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sight of God. Its principle and end must be evil, because it originates in sin and is directed to self, in opposition to the grace which always seeks the divine glory.
This doctrine of free and full justification by faith through the righteousness of the God-man Christ Jesus, is a most precious and consolatory truth to a weary and heavy-laden soul, who only can know the worth of it. In those trying hours, when the conscience accuses, and the law condemns, and God's righteous justice seeins to cry aloud for vengeance, upon account of a sinful heart and sinful life; then to hear of a perfect and free for giveness, a release from thraldom, a deliverance from bondage, and the best robe of righteousness both to cover defects and to afford a welcome title to the marriage of the Lamb and all its happiness; this is good news, in→ deed, this is the gospel itself, these are those very glad tidings of great joy, which the spirit of the self-convicted sinner pants for, and which lift up his admiring soul with a burst of praise, for so surprising a mercy. None but those, to whom God has granted repentance unto life, can understand what all this means; but those conceive it well, and find great delight in looking back upon, what is called in scripture, the day of their espousals.
It is this salutary truth, which chears the heart of the believer in the whole course of his pilgrimage, and which is (as it were) the sheet-anchor of all his hopes. It is not human faithfulness, or strength, or any thing else, either real or supposed, in man, which establishes a certain hope; it is the grace, bestowing justification through faith, that makes the promise sure to all the seed, and exempts them, as members
bers of Christ, living and walking by his Spirit, from future condemnation. The blood and righteousness, which satisfy God and all his attributes, may well satisfy them. When therefore trials and afflictions visit the Christian, and visit him (as they are always employed to do) in love, and for the increase of faith and holiness; he can say: "True, these things are grievous and distressing to flesh and blood, and they wear my outward man down to the ground, for which purpose they are permitted to come; but, notwithstanding, my foundation is sure, my Redeemer is faithful, his strength and righteousness are everlasting to support and justify me, he hath mercifully given me these, he employs nothing and takes away nothing but for my good, his Spirit teaches and refreshes my soul under all my wea riness and pain, and soon the end shall come, when all shall be well with me, and I shall enjoy my Lord, my life and portion, beyond the storms of evil and of time, for ever and ever. Then every mystery and every mysterious path shall be made plain and clear, and be proved to have been the straitest and the best for my journey to heaven. Then the face of the tapestry (as one expresses it) shall be turned, and all its figures appear beautiful and proportionate, the hack-ground of which seems so strange and confused to my present view. Then the building, now scattered in its members, shall be found to have been fitly framed indeed by an unerring mind and an almighty hand, when brought part to its part and set up in its long-concerted order and arrangement.O my Lord, when I consider these things, I am ashamed of myself, that I should ever be so mad and so foolish, as to murmur and repine at thy providential dispensa,
tions, which, being meant by thee for my good, must of necessity accomplish it at the last. Let me hold fast thy firm word of truth, and thine everlasting righteousness; the one assuring me of thy faithfulness, and the other of my indefectible portion; and then let me exult with the most lively faith and joy, in language taught by thine own Spirit; I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate ME from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord!"
This is the voice, this the privilege, of a Christian.Pray, dear reader, that it may be thine. Thou mayest repent of the joys and sorrows of the world, which only work death; but of these joys and these sorrows, issuing from the love and providential care of an heavenly Father and kind Redeemer, there can be no thought of repentance; because this love shall exist, beyond the very approach of change, world without end.
THIS is one of the most glorious titles of the children of God, and so peculiarly their own, that the rest of mankind readily despise and renounce the name. The persons, who seek a right to it and declare their hope of its participation, are, decidedly and at once, the object of Jehovah's love, and of this world's abhorrence and contempt. But as there is scarcely a name so frequently applied to them in the holy scriptures, as this, respecting their state both in earth or heaven; they must be content with all the contumely, that can be thrown upon one of the holiest of denominations, and go forth without the camp of the world, bearing the reproach of him, who bestowed it upon them, with all the blessedness connected with it.
The Hebrew name, applied to persons, describes them as devoted, destined, prepared, sanctified, or set apart, in a state of distinction or abstraction from the multitude of mankind, by the will and power of God, to his own service and glory. Agreeable to this radical idea of the word, are all the doctrines and providences of the bible inculcated, applied, and performed. The doctrines, as they appear either in representations or prophecies under the Old Testament, and in more express terms under the New; and the providences, as they arose and
and were fulfilled from age to age; are all in harmony with this great truth implied under this great name, that God hath chosen to himself a peculiar people out of the nations of the earth, that they are set apart to himself from the profanations of a wicked world, that they are prepared accordingly by his holy Spirit for an heavenly life, and that they shall most certainly, notwithstanding all opposition and enmity from earth and hell, attain to the everlasting possession of the kingdom of glory.
To exhibit this gracious privilege, there are many applications of this term sanctified or holy both to persons and things. Abel was accepted, and not Cain; Jacob, and not Esau; Joseph and David rather than their brethren; and, omitting many other personal examples, the whole nation of the Jews, by way of prophetic or doctrinal similitude, and the national rejection for a time of all others. Again; particular stations, services, portions, privileges, sacrifices, were appointed by God to the priests under the law, all of which were set apart or sanctified to them distinctly from all other men. In like manner, certain vessels, made of the same materials with other vessels, were devoted to the sanctuary, and so became vessels of honor for the great Master's use; and, in one word, the sanctuary itself, the eminent type of Christ and his people, was prepared, dedicated, made holy to the Lord, and not to be profaned by the very foot of a stranger, or one out of the covenant. It is but the same idea in the New Testament, where the apostle speaks of presenting the church as a chaste virgin to Christ, her be trothed husband; having wedding-garments, which were always prepared and bestowed distinctly and individually