Page images
PDF
EPUB

whose lips, like lilies dropping sweet whether it is not all a delusion. I smelling myrrh, will graciously revive wonder not at it; it is natural for you under all your discouragements, you to doubt, it is supernatural that who will never leave you nor forsake you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you, and (in spite of sin and Satan, and behold him a suitable and precious death and bell) whose glory will object, and your Saviour. For al. crown you, when all your toils of though you are a new creature in this short and transitory pilgrimage Christ, yet you have naturally the are ended. Fear not, thou little one same evil heart of unbelief, you are of the little flock, it is your Father's exposed to the insidious attacks of a good pleasure (the immutable purpose tempting adversary. The carnal reaof his good will) to give you the sonings of your mind will ever be in kingdom; so says Truth himself. opposition to the simplicity of faith ; Then all the powers of darkness may and you will find the warfare between try, and try in vain, but cannot the flesh and the Spirit so long as you jockey you out of your inheritance. remain in this earthly tabernacle. It is all of grace from first to last, You may be left to question the good and grace experienced now is glory work of God again and again, yea, in the bud. Your everlasting Lover you may be called to pass through has coupled grace and glory together. many wintry seasons of trial and The Lord God, who is a Sun to en- temptation; but, my dear child, let lighten, invigorate, and warm you, is not this discourage you, for you canin every attribute and perfection of not be in any state of distress, darkhis nature, a Shield to defend you : ness or trial, in which you will be he will give grace and glory, and no alone. The Lord Jesus Christ is now good thing will be withhold from and will be your inseparable comthem that walk uprightly,” Ps. Ixxxiv. Panion, whether you know it or not, 11. I suppose you would think it that is, have the sensible enjoyment presumption indeed to say, you are of it or not; you have his word for sure of glory, and yet having expe- it, Isa. xliii. 2: “ When thou passrienced the Lord is gracious, it is est through the waters, I will be with your privilege, whatever hesitation thee; and through the rivers, they may arise from a sense of personal shall not overflow thee: when thou unworthiness. When Paul is speak- walkest through the fire thou shalt ing out the certainty which not only not be burned,

neither shall the flame himself but other believers had of kindle upon thee :” and that is secueternal glory, see 2 Cor v. 1, and the rity good enough, his word cannot be earnest desire they felt for the con- broken. But perhaps you say, Yes, summation of their hope, verses 2, if I have but the application, or the 3, 4, he gives in verse 5 their grounds sensible enjoyment of it, through a of certainty : Now he that bath feeling of divine power.

Give me wrought us for this self-same thing leave to say, The application or feel. is God, who also hath given unto us ing enjoyment, through divine power, the earnest of the Spirit.” What may give you more ecstacy and deGod does is done for ever. · The light, but cannot add to the immovagifts and callings of God are without ble safety, or glorious irreversibility repentance;" whom he loves, he loves of the divine word; and if the Lord to the end.

There is our never gives us power to trust his word, and failing blessedness.

believe the certainty of its fulfilment, I notice what you say of being left even when we have no sensible en. to doubt, since the Lord shone upon joyment of it, it is great grace in. you, whether the Lord had begun a deed. And even, however we may work of grace in you or not, and be suspicious, and doubt its fulfil. ment, yet the grace therein contained of modern mock gospel, is as oppois sure to be proved to and by us, site to the simple, unadulterated who have no other trust whatever “ truth as it is in Jesus," as any than Jesus Christ.

