Page images
PDF
EPUB

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth

is not in us.... 1 John i. 8. : : : . SINCERE upright souls before God, the scriptures deem PERrect. They are free from hypocrisy and dissimulation; they judge and speak of themselves according to truth; Christ who is essentially THE TRUTH, dwelleth in their hearts by faith ; the Spirit leads them into all truth, concerning themselves and salvation in Christ. Satan, who abode not in the truth, is ever blinding souls to the truth, striving to seduce them from the truth, and to make them not only deceive others, but themselves also. He never baits his hook with a more alluring bait than pride.' He aims to make us think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and to judge of ourselves, and say, I am not like other men,” I have no sin, I am perfect. This is the very essence of Phariseeism. : That'very moment any soul says so, he is under the influence of a lying, deceitful spirit; .«he bridleth not his tongue, he deceiveth his own heart, his religion is vain.”....James i. 26. “He flattereth himself in his own eyes, till his iniquity be found hateful.".... Psalm $XXVI. 2: But if we see no sin, if we feel no sin in us, are we not to tell of our happy state? Is not Jesus glorified hereby who hath thus' PERFECTLY saved us? Seeing and feeling! If one in a high fever says, “ I am quite well, I feel no disorder," we are sure he has a deceitful sense, he is not in his right mind. · Alas! our senses are deceitful judges; they may delude us; they most certainly do, if they testify contrary to the truth of God's word. 'Our Saviour is only glorified by the truth. What! shall we give the lie to the Spirit of truth and the word of truth, under pretence of glorifying Jesus? Beware, O soul, “ satan transforms himself into an angef of light, and makes thee think and say, thou hast no sin," for another reason than to glorify Christ, even to glorify thyself in thine own eyes, and in the sight of others. Héar confident Peter. Little did he think what was in his heart when he said, (perhaps he saw no sin, nor felt no sin at that time) “ Though I die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." Think of his awful fall, his horrid oaths and dreadful imprecations, and be humble. Awful effects are not wanting in our day, of such whom satan has puffed up with this unscriptural notion of being SINLESS; but dreadful effects have followed. The higher the elevation, the greater the fall. O soul, ever remember, " thou standest by faith; this leads us entirely out of ourselves to the per-, fection of Jesus. Be not high minded, exalted with the notions of a state contrary to God's truth, - here styled self-deceit, but fear;" ever be afraid of setting up thyself in opposition to the positive assertions of the Spirit of truth. He who says he has no sin, commits sin in saying so'; for he lies, the truth is not in him, he is deceived by the father of lies.

This is the record, that God hath given to us cternal life: · and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath

life..... John v. ll, 12. - SOVEREIGN Power permits man to fall. Guilt fills the wretched pair with dread, and cuts off all hope in God, all claim upon him. Hence our first parents “fed - from the presence of the Lord, and hid themselves.”. Sovereign love interposed, and the poor, guilty, trembling partners in woe were called before their highly-offended, just!yl provoked Lord. Was it to behold him clothed with ven, geance? To hear the sentence of their eternal doom to destruction? To see hell opened to receive them? No; be astonished, 0 heavens! Rejoice ye apostate children of hell-deserving parents! They were to hear a RECORD of what was transacted in the eternal court and counsel of heaven, published on earth. This, instead of wrath, brought mercy; instead of woe, blessing; instead of eternal death, everlasting life; instead of a hell of misery, a heaven of happiness to their trembling hearts. . . .

