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J will go in the strength of the Lord God: I tvillmake mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only....Psalm, . lxxi. 16.
Wise travellers provide things needful for their journey, and %Uard against such as lie in wait, by the way, to rob them. Our gracious God calls not his dear children to forsake their native comu try, to travel to the heavenly city, without furnishing them with a rich supply of all things necessary for their comfort, and also strength to protect them from the power of every enemy. No soldier of his goeth a warfare at his own charge; Christ being both their righteousness and strength, they can want nothing; neither riches nor power. Hence, they go on from day to day, glorying in him, as their richest treasure, and trusting in him as their almighty strength; and this is their constant song in the house of their pilgrimage, and all through their journey: "Surely, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength,"....Isa. xlv. 24. Jesu's righteousness inspires the soul with boldness before God. Jesu's strength obtains victory over every enemy. This is the triumph of faith. So believers walk safely and comfortably. Children of grace are not called to be idle speculatists in doctrines, but to a life of activity....to holy walking with Jesus ....constant hearing of his love....cheerful obedience to his will....diligent search of the scriptures..-stedfast resistance of Satan....striving daily against sin....and praying always with all prayer and supplication. Well may one ask, "But who is sufficient for these things?" From natural power and inherent strength, we must all sit down in despair; But faith leads from self to Jesus. I can do all things, through Christ strengthening me; so will I go on against my enemies; thus I shall be enabled to walk in the path of every duty. But after I have done all, still my Saviour bids me confess the truth, that I am an unprofitable servant. But is not this discouraging to the soul? No; for it works not to obtain righteousness. It is already clothed with that; and, in the views of faith, rejoices in it; abjures all other, and will make mention of Jesu's righteousness, and his Only, for acceptance •with God, perfect justification before him, from every condemnation of the law, and accusation of Satan. True, doubtful fears may arise; distressing thoughts deject; but happy is our conduct, joyful shall be our experience, while the righteousness of Christ is beheld by faith, as our only hope, our only joy, our only crown of rejoicing. For we are made the righteousness of God In Christ....2 Cor. v. 21.
While in thy righteousness I trust, My grace and safety lie in this.
Which only makes a sinner just; My Creditor my surety is,
This truth of faith, Lord, make me The judgment-day I dread the le»»;
prove, [love. My Judge ii made my righteousness.
That faith thou giv'st, which works by
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, '. but. my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall
the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, who
hath mercy on thee....Isa. Itv. 10.
The absolute promises of our gracious Lord, are the foundation of faith, the encouragement of hope, the excitement of love, the source of comfort, and the spring of true holiness. Why then are not the children of faith always joyful in hope, ever comfortable in love, and constantly happy in the way of holiness? Truly, because an enemy hath sown the tares of unbelief in our nature. This evil root of bitr terness continually springs up, and troubles us. It bears the most base, dishonorable fruits, respecting our God; and is most hurtful and poisonous to our souls. Little reason have we to dung and water, so as to strengthen this degenerate plant, with the corrupt notion of those who deny God's covenant love and faithfulness, and dare teach 'That one may be a child of God to-day and a child of the Devil tomorrow....that souls redeemed by the blood of Jesus, may, after all, burn in hell.' Shocking! it is our daily duty, our greatest wisdom, ever to be on our guard against, and avoid all such doctrines. They are contrary to the precious declarations of our loving Lord; and ;tend to weaken our faith in and hope of perfect salvation by Jesus. But a false show of humility works very deceitfully upon men. Hence we are prone to look into ourselves, to find some inherent worth, some personal goodness, as the cause Why the Lord should deal thus bountifully with us.
