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It is too frequently more a lip-acknowledgment than a heartsensibility. This is now our principal grief. We want to do honour to the Father, give glory to the Son, and testify to the work of the blessed Spirit, by an ever-constant approach to the Father through Christ the Son, and by the sweet leadings of the Holy Ghost ; thus not merely in word, but in practice-in daily, hourly, experience, acknowledging a Trinity in Unity, and a Unity in Trinity. It is only as our eye is fixed on Jesus ; it is only as we are leaning upon him, walking with him, confiding in him, that we know the blessedness of Gospel liberty-the privileges of childship- the effects of eternal covenant union and divine relationship. It is only as a living faith upon a living and exalted Christ is in exercise, that we can walk happily, or with any degree of satisfaction or comfort. If we look at ourselves--at others-at surrounding circumstances ; if we contemplate the past, the journey we have thus far traversed, we are afraid of the repetition of the distressful parts of it; or if we anticipate the future, our spirits sink, our hearts are discouraged, and a spirit of bondage seizes us as we inquire, “How shall we stand the test, if such and such trials come upon us ?”— trials which perhaps never will come, or if they do, will be sure to be accompanied by omnipotent strength ; "As thy day so shall thy strength be” (Deut. xxxiii. 25). What, then, is the conclusion of the whole matter? How shall we sum it up? In pleading for a faith's view of Jesus as present in every trial, as suitable to every condition, as a Friend that loveth at all times, a Brother
born for adversity, yea, a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Take
Christ, divest us of our hope in him ; and we become of all men most miserable. The Lord Christ is our only resting-place in life ; we find everything else give way--every human prop breaks beneath our pressure ; our only hope in Death - he has so much terror in his visage that we dare not, we cannot, meet him alone ; our only prospect in the anticipation of eternity For the past we thank him, all has been well ; not one thing hath failed of all the good things he hath promised ; all, all have come to pass. For the present we praise him. For the futurethe morrow of life-- with all its changes, its perplexities, its trials, sorrows, and disappointments; its mercies, deliverances, and gracious interpositions--we humbly trust him.
“ The future all to us unknown,
And peaceful lie beneath his feet.” The Lord bless the household of faith ; seal home the hasty scattered thoughts upon the hearts of some of his exercised ones, if it be his will; overlook what is amiss ; and take to himself the glory due to bis great name from all the election of grace ; causing them to anticipate the day when the whole family, without a missing member, shall sit around the throne in full view of the mercy-seat, and in one grand chorus, without a jarring note, sing to the praise of the glory of a Triune Jehovah-Father, Son, and Eternal Spirit-for ever and ever. Amen and amen.
THE FAILURE OF THE WEAPONS, AND THE CONDEM
NATION OF THE TONGUES. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper ; and every tongue
that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn : this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.- Isa. liv. 17.
Concluded from page 74). The condemnation of the tongues follows—“Every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” The multiplicity of tongues cannot be entered upon, but the condemnation of one wil include all others. The tongue of the law is found to rise up,
because the law gives strength to the weapon ; for when the commandment comes, sin revives. Let it be well observed,. sin is not brought into existence by the law, it was there before ; but it reveals it, and sets it forth in its true colours, so as to take away all hope of obtaining salvation by the deeds of the law; that the law curses the sinner, not merely for one transgression, but for a non-performance of those things written in “ the book of the law," and to which but one omission renders him guilty of all. The law, as the candle of the Lord, searches into the innermost parts of the belly, and in its circumference reaches to the thoughts and intents of the heart, thereby rendering all the world guilty before God. Yet that guiltiness is never known but unto those to whom the law is brought home in all its spirituality, and who by it are led to feel the full force of these words, “The soul that sinneth shall surely die :” thus it might be said to rise up in judgment against all such, while requiring, not only perfect obedience, but a righteousness commensurate with all its demands. Under this view of things, until led to look unto the Lord Jesus “ as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” the poor soul becomes “ tossed with tempest ;" for, while demanding implicit obedience, it works all manner of wrath, and a fearful looking for the fiery indignation of an offended God. Nor can the whole routine of duties, be they ever so well performed, bring the desired comfort ; but when the Lord is pleased to shine in upon the heart, then it is they know what it is to be kept secretly in his pavilion from the strife of tongues; and from having the conscience sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, they draw near in full assurance, that it is their mercy to be enabled to condemn this tongue.