thing in nature can be. That sort of But perhaps this is language you preaching which directs a poor sinner do not altogether understand as yet, to his duties, tears, repentings, hum. for in your present state of experience blings, and I know not what, as you long for the breasts of Zion's grounds of safety or tents of conficonsolations, the sensible comfortings dence; in a word, to any thing beof the Holy Spirit. When you feel side the Lamb and his blood, is not the love of God in its sweet opera- the gospel. The truth lies here, Jetions, you are full of hope and joy ; sus is a whole Saviour, his salvation but when these subside, you are is entirely free, it is perfectly full, it ready to question all that has passed is everlastingly finished. He gives a of a comforting nature in your mind. poor sinner to feel bis need of it, I know your path, I have walked warrants him by his word to take it through it before you; and you will for himself, just as it is, and just as be brought to know at length, that the sinner is, and omnipotently draws Christ is the same to you, and you him, by the power of his Spirit, in are equally dear to him, and as much the riches of his grace, to believe it, the beloved of his soul, when you are and rest his soul on it for time and most miserable, as when you are most eternity. rapturously comfortable. The babe Let me endeavour to impress on in Christ is equally safe, with the your mind, the Holy Ghost's counsel oldest father or strongest believer; by Paul to the Colossians, ï. 6. Your the same life is in the one as in the letter tells me that you have a thoother. The Holy Spirit takes pos- rough conviction and sense of your session of each elect soul in regene- need of Christ. I also find the Holy ration, once for ever : “ He shall Spirit has given you some soulabide with you for ever,” John xiv. attracting views of the Father in his 16. While the regenerate vessel of covenant love, of the glorious Immercy is in its spiritual infancy, that manuel in his Saviourship and offices. gracious, holy Guide indulges it with Your renewed spirit heartily approves, sweet frames, melting seasons, it may and has rejoiced in God your Saviour. be, and many a full breast of gospel The Lord keep you in this simplicity. milk he gives the spiritual weakling As a poor trembling sinner you looked to suck at, and be richly teasted with. to Christ, and proved his power, love Through after stages he leads us and mercy, pardon and peace. So gently, he teaches us effectually, and may your eye be drawn to him conby many trials brings our souls to tinually. If you look into yourself, trust to the faithful word alone. to see how fit you are for Christ,

I do fully believe the Lord has there is nothing but misery, confusion, circumcised your heart to love him, death and woe. As a sinner you are for which I bless him; and I trust he exactly fit for him, and as the Saviour has and will circumcise your ear to he is expressly suited to you. Peace know his gracious voice, and dis- cannot be maintained in your soul tinguish it in the means of grace from but in this way. I began my poor that preaching, which pretends to be labours this year with these words for the voice of Christ and is not. It my text, out of Heb. xii. 2, “ Lookshall be my prayer for you, that the ing unto Jesus :" it is my motto for Lord may so instruct and keep, as not the new year. I pray to be enabled to permit you to receive the legal to practise it, if my life is prolonged, logic of the day. The hotch-potch all through the year. I told my con

same,

gregation, there could not be one man is become as one of us, to know sentence found more suitable for poor good and evil; and now, lest he put sinners, who feel the need, their daily forth his hand, and take also of the need of Christ. I must tell you the tree of life, and eat and live for ever.

In looking to Jesus there is So he drove out the man, and be a present salvation, let the felt misery placed on the east of the garden of be whatever it may; and to walk in Eden, cherubims and a flaming sword, Jesus, in my view, is to depend con- which turned every way, to keep the tinually on his strength, converse way of the tree of life.” Gen. iii. 22, with him, pour out our hearts to him, 24. Now when God is pleased to pay implicit deference to his holy open the eyes of his elect, and to word, carry about with us a daily quicken their souls, they will find five sense of our need of him, meditate things stand in their way of this layon his stupendous love, and seek his ing hold of eternal life; and it is very glory.

needful for a convinced sinner to traI must come to a conclusion. I vel this path, painful as it is. notice some other parts of your letter 1. Then there is sin that stands in to which I cannot reply at present. his way, and sin separates between The dear flock at Godmanchester us and our God: actual and original. have a place in my warmest christian And we find that we are nothing but affections; not a day passes without

sin, a

mass of corruption, sins of remembrance of them, frequently ma- omission and sins of commission. ny times in a day. Our God will do 2. A broken law stands in the way all things well in his own time. of such, and

Cursed is every one Mrs. Burnett desires me to express

that continueth not in all things her christian love to you, though un- written in the book of the law, to do known. You are welcome to write them. This shuts us up in prison, whenever you please. To the loving and we are fast bound. heart of Jesus I commend you.

