Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet

like hind's feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine i high places.... Hab. iii. 19.

“The righteous are as bold as a lion.”.... Prov. xxviii. 1. The words of wisdom are not like the pithy sayings of the Heathens, which merely describe states and things to which men never arrive nor enjoy; but they assure us, such and such has been, and still is the knowledge and experience of God's saints. So children of wisdom are taught their privileges, and their souls are drawn out in prayer and diligence, that they may also partake of the fulness of the blessings described. Whence is the boldness and courage of the righteous derived? See the young stripling David, how boldly he advances to the mighty giant Goliah, with an insignificant weapon in his hand, yet assured of success. For the faith of Omnipotence was in his heart, and these soul-encouraging words in his mouth, “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts.”.... 1 Sam. xvii. 45. · Faith receives all its courage and strength from its author, Jesus. It is armed with Omnipotence; therefore he saith, “All things are possible to him who believeth.”....Mark ix. 23. So Paul, “I can do all things.” Why? because he was a great apostle? No: prophets and apostles are all of one mind, even with the weakest believer: “It is Christ who strengthens me.” “The Lord God is my strength.” Are our hearts weak and low, ready to sink and faint? are our graces upon the decline? are our enemies strong, and our troubles increased ? To whom should we fly, but to our almighty God and Saviour, Jesus? For this very end he makes his dear members “feet like hinds feet:” swift to run from danger, and to fly to him for safety; so also “to run the way of his commandments with great delight.”

Such happy souls shall also walk with composure and comfort upon the high places of safety and security; above the reach of their implacable foes. O, those are sweet seasons, when we mount up with wings as eagles; soar aloft in the exercise of faith; dwell high in the contemplation of love ; converse much with Jesus in glory, though on earth in the body. How safe are the people of God! how joyful should they be in faith! how confident in hope! how fervent in love! “For they shall dwell on high; their defence shall be the munition of rocks; their bread shall be given them, and their waters shall be sure.”.... Isa. xxxiii. 16.

Salvation is forever nigh

And grace descending from on high, The souls that fear and trust the Lord, Fresh truth and glory shall afford.

I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have

sinned against him, until he plead my cause and execute judgment for me : he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.... Micah vii. 9.

Sin, though atoned for by the blood of Jesus, and through the faith of this the soul be made holy and happy, yet dwelleth in uş. Hence all our griefs, our sufferings, our wretchedness. God's judg. ments are sometimes secret, always just, ever in love to his own. Misery should never afflict us, if sin did not infect us. A good instrument may be out of tune; the hand of a skilful musician is necessary to set it, and display its harmony and sound. God disci. plines by afflictions for our profit and his glory. The faith, patience, and valor of God's soldiers are best known in times of exercise: then how animating to view the love and trust to the faithfulness of a covenant God! To see a father's love to the soul in the rod of his displeasure against sin, how supporting! I will bear the chastisements of my Father....my sins deserve them: yea, wrath and hell is my desert: my mouth is stopped....I have nothing to plead....guilt silences me.

But see, hear, and rejoice, O) soul. The church beholds a blessed person. Who is that he she thinks upon and mentions? “ Until NE plead my cause.” O it is the dear advocate Jesus, the ever precious pleader for poor sinners. How reviving are the sacred pages! they ever testify of the blessed name, and soul-comforting work of Jesus! He never intermits in his plea for the life of the soul: he prevails over the desert of sin by his atonement and prayers. Shortly he will speak destruction to all sin by the word of his power,

In the mean time he sends his Spirit the Comforter, the third person in the glorious Trinity. “He will bring me forth to the light.” Here see Old Testament faith in New Testament love. It is the Spirit's office to bring souls out of the dark dungeon of nature's sorrows, to see Jesus the light of life. “ I shall behold his righteousness." Then it is a day of comfort after a night of distress. Is the righteousness of Jesus mine? am I righteous by that in the sight of God? Then truly it is in righteousness God dealeth with me, and will save me. This fạith humbles the soul to the dust, strips it of proud murmurings and self-righteous pleas, and inspires it with boldness at a throne of grace. This is the confident plea of faith; “ for thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble: Destroy all them that afflict my soul, for I am thy servant.".... Psalm cxliii. ll, 12.

[ocr errors]

Love as brethren....1 Pet. iii. 8.

Love without reason is a mad passion. Profession without love, is but “a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; unmeaning noise to others; unprofiting to him that makes it. Love is of God. It is that precious ointment that is poured forth from the Father of love upon the head of our spiritual Aaron, and runs down to the skirts of his garment, even upon all his brethren, the children of love. Love descends from God, through Jesus, to us, spreads itself among the brethren, and ascends in grateful odours to the God of love.

The prophet asks, “ Have we not all one Father?".... Mal. ii. 10. Yes, saith our elder brother, ." I ascend unto my Father, and your Father."....John xx. 17. Hence the Holy Spirit draws the image of Jesus, “ the first born of the many brethren,” upon each of their souls; and possesses them with the faith of Jesus. « And whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.".... 1 John v. 1. Faith in Jesus is the band and cement of brotherly love. Are we the brethren of Jesus, beloved and chosen by one Father, born again of the same Spirit, partakers of the same grace, heirs of the same promises, traveller's to the same kingdom, and shall we not love each other? Alas! alas! we mourn for the loss of health, substance, &c. but what greater cause is there to lament the loss of love amongst God's dear children, Jesu's beloved brethren!