In close connexion with the above, is to be found the tongue of conscience, which oft rises up to the terror and dismay of the poor soul, and from which there is no seeming way of escape ; as its accusations are all just and true, and are not unfrequently borne out by the ready adherence with which we have performed those things which have brought us under its power ; which, together with the accusations of him who is the accuser of the brethren, gives to us but little hope that we shall be able to put them to silence. Yet, when enabled to look to the
person of our Surety, and feel the efficacy of his work and blood sweetly brought home to us by the power of the Holy Ghost, we find
that therein we are freely justified from all things, and are not under the condemnation of any.
Thus, while the conscience is cleansed and made tender, although often annoyed with the confusion of tongues, and filled with fear and shame on the account of being, in many instances, the cause of their rising ; yet do we, through divine strength being afforded, realize the truth of the sweet promise, “ Against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue” (Exod. xi. 7). It is well to bear in mind that “the failure of the
and the condemnation of the tongues,” are secured unto us as a heritage, a special blessing, a birthright portion. The mercy is great to be considered the Lord's heritage, which is so fully set forth in the Scriptures as being effected for us by his eternal love and choice of us, by which he has placed us among the children, given us a pleasant land and “ goodly heritage of the hosts of nations” (Jer. ii. 19). But to have a heritage in the Lord himself is beyond what, in our present finite state, we can fully comprehend; all we possibly can know is from the Lord himself; who, when he is pleased to work any deliverance for us, and our poor hearts would ask the why and wherefore it should be so, answers, “This is the heritage.” Oh my poor tempest-tossed brother on the road, who have long dreaded the weapons, the keen edges of which, in some sharp trial or temptation, have been handled with that dexterity so as to bring you to the verge of ruin, and only left a step between, a small moment filled with importance ; on what a slender thread do things seem to hang when we are in the power of the enemy ! the place, the instrument, with the cause, all unite to justify the step about to be taken ; hurried on amidst a “ horror of great darkness,' and goaded by “the weapons” that are formed, foreboding all the evil that a guilty conscience can conceive ; the legions of darkness uniting to give their yell of triumph at what they now feel assured will be the end ; but to their dire confusion, and the everlasting joy of their poor victim,
“ the weapon” falls short, the trembling soul hears the voice of One who draws nigh, and in gentle accents calls upon him to “do himself no harm.” And how may we follow up the same in all the stages of our pilgrimage, in which we are brought to realize what is our heritage as the servants of the Lord. Do not overlook it ; to be entitled to this heritage, we must be the Lord's servants ; brought out from the servitude of our old master, and made to serve in newness of life ; being " born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Who, having named the name of Christ
, departs from iniquity, though feeling iniquity dwells in him “whose conversation is in heaven," while carrying about with him a body of sin and death ; who, having received a kingdom which cannot be removed, asks grace whereby he may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear ; to all such the heritage belongs, and against such no weapon förmed shall prosper ; and to whom power shall be given to condemn every tongue that riseth up in judgment.
THE LORD'S GOODNESS TO HIS PEOPLE. Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the
sons of men !-Ps. xxxi. 19. How shall I begin, and where shall I end, in speaking of this goodness of the Lord to guilty, unworthy sinners ? How great, infinite, eternal, vast-inconceivably vast, great-unutterably great! Say, ye angels that excel in strength, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure (Ps. ciii. 20, 21); say, ye glorified spirits that surround the throne of God (Rev. v. 8, 9), and ye on earth who have tasted that the Lord is good (Ps. xxxiv. 8)-say what is concealed beneath that little word
An eternity will not be too long to unfold its mysterious depths.
