Page images
PDF
EPUB

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his gær.

ment, I shall be whole....Matt. ix. 21.

**** Tu£ case of this poor woman 'was quite desperate. Many painful operations she had undergone in hopes of a cure; her money all spent in procuring remedies; her disorder grew worse and worse; all human hope and help failed; grim death seemed to approach her with great speed. But, strange thought! "If I may but touch the garment" of that MAN, surrounded by yonder crowd, I shall certainly be healed. Surprising, to think of a cure from a touch! A touch, not of his person, but his garment! How.can nature and reason account for this? Had she consulted flesh and blood, sure she would have concluded, this suggestion is mere fancy, and will end in delusion.. Had she consulted eminent physicians or learned doctors in the church about her thoughts, doubtless they, would have pronounced Jesus a quack, and advised proper remedies to her, as a lunatic. But the holy Spirit had inwardly made known Jesus to her. She saw somewhat of his glory; her mind was disposed towards him; she believed in her heart his power to heal her; she speaks within herself her thoughts concerning him; she came with trembling feet, she touched him with a fearful heart, but she departed with triumph.

How secret are the operations of the Spirit, in working faith in the hearts of sinners! “No man can come unto me,” saith Jesus, "except the Father draw him.”....John vi. 44. A sight of Christ is of special grace. The first thought of help and hope in Jesus for sinners, is from the word of truth, and by the power of the Spirit. 'The soul soon evidences itself to have the faith of God's elect;" for under a sight and sense of its desperate state and ruined condition, it speaks within itself of going to Jesus and him ONLY for pardon and salvation. Yet the poor heart is often exercised with an IF; IF I did but believe in him, IF I could but touch him, IF I did but feel in myself I was healed of my sin and plague, O how I should rejoice! Well, though the soul is opposed by a crowd of difficulties, yet will it not be satisfied till it breaks through all-carnal opposition and finds peace in Jesus; till it hears the voice of its beloved speaking pardon and comfort by his word. When, like Isaiah, the soul cries, “Woe is me, I am un. done!". it cannot rest, till with him also, a live coal from the altar of Jesus' love is laid upon his mouth, and his language is changed to

I am saved by Jesus.' For “lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thy sin is purgede".... Isa. vi. 7. The Lord! how glorious is his face ! For you, the children of my love, ** How kind his smiles appear!

It was for you I dy'd : And oh! what melting words he says Behold my hands, behold my feet, To ey'ry humble ear!

And look unto my side.

As he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner. of conversation....1 Pet. i. 15.

LEGAL hearts turn evangelical exhortations into legal commands. So children of faith are brought back again from the land of promise to the house of bondage. Not more absurd to exhort * dead corpse to exert itself to perform actions of life in order to get life, than to suppose a believer destitute of the life of holiness, and excite him to holy actions in order to procure it. Zeal for holiness, without knowledge of the true nature of it, is unscriptural ignorance. Every believer in Jesus is holy. As being a member of the first Adam, he partakes of the life of sin and the spirit of unholiness; but being united to Jesus, Christ is his life. He partakes of the life of holiness and the spirit of holiness. This is evidenced by the out ward holiness of his life.

Therefore exhortations to excite such to a holy conversation, are as nécessary as they are frequent. · Art thou a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus? What inestimable honor is this! It should be thy daily care and constant concern to walk worthy of this high and honorable vocation. It degrades thy birth to stoop to gratify base lusts; it demeans thy character to take up in the least with the slavery of sin and drudgery of satan. It was good advice a heathen gave a prince, lest he should learn evil from bad company, “ Always remember thou art a ng's son.” So ever remember, O christian, thou art a son of the KING OF KINGS. Thy Father is holy; study to be like him; aim to resemble him in thy daily walk. This day thou wilt be exposed to the shares of sin and temptations to evil; they ever beset thee. Remeinber thy calling, it is to holiness of life ; think of the end of it, happiness in glory. It sounds as harsh in one's ears to hear of a wicked christian as to hear of a dark sün. But beware of making an idol of thy own holiness. We read of Pygmalion, who had got an image so lively that he took it for a real person, and fell in love with it. This seems to be the case with some; they are more taken up with, talk more about, and seem more in love with an image they have made of their own holiness and perfection, than of the glorious righteousness of Jesus. Yea, they so esteem their own holiness, that they think it is to effect for them more than Christ's righteousness hath, even secure and make effectual their own salvation. Thus the imputed righteousness of Christ is cashiered out of their faith and affection, to make way for their pretended holiness. This is the very essence of a Pharisee. But'“ being made free from sin (the power of pride within, as well as of sin without) ye become servants of God, ye have your FRUIT unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."....Rom. vi. 22.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for ad

versity.... Prov. xvii. 17. ..We have a striking instance of genuine and uninterrupted friendship, which mutually subsisted between David and Jonathan How affecting is that pathetic, mournful, exclamation of David, when friendship's sweet bands were dissolved in death! “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan ; very pleasant hast thou been unto me ; thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."....2 Sam. i. 26. Who can read this plaintive note without sympathy? Wisdom's assertion is literally exemplified in them But though their love and friendship never abated in the dark scenes of adversity, but was alike at all times, yet death put a period to its existence. Natural friendship extends not beyond the confines of the grave. But, o disciple, thou hast a friend who ever lives and ever loves. The most exalted friendship when compared to his, diminishes in glory, as the light of the brightest star disappears when the dazzling glory of the sun shines forth. Is not Jesus “this friend who loveth at all times?" Yea, before time commenced, his love existed towards his church. Every member was loved by him, and was given to him of the Father. When in time he saw them polluted in their blood, defiled with sin, and loathsome in their persons, yet (O wonderful !) that was the time of love, he passed by, his eye saw, his heart loved, and his lips said, LIVE. Dost thou, O soul, live by faith on the Son of God ? 'This is the effect of love; this is love known and manifested. But dost thou find daily that thou art a poor sinner? Therefore art thou grieved, and thinkest thou shalt weary out the love of thy friend! No; that cannot be, he loveth at all times; “whom he loves, he loves to the end.” Jesus is "the brother born for adversity," to comfort in and to support under it. Now thou art in an adverse state ; the world, the flesh, and the devil are all against thee; but thy friend is above, engaged for thee ; he is stronger than all. Though in dangers oft, always safe. Jesus was born to suffer adversity for his brethren. A friend and a brother makes one's sorrows and sufferings his own. So did Jesus. Our sins were his, "he bore them in his own body.” “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." And hath he loved before time? Does he love at all times? Then what shall separate from the love of Jesus ? Nothing: for “in all things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us. As the power of Jesus is equal to his love, death, which parts the dearest friends, and dissolves the sweetest friendship below, shall introduce us to the nearest enjoyment of our best friend and dearest brother above; for he says, “ Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, be with me. where I am.”....John. xvii. 24.

The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all...,

Isa. liii. 6.

HERE we behold the transaction of the glorious trinity in the covenant of grace. Here is the display of grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Jehovah, the Father, lays or causes to meet all the sins of his people upon the surety of the covenant, the Son of his love. Jesus undertakes to bear them. The Holy Ghost publishes this joyful truth unto the children of men; he works faith in their hearts, and bears witness with their spirits of salvation hereby. Thus the three glorious persons in the Godhead agree in one, even in this one truth, salvation by Jesus. Happy is the inan who believes it. Faith looks to the purposes of grace, and rests upon the accomplishment of covenant-love.

