« PreviousContinue »
He blows upon
- the gifts and calling of God are without repentance ;” any more than the disobedience of a child towards an earthly father makes him not a child. He is still a child, though a disobedient child. The father is displeased, and withholds his regards. The child is made to know this, either by correction, distance of manner, or the withholding of some wonted favour. Hence the wayward child is brought to see, to feel, and to lament his disobedience; to long after reconciliation, and never to rest easy, or become happy till the displeasure is removed, and confidence and comfort are restored.
In this manner God deals with his redeemed children, when they decline and disobey. He hides his face, and they are troubled. their comforts, and they wither. He has a thousand ways of manifesting his displeasure, both in the course of his providence, and in the actings of his grace.
But love is still inscribed upon all these chastening dispensations. How gracious is the voice of their heavenly Father, speaking to his wayward children through his word : “ As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." or Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he ceiveth.” - Thou shalt consider in thine heart, that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." “I will be his Father, and he shall be my son; if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men, but my mercy shall not depart from him."
“ Behold! happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty."
Is not this the language of a loving, tender parent, who seeks the good of his rebellious children?
All sin is productive of sorrow, and naturally leads to the chambers of death. Blessed then are those souls, whom grace has brought within the bonds of the covenant. If they wander from the fold, they shall be mercifully driven into it again, through the faithfulness of the good Shepherd, who hath said; “I will hedge up thy way with thorns ; I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” But let no one dare to presume upon
mercy of God, and sin that grace may abound. Such conduct would prove the person so acting, to be destitute of faith and love. Should any deluded sinner be led by Satan, so to abuse the grace of the Gospel, he may be suffered to follow the wicked devices of his own depraved heart, till he fall, as a vessel fitted for destruction, into the abyss of hell.
It is the part of true wisdom to distinguish between the privileges of God's children, and the abuse of those privileges.
Who would condemn the noble faculty of speech, because thousands pervert it to the basest purposes ?
Is there any one gift of providence, which is not by some, converted into an instrument of wickedness?
But let it ever be remembered, that those who abuse the blessings either of providence or grace, must bear the consequences of such impiety, who ever they be; for God is no respecter of persons.
It is evident then, that, if we do not enjoy peace through believing, there must be something wrong either in our views, or in our hearts.
Examine, O! my soul, where the evil lies; for peace is the sacred legacy which Christ left to his church when he said; “ Peace I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you.”
God in Christ is the Father of all his redeemed people. Now a loving, obedient child delights in the society of a tender parent. He comes to his father
cheerfully and without fear. He tells him his little wants, and sincerely and sorrowfully confesses any fault which may have been committed against so loving a parent.
But if a child dreads his parent, or feels shy, and avoids his company, even when his father is manifesting nothing but kindnesses towards him: must there not be something wrong in the heart of such a child ? Does not the child either mistake the character of the parent, or feel a consciousness of some indulged sin, which is the latent cause of this defect in duty ?
The Gospel inspires confidence and love. The moment we believe in Jesus with the heart, that moment we obtain peace with God, and pass
from death unto life.
This peace of justification cannot be broken, because it is founded on the atonement of Christ, who is “our peace,” and “ hath made peace for us through the blood of the cross."
.” The sins of believers cannot destroy this peace which is immutable; since Jesus, foreseeing the sins of his people, atoned for them by THE “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." The debt was paid, the satisfaction was made, and fully accepted, when the Saviour cried out: “ It is finished ;” and bowed his head and died !
But the peace of sanctification, that peace of God which is the sweet fruit of the Spirit, may be ruffled. Every sin disturbs this peace, like the agitating wind, or the pebble cast into the glassy lake. To preserve this inward peace, we must go continually to Jesus. As the feet contract defilement by walking through a miry road, so our souls have need to be washed every hour, from every hour's defilement whilst journeying through a sinful world.
As peace with God is not the result of our obe
dience, but of Christ's atonement, and as such cannot be broken ; so, the enjoyment of that peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and which is the work of the Spirit in our hearts ; can only be maintained by constant prayer; by delighting in the study of God's word; by watching against the workings of indwelling sin ; by walking closely with God in all holy obedience ; and by a daily application through faith, to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.
Every approach to lukewarmness is destructive to qur peace.
To keep the heart under a lively sense of the love of God, we must never put our sins between our souls and the Saviour. This will only obscure his grace and bring distress upon our minds. We must look at them as laid upon Christ when he hung upon the cross. Oh! that nothing, no, not a finger may be placed between Jesus and my soul, lest it obstruct my view of his full and free redemption.
Many look at their sins instead of their Saviour ; or at their sins as lying between them and their Saviour, and so are discouraged by false fear from coming to him. But this is a device of Satan. We must remember that Christ was made a curse for us, when he hung upon the cross; that he there made a full atonement for all the sins of all his believing people ; for thus saith the apostle: "he gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity :" “having forgiven you all trespasses."
O ! blessed revelation of grace and mercy! This apprehension of Christ and his all-sufficient merits will banish
every doubt and fear; prevent that hateful lukewarmness which is the very bane of godliness; and cause our hearts to burn with holy love, and to overflow in grateful praise.
O heavenly Father! be thou graciously pleased
to preserve my soul from this evil of lukewarmness; and from every approach to spiritual indifference and declension. Let the sacred fire of love ever burn upon the altar of my heart. Keep me humble and active; zealous and self-denying ; till called to thy courts above, where all thy servants shall serve thee with ever-growing delight through the countless ages of eternity
Ye saints, who taste the holy joys,
Behold, the millions bound with sin,
Arouse, ye torpid saints, and bend
Come, join that little holy band,
Pour out your consecrated store;