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2. Then they were blessed with such an increase of faith that they were stong in faith giving glory unto God," the centurion had come here, hence when our Lord says,
Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe," (I should have said nobleman,)" Jesus said, Go thy way, thy son liveth, and the man believed and his whole house." Again a centurion came to Jesus about his servant who lay at home sick of the palsy, and Jesus said, "I will come and heal him; he answered, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word, and my servant shall be healed. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel: and Jesus said, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee, and his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." You see a great difference in these two men and little faith, but although they had great faith now, yet they were once of but
little faith, and this is an encourage. ment for little faith to go on praying, 'Lord, increase my faith.' But again, these young men were strong in joy also. Now this joy comes from the fulness of Christ and it is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Hence Christ says," Ask that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full;" and the fruits of the Spitit are love, joy," &c. Thus these young men had this oil of joy, for they were strong, and “ the joy of the Lord is our strength."
3. These young men were at a point respecting their adoption so as to lay claim to God as their covenant God and Father, for they were strong, and this requires power: hence you read, "that to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." It is worth our while to notice, that little faith in this text is hinted at," to as many as received him :" this little faith did with all his heart. But can he lay clain to his adoption? No, but he shall in God's own time, for it is given, (this power) to them (there little faith again,) that believe on his
4. These young men were prevalent with God in prayer. What a hard thing it is at times to make this out, at least I have found it so, and yet we read, "Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear." But all this arises from the weakness of our faith, and here power is required so as to wrestle with the Lord as Jacob did: hence it is said, That as a prince he had power with God and with man and prevailed." Now I believe that Jacob, at other times was of little faith, for you read that when he heard that his brother was coming, and four hundred men, he was greatly afraid; but a though once little faith, yet not always. Thus these young men were prevailers with God.
Once more, These young men, I
believe, were strong in hope of the glory that is to be revealed, for they felt the love of Christ constrain them. Little faith had but little hope, yet he had hope, though at times he concluded that his hope was removed like a tree, and as for his hope, who should see it, and that his strength and his hope was perished from the Lord." But these young men having travelled on in the divine life had got so strong as to abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. They could rejoice" in the hope of the glory of God." They well knew that God had revealed his Son in them, which was God's mystery among the gentiles, and that was Christ in them, the hope of glory." This encouraged them to press on through every difficulty being fully persuaded that they did not run at uncertainty, nor fight like those that beat the air, so "that they loved not their lives unto the death." Solomon says, "That love is strong as death, and that many waters (although they may and will try to quench this love, yet they) cannot, (nor can all the floods of temptation, nor of ungodly men) drown it," for it cannot be lost. Charity never faileth, and that is God's everlasting love to all the heirs of promise.
Again, It is said, that the word of God did abide in these young men. No pharisee ever came here: hence Christ told them, "I know that my word hath no place in you," which the Saviour in another place, fully explained when he told them, " I know you, that the love of God is not in you." But again, a man may go further than this, for he may have a clear understanding in every truth of the everlasting gospel, so as to talk about it, and no one be able to find the least fault with what he says, and yet not have this word according to what John says, “abiding in him." It is very evident, that the Holy Spirit does furnish men with March, 1845]
gifts, both to preach and to write and very soundly too. But he is not after all this in their hearts, it is only head work: hence, Paul says, that a man may have all knowledge and understand all mysteries, and speak with the tongues of men and angels, and yet to be without charity, or not have this word, or this love of God abiding in them. There is something very particular here, and that is this; although little faith had this word, or this love which Peter tells us is," the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever," yet in this one thing that I shall mention, these young men exceeded little faith, and that is, they had wisdom given them with this inheritance, so that God the Holy Spirit did furnish them with truth and power so as to stop the mouths of gainsayers; they were enabled to " contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," and although all are not called alike to this work, yet such are very useful in the church of God; and by this abiding, I understand, that such are wonderfully kept up in this thing: and this promise is made good in their experience, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom, that your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor resist," and this widely differs from head knowledge only, because here are gifts and grace, in such the Spirit is a springing well, but in the other it is only a standing pool, the one has no security for his standing in it, no not even until death, and if he does his en l will be awful. But the other, having this treasure is secured till death and landed safe in glory to all eternity. But I will prove this assertion from God's word, because we are to go to the law, and to the testimony, and if men speak not according to God's word, it is because there is no light in them. Then take notice, a gft, is the one talent, it has to do with the memory, and the understanding, and is a pleasing thing to those who have it, and some
times very advantageous. A gift is a very precious thing in the eyes of him that hath it withersoever he turneth it, it prospereth but the affections and conscience, remain as they ever were, unmoved; hence you read, that the Jewish scribes and pharisees, seen and hated both Christ and his Father. A man may have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries, and be without charity. If the prince, Christ Jesus, give a gift to his servant, a bond-servant under the law, it shall be his to the year of jubilee, and then shall return to the prince, but if he give it to his son, an elect vessel of mercy, it shall be his for ever and ever.
