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out him, but follow him in faith whither soever he goeth. They depend upon him to lead them forth by the right way, that they may go to the city of habitation. The road is intricate; but their conductor is sure. Thus the redeemed of the Lord are strangers in a strange land, and are treated accordingly. Walking in the spirit of their master, the world perceives the alienation, will at least ridicule, and, if permitted, will commonly persecute them for it. Neither the innocency nor the usefulness of their lives can screen them from censure and malig◄ nity; but all evil things shall be said of them, which may at any rate be believed, and some which no belief, aided by the keenest prejudices, can possibly swallow. Witness the charge made upon the primitive Christians (as Tertullian, who lived within 200 years of Christ, relates it) of murder and adultery, of killing and eating an infant in their nocturnal assemblies, and of contriving to put out the candles in a minute, in order as a signal and an occasion to commit all manner of impurities. Witness almost the same things retailed from age to age again and again, without proof, without sense, and beyond the very conscience of the relaters themselves, even down to the most modern times. And yet, after all, the malice of the world is not abated in itself, though the power of exerting it (blessed be God) is curtailed; for indeed the antipathy of its spirit to the Spirit which is of God, is so radical and so entire, as to be absolutely irreconcileable to it. For which reason doubtless it was, that our Lord and his apostle gave forth that standing admonition to the church; marvel not if the world hate you:
you if ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.t
Now, as the Christian is and must be a stranger upon earth, averse to its evil maxims and life, and it averse to his; it is expedient for him to be a pilgrim, that is, a passenger, from the earth to a better country, even the heavenly. He must be a spiritual Hebrew, which means the same thing, and must relinquish his own country (like Abraham) and his father's house, that is, this present evil world, and the old Adam of nature in which he was born, From these he must pass over the flood, as the river and the Red sea were passed over of old, or like another Rubicon, with a decided purpose, and make the best of his way, under the divine guidance and protection, to the promised land. He cannot fix his thoughts here; for this is not his rest, because it is polluted. Thus he becomes a continual sojourner, as all the fathers, all the faithful, ever were. He is engaged in a pilgrimage, and must proceed; for destruction is behind him, but before him an eternal weight of glory. To go backward is horror; to stand still is misery; to fall short is despair. He is, therefore, in earnest upon this most awful, this most necessary, business; nor would he be wrong for a thousand worlds. And consequently, knowing his own weakness, as well as his own infirmity, he is importunate in prayer, watchful in spirit, tender in heart, humble in
* 1 John, iii. 13.
↑ John xv. 19.
1 Chron. xxix. 15. Ps. xxxix. 12.
life, and looking (but bewailing that he looks not enough) to Jesus, that he may be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. He walks in the order of providence for this world, and in the spirit of grace for another: and God is his guide in both, according to that sweet promise; an highway shall be there, and a way [a certain and prepared way] and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein; or, as the latter part might be rendered, but HE himself [1,] shall be with them, walking in the way, and even the fools shall not err therein.*
In thus being strangers, and pilgrims, and Hebrews, they are also, truly and spiritually, the only Jews, that is, the confessors and glorifiers of Jehovah. He is not a Jew (says the apostle) who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart; in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God. Three things made a Jew in the flesh, who is but a shadow of the Jew in the spirit, namely, 1. circumcision: 2. baptism: S. sacrifice. And the purport of these constitutes a Christian, who is the true and living Jew; 1. circumcision of the heart, or cutting off the old man with his deeds, so as not to live by him as the principle of life towards God. 2. The baptism or regeneration of the Spirit, which is putting on the new man, even Christ Jesus, as the substance of spiritual life. 3. The sacrifice of the whole body, soul, and spirit, to the will of Jehovah through Christ Jesus.
* Isa. xxxv. 8.
Where this hath taken place, the soul is brought into communion with God as a friend and a child, is enabled to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, is rendered a stranger and pilgrim upon earth, is brought into the bond of the everlasting covenant in perception and experience, and hath a right and title through Christ to all the promises, mercies, blessings, and truths, revealed in the gospel. This gospel is the common charter and deed of conveyance to the heirs of salvation, who are privileged now to cry, without a falsehood, Abba, Father; and, as children, to put in a rightful and acknowledged claim to all that is purchased and all that is prepared for them. They are but of one nation under the same king, one chosen generation under the same head, one family under the saine Father; all dear to him, and by him provided for and protected continually. O what a transcendent glory is put upon poor worms, when redeemed from the earth, and made kings and priests unto God and the Father for evermore! What honourable thoughts should the Christian have of his own renewed state and condition! How clear should he strive to keep it from all impeachment and degradation! How full of praise should he be to Father, Son, and Spirit, the one Jehovah, who hath done so much for him, and will yet do more, in time and in eternity!
O my God, when I think upon these things, often doth my heart melt within me, and my soul is ready to cry out; Who, and what am I, that thou hast brought me hitherto! What, but love divine, could have taken me from the base and vile condition of a stranger to God, of a rebel, a slave, a traitor against him, and have raised me,
not only to the honourable degree of a servant, which would have been an honour that the first of angels rejoices to receive and infinitely beyond my expectations, but to the affectionate relation of a friend and a son, and that son an heir, even an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ Jesus of an exceeding and eternal weight of glory? What hath God wrought for this poor unworthy soul! How hath he made me to rejoice in the earnest and assurance of his favor! Let, Olet this kindle in my heart the warmest flame of affection and gratitude; and let me learn more and more to become a stranger to all but thee, my God, and what belongs to thy truth and salvation. Let me daily feel and remember, that I am but a pilgrim, a passenger, a sojourner here; and conse quently let the staff be always in my hand, my loins girt, and my lamp burning; ever waiting, in meek and patient expectation, for the coming or calling of my Lord Redeemer. Thus may I stand oft upon my watchtower, eagerly looking for the Aijaleth Shahar, the hind of the morning, the appearance of the Sun of righteous ness to bless me me in his kingdom. I am but a poor traveller, weak and sore beset within and without: Lord, help me! Strengthen me for my journey, and quicken my pace in it, that I may not be slow of heart to believe, nor dull in spirit to follow thee, in the ways of thy salvation!
Ps. xxii. Title: