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By grace ye are saved....Eph. ii. 5.
O Thou man of God, "let not this truth forsake thee; bind it about thy neck, write it upon the table of thine heart; it shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones."....Prov. iii. 3, 8. In the faith of this, thou wilt live in love and gratitude to God, in cheerful obedience to his sovereign will, and in confident hope and earnest expectation of eternal glory. While thou wilt be daily dying to every carnal hope and legal confidence, by the atonement and righteousness of Jesus, his grace will be all thy plea, all thy hope, and all thy glorying. Hereby thou wilt be kept humble, and walk safely. That "the foot of pride prevail not against thee," is a happy part of this glorious salvation, so as to submit to receive it as entirely of grace, free favor, unconditional election, unmerited love, "according to the good pleasure of the will of God the Father."....Eph. i. 5. It is Sovereign Grace, therefore sure and saving to all the spiritual seed of Jesus. All in our nature are averse to it. Nothing in us could deserve a right to it, or procure a title in it. It is freely proclaimed to the wretched and hell-deserving, ,who have neither power nor inclination to perform any terms and conditions to obtain an interest in it. But the Lord's hand laid the foundation; his power will raise the superstructure; "He will bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings of Grace, GRACE."....Zech. iv. 7.
Salvation is by Distinguishing Grace. "One shall be taken and another left:" "One of a city and two of a family,".... Jer. iii. 14.... whomsoever the Lord is pleased to separate to himself as vessels of honor. The effects of saving grace are distinguishing; it works effectually in them that believe: "They are called with an holy calling"....possess the faith of God's elect....experience repentance to salvation. They differ from their former selves in hope and conduct, and are distinguished also from the world, "that lies in wickedness." Under its sovereign influence such a change was wrought in Paul, that he, "who persecuted Jesus and his members, preached the faith he once destroyed."....Gal. i. 23. So every subject of grace is changed in judgment and affection. He no longer thinks grace is to assist him to do something to gain acceptance with God> but he knows "God hath made us accepted in the beloved, to the praise of the glory of his grace."....Eph. i. 6. Hence his affections are placed upon the God of all grace, as his center of all happiness and source of all felicity. He delights "to run the way of God's commandments." It is his joy that Jesus flies upon the wings of the wind to his. relief. He loves to fly on the wings of faith and love to him. He daily prays "to be filled with the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."....Phil.i.11» .«.... • .' Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me, a man of . strife, and a man of contention to the zvhole earth! I i- have neither lent on usury, nor wen have lent to me on usury, yet every one of them doth curse me... Jer. x v. 10. •: It is sweet consolation to new-born souls to know the state they are come to. Verily, saith Paul, "unto mount Sion, and unto the eity of the living God, and unto the heavenly Jerusalem."....Heb. "iii. 22. Even to all the glorious privileges of Jesus' church and kingdom, of love, grace and peace. The utmost stretch of thought comes infinitely short of our highly favored state. See also the blessed company you are come to, "an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling." ver.23, 24. And hath distinguishing grace thus honored us? Shall the church our mother bring us forth? And will not the world take knowledge of us, that we have been with Jesus? That cannot be, for then we should be bastards, and not sons. For all are partakers of the worlds hatred, as soon as they appear to be the object of God's love, and live as his adopted children, by faith. What a strict harmony is there between the prophets and saints of the Old Testament, and the apostles and disciples of Jesus under the New! What strong confirmation, that both are taught by the same Spirit! In this one truth they both perfectly agree, "We are not of the world, therefore the world hateth us.".... John xv. 19. But marvel not, saith our loving Jesus, it is not you, but me they hate. I am the principal object of hatred, you only for my sake. But poor souls are ready to cry out, "Woe is me." What am I always to live thus in strife and contention? Is not my deportment and carriage towards the children of this world quiet and inoffensive? No; they will not think so, unless you do as they do, live as they live, follow their vain customs, and partake of their carnal joys. "I have neither borrowed nor lent." Verily, this plea of excuse is the cause of offence. For this they will curse us as over-righteous, precise fools. But stoop to borrow their ways, and lend yourself to their customs and practices, cast in your lot with them, and all will be Well; peace and friendship will subsist. But no; we prefer spiritual fellowship with Jesus above all: we dare not forsake him, nor incur our Father's displeasure. We know "the friendship of the world is enmity with God."....James iv. 4.
Hast thou thy Saviour's mark, my soul i My Jesus, teach me, day by day,
Such honor is thy chiefest joy [sake. O may I live and prove this truth,
In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, pro. mised before the world beg an....Tit. i. 2.
Christ's sheep are the trophies of his victory, the triumphs of his cross, and the glory of his crown. Though naturally captives and slaves to the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air; yet when rescued by sovereign grace, they hear the shepherd's voice and follow him. But at present they are prisoners of hope. The soul is imprisoned and immured in the noisome walls of the fle.jh, exposed to many taunts and jeers of the enemy, and liable to many fresh rallies and onsets from the prince of darkness. Often through their views being darkened, and from opposing lusts of the flesh they fear, and are in doubt whether they shall ever arrive at the glorious mansions of liberty and love. The more they look to and consider themselves, the more discouragements arise. But if eternal truth and almighty power, founded in everlasting, unchangeable love, can secure them and bring them to glory, they are surely safe now....they shall be eternally happy in glory.
Hath the God of truth promised eternal life before the world began? who then could this promise be made to? Verily, to no other but Jesus the surety of the everlasting covenant: the head and representative of all his chosen members. O soul, before conversion to Jesus, thou wast a dead sinner without hope. Hast thou faith in Jesus? then hast thou "the faith of God's elect, and dost acknowledge the truth, which is after godliness." Thou hast also eternal lift: in hope now; and the possession is as sure to thee, as if thou waft in actual enjoyment of it. The eternal God of truth must become a liar, if thou fail of thy hope. Was eternal life promised upon certain conditions? Jesus hath performed them all. He became surety to this very end. God the Father is perfectly satisfied, and eternally glorified with his work. God the spirit bears witness to it. Hereby hope, is established in the heart. O then take heed not to invert the order of the gospel, lest thy mind be perplexed, hope clouded, and Satan gain an advantage. Be thankful for the grace of hope; but ever glory in the God of hope. Frames and feelings often vary: they may "delude and deceive. Gifts maybe lost: graces decline. Jesus Our Hope cannot. "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Wherefore are eternal transactions revealed? but for God's glory and the confirmation of his people's faith and hope in God, and to excite love in him. Ever remember, by grace ye are saved, "according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus."....2 Tim. i. 1. . .
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.....1 John v. 1.
It is too common for many of God's dear children to perplex and distress their minds, in seeking after marks and evidences of the new-birth; while they too often expect to find them outwardly in the flesh, instead of looking inwardly to the spirit. For the satisfaction and comfort of God's children, the Holy Ghost hath laid down this inward evidence, Faith, as an incontestable mark of a new-born soul. When Peter made that glorious confession, "Thou art Christ the Son of the living God," Jesus replies, "Blessed art thou, Simon; flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven." All the powers and abilities of human nature and reason (-so far from teaching) are at enmity against this soul-saving truth. No man can teach it his brother, so as to cause his heart to receive and believe it. It is a knowledge only revealed by the Spirit; received and believed by heaven-born souls, that the man Jesus is the only Saviour....that he is the anointed of God, to the work of salvation of lost sinners. The very devils know and confess this, but without any hope of salvation hereby. But when any poor sinner is enabled to believe this in his heart, it is a blessed evidence of the love of the Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then "he hath the witness in himself, that he is born of God." He hath the mark and evidence of a child of God within him. As the gift of Jesus is the fruit of God's everlasting love, so faith in Jesus is the fruit of hi» having "died for our sins, and rose again for our justification," .ascended to the Father, and sent the Holy Ghost to testify of him. This belief, honors the God of truth: glorifies the God of grace, by •receiving the testimony he hath given of his beloved son, Jesus. It is a holy faith; it dwells in holy hearts, and produceth holy fruits. Happy the heart, that hath received this power and privilege to become a son of God. The love of the holy trinity is upon such a soul. It is his privilege, like the happy eunuch, "to go on his way rejoicing." It is his happiness ever to be, "looking unto Jesus the author and fmisher of our faith....relying on Jesus who is our righteousness, 1 Cor. i. 30....trusting in Jesus, who is our Hope, 1 Tim. i. 1.... rejoicing in Jesus, who is our Peace, Eph. ii. 14....glorying in Jesus, who is our atonement, Rom. v. 1 l....and thus looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."....Jude, verse 21.
The sov'reign will of God alone New models all the carnal mind,
Creates us heirs of grace j -• .. And forms the man afresh.
Born in the image of his Son, Our quickened souls by faith arise
A new peculiar *ace. From the long sleep of death;
The Spirit, like some heav'nly wind, On heav'nly things we fix our eyes, Blows on the sons of flesh, And praise employs our breath.
Vol. L W
Then said his miff unto him, dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die...Job ii. 9.
In seasons of distress and affliction how must it alleviate the mind, and soothe our sorrows, to have so near and dear a friend as the partner of our lives speak a good word in due season? but on the contrary, when such an one is used as an instrument, by the adversary, it heightens distress, and adds a double weight to the pressure of afflictions. Such was the case of patient Job. Flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, taunts at him for his integrity, and urges advice, which was as a dagger to his very heart. Verily, believer^ thou also art "born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards." Thou hast therefore need of faith and patience as well as Job. These thou also art a partaker of, though not to so eminent a degree. Thou also hast a peevish, fretful, repining partner for life; which will eve* be urging upon thee reproaches, and giving thee such advice, which is at the peril of thy soul to hearken to. Here is the exercise of thy graces. Be then on thy guard against this dear partner, rather near enemy, even thy carnal sinful nature, the flesh, with its affection* and lusts. Know assuredly, when it would reason with thee, it is to> beguile thee..when it demands an audience, it is to instil the venom ©f poison. Its nature is enmity; its workings rebellion; its reasonings treason against thy God. If thou give place to the flesh it will wound thy soul. If thou suffer it to gain ascendency, it will darken thy mind, and bring distress upon thy conscience. "If thou livest after the flesh thou shalt die." If therefore at any time, through the pride and perverseness of the flesh, thou art tempted to entertain hard thoughts of. thy God; to be impatient under his chastisements, and murmur against his allotments; to call in question the truths of his word, the stability of his covenant, the freeness of his promises, and the security of thy soul's salvation through the faith of Jesus; resist its suggestions in the faith of the word of grace; turn from its reasonings as from a bitter foe; and silence it with this humble, submissive language of faith; "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job's wife was mortal: so is thy flesh. His sorest afflictions were soon at an end.. The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. Lo, thus shall it be with thee. Here is our joy of faith. Our time is short. Our light afflictions are but for a moment: "they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."....2 Cor. iv. 17.
Thro' seas and storms of deep distress Dear Father, if thy lifted rod