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.To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied...Jude, ver. 1,2.
One frequently meets with poor trembling souls, just enlightened by the Spirit to see their misery, feel their wretchedness as sinners, and who flee to Christ for hope; yet their poor hearts are greatly .distressed with fear, lest they should not be sanctified, but perish in their sins, and so never obtain the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. But that is impossible. They do not at present see the glorious order of the covenant; nor consider the certain security of all who are effectually called by the word and Spirit to the knowledge of Christ. For this is a consequence of their being sanctified, separated or set apart by God the Father, as the objects of his everlasting love. As God loves them as his jewels, he is careful to preserve them. He well knew and clearly foresaw the miserable effects sin would bring on them, therefore he chose them in Christ Jesus. He committed them into his hands. They are preserved safe and secure; not from falling into sin; for they are in themselves sinners; by nature "children of wrath even as others." And to their after shame and sorrow, many of them run dreadful lengths in sin before their conversion. Some like Saul, are mad against Jesus, the way of salvation by him, and holiness by his Spirit. But still, as with the people of old, God bears with their manners. The long-suffering of the Lord is their salvation. He is not willing that any one of them should perish. All of them are called to repentance; and to know the preciousness of Jesus, in whom they are preserved.
Disciple of Jesus, canst thou not look back on thy past life, and see thy many, many narrow escapes from death? How many dangers hast thou been delivered from; yea, when only one hair's breadth seemed between thee and eternity! O, hadst thou died in thy unregenerate state of sin and unbelief, how couldst thou have escaped the damnation of hell! But impossible this. Thou wast preserved in Christ Jesus, therefore every snare of death has been broken. Thou wast immortal till the Spirit called thee. Think of this and be humbled. Reflect on the love of thy God; rejoice, and give him all the glory. Thou hast not only been preserved from death and hell, but art called to life and salvation by Jesus. His life is thy righteousness, his blood is thy redemption, his intercession thy salvation. And what awaits thee now? Mercy from God the Father, peace in Christ Jesus, love from the blessed Spirit. Such, such is the happy portion of all the called. May this be multiplied more and more upon thee day by day! Such is the doctrine, such the prayer of Jude, the servant of Jesus, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of truth. "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."....John xvi. 24.
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Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom....Luke xii. 32.
Whejj poor sinners are converted to Jesus, they become little in their own eyes, and they see but few comparatively who follow the Lamb. Their former friends turn their enemies. Their former hopes are cut off. They know their own strength to be perfect weakness; and they feel the burden of a body of sin and death. Hence their poor hearts are often exercised with anxious cares and distressing fears. Their Saviour knows this; therefore he speaks to them in love, forbids their fears, and administers the most reviving draught of consolation.
Ye children, consider your dignity as adopted sons of God. Call to mind your honorable state, heirs of a kingdom, heirs of God the King of kings, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ your elder brother. Though at present ye are in a state of exile. The world knows you not. Your kindred after the flesh despise you. Carnal professors revile and persecute you. Satan is enraged to tempt and accuse you. Yea, and your worst foes are most nearly allied to you; the flesh, with its corruptions and lusts, sin and unbelief. Yet, saith the head, in glory, to his conflicting members on earth, "Fear not." Why? what consideration can dispel the anxious fears, and alleviate the distressing doubts of drooping disciples? Verily the goodpleasure of their Father: the eternal purposes of his grace: the immutable designs of his love. A kingdom is prepared for you. Earth, with all its power: sin, with all its malignity: hell, with all its rage and malice, shall never deprive you of your Father's patrimony. O disciple! how does this heighten the mercy and secure the inheritance? It is a Free Gift, by Jesus Christ. Poor soul, thou art fearing about thy interest in and title to the kingdom 6f glory. Verily, thou canst find nothing in thyself, to give thee a right thereto. But thy Saviour plainly assures thee, it is of "thy Father's good pleasure." What power can avert that? Hast thou an heart'to seek the kingdom? Dost thou believe in, and follow the Lamb? Dost thou see somewhat in Jesus, which attracts thy affections? Is the desire of thy soul after him, and to the remembrance of his name? Then hath the glory of the kingdom, by the Spirit, shined upon thine heart. No marvel sin is thy grief and burden, while Jesus is the delight and hope of thy soul. May it suffice to quiet and still thy mind, that the Father's gift is sure. And so is the way also; it is by Jesus. And "through much tribulation thou (and all the heirs) must enter into the kingdom."....Acts xiv. 22.
