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1.--COMMUNION WITH GOD.
“When I awake, I am still with thee.”—Psa. cxxxix. 18.
COMMUNION with God is the privilege of every true believer. He alone can approach the mercy-seat in the spirit of adoption, and enjoy a foretaste of heaven whilst journeying towards it. St. John felt all this happiness when he wrote: “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Union to God, and communion with him through the Son of his love, is the source of every spiritual blessing. This exalted privilege can only be enjoyed by the holy followers of Jesus; for the Apostle adds,
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”— Yes, from all our sins, “though they be as scarlet,”
though they be red like crimson,” crying aloud for vengeance on our souls. But, "if we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth ;" for, “He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
How inseparably connected, in the word of God, is the privilege and the character of the true believer. Let none, then, dare to claim the privilege who are destitute of holiness, so emphatically denominated light. “God is light,”—“ the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning."
-All his people are " the children of light and the children of the day.” They have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." Oh! that the words of Christ may be living words in the hearts of all his people: “I am the Light of the world ; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” All the people of God are “light in the Lord;"-but whilst in the body, they are renewed only in part, for thus writes St. John; “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Sin does not reign, though it rebels in the hearts of the redeemed; for “ Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him : and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” But, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins;” for “the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world”—“ that we might live through him.”
All, who are united to Christ by faith,-all, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them-all, who rely simply and without reserve on the blood and righteousness of the Redeemer, through the Spirit, have fellowship with the Father and the Son. To them, God is a God that heareth prayer ; he grants the requests of their lips. As they pour out their hearts before him, so he pours his blessings into their souls. He fills them with light, --he strengthens them with might, by his Spirit in the inner man ;-he speaks peace through the blood of Jesus,—and accepts them, clothed in his righteousness; the divine image is formed in their souls, and they are made meet for the kingdom of glory. -Such is the character and experience of all who
are privileged to hold communion with the Father of spirits.- What honour can exceed that of being admitted into the presence-chamber of the King of kings,-of holding converse with Him, whom angels worship, and before whom devils tremble !-Is this the exalted privilege of the sons of men?-Oh! my soul, bless, for ever bless that precious Saviour, who procured all this, by his blood, for thee. 0! thou adorable Jesus ! enable me to make a full surrender of myself to thee. Didst thou leave the bosom of thy Father, to bleed and die for me, and shall I refuse to leave this vain empty world at thy sweet call? Alas! I should refuse and spurn thee too, did not thy love constrain me to obedience. Oh! blessed Redeemer, I would now hold holy Communion with thee. O! make me sincere. Give me a saving knowledge of myself. Show me my true character. Suffer me not to build on a false hope, lest I cherish a false peace. Send thy Holy Spirit into my heart, to enlighten my understanding, and mould my will to thine ; that my affections may ever soar towards Thee.
Thy word of truth declares, that, “ without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.” Let me not deceive myself, O! thou Saviour of sinners, in a matter of such infinite importance as the salvation of my soul. Let me not fancy myself to be something, when I am nothing; or to suppose, that, because I am amongst the called, I shall therefore be found amongst the chosen ; for thou hast thyself declared, “ that many are called but few chosen.” 0! give me the searching light of thy Spirit, that I may drag from its concealment, every lurking sin, and crucify every rebel lust.
0! my heavenly Father, wash me in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness; make me thy child by adoption and grace; enable me to cast away the filthy rags of my own righteousness, and to put on, by faith, the righteousness of thy dear Son.-Clothe me with humility. Keep me in a meek and lowly frame. Give me a patient and contented spirit ;-contented with such outward blessings as thou art pleased to bestow ;—and patient under such afflictions as thou knowest to be needful for me. Make me thankful for all thy mercies. Let my
heart overflow with unceasing praises for the unspeakable gift of the Lord Jesus. Here I am, O! my God, in thy presence. Look upon me in Christ for his sake, and through the merit of his blood, do away all my offences. Seal me with thy Spirit, and make me a partaker of thy love. Deliver me daily more and more from the power of indwelling sin ; from the fiery assaults of 'Satan; from the love and friendship of the world; yea, from every thing that can alienate my heart from thee, or unfit me for thy heavenly kingdom.
Give me, blessed Lord, an increasing relish for spiritual exercises ; for religious retirement; for the precious privilege of Communion with Thee. May the gospel of thy grace be as a well of salvation to my soul, from whence I may daily draw the water of life. May the Saviour be continually more precious in my sight, and more endeared to my heart. Transform me anew into his holy image, and seal me thine, for ever thine, a sinner saved by grace.
Without Christ, I can do nothing. All my fresh springs are in him. Great blessings are promised to faith, but faith is his gift. I cannot believe through any natural effort of my own.
I may hear sermons, partake of the Lord's Supper, read my Bible, and pray much, but no means, however excellent, can of themselves work faith in my heart. Thou alone, Almighty Saviour, art the author and finisher of faith. Thy blessing must descend from on high ; thy Holy Spirit must be imparted before those means can be rendered effectual, which thy wisdom bath ordained for the conversion of sinners, and the sanctification of thy people. Save me from resting in forms and ceremonies, which, without thy grace, are but as “clouds without water."
O! heavenly Father, whose love and grace are infinite, give me this precious faith, that I may hourly look to Christ as my great Atonement; flee to him as to a City of refuge; receive him as my Prophet, Priest, and King; rely upon him for the forgiveness of my sins, for righteousness to justify me in thy sight, for strength to enable me to perform duty, to follow after holiness, to encounter spiritual enemies, and to come off more than conqueror, till faith be lost in vision, and the cross be exchanged for the crown.
If David could say, under the comparatively dark dispensation under which he lived: “0 God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee, my soul thirsteth for thee:"_0? that, enjoying the bright beams of gospel day, I may feel, blessed Jesus, earnest desires after thy presence, ardent longings after communion with thee. There is no happiness separate from thee. With thee is life. Unite me to thyself. I have daily to mourn over a cold heart. When I would do good, evil is present with me. Every day affords fresh proof that I am a fallen creature. The leprosy lies deep within ; my whole nature is corrupt. Nothing but grace can rescue me from perdition. I want the three-fold blessings of redemption-pardon—peace—and purity. How cheering is the assurance of thine Apostle, that we have redemption through thy blood, even the forgiveness of sins. To this fountain I would continually resort, that through faith, I may wash and be clean. Then shall I enjoy thy presence here, and dwell with thee in glory everlasting.
There is a simplicity in the gospel method of salvation which none can rightly discover but those who are taught of God. 66 The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The nominal professor of Christianity cannot enter into the rich, yet simple revelations of redeeming grace.
The humble soul, emptied of self, and filled with the