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"But it shall be for the sending forth of oxen." But doth God take care for oxen? or saith he it altogether for our sakes ? For our sakes, no doubt, is this written. For whose sakes? Even for those members of a church which, having been divinely called, blessed with a true deliverance, and matured in judgment by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, are able to admonish, to exhort, to comfort, to help, to wear the yoke, and to share the burden of government; being in truth young men” in Christ, strong in faith and in the word of God. These are the oxen which, for the time, have made due progress,
have no need of milk, are not unskilful in the word of righteousness, are able to teach others, and have no need that any man teach them, because by reason of use and experience they have had their senses so exercised as to be able to discern good from evil, and not mistake the one for the other; and because “ the holy anointing teacheth them all needful things,” and guideth them into all truth. Such can look back to the time when they went forth from bondage, like calves of the stall, and grew up in green pastures by still waters, under the fostering ray of “the Sun of Right. eousness which shone sweetly upon them till they were, by its healing virtues, nourished and become strong; and then experienced a sad reverse, a blank, a loss of comfort, a death of joyful feeling, a weaning from the breasts of consolation, a hiding of the Lord's countenance, and a reviving of all the old corruptions of a deceitful heart, accompanied with some new and particular temptation, which led them to depend upon sheer faith, and make proper use of it, without the aid of heavenly sensations. Yes, they can look back to the time when the mimic principles of flesh and blood being spiritualized, ran in a holy channel, so that Satan, by them, could well act as an angel of light, and pass himself off for the true Immanuel; but these were all cut down and laid low, and thus separated from the real first-fruits of the Holy Spirit, and detached from the principles of the new man, and they became a distinct army, full of determined hostility to all that is truly good; so that now two sorts of people in one family, two laws in one house, and two spirits in one person, is no puzzling riddle to them, for they well know what it is to have a law in the members warring against the law of the mind, and bringing the soul into captivity to the law of sin and death. These, then, are they that are to be sent forth now as occasion shall require and prudence direct; but how much more gloriously when the whole army of “hidden ones shall be called forth from their retreat to divide the spoil in the battle of the great day.
“ The treading of lesser cattle." Lambs and sheep, kids and calves, both spotted and ringstraked, are all special objects of the Redeemer's care, and he will have his husbandmen to look well to these weaker ones; and he has charged them to feed his lambs, to comfort the feeble-minded, to strengthen the weak, to confirm the feeble knees, and to make straight paths for their feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. If a brier be in their way, it must be cut down ; if a bramble, it must be rooted up; if a stumbling-block, it must be removed ; and if a wolf cometh, he must be withstood and driven away. Let us then, my dear brethren, be jealous with a godly jealousy over our “ lesser cattle ;" knowing that for the defence and comfort of these are we set upon the little hills which we occupy. Let us guard them against the specious subtleties of the Plymouth Brethren; shield them from the attacks of Puseyism; show them the Phariseeism of the Independents, the blasphemy of Arminianism, the drag-net of Totalism, and the all-absorbing, and the universally-encroaching system of Popery; that they may be kept pure from the errors of the day. Let us teach them the signs of the times, the prospects of the future; and, especially the vast importance of an experimental entrance into that city of refuge, whose doors are yet upen to receive every fleeing unwitting murderer. Finally, my beloved fellow-labourers, let us give all diligence to nourish these, knowing that these oxen and lesser cattle alone shall be a comfort to us in the hour of temptation ; for, while the empty professor, shall fall from us by the reception of an evil spirit, the fly and the bee shall not rest upon the cattle of the Lord. May we, therefore, be enabled to feed them with clean provender, unadulterated truth; and to know that, “ Blessed are ail they who sow beside all waters, and that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.
THE PORTION WHICH BELIEVERS HAVE IN THE
In treating of this point I shall show
I. What is the saint's portion in the Redeemer.
To begin with the first-viz., What is the saint's portion in the Redeemer.
1. They have a portion of wisdom which can never be exhausted. It is by the communication of this that they are enabled to demean themselves wisely in their day and generation. This wisdom is good and pleasant; for, when a man is brought by affliction, sorrow, and darkness to his wit's end, it will be his guide and director, and he shall know how to think and behave in a becoming manner; he shall understand what others are ignorant of; he shall know the lovingkindness of the Lord, the secrets of his covenant, and the riches of his early grace; and walk in the comforts of it. His portion in the Redeemer makes him wise unto salvation ; and the Apostle saith that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ; unknown treasures, for they are hid: so that, believer, your portion in your Redeemer, in the great and high degrees of it, is yet to come ; for, when thou comest to glory, thy portion shall be opened to thee, and there shall be poured into thy soul such measures of wisdom, that thou shalt see and know things which could never have been understood without this wisdom. And at present, under all our follies, this wisdom is our portion. Our God now beholds us wise in this wisdom; for the Redeemer is of God made unto us wisdom to cover our foolishness, as well as to direct us in our Christian course. Believer, it is possible that thou canst not account for many of the dispensations of divine Providence at present, but by and by, when thy portion is paid, thou shalt account for them all.
