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light; and enable me to go on from strength to strength, till delivered from the burden of the flesh, I appear before thee in Zion.
How insensible is the human heart to heavenly things till touched by divine grace. How hard is my heart ! Lord soften it. Othat I could love my Saviour above every other object in earth or heaven. Jehovah Jesus is the adoration of angels, and of the perfected saints in glory. Even on earth, though encompassed with infirmity, and seeing as through a glass darkly, the enraptured believer can say :
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."* O that
heart may be given to the Tri-une God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the one God of my salvation. Never shall í feel true happiness till that blissful moment, when my will is lost in the will of God; when all my fugitive affections are fixed supremely upon Him. Blessed Lord, hasten this moment so full of bliss. May it be now, for now
is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. To-morrow may find me in eternity. O may I seek thee, and find thee to-day, as all my salvation, and all my desire. Manifest thyself to me as thou dost not unto the world. Show me my interest in the blood of the Lamb. Give me that realising faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Bestow upon me a broken heart, a lowly mind, a weanedness from the world, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, a delight in thy service, a love to every thing which thou lovest ; a pleasure in every thing which is pleasing unto Thee.
I live surrounded by Gospel light, and Gospel privileges. Yet, awful thought! I may pass by the Cross, on the way to endless misery. When invited by sovereign love to look and be saved, I may pass by on the other side ; not submitting myself unto
Psa. lxxiii. 25, 26.
the righteousness of God.* The gospel, though faithfully preached, may fall like rain on the sandy soil
. I may perish within sight of the remedy. The cup of salvation may be brought to my lips, and yet I may refuse to drink it. O the blindness and infatuation of the human heart. Such is the state of the unconverted sinner, living in the midst of gospel blessings. He sinks within sight of the harbour, dashed on the rocks of unbelief, self-righteousness, and the love of the world. Lord, save me from the power of unbelief. Enable me to look unto Jesus as my only Hope, to come to him as my only Help, to receive him as my only Saviour, to rely on him as my only Righteousness, to prize him as my only Treasure, to love him as my only Beloved, the chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely.
" In Jesus Christ neither cirtumcision availeth any thing, nor uncir
cumcision; but faith which worketh by love."--Gal. v. 6. WHEN Adam fell, all his posterity fell in him. The Law being holy, just, and good, condemned the fallen race of Adam, for
"All that the Law can do
Is to convince and to condemn;" but, through the righteousness of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinner is again received into the favour of God, and accounted righteous in his sight. The righteousness of Christ is the only meritorious cause of a sinner's justification in the sight of God. In this righteousness he stands complete. In this righteousness, he claims a title to the skies.
Rom. x. 3.
In this righteousness, he answers all the demands of the Law, silences all the accusations of Satan, and is admitted, after death, into the inheritance of the saints in light. Faith is the instrument by which the sinner apprehends this righteousness of Christ, and by means of which it is imputed to him. But faith is the gift of God, wrought in the heart of the sinner through the power of the Holy Ghost. All boasting is therefore for ever excluded, since he that glorieth, must glory in the Lord.
As Christ trod the wine-press of his Father's wrath alone, when he stood in the place of sinners, so will he never suffer sinners to share with him in the glory of their salvation. He will not give that honour to another which is due to himself alone. Works, however excellent in their proper place, must never dare to enter into the holy of holies, where none but our Great High Priest can enter. “By his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
Although the sinner is accounted righteous before God, through faith in the perfect righteousness of his dear Son, without his works or deserving, yet, faith, being the operation of the Holy Spirit, necessarily produces the fruits of holiness. Here, then, good works assume their proper place and office. Works, as well as faith, can claim no merit in the act of a sinner's justification before God, that being solely through the obedience of Christ; yet do they adorn our Christian profession, prove the reality of our faith, manifest its divine origin, evidence our being in a state of grace, glorify God in the sight of men, silence the aspersions of self-righteous opposers to the truth, and make us meet for the enjoyment and service of God in heaven.
Blessed Jesus! may I ever view thee in this delightful character as—THE LORD MY RIGHTEOUSNESS; then shall I stand with boldness in that day when all thy enemies shall be covered with confusion.
Heb. ix. 12.
Whilst I look to thee as my only justifying righteousness, O grant that my faith may never cease to work by love. Let every day, be employed in thy service, that my hope, through faith in thy blood, may be unclouded.
“ Faith, which worketh by love,” is the concise, but comprehensive declaration of St. Paul, when describing the nature of saving faith by its attendant love. No words can add to its preciousness. We may dwell upon it, and endeavour to amplify it by human reasoning, just as a small piece of gold when beaten, may
be made to cover a wider surface, but we too often destroy its strength and beauty. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."*
Faith in Jesus Christ begets love in the soul; the love of God shed abroad in the heart produces good works; and by works is faith made perfect. Thus the graces of the Spirit, like a chain whose links embrace and strengthen each other, are beautifully combined in the formation of the Christian character.
The following passages, so descriptive of the experience of the true believer, show the concatenation of Christian graces, and afford the richest matter for devout meditation. Oh! that we may read our characters in these precious lines ::
“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”+
“ Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing * Heb. iv. 12.
+ Phil. iv. 8.
you, so also do
one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave
ye. Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.+
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us." I
“ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“ Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
“ Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
“ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
“ Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
í Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
“ Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of God.
“ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." S
66 Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God." ||
“ Love suffereth long, and is kind ; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth Col. iii. 12, 13. + 2 Pet. i. 5-7. #Rom. v. 3–5. $ Matt. v. 3-10.
| 1 John iv. 7.