« PreviousContinue »
low our privileges. O! that a spirit of revival may be felt among us! Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the days. Revive it in my heart ! Christ is the salvation of all his dear, believing people ; they look to no other; they love no other; or if they love others, it is Christ in them who is the chief object of their affection.
It is, therefore, evident, that the great design of God in the Gospel, is to form a people unto himself, who shall shew forth his praise; a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Here I behold a way of access opened to poor perishing sinners, through faith in the atonement of Jesus. Lord, give me faith in thy dear Son. Enable me to cast my soul without reserve upon thy covenanted mercies in Christ Jesus.
In him alone is eternal life. In him alone is treasured up grace, mercy, and peace. : He that hath the Son hath life ; for this is eternal life, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
O! for a heart to believe unto righteousness. Blessed Lord, this heart thou only canst bestów. Thou knowest my wickedness and wretchedness; my frailties and follies; my helplessness and total alienation of heart from thee. Thou knowest from what height of happiness I am fallen through original sin, and into what depth of misery I am plunged through wilful transgression. But, o sovereign love! O matchless grace! thou hast pitied me; thou hast sent thy Son, thy only Son to save me.
Thou hast assured me, that all who believe in him shah not perish, but have everlasting life. Yet, in the midst of all this profusion of mercy, examine thyself, O my soul, whether thou be in the faith.
Have I ever yet believed unto life? Have I that faith which is given to all the the children of God;
called by the apostle“ the faith of God's elect"--a faith “ according to godliness”—a faith which“worketh by love”—which “purifieth the heart”—which “overcometh the world which substantiates and evidences things not seen ?”.
Jesus hath said, “ by their fruits ye shall know them.” “ A tree is known by its fruits.” Here then is an unerring standard, a sure criterion of judging; for men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles. What then are the fruits which I am daily bringing forth ? What is the general tenor of my thoughts? If sinful thoughts arise, do I cherish them? Am I fond of retaining them? Or, have I obtained the mastery over my imaginations, so as to be able almost instantly to suppress them, when contrary to purity and holiness? Do I find delight in secret retirement, meditation, reading the Scriptures,
Am I careful of my words ? Do I love to discourse about the things of God, in such a manner as to render my conversation profitable? Is Jesus, that endearing name, often upon my tongue; not from mere profession, or religious parade, but from a heart-felt love to him ? What is the nature of my actions ? Do they spring from a lively faith, that by them my
may be known, as a tree by its fruits ?
Am I careful to maintain good works, knowing, that if a child of God, I am created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath be, fore ordained that I should walk in them?
By some persons this train of self-examination may be termed legal ; but where these evidences of grace in the soul are wanting, all pretension to gospel liberty, is a device, a delusion of Satan.
St. John hath declared : “ If we ask any thing according to the will of God, he heareth us:" therefore, it follows as a consequence, that if we are not sancți-,
and prayer ?
fied, it is because we do not, in sincerity, ask this blessing from our heavenly Father. We are not only to ask, as it respects the subject matter of our prayers, what is agreeable to the will of God; but to obtain the blessing, we must also ask in that Spi rit which he requires, and which he alone can impart. We must ask in faith; then comes the blessing : “ whatsoever ye ask in my name, believing," said the divine Redeemer, "ye shall receive."
We have here the reason why so few are sanctified. Either they do not pray at all; or if they pray, they do not ask in faith. Hence, the whole guilt lies
the sinner. He has no desire to be sanctified, being destitute of true faith, and so his prayers are formal, heartless, and unanswered.
But oh! when we duly contemplate the grand design of the Gospel, what an encouragement is held out to the awakened sinner, who is crying out, 66 what must I do to be saved ?? What an encouragement, to know that God wills his sanctification; and that if he ask according to the will of God, he shall assuredly obtain his request. He listens to this declaration of love: “ believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ;” and relying, through grace, on the merits of his Saviour, and making mention of his righteousness only, he supplicates at the mercy seat for pardon and purity, for peace and perseverance, and obtains all the riches of the everlasting covenant, to the praise and glory of God.
However disputants may marshal one part of divine truth against another, the glorious doctrines of the Gospel, like stones in a compact edifice, are firmly united together. No created power can separate them. Men may disagree in sentiment, but they cannot destroy the unity of truth. The word of the Lord endureth for ever.
The Gospel of Christ, like the rivers in Eden, branches itself out into many fertilizing streams. Each truth makes glad the city of God, the church of the Most High. This sacred river shall continue to flow, with progressive increase of blessedness, till the whole earth shall be filled with spiritual beauty and gladness, through the knowledge of the glory of the
When the rosy streaks of morning
Then we know the sun, advancing,
Thus the waiting saints, beholding,
Nations wrapt in awful darkness,
Truth, and love, and holy concord
Hasten on this happy period,
XVI. ON PERVERTED VIEWS OF THE GOSPEL.
Men in general have most low conceptions of true religion. They neither understand its nature, nor desire to understand it. When we look into the nominally Christian world, it would almost seem as if the great bulk of professing Christians thought nothing about the holy design of the Christian dispensation, or of their own responsibility respecting it.
Their views are awfully erroneous on a subject of all others the most important.
Taking their own wisdom for their guide, they go on stumbling in the dark, till either Sovereign Grace makes them wise unto salvation, or Infinite Justice suffers them to reap the fruit of their own folly, in 66 the blackness of darkness for ever.
Some consider the Gospel as a mitigated law, whereby the standard of holiness is lowered, and a door opened for the commission of venial offences.
Others imagine, that mercy, by being ultimately extended to all, will rejoice against judgment; though all may not reach that standard, which some over-righteous enthusiasts deem essential to salvation.
Some view the plan of salvation as happily accommodated to the wants of sinners. Jesus they acknowledge as the only Saviour, whose merits are apportioned to the deficiencies of each applicant for
persons need less of the Saviour's merits than the profligate; as their own excellencies help to fill up the scale of righteousness. Thus Jesus becomes a mere make-weight in the balance of their good works.
O the pride and blindness of the human heart !
Others blasphemously make Christ the minister of sin, declaring that nothing can hurt the privileged believer; no, not even the cherished evils of his own deluded heart. They assert that Christ
mercy; so that