3. A guilty, aecusing conscience

stands in the way, for such have keen Your's in Him,

feelings; they feel sin a sore burden, and though they labour hard to alter themselves, yet the love and power of

sin conquers them continually : and A FEW REMARKS'ON 1 Tim. vi, 17-19. thus they add sin to sin, by endea

vouring to clothe with a covering but BY TAE LATE JOHN RUSK.

not of God's Spirit. This conscience

is like a bailiff, pursuing us go where (Continued from page 40.)

we will, and do all we can. So that Tars shall bring me to the third we are wretched to the last degree, general head, which is this, “ Laying and like Job we are weary of our hold of eternal life." Take particu. life. lar notice then, that this laying hold 4. Truth stands in the of eternal life, is mentioned after declares that “ The soul that sinneth, laying up in store this good founda- shall die ;” that is, eternal death : tion.

that " God will by no means clear Let us treat a little about this bles.

the guilty.” And a thousand such sed subject.

Then observe, it is no texts will come to the mind to cut us easy thing to lay hold of eternal life, off from all hope and help in God. for great opposition ever will attend And lastly, the flaming sword of this. When Adam fell, and all us in divine justice stands in the sinner's

have the following account: way, and turns every way to keep the And the Lord God said, Behold the way of the tree of life. “My sword

JOSEPH BURNETT.

way, which

him, you

shall be bathed in heaven, and sha!I therefore will pursue us, and we shall come down upon Idumea, the people have no peace, rest nor quietness. of my curse, to judgment.”

Conscience, Satan, sin, law, and But, say you, is sin so great as to every one that appears happy, will deserve everlasting punishment ? In- condemn us. But suppose a man is deed it is, for the aggravation of a crime sincere in what he does, and does his arises from the greatness of the per- best, will not God accept this ? No, son offended. It is never considered for truth hath said, "He that offends that a poor man sinning against his in one point (of the law) is guilty of equal is so great, as sinning against all.” And, sinceré obedience is not those in authority and power. Yes, perfect obedience. God's law reand the higher they are advanced, quires perfection, in every sense of the greater the offence. And there. the word, and nothing short of that fore as we have all sinned and come perfection will do. But; say you, is short of the glory of God, our ini- not God merciful ? Yes, he has de. quities are said to be infinite. Were clared in his law, that he “ will sbew they only against man, however great, mercy unto thousands, in them that yet they would only be finite : but love him and keep his commandnot so with God. Hence Eli says to ments.” But as we all, to a man, his sons, who were base characters, hate the true God, and disobey his " If one man sin against another, the commands, justice will pursue us. judge shall judge him; but if a man Thus you clearly see that in these five sin against the Lord, who shall in- particulars we are kept from laying treat for him," i Sam. ii. 25. But hold of this eternal life. But I shall will God be strictly true to his holy now shew you how these difficulties law? Yes, “ I am Gnd, and change are removed out of the way by the not." ** He is not man that he Son of God, the second person in the should lie, nor the son of man that ever-blessed Trinity. he should repent.”

And therefore he Then let it be observed, that the declares, that when once a man gets Son' of God assumed our nature, and into a prison, he shall not come out in that nature, according to covenant thence till he has paid the utmost engagement, he undertook to remove mite, or farthing. Matt. v. 26. every obstacle an dimpediment out of