Fallen man came not to meet God, to sue for pardon, and entreat grace, but fled his presence, But the Lord follows sinkal man with love in his heart; not to propose terms of accommodation or conditions of peace, but to proclaim the joyful news of eternal life as tho free gift of free favor, unmerited grace, unconditional mercy, in and by the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ. Glorious RECORD of love! Blessed testimony of life! Joyful gidings of grace! Hast thou heard, known, and believed this RECORD? « Praise the Lord, O my şoul, and all that is within me praise his holy name,"'* Behold and admire the wisdom, as well as the love of thy God. In this rejoice' always; be humble continually. Life, eternal life, is given us. This life is in God's beloved Son, therefore can never be lost and forfeited. “ Our life is hid with Christ in God.” O, if Jesus dwella in our hearts by faith, we have God's beloved Son, we have eternal life. The report of this is joyful to our ears. The enjoyment of this enters our hearts, creates our present heaven, and fills us with joyful hopes of future glory, We have the strongest confidence, the fullest assurance to animate our souls, “Because I live, saith the head, ye (my members) shall live also.”...John xiv. 19. God hath GIVEN us. eternal life. He is faithful, he will not revoke his own precious free gift. Jesus hath overcome every enemy and opposer that might prevent our enjoyment of eternal life. The holy Spirit hath effected such an union to Jesus, as can never be broken. “We are joined unto the Lord, and are one spirit. "..Cor. vi 17 ..

Look up, my soul, to him,
Whose death was thy desert;

And humbly view the living stream
Flow from his pierced heart.

the-soul lose the stes its heaver.com

Hide not thy face from far me; put not thy servant away in h anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither

forsake me, O God of my salvation....Psalm xxvii. 9. ist "Love never faileth :" it ever worketh in the heart of disciples

towards its beloved object. Love cannot bear distance or separation - from Jesus; the thought of it is grievous and painful; the dread of it makes the soul plead, fills the mouth with arguments, lest the poor heart should lose the sweet sense and comforting savour of the love of God. His presence is its heaven, his absence is its" hell; his smiles create joy, his frowns bring gloom and sorrow on the mind. When the heart feels a sensible withdrawing of God, and the light of his countenance is hid, it cannot but be restless and uneasy. Real believers experience christianity to be more than a name....doctrines more than mere speculations to fill the head and amuse the thoughts...,in ordinances, somewhat more is enjoyed than a dull: round and formal attendance upon them. Christianity iš a life of love: it consists in knowing and enjoying the God of truth, of faithfulness, and of love in his ordinances. ... in - Therefore a loving soul most of all fears the anger of its loving Father; it dreads to be put away. in displeasure, though but for a moment. To be left to one's self, O, this calls up one's cries and tears, and urges onę to plead hard with one's dear Saviour. “Thou hast been my help.” Past experiences of the love and power of its Lord are remembered, and urged as a plea for presents help and future hope.. God's precious promises of faithfulness and truthy O they are beheld as “fitly spoken, like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”....Prov. xxv. 11, Past love cannot be forgotten; past mere cies are recalled. What the Lord is still, in the appropriation of faith, is pleaded, “Forsake me not.” Why so? Because thou art the God of my salvation.” To whom should we go but to thee, O Jesus ?. Thou hast the words of eternal life. Forsake not the work of thine own hands; the soul for whom thou didst toil and suffer, bleed and die. There is salvation in thee, and in no other. I have found it so. Arise, O thou sun of righteousness, scatter the clouds of darkness, the mists af sin, and the fogs of unbelief; recall: my wandering steps ; revive my drooping spirit; “Bring near thy salvation in present peace and love." Such will be the cries and pleadings of Jesus-loving hearts. Such are the genuine actings of that faith which worketh by love. It ever hath a GOD IN CHBFST for its object, his faithfulness and truth for its support, kais promises: for its pleas, his glory, for its aim, and the comfortable sense and enjoyment of his love as its portion and heaven. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth that. I desire besidesi thee.”....Psalm lxxiij. 25.

Thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his · ways : to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by

the remission of their sins....Luke i. 76, 77. " : The day of gospel-truth, like the light of the morning, breaks forth gradually upon the benighted soul, and it increaseth to mid-day brightness and glory. “The path of the justified is like the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.":i Thus it js in the experience of enlightened souls. The light of God's word manifests the truth as it is in Jesus, gradually ; it discovers condemnation and guilt by the law, and grace and pardon by the gospel. The baptist dispensation prepares the way in the heart before the sout enjoys' the sweet sense of pardon of sins through the faith in Jesus. The law is a voice only of wrath and terror to the soul; it leaves the poor sinner in the dreadful state it finds him ; it pronounces nothing but curses upon him; it can shew him no remedy ; it points to no hope; to work wrath in the conscience and to condemn, is all the broken law can do... i · The voice of the baptist cries to the soul in a wilderness state ; but it is rather the hoarse cry of austere "severity than the charming, melodious voice of peace and love; it calls to baptism of repentance, a confession of sins; a change of mind concerning former hopes of salvation, and also a change of life and practice. The poor sinner is hereby “warned to flee from the wrath to come "...is pointed to “the LAMB OF God, who taketh away the sin of the world." "Most souls seem to be brought under this dispensation; some continue for a long season in it ; they are in suspense between hope and fear concerning their state. The Spirit of wisdom sees meet it should be so.” The name of Jesus is precious to them; his word is their hope ; his promises the stay of their souls. The kingdom of Jesus is at hand in knowledge and comfort. Salvation by Christ is made known to them: but as yet they do not enjoy the assurance of their interest in, and the knowledge thať their sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ. They are the people of God, though they are not fully assured of it, not having yet received “the baptism of remis. sion of sins” by the Spirit of adoption; but pardon is the certain privilege of believing souls; it is sure, by the promise of a faithful God; it is obtained by the precious blood of Jesus; it assuredly* shall be enjoyed as the gift of the comforting Spirit. “The vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it shall speak,' and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry. “The just shall live by faith.”.... Habbak. ii. 3, 4. As sure as John the Baptist has prepared the way in thy heart, “the leord whom thou seekest shall suddenly come to his temple.". Mal. iii. l.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall

strengthen thine. heart : wait; I say, on the Lord....

Psalm xxvii. 14. . ... . . :--: “BE of good courage!" Alas, how can one be so, when all sense and feeling tend to dishearten the mind and deject the soul! Lively frames in duty, sweet enlargements of heart; heavenly transports of joy, delightful ecstacies of faith, ravishing tastes of love, all, all, like Noah's dove, have taken their flight;,and I fear, says the drooping soul, never, never more to return. Truly, like Hezekiąh, "I mourn as a dove, mine eyes fail with looking upward, O Lord I am oppressed, undertake for me."....Isa. xxxviii. 14. Still, saith the comforter by his word, “Be of good courage.". Rememe ber thy: calling: It is to live by faith, to honor thy Lord, and be obedient to his word. Thou hast the sentence of death in thyself, that thou shouldst not trust in thyself, lest thinc heart depart from thy Lord. Not frames and feelings, bụt God's love and promises in Christ Jesus to sinners, are the foundation of hope. These are abundantly sufficient to inspire the soul with courage, yea with good courage, to go on in the ways of the Lord. , vel

Here is the steadiness of faith; to cleave to Jesus, to abide by the truth, steadily to persevere in the paths of duty in the course of obedience to him. Shall this ever be suspended because we have not lively frames and joyful feelings? How would this prove that we walk by faith, and that our eye is single to Christ's glory? Nay, we shall then serve the Lord only by fits and starts of sense and passion, rather than by the uniform, consistent obedience of faith. The Lord's word is our rule of duty; his promises our support; his grace is sufficient for us; his strength is made perfect in our weakness. If our hearts are weak, that we cannot run with alacrity the way of God's commandments as we desire, so much the more reason have we for our souls to wait on the Lord for the times of refreshing from his presence. He will strengthen our hearts, "for he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.".... Isa. xl. 29. “Wait I say on the Lord.” . David repeats the injunction, with a holy fervor, both to his own soul and to others. God has promised, expect fulfilment. Here is the exercise, of Faith, trust in the Lord Christ for what we stand in need of: of HOPE, expecting to receive all from him; of PATIENCE, waiting continually, upon him. Most precious promise! "They that wait, upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk,

niti diment our hearts into the and not faint.”... Isa. xl. 31.,: “ The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”....2 Thes. iii. 5.

« PreviousContinue »