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Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's..., 1 Cor, üi. 23.
St. Paul ransacks heaven and earth, time and eternity, to make up the christian's rich catalogue of mercies. But, as though the utmost stretch of thought, of men or angels, might omit some part of the believer's treasure; and lest any thing should be found wanting for support and comfort to any needy soul, he twice repeats ALL THINGS ARE YOURS." Believer, wouldst. thou know thy title? Wouldst thou enquire, Whence is it the Lord should consign such innumerable blessings, such infinitely rich mercies to us? Whereas one thing we know, we feel daily we are sinners to this very hour, And will not this prevent the right to possession, and the freedom of enjoyment? No: justice and wisdom conspire to take away. this and every objection. The medium of communication is such, that neither reason, law, nor equity can gainsay.
Dwell on this point ; look up to the Spirit of truth, to establish faith, strengthen hope, increase love, and promote joy, . " Ye are Christ's," by special gift ; his dear purchase, and his precious reward. We have all in him by rich love, peculiar grace, free gift, and pre- . cious promises. Precious faith is the blessed evidence of interest and propriety in this blessed inventory. But how came faith? From hearing the word of God. From whom came the word ?. By the . Spirit of truth, who also gives faith. Why is the Spirit given? Because Jesus is glorified, Wherefore came Jesus to seek and save, the lost? The Father loved us, and gave his Son for us. Why did the Father love us? It was “the good pleasure of his will, according to which he chose us, in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world; predestinated us to the adoption of children, and blessed us with all spiritual blessings in him."....Eph. i. 3, 4, 5. Hence, o believer, how clear thy title! how certain thy possession!
“ Christ is God's," God's beloved Son; so art thou in him. Christ is God's gift for thee, God's gift to thee, and thou to him, Thou enjoyest all in him, and receivest all from him. Canst thou ever want food for .faith, a source of love, a fountain of holiness, or a spring of consolation? What have we done, or what could we do to get an interest in Christ; or procure a right to such heavenly treasures ? Verily we have done enough to forfeit, but nothing to deserve them. Know this and be humbled; consider this and be joyful in love: “ All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.”....2 Cor. v. 18.
I claim my title in my Head,
How blessed is my present state? Faith is my evidence,
Immensely rich am I: All things are mine, for I am Christ's, Christ is my life....death is my gain; Howe'er oppos'd by sense.
1 soon shall reign on high... M. VOL. I.
Thy Maker is thine husband....Isa. liv. 5.
ALL marriages are, or ought to be, founded in mutual love between the contracting parties. This is the chief ingredient to produce happiness in the conjugal state. Where this is wanting, true comfort is not enjoyed. When a person of noble birth and great fortune marries a woman poor in circumstances, and involved in debt, we justly conclude he chose her out of pure love and affection to her person: and surely such an one is under the most endearing obligations to love and chastity. She can never call to mind her former indigent state and her present affluent circumstances, but it must tend to inflame her with the most ardent affection to her husband.
This is somewhat the case between Christ and his church. Pure love in the heart of the heavenly bridegroom caused him to betroth his church unto himself, in loving kindness. Though she was in the most abject state and despicable condition, yet he secretly loved her person from eternity, and openly espouses every member in time of conversion, one by one. So saith St. Paul,.“ I have espoused you to one husband, Christ.”.... 2 Cor. xi. 2.
Canst thou, O believer, call to mind thy natural state of poverty and distress; over head and ears in debt; writs issued from the law, which justice might have executed; liable every moment to be cast into prison, where thou must have lain everlastingly with nothing but rags, filthy rags, to hide thy shame and cover thy nakedness? Canst thou think of this without humility ? And dost thou now see the kindness and love of thine husband? Has he paid all thy debts, cancelled every bond, put in a plea against every accusation, and perfectly fulfilled the holy law, and satisfied divine justice? Art thou "blessed with all spiritual blessings" in thine husband....enriched with heavenly treasures? Hath he “clothed thee with the garments of salvation," and adorned thee with “ the robe of his righteousness?” and doth God thy Father say of thee, “ Thou art all fair, my love; I see no spot in thee?"....Cant. iv. 7.
O what purity of affection! what ardency of love! what chastity of behaviour is due to such a lover, to such an husband! Christ took thee at first " for better, for worse;" his love to thee is ever the same, affectionate and constant: full of complacency and delight: sympathizing with thy troubles; ever nourishing and cherishing thee here. Shortly the Lamb will in the most open and public manner appear as the bridegroom of his church, and celebrate the marriage in a blissful eternity. O then it shall be said, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."....Rev. xix. 7.
Jesus said, One thing is needful.... Luke x. 42.
The disposition and carriage of the sisters, Martha and Mary, much resemble the different desires and actings of the flesh and spirit, of which every christian is composed. The flesh, like Martha, is careful and troubled about many things: it is ever restless and uneasy; always in want; seldom'satisfied; never truly happy. But the spirit hath chose that good part, that one thing needful: it is truly wise in its choice, quite satisfied in its object, and truly happy in its enjoyment.