Alas! pride is at the bottom of this. Hereby our eyes are diverted' from the alone object of faith, Jesus, and turned to self. Then, no marvel unbelief prevails, and we lose sight of God's free grace, rich love, and inestimably precious promises. Soul, know thyself. Though an object of mercy, a subject of grace, and an heir of promise, yet not one single drop of mercy, or of grace, nor one word of promise is made to thy person, but only as thou standest in, and art related to thy precious Saviour, according to covenant love. Therefore God's covenant of peace shall not, cannot fail. Sooner shall the hills and mountains be removed, yea heaven and earth shall pass away, but thy Lord's love and kindness shall never depart from thee. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Here to doubt, is to dishonor the God of truth. Here stedfastly to believe, is to glorify the God of love...."He sent redemption unto his people; he hath commanded his covenant For Ever,"....Psalm cxix. 9.
"O what a stedfast hope have I, Then why should faith or courage fail i
Built on thy faithful word! Or comforts me forsake?
Tho' all things fail beneath the sky, Let faith but look within the veil,
Thy truth stands fast, my Lord." All's safe for Jesu's sake.
Walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil....Ephes. v. 15, 16.
Light and life are communicated from Jesus to his members, not merely to fill their heads with gospel truths, as matters of speculation, or to make them fluent talkers about religion, but chiefly to affect their hearts, renew their minds, and cause them to be close, consistent Walkers with Jesus. Without this, we only seem to be religious, and deceive our hearts, while our religion is vain: for we cannot stand approved in the sight of God, before men, nor to our Own consciences. "The wise man's eyes are in his head;" he looks around him and sees the evil of sin, the vanity of this present world ....that its gay pleasures, alluring pastimes, bewitching diversions, are the gilded bait of the god of this world, whereby he ensnares unwary fools to kill their precious time, and to blind and destroy their immortal souls! The wise man looks above him....directs his eye of faith to his Saviour, as his example....to have his Spirit for his guide ....to be kept by his power....to have his steps directed by his grace, that his word may be the rule of his life, and that his walk and conversation may please his Lord, and adorn his gospel. Without this constant circumspection, we betray the greatest folly, and make sad work for future grief and repentance. Lord keep us from this!
Time is the gift of God. It is too precious a jewel to be worse than idly lavished away upon vanity. It is the wisdom of the wise to improve time to the noblest and best of purposes, in acquiring more knowledge of spiritual and eternal things. It is the foolishness of folly for God's wise virgins, at any time, so to debase themselves, as to sacrifice their precious moments upon heathenish altars, devoted to vain delights and sinful pleasures. We dare not, we cannot comply with these things, consistent with faith in Jesus, love to God, and a good conscience in the Holy Ghost.
The days are evil; iniquity abounds; the love of many waxeth cold; heresies prevail; the way of holiness is awfully neglected; but the Lord's arm is not shortened, that he cannot save: he tan keep us close to himself, in the most perilous times. Constant watchfulness, and earnest prayer, are our daily duty...." Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."....Heb. x. 24, 25.
From precious faith a precious strife Wherever faith does justify,
A precious heart, a precious life, The pardon and the purity
Blessed is the1 people thai know the joyful sound; they shall xcalk, 0 Lord, in the light of thy countenance.... Psalm Ixxxix. 15.
The psalmist alludes to the jubilee-trumpet, which was sounded throughout the land on the great day of atonement. This was an or* dinanceof the Lord....Lev. xxv. 10. It was a joyful sound of liberty? to God's people. A true type, and just emblem this, of the blowing the great trumpet, and the sound of the everlasting gospel restoring life, liberty, and salvation, to perishing captive souls. Has the gospel thus proved the power of God to the salvation of our souls? Surely then, we must esteem it, as the most joyful sound that ever saluted our ears! Joyful, that it is not clogged with any terms and conditions? Joyful, that it is not, as some call it, a milder law, proposing mercy on easier performances than the legal yoke. No; such notions are subversive of the very nature of the gospel; they only humor self-confidence, and elate the pride of sinners.