One of thy little flock, my Lord, Ah! Saviour, speak away these fears,
I'm call'd to follow thee: From my poor doubting breast:
But fears prevail and say that I, Assure me, 'tis thy Father'* will,
Shall ne'er thy kingdom see. That I in thee am blest. M.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from theioomb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth....Psalm ex. 3.
Whin sovereign grace reacheth the heart, it casts out that »on of the bond-woman, natural free-will. This had long usurped the throne, and subjected the poor sinner to nothing but pride and evil. Yet all the while the sinner vainly boasted of his liberty; though he was a servile slave to the worst of drudgery. Free indeed to do evil; but to do good without power. Such is the natural will of every sinner, that it is as averse to turn to Jesus as the will of the devil is. But because of the free-will offering of Jesus his members are made willing, by the Spirit, to come to him as their only hope. To Him they bring free-will offerings, with holy worship. Thus Jehovah the Father speaks to the Son of his love, and gives a glorious display of the effects of everlasting election and covenant love, under the energy of the divine Spirit. See, believer, behold and adore the equal love of the glorious trinity. Is thy Will towards Jesus? is the language of thy heart none but Jesus, all other saviours I disclaim? Verily, where this Will is given by the Spirit in a day of power, the affections are attracted to Jesus in the beauties of holiness. Dost thou not choose the sceptre of his love to rule oyer thee as well as the atonement of his blood to obtain thy pardon? These are inseparable. Let no soul deceive himself. Every believer is washed in the blood of Jesus, and made a priest unto God. As the high-priest under the law "put on the breast-plate of judgment; the urim and thummim," Exod. xxviii. SO, so every anointed one is endued with Light and Perfection.... The light of the knowledge of Jesus, and the perfection of grace which dwells in him, is communicated to his members. Hence in the exercise of faith, their souls obey willingly, serve cheerfully, and delight in Jesus continually. This is a soul-affecting consideration: all is of grace. Conceived in the womb of the morning of eternity, and its rich profusion freely poured forth in time, like die pearly dew upon the vegetable creation, produces its verdure, refreshment, and fruits.
So, disciple, all thy mercies come from above. Freely thou hast received an understanding to know, a will to choose, and affections to cleave unto Jesus: "Render therefore unto Cxsar the things that are Cesar's." Do thou take all the shame of thy sinful, freewill and nature-state to thyself, and be humbled: "But unto God the things that are God's." By his grace " I am what I am," should be thy daily confession; and this the sweet exercise of thy grateful heart, to glory in the Lord alone, and devote thyself to his service. "Ye are not your own."....l Cor. vi. 19.
Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price....\ Cor', vi. 19,20.