Thus it is while the christian is under the prevailing influence of this ONE THING NEEDFUL. One thing, the enjoyment of God, was our first parent's paradise. A thirst after, and enjoyment of two things (the knowledge of evil as well as good) caused all their woe, and made them miserable: and it is the knowledge of the former which keeps all their posterity under the sad circumstances they are fallen into, till they are brought to know the one thing needful. What is this but the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? This was the great apostle's continual prayer, “That I may know him." This was what Mary was happy in the enjoyment of, and what our Lord himself commends her for, and calls that good part, which shall never be
This one thing comprehends all wisdom, holiness, and happiness. To know Jesus, is to believe in him. To believe on him, is to love him; and to love him, is to keep his commandments. In every station, in all seasons, and under every circumstance, this one thing, this knowledge of Jesus, is ever needful, ever seasonable. Doth the christian enjoy health? This knowledge joins to health of body, peace and joy of soul. Is he in sickness? To know Jesus is the richest cordial, the most reviving draught to his soul. Is he tempted? What consolation is it to know Jesus was in all things tempted, that he might succour the tempted? Doth sin distress? Doth the law condemn? O, the soul who knows Jesus, can boldly challenge, “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" He can confidently declare, “ there is no condemnation to them.” Does death, the king of terrors, affright him? By the knowledge of Jesus he is disarmed of his strength and sting; which is the law and sin, So that, O soul, thou mayest take up this triumphant challenge against the last enemy, “O death, where is thy sting! O grave, - where is thy victory!" I have all things, and abound in this one thing: I have Christ my Saviour found.
On earth we want the sight
And when we taste thy love,
Our joys divinely grow
And heav'n begins below.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for God is come
to prove you, and that his feur may be before your faces,
that ye sin not....Exod. xx. 20. • Pride and self-confidence are deeply rooted in the human hearts False hopes are built on self-righteous pleas. By these the heart is blinded to the exceeding sinfulness of sin; hardened against the fear and dread of the Lord; and such live in rebellion against the truth as in Jesus. Like Paul, we are all naturally alive without the law; and, with the Israelites of old, are ready to say, “ All that the Lord hath spoken we will do."....Exod. xix. 8. Alas! poor souls uttet such words of ignorance and pride, when, like the disciples on the mount, “ they know not what they say.” But whom the Lord loves, ħe proves. The Lord is a jealous God; he will suffer no flesh to glory in his presence; nor shall his dear children live without his fear, and a holy hatred of pride and sin; therefore they must go out of their tents of vain confidence. : When the Lord discovers himself in glory and majesty, as a holy, sin-avenging God; when the law, in its holy, just, and righteous demands is revealed in the conscience, it makes the stoutest heart to tremble: it fills the guilty, self-accused sinner with fear and horror, and then “ sin revives, and he dies”....dies to all his former false hopes. Yea, and he would, if left to his own dreadful apprehensions, fly from God, and sink into black despair, and die without hope. But the dear Mediator is erer near, and prevents this: he speaks in love, “ Fear not." This dispensation is not to destroy your soul, but to kill your vain hopes....to prove and try you..sto shew you what is in you: that you may be dead to the law, be alive to God by a better hope, through the faith of me your Jesus. So fear the Lord with a loving fear, as to die to sin. Thunders of wrath, terrible peals of curses are sometimes necessary to be heard in the conscience; they fulfil God's will. . The bleak north wind of the law kills the vermin of nature; while the warm, comforting south wind of the gospel cherishes and enlivens the seeds of grace. "
Thus the Spirit humbles proud hearts, revives contrite spirits, endears Christ, who hath endured the curses we have deserved, and embitters sin to believing, penitent souls. “Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living."...Job xxxüi, 29, 30.
The law discovers guilt and sin, My soul, no more attempt to draw
Knoruing, that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even
as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.... 2 Pet. i. 14.
Nothing but the life of Jesus, manifest in our flesh, can reconcile us to death. This, and this only, delivers from the fears of death, disarms it of its sting, and fortifies the mind with the knowledge of complete victory over the king of terrors, “through him who hath loved us.” Constant converse with Jesus makes death familiar. So we learn to die daily; so the spiritual, immortal life of the soul triumphs over the sensual, mortal life of the body. The happy spirit, in some highly-favored seasons, is so far from fearing and trembling at the body's dissolution, that it rejoices, and even longs to be set at liberty from its imprisoned state; it pants with desires after its beloved, and says, “ Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly :" It wants
To clap its glad wings and tow'r away,
And mingle with eternal day. How sweet to live in such a frame! how desirable! how daily and earnestly to be sought for! That when the frail body is attacked with any sickness, the soul may ask, with great serenity, in the words of John Baptist to Jesus, “ Art thou he?” Is this disorder to put the finishing stroke to all my trials and griefs? “ or must I look for another?" When a little child of mine saw a beggar ragged and deformed, it ran into my arms, and cried, 'O papa, save me from that frightful man! O, thought I, that in the views of death, may I ever thus, with boldness and familiarity, run to the arms of my heavenly Father. 3. All men know they must die. They confess this. But the thoughts
of it are irksome. Believers in Jesus only, have a peculiar knowledge cef death, so as to dwell on the thought, that it will come shortly, with satisfaction, hope, and comfort. Jesus hath shewed them this. From him “ the righteous hath hope in his death.”.... Prov. xiv. 32. ... Is it in vain then, the Saviour saith, “Forsake all, take up thy cross, follow me!" No: it verily is for the profit and the peace of the soul. For the more stedfastly we are attached to, and eagerly pursue the things of this life, so much the more we are loth to die. We - fear the approach, and tremble at the very apprehension of the unwelcome messenger. All this is, because the objects of time and sense cloud our minds, and darken our views of the victorious Jesus, his perfect work and finished salvation for us. Only while Jesus is embraced in the arms of faith, the soul can say, with Simeon, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."....Luke ii. 29, 30. Wil death this body soon destroy? Then shall I live a joyful life,
O yes! I wait the coming hour: • From sin and sorrow ever free. What then? my Lord will raise it up O may I long the happy hour,
Again, by his almighty pow'r. For ever with my Lord to be! M.