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“strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing," ver. 12.
Lastly, this blessed Jesus ever liveth to give this happintss to, and eternally to dwell with his people. “ I am he that liveth, and was dead; and “ behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen," Rev. i. 18. And to all Christ's people himself hath declared, “ I will come again, and receite you to " myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also," John xiv. 3. And “ Because I live ye shall lite “ atso,” Jobo xiv. 19..
Thus have I endeavoured to comment upon the words of my Lord Jesus Christ. () that it had fallen into better hands. But if he hath filled my earthen vessel, oh! that it may be emptied in praises to his naine.
· Christ is the Amen, the true and faithful witness; he hath sealed his testimony with his blood. Of him the world was not worthy; for when he came to his own, his own received him not. Nor could they know him till he was pleased to put bis Spirit into their hearts, so that under a heartfelt conviction, they were led to cry with the once unbelieving Thomas, “ My Lord and my God.” Thus he continues yet to work in the hearts of his chosen. Hath he thus won my heart? What shall
I do? - Shall I slight his testimony, deny his divinity, as thousands do ? Nay I cannot-necessity is laid upon me. A pleasing necessity, a violence I love: breaking not down my will as a fettered slave, but bending my will, and by diverting it into a new channel, making it a most delightful employment to my freed soul, to love and adore him. Some will say, how know I so clearly my interest in Christ, my, being in him, and he being in nie? I answer, by the rules laid down in his word; “ Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the “ Spirit which he hath given us," i John ii. 24. And further, we may know whether the Spirit of God resteth upon us, by feeling within us those fruits of the Spirit, which St. Paul enumerates in the 5th chapter of Galatians, as dwelling in the seed of Christ. Now these dwell not in us perfectly, by reason of the infirmities of our own flesh, but they are the earnest of perfection, when the soul shall by death be separated from a body of dishonor, to fill eternally a body of glory, fashioned like to Christ's body, by that power whereby he is able to subdue all things unto liimself.
Now not only is it comfortable for every Christian, to make his calling and election sure to his own comfort here below ; but it is the very pride of hell, and device of the devil, to keep God's chosen, ignorant of the sanie as long as he cau), though let this be remembered, which has been the remark of many pious men, that the enemies of the church
are in the hands of her best friends; and of this may we feel continually convinced through the renewing operation of the Holy Spirit. “ More“over (says the celebrated Martin Luther) God “ hath also sent the Spirit of his Soni:e into our “ hearts, as Paule here sayth. But Christ is most “ certaine in his Spirit that he pleaseth God, &c. " therefore we also having the same Spirit of “ Christ, must be assured that we are under grace, “ for his sake which is most assured. This I have " said, concerning the inward testimony, whereby “ a Christian man's heart ought to be fully per“ swaded that he is under grace, and bath the Holy « Ghost. Now the outward signes, (as before I “ have said) are, gladly to heare of Christ, to preach " and teach Christ, to render thanks unto him, to “ praise him, to confesse him, yea with the losse of • goods and life : moreover to do our duty accord“ ing to our vocation as we are able; to do it (l “ say) in faith, jov, &c. Not to delight in sinne, “ nor to thrust ourselves into another man's voca- . “ tion, but to attend upon our own, to helpe our ,“ needy brother, to comfort the heavy hearted, “&c. By these signes as by certaine effects and “ consequences, we are fully assured and confirmed " that we are in God's favor. The wicked also do “ imagine, that they have the same siznes, but they “ have nothing lesse.
« Here we may see what great infirmity is yet in " the faith of the godly. For if we could be fully
“ perswaded that we are under grace, that our sins “ are forgiven, that we have the Spirit of Christ, " that we are the children of God; then doubt“ lesse we should be joyfull, and thankful to God " for this inestimable gift. But because we feel “ contrary motions, that is to say feare, doubtful“ nesse, anguish and heavinesse of heart, and such. “ like, therefore we cannot assure ourselves there.“ of: yea our conscience judgeth it a great pre“sumption and pride to challenge this glorie.'
“ Wherefore let every man so practise with him“ selfe, that his conscience may be fully assured “ that he is under grace, and that his person and “ his workes do please God. And if he .feele in “ himselfe any wavering or doubting, let him ex“ ercise his faith, and wrestle against this doubting ; “ and let him labor to attaine more strength and “ assurance of faith, so that lie may be able to " say, I know that I am accepted, and that I have " the Holy Ghost; not for mine owne worthi" nes, my worke, my merite, but for Christ's sake, “ who of his inestimable love towards us, made “ himselfe thrall and subject to the law, and tooke “ away the sinnes of the world. In him do I beo lieve. If I be a sinner and erre, he is righteous rs and cannot erre. Moreover, I gladly heare, “ reade, sing and write of him, and I desire no“ thing more than that this gospel may be knowne, “ to the whole world, and that many may be con“ verted unto him.
“ These things do plainly witnesse, that the “ Iloly Ghost is present with us and in us. For “ such things are not wrought in the heart by man's
strength, nor gotten by man’s industry. or travell, “ but are obtained by Christ alone, who first maketh « us righteous by the knowledge of himselfe in his “ holy gospell, and afterwards he createth a new “ heart in us, bringeth forth new motions, and “ giveth unto us that assurance whereby we are “ perswaded that we please the Father for his “ sake. Also he giveth us a true judgement where- , “ by we prove and trie those things which before “ we knew not, or 'else altogether despised. It “ behoveth us therefore to wrastle against this “ doubting, that we may daily overcome it more • and more, and attaine to a ful perswasion and " certainty of God's favor towards us, rooting out s of our hearts, this cursed opinion, that a man " ought to doubt of the grace and favor of God: o which hath infected the whole world.” Luther's Commentarie on the Galathians, Lond. 1618. chap. iv, folio 189, 190. .
Now is it not comfortable to tủe soul to think thus bighly of the grace of God in Christ Jesus toward it? What can more carry it out in holy fervor, or boldness in prayer at a throne of grace, than the thoughts of an upholding hand, continually bearing it up by divine power, amidst all sins and infirmities for the honor of Christ and for his sake.