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It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do, of his
good pleasure....Phil. ii. 13.
It is the peculiar blessing of every new creature in Christ Jesus, to be renewed in knowledge." As the soul advances in the divino life, he more clearly understands the heights and depths of the myse teries of God's grace, by the word and Spirit of truth: 50 also he feels more and more of the workings of the mystery of iniquity within him. Therefore, he has done with talking of his own free will, and works of righteousness having any share in obtaining grace. These notions are the weeds of nature. They spring from pride. Pride is interwoven with our very constitution and being. This opposes and rebels against our own mercies, even the free-grace truths of the gospel. . But it is the exercise of faith to submit to the righteousness of Jesus: to bow to the sovereignty of God's will, and to adore his Spirit who worketh in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure. O disciple of Jesus, how art thou sweetly constrained to own this from the rich experience of the truth upon thy own soul! What is the natural bent of thy free will, but to reject Jesus the Lord of life and glory? Its language is, " I WILL not have this man to reign over me.” I have other and better lovers, and after them I WILL go. 'I will enjoy the pleasures of sin. I WILL love the world : I WILL take my full swing in the gay delights, the pleasing profits, and glorious honors of it. I WILL be saved in my own way, for my own works: I WILL not be indebted to be saved by grace wholly. Thus the natural FREE-WILL of man speaks plain, by its affections and actions, through the darkness of the understanding. Thy free will was to destroy thy. self: it was the will of the Lord to save thee in Christ Jesus. Therefore in the day of his power, the Holy Spirit made thee willing te come to Jesus for life and salvation. With free choice, and cheerful willingness, thou camest in faith, as a perishing sinner to a pres :: cious Saviour. Wilt thou any more ascribe any glory to thy will? wilt thou ever suffer thy power to share in the trophies of thy Lord? Nay, shall not free, sovereign, unmerited grace, have all the glory?. Is nột this the daily humble prayer of thy soul, “Leave me not, O Lord, to myself; for without thee, O Jesu, I can do nothing....nothing but sin against thee, and wound my own soul.” If thou truly delightest in the law of God after the inward man, it is the delight of thy soul “to do those things which are pleasing in his sight." Ever put this soul-humbling, grace-exalting question to thy heart, “Who made me to differ? what have I that I have not received?" I have nothing in myself whereof to glory. I glory in him, who saith, “I will work, and who shall let it?".... Isa. xliii. 13.
We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened....
2 Cor. v. 4.
It is a sore temptation, that saints of God in all ages have fallen under, that, upon a survey of the outward ease, pleasure, and prosperity of the ungodly," they have called the proud happy,".... Mal.. iv. 15.... and under a sense of their inward groanings, burdens and sorrows, have been led to think, it is vain to serve God, and call in question his love to them and care for them. Such sentiments as these, at times exercise their minds: 'I called by grace! Is my soul quickened and made alive to God? have I fled to Jesus for refuge am I a child of God by adoption, through the faith of Jesus? Surely it cannot be. Was it so, should I be thus plagued all the day, and chastened every morning? should I groanthus under oppression from Satan, tribulation from the world; and be thus burdened with the lusts of the flesh, and the carnal workings of corrupt nature? Surely if ever I have known any thing of Jesus in spirit and power, it is all come to an end: verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency to no purpose.' Thus doth the subtle serpent artfully steal into the mind, and borrows the tongue of saints. But this is very injurious to the soul, as we see in the experience of the Psalmist, 73d Psalm. And it is highly resented by our loving Lord and Saviour, as very dishonorable to him. See Mal. iii. 13.
Saints' burdens are creature allotments; believers groans are Jesus': concerns; children's sorrows reach the Father's heart; they are the lot of God's people in every age. Prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors of Jesus, none exempt while in this tabernacle. Yea, they evidence the life of the soul: and also, under the Spirit's influence, work for the profit of the soul. Hereby it is instructed in seļf-knowledge, so as to bow to the sovereignty of God in humility and dependence on Jesus. Prayer is excited, faith is called into exercise, God's word is searched, promises are prized, exhortations become pleasant, carnal hopes are cut off, worldly joys become irksome, earth is less loved, and a sinful body groaned under, makes perfect freedom in glory longed for. O there is a blessed writ of ease 'and rest, issued out from the court of heaven! Soon it will be served upon us.
Then, down tabernacle: up soul to the presence of thy Lord. Parewel groans. Welcome eternal triumphs. Here is a sweet portion of comfort; drink of the brook by the way, and lift up thy head; “ Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."....Psalm lv. 22.
Now let my Lord my Saviour smile,
O why, my soul, why these complaints ?
The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the
sight of God of great price.... 1 Pet. iii. 4. .
Godly parents are delighted at their very hearts, if they see their dear children partakers of the grace of God. How joyful to hear those, who are part of one's self, enquire after Jesus and his salvation! Love and duty unite to constrain us to teach our little ones the knowledge of Jesus; to instruct them in the ways of the Lord. And if the spirit of grace is pleased to crown such endeavours with success, infinitely more precious is the adorning of grace to their immortal souls, than all the gaiety of dress to their perishing bodies.
