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THE GOSPEL MAGAZINE. spirits, upon his departure. Hence he kindly said, “ I will not leave you coinfortless, I will not leave you orphans; I will come again to you ; I know you will be afflicted, tried, dejected, and exposed as poor fatherless children, but I will come again to you." A poor backslider, who has been convinced of his folly and feels the evil of his ways, the guilt of his conscience in sinning against light, love, and mercy, scarcely daring to call God his father any more, and yet driven out of all hope and help in himself, from all lying refuges and false confidences; yet, returning in desire, confession and prayer, to the God against whom he has rebelled; but, owing to the distress of his mind, he is called the fatherless ; Satan, the father of lies, is not the father of such characters as these ; and yet such persons, for want of more power in their faith, are afraid to cry, Abba, Father. This is more than inti: mated in the text and its connection; and concerning such the Lord is graciously set forth as saying, “ How shall I put thee amongst the children, how shall I give thee a goodly heritage amongst the nations ? Thou shalt call me thy father, and shalt not depart from me.” The prophet in the book of the Lamentations, is described as personating the afflicted church in Babylon : " We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows.” In every sense this was true, their fathers were cut off by the sword, famine, or pestilence; in a civil sense their king was taken from them, and in a religious sense God had apparently forsook them for their sins. In these and in several other senses this character is described, and surely we can never sufficiently admire the condescension of him who is stiled the father of the fatherless, and the husband of the widow, even God in his holy habitation, which is Christ, in taking such notice of the children of woe, hence the charge to the Hebrews, “ Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child.” They were to be regarded with more than ordinary attention, provided for amongst their own people, and their cause was always to be attended to without fee or reward. And thus, in every sense we are led to admire the lovely, pleasing and consoling character of the God of all mercy, and say in the language of the Psalmist, “ Thou art the helper of the fatherless." As a God of providence he supplies, supports, and defends; and as the God of all grace he will visit, cheer, bless, sanctify, and will never leave nor forsake them. This has ever been his conduct and delight.
This is the pure religion so perfectly shewn in the conduct of the dear Redeemer, to visit the widows and the fatherless in their afflictions; and as our true spiritual Job, he has ever delivered the poor when he cried, the fatherless and him that had no helper. The blessing of him that was ready to perish will ever be on him, and all the glory of his goodness and grace be given unto him in earth by all his redeemed, and by the glorified throng in heaven, because in him the fatherless have found mercy be foré they were able to seek it, and after they have been convinced of their need of it, and sought for pardon, peace, and favor, for belp, light, strength and comfort, for support and deliverance sought and found. All the mercies we need are in the hands of Jesus; to hiin we go, to bim we look, and from him, as God-man mediator, the head of the Church, the Saviour of the body, and the heir of all things, we receive the supply of all our needs ; none ever sought his favour in vain, from a feeling sense of need, nor never will, while he is the everlasting Father, the mighty God, and the Prince of Peace. Moses, the brightest character in the Old Testament history, was hid by his parents three months, 'rill it was impossible to conceal him any longer. The decree was gone forth from the cruel tyrant, that all the Hebrew male children were to be destroyed. The Lord directed his affectionate parent how to act. No doubt, at times, as fears prevailed, the distress was great, for
A mother's sorrows cannot be conceived but by a mother ;
But as she had kept him by faith for three months, she must now, by the same faith, give him up to the will of his God, and commit hiin into his hands. No doubt the wrath of Pharoah, and the danger of the crocodile alternately affected her heart in the scheme she had invented. Perhaps weeping and praying, while her hands twisted the reeds together, in forming the little ark. What must have been her feelings, when laying the beautiful babe amongst the flags ; in this frail cradle of bulrushes, exposed to the greedy waves and frightful monsters that harboured amongst the rusbes? But we know the event. I would just refer to Nathaniel, to whom the Saviour pointed and said, “ Behold an Israelite indeed! When thou wast under the fig tree I saw thee.” It is supposed that his mother hid him under a fig tree, when Herod issued out his bloody edict to murder all the babes in the town of Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, in order to massacre the dear Redeemer. Under this fig tree the Lord kept his eye and his heart upon him, till he brought him to an acquaintance with himself, and employed bim in his public service. No doubt the passage has another meaning besides this. The whole election of grace were chosen in Christ Jesus, as the fruit of everlasting love ; they are preserved in him as a jewel in a rock of adamaut, till called, and who can possibly conceive what they are preserved from till that period, and until eternal glory bursts forth upon their astonished minds? The dangers, perils, risks, exposures to death, temptations, and calamities, either by land or by sea ; yet infinite power and divine faithtuiness will never leave the objects of eternal mercy, till God's purposes and designs of grace are all fully accomplished.
VOL. IV.-No. 11.
The remnant in Jesus that's blest,
Whom God from eternity chose ;
Though earth, hell, and sin may oppose,
When all in the chorus shall join !
With shoutings and triumphs divine. “ Westminster.
CARIST THE BELIEVER'S EXAMPLE.
Christ, as King of Zion, is a rule of obedience unto all his subjects, and calls them to imitate him ; for, “ though he was a Son, yet be learned obedience, by the things that he suffered." And he says to his subjects, « Learn of me, for I am meek and and lowly : take my yoke upon you." He has left us an example that we should follow his steps; and accordingly every true subject of Christ he tries to imitate his King, to run his race, “Look. ing unto Jesus:" This is the believer's rule of life.
