance, on the light which Christ flows from the testimony of a good conscience? shed on the character and government of God! or of the delight which results from conscious The world had long lost all just conceptions of and growing likeness to Christ? or of the joy- the Divine nature and attributes. While the 'joy in the Holy Ghost'-which arises from a mass of mankind had 'changed the glory of the persuasion of the indwelling of the Spirit of God? incorruptible God into an image made like to Such exquisite joys as these are reserved for an corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed advanced stage of sanctification; and are, there-beasts, and creeping things; even the enlightened fore, decisive of the progressive sweetness of the few had no higher idea of Him than a material believer's joy.

Equally progressive is the Christian's path in humility, in hope, in tenderness of conscience; in short, in all the separate rays which, by their combined and blended loveliness, form his shining light. His progress, indeed, is not always invariable or uninterrupted. He is not exempt from periods of stationariness, and even of declension. Faith sometimes wavers; love sometimes waxes cold; hope sometimes becomes obscured; and joy, in particular, being dependent more than any other grace on constitutional temperament, is liable to frequent ebbs and flows. His path lies sometimes high up on the mount, and some times low down in the valley. And, as there are Christians, on the one hand, whose joy is lively at the outset of their course, and comparatively languid during their remaining journey; so there are also Christians, on the other hand, whose path resembles that of the sun in a cloudy day, which, after struggling in vain at morning and at noon to pierce the murky sky, suddenly breaks forth with cheering radiance at eventide, to make

Being confined to some local temple, or a pure abstraction without the power or the will to attend to earthly concerns. What a new and benignant light, then, must Christ have thrown into men's minds, when he revealed the sublime doctrine, that God is a Spirit pervading all space with his presence-that he is continually in active communication with every part of creation—and that, so far from being regardless of this world and its inhabitants, he exercises a providence which extends as well to the humble lily and the tiny insect as to the starry sphere and the heavenly seraph! Yet this was but the rudiments of what Christ taught respecting Deity. He showed men the care and condescension of God in providence, only as a prelude to the display of his mercy in redemption; he pointed to the works of his bountiful hand, only that he might encourage them to trust in the love of his paternal heart He drew aside the vail of the unseen world, and exhibited the Father of mercies thinking of the well-being of his children-planning a scheme to deliver them from their sin and

misery-surrendering his only begotten Son to humiliation and death as a satisfaction for their sins-and setting in order a series of dispensations for the purpose of recalling them to happiness. And what the Saviour thus revealed in his gospel he manifested still more affectingly in his person and beneficent acts. Christ was himself the image and reflection of the Divine nature, softened, subdued, and contracted, to meet the conception and sympathies of men.


Or, reflect on the light which Christ shed on the condition and destiny of man! A world which knew not God could know little either of the way of acceptance with him, or of the future destiny of his rational creatures. If a sense of sin was awakened, it could only fill the soul with terror; if the idea of a future life arose, it could only serve to throw a black shadow over present enjoyment. But, in truth, men had ceased to listen to conscience, or to anticipate retribution. The wisest shrunk from contemplating their moral relation to their Maker; and as for an after life, they deemed it merely a theme for scholastic speculation, or poetic invention. 'Heathen philosophy halted at the grave; and even ancient lation, though it accompanied its disciples a little beyond, and told them of Sheol and of Hades, deserted them in the middle of their darksome journey.' But where former wisdom had only made darkness visible, Christ shed full and resplendent light. He explained how man may be reconciled to his Maker; and rolled away the stone from the sepulchre of human hope. He empowered faith to look upward to a God reconciled to all who believe in his Son; and encouraged hope to look onward beyond the valley of death to a region of perfect and unending blessedness. Appearing as the Saviour from sin and the conqueror of death, and endowed with power to give eternal life to as many as received him, he assured his followers of forgiveness, adoption, and holiness here, and of public acquittal and everlasting glory hereafter. How truly was such a Redeemer the light of the world! How befittingly might the church in the prospect of his advent, be exhorted to 'arise and shine' in the light of her Lord!

the missionary standard is planted on a heathen shore-as oft as the kingdom of heaven makes an advance in the earth, the apostrophe may be re-echoed, ‘Arise, shine!' for in every such instance Christ, the only light, has arisen upon benighted souls! Nor are the words less applicable to individual Christians, than to communities. What scatters the darkness of the sinner's heart, when he first receives with joy the gospel-message, but the coming of Christ to him? What recalls the backslider from his worldliness, but a fresh view of Christ? What sheds sensible comfort into the soul of him who has experienced a season of spiritual despondency, but a returning perception of the glory of Christ? Whatever be the season of the believer's spiritual prosperity and joy-whether it be amid sorrows which he is enabled patiently and thankfully to endure; or at death, when his hope of glory is unwavering; or at his admission to heaven, when his joy shall be full-the single and sole strength of his happiness is Christ: nor can he be addressed, in each of these instances in more appropriate terms than these, 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee!'