This good is eternal in its origin and sense. It was laid up and ever has laid up in the heart of him, who is from everlasting to everlasting, God (Ps. xc. 2). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ : according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. i. 2, 3), is the testimony of the Infallible Witness. God the Father set up the Son of his love from everlasting (Pro. viii. 23), as the head of his chosen, and the grand treasury of all spiritual and eternal blessings (Col. i. 19), and through whom, and by whom, all the joy, peace, and glory of the church were to flow (Rom. xi. 36); which blessings were in due time to be revealed to the whole election of grace (Col. i. 26, 27), the predestinated sons of adoption (Eph. i. 5) and glory, by the Holy Ghost, whose prerogative and province it is to take of the things of Christ and to show them unto us, testifying and glorifying of him (John, xvi. 14, 15), who is All and in all (Col. iii. 11). Thus the eternal mind and purposes of love are carried out (Eph. i. 9), the secrets of Jehovah's heart are made known to them that fear him (Ps. xxv. 14); for as it was with Moses when he asked him to show him his glory, he said, " I will cause my goodness to pass before you” (Ex. xxxiii. 18, 19), the Lord is good (Ps. cvi. 1) and doeth good, and his goodness, like himself
, endureth continually (Ps. lii. 1). He is immutably good, and independently good, as these Scriptures do testify. Who shall say how great, since it extended to the unworthy writer, the very chief of sinners? Its greatness is as the Lord, whose name is good which is unsearchable (Job, xi. 7). Boundless, fathomless, and imcomprehensible. Who shall guage the heart of the infinite I AM, or fathom the depths of his everlasting ways (Hab. iii. 16). “Herein is love, not that we loved him, but God loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our · sins" (1. John, iv. 10). “God commendeth his love unto us, that whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. v. 8). Yea, while we were yet unborn, that his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began, according to election, might stand, not
of works, but of him that calleth, he said, “ Jacob have I loved” (Rom. ix. 11-13). Moreover, how great was his goodness when, in our days of unregeneracy, our profaneness and folly, we were tempting God in the desert (Ps. cvi. 14); yea, were running upon the thick busses of his buckler (Job, xvi. 2), and ignorantly straining every nerve to draw down the indignation and wrath of God. Then it was he watched over us, and said to our lusts and pride, “Hitherto shalt thou go and no farther ; here shall thy proud waves be stayed” (Job, xxxviii. 11). Were we not preserved in Christ Jesus (Jude, 1)? Had he not set a hedge about us (Job, i. 10) ? Surely he had; even then we were dear to him as the apple of his eye (Deut. xxxii. 10); though heedless and rash ourselves, and unknown and disregarded by the saints of light. Peradventure with uplifted hand and outstretched arm, we had defied the Most High ; and had daringly said in our hearts, who is the Alınighty that we should serve him (Job, xxi. 15)? How great indeed is his goodness! But the time of love came on, and Jesus passed by and bid us live (Eze. xvi. 6—8); and after convincing us of sin, the Spirit the Comforter carried on his work of goodness in lifting up Christ to our soul's view (John, x. 8—14); in unveiling the heretofore hidden glories of Emmanuel in something of their transcendent lustre. Now a prospect is seen gradually to arise upon the mind unthought of before, unsought, unconceived -- it brightens as it widens. It is Jesus the Sun of Righteousness, bursting forth in glory and heavenly majesty (Ps. cxlv. 12).
At the discovery of Jesus to the chief of sinners, who can tell how sweet the goodness of the Lord ? His long-suffering with our manners in the wilderness (Acts, xiii. 18); his boundless compassion, his wondrous love, his matchless grace, his wisdom, power, and faithfulness--all, all attract, allure, and charm; and he exclaims, under the melting influence of his goodness and an adoring sense of his love, “ Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy" (Mich. vii. 18; and Ps. Ixxvij. 38). None but those that have felt it can form any adequate idea of the feelings of those favoured with the love of God, shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost (Rom. v. 5), especially in the days of their espousals, (Jer. ii. 2); to have forgiveness of sins revealed to them, through the blood-shedding of Jesus (Eph. i. 7), just at the time they feel they merit and are daily expecting damnation, is enough, and does melt the soul under a sense of such an inconceivable and unmerited display of the goodness and love of God. How marvellously does the goodness of the Lord discover itself during our pilgrimage state, in giving us grace sufficient (2 Cor. xii. 9) and strength for the day (Deut. xxxiii
. 25), in the midst of much discouragement by the way (Num. xxi. 14); many combats arising from the unceasing attacks of untiring and malicious foes. How many times are we helped with a little help (Dan. xi. 34), and comforted in our sorrow (Isa. li. 12). Our paths compassed with songs of and troubled on every side (2 Cor. iv. 8). When in the flame of per