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And Jesus said unto them, when ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven, &C.... 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 souls. While we see and feel nothing of our misery and wants, no marvel 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....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. ii. 12.
Lord, I address thy heav'nly throne; There shed thy choicest loves abroad, Call me a child of thiné;
And make my comforts-strong; Send down the Spirit of thy Son Then shall I say, My Father, God, ? To form my soul 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: 6 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 mo. ment....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 God that lifts our comforts high, If smiling mercy crown our lives, Or sinks them to the grave;
Its praises shall be spread; He gives, and (blessed be his naine) And we'll adore the justice too He takes but what he gave.
That strikes our comforts dead,
He that believeth on him, is not condemned....John iii. 8.
Dost thou believe on the Son of God? is the most important qirestion in the world. Faith in Jesus is the “ one thing needful.” Without this the day of life is a state of sin and condemnation. The night of death, full of terror; and the day of judgment, most dreadful. It cannot be otherwise. As we are all malefactors, under the sentence of the law, the thoughts of execution must be most alarming. But what the eye doth not see, the heart doth not rue.' Sin naturally blinds men's eyes, hardens their hearts; and vain selfrighteous hopes deceive their souls into an insensibility of their undone state.
What a special mercy to know one's self! what distinguishing grace to know Jesus! what peculiar favor to know one is delivered from condemnation by him! This is the joyful privilege of every believer. Though the law condemns him as a transgressor, yet God doth not impute sin, but imputeth righteousness unto him: a righteousness which is equivalent to every demand of the law; even the perfect righteousness of the ever-blessed man and mediator Jesus, our brother, our surety in the flesh. Therefore we are not condemned. · Sin cannot condemn us; it is all atoned for by the blood of Jesus. The law cannot condemn us; that is satisfied: yea more, it is magnified and made honorable by the obedience of the God-man Jesus, more so than it could have been by all the obedience of a world of imecent spotless saints, or of the whole company of the heavenly host of angels and archangels. The justice of God cannot condemn us: for what charge can the strictest justice bring against a righteous person? God's faithfulness and truth cannot condemn, they are engaged in the behalf of the righteous. “ God is faithful and just to forgive us;" and his love and mercy embrace such on every side ; for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness.
Lo, thus is the man blessed that believeth in Jesus: Righteous in Christ, through faith; yet not faith, but Jesus is his righteousness. By faith he ever glories in Jesus as his all in all. He that abides in Jesus, enjoys....what? perfect freedom from the being of sin? No. But this blessedness, perfect freedom from all condemnation for sin. He brings forth fruit to the glory of God; he is an heir of " the inheritance among them who are sanctified by the faith which is in Jesus."....Acts xxvi. 18.
What thou hast spoken in the word, Who shall condemn? Faith boldly cries,
The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous
are bold as a lion....Prov. xxviii, 1.
WATCHFUL and BOLD, is the christian's motto. Watchful, to avoid sin; bold, to resist the enemies of his soul. For he is engaged in a righteous cause, animated by righteous hopes, made righteous by a righteous Lord; from whom he derives all his strength and courage.." In Jehovah (Jesus) have I righteousness and strength.” .... Isa. xlv. 24. This is the glorying of his soul. Not his own. inherent strength, nor his own personal righteousness, are the cause of his fortitude; but the arm of Jehovah is his shield, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is his breast-plate of defence against every enemy. Being cleansed from guilt by the blood of Jesus, and elothed with his righteousness, by faith the soul experiences a holy boldness at a throne of grace....appeals against the fury of the enemy and oppressor....and finds supplies of strength in every time of need. This is the life of faith. So believers grow strong (not in conceit of what they are in themselves, but) “ strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus....strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
Thus righteousness inspires with courage and boldness. Such is, the comfort of faithful souls. All the glory is due to Jesus, from whom the Spirit of love, power, and of a sound mind, is given unto his righteous children. The action of Joseph of Arimathea, is Pecorded with an emphasis upon his courage: “He went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.".... Mark xv. 43. Here was boldness in the midst of danger....an act of faith, in the face of foes....a token of love, without fear or shame of the greatest enemies to Jesus. But “ he was waiting for the kingdom of God."
« The boldness of Peter and John astonished the Jewish sanhe drim, who took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” ....Acts iy. 13. Have we been with Jesus, in the faith of our souls ? Are we waiting for the coming of his kingdom? Shall we then be afraid of the worms of the earth ? ashamed of our Master, his cross, or his ways ? Forbid it, Lord ! inspire our souls with boldness, that with David we may triumph : The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Though an host shall encamp against me, mine heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”....Pşalm xxvii. 1, 3.
Is Jesus my almighty king ?
This makes me bold before his throne,' Doth he forbid my fear?
Yea bold my foes to face ; What foes shall put my soul to fight? I flee to Christ....Lord, make me stand, His righteousness I wear.
By thine almighty grace.
Christ's house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and
the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end....Heb. iii. 6.
THE tabernacle, with its furniture....the ark of the covenant.... the institution of sacrifices, &c. were appointed by Jehovah, to shew the nature of his house....to typify God's dwelling in the human mature of Jesus....his sacrifice for and special presence with the household of faith. David asks, “ Lord, who shall dwell with thee?" .... Psalm xv. 1.. The answer is, Only those whose hearts are furnished with the graces of Jesus; and whose lives evidence it. : It bespeaks a person's propriety of and delight of residence in a house, when he adorns and furnishes it. This Jesus doth by the hearts of all his members. He is our brother in flesh. He complies with his own command, When thou lettest a servant go free, ~ thou shalt furnish him liberally.”.... Deut. xv. 14. Out of the fullness of Jesus, most liberally, his members receive grace Hence they have the confidence of faith, the rejoicing of hope.
But why doth the apostle put an iF here? Is it to weaken our confidence and damp our joys, as though Jesus was not faithful to us? or that our own efforts could make salvation more secure than his blood and righteousness have? Is it to keep us always in a state of diffidence and uncertainty? Far from it; this would counteract the grace of Jesus, weaken faith and hope in him, and strengthen the pride and vain glory of us sinners, as though Jesus was the foundation, but our own arm, our own faithfulness was to raise the superstructure, and bring forth the head-stone of salvation with shoutings, not of grace, grace to him;, but glory, glory to us. Most detestable thought!
We are assured that all those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life, shall enter into his glory.... Rev. xxi. 27. There are no Ifs, no doubt of this. But who is of that happy num. her? This we can only know by the Spirit given unto, us, whereby. we cleave unto Jesus, in heart, and affection as our only hope renounce both the righteousness and sinfulness of the flesh, and continue to hold fast and persevere in the faith of the gospel; “ and walk worthy of the vocation wherewith:we are called."....Eph. iv. l. « Wherefore, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”.... 2 Pet. i. 10.
Hold fast your trust, retain your hope, All of thy house shall persevere,
In spite of Satan and of sin ; They of thy fulness shall partake; Thus honor Christ your Saviour's word, Thy word is try'd, thy promise sure, Till you his glorious kingdom win, Thou, Lord, thine own wilt ne'er