2. Believers have in their Redeemer a portion of strength; and they can say that the Lord is their rock and strong tower, their refuge and strength in time of trouble. They have in him strength sufficient to bear all the burdens which in this life he is pleased to lay upon them. 56 Ah !” saith the soul, “ I have in him daily strength for daily trials; and I find that in waiting upon him my strength, according to his promise, is renewed, so that my portion of strength in Christ is handed out to me in proportion to my wants. Oh! blessed be his name, I have found his word to be true from my own comfortable experience ; for, according to my day, so hath my strength been. Strength to perform the duties of religion with delight, and strength, when I have done, to live al them; strength to trust my God for time and for eternity, and to live upon my dear Redeemer's fulness above all outside religion, and the pleasures of this life; strength to carry me to my dying bed with peace, and to conduct me with joy through the dark valley of the shadow of death. The staff or strength of Christ is my
support in this gloomy vale; for the word of the Lord in his promises is strength to the upright, in which the righteous shall walk, and all the glory of their strength stands only in the Redeemer.”
Believer, perhaps at present thy portion is not in this measure handed out to thee, yet thou hast it; it is thine ; and thou shalt have as much of it in this world as shall be sufficient to bring thee safe to glory, though thou mayst not have so much as to make all thy way thither joyful; but, upon thy arrival there, thou shalt have strength enough from Christ thy Head to enable thee to perform all the services of that blissful state without weariness or fainting to eternity.
3. Believers have in their Redeemer a portion of holiness or sanctification. The communications of it at present are but short and scanty ; indeed, we have a small part of our portion of holiness from the Redeemer, but it is not all our portion, for it is only a pledge or earnest of what we are to have when we come to full age. We are often mourning under a sense of our want of a greater measure of inherent holiness ; bewail our leanness and deformity; and pray for an alteration : but this is our glory under all our straits, that we have as much holiness in a Redeemer as will qualify us not only for the company of angels, but for dwelling in the presence of God; for the believer, when his portion of holiness in Christ is paid him, will be pure even as Christ is pure; holy as he is holy. This is such a holiness as legalists never can attain to by all their doings; for all their pretended holiness is nothing else but a sort of spiritual wickedness, because it leads from the Redeemer's righteousness; but this holiness always leads to it, And that Christ hath in him a portion of holiness to and for his people, is evident from Scripture; for he is of God made unto us sanctification; and in the purity that fills his human nature, as it shall be communicated to us, we shall stand before God for ever.
Oh! how sweet and pleasant will this happy day be, when our portion shall be fully given us, and the old man turned out of house and home for ever! Then shall we be filled with the perfection of holiness, and never more have any desires to the creature; for all our delight shall be in the Lord. We shall never be troubled with an unbelieving heart; no darkness shall remain in our understandings; no rebellion in our wills; 10. inclination in the affections but towards our God in the Redeemer; no error in judgment, nor guilt in our consciences for ever. This blessed state admits of no fears, it being a state of perfect love; there our portion of holiness will be fully paid us, and we shall be made like unto the Son of God.
4. Believers have in their Redeemer a portion of all necessary grace, in order to their meetness for glory, and their conduct through this world. When believers examine themselves, they find that their measure of grace is small; tut that which supports them is, that they have a sufficiency in their Redeemer, who will, in a way of faithfulness, hand out to them all they want; and their faith is founded upon the promises of grace, that they shall have faith enough to carry them through all their difficulties, bear them up under all their sorrows, and make their way easy to the world of bliss; and when they are under strong temptations, and are ready to sink in deep waters then they find a supply from their Redeemer and Guardian which enables them to keep their standing. It is the repeated experience of this that encourages them to rest in their full portion ; ior in Christ there is faith enough, and of every kind; and this is their glory, that in their Redeemer they have a faith of adherence, of reliance, and assurance. They are satisfied that every act of faith which they are to put forth is already in Christ Jesus their Lord, and shall be given to them by the Holy Ghost; they can see that all salvation work is done in God, and is finished as to their right to glory, and what remains is only to be done in them by grace of a divine operation, and all that grace is ready for them in their Redeemer, and shall be made theirs inherently. It is true they feel but little within, and if they had no more without, they would have no foundation for comfort-all hopes of joy and bliss would vanish and disappear. Oh, how miserable must they be who have no more grace than what they have within! If this was all their portion, they would presently come to poverty and an everlasting jail ; but they can bless God for ever, that their portion is in their Redeemer, and not in themselves. They see in all their contracted love to Christ and his people, that they have in him such a spring of love as can never be exhausted, and can, under the manifestations of this love to their souls, go forth in strongest passions of love to him and the saints; they can look upon Christ as the most delightful and most glorious object, and the saints as the most excellent of the earth. But, alas ! their love soon flags both to Christ and to his people; a coldness overtakes them, and they become indifferent. Now, this is all their glory—that they have in, and shall have from, their Redeemer, such a measure of love as will admit of no abatement, but be always perfect, strong, and vigorous. But this will be in heaven-not before. "Oh, blessed portion of love in Jesus-blessed, may we all say, be our God for ever and ever! who will fill his people with as much love as shall redound to his own glory, the honour of Christ, the praise of the Holy Ghost, and the comfort and good of their own and others' souls whilst in this world ; so that in the Redeemer they have all joy in the Lord as the rock of their salvation. But, alas ! their joys are like their other graces, often gone, or else very low; and if their present joys, which are intermixed with so many sorrows and troubles, were all their portion, what unhappy persons would they be, for they are generally despised in the world and undeservedly reproached. Now, if they had not before them greater joys in view, they would be of all men most miserable; but this is the matter of their satisfaction, that they have greater joys in their Redeemer, which they shall partake of beyond the grave, in a world of perfect bliss, where they shall delight themselves for ever in their God; and it affords joy to them now, through the great and gracious hand of God upon them, that they are not left to go on without their joys in the Lord, for their joy in him hath been strength to their souls, and they have been made to sing upon their high places.
