« AnteriorContinuar »
ON THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.
ON THE TRUTH OF GOD.
THAT which God hath spoken, faith receives as true, and hope relies on as sure; because God is the God of truth. He is called the God of truth or the true God to denote his holy supremacy above all the idol gods of the heathen. He is also designated thus because all truth emanates from him, and leads to him. The revelation which comes from God, a revelation borne witness to, by miracles, by prophecies, fulfilled and yet fulfilling, by its own beautiful harmony and consistency, its uncompromising purity, its enlightening, strengthening, and consolatory tendency; this revelation is the only sure foundation for human trust; and is therefore entitled the Word of Truth in contra-distinction from every system of merely human invention, the fables of pagan mythology, the theories of false philosophy, the prejudices, dreams, and delusions of bigotry, ignorance and superstition; and it is in accordance with the precepts and the promises of this Holy Word that the Christian, framing his life, and forming his expectations, is said to "walk by faith" for the faith of the true believer is not the unwarranted confidence of a blind credulity; but the credence given by an enlightened judgment to the authenticated record of divine truth. And, alas, without the light of the inspired volume, the soul of man must ever wander in the fields of hopeless uncertainty or be lost in the mazes of error and perplexity; like the dove sent forth by the patriarch, it can find no rest, until it return to him from whom it departed; but without the instinct of that dove, the way to return it knows not; the understanding is darkened, the affections cleave to the earth, and "of the earth earthly" may be written upon every human soul in its natural state; "There is none that k k
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God," (Rom. iii. 11.) "none calleth for justice, nor pleadeth for truth." "Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil is accounted mad," (Isaiah lix. 4, 15. margin.) "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not."-(John i. 5.) Nor will any receive the truth in the love of it, nor will any seek after, nor can any bear the image of the heavenly until it please God to "shine into the heart, and give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,"—(II Cor. iv. 6.) who is therefore emphatically termed "The Truth," and "The true light which lighteth every man which cometh into the world:" since by him alone is manifested the counsel, will and perfections of the divine mind. "To this end," said Jesus, "was I born, and, for this cause, came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth; every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."-(John xviii. 37.) And again, “I am the way, the truth, and the life;" or the true and only way to life eternal; "every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto ME." "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of ME." Christ is the Sun of that spiritual system which unfolds its mysteries in the sacred writings to the sincere and diligent inquirer after truth. The soul, taught of God and led by his spirit, beholds the inspired pages irradiated throughout with the beaming glory of Immanuel; sees him to be the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, who was, and is, and is to come: sees in the prophetic visions of ancient days and in the memorial of events taking place in the fulness of time, the same grand and important subjects pourtrayed, namely, "The sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." "The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus," and angels from Heaven, holy men of God, prophets, apostles, evangelists, appear but as the heralds and servants of him, to whom, with one unde
viating witness they point, of whom, with one concurrent voice they speak, as the great Angel of the covenant, the teacher from on high, the lawgiver and prophet of his church, the "Light that should give light to the Gentiles and be the glory of his people Israel." Jehovah, incarnate, is the theme of Zion's songs; and whether the harp be touched to the deep and plaintive strains of suffering affliction, or struck to choral hymns of triumphant exultation, those notes of grief and lamentation are the expression of Messiah's sorrows, those chords of joy and praise are the celebration of Messiah's victories. The soul of the Mosaical economy, he was discovered to the spiritual apprehension of the true Israelite in the types of the Old Testament dispensation, and through the shadowy observances of the Levitical ceremonies, until the appointed period arrived when he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. By that one offering once offered, having perfected for ever them that are sanctified, the types and shadows are no more, that dispensation has passed away, the veil is rent asunder, the way into the Holiest laid open, and neither on "Mount Gerizim nor yet at Jerusalem" are the true worshippers now directed to worship the Father; "but in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him ;" (Acts x. 35) and, sprinkled with the atoning blood of Christ, and clothed in his righteousness, those who worship God in spirit and in truth, have free access to the throne of grace at all times and in all places, with holy confidence and with boldness through the faith of him who is the true altar, the true sacrifice, High Priest and Temple, of him who is able to save even to the uttermost all who come unto God by him, "seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them;" to whom also it pertains to bless the people, for to Him is committed the ministration of the Spirit. He it is, who coming forth from the true sanctuary, is ever extending his hands over his beloved children and shed
ding upon them from on high the richest blessings of God's everlasting love, pardon, and peace, and every grace by which they are enabled to glorify his name on earth and enjoy communion with him in heaven, for
The great promise and blessing of the Gospel dispensation, is the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ and of God; and he is promised as the Spirit of truth in opposition to that spirit who lies in wait to deceive, called in Scripture the "father of lies," who goeth forth to "deceive the whole world," (Rev. xii. 9.) who "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; (John viii. 44.) whose legions, "principalities, and powers," are" the rulers of the darkness of this world;" (Eph. vi. 12.)" and who blinds the minds of them which believe not lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (II. Cor. iv. 4.) It is the gracious work of the Spirit of Truth to remove this blindness, to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and error, to renew the soul in knowledge after the image of Him that created it in righteousness and true holiness; not only guiding the mind into all truth, but binding the heart to it in love, and thus giving the believer to have the witness in himself. For while he bears witness in every man's conscience, so as to leave him inexcusable who obeys it not, none can say that Jesus is the LORD but by the Holy Ghost."
"It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (I. John, v. 6.) He bears witness to Christ in the life of the believer, by causing those fruits of righteousness to spring forth, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. For that only is true faith, or the faith which springs from the knowledge of the truth, which, working by love, produces holiness of heart and life, and is accompanied by a conscientious observance of all the commandments of God. The Spirit bears witness in the heart of the believer, by
taking up his abode there as the Comforter; (Rom. viii. 16.) sealing to him his adoption, taking of the things of Christ and showing them unto him, and applying to the soul all the benefits of his great salvation. He applies to the conscience the blood of sprinkling, and through the merits of Christ's perfect righteousness, gives to the child of God a holy and filial confidence in his approaches to his heavenly Father, helping his infirmities and enabling him to pour out before the Lord Jehovah his supplications and aspirations, his prayers and his praise; and then affording with the gracious manifestations of his presence to the soul, assurance of pardon, acceptance, and favour, bringing it into a state of fellowship and communion with God, and shedding abroad in the heart, and yet more abundantly, that knowledge and enjoyment of the love of Christ, which indeed "passeth knowledge." He reveals to the understanding more and more perfectly the glories of the Redeemer's person, work, offices, and all-sufficiency, teaching the soul to live upon his fulness, and enduing it not only with those graces which are essential to the Christian character, and which glorify Christ before men, but also enriching it with that joy which a stranger intermeddleth not with, and that peace which is both the earnest of and the repose of the soul in its everlasting rest.
Thus the Christian is enabled to set to his seal that God is true, and even here on earth not only reads but realises the declaration, that "all the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus," so far as they relate to the kingdom of grace, and he waits in patient hope until they are finally and fully accomplished in the kingdom of glory. That patient but assured hope, resting on the word and immutability of Him" who cannot lie," he knows in whom he has believed, knows that though heaven and earth shall pass away, his word shall never pass away; and therefore when called to close his eyes on things temporal, in the confident expectation of opening them on things eternal, he commits himself to Him