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The liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things he shall stand for be established)...Isa. xxxii. 8.
We all naturally act from selfish principles, and with mercenary views, because we are under the legal covenant, “Do this and live." Hence saith one, . If doing righteousness and performing good works will not justify and save me, as good sit still and do nothing, no matter how wicked I am.' Saith another, “To be sure, we are justified by faith only, but then I must fulfil the terms and conditions of the gospel, for my holiness and obedienee secures my salvation. Such poot creatures reason carnally; their principles are only selfish, their views are mercenary. God is not served at all, but pride and self are at the bottom of all they do; to establish a righteousness of their own is their chief aim. The glory of God is not sought; his grace is overlooked; Jesus is depreciated in his work and office, as though all his toils and sufferings, holy life and bitter death, had only procured salvation upon a better bargain and easier terms for us. Such principles are servile, base, and dishonorable to a God of grace and love. Vain the talk of such about working for God; they do nothing for God, but want to earn something from God for themselves: take away the idol SÉLF from them, and then all working is at an end with them.
But the liberal soul acts from gracious principles, and deviseth fiberal things. He sees salvation is all of free grace and free gift by Jesus. He is our all: he hath done all, suffered all, obeyed in all things, prevails for all things, and makes all effectuat to the soul's perfect, complete, and final salvation.
· The Saviour is in mine eye; he is in mine heart; he is my Alpha and Omega, my first hope and fast stay. My views åre to his glory. O when I deserved nothing but hell, love, electing, everlasting love looked on me with pity, and was manifested to me through Jesus by the word and Spirit: therefore it is I long, I love, I delight daily to glorify the ever. gracious and ever-loving triune God. I cheerfully devote my all to him who hath done all for me, who hath loved me and given himself for me. My life of faith, of hope, of love, of holiness, centers in Jesus, and is from him. If I have but a cup of cold water to give, I give it in my dear Lord's name, in love and gratitude to him.' Such: are the generous sentiments of the liberal soul; and saith wisdom, “ By liberal things he shall stand." Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free. He shall be established on the firm foundation of eternal truth, against the power and subtlety of Satan, and all the human systems and precarious schemes of man's devising.' “ The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord, knoweth them that are his; and let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.”....2 Tim. ii. 19.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not
imputing their trespasses unto them....2 Cor. y. 19..
The only living and true God, the great and essentially glorious Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit is manifested to sinners, as dwelling in the man Christ Jesus. This is the peculiar and precious truth of the gospel." A glorious mystery known only to believing souls. other pretended knowledge of God is but vain speculation, and pompous ignorance, which dwell in men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth. But the new-born 'soul draws all his comfort, peace; joy, and holiness from this inexhaustible fountain of truth and con: solation. From hence ariseth his love to God and delight in him. He beholds God, in Christ, loving and embracing poor sínners of the human race. God is well pleased with them, and delighteth over them to do them good. Thus saith Luther:. * Márk this welt in the matter of justification: when any of us shall have to wrestle with the law, sin, death, and all other evils, we must look upon 'no other God, but only this God incarnate, and clothed with man's nature.'.... Ephes. ii. 18.... Col. i. 15...20. 2. Thus God and man unite in the one man Christ Jesus; in this faith only is the mind of a christian easy and happy; for the cause of all distress and sorrow is taken away. Amazing grace! wonderful love! Canst thou read it? canst thou believe it without transport of joy? God is perfectly reconciled; he doth not impute trespasses. 'Unto whom? Verily, the world, the elect world of Gentiles as well as Jews; ALL sinners of the fallen race whom the Father hath given to his Son Christ Jesus. God is reconciled to them. In faith and love they shall be reconciled to him: to his covenant transactions, eleeting love, justifying grace, scheme of salvation, and hope of eternal life by Jesus only. As the Father gave their persons, so he imputed their sins to Jesus, he bore them away, God chargeth not trespasses to them, they are free from sin, as viewed by God in Christ. TO this truth the Spirit bears witness, through the faith of Jesus. So, believer, thou art to reckon of thyself. Though black as hell, polluted with guilt, defiled with sin, yet in Christ “ thou art all fair, without spot;" fully reconciled' to God, and standest: without trespasses before him. What a free access hast thou ever open to God! what cause for triumph in him, and love to him! what assured hope of eternal enjoyment of him! O my“soul, what reward shall I render to the Lord for all his mercies!
in human flesh I see, My thoughts no comfort find : The holy, just, and sacred Three
Are terrors to my mind.
His name forbids my slavish fear,
His grace removes my sins.
Others of wisdom boast,
And there I fix my trust.
So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and
his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (or chace him away).... Isa. lix. 19.
When a poor sinner knows what human nature is, and sees his brethren and companions after the flesh, “ living without Christ and without God in the world;" making a mock at sin, and ridiculing the truths and ways of Jesus; and finds his own heart touched with a holy, loving fear of the Lord, then he is ready to cry out, Whence is this? He can only say, “Grace reigneth; the sun of righteousness hath risen upon me. So Lord, it seemeth good in thy sight....I have not deserved this....thou hast spoken in truth, and fulfilled in faithfulness. So thy word runs, so thy gospel is glorified, free as the sun, powerful as the wind.' Jehovah's shalls are his people's triumphs. Here are two most absolute declarations for faith to fix upon and plead, in any hour of Satan's attack.