Their joys fill their souls with earnest longings to be in the perfection of joy and pleasure of God's right hand; they want the whole of their portion at once, and desire to depart to the realms of blessedness, where is the fulness of their portion ; so that at certain times their joys have been made to abound. Well, blessed be the Lord that all their joys are safe in their Redeemer, for he was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and for his fellows his chosen and redeemed ones.
LETTER FROM THE LATE REV. EDWARD GOLDSMITH TO HIS SECOND DAUGHTER AND HER HUSBAND, ON THEIR MARRIAGE.
MY DEAR CHILDREN,
The important change you have lately made has been a loud call on me for a letter, on the deeply interesting subject. Among the causes which have kept my pen dormant of late, the principal one is bodily infirmity; my weakness is such as (though well in health) to render writing and every other exercise extremely burdensome. However, I cannot refrain from attempting to convey a few words expressive of my strong parental affection for you both, and my deep concern for your happiness and welfare.
You are, my dear children, brought by the unerring wisdom of our Heavenly Father into that honourable
state, the sweets and bitters of which you are called mutually to share. As the marriage union has brought you under indispensable obligations to each other, as man and wife; so, I trust, in the enjoynient of your eternal union to the Heavenly Bridegroom, you will find constant inducements to discharge those obligations with fidelity. The state in which you are now placed, is capable of affording the sweetest felicities this changeful world will allow ; for domestic peace and conjugal affection surpass, in an eminent degree, all the pleasures that are elsewhere to be found. The path you have entered, and are to travel in through life, will doubless open many unexpected scenes to view, both of joy and sorrow. My earnest prayer for you is, that in all your joys you may have grace to be humble, and thankful to the Divine Author of your mercies; and in all your sorrows find strength to bear with patience the most righteous will of your Heavenly Father.
You are, I trust, through sovereign grace, both feelingly taught to own the helplessness, depravity, and ruin of our poor fallen nature ; therefore need not be told that all good must be found in our most precious Lord Jesus. It is very blessed to know so much of ourselves and Christ; but this is very far below the summit of the true believer's privileges. Many have this knowledge who continually fear for their safety, because they do not know Christ as Christ; they do not understand the work of the Holy Ghost within them, is God's witness of their interest in Christ and union to Him. Hence they live on their comforts; and when these are lost, they are ready to suppose Christ is lost too. At such seasons, the cares of life, with the corruptions of the flesh, and the vile temptations of Satan, make sad havoc in the feelings of those who have a scriptural warrant to rejoice and be glad: this you may frequently notice among the dear followers of the Lamb.
Now, my beloved children, you have the frowns of the world to endure, and the smiles of the world to withstand ; you have the power and policy of hell opposed to you, and you have the unbelief and rebellion of the heart to contend against continually. These may often wound your peace for a time-perhaps, destroy it for a moment, but ever remember they have no power over your best interests; the precious jewel, “ life in Christ,” is out of their reach and out of their sight! On this sweet truth I would have your minds exercised constantly, and your faith fixed firmly. If you are not in the full enjoyment of it, search the Scriptures ; and they, by the teaching of the Spirit, will furnish you with plenty of instruction on the subject, to fill your souls with spiritual knowledge and holy triumph. Remember, all your comforts must flow from the fulness of Christ, but all your stability must be found in what Christ is to you. The union of Christ to you is your eternal safety, while the fulness of Christ supplies your every need.
May the Lord the Holy Ghost establish your minds in these truths ; then, through all the vicissitudes incident to Zion-travellers in this vale of woe, you will have both a ground of security and a source of comfort ; seeing that in Christ you have all things richly to enjoy. Perhaps I cannot end this short epistle, written in unfeigned love and much debility, better than by expressing my earnest prayer that the Lord the Spirit may incline and enable you continually to be looking unto Jesus !
Be assured that I am, with all the affection of a parent, my dear children, Ramsgate.