Add to this, Christ in his invisible kingdom, actuates and excites all his subjects to obedience to him, by his own Spirit, which he puts within them according to that promise, “I will put my Spirit within them, and cause them to walk in my statutes :" and by this Spirit of his in them, he makes them to study holiness in all manner of conversation, and their “light is made to shine so before men, that others seeing their good works, are made to glorify their Father which is in heaven." Is not this true obedience?.
· Thus Christ meekens the heart of his people to a due regard to all the intimations of his mind and will, so as every one of us is ready to say, “ Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" They wait with submission, like a servant waiting the commands of his master, and then he gives direction, according to that promise, “ 'The meek will he guide in judgement, the meek will he teach his way.”
But then Christ corrects and chastens bis subjects: “ for “ if we be without correction, whereof all are partakers, then are we bastards and not sons." Christ will often leave the wicked to themselves, while he will severely correct his own subjects: “ You only have I known of all ihe families of the earlh ; and therefore I will punish you for your revoltings." Sometimes by his rods and corrections, he will make their bodies sipart with sickness, as in the case of Hezekiah. Sometimes he will make them to smart in their worldly substance, by reducing them to poverty, as you see in Job, whose substance he gave over unto the Sabean and Chaldean robbers. Then again he will make them to smart in their reJarjons, friends, and children, by taking away the desire of their eyes with a stroke, or other things that are sharper than death. + Sometimes he will make them to smart in their name, by reproach and calumny, and letting loose the tongues of a wicked world upon them, yea, even the tongnes of their own kindred, as in the case of Job and his friends. Then again he will correct his subjects in their inner man, their soul, which is the sharpest of his rods. Sometimes he wil toro away his face and hide his countenance, and then they are ready to cry with David, “ Thou didst bide thy face, and I was troubled." He will go that length in his correction with his subjects, that he will appear as an enemy, make the arrows of his reproof to “ drink up their spirits," as we see in the case of Job and Heman. And sometimes he corrects them as to make both external and internal trouble, like two seas, to meet upon them, so as " deep calls unto deep :" this we see in the case of Joseph's brethren, and of David, when both “ the sorrows of death and the pains of hell” took hold on him, and then he “ found trouble and sorrow" to some purpose : and the same we see in the case of Jonah, when he shifted the work and service that his Master, called him to, with respect to Ninevah..
As king of his people he commands peace, quiet, comfort, and deliverance, he turns the storm inio a calm, when the wind and tempest of external troubles are blowing so hard, that they threateq no less than death and utter ruin, he comes treading upon the waves of the sea, and says to the winds and waves, Peace, bę still, and immediately there is a great calın." And as for the internal storms of troubles of mind, he quiets these also, by conmanding, or speaking “ peace to them that are afar off," or by lifting up the light of his reconciled countenance on them, whereby he " puts more gladness in their heart, than when corn, wine, and oil, doch abound.” Now, by these, or the like acts of his kingly government, he manages bis invisible kingdom consisting of behievers, until he give the finishing stroke unto the work at death, and then he transports them under a convoy of angels from the church militant, to the church triumphant, where they shall sing a song, in “Giving thanks unto the Father who hath made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;" and chaunt that glorious anthem, “Unio him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his father ; to bim be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
THE PROGRESSIVE WORK OF THE SPIRIT, EXEMPLIFIED IN
GIDEON. “ First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." To trace the wonder working acts of Jehovah, his sovereign power in all his ways; his merciful loving kindness, his forbearance, his faithfulness, towards his people ; is a spiritual privilege, and a blessed means under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, of establishing, strengthening, comforting, warning, and instructing believers, through successive ages : beholding his mighty acts of deliverance in times past, they are animated under trying dispensations; and viewing the weakness of those who are gone before, are warned. and kept from presumptuously trusting to their own strength, Among the variety of characters in the sacred Scriptures, for our contemplation, the progressive work of the Spirit, in christian experience, appears to be more clearly manifested, in the character of Gideon, than any I have been led to reflect upon. David the stripling comes fearlessly forth, at once, to encounter the daring Philistine, in the name of the God of Israel. Abram hesitated not a moment to obey the cominand of the Lord. Moses, when Jehovah just called him by name, instantly said, “Here am I.” The little child Samuel, when he knew that it was the voice of the Lord, attentively and quietly heard the message to Eli, and faith. fully delivered every whit, hiding nothing. Having considered a few traits in the character of Gideon, I would seek the aid of that Spirit, which bas guided the saints of old, has been with the church from the beginning, and will continue with it to the end ; for discernment to write, and power to apply. First, and principally, the progression of his faith. In Judges, chap. vi, ver. 11, Gideon is just mentioned threshing wheat by the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. The address of the angel of the Lord is most striking. "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” We should suppose such an assertion, such an assurance, would have prevented a doubt, or a reply—but Gideon judged by sight, and beholding the ravages of the enemy, and the desolation of the land, could not believe that the Lord was with them.Oh, if the Lord be with us, why is all this befallen us, where be all his iniracles of which our fathers told us, but now the Lord has forsaken us. Notwithstanding Gideon's unbelief, the Lord looked upon bim, and gave a command,“ Go, in this thy might,” and a promise which apparently was sufficient to rouse him to instant obedience, “thou shalt save Israel,” and an appeal seemingly unanswerable, and powerful enough to remove every difficulty, and every doubt, “bave not / sent thee?". But all was unheeded by Gideon, who now, from judging by surrounding circumstances, turns his eyes upon himself, “Oh, my Lord, where shall / save