In my

glorifying effects in the heart and career, giving me life and light, the life. And what effect do we and may holiness, majesty, and sovereignty of we, expect to see in the conduct of Jehovah made me tremble, fear, and such? Why, some of these effects Paul cry, and the doctrines afforded me no speaks to Timothy,-lovers and ad- comfort, but I felt sure I must be cast mirers of themselves, covetous, boas- into hell. I remember once asking ters, proud, blasphemers, or causing God to send me there, that I might others to blaspheme, disobedient to know the worst of my state. parents, unthankful, unholy, without greatest extremity the Spirit took natural affection, truce-breakers, false these words from the Bible and lodged accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers them in my poor distressed soul,—“I of those who are good, traitors, heady, have loved thee with an everlasting high-minded, lovers of pleasure more love, therefore with loving-kindness than lovers of God, having a form have I drawn thee;" then I received of godliness but denying the power the doctrine of eternal, unchangeable, thereof; these with self-will, self- sin- subduing, soul satisfying, soulgratification, and self-indulgence will humbling, all-conquering, unmerited, more or less be discovered in those unsought for, unthought of, Godwho receive the precious doctrines in glorifying, and pharisee - mortifying an unhumbled mind.

These men love of Father, Son, and Spirit. will boast much about what they Having now given you a plain know, and like the pharisees of old, statement why I wrote to you on the only in another form of words, ride subject, and also to my brother J. E. over a poor, humble, mourning, and C. my motive for asking the favour, I seeking soul, by saying, Stand off, would now ask; What inconsistency for I have more knowledge than thee. was there in my deacon praying “ that These men, I say, will hear, receive, the high and blessed doctrines might be pleased with, and contend for the have a constraining and humbling efdoctrines of grace; yea, say it is a fect upon our hearts and lives, as we good thing for the heart to be esta- see the pernicious effects these preblished in grace; but they mean the cious precious doctrines have on some doctrines and not the grace : they who receive them in an unhumbled forget to look at the word as it stands mind,” that a seeker after truth” in Heb. xiii. 9,--with grace, and not should make such a bustle, or feel so in grace. But the poor hungry child angry, and cause all this trouble and of God is not satisfied with believing loss of time? these glorious doctrines as a Bible Dear sir, the insertion of this will truth, but, like all poor hungry men, much oblige, your's, in the highest wants to be fed with them, by the and strongest of all bonds, humbling and crumbling power of Stepney. God the Holy Ghost.

There is, also, a spiritual and special receiving of these precious and comforting doctrines; and, blessed be Dear Sirs, God, I know what it is to receive Being a constant reader of the ‘Spithem at the hands of the Spirit as ritual Magazine and Zion's Casket,' my Comforter, Teacher, and Guide. I beg to solicit of some of your corresBut as my brother J. E. C. has no- pondents (not the person concerned) ticed the effects those doctrines must to answer the following question, with and do have on the minds of those a few brief remarks.-Was justificawho receive them, in the love of them, tion and sanctification an eternal de. I shall conclude, by saying, that when cree of God from everlasting. the blessed God stopped me in my mad Sunderland,





beyond the institution of marriage. Deut. vii. 9.

; Truth distinguishes the perfections of

in God, but does not divide them; nor. There are many sentences of Holy should we. We have heard of Scripture that are familiar to our “ darling attributes,” but unques tongues, which have not been duly tionably such a statement is not regarded as bearing upon our charac- sanctioned by the Scriptures; and it ter and state as we stand before the is to be feared that much evil has Lord; hence it is that we often been done by the adoption of the employ sentences without reflecting sentiment, seeing it supposes that one what influence such statements have attribute is dearer to the Most High upon our minds. “God is faithful" than another : thus upon this human is a sentence which almost every invention of abstract mercy, the person who has a vestige of reverence faithfulness of Jehovah is entirely for the Deity will admit; but the im- overlooked and disregarded. port of this attribute will have more “ God is faithful ” affects our inbearings than one. It has an appall- terest, either in a way of favour or ing as well as a smiling aspect. He anger..! It becomes us duly to consiwho is faithfulriess itself is as firm in der in what condition, we stand in his threatenings as in his promises. relation to this attribute, Mere faith, And therefore it is to be feared that fulness cannot clear the guilty; and maliy employ a' phrase which destroys as the whole human race is declared their vain hopes, or at least impresseş sinful before God, it is evident that condemnation on those, who while no hope can arise to the guilty sinner they acknowledge that God is faith, from the faithfulness of the Most ful, act as if faithfulness had ceased High, exclusively considered. from the earth. .