T-Yes, and Christ says, "he that hath, (grace) to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly, but he that hath not, (grace, but only a gift,) from him shall be taken away even that he hath;" so that you are right: a gift, only secures nothing.
O.-But again, this word did abide in these young men, according to what Paul says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wis dom, teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
serve the word, richly, what may we understand by that? Then I really believe such a one has a rich experience in his own soul and also the the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ and such were these young men, and there were six things, upon this head that they were established in. Now take notice, 1. They were quite sure, they were in a pardoned state, pardon to them had been multiplied again and again in their souls, and they were enlightened to see it clearly in God's word, that it agreed with the testimony of God's saints. Now I do not know any thing more strengthening or more encouraging, and that is, when you and I have a scriptural
evidence with an inward evidence: these two carry all before them. Now the word of pardon dwells richly in such, for we receive the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of his grace. 2. Such are blessed with the full assurance of faith, and what they advance of their experience to others they have a twofold witness of in their own hearts: namely, the Holy Spirit and their own consciences, hence Paul says, The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God." Thus it is that we are established, and this is a "being rich in faith,” as James says, 66 God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom ;" and it is astonishing, but it is really truth, what comfort, happiness and delight in God, an appropriating faith brings into the soul, and here I could write to fill a volume. You and I cannot hold any trouble longer than unbelief holds us fast; when the Holy Spirit subdues that, and draws forth faith into lively act and exercise: as faith increases so our troubles are removed, in the feeling sense of them, whether spiritual or temporal. have watched these things in myself for years.
T. What you say, I can set to my seal, for this faith will purify the heart, overcome the world, bring into the soul all the blessings of the new covenant, it will surmount every tem.
oral trouble, as you say, make de vils tremble, and quit their hold. It will obtain promises, it will eclipse all the vain glory of the world and make Christ precious; yea, it will make him the chiefest among ten thou sand and altogether lovely."
O.—I am glad to hear talk as you do, it shews that you enjoy a little of this faith: but observe further, it is said that faith overcomes God himself, and what a wonderful thing this is; but it is a real truth; hence Christ tells his beloved, in the Songs, "Turn thine away eyes
me, for thou hast overcome me,” and this was manifested clear enough hoth in Jacob and in the woman of Canaan; this faith then, after a great many sore trials, in the which we conclude that we are deceived, yet in God's own time it will grow and we shall be more established in it. Believe in the Lord, so shall you be established, believe his prophets, so shall you prosper," and these young men had got here; then it is not to be wondered at, that the word dwells richly in such, because they are rich in faith, and faith has the honour of bringing every blessing from the fulness of Christ to us: and God fa vouring us with a door of utterance, we are helped with David to say, Oh, come hither all ye that fear the Lord, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul."
But there is such a thing as the riches of understanding, as you read, "that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ." What a blessed chain of truth lies in this verse to be sure, and what real love was manifested in the apostle: hence he speaks of the great conflict that he had for the church at Colosse, and it was also for many, who never saw him in the flesh, that they might be comforted: knit together in love unto the full assurance of understanding," and then traces it all up to the fountain head, a Trinity of Persons, in Jehovah. Now although the understanding of such is so rich, and so fully assured, yet observe, not so as to comprehend fully as it is, no, only to acknowledge; "for who by searching can find out God?" But God humbles his people, and they bow to divine truth. Well then this is it, the mystery of God, that is, God the Holy Ghost, this shews that he is a divine person in the Godhead, and a distinct person. The mystery of
God and of the Father, then another person, and of Christ, there is a third person, and we must never give this up, and at the same time we are sure that there is but one God, and a man or woman that denies this, never prayed to, nor prevailed with God so as to get an answer.