When one undertakes to be surety for another, then the debt is reckoned to him, and he accepts it. Thus, our dear Saviour, our blessed surety stood up for us, engaged in our behalf. Our debts, all our iniquities were imputed to him, and laid upon him, charged upon his person; "he bore them in his own body on the tree.” He fully satisfied, perfectly atoned divine justice for them. “By the one sacrifice of himself he hath taken them all away, made an end of sin;" so that justice itself proclaims its own faithfulness to forgive sin... 1 John i. 9. Grace reigns, mercy triumphs, sinners are pardoned, believers rejoice. Obeliever, thou art blessed of thy God who is just, therefore doth not, cannot impute sin unto thee. True, thou hast committed sins innumerable; but it is as true, they were all laid upon Jesus. True, thou dost commit sin, it is equally true Christ hath borne them. Thou wilt commit sin, it is perfectly true thy Saviour hath atoned for them all. Thou hast nothing to plead, but guilty in thyself, but perfectly righteous in Christ. Every charge the enemy brings from the righteous law against thee is just: own it; but ever plead in thine. own conscience and before the throne, Jesus hath satisfied for all; there is now no condemnation to me, Obeliever, this is a most precious truth of God. Not thy faith, not thy repentings, not any thing thou canst do; but Jehovah laid iniquity upon Christ, this is his sole prerogative. Let devils rage against it, let men oppose it; yet will this truth be found true in its nature, most happy in its consequences to the children of God. Hence flow their peace, their holiness, their heaven. Hear their song below: “The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge; that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them and rose again.”.... 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. Hear their triumph above: “Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, who hath washed us from our sins in his own blood.”....Rey. i. 5.

By grace are ye saved through faith ; and that not of your. selves: it is the gift of God.... Eph. ii. 8.

SLEEP is the image of death; every morning we awake is a kind of new life. In sleep, how insensible of danger! how unable to prevent it! The Lord's mercies are renewed every morning; his watchfül providence is our safety. Reflect, O my soul, upon the immerited love of thy God! Happy for thee, daily to awake and arise from thy bed of slumber with the sense of free grace and sovereign love upon thy heart! Temporal mercies are heightened and improved by a sense of spiritual and eternal blessings. Disciple, thou livest in a space of time in which thou mayest look back upon eternal love, look forward to eternal glory, and look upon thyself and see what wonders grace has done. Thou art this day called to consider how thou art saved. First, in the purpose of thy God, ere thou hadst a being, everlasting love which gave thee existence, decreed thy salvation. Secondly, in accomplishment, grace provides a Lame for thy ran. som ; in the fulness of time, a Saviour is born in human flesh; he lived för sinners, died for sin, “made an end of sin,” made reconciJiation for iniquity, brought in'an' everlasting righteousness ; his expiring breath proclaimed, salvation work is FINISHED; 'but thy poor soul lay in nature's darkness, in the sleep of death, and would have slept on till the arch-angel's dreadful sound of the trumpet had wakened thee to everlasting shame and confusion; but impossible this : being saved in love's decree, being redeemed by blood divine, grace challenged thy soul. Therefore, thirdly, thou art saved in enjoyment “through faith;" called by the word of truth; quickened by the Spirit of grace; Jesus's salvation become the desire of thy soul; God gave his Son for thee; the Spirit gave faith to thee: hence Jesus became precious, sin hateful, thyself vile, holiness lovely in thinc eyes and to thy heart; 'thus sinners ARE saved by grace through faith' ; they have no hand, no share, no glory at all in this matter; in the believing, abiding views of this grace, this salvation, consist all our peace, love, joy, holiness, heaven. Why then, o believer, art thou not perfectly, uninterruptedly happy and holy? Verily, because thou art still in the flesh; thy old man is still alive ; nature's pride and sinfulness daily resist the glory of grace and the exercise of faith : but in opposition to all, thou art to abide confident in the belief of the truth, daily study the love of thy God and Saviour; this tends to sink thee in humility; daily consider thy deserts to be hell, and adore the riches of sovereign grace ; this will, through the bles sing of the Spirit, keep thee from boasting in self, and cause thee to glory in the Lord only. “Salvation is of faith, that it might be by grace."....Rom. iy 16. VOL. I.

Rr

« PreviousContinue »