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withstanding all the threatenings of the Jews and Romans to check its progress.
Those persecutions which scattered the disciples abroad, tended only to widen their field of labour; for they went every where, preaching the word.
The sacred fire, thus dispersed by the rude hand of violence, multiplied itself in proportion to its dispersion. Hence it became proverbial, that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. 66 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” Even its enemies wondered whereunto all this would grow.
Whilst the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against the Lord and against his Christ ; the Almighty Sovereign of the universe proclaimed: “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
Jesus by his resurrection was declared to be the Son of God with power, and “ of the increase of his kingdom and government, there shall be no end." “ The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.”
Two blessed periods are therefore fast approaching, the anticipation of which, filled the ancient prophets and apostles with holy transport.
The one, when the church shall arise and shine in her millenial glory; when she shall put on her beautiful garments, and become the joy and praise of the whole earth.
The other, when in the perfection of beauty, she shall be presented as a chaste virgin to Christ the heavenly Bridegroom, and being clothed with his righteousness, shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of glory for ever and ever.
0! my soul, rejoice in this great salvation. Lord, grant unto thy unworthy servant, a portion of this felicity. Make me even now a living member of thy mystical body, poor in spirit, and pure in heart,
patiently enduring every trial, daily exercising faith in thy truth and mercy, adoring thy sovereignty; admiring thy power; and rejoicing in the perpetuity of that grace which lives in all thy faithful people, and preserves them unto thy eternal kingdom and glory.
Let my whole heart praise thee, thou God of my salvation. Let my whole life be consecrated unto thee. The work, O! Lord, is thine. Thou alone canst new-create the soul. Perform this act of grace, this miracle of mercy for thy own glory and to thy everlasting praise. Amen and Amen.
O! come, ye servants of the Lord,
Whose will is your delight;
While heart and tongue unite.
Strike up your harps, and sweetly sing
Of Jesu's lovely name;
His endless praise proclaim.
Declare what wonders he hath done,
Make all his glories known;
The Priest upon his throne.
Sing of his rich and sov'reign grace
Transcendent and divine ;
From misery and sin.
He died for us he made our peace ;
He pleads our cause on high,
Hosannahs never die !
May each revolving year inflame
Our zeal, delight, and love;
0! come, ye servants of the Lord,
His endless praise proclaim:
For “worthy is the Lamb.”
LX. ON FAITH.
The heart of man is like a weight, whose natural bias is downward. Nothing but a power independent of itself, can cause it to ascend heavenward. The attraction of gravitation is not more powerful in its effects on the various parts of the universe, than is the debasing force of natural corruption in the heart of fallen man.
There is however a counteracting principle-an attracting influence which can draw the soul from earth to heaven, and unite it to the blessed God.
This principle is Faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God; because, till we truly believe in Jesus, we are in a state of guilt and condemnation.
True faith is not a mere passive impression; or an inoperative notion. It is a holy principle wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, producing gracious habits, holy affections, filial reverence and obedience.
Faith is seated in the heart; influencing and purifying the whole inner man.
Faith unites the soul to Christ, as the branch to the vine.
It draws virtue from him, whereby the believer is rendered fruitful in every good work. The sweet fruits of the Spirit appear and abound in rich luxuriancy on these favoured branches to the glory of God.
Faith places the soul upon Christ, as the only Foundation, on which it is built up a holy temple unto the Lord, unhurt by all the winds and storms which beat upon it.
Faith feeds upon Christ continually, as the true bread which came down from heaven, of which whosoever eateth, shall live for ever.
Faith works by love to God, his people, and his word. It evidences its vitality by its fruits.
Faith purifies the heart from sin, waging war against all internal and external evil.
Faith overcomes the world, both when it smiles and when it frowns.
Faith views the glorious land of promise as its own; and triumphs over all intervening difficulties and dangers which bestrew its path to Zion.
Faith makes the believer confident yet watchful; bold yet cautious; aspiring yet humble.
He is confident, since the promises of God are kindly given him to rest upon ;-watchful, since he feels the deceitfulness of his rebellious heart;-bold, since the honour of the Saviour demands his confession ;--cautious, lest he should be only gratifying a vain-glorious spirit;-aspiring after that honour which cometh from God only, yet, humble, since he remembers his own vileness and utter unworthiness of the least of the divine mercies.
If it be asked, how can faith effect such wonders ? The reply is, because faith is the gift of God, and the power of God.
The believer, abiding in Christ and deriving continual supplies of grace and strength out of his fulness; becomes mighty through this power which worketh in him mightily:
He is strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life. Weak and helpless in himself, he is strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus his Lord; and finally obtains the palm of victory through the blood of the Lamb. Thus faith in Christ at once gives peace to the conscience, and leads it to all true holiness; for when peace is imparted to the conscience, purity is produced in the heart.
Such is the faith of God's elect; a faith which is according to godliness. That system of religion must be awfully defective, which would dare to lower the standard of holiness under the false, I would say, impious notion of thereby exalting the grace of God. Because Christ is a Saviour, shall we make him the minister of sin ? Because God is merciful, must he therefore be unjust? He, who is glorious in holiness, cannot save sinners in their sins, or admit them into his kingdom, whilst sin has the dominion over them; it is impossible. The whole of divine Revelation, yea, the very plan of the Gospel is designed to preserve unsullied the infinite perfections of Jehovah; whilst the vilest of sinners are saved from hell, and made, through grace, to reflect the divine image, in all the beauties of holiness, righteousness, and truth.
None are saved by Christ, but those who are saved from their sins. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.
The apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, says: “if there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Gal. iii. 21.)
This declaration is most important. If God could have given a law less spiritual in its requirements, and less awful in its sanctions; if he could have given à law, lowered in its standard, and yet compatible with his infinite holiness and man's truest happiness; then life might have been attained by such a law.
But as this, in the very nature of things, is impossible; as God cannot, from the absolute perfection of his nature, command less than infinite holiness approves, or less than infinite justice demands : as