T.-But they tell us that they do pray, and if we go to hear them we shall find them carry on their worship in a similar way to us, they sing and they engage in prayer.
O.-My friend it is a damnable delusion that they are in, damnable because they err at the fountain head, we all have some errors, but all are not damnable: hence David says, "Who can understand his errors ?" &c. But now to prove that such never prayed; then they tell us that they believe in one absolute God, and deny a Trinity of Persons. Well, well, try this by God's word: Christ says, "Whatsoever you ask the Father, (not absolute) but in my name, I will do it," but they deny Christ or God the Son, consequently they cannot prevail with God the Father. But again, we cannot pray to the Father, in Christ's name without the Holy Ghost, for Paul tells us, "We know not how to pray as we ought, but that the Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God," he it is that helps our infirmities, and testifies of the Lord Jesus; the apostle John tells us, not to believe every spirit, but to try the spirits, whether they be of God. Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God, then he must have the devil: he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. And one grand part of the doctrine of Christ is a trinity of persons in Jehovah. Hence our Lord says, "And I will pray the Father, and he will send you another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth," &c. Here are three divine Persons. This was Christ's doctrine. And he as
cribes divinity to each. 1, He says, My Father is greater than all, (our translation says,) and no man is able to pluck them out (that is, his sheep) of my Father's hand." But the word, man, is in italics, so that we may reject it, and place in its room, none, neither men nor devils, is able; and ..why? because he is Jehovah. Then Christ says, I and my Father are one," in essential divinity. Again, Christ says, If ye believe not that I AM;" the word, he, has no business there, and the translators have injured the sense by putting it; it is the same I AM as you read of in Exodus, and which God proclaimed to Moses. And the divinity of the blessed Spirit is as clear; and Christ declares that those who blaspheme him hath no forgiveness. I shall not enlarge. Blessed be God for divine teaching: "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord" we have nothing to do with carnal reason. These truths are matters of faith, and woe be to those who reject them, as it shews they are unhumbled, and wise in their own conceit. It is this fleshly wisdom and knowledge that perverts them, for "without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, (rod manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached to the gen. tiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory." Now to be established in the faith of these things and in heart to love them, is to be rich, as these young men were, and this is the doctrine of Christ, we therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so may we walk in him, rooted and built up. Then respecting these riches, which is "the riches of the glory," as it is written, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Here, again, we have a most blessed chain of truth, oh that the Holy Spirit may guide us sweetly and experimentally into it, and then
our coming together will be for our mutual comfort as well as edification. First then, what may we understand by saints? Then I believe that a saint is one that is set apart in God's eternal purpose, chosen from all eter nity in Christ Jesus before Adam fell,
sanctified by God the Father (from eternity) preserved in Christ Jesus, (while in a natural state, yet then his in, mark that, in Christ Jesus) and called," that is he is " called out of darkness into his marvellous light, called to be saints, (says Paul,) and called to the fellowship of Christ, that ye may know what is the hope hope of his calling," &c. Again a saint is one that is washed from his sins in the precious blood of Christ, as you read, that he might sanctify his people with his own blood, he suffered without the gate. Lastly, saint is one that the Holy Ghost takes possession of, he comes into his heart, and regenerates and renews him, producing a spiritual birth: "that the offering up of the gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost." This is a scriptural account of a saint, and the name belongs as much to those believers under the old testament dispensation as the new, and to all the elect when called to the end of time. Aaron is expressly called a saint:
They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord." But the next thing is, the saints' inheritance, and what it is? Why there are several things we are Isaid to be heirs of. 1. Of salvation, saved from the damning and destroy. ing power and dominion of sin, from the power of Satan, from the curse of the law, from the wrath of God, and from the second death. "Are they not all (that is the angels) ministering spirits, sent forth to minis ter to them that shall be heirs of salvation. Again, these saints are heirs of promise, for every promise of eternal duration belongs to them only, and for this reason, because