But let us solemnly and seriously In all the words and ways of the inquire what is included in this im, Most High, the honor and glory of portant phrase-"A faithful God." his own character ranks prominent. And we shall then see that the gosIn all his dealings with the children pel of mediating worth can alone of men“ justice and judgment are open a door of hope to ruined man. the habitation of hiş throne;” This It involves a determination to do alsounds awful to every lover of self ways right, to maintain truth in every and sin, but is a source of great con department of his government, whesolation to every sin-burdened sinner ther moral, providential, or spiritual. found weeping for mercy at the feet It clearly expresses the inviolability of Jesus. Upon the faithfulness and of his law, which can suffer no equity of Jehovah the glory of the repeal. It intimates the stability, of gospel appears must blessed.. . his word, that he will not recall, a

It will be the design of these sentence of his lips : “ Heaven and few lines to point out the inseparable earth shall pass away, but my word connection betwixt the truth and shall not pass away ;” He speaks compassion of a God manifest in and, it is done :”; “ The word that Christ. i

goeth forth of his mouth shall not I remark, God is faithful in his return unto him void; it shall accomdealings with sin.'

plish that which he pleaseth, and He is not less so in the dispensa, prosper in the thing whereunto he tion of Christ.,

sends it.” He is also so in his salvation of the Faithful to his law. Man was gochurch. ' . .

verned by a law in innocence. Nor “ What God hath joined together is he without law to God as a translet no man put asunder” is applicable gressor. The sin of man has not in

terrupted the divine counsels. The prize the gospel. To have the law awful change it has accomplished enter our very souls, and explore our rests with man alone. All these thoughts, is a very different matter things were foreseen and righteously from our going to the law with propermitted without infringing apon mises of amendment. A sanctified the character of God. But there are view of God's truth will humble the some persons so besotted by extrava- receiver. - • God is faithful ” says gant views of this subject, as to deny the poor culprit : how therefore can the distinction betwixt divine suffer. I hope? I have sinned in thought, ance and the Lord's absolute appoint- word, and deed. The law curses; ment: perhaps it is to be feared that justice will admit of no extenuation. the looseness is not to be confined Abstract mercy is a phantom, for to their sentiments : although in the God is faithful to his character. And judgment of charity we trust there thus the broken down wretched outare many honourable exceptions to cast apprehends damnation. Speak this statement.

to him of mercy, he will reply “God God is faithful to punish sin. is faithful :" he has said The soul This he hath declared, and he will that sinneth it shall die," and he will not revoke the statement. How then not alter the thing that is gone out can any escape his wrath ?

Not of his lips. It is by this painful by the deeds of the law. Nothing training that false ideas of the divine short of absolute perfection will do character are purged away, legal there: this no mortal ever had, nor hopes destroyed, all imaginary asylums ever will have.

Does not the very are swept into oblivion by the besom thought fill us with amazement, to of truth, and the poor self-condemned think of especting the favour of the and inwardly wrecked conscience then Most High upon law doings; whilst learns a right view of the holiness truth emphatically declares, “ Cursed and faithfulness of the Most High is he that continueth not in all thing God. written in the book of the law to do The law of Persia allowed not of them.” And such is the condition the repeal of any statute that had of all such who either openly deny or passed the king's seal ; but a second subvert the atoning sacrifice by the law might be made to meet the exi. expectation of mercy as the result of gence of the case.

This was Pagan human obedience.

legislation ; notwithstanding it had Thus the faithfulness of God is an some mercy in it.

But the misery awful subject to the man who loves and wretchedness of Zion were thought his sins. It makes no promise of of before the rolling tides of time mercy to men

as dead in sin, nor began to move. In the everlasting could it, for this would be to forfeit covenant of a Triune God provision its character, since the holiness of made to maintain the divine Jehovah demands the punishment of faithfulness in the salvation of the sin. Who would not therefore dread church. Herein truth and equity and to be found with those deluded mor

love and mercy agree.

And this is tals who, under the semblance of God's plan : a scheme worthy of Him morality, deny the only remedy that whose name is Jehovah. These things a compassionate God hath set before are revealed in the person of Jesus. us in the gospel.

Thus Jehovah is glorified and sinners A proper understanding of the are saved, in perfect harmony with faithfulness of God is essentially con- the rectitude of his law and the nected with a state of grace. Unless rights of justice: hence he is styled we have a consistent knowledge of a just God and a Saviour.” And tiis great attribute, we cannot really John declares “ He is faithful and


just to forgive us our sins, and to Saviour's feet. And thus the Holy cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Three in One bear their record in the - God has made promise only in great matter of everlasting salvation. Christ, because as the Surety of the But this is a mere doctrinal statenew covenant Jesus engages to main- ment, which may amuse the dead, tain the faithfulness of Jehovah, merely considered in itself. We must What the law required he gave; know by heart felt experience that unsinning obedience which we had the divine faithfulness is so manifest not, and blood whose merit speaks in our souls “God is faithful (saith before the throne. It was the blood the apostle) by whom ye were called of Him who is essentially the true into the fellowship of his Son Jesus God, yet as truly and properly man. Christ our Lord," 1 Cor. i. 9. HereIt was the blood of Him who knew in we see and feel his faithfulness no sin, yet he came to give his life as manifested. It is by a holy calling a ransom for his people; and as Jesus that redemption is valued; for we are has but one wife, so he owns but one called to know our need, and we are church. It was blood dignified by called to enjoy a Saviour.