But is there no way to get clear of the way. To this Paul agrees, saying, an accusing, guilty conscience, by “ when the fulness of time was come, endeavouring for the future to act God sent forth his Son, made of a womore consistent and upright, that we man, made under the law, to redeem may please God and keep his com- them that were under the law, that we mandments ? No, for we are oppo. might receive the adoption of sons." site to it all. God's law requires Now though all the work was finished love to him, and we hate him; and in the purpose of God from everlast. love to our neighbours, and we hate ing, so that before Christ became inthem. Besides, if I owe a debt of carnate, numbers of the elect of God one hundred pounds, my paying for found these difficulties removed, and every thing I have after, never alters after death entered everlasting glory, the old debt, for that remains the as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and same. But though this may be done, others. Yet all this was done upon that is, paying in future, amongst the footing of that work which Christ men, yet not so here; no, though manifestly should accomplish. So keeping the commandments does ap- that it was God the Father trusting pear possible, and seems right; yet to his faithful and well-beloved Son: as Solomon says,

The end thereof And he did come and manifestly finish the

way of death.” Conscience that work which was finished in the

[ocr errors]

decrees and purposes of Jehovah when That such things have been known the holy Three entered into covenant. experimentally by Bible saints, is very “ Awake, O sword, against my shep- clear, and we are to take them for ex. Lerd, the man, my fellow, saith the ample-John tells as follows: " That Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, which we have heard, which we have and the sheep shall be scattered (from seen with our eyes, which we have the stroke), and I will turn my hand looked upon, and which our hands (to protect instead of destroying) up- have handled of the word of life.” on the little ones.” And now does Paul says, Fight the good fight of sin stand in the way ? he removes it, faith, lay hold of eternal life, unto for “ he made his soul an offering for which thou art also called.” The sin; he made an end of sin; he was church in the song “ I held him fast made sin for us who knew no sin, that and would not let him go.” Jacob we might be made the righteousness also, “I will not let thee go except of God in him : he put away sin by thou bless me. There are six ways the sacrifice of bimself.”

that are the means used in order to 2. Does a broken law stand in the this laying hold of Christ who is this way? the Lord Jesus Christ is “ the eternal life: and though, in and of end of the law, for righteousness, to themselves, they are useless, yet as every one that believeth; for Christ the Holy Spirit works by them, we has redeemed us from the curse of shall at certain seasons find them the law, being made a curse for us. precious to our souls, and find faith

3. Does a guilty conscience stand in exercise to lay hold of eternal life. in the

way

y? the blood of Christ pur- 1. Then prayer is a mean that is ges the conscience from dead works, used. And oh, how the soul will to serve the living God.

struggle hard with the Lord Jesus. 4. Does truth say that the guilty and from a deep sense of his need of shall not be cleansed ? Jesus stands him, for he sees and feels himself in their law-place, becomes surety for plunged into such depths of trouble, them, and clears the truth of God: and feel such dangers as he never can hence he is expressly called the truth. describe. All sorts of corruption is

5. Does divine justice hold the sin- boiling up within him, Satan temptner fast? Jesus acquits the sinner, ing and then accusing him, the law and by his blood the prisoners are cursing him, and all his sins like sent out of the pit in which was no mountains, in his way, calling aloud water. The prison doors are opened for divine vengeance. But yet, under to them that were bound, for “ God it all, he feels at certain times an is faithful and just (through the me- earnest cry in his soul after Cbrist, diation of Christ) to forgive us our who is eternal life; and nothing short sins, and to cleanse us from all un- of his being fully persuaded of his righteousness."

interest in the Saviour, will satisfy Now this is the way we are brought his soul; for it is the desire accomto lay hold, and faith is the band by plished that is sweet to the soul, and which we lay hold of eternal life, and Christ is the desire of all nations. of which I shall briefly treat in an When this desire cometh, is a tree experimental way; for all that I have of life. See Jacob, how hard he been writing about must be known wrestled, under the Spirit's influence, by experience; it is of no use my un- for the blessing. And David tells us, derstanding truth in the head, for that God's blessing is life for everthat will stand us in no stead when more. But did Jacob succeed ? Yes the fiery trial comes ; wisdom and he did, for it is said “He blessed him truth, says David, must be in the there.” I remember, some years ago, hidden parts of the heart of man. that I was very clearly enabled to lay

« PreviousContinue »