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" For there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the

Holy Ghost: and these Three are One."-1 John v. 7. Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”—Jude 3. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”—1 Tim. iii. 6.

FEBRUARY, 1846.

THE RIVER OF GOD ENRICHING HIS

CHURCH.

BY REV. JOHN JOHNSON.

THE COSPEL PULPIT.

In this application of heavenly grace, we always consider this twofold operation : but still we ascribe all the glory to the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as he is the author of the word

of God, and the alone qualifier of minA Sermon preached at the New Meeting isters to publish it; only we distinHouse, Liverpool,

guish between the Holy Ghost going forth in the ministry of the word, and

his going forth in his special influence, Continued from page 6.

making the word effectual to the Thou greatly enrichest it with the River heart. For the gospel, considered of God, which is full of water.”—Psalm simply as written in the bible, or Ixy. 9.

preached by the minister, makes no Secondly, To understand the impression on the heart, without the water in this river, we may observe, quickening Spirit co-operating. "The that water is for enriching and re- word preached did not profit them, plenishing the earth ; and it becomes not being mixed with faith in them effectual by being applied to the that heard it.” So, the Lord blessed ground, either brought in streams, or Lydia, and others, by opening their poured forth thereon, so as the earth hearts to receive the things which is watered thereby. In like manner were spoken. And in the parable, the water of life is made effectual, where the gospel is compared to seed, to the enriching and replenishing the it brought no fruit, only in the good church, by the quickening influence ground; which goodness of ground of the Holy Spirit; together with was not any thing natural in the creathe word of grace in the gospel, or ture; for by nature, “ There is none by the everlasting gospel, under the that doeth gond, no not one;" it must application of the

Holy Ghost, where therefore be understood, of that by the soul receives a communication preparation of the heart, which is of all those ricb blessings of life and from the Lord. salvation which proceed from the Fa- Neither does the Holy Spirit, by ther and the Son.

his immediate communications, reFebruary, 1846.]

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veal any gospel truth without the cometh by hearing, and hearing by word; for as the vision and prophesy the word of God ;” neither have we are now sealed up. and the scripture any reason to expect the Holy Ghost is complete in all needful instructions, should command his blessing upon and wholesome doctrine, there is no- any other doctrine, but the gospel of thing to be added thereto, nor any pure grace, where Christ is the Alpha new revelation to any person, so that and Omega. It is the office of the since the completing of the gospel Holy Ghost, to take of Christ's ful. revelation, till Christ's second com- ness and shew it to his people, and ing, no man upon earth knows, or to seal the instructions of his pure can know any thing of the mind of word to their hearts ; but how shall God, but what he learns by the he cause us to receive blessings of works of creation, and providence, in grace from such corrupt or legal doccommon with other men, or what trine, where pure grace is not held he knows from the Scriptures; they forth? Can we expect God should only being the revelation of God's water the seed of tares till it produce will to us, and the means appointed wheat ? no, the- more it is watered, of God, for the manifestation of him the more rank will the tares be ; so self. Therefore, by the preaching of the more taste, attention, and affecthe word, the great truths are made tion, we have in hearing corrupt doci nown; and by the blessing of the trine, the more corrupting it will be Holy Spirit, they are made efficacious to our minds. Unsound doctrine canto the soul. Thus, when God would not be the means of enriching the bless Cornelius with these living soul without a miracle; but can we streams, he appointed bim to send for expect Christ to work a miracle, for Peter to open the Scriptures, and the sake of giving sanction to such preach the gospel of Christ to him doctrine, wherein he himself is not and his house; and " While Peter glorified, but which is mixed with the yet spake these words, the Holy will, power, and righteousness of man, Ghost fell on all them which heard and the pure gospel of the grace of the word.” And the gospel came to God, perverted and confounded ? No, the Thessalonians, "not in word only, when Christ was pleased to work a but also in power, and in the Holy miracle, to feed his auditory, it was Ghost.” Wherefore the communica- by commanding a blessing upon real tion's of saving grace, are always con- bread, and not by complying with veyed by this double stream: the Satan, in commanding stones to be word alone, declares the glad tidings, made bread. Christ alone is the but does not give it place in the soul. 'bread of life, and the Holy Spirit, The Spirit in his immediate opera- whose office it is to testify of him, tions. makes no new discovery; only will not give stones to his people, inin illuminatiug the mind to under- stead of that bread, nor feed his chil. stand the scriptures, and causing the dren with husks, which swipe do eat; word 'to come with such energy, that nor will he apply to their souls any the soul receives it with all m-ekness, doctrine, wherein any thing is deterreverence, and readiness of mind, as mined to be known, save Jesus Christ, it is in 'truth the word of the living and him «rucified. So we conclude God.

that the water of life, whereby the And as there is no ground to ex- church of God is enriched, is the fulpect spiritual blessings from the bare nessof grace, from God the Father, and preaching of the gospel, without the from our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is divine influence ; nor the biessings of communicated alone by the Holy grace from the Holy Spirit, without Spirit, in his word, and by his in. the word of his grace, “since faith

dwelling power.

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But having considered these waters might be full.” And he hath abun. in their cominunications, let us con- dantly promised his Holy Spirit, the sider them in their effects.

Comforter, who shall abide with his First, Water is for purifying, so is church for ever, whose fruits are joy the grace of thod : Christ is the and peace, and who continues as a fountain opened for sin and unclean- plentiful rain, whereby God doth ness.” His blood cleanseth from confirm his inheritance when it is all sin, and purgeth the conscience weary. And the saints in all ages from dead works." He loved his have been favoured wlth these repeople, and washed them from their freshings, which made David say, sins, both from the guilt, and from Thou hast put gladness in my the infection of sin, in his own blood. heart, more than in the time that He gave himself for his church, that their corn increased;" with he might sanctify and cleanse it with many such expressions of joy and the washing of water by the word.” satisfaction. The prophet Habakkuk His saints are made clean through in the view of all temporal distress the word which he bath spoken unto says, “ Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, them; and wheresoever he gives his I will joy in the God of my

salvation." Holy Spirit, he purifies the leart by And the apostle Peter declares confaith; yea, such cleansing virtue is cerning the saints, that they rejoiced found in these waters, that nothing with joy unspeakable and full of can prevent their purifying efficacy; glory.” And this must needs be the for he saith to his people, in the very consequence, since every thing in height of their pollutions, Then Christ's kingdom leads to joy and will I sprinkle clean water upon you, satisfaction. God says, “I will re. and ye shall be clean, from all your joice in Jerusalem, and joy in my filthiness, and from all your idols will people.” And again, “They shall I cleanse you.” Therefore wboso- come and sing in the height of Zion, ever shall pretend to the grace of and shall flow together to the goodGod, and does not experience inward ness of the Lord."

* In thy presence and outward purification, but con- is fuluess of joy, at thy right hand tinues in sin, is an impostor ; for he there are pleasures for evermore.” that sinneth, “ hath not seen the Son Thirdly, Another effect of water is of God, peither known him.” Are to cause fruitfulness : so likewise the the original, the fountain, and all the grace of God enricheth the saints streams of this river of God, holiness? with all spiritual and good fruits; then every soul that drinks of the both internal. as love, joy, peace, water, must partake of that holiness. long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, But holiness is essential to the Father, faith, meekness, temperance, &c. and Son, and Spirit; therefore holiness also external, being fruitful iu every is essential to all that are called by good work. Which is frequently his grace. And though at present, called the fruit of righteousness, bethe saints are not made perfect in cause it is the effect of union with holiness, yet the true seed abides in Christ, who is the Lord our Righthem, real and experimental grace teousness; they only bearing this and holiness.

fruit, who abide in him; as also this Secondly. Water is for refreshing fruit discovers so much of the righand comforting, so is the grace of teousness of the law fulfilled in their God. The gospel is good tidings of hearts. Therefore good fruit is the great joy, and the words which Christ discriminating character of a good speaks to his disciples, are spoken to tree, ingrafted into Christ, and wathat end,“ that this joy might re- tered by his grace. None is barren main in them, and that their joy among Christ's trees of righteous

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ness, nor shall they cease from yield- give me to drink, thou wouldest have ing fruit, because herein is the Father asked of bim, and he would have glorified, and Christ hath chosen and given thee living water." "I will ordained them thereunto. Whereso- give unto bim, that is athirst, of the ever the pure gospel seed is sown in water of life freely.” And as it is tbus a prepared heart, it bringeth forth largely extended, it is also completely fruit abundantly, and the fruit of the adapted to the circumstance and conSpirit is in all goodness, and righte- dition of every thirsty soul. They ousness, and truth. Wherefore the

cannot be so miserable, but here is soul that bears either evil fruit or no all-sufficiency to relieve them; their fruit, is a stranger to true grace. wants cannot be so great, but here is

Thirdly, I shall now consider in fulness to supply them; nor their what the fulness of this water con- desires so large, but here are immense sisteth.

treasures to satisfy them: for it is be But here I confess my thoughts are whose name is I AM, in whom the lost, and all my conceptions are swal- grace subsists. lowed up in this boundless ocean, Secondly, the perpetuity of this which being absolutely infinite and grace, being from everlasting to everunsearchable, it would be equally vain lasting. The love of God is an everto pretend to, as impossible to per. lasting love ; he hath mercy on his form a complete search or inquiry people, with everlasting Ķindness ; into this unfathomable deep. It sur. and “ Israel shall be saved in the passes all the capacity of created Lord with an everlasting salvation.” beings to conceive of it; and were it And therefore we are encouraged to possible to conceive of it, it would trust in the Lord for ever, .6 for in surpass all the skill of tongues to the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting express, and all the bounds of time strength.” He doth not cause us to to relate it. The more we view, the drink of waters that fail; but whomore we are struck with astonish- soever drinketh of the water which ment; and the more we would relate, Christ giveth, it shall be in him the more we are struck with silence. well of water, springing up to ever. I shall therefore only hint at two par- lasting life ;” and be " that comes ticulars.

to him shall never hunger, and he First, The all. sufficiency of this that beliereth on him shall never grace, which is extended freely to thirst." This grace bath its begin. every soul that seeks, asks, or desires ning from himself, is carried on by the blessing. And all needy souls himself, and is completed in him, are invited by a royal proclamation who is the Lord and changeth not, to come and partake of these living therefore must be eternally inexhausstreams. “ In the last day, that tible. All that are once blessed with great day of the feast, Jesus stood bis love, are kept by the power of and cried, saying, If any man thirst, God through faith unto salvation;" let him come unto ile and drink. because his “ loving kindness shall And the Spirit and the bride say, not depart, nor the covenant of Come. And let him that heareth peace be removed.” This is that

And let him that is river of God, wbich is full of water ; athirst, come; and whosoever will, which though it may be branched let him take the water of life freