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Who can tinder stand his errors? Cleanse thcnc me from my secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me....Psalm xix. 12, 13.
As faith gives a holy boldness at the throne of grace, so the regenerate soul is open and ingenuous in confession of sin. When •sin is dethroned in the heart, its errors are its concerns; the most secret faults bowit in humility before the Lamb. To his precious blood the believer has recourse for cleansing; he has daily need of it. He cannetunderstand all his errors. Many secret faults cleave unto liim. He is sensible that even these must be washed away, lest they defile his conscience, and spread a cloud over his mind. It is the peculiar wisdom of disciples, not only to observe the bud, blossom, and fruit of sin, but also to consider the evil root, the polluted nature from which it springs. Here is the exercise of watchfulness* This calls for their daily prayer to be kept by the power of God.
Happy souls! who, under a sense of peace through the blood of Jesus, are daily praying to be kept by the grace of the Spirit. Such truly know themselves....see their danger of falling,...will not, dare not palliate or lessen the odious nature and hateful deformity of their sin. They will not give a softer name to sin than it deserves, lest they depreciate the infinite value of that precious blood which Jesusi shed to atone its guilt. Ear will they he from flattering themselves into a deceitful notion that they are perfect, and have no sin in them. The Spirit of truth delivers them from such errors....he teacheth them as poor sinners to look to the Saviour, and to beseech him to keep back the headstrong passions, the unruly lusts, and evil concupiscences which dwell in their sinful natures. Alas! the most exalted saint, the most established believer, if left to himself, how soon might the blackest crimes, the most presumptuous sins, get the dominion over him? David had woful experience of this for a season. He prays from a heartfelt sense of past misery, and the dread of future danger. And he found the blessing of that covenantpromise: O believer, may it be the exercise of thy faith daily to live upon it, daily to plead it before thy Saviour! "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace." ....Rom. vi. 14. Why shall not sin lord it over the conscience of a, believer? Truly, because the grace of Jesua reigns for him, and within him. For he saith, "I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from ME."....Jer. xxxii. 40..
O who can ever find - Warn me of ev'ry sin,
The errors Of his ways > Forgive my secret faults.
Yet with a bold presumptuous mind And cleanse this guilty soul of mine, •
I would not dare transgress. Whose crimes exceed my thoughts..
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I ivill pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth...John xiv. 15, SCc. . , ..
He would be a traitor and a rebel who should dare to set up his standard in England, and demand allegiance from the king's sub> jects, and require obedience to his commands, who had no right to the crown. So Jesus, if he is not King Of Kings And Lord or Lords....the King of saints....the living and true God; hut only a mere man, a Prophet mighty in word and in deed, a very good man, who taught the best morals, and set us a good example as some proud, vain, ignorant creatures pretend; verily, if this were all, we, christians, could see no goodness in him. But he would be a bold usurper against the one eternal Jehovah, striving to alienate the affections of the heart, and the obedience of the life from God, whom ye are commanded to love and serve only. Therefore, " If ye love me, keep My commandments," saith Jehovah the mighty God, by the wonderful man Christ Jesus. Disciples know his voice. In love, he hath done all things for their salvation. From love, he requires all of them in duty. Obedience without love is slavery: Love without obedience is dissimulation. la keeping his commandments there is great reward, enjoyed in present peace, expected in future hope; both are the fruits of free grace and unmerited love, and secured by precious promises.
While others might hear of Jesus, and talk of the miracles Jesus wrought in the days of his flesh; yet those disciples only, who were obedient to his call and followed him, saw his glory, and enjoyed the comforts of his presence. So the closer disciples walk with Jesus in love and obedience, they enjoy more of the comforts of faith. And besides the gift of faith, as an evidence, they shall receive the comforting witness of their being the children of God, even from the Spirit of truth; another comforter, who shall abide with them; for ever, as a seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory. So Jesus prays....so the Father bestows....so the Spirit applies and comforts. Glory be to the ever-blessed Three, who thus agree in One, and bear witness on earth of salvation, to,the comfort and joy of poo? sinners. Love to Jesus is the spring of obedience. Keeping his. commandments, is the way In which, though not For which the Spirit comforts our hearts. "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."....Matt. xix. 6.
. ,/ The God of mercy be ador'd, To praise the Father and the Son,
Who calls our souls from death. And Spirit (all divine)
Who saves by his redeeming word The one in three, and three in one,
And new-creating breath. Let saints and angels join.
Turn, Oye backsliding children ; for lam married to ijout saith the Lord.,..Jer. iii. 14.
'. WpsS a child departs from an indulgent father, or a wife forsakes an affectionate husband, they, in effect, say, they have other objects with whom they are more delighted, and from whom they expect greater happiness. O backsliding soul! is such thy conduct towards the best of Fathers, the most affectionate bridegroom? Thy present practice loudly speaks this language, 'I have other lovers, and after them I will go-' Monstrous ingratitude! a child of special grace, and yet fly from thy most loving Father! a spouse of the roost affectionate bridegroom, and yet be unchaste to thy rightful husband! Shocking carriage! Yet, O soul, hear and wonder, hear and love,, love and be ashamed, be ashamed and return; for, marvellous grace! though thou hast broken thy marriage contract, forfeited the privileges of children, yet the relation continues. "I am, married to you," (children, still, notwithstanding all their unkind carriage), "saith the Lord." Amazing love! instead of 'I will pursue with vengeance, overtake with destruction,' it is, 'I intreat with love, expostulate with kindness, invite with, affection.'
Who are thy present lovers? remember, the rivals of thy Lord are thy greatest foes, and seek thy present misery and eternal destruction. Dost thou "live after the flesh?" have Satan's wiles and the snares of the world prevailed over thee? the world, the flesh, and the devil! Poor soul! canst thou be happy in their friendship and embraces? O no! thou art got into bad, yea the worst company* O what leanness of soul is brought upon thee? Thy love to Jesus is grown cold; thy faith in him weak; zeal for him and his truth have forsaken thee; the way of sin and folly pleaseth thee; sweet intercourse in private prayer; communion with thy God in public ordinances, is gone; thou neglectest thy duty; art grown shy of thy Father and his children. But still thy father calls, thy husband wooes thee again and again to turn, to return. Love, the bond of relation, never alters on God's part, notwithstanding base, backsliding, and monstrous ingratitude on thine. Special grace: makes love-calls effectual. Such shall one day call to mind "the love of their espousals;" be ashamed and confounded for all they have done, and take up this language, "I come unto thee, for thou art my Father. I will go and return unto my first husband, for then it was better with me than now."....Hos. ii. 7.
Better! yea, best of all those times Thy Father stands with open arms;
When I to Jesus cleav'd: Thy bridegroom calls in love,
Return unto thy rest, my soul, "Return, thou wand'ring soul, to MB,.
No longer be deceiv-d. "And:my affectionsprove." M.
Cometh this blessedness then upon (he circumcision onli/, or upon the uncircumcision also?....Rom. iv. 9.
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain\ deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."....Col. ii. 8. Why this caution from the voice of inspiration? Our daily danger makes it expedient, "lest any man beguile you of your reward. Beware of men. Call no man Rabbi," saith thy Lord, lest any man judge against your privileges, impair your comforts, or distress your mind.
Here is every blessing to make poor sinners happy. Righteousness imputed without works; iniquities forgiven, and sins covered; sin not imputed. This trinity of blessings flow from the unity of free grace. Such blessedness Cometh, free as the air, unmerited as the light, comforting as the sun: possessed by the unworthy, enjoyed by the ill-deserving, sure to all the redeemed, the inestimably. rich privileges of every believer jn Jesus.
Here the wise God and vain man differ in judgment. Legal heart* are ever thinking of obtaining a righteousness by works, and pardon upon conditions: but God imputes a righteousness without works, even the best robe. None but untoward children find fault with the father's gifts; none but proud children object to the father's clothing. For thy righteousness, even if perfect, O soul, is at best but the righteousness of a creature; but Jesus' righteousness is the righteousness of the God-man; infinite in value like his precious blood, by which our sins are atoned. They are not imputed to us, because laid upon Jesus. God pardons them in justice to him. Christ hath performed every condition for us. Faith takes its views, and forms its judgments from revealed truths. So it evidences its divine original. Thus it gives all glory to God; while the sense of pardon is applied to the soul by the Spirit, who comforts the soul in truth. And thus a living, vital union is preserved between Jesus and his members through faith. From a joyful sense of pardon, love is increased, holiness incited, man is humbled, Jesus exalted, free grace gloried in, hope. encouraged, slavish fears ejected, and the heavenly inheritance longed for as a free gift by Jesus. Thus all is of God, all is of grace, all cometh freely. Even eternal life is the free gift of God by Jesus Christ, who saith, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."....Luke xii. 32.
Arid doth the Lord impute no sin? Reject the legal prate of those
Art thou thus blessed, O my soul? Whomake Goddebtortotheirterms,
Spurn unbelief, and Satan's wiles. Who strip free grace of its just due, . And let them not thy peace coiuroul. Androb God's glory of its charms. M.
God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined into our hearts, to give us the knowledge of the
. glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ. ...2 Cor. iv. 6.
• This is a glorious confession of faith, worthy to he wrote in tetters of gold, and set with the most precious jewels, and ever to be worn as the believer's ornament and glory. For here is the rich display of sovereign grace, and the glory of almighty power, in producing light in the hearts of sinners, who are by nature not only in the dark, but even darkness itself. The knowledge of Jesus is commanded by the same omnipotent agent, who called forth light in the beginning, upon this dark terraqueous globe. Light gladdens the whole creation of nature; and this spiritual light causeth joy in the soul; for it gives the knowledge of God's glory. In what respect? that God is glorious in majesty? O this strikes us with horror. Glorious in power? That fills us with terror. Glorious in holiness? This causes despair. So every attribute and perfection of Jehovah would sink sinners into dread, astonishment, and death. , But here is our relief, 'It is the knowledge of the glory of God, in the person of the anointed Saviour.' In Him, God's glorious favor, eternal love, everlasting counsel of peace, covenant of grace, promises of mercy, scheme of salvation, shine with the most resplendent lustre. Hence pardon, love, peace, joy, holiness, hope, security, heaven in possession, glory in reversion; all, all center in the person of Jesus. Thus we behold the glory of God. God in Him. This is the only comfortable knowledge, the only reviving experience of the christian heart. And here we see how inseparably connected God's glory and his people's comforts are. Each leads to the other, and both tend to lay sinners low in humility, and sink them to nothing before a sovereign, gracious Lord. Could a dark chaos contribute any thing to the production of light? Canst thou^ O worm of the earth, exert any power to cause that glorious luminary, the sun, to send forth its reviving beams of light? No, the first is by the command of the sovereign agent; the latter acts by the laws of its wise Creator. So as to spiritual light, saving knowledge, it is given to those who sought it not; it is made manifest to them who asked not after it. What then becomes of terms and conditions of salvation? O thou once spiritually blind and dead soul, if God hath commanded the light and knowledge of Jesus in thine heart, all boasting is excluded, all glorying in self is at an end. Surely thou wilt say....Thine is the power; to thee, to thee alone, Jehovah, be all the glory! Now be the God of Israel bless'd, He makes his great salvation known;
Who makes his truth appear; By Christ he pardons sins;
His mighty hand fulfils his word, While sov'reign grace andheav'nly love
And all the oaths he sware. In its own glory shines.