Abbildungen der Seite


expedient which excites the attention and admiration of angelic minds. They stoop down to contemplate the mystery divine, and desire to look into it. This is that expedient in which grace reigns, in which it triumphs in all its sovereignty, and in all its glory, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, unto eterpal life.

The fan&tification of our natures, closely connected with what we have just mentioned, by which we are enabled to live to God, is also the effect of divine favour. I live, yet not I, but Chrift liveth in me.” He lives in me by his Holy Spirit, forming me after his image, and producing in me those gracious habits, spiritual dispositions, and holy acts, which are pleasing in his sight. The issue of these is new and evangelical obedience to his will.

San&tification is the production of grace. Every christian, as such, is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works; he may therefore say, in his measure, with the apostle PAUL, "

grace of God I am what I am." And as it is God's grace which produces in us every holy disposition, so it is the fame grace which quickens and excites these dispositions from time to time, into spiritual action. It is in this light that we are to understand the words of our divine Sa. viour, when he says,

Without me ye can do no-


By the

[ocr errors]

thing.” Perfectly conformable to this, his inspired apostle has told us, that it is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. The holy principle in the heart, which is as a well of water springing up to everlasting life, is given by him, in whom it hath pleased the Father that all ful. ness should dwell.

It is the very God of peace who sanctifies his children wholly, and who fills them with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to his own glory and praise. Progress in fanétification, power to perform religious duties aright, and fresh assistances for new encounters and undertakings, are from him. Let none say that our system is unfriendly to holiness, because it excludes human works from having any place in a sinner's justification; for holiness of heart and life is inseparable from the blessing of free justification by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We allow holiness to have the place which God has assigned it in his word, though we dare not substitute it in the room of the Redeemer's obedience unto death.

It is a certain truth, that where Christ is a Saviour he will be a "Sovereign. He is the Author of eternal salvation to them that obey him. His benefits and his person cannot be divided; the virtue of his death is connected with its value. Newness

. 044

of heart and of life is as necessary in its place as freedom from wrath and condemnation. Christ is made of God unto us fanctification as well as right. eousness, and every sincere believer is created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath be, fore ordained that we should walk in them. The liberated foul, whom the Captain of salvation hath made free from the power of fin, is thankful for deliverance from his former fetters, as well as for the discharge of his enormous debts. An acquittal in open court would not render a prisoner happy, unless he were also released from bondage. In like manner, our salvation by Jesus would not be complete, unless we were delivered from the power, as well as from the guilt of sin. Strength to serve God, and to do his will from the heart, is a defirable favour, as well as deliverance from condemnation and wrath. The believer enjoys both. Surely say, In the Lord have I righteous, nefs and strength.

The necessary comforts and supports of life, afforded to us in a new-covenant way, are blessings flowing from God's favour. Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord. He blefleth our bread and our water, and makes our external enjoyments conducive to the support and the comfort


[ocr errors]

of our lives. It is the christian's happiness to receive all the blessings of providence as blessings enfured to him by that everlasting covenant, which is ordered in all things and fure. As such they are expressions of God's favour. This seems to be the meaning of the apostle's words, when he fays concerning the temporal necessities of the saints,

My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” There are riches in glory, or glorious riches in Christ Jesus, according to which every blessing is bestowed. All your wants of soul and body are hence supplied. Let the believer dwell, in his thoughts, on this precious portion of scripture, and by an active faith feed on the marrow and fatness of it..

The word of God abounds with expressions to this purpose, that there is no want to them that fear him; that he shall give them the desire of their heart; that they shall inherit the earth; that he will with-hold no good thing from them; that, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things shall be added unto them; that is, not as common mercies, but as blessings ensured by promise, and as tokens of special favour. Thus the Lord spake concerning his ancient people, by the prophet Jeremiah, “ I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land


I 2


assuredly, with my whole heart, and with my whole soul.” Here are temporal bleflings accompanied with special favour.

Sometimes the Lord bestows gifts in displeasure; as when he fed the Ifraelites with quails in the wil. dernefs. Awful is that divine declaration to a difo. bedient and gain-laying people,

66 Thus faith the Lord, I will curse your blessings, yea, I have cursed them already. But a child of God partakes of the bounties of his hand in mercy, and as tokens and testimonies of special favour. This makes them doubly precious and valuable.

How sweet our daily comforts prove,
When they are season'd with his love!

Xenophon, speaking of the kindness of Cyrus to his friends, relates, that he gave a cup of gold to Artabazus, and a falute to Chrysantas ; the former complained that he had been treated with less kindness than his friend, because the salute of Cyrus was a token of greater favour to Chrysantas, than the golden cup was to him. It is certain, that there is more value in the tokens of favour which the Al. mighty grants to his poor, despised, and afflicted people, than there is in all the treasures of the rich and the great. Whatever the portion of his chil. dren be here as to quantity, it is, in quality, like


« ZurückWeiter »