But we are all like Simeon and Levi, brethren in iniquity: and as with them, so anger and self-will is also found with us....Gen. xlix. 5, 6. Both are the effect of pride, and are contrary to faith and love. The question is not, Are we perfectly freed from every passion and temper contrary to love? Nor are we to expect this from our brethren. God loves us not as sinless, but as he views us in Christ Jesus. Do we really love the children of God as such....love the members of Jesus purely for his sake? Instead of indulging, do we curb and resist, watch and pray against our tempers, which are contrary to love? This is a blessed evidence, the root of love is in us. Let us be importunate with Jesus, that the fruits may abound more and more to the glory of God, “ whom we love, because he first loved us."

Love lays her own advantage by Love is the grace that keeps her pow'r
To seek her neighbour's good : In all the realms above;
So God's own Son came down to die, There faith and hope are known no more
And bought our lives with blood. But saints forever love.

Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as an heavy burden

they are too heavy for me....Psalm xxxviii. 4.

Those who think lightly of sin, and account iniquity a trifling thing, evidently shew that the god of this world hath blinded their eyes to the infinite atonement of Jesus, and hardened their hearts through the deceitfulness of sin; therefore they are insensible of grief, and without feeling of godly sorrow for sin. When Jesus is known in the heart, sin is truly abhorred, forsaken, and overcome. But it is most distressing to the regenerate soul when the load of guilt and the burden of sin are suffered to lie, day after day, upon the conscience. O the insupportable agony of such a state, none know but those who have experienced it! One would ask, Is not this contradictory to that comforting assertion, “ There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus?”....Rom. viii. 1....inconsistent with that triumphant challenge, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?”.... Rom. viii. 33. No; for though charge and condemnation for sin may be brought by Satan, the accuser of the brethren; the law may condemn, and our own spirits must confess we are sinners; yet our covenant God hath no condemination against us. For he hath laid all our iniquities upon Jesus; and this is the full and free charter of his covenant concerning his children: “ Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

Jesus is the only balm in Gilead, the only physician for sin-distressed, sore burdened, heavy laden souls. We may seek rest, but all in vain, from any other object. Nothing can quiet and relieve the distressed soul but this one truth, Jesus hath actually bore, Jesus hath fully suffered, Jesus hath perfectly atoned for all the sins of his people; so that the Lord has discharged all their sins, and will remember no sin, no, not one sin against them. () when one beholds this general release, every debt crossed by Jesu's blood, and God acquitting from every accusation of law and conscience, then our souls return to their rest. 'This is the faith of God's elect. So the Spirit bears witness to Jesus. So he is glorified and delighted in, as “ the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.”, And while our hearts are kept simple, loving, faithful to him, we live upon his grace, and feast upon his love; and holy longings inspire our hearts, that we may fully enjoy him in glory. ( then,

Sin, (my worst enemy before)
Shall vex my eyes and ears no more :
My inward foes shall all be slain,
Nor Satan break my peace again.

Then shall I see, and hear, and know
All I desir'd and wish'd below;
And ev'ry pow'r find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy.

Yea, háth God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the

garden? ....Gen. iii. 1. . It is the grand master-piece of that wisdom which is earthly, sensual, devilish, to call in question the truth of God's word; to insinuate a doubt about it. But here appears more modesty even in Satan, than in some of his servants; for he only puts a query upon it, whereas they absolutely deny and ridicule the truths of Jehovah. In the same way that the old serpent attacked and prevailed against the innocence of our first parents, he still attempts to destroy the comforts and oppose the holiness of God's children by artful suggestions against the truth of God's word. If he can but raise a doubt in our minds concerning what the Lord hath spoken, he strikes at the very foundation of our faith, hope, love, and obedience. As he abode not in the truth, he is a restless implacable enemy to the truth, and to every soul who embraces the truth as in Jesus.

Really, one finds Satan like a laborious domestic chaplain, preaching in season, and out of season, in one's ears: Hath the Lord spoken this? hath he forbidden that? how can this doctrine be true? it is so contrary to reason, so inconsistent with the nature of things; you a child of God? you a believer in Jesus? your sins atoned for by Jesus? your soul clothed with his righteousness and sanctified by his Spirit? Is not everlasting love mere imagination? electing grace, the creature of fancy? the safety and perseverance of the saints of Jesus, the whim of a heated brain? is Jesus the essentially true God? hath the Lord spoken so much against sin? doth he' require so much strictness of life and holiness in walk as is contrary to the rest of the world, and exposes to their hatred and contempt? hath God said so. and so?'

? Thus with art and sophistry, he insinuates and puts on the air of a candid disputant for truth. What did Eve get by listening to him, and conversing with him? rather, what did she not lose? even the life, the love, the joy, the peace of her soul. It is our wisdom not to parley with or study to answer Satan's suggestions, but instantly to “ resist him stedfast in the faith,”.... 1 Pet. v. 9....taking the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, wherein is contained the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, being able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”....2 Tim. iii. 16.

See how the prince of darkness tries

All his malicious arts;
He spreads a mist around my eyes,
And throws his fi'ry darts.
VOL. I.

Othou my sun, and thou my shield,

My soul in safety keep;
Make haste, before mine eyes are seal'd

In death's eternal sleep.

« PreviousContinue »