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The believer must wait the Lord's time for deliverance; “O! Larry thou the Lord's leisure ; be strong and he shall comfort thine heart," is the affectionate advice of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel.
This childlike reliance on the divine goodness tranquillizes the mind in seasons of darkness, perplexity, trial, and temptation. That soul is the most happy, which can the most cheerfully acquiesce in the appointments of infinite wisdom. Murmuring and repining grieve the Holy Spirit. Resignation and contentment produce serenity and sweetness of mind.
Whilst cultivating these important duties, which are brought into daily exercise by the very nature of Christian experience, the mind is kept in peace, holiness is promoted, and God, the author of all good, is glorified
Who then dare say, that the doctrine of grace abounding to the chief of sinners, through a crucified Redeemer, is a doctrine which tendeth to licentiousness ?
As a vitiated stomach may corrupt the most wholesome food; so a wicked heart can turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and, under a most dreadful delusion of Satan, sin that grace may abound. But let not this evil be charged upon
the holy Gospel of Jesus, any more than the disordered frame upon the wholesome food.
The natural and spiritual consequences in both cases are similar. The one, arising from a bad stomach-the other, from a bad heart.
Blessed Jesus! bestow upon me, thy unworthy servant, that realizing faith, that tranquillizing hope, that operative love, which will enable me to know and serve thee more and more, till my
soul shall be made meet for that happy world, where all
sin and sorrow shall flee away; and where perpetual peace and purity shall gladden the redeemed for ever and ever!
What soul can reach the lofty height,
Angels who stand before the throne,
O! for a heart of faith and love,
Blest Spirit ! beautify my soul,
Descend and dwell within my heart ;
XV. ON THE DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL.
What a dreadful change sin hath made in man! His heart, once the abode of peace and every heavenly disposition, is now the cage of every unclean and hateful bird ; a den of wild beasts; a nest of vipers ; a loathsome sepulchre.
How is the gold become dim-how is the fine
gold changed ! In this deplorable condition grace finds us, and from this state of wretchedness grace redeems us!
The glorious design of the Gospel is to throw a lustre around the Godhead, by affording a display to all intelligent beings of those infinite perfections, which harmonize at the cross of Christ; and by this sacred union of mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, to restore fallen man to the favour and image of his Creator.
Holiness is the glory and happiness of man. When he lost his holiness, he lost his happiness. Through the atoning blood of Jesus, we obtain the removal of our guilt; and by the power of the divine Spirit, the renewal of our nature. Being thus made holy, we become, once more happy.
A great spiritual change is effected; no less than a new creation; for if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature.
This then is the will of God, even our sanctification. Hence we find that the Gospel is designed to reveal to us, yea, to put us in possession of the richest blessings; pardon of sin, justification of our persons by faith in Jesus, the renovation of our souls, adoption into the family of God, peace with God, access to God, union with Christ, communion with the Father and the Holy Ghost through him, victory over sin Satan and the world, consolation in trouble, light in darkness, life in death, assurance of future glory, and fruition of bliss in the world to come.
How little is the genuine nature and design of Christianity considered by the generality of professing Christians !
How inadequately is its power felt and its sweetness enjoyed, even by those who sustain the character of believers in Jesus. We live lamentably below 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 !
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 theè, 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 bestow. 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, and prayer ? 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 faith 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 bez 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-,