As we to ours, so doth the Lord rejoice over all his dear children in Christ Jesus. He takes pleasure in their dress, which is the robe of his Son's righteousness. Their ornaments, which are the graces. of his Spirit, are delighting to his eyes. “He makes them allglorious within:" he loves his own image, which he hath formed by his Spirit, “in the hidden man of the heart.” Both the inward graces and the outward fruits are an ornament to them; and are “ of great price in the sight of their heavenly Father.” By daily fellowship with our God and Saviour, we get more and more “conformed to his likeness." By close walking, constant communing, free conversing with Jesus, love is maintained in the heart: and a meek and quiet spirit ever accompanies love. Where the former is wanting, the declinings of the latter are evident. As faith works by love, so love, shews itself by meekness of spirit and quietness of behaviour. There is a sweet harmony in the graces of the Spirit. By faith the soul abides in Jesus, and receiveth out of his fulness. By love the heart is comfortable. And as Peter and John said to the beggar, “What. we have received of the Lord, that we give unto you."
So the christiền dispenses out of his heart, love to his brethren, and is peaceable and quiet to all mankind. Love controuls the boisterous passions of nature. Love constrains to meekness of temper and quietness of spirit. We sadly mistake, and are greatly deceived by our corrupt nature, carnal reason, and the subtilty of Satan, when we act with any other spirit, and attempt to find an excuse for it. Nay, but it is unbecoming our character, a disgrace to our profession, a dishonor to our Saviour; it grieves the Spirit; is a badge of Satan's livery; a, fruit of the flesh, and is contrary to the Spirit. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God, peace of men, nor the comfort of the soul. “ Put on as the elect of God, meekness.”.... Col. iii. 12.
Bless'd are the meek, who stand afar Bless'd are the men of peaceful lfie, From rage and passion, noise and war; Who quench the coals of growing strife, God will secure their happy state, They shall be call'd the heirs of bliss, And plead their cause against the great. The sons of God, the God of peace,
For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great
name's sake : Because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people....1 Sam. xii. 22.
The prophet Samuel, like the apostle Paul, “shunned not to declare all the counsel of God."....Acts xx. 27. They feared no licentious consequences from preaching the faith-establishing, soul-comforting truth of God's unchangeable love to his people. Yet Samuel encourages the people to cleave close unto the Lord, and not turn aside from following him ; assuring them, if they walked contrary to the Lord, though he would never change in his love, or cast off his people, whom he did fore-know," yet he would change in his conduct and dealings towards them. “God will surely visit their transgression with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes ; nevertheless, his loving-kindness he will not utterly take away, nor suffer his faithfulness to fall.”....Psalm lxxxix. 32, 33. Like a tender and affectionate parent to a disobedient child, his love is ever the same when he corrects, as when he dandles on the knee. It is of the Lord's good pleasure only, that he chuses and makes a people for his glory. He calls them to himself by sovereign grace. The honor of his name, and the perfection of his attributes, are engaged for their safety and salvation.
The faith of a christian, how firm its foundation! It builds on the rock of ages, the eternal truth of an unchanging God of love. His
hope is an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast, which is entered within the veil, whither the forerunner for us is entered, even Jesus.”....Heb. vi. 19, 20. How then should our love be inflamed, and burn with incessant ardor to our ever-loving Lord and Saviour? Hath it pleased the Lord to put me among his children? to make me one of his people? It was free, unmerited love. Hath the blessed Spirit enriched my heart, with faith in precious Jesus? hath he in his word, over and over assured us, that he will never leave nor forsake, but whom he loves he loves to the end?” Why is all this? Even because it pleased the Lord: “so it seemed good in his sight.” And have I sinned ? Heart-wounding thought! sinned against his love? am I backsliden in affection? grown cold and indifferent to the kindest and best of beings? shameful ingratitude! Is the love of God in Christ Jesus, the source of all present grace, the security of future glory? Verily it should sink poor sinners to the lowest humility; affect with the deepest self-abasement and sorrow for sin; yet excite godly hope and rejoicing in Christ Jesus; and influence to the most cheerful diligence of serving a God of love, “ without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” " This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments."..... John v. 3. Vol. I.
Because in him there is found some good thing toward
the Lord God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam.... i King's xiv. 13.
Such was the testimony which the Lord gave by his prophet of young Abijah, the son of wicked Jeroboam. The father was branded, even to a proverb, for his abominable wickedness. Behold, the 'son is recorded by the Lord for his goodness: singled out from the whole house of his father, to be blessed of his God, and to come to his grave in peace.
Children of grace often spring from the loins of ungodly parents. The offspring of godly parents, often appear graceless. Grace is not hereditary. Grace is the sovereign gift of God. Parents may and ought to give good instructions, but God only makes them successful. Some good thing would not have been found in young - Abijah, if the Lord had not put it there. It was of the will of the Lord, or because the Lord was his father, as his name Abijah signifies. God's covenant children, though by nature children of -wrath, and though in their “flesh dwells no good thing;" yet, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, “they are created anew in Christ Jesus, in righteousness and true holiness, unto good works: and after the inward
nian, they delight in the law of God.” Some good thing is found in them, which manifests itself in love, fear and obedience to the Lord their God. The graces of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers, and the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, are evidences in time, of God's covenant to them in Christ Jesus before time. God views the work of his new creation in the soul with delight; pronounces it good, and to his own glory records the graces of his people. What comes from God leads to him.
Thus we see “ some good thing" found in the heart of Abijah, manifesting itself in the wicked house of Jeroboam, to the glory of Jehovah the God of Israel. O how highly honored are some who are converted to God's glory and service in the morning of youth! while the sun of righteousness doth not arise upon others, till the sun of nature is near setting. Hath distinguishing grace made us to differ, as well from our former selves, as from others? It is all from the love of the Father through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit. We have nothing whereof to glory in ourselves, nor over others; it is our duty to confess it with our lips, and manifest it in our lives.
May it encourage ,us daily to walk in faith and love. * The just shall live by faith."....Heb. X. 38.