For as sure as the fear of the Lord shall be in our hearts, so also shall the enemy oppose us ; for if he dare plead with the Saviour, “ Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive be delivered?”.... Isa. xlix. 24. Verily he will follow after his once seized prey, and strive to regain his ransomed captive; yea he will challenge the poor sinner as being his property. One would be ready to ask, Is it not strange that the loving, almighty Saviour suffers the enemy, like a surly dog, to snap and snarl at his dear children, and be ready to tear their victuals out of their hands, and his peace and love out of their hearts? No: it cannot be otherwise in our present state; for we are clothed with an earthly, sensual, devilish nature, to which Satan has easy access.
Humble souls have little reason to complain that they have not known so great a degree of wrath, nor have been terrified with such dreadful apprehensions of hell and damnation as some others. O rather love and praise Jesus, if thy soul is brought to cleave to him in faith, and choose him as thy Saviour and thy all, than wish to have the enemy let loose upon thy soul. But if this is the case, he shall not go beyond the length of his chain; his power is thy Father's permission; he may terrify with wrath, but it shall issue in love. Yea, though he should, like a powerful deluge, come in and distress with blasphemous injections, horrible thoughts, perplexing fears, and pronounce hell and destruction to be thy doom, even then thou art safe. The Saviour's power is thy shield. “ The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard.".... The Lamb on the cross. In the stedfast faith of this “ resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”....James iv, 7.
If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence .... · Exod. xxxiii. 15.
Happy for us if this was our address to the Lord under every enterprise; how many distresses and difficulties should we avoid! how much more peaceful and comfortable should we be in our journey through life! It is a blessed thing to have an especial eye to God's presence, as well as to his providence. The Lord may permit his children to succeed in their schemes and undertakings in the course of his providence, when he doth not accompany their souls with his favor and presence. Yea, believer, canst thou not see in many of thy ways wherein thou hast been permitted to go, that they have proved the very means of losing the sweet sense of thy Lord's presence? whatever outward profit or pleasure thou hast gained, *verily thou must confess to have sustained an inward loss. How doth it behove every disciple of Jesus to consider his ways!".' It is thy wisdom daily to reflect, what is the tendency of my present pursuit? what is my chief aim? what can I expect from the end of it? am I going to gratify the flesh in pleasing diversions and carnal delights? Stop one moment. Consider. Canst thou expect the presence of thy God? canst thou lift up thy believing heart in prayer to Jesus to accompany thee? Certainly if it is not right to ask nor expect his spiritual presence to go with thy soul, surely THERE it is unlawful for thee to go. If thou canst not PRAY in faith, canst thou Go in faith? O remember the love of thy Saviour, who died to redeem thee from this present evil world. Call to mind those joys and pleasures which are experienced from a sweet sense of his love and presence. Think how cutting to thy heart, how grieving to thy spirit, if under any vain indulgence Jesus should put this question, Disciple, lovest thou me more than these vanities? Better for Peter to have been in his Lord's presence with a cold body, than to have been warming himself with the high priest's officers and servants; for there he was blown down by the breath of a damsek
It is related of a christian, of whom Satan had taken possession and greatly terrified and distressed her soul, that on his being asked, how he dared to enter into a child of God? He replied, 'I found her on my own ground, at the play-house; therefore I challenge her as my servant.' Whether the story be true or not, the moral is good, Christians have no business on the devil's ground.
Not earth, nor all the sky
Can one delight afford, No, not a drop of real joy
Without thy presence, Lord,
Thou art the sea of love
Where all my pleasures roll,
And centre of my soul.
Behold; the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and
his arm shall rule for him: Behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him....Isa. xl. 10.
What was foretold in prophesy, is fulfilled in the faith and experience of saints. Here are two notes of attention. “Behold;" it highly concerns thee. Take special notice. When the Lord God, our Immanuel Jesus, came to his temple, he found the beautiful building in sad disorder; his spiritual worship lost; and “his house of prayer turned into a den of thieves.” Behold, with a strong hand and stretched-out arm, with no weapon, but an insignificant scourge of small cords, he drove the multitude from the temple. Amazing miracle! The meek Lamb is also "the lion of the tribe of Judah." So he came not only with a strong hand, but against the strong, as some render it. So, behold, he comes to take possession of the temple of his people's hearts. This temple he finds in woeful plight, All the powers of earth and hell are engaged against him. “ The strong man armed keeps possession." But precious, powerful Jesus, casts out Satan, enters by his love, and rules by his Spirit, where Satan reigned. But he comes not by power only, but by grace also; behold, he brings his reward with him. The distressed soul hę pardons. He clothes the naked soul with the robe of his righteousness...he feeds the hungry soul with good things....he giveth his flesh to eat, and his blood to drink. Then how do their souls pant after Jesus! how do they hunger and thirst after righteousness, and cry, and pray, “Lord, increase our faith, that we may eat as thy friends, and drink larger draughts, as thy beloved, and be more abundantly satisfied with thy love !" .
Thus our Lord Christ rewards his people with the fruits of his own toils, and the blessings of his own finished work and salvation; even with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. But, O Jesu, cries the poor sinner, “ What a vile, sinful, carnal, earthlyminded wretch am I still by nature!” Fear not saith Jesus, thou art called to look unto me. Behold, “ my work is before me.” Have I vanquished the powers of death and hell for thee, and can I not conquer sin in thee, and subdue thy flesh under thee? Was his blood the price of thy soul, and the atonement of thy sins ? Then must thou wait in faith for the total destruction of the last enemy sin and death, at his second coming; when in the triumph of thy soul thou shalt proclaim the perfect victory of Jesus, and say, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,” &c.... Rev. v. 12.
Jesus, my Lord, is come;
My heart now feels his pow'r: He rules by his almighty arm,
Bless'd be the joyfal hour.
How precious is thy work!
How. glorious thy reward! (love, Faith reaps thy spoils, my conqu’ring
And glories in thy word. M.