« AnteriorContinuar »
Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth... John xvii. 17.
Thus prayed our great High Priest on earth. What he asked in his humiliation, is founded upon the word and will of his Father; and he hath power to effect in his exaltation. Hence we have the fullest assurance of the perfect sanctification of all his members. Hence the desires and breathings of souls after holiness are encouraged; and the prayers of the faithful gather the strongest confidence of success.
While our beloved expresses his affectionate concern for his people's salvation, we see an equal regard for the honor and glory of his Father's word. Love for holiness, and love of the truth are inseparable. As the gospel prevails in the heart, holiness is increased. It is first life, then liveliness in the soul: it is the ministration of the Spirit in the sanctification of the spirit. Whatever working we find of the Spirit in the heart, it is by the word of truth. The life of believers is from Christ, who is the Truth; therefore increasing light, refreshing comforts, stronger affections shall abound, and all by that same law of grace and truth, whereby the soul was at first converted to the faith of Jesus. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes."....Psalm xix. 7, 8.
There is a peculiar glory in the order of salvation, "God hath chosen us from the beginning (before the foundation of the world) to salvation." But how is this made manifest? only "through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth."....2 Thess. ii. 13. Thus faith and holiness flow from electing love. So every word of God's truth is prized; and the fulfilment of every promise is expected. We love the truth, because it discovers God's most ancient love to us in Christ: it reveals Christ's righteousness to us for our justification; revives our hearts with the knowledge of pardon by his blood, and the certainty of full sanctification and perfect glory through his intercession. So Jesus prayed....so we believe....so poor sinners are saved. Saved, unspeakable mercy! saved from the power of sin and the prevalence of pride. Happy the heart where the love of holiness prevails agreeable to the word of truth. Dreadful delusion! when the truth is held in unrighteousness; or zeal for holiness is contended for, while the truths of electing love, Christ's righteousness, his members' certain salvation are opposed and denied. Glory to the Father for his everlasting love. Glory to Jesus for his justifying righteousness and atoning blood. Glory to the Spirit; for his sanctifying influences will ever be ascribed to them by truly sanctified hearts. "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."....Matt. xix. 6.
Vol. I. E
Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hatk, he cannot be my disciple....Luke xiv. 33.
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again," saith Christ....John iii. 7. The blessed effects of this spiritual birth will be evident in the life. Earthly objects will be forsaken: heavenly ones prized. Jesus will be chosen as our bejoved master and only hope. He being esteemed our treasure, our hearts will be with him, our affections towards him; and it will be our cbiefest delight to hear his voice, and to follow him in the regeneration. Coming to Christ, is turning our backs upon the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." By the faith of Jesus we renounce and forsake all these things as our curse and shame. The clearer views we have of Christ's glory, and the stronger our faith is in him, so much the more we become dead to all things beside him. Thus it is manifest who are the disciples of Jesus. Their master so teacheth them. We have need to pray daily, Sun of righteousness, shine brighter on our minds! Lord, increase our faith! For the flesh, with its affections and lusts, still abide with us; and as the life of Jesus increaseth through faith in the heart, so shall we more and more groan under whatever is contrary thereto. The victory is obtained only through faith. In its nature very simple, but in its fruits and effects most comprehensive. For hereby we enjoy more happiness and comfort in Christ, than all that this present world can give us. Ye sons of earth, ye disdain us; we pity you. As ye are How, so once were we. We enjoyed your carnal gratifications, and feasted on your vain delights too, too long. We confess it, and grieve for it. Now we have found Jesus. We have another and a better life. In divine pleasures, spiritual joys from Christ, and sweet communion with him, we anticipate future glory. We enjoy a heaven of comfort in a world of sorrow. Therefore, in forsaking all, we gain all. In following Jesus, though painful and grievous to the fieBh, yet it is consolation and joy to the life of our souls.
Experience will ever prove, that he who walks most by faith, will be the most comfortable disciple. He who lives nearest Christ in faith, will follow him closest in love; and consequently keep at the greatest distance from the world's vain pleasures, and the carnal delights of the flesh. "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall hve."....Rom. viii. 13.
Mittaken souis that dr.eam of heav'n, Faith must obey their Father's will,
And make their empty boast As well us trust his graces
Of inward joys and sins forgiv'rt A pard'ning God is jealous still
While they are slaves of lust! Far his own holiness.
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time....I Tim. ii. 6.
The Gospel is quite sufficient to answer every objection, and to silence every cavil against salvation by Christ. This sacred oracle *e are to consult day after day. Do we ask, Why are any sinners saved? It assures us God hath loved them; this is the cause. If we enquire how God doth save them? It tells us, It is in a way of strict justice, consistent with the honor of God's law, the perfection of his righteousness, holiness, and truth. Therefore redemption is, by stipulated price, the blood of the covenant, the precious blood of Christ as a Lamb without spot. Do we seek to know who are the redeemed of the Lord? Jesus assures us "he gave his life a ransom for many."....Matt. xx. 28....even for All whom the Father hath given him*
The word of God mentions no one in particular; but sets forth salvation in general and extensive terms....it is exactly suited to the inost VHe and accursed state of sinners....it is perfectly sufficient to relieve the mind, encourage hope, forbid despair, under a sense of the most complicated sins and accumulated guilt of lost, wretched, and undone souls; for the ransom of Jesus is sufficient, is all-sufficient. The price he paid for our redemption is fully equivalent to satisfy for all our transgressions, and to answer every demand of law and justice. To this very end Christ gave himself. So is he testified of in the gospel of grace. This essential and important enquiry, Have I redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of my sins? is also explicitly answeredf....or "he that believeth, shall be saved"...." he is justified from all things." Thus the Holy Ghost testifies in the word. Where this is received and believed in the heart) the same Spirit also bears witness to it with our spirits. And the faith of God's elect is evidenced, by bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit.
There is a time, a due time, when Christ shall be thus testified of to the souls of all God's chosen. The ransom-price being paid, he will set the captives free, and "say to the prisoners, go forth; to them that are ih darkness, shew yourselves. They shall feed in the .ways (of light and truth); and their pastures shall be in all high places (.even the mountains of consolation and the hills of joy). They shall not hunger nor thirst (after any other hope but Jesus): neither shall the heat, nor the sun smite them; (trials and afflictions ■ball profit them); he that hath mercy upon them shall lead them: (they shall not be left-to walk in their own crooked ways): but by the springs of water (of refreshment and holiness) shall he guide them."....Isa. xlk. 9, 10.
And Jesus said unto them, when ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven, Kc....Luke xi. 2.
Faith in the heart excites prayer from the lips. So the faith of God's elect manifests itself. It cometh from the Lord the Spirit. By it the soul is led to Jesus the mediator; and by him to God the Father. So each person in the Godhead is known, worshipped, and glorified by believing soul's. While we see and feel nothing of our misery and wants, no marvx.l prayer is an irksome task. From a sight of ourselves, and the knowledge of Jesus, we come to him daily with simplicity of heart, Master, teach us to pray! It is the highest honor, the sweetest privilege, the most blessed exercise of the soul to draw nigh to God. What greater on earth than to come to the throne of the King of kings? And that fear and shame may not beset and keep us back, knowing our vile nature and sinful practice, hear our Lord and Saviour's encouraging direction, " When ye pray, say, Our Father." &c.
And can it be, that I, a child of wrath by nature, a son of perdition by sin, a vassal and slave of Satan by practice, and accursed by the holy law; can it be that God will own me, hear me, and bless me as his child? Yes; grace triumphs over nature's deserts; love glories over creature's demerits. The lips of truth have said it, and who shall dare reverse it? By the sword of the Spirit slay the unbelief of thy heart. What Jesus hath taught his disciples to call God, that he is to them. As Jesus is the Saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe, so God is the Universal Parent of all; but in an especial manner, the Father of all the dear members of his beloved Son. A Father by covenant love, by election of grace.L.by precious promise....by strict justice. A Father in holiness and truth, because of the suretyship of Jesus....the righteousness of Jesus.... the atonement of Jesus....the holiness of Jesus. And the weakest, feeblest member in the faith of Christ, possesseth Jesus, with all his blessings, as man and mediator. Hence God is their Father: He loveth them with complacency and delight. The paternal affections of his heart yearn over them. Children's hearts should continually be drawn out to their Father in holy affection, fervent desires, and humble confidence, Nothing doubting, but gathering all confidence of hope, as being taught by Jesus, "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.".... Eph. iii. 12.
Lord, I address thy heav'nly throne; There shed thy choicest loves abroad,
Call me a child of thine; And make my comforts strong;
Send down the Spirit of thy Son Then shall I say, My Father, God,
To form my soal divine. With an unwav'ring tongue.
Ye have need of patience; that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise....Heb. x. 36.
Are the christian's exercises great, and his patience small? •Yet can he ever be at a loss to know by whom this grace is increased? Verily the Lord he serveth is "the God of patience."....Rom. xv. 5. Hath he need of patience? Hear the Comforter's declaration, by St. Paul: "My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory." Mind, disciple, this is covenant mercy; therefore, with every other grace it comes through a Mediator: hence it is added, "by Jesus Christ."....Phil. iv. 19. "We do the will of God when we believe on the name of his Son Jesus, and love one another.".... 1 John iii. 23. "And all the promises are in Christ Jesus, yea and amen," sure and certain to every believing soul. "By faith we have the earnest of eternal life." "Having received the first fruits, the harvest shall follow in due season." But there are many conflicts to be engaged in, a great sight of afflictions to be endured on earth, before we shall be crowned in glory; therefore, patience is necessary. Patience must have its perfect work. By faith we stand....by patience we endure. Believing, we look forward in hope; this brings patience in sufferings.
But Satan has a very poignant dart, which he dared to cast at Jesus; no marvel that he shoots it against us also...." If thou be the Son of God," why doth thy loving Father suffer such distress and affliction to fall on thee? Faith can answer, All is my Father's will: All is from his love....all shall be to his glory; and all shall be for the good and profit of my soul. I cannot doubt his love....I dare not murmur against his dispensations....I desire patience under all....I will not cast away my confidence....time is short....sufferings are but for a moment....eternity is near....afflictions are not worthy to be compared .with the glory that shall be revealed in us. "Through Jesus, we have access by faith into this grace .wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."...." We glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience."....Rom vi. 2, 3. "Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith."....Heb. x. 37, 38. Christ accomplisheth the most glorious things in us by degrees. Patience must endure 'the whole military exercise. It is as necessary as faith to the enjoyment of the promised inheritance. "Through faith and patience .we shall inherit the promises."....Heb. vi. 12.
'Tis Sod that lifts our comforts high, If smiling mercy crown our lives,
He gives, and (blessed be liis name) And we'll adore the justice too