• Faiththe greatness of His person who shed ful is he that calleth you, who also it. Its full estimate the Lord only will do it,” 1 Thess. v. 34. It tbus knows; but all his menibers shall appears that the quickening of a sinenjoy that individual blessedness ari- ner is a matter of faithfulness; and sing therefrom, which does essentially surely the arm that brings out will spring from their individual represen- bring through and safely take home. tation in him. God is faithful to his Thus we see that faithfulness in God Son, our Saviour : and here the poor has a smiling aspect to those who sinner may

derive a ground of encou- through mercy are taught the value ragement to trust his case with Jesus. 'of the atonement: for the Most High The Prince of Life hath himself in- has all his doings in faithfulness and formed us that the Father always truth (Isa. xxv. 1). hears him ; and if so, most assuredly If we turn to afflictive dispensahe will hear all who plead his name. tions, we are taught they are dispen. Fly then, my poor trembling friend, sed in faithfnlness. Just a needful to the Shelter from the storm, for correction but not more : the Lord is neither curse or wrath can fall upon faithful to his word, and that word the soul found in Jesus.

Ye shall have tribulation,” yet A promise is given to Immanuel the same authority declares we shall that " he shall see his seed.” And come through it" These are they God is faithful : our heavenly Father that came out of great tribulation, is as truly bound by his covenant to and they have washed their robes and deliver the sin-bound, as Jesus was made them white in the blood of the bound as surety to pay the price. If Lamb," Rev. vii. 14. the advocacy of Christ is doubtful, In our preservation the faithfulness what have we to rest upon ? but of God daily appears. He always eternal truth declares “ He ever liveth sees us, even when we think ourselves to save to the uttermost all that come forgotten. Every dispensation to the unto God by him :" so that perseve- church is by Christ; and he is the rance in the truth is the best evidence manifesting medium of all grace here of the Spirit's witness. As truly as and glory hereafter. Jesus stands engaged to present all hears the Head, he will hear the his purchased ones before the throne, members. If eternal faithfulness so truly doth the Father and the rests upon the work of Christ, the Holy Ghost stand officially engaged soul that trusts there cannot fail. to draw and bring poor sinners to the Here is good ground for thy feet


We are


weary traveller, a solid rest for thy The Christian is most to be pitied weary heart, support in every time of when he seems unwilling to fall under difficulty, and strength to grapple truth. “Let the righteous smite me with every foe. Trust then in Him, it shall be a kindness.” O my soul : pour out thy heart before

so soon caught in the snare of the God is a refuge for us.” devil, that we need reproof upon reFrom these considerations it will proof. This faithfulness will do, and appear most important to keep in in this the love, care, and compassion view, the necessity of seeing all the of a covenant God are very apparent. divine perfections working together We thus learn that we are not our in the worth and kingdom of Jesus. own, but bought with a price ;” and And this view of the divine character he who has given his life for the will I conceive materially help us in a church, is himself her guide and dark hour. When the soul is heavily directory to the mansions of eternal pressed, and the enemy very near, we bliss ; so that although his people are apt to say God hath forsaken us, may fall, they shall not be utterly whereas his faithfulness is pledged to cast' down, for “ the Lord: upholdeth the contrary, “I will never leave thee them with his hand.” nor forsake thee." This is declared We see, then, that the faithfulness by a faithful God, and therefore must of a triune God has nothing in it to stand for ever; so that it is evident distress or devour a poor penitent we often increase our bonds by over sinner. It présents an awful appearlooking the divine veracity: and yet ance to the dead professor and the were we asked our belief, our reply profane. : The Most High will not would be “ The Lord is faithful.” clear the guilty : even Jesus the Head But will he be so to me? Yes indeed of the church was not spared. The he will, for they that trust in him curse of the law he bore for his dear “ shall never be confounded, 'world people; and the exact amount of without end.”

suffering connected with the demerit His faithfulness is developed in his of the people represented by him, defence of his people. The power of our Immanuel bore. Faithfulness his arm is pledged for their protec- was honored at the cross, whilst the tion. He seeth all snares and traps unparallelled sufferer opened his bowhich are spread for their feet. To som to the vindictive sword : and his almighty glance hell is uncovered, whilst paying the price of our ransom and every dark design of the black in agonies and blood, equity and truth prince is laid open. Immanuel has attended the administration : so that the enemies of Zion in chains, nor our Jesus could not suffer an iota bedare they move without his permis- yond what was necessary to deliver sion. And in proportion as the be- his church; and when this was done, lieving mind contemplates the care of we are assured of it in those memora Saviour, in the same degree quiet- able words “ It is finished,” and which ness rules the heart, and the soul voice was recorded in heaven, earth, feels happy. We are destined to be and hell. weaned from an arm of flesh, and I have a great dislike to controversy though the weaning process be both of a sentimental kind, but I must painful and protracted, the end is here enter my protest against the

“ Thou wilt keep him in per- theory of those, who assert that there fect peace whose mind is stayed on was sufficient value in our Redeemer's thee, because he trusteth in thee,” atoning sacrifice for the whole world,

Nor is divine faithfulness less evi- had it been the pleasure of God to dent in reproving the heaven-born. have saved the whole. But surely A wise man will hear instruction. This is reasoning to no purpose ; and


« VorigeDoorgaan »