O, How dear is every believer to God the Father, to Jesus the Saviour, and to the Spirit the comforter? Each divine person claims propriety in them. The Father by election: the Son by redemption: the Holy Spirit by inhabitation. How should this, O soul, call forth love, excite gratitude, inflame with affection, and quicken thee to glorify thy Lord! Consider daily, thou art not thine own, but a ransomed captive of Jesus. Reflect on the price Jesus paid for thy redemption. Thou art bought with blood:1 with blood divine: blood, spilt on the accursed tree, in direful agony and shameful death, was the price of thy purchase. So thy Saviour bought thee, at the hands of justice. He paid the utmost farthing of thy debt to law. He redeemed thee from the power ef satan; and snatched thee as a brand from the jaws of death and hell. And canst thou ever think thy redeeming Lord will leave the purchase of his blood to be the prey of the devil? After he hath bought "thee at such an inestimable price, will he not claim thee as his own, and bring thee safe to glory? O, beware of indulging unbelief! Listen not to the suggestions of satan, nor to the voice of false teachers. Fly every thought which impeaches thy Lord's love, wisdom or power. Consider, thou art thy Lord's freeman. As a chaste virgin thou art espoused to Jesus; in faith hast plighted thy troth; hast voluntarily given thyself, hand and heart, to be thy Lord's. What then is thy duty? what infinite obligations art thou under to forsake all other lovers, and to cleave to thy Lord alone, with full purpose of heart! Dost thou believe thy vile body shall shortly be sown in the silent grave? and that it shall certainly be raised a glorious body like unto thy Saviour's? How much doth it concern thee to devote that body to his service and glory on earth, which shall reign with Jesus in heaven! Is thy body the temple of the Holy Ghost? Canst thou reflect on its dignity, and debase and pollute it with filthy lusts? God forbid! Doth thy spirit enjoy sweet fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus? Doth the Spirit itself bear witness with thy spirit, that thou art a child of God? Where is thy love to the truth as it is in Jesus? Where is thy zeal for his cause and interest? Remember whose thou art. Be concerned to live up to thy privilege and dignity. Be earnest in prayer for power to obey the obligations which infinite and eternal love hath laid thee under. "Glorify thy Lord in thy body and in thy spirit which are hi*."' '•"' "•'
. .• '' . • • . s '• ij-:: i.
What shall we pay th' eternal Son, Our everlasting love is due .
And to this wretched earth came down And pity'd rebels when he' knew
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed....Rom. xiii. 11.
f .it is.an.affecting case, but a real truth, that wise virgins are apt to slumber and sleep as well as the foolish. Through the pressures t>f a body of sin and death, and the opiates of worldly ease and self-indulgence, they sometimes fall into a drowsy state, and a sleepy frame of soul. Hence, they lose their former delight in religious thrties and spiritual exercises. Their love to God and their brethren in Christ grows cold; their zeal for the glory of Jesus and his precious truths decline. The enemy takes great advantages against them, and. would triumph in their entire destruction. But that can never be, for the Lord prevents it. "He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps." Will the loving father suffer his dear children to sleep in their beds till devoured by raging flames? If we being evil, have such love for our children, how infinitely greater is the love of our heavenly Father? Therefore he alarms souls and awakens, them to duty and watchfulness.
. Thus.Raul, his faithful watchman, lifts up his voice of warning, cries the hour, and reproves disciples as acting unbecoming. It being both unreasonable and unseasonable for them who know the time of day to indulge sloth and heaviness. It is high time to awake out of sleep. Come, christian, look around thee, look up. The Saviour reigns. It is broad clay. See the sun shining. Nay it is in its meridian. And thou art just got to thy journey's end. Just in sight of thy Father's house. Thy Lord is coming to meet thee. What 1 wilt thou sleep on and take thy rest? The Spirit speaks to thee in this word, "Now is thy salvation nearer than when thou first believed." The Lord is at hand. "Let thy moderation, in care after the things of this world, be known unto all men." What art thou grasping so much of perishing things for? Thou canst not hold them long. Off hands, before death makes thee quit thy hold. Think what thou art spiritually born for, called to, and art just.going to take possession of. Verily, if thy soul is broad awake, thou seest things-as they really are. Time, with all its toys and pleasures, how short! Eteknity, with all its rich glories and inestimable blessings, how long! Jesus, with all his endearing amiableness, in his adorable person, precious offices, blessed promises, and glorious work and finished salvation for thee, as the best object of all thy hope, love, peace, and joy. For shame, sleep not when the delightful presence and heavenly fellowship of such a friend may be enjoyed. If thou hast lost the sense of this by sleep, O resolve with the church, "I will give no sleep to mine eyes, until I find the Lord."....Psalm cxxxii. 4, 5. . - • ... .....