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in my heart, and may the law of kindness dwell upon my tongue. Make me an instrument in thy hands of good to others. Whilst labouring to promote the cause of truth by spiritual conversation, I feel the blessedness of thy Gospel in my own soul. Keep me from self-seeking, and from slavish fear. Enable me to speak and act for thee, and never to dread the frowns of dying worms. With increasing fervour, may I love the society of thy people, and find my happiness in sweet communion with thee, my Saviour, and my God.
How sweet to bless the Lord,
And in his praises join;
With saints his goodness to record,
These seasons of delight,
This soul refreshing gleam,
These rays of pure eternal light
O! blessed Jesus, pour
May ev'ry waiting heart
In thy redeeming love.
O! blest assurance this,
Thus will our joys increase,
But oh! the bliss sublime,
In that unclouded, glorious clime,
There shall the ransom'd throng
XXXIX. ON CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE.
Under the old dispensation, many of the great privileges of the church of God were veiled under emblems and figures drawn from natural objects.
The Psalms of David, and the writings of the Prophets, abound with the most beautiful images, to describe the power, faithfulness, and love of Jehovah.
Under the new dispensation the veil is removed, and they are revealed in all their glory and beauty to the eye of faith. Life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel. But, as in former ages, so now, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned: yea, they are foolishness unto him. Hence the Gospel is to them that perish foolishness; but to them that are saved, it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Happy are they who are thus taught of God; for the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them of his covenant.
Man is naturally blind to his real condition, as a guilty, condemned sinner. Enjoying the pleasures of time, he never inquires after those of eternity.
Satisfied with earth, he feels no desire for heaven, except as it presents to his mind an exemption from pain and suffering.
All men naturally prefer ease to pain. heaven on this account is preferable to hell.
is the estimate which wretched fallen man forms of heavenly bliss. Ignorant of himself, and ignorant of God, he is led captive by Satan at his will, till sovereign grace redeem him out of the hand of the enemy.
The first secret which the divine Spirit discloses to the awakened conscience is, our lost and undone state by nature.
This discovery is attended with the deepest selfabasement; with brokenness of heart; with anxious desires after salvation; a salvation from present sin, as well as from future punishment.
The convinced sinner, made sensible of the guilt and burden of transgression, now longs for heaven, as a state of rest from sin, as well as a state of rest from suffering. But alas! feeling his inability to think a good thought, and overwhelmed with the view of his iniquities, he anxiously inquires, "how shall man be just with God?" What must I do to be saved?
Another precious secret is revealed to his opening mind by the same Spirit, who so graciously implanted in his heart that fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.
Jesus, as exhibited in the Gospel to a dying world, is savingly manifested to the humble, trembling, believing sinner, in all his glorious offices of prophet, priest, and king.
How kind is God, how full of mercy and love! When he implants a holy fear, he imparts also a principle of saving faith.
Jesus is now beheld and apprehended as the sin
ner's only atonement, righteousness, and refuge; as the only way to the Father; and the only advocate with him. He is viewed by the eye of faith, as the chief among ten thousand. He is esteemed precious, above all earthly or heavenly objects.
Angels and men, as his creatures, sink into the shade, whilst the glories of Emmanuel, God with us, are now seen to fill heaven and earth with their resplendent brightness.
The next great secret which the Spirit reveals to those who truly fear God, is the fitness of Jesus to all the wants of his people. Being delighted with the perfections of the Saviour, the believer is filled. with admiration and gratitude at the view of their suitableness to his own personal necessities.
He now loves to contemplate his gracious Redeemer, both as to what he is in himself; and as to what he is to his people. He knows how to appreciate and to apply, through the teaching of the Spirit, the excellencies of Jesus to his own soul. He comes to him daily for wisdom, righteousness, and strength. He leans wholly upon his supporting arm. He lives upon the promises of his grace, and rejoices in hope of the glory of God. He delights in this way of access by faith to a mercy-seat; obtains through Jesus the blessings he needs; and thus finds him at all times his all in all. This is happiness. This is the King's high-way to heaven. This is the way in which the flock of Christ have trod in every age. Lord, lead me forth by the footsteps of the flock. Make me a follower of them, who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises.
But this is not all. The sinner is not only made to see his lost estate by nature; the glories of the Redeemer; and the Saviour's fitness to all his necessities: but another gracious secret is unfolded to him. He is enabled to know and to rejoice in his own per
sonal interest in all the blessedness of his purchased inheritance. He can say with the church of old: "This is my beloved, and this is my friend." "This God is my God." "God is become my salvation." "I know whom I have believed.”
This sweet assurance begets humility, gratitude, zeal, and obedience. It quickens love, and animates faith. It increases watchfulness and holy circumspection. It lays the soul prostrate at the foot of the cross, whilst it elevates the affections to the pure regions where Christ sits at the right hand of God.
This is a precious secret, revealed to them who truly fear God; not always in equal measure, but in such a degree, and at such times, as infinite love and wisdom deem best.
All the children of God should strive after this blessed assurance of faith. It is not the presumption, but the exalted privilege of the obedient believer. Those have low views of Christian privilege, who deem it arrogant to expect the knowledge of the forgiveness of our sins.
All who believe with the heart unto righteousness; all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity; all who walk humbly with their God; may know assuredly that their sins are blotted out; for "he pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.
Lord, be thou graciously pleased to give me a holy, filial fear; a humble, loving, obedient spirit; a deadness to the world; and a devotedness of heart to thee; a renunciation of self, and a cordial reception of Christ, in all his saving merits and mercies. Thus, blessed Saviour! let me lie passive in thy hands, waiting thy presence, and desirous only that thy will may be accomplished in me, till it please thee to call me to thy kingdom above, where all darkness and doubt shall for ever flee away!