O let me make sure that this day-spring from on high has risen on my heart! It is not enough to have an intellectual apprehension of what Christ is, and has taught. Even the eye of a corpse is capable, so long as its transparency continues, of receiving on the retina the picture of external objects; and so the understanding may take in the whole circle of Christian doctrine, while the soul remains in spiritual death! Nothing short of a believing view of Christ as a Saviour, can turn the darkness of nature into the light of peace, and joy, and hope. But O this can! A believing view of Christ is a view of God reconciled-of sin forgiven-of acceptance secured— of heaven purchased: and how can the soul that is refreshed with sights like these, continue to wear its prison-garments, or to work in chains! No abiding light, or comfort, or purity, can dwell in the heart till Christ has entered it: but when once He becomes the object of its habitual contemplation and love, perpetual sunshine may settle on it! In a picture of Christ in the But Christ is still the light of the church midst of his disciples, by one of the ancient masand of the world, as truly as when the people ters, the artist has worked out the happy idea of that sat in darkness saw a great light:' and the making Christ the central object from which the prophet's salutation may still be addressed to the light streams upon the other figures-so that the Christian community, and to the world at large, group of disciples are in light, only in the degree whenever the former receives an enhancement of in which they are near to him, or turned towards spirituality, or the latter is turned from the pur- him: all that is turned away from Him is in deep suit of lying vanities to the service of God. As shadow. This is a pictorial illustration of the oft as a revival occurs in the church-as oft as relation in which Christ stands to his people in al.

ages. It is only in the measure in which they look on Him, and to Him, that their peace, and joy, and holiness abound. Their light, their only light, is light in the Lord!


mighty and ever-present God-the disinterested love of a Saviour who once died for us, and ever lives to plead for and sympathize with us-the present and omnipotent help of the Holy Spirit of grace a hell of unutterable woe prepared for the impenitent - a heaven of unending blessedness secured to the faithful-what truths are momentous, if these are not? what discoveries are

Who are kept by the power of God through faith fitted to stir the soul through all its depths, and

unto salvation,' 1 Pet. i. 5.

SUPERNATURAL aid is not more necessary to enable the sinner to make good his entrance on the path of life, than to preserve him from deviating from it afterwards. Accordingly the believer has the promise of the Spirit to abide with him for ever; and he is encouraged from first to last to rely on divine strength as his sufficiency. In keeping us, however, the Holy Spirit does not supersede the exercise of our own rational powers, or influence these by direct and immediate suggestion. He employs gospel-truths as the means of moving and actuating us. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them to our souls. And, in order to render the motives of the gospel influential and operative, he works faith in in us-faith being the instrument by which, according to the constitution of our nature, truth is borne home to the mind, and turned into a principle of action. The Spirit thus preserves us in the path of holy obedience by enabling us to exercise faith in the truth as it is in Jesus; or, in other words, we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.'

The efficacy of faith as an instrument of sanctification, depends not so much upon the mental act itself, as upon its object. Faith moves the will and affections, only when its object is of a nature to actuate them. The belief of a piece of intelligence which possesses no native interest or importance, cannot excite any emotion, or touch any spring of action. But if the intelligence be of vital interest or felt importance, it is sure, according to the law of our nature, to awaken, the moment it is believed, sentiments answerable to its own character-to gladden us, if it be joyful tidings—to alarm us, if it be of frightful import-to kindle gratitude and love, if it speak of disinterested kindness. It is on this principle, that faith in the gospel is necessarily an effective engine of sanctification; for it brings truths to bear upon us which are of a heartmelting and sin-subduing character-truths which possess in their own nature a vast importance, an overwhelming interest; a prodigious moral influence. The paternal care of an Al

to stimulate to a holy course of life, if these are not? These things may be intellectually apprehended without exciting a deeper feeling than admiration; but to realize them as undoubted facts, and yet not to be solemnized and sanctified by them, may be pronounced impossible. Can love to God fail to spring up in the bosom of him who is firmly persuaded of the divine love to his soul? Can sin fail to be hated and shunned by him who is habitually favoured with a believing view of Jesus dying for his sins on the cross? How should the lies of Satan find credence with the man who believes the truth as it is in Jesus? How should the baits and allurements of a wicked world prevail over the heart that is habitually gladdened with the smile of a reconciled God, and the hope of an unfading heaven? Temptation ceases to be tempting to the man of faith. He lives in communion with a world of purity. He breathes a different moral atmosphere from other men. He dwells apart on the holy and radiant summit of the mount of God, beyond the reach and influence of those motives and objects which chain down his fellows to the dust of the earth. Like Elisha's servant when endowed with powers of supernatural vision, he sees the mountains around him covered with horses and chariots of fire - he sees God's power, and Christ's love, arrayed on the side of his salvation: and how should he refuse to throw himself afresh into the battle of the Lord? Let his faith flag or fail, and Satan may gain the advantage over him; the unseen world being withdrawn from his view, this world of sense and sin may resume the occupancy of his affections. But so long as faith keeps God, and Christ, and heaven, within the circle of things by which he perceives himself to be surrounded, his triumph over the devil. the world, and flesh, is certain! All things are possible to him that believeth.'

Why is it, O self-righteous man! that with all thy laborious efforts to attain such a measure of moral excellence as will secure the divine favour, thou art ever falling short of thy hopes, and never able to acquire that confidence in God's love, and that delight in his law, which thou professest to

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