« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
in any other place than what the LORD should choose to appear in. The spiritual support of the children of God is all covenanted mercy, enjoyed by them under the true circumcision of the Spirit, and in the presence, or faith in the presence, of the Lord that bought them. And to them are realized those charming prophecies; JEHOVAH hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength; surely, I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies, and the sons of a stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: but they, that have gathered it, shall eat it, and praise JEHOVAH; and they, that have brought it together, shall drink it in the courts of my holiness. He shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munition of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. THINE EYES SHALL SEE THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY.
If this be true; and true it is, if any fact was ever true; we may say with the incomparable Leighton, that "we need not then that poor shift for the pressing of holiness and obedience upon men, to represent it to them as the meriting cause of salvation. This is not at all to the ́purpose, seeing, without it, the necessity of holiness to salvation is pressing enough; for holiness is no less necessary to salvation, than if it were the meriting cause of it; it is as inseparably tied to it in the purpose of God."
Let no man then despise the pray for grace to become one. in reality, study to prove his
name of saint, but rather And let him, who is such right to the glorious title
Isa. lxii. 8, 9. xxxiii. 16, 17. with Lev. xix. 23-25. Deut. xii. 17, 18.
more and more, as he values the consolation of his own mind, and the honor of his heavenly Master. In a little time the Lord shall come, in the greatness of his power, to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe. Then shall thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him. And then shall the saints of the most high, whose lives were counted folly and their end without honor by a mad and evil world, take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. So be it, Lord Jesus; come quickly: Amen.
Happy Christian! God's own child,
Once a rebel, full of taint,
Happy Christian! Look on high;
Happy Christian! Though the earth
Happy Christian! Angels say,
"Happy Christian! Upwards fly!
ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS.
ZEAL for God, and for all that belongs to his truth and glory, well becomes a Christian. Without this wise and holy zeal, whatever be his opinions, however great his knowledge or his fame, he will scarcely deserve the title, True zeal springs from grace in the heart and affections; and, without the engagement of these, the employment of all our other faculties is but of little worth in the sight of God.
By good works may be fairly understood the whole compass of goodness, as it can be exercised by a Christian. No other person can really perform them at all; and the Christian only as he is enabled by that, which makes him a Christian, and distinguishes him from all other men. He is a part of the new creation, the renovated workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, or prepared, that he should walk in them*. God prepared him for the works, and the works for him, to the praise of the glory of his own grace by Christ Jesus,
When a man is made a Christian indeed, he is brought into union and fellowship with Christ. By this union he receives from him salvation and all the things which ac
*Eph. ii. 10.
company it. To illustrate this, our Lord sets before us a lively figure. He calls himself a vine, and his people the branches; and tells his disciples, that as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. These words show the necessity of this union, before the fruit can be produced; and the necessity of fruit after the union, is shown by the words of the whole context.* The head and the members give another image of the same truth. The members can have no direction, action, or even life, but by continual union with their head; nor can the members of Christ, in a spiritual sense, WITHOUT HIM.† Christ will not cease to actuate his members: they cannot be separated from him: and, in his action upon them, and in their activity by him, consist all their comfort and holiness, undivided from his person and glory.
This is the principle of works properly good; for all the works, which are "otherwise done than as God hath willed and commanded them to be done," are not intrinsically good, in their agents, however they may conduce to the service of others; but are, on the contrary, dressed and disguised sins, produced by the natural man, in a selfish way for carnal ends, without. the life of God, or true respect for Him.
See John xv, 1-8. It is the just remark of an able and eminent divine;": as surely as the vine-branch can have no power independant of the root, so surely cannot the Christian think, act, or live as such, but so far only as he derives his abilities from the stock upon which he is engrafted." JONES's Inquiry upon the Spring. p. 36. Nothing can be said more strongly, in the way of concession, for free grace, nor more directly against free-will and self-righ↑ John xv. 5.
As Christ is the pattern of Christian holiness, so he is the main-spring and motive of all its duties within the soul. Like the sap throughout the vine; so Christ sweetly and richly diffuses his Holy Spirit through all his spiritual branches, causing them to be fruitful, in a gracious similarity to himself and to each other, and establishing their fruit so as to remain. They are not like the barren fig-tree, which was accursed in having only the fair, large, wide-spreading leaves of profession; but they bear a rich and ripe product in due season, because, from their root or stock, Christ Jesus, is their fruit certainly found.*
He hath left us an example, that we should tread in his steps; and as we delight to imitate those whom we love (for true love ever induces likeness;) so, without any harsh or dull constraint which can only show that our hearts are not engaged in the business, shall we copy our dear Redeemer in all that he hath set before us. It will be our meat and drink, our necessary, our constant, gratification and happiness, to go after his will. It will be even our will too; and contrary to our will not to go
The allusion is to Mark xi. 13, which might have been translated thus; and seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he came, if therefore he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for where he was (i. e. then) was the time of figs. This was primarily derected to the Jewish church, from whom Christ did not expect fruit out of season, 20 may be seen from another parable to the same purpose, in Mark xii 2. Luke xx. 10. And it is also applicable to every individual professor of Christianity, whose faith must be proved by its fruits and justified by its works, or else he will be cast forth as a barren branch and be withered, till at length he shall be cast into the fire and be burned. John xv. 6.