We are all naturally deceived by such human, anti-evangelical systems. Hence we grow vain in our imaginations, and our foolish hearts are darkened to the freeness and glory of the gospel. But when the Sun of Righteousness arises upon the heart, these mists of ignorance and error are scattered. Then we truly know the gos» pel to be nothing but good news, glad tidings, a joyful sound indeed: a. free declaration of what the infinitely blessed and eternally glorious Trinity have planned, and what the adorable God-man hath effected, for the salvation of the lost and guilty. It is one joyful, consistent, harmonious sound of free grace, undeserved love, and unmerited mercy; free from any jarring discords of wrath and terror; It proclaims not pardon to-day, and condemnation to-morrow to believers s now peace with God, anon war against us: now happiness" in the heaven of his love, by and by a hell of misery from his' anger■ and hatred; once justified by his grace, and after all left to perish to eternity in our sinsj God's blessed people reject such debasing notions, knowing they are contrary to the truth, and destructive of the* joy of the gospel, damp their I6ve, deaden theiri affections to a God of love, cool their zeal for his glory and service, - and stop their progress in true holiness. But by the love of the truth, they solace■ themselves with the joyful sound, are enabled to walk in the light of God's countenance, ire the comforts of his love, and in the joys of Jesu's salvation. Such are blessed now in the knowledge of God's' truth; they shall be blessed in the enjoyment of God's eternal glory.... John x. 1-8.
O blessed day! O happy honr! O Spirit-divine! thine was the pew'iy
That brought this joyfal sound, - Which gavte thehearingeari
Of pard'ning love thro' Christ's rich My heart, with love, in praises join, To heal my mortal wound, [grace, To thee, my Lord, most dear. M.
Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.... Psalm 1 x i i i. 3.
Forsake all, and possess all. Give up all, and enjoy all. This is the doctrine of Jesus, and the experience of faith. So we overcome the world, by preferring the love of Christ to every thing beside. Most blessed enthusiasm! really tasting that the Lord is gracious....truly feeling the comforts of his love....actually partaking of fellowship with Jesus....communion of the Holy Spirit....freely conversing with the Father of all consolations....O how transporting to the Spirit! jjow ravishing to the soul! With what holy indifference does the en. raptured heart look down upon the objects of sense! The gilded toys of time, that so attract the views....the glittering vanities of life, that so enslave earthly minds....the empty shadows of sense, that so bewitch the heart; yea, life itself, with all its comforts, What are all, compared to one moment's enjoyment of the loving-kindness of the Lord! In competition, as shadow to substance; in worth, as the dust of the earth to the gold of Ophir. Sense is but short-lived fancy: Faith is reality and substance; for it brings love, the kindness of love, yea, the God of loving kindness himself into the sinner's heart. This changeth a fallen son of Adam into a glorious saint in Christ; a miserable sinner into a comfortable, holy, humble praiser of our covenant Lord.
. Thus it is when the soul hath found God in Christ, who is its life, its glory, its treasure, its heaven, its all. But this knowledge con: sists, not only in ecstacy of soul and rapturous sensations, but faith is an habitual principle; love is an active grace; hope has a purifying efficacy. Not only are the lips opened in praise, the tongue loosed, to speak of the glory of Jesus, but the life, the practice, the conversation, will also be favoured with the grace of truth, as an evidence that we know his love, and have been with Jesus. So we prove that he has taught us wisdom, not to prefer heaven to earth in word only, but in conduct also. Therefore, having received all from him freely, in love and by grace, we desire to do what he has commanded; to avoid what he has forbidden. The fruits of righteousness are by him, to the glory of God the Father; therefore we pray to be filled with them. The works of the flesh, the works of darkness, we desire to mortify, and have no fellowship with, because contrary to love, and the enjoyment of it...." We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."....l John iv. 16.
Of all the joys we mortals know, Sweetaremy thoughts and soft my cares,
Jesus, thy love exceeds the rest: When the celestial flame I feel:
Love, the blest blessing here below, In all my thoughts, and all my fears, And nearest image of the blest. There's something kind and pleasing
still. Vol.. I. C