« PreviousContinue »
opened ; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and appeared in the holy city after his resurrection.
On the third day the conquering Saviour rose triumphant from the dead, appeared to his weeping followers ; ascended into heaven in their sight; and soon after his session at the right hand of power, poured out upon his infant church that great promise of the Father--the HOLY GHOST.
How wonderful was the effect of this heavenly gift.
The apostles, once illiterate, now spake with new tongues ;
their former fears were lost in an undaunted courage; timidity gave place to zeal.
In the emphatic language of the sacred historian : “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake the word of God with boldness."
They preached Christ in the face of danger and of death.
Thousands, through their labours, were turned from Satan unto God. Churches were planted in all the known countries of the world; and at length they sealed the truth with their blood, counting it all joy to suffer for the sake of their beloved Lord.
Great is the mystery of godliness-God manifest in the flesh.
That the Almighty should become the Saviour of his rebellious creatures by taking upon
him their nature: that he, who rules over all worlds, should stoop, not to be a mighty monarch, but a humble carpenter: that he, who created and provided the foxes and the birds with holes and nests, should voluntarily leave himself destitute of a place where to lay his head : that he, who is the great proprietor of all things, should condescend to be supported by pious females who ministered to him of their substance: that the Fountain of felicity should become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: that the Lord of glory
should be despised and rejected of men: that the Judge of quick and dead, should stand, like a criminal, at an earthly tribunal, charged with crimes which he never committed; and condemned for transgressions of which he was declared innocent: that the Majesty of heaven should be spit upon, scourged, and crucified: that the Lord of life should pour out his soul unto death: this, this is the wonder of wonders--the unsearchable riches of Christ,
“ Not to be thought of, but with tides of joy,
Not to be mention'd, but with shouts of praise." Well may Christ be styled by the enraptured Prophet Wonderful.”
Men are naturally fond of great things, and yet they feel an aversion to the greatest thing in the world--the REDEMPTION OF THE SOUL.
This would be inexplicable, had we not the volume of inspiration to unfold to us the hidden reason.
This aversion to so glorious a work, arises from the state of the human heart, and the nature of redemption.
The heart is in love with sin; yea, is itself desperately wicked. Sin is its food; its element: its Very constitution.
Salvation by Christ is a deliverance from sin; a renovation of the heart to holiness; a surrender of the soul to God.
Hence arises the enmity. Darkness is opposed to light; and Satan reigning in the sinner, to Christ the Saviour claiming his usurped possession.
This enmity is universal, and proves the universality of the fall.
Wherever redemption by Christ is faithfully preached, and honestly exhibited in the life, there it is powerfully resisted both by the worldly laity and mercenary priests,
As the bitterest enemies of our blessed Lord were those who wore the sacerdotal vestment, so multitudes of the faithful have, in all ages, been devoured by wolves in sheep's clothing. Lord ! clothe thy ministers with righteousness, that thy people may sing with joyfulness.
None can receive the gospel in the love and power of it, but those who are enabled by sovereign grace so to do. All others lie under the just condemnation of wilfully rejecting it; and shall be punished for such rejection. Men may cavil at such a statement as this, and call it inconsistent; but God will ere long vindicate his own cause.
If it be true that, “ by grace we are saved,” it is equally true, that “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and that men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil."
This great redemption is by price. And, O! what a price ! the precious blood of Jesus, the lamb of God. This blood cleanseth from all sin, satisfies offended Justice; clears away the obstacles in the sinner's path to glory, and procures pardon and peace and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
He made peace for us, by the blood of his cross."
66 We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of
This redemption is by power. God the Holy Ghost descends into the sinner's heart, applies the healing balm to the previously smitten conscience, and by his Almighty influence, produces the new birth, the new creation. He leads the trembling sinner to the bleeding sacrifice; points to the cross; gives saving faith; causes joy to spring up in the heart; and thus enables the soul, delivered from the penalty and pollution of sin, “to sing in the
of the Lord," and to glorify the rock of his salvation.
None can love this work of grace, but the subjects of grace. This sadly wounds the pride of man, but so it is. We must for ever stand indebted to unmerited love for this great salvation. All boasting is here excluded. He that glorieth, must glory in the Lord. The
language of the redeemed is: “ in the Lord, have I righteousness and strength."
0! that I may now put the crown upon the head of Jesus. May all my affections centre in him. To him may I devote every power, and be altogether consecrated to his praise.
0! my soul, for ever bless thy beloved Lord, for thus becoming thy Redeemer. He is always near his people to support and comfort them. He dwells in their hearts by faith. He abides in them by his Spirit, to enlighten their minds, to purify their hearts, to regulate their wills, to direct their walk, to lead them in the paths of righteousness, for his name's sake.
Thus they are safe and happy under the Shepherd's care.
Their union with their divine Lord, is sweet and constant. They “lean upon their beloved," and are supported through the wilderness. They are made strong, by his strength; wise by his wisdom; righteous in his righteousness, holy by his grace. They daily receive out of his fulness, who of God is made unto them, “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
Jesus is the head over all things to his church. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth.
As he rules over all—so he over-rules all for the good of his people. Hence the apostle could confidently declare, “ all things shall work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called aecording to his purpose.
Well may the believer triumphantly exclaim : “ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?" “ We are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
Jesus is the universal Lord, to whom every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. Jesus will be the Almighty Judge, when all nations shall be assembled before his throne, and when he will render unto every man according to his works.
All this is cheering to the humble followers of the Lamb.
Are they in trouble? Their Lord appoints it for their good
When through faith the sinner is admitted into the family of God, and changes both his state and nature, through the blood and spirit of Jesus, then his desire is, to maintain the peace which he has happily obtained through believing.
This he learns to do from the prophet Isaiah: " thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."
A wandering, backsliding, double heart, can never enjoy peace. To possess the blessing of peace, the mind must be stayed upon God. This is the same as “abiding in Christ;" being “stedfast in the faith," “rooted and grounded in love."
It implies stability, constancy, perseverance.
The mind must be stayed upon the covenant of grace as an unchangeable, everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. In this covenant every thing is treasured up, which can furnish the believer with grace here and glory hereafter. Staying his mind, therefore, upon this covenant of life and peace, he finds rest unto his soul.
The mind must bow with humble reverence to the authority of God. Pride and rebellion destroy peace. Humility and submission promote it.