« VorigeDoorgaan »
own wilful transgression ? Why is this ? Amazement seizes on my mind ; love and praise should fill my heart. O why is this ? Because he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. I must resolve all into the sovereign will, the electing love, the free grace
of the Great Jehovah. If I choose Him as my portion, it is because he hath first chosen me. If I love him, it is because he hath first loved me. If my heart is given to him, it is because he loved
himself for me. If I am united to him, it is because he drew me with the bands of a man, with the cords of love, in fulfilment of his own most precious word : “ I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”
Many reject this blessed truth. The pride of man cannot bear this humiliating doctrine, so subversive of human merit. But what are its genuine effects? It humbles the sinner, it exalts the Saviour, and promotes holiness. That doctrine must be true, , which places Christ on his throne, and the creature in the dust; which opposes the evil of sin, and delights in holiness. To all who are taught of God Christ is precious. He is their All, in All. They receive him as their Prophet, Priest, and King. They trust in him as their Atonement, Righteousness, and Advocate with the Father. They receive the gift of the Spirit through his intercession, to renew them after the divine image ; to give them persevering grace; to make them conquerors over sin and Satan ; to bring them in triumph into the realms of glory, and there to place them before the throne of the Eternal, as monuments of redeeming love.
O thou all-glorious Jehovah ! guide me into all truth. Make me to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Enable me to perceive and relish the Gospel of thy grace. Take away the scales of error and prejudice from the eyes of my understanding. Remove pride and the love of sin from my heart. Give me grace deeply to bewail the corruption of my nature, as well as the transgressions of my life; to acknowledge thy justice in the destruction of sinners, as well as thy mercy in the glorification of thy people. Impress my soul with an abiding sense of the evil of sin ; and with an increasing conviction of the beauty of holiness. Cause me to abound yet more and more in faith, and love, and every grace, till rising, as on seraph's wings, my liberated soul shall mount aloft to thine abode.
When I consider how soon the mind is disturbed by earthly cares, and delighted with worldly comforts; how soon the imagination is filled with scenes of promised pleasure, and how easily the affections are borne away on those painted bubbles which burst and vanish into air-I might be amazed that cares, and comforts, and pleasures of so superior a nature as those which the Gospel reveals, should make such little impression, yea, be even forgotten by myriads of professing Christians, did not the Bible unfold the awful truth.
The care of the soul, which is the one thing needful ; a solicitude to obtain the favour of God through the atoning blood and all-prevailing intercession of the Lord Jesus; a thirsting for the consolations of the Spirit, which flow from communion with God through Christ, and which are the foretastes of those pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore, would be the daily desire of our hearts, if sin had not so entirely blinded the judgment, debased the affections, perverted the will, and turned the whole soul out of the way of holiness into the broad road of destruction.
This is the case, not with a part, but with the whole human race without exception. All flesh has corrupted its way before God; there is none righteous, no, not one. My heart bears its own sad testimony to this scriptural truth. Every thing within me bespeaks my condemnation.
There is not one
spark of goodness in me. As a shipwrecked mariner, I must sink beneath the waves, if help be not afforded. But oh! how wonderful is the love of God against whom I have sinned. He stretches out his arm of mercy to save me from perishing. He speaks with melting kindness : “ Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.” Placed on the Rock of Ages, on Jesus, the sure Foundation, my soul is penetrated with gratitude whilst I listen to the gracious voice of my Redeemer :
“ I, even í, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour.
“ I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Such are the expressions of Infinite Love to encourage, and comfort, every lost sinner who is enabled by grace to lay hold upon Christ crucified as his hope of glory. Exclaim, O my soul, with the enraptured Prophet : “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage ? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities, and thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
Strike thy harp with David ;-" Thou Lord art good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” “ I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy towards me, and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
Join in the chorus of the saints around the throne: “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
VII.-THOUGHTS ON THE MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION.
“ Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness."I Tim. iii. 16.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”_Deut. xxix. 29.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting Jehovah! clouds and darkness are round about thee. Many deep and unfathomable mysteries are contained in thy sacred word, yet on this my soul relies, that Thou O Lord art good ; and that there is no unrighteousness in thee. In the day of judgment, thou wilt manifest thy Justice and Truth, and silence the accusations of thine enemies for ever. Let me not, O Lord, indulge a sinful curiosity in prying into those things which thou hast wisely concealed, but keep my soul as a weaned child. Make me wise unto salvation through faith in thy dear Son. Impart unto me, thy unworthy servant, the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of thee, that the word of Christ may dwell in me richly in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, producing in me the peaceable fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.
In thy word I read, that man is born in sin, and therefore deserving of eternal death. In thy word I read—that Jesus died, and through the merit of his precious blood hath obtained eternal redemption for US. “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies."
If it be asked,-Will all the fallen race of Adam enter into the Ark which mercy has provided ? Alas! no.-As it was in the days of Noah, so it is now.
any are lost ?
-The thoughtless, giddy, unbelieving world is as much occupied as the Antediluvians were, though warned by that preacher of righteousness, in eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, smiling at the superstitious fears of the faithful, and feeling no concern about the threatened judgment. But they that love the world shall perish with the world.
“ As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”. 66 The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.' How, then, comes it to pass that
Because they themselves choose the path of destruction, and will what is wrong, and persist in it; for sin consists in willing wrong, and the wages of sin is death. Men will not come to Christ, that they might have life; they will not have him to reign over them, therefore thus saith the Lord, “I will number you to the sword, and ye shall bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear ; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not."*
But does not the Spirit of God graciously strive with sinners? Yes! he does strive with them, though they resist his heavenly motions, grieve him by their ingratitude, and finally quench the holy fire. This is evident from Gen. vi. 3. ; “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh,"corrupted and depraved. And with whom did he strive ? With those who perished in the waters. Also from Nehem. ix. 30.; 5 Many years didst thou forbear them, and testified against them by thy Spirit in thy Prophets; yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.” Also from Isaiah lxiii. 10.; “ They rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” Also from the Acts vii. 51.; Ye stiff
• Isa. lxv. 12.