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clothed with humility, but more especially the matured Christian. In heaven, the angels veil their faces with their wings.* In heaven, the saints cast their crowns before the throne.t
Blessed Lord ! give me the spirit of a little child. Let me never reject thy counsel, nor rebel against thy sovereignty. Clothe me with humility, fill me with love. Teach me to do thy will. What I cannot comprehend, give me grace to believe. It is enough that Thou hast said it. Enable me daily to repose my soul on thy promises. I know that all good comes from thee; all evil from myself. Thou art the source of true felicity, the fountain of living waters; in the fulness of thy grace thou hast invited me to come,
stake the water of life freely.”I Lord, I come at thy command, and by thy power; O save me for thy mercy's sake.
Without attempting to explain and make clear the deep, yet holy decrees of the Almighty, or to reconcile by human arguments those truths which, however apparently at variance, are in perfect unison with each other, let us rather study the divine word as a practical book, showing us what we must believe and do, in order to obtain eternal life. The wisdom of God is not confined within the narrow limits of our contracted conceptions, no more than his creation is contained within the circle of our powers of vision. All the sublime revelations of Jehovah throw a glory around his justice, holiness, and love. All his perfections blend and harmonise at the Cross of Christ. The blessings of redemption are promised by the Father, purchased by the Son, and bestowed through the Holy Ghost. All proceed from the unmerited, sovereign grace of the Triune Jehovah. Sinners lying under the curse of a broken law, and bound by the chain of a will at enmity with God, are now redeemed and restored to the image of God, and a child-like obedience to his will.|| Isa. vi. 2.
+ Rev. iv. 10. # Rev. xxii. 17. || Eph. iv, 23, 24; Col. iii. 10.
If our hearts have been humbled, if we have been brought under a consciousness of guilt and misery to the foot of the Cross, if we have been led to renounce our own fancied righteousness, and, if we have been enabled to lay hold upon
Christ as our Saviour, as our Advocate with the Father, as our only hope of glory; and if, in consequence of this apprehension of Christ by faith, we feel our hearts drawn to him in love, choosing him as our portion, and walking in him as our way, in opposition to all worldly portions and
ways, not fearing his reproach, but glorying in the Cross :-then we have discovered the source of true happiness, then we possess that inward witness of which St. John speaks ;* that testimony of the conscience, and that witnessing of the Spirit with our spirit, of which St. Paul speaks ;+ and that manifestation of Christ to our hearts, of which He himself speaks to his disciples. Then we may look back to our election in Christ,and forwards to our being with him in glory. || Where is boasting? It is excluded. Where is license to sin ? It is for ever banished from this holy ground, where proud reason must put off her shoes from off her
Here nothing can stand, but what is humble. Here none can walk, but the redeemed of the Lord. Holiness and humility flow from the electing love of God, not from the natural working of the heart. God alone shall be exalted, who alone is to be adored. Woe is to that rebellious worm who shall dare to tear the laurels from the Saviour's brow, and place them on his own. Man fell through pride. He is saved through humility, for "Christ will sooner abdicate his own, Than stoop from heaven to give the proud a throne.”
O! gracious Saviour, may I ever look to thee in a spirit of humility, follow thee in a spirit of
* 1 John v. 10. + Rom. viii. 16. * John xiv. 21. § Eph. i. 3, 4. | John xvii. 24.
** Exod. iii. 5.
humility, and seek to glorify thee by a spirit of humility. Preserve me from the pride of reason, and the pride of works. Empty me of self, and replenish me out of the fulness of thy love. Direct me aright through the mazes of this erring world. Suffer me not to lose, through supineness or unbelief, the pleasures of heavenly wisdom. Shine upon my soul, and increase my trust in thee, while passing through this contentious, sinful region, to thy abode of glory.
What can more conduce to the happiness of the soul than to know that we are the Lord's. This knowledge, blessed be God, is not unattainable; it is a knowledge essential to our peace. Some may call it presumptuous, but so did not St. John, or he would not have said, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Again he wrote: “Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”+ Oh! happy experience.
The Spirit's witness does not consist in mere rapturous feelings, ecstacies, and impulses, which are often the offspring of a heated imagination, strong passions, and enthusiastic emotions; but it consists in those filial dispositions of love, and fear, and reverence, which are accompanied with joy and peace in believing, and cause the happy believer to abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. O! that this may be my blessed experience! St. Paul, who enjoyed this precious witness, declares, that “experience worketh hope;.....because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.”8 We cannot, therefore, have a well-grounded hope of glory, through the righteousness of Christ, if we have not the inward experience of the love of God in our souls, which is the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry, “ Abba Father," and * 1 John v. 13. + 1 John iii. 24. #Rom. xv. 13.
g Rom. v. 4,
to draw near unto God in Christ, as the Father of mercies, yea, as our Father, and the God of all consolation. In this way, the Spirit witnesseth with our spirits that we are the children of God, by filling us with love to God, and transforming us into the image of God; that, being made his children by adoption and grace, we may bear a resemblance to our heavenly Father in righteousness and true holiness.
The religion of Jesus is a religion of love, from its promulgation to its consummation. God is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love. The work of Christ is love. Oh! that I may live under the constraining influence of love,
“ This is the grace which lives and sings,
When faith and hope shall cease,
In the sweet realms of bliss.”
The more we possess of this grace, the more we shall resemble God the Father, Son, and Spirit; the more we shall enjoy of heaven in our own souls; the more we shall create a little heaven around us ; and the more we shall be fitted for that
world, where love reigns eternal in every redeemed, in every angel's breast.
Oh! happy state! the work of sovereign grace. Compared with this blessedness, how beclouded are the prospects, how unsatisfying the pleasures and pursuits of a fallen world. True wisdom is the only source of true felicity.
To cultivate these views and feelings, these principles and affections, is far better than to spend our time in vain researches after those things which the human mind can never fathom ; or to spend our breath in disputations which can yield no profit.
A pious and humble search after truth, a holy contemplation and discourse upon the sublimities of Christian doctrine; a reverential meditation on the deep things of God, into which even angels desire to look, is not forbidden. But a disputatious spirit, a love of controversy, a war of words, a desire of victory, a pertinacity in maintaining our own opinions, a readiness to unchristianise those who differ from us, betrays an unhumbled, an unsanctified heart. Such a spirit' engenders strife, sows discord, divides the church of Christ, fosters vain-glory, and, like a nipping frost, checks the growth of the heavenly plant, and destroys those brotherly affections which characterise the children of God.
To contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, is a Christian duty, * but we must contend in a spirit of love. The revelation of the divine will was not made to promote our natural love of curiosity, but to show us our state and our duty, and to bring us, through the operation of the Spirit, to a child-like conformity to this revealed will. Our blessed Lord evidently proves this, when he says:“ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father : for so it seemed good in thy sight.”+ The worldly-wise are suffered to remain in the darkness of their boasted wisdom, while humble, docile minds are enlightened from above. « The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach
“ If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.”'S
Under the darkest cloud, and in the deepest waters, may these gracious promises support and comfort me :-“ Fear thou not; for I am with thee."|| “When thou passest through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee."** “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”++ “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."11 “ Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth,
+ Matt. xi. 25, 26. * Psa. xxv. 9. § John vii. 17. || Isa. xli. 10; xliii. 5.
** Isa. xliii. 2. ++ Heb. xiii. 5. #* Rom. viii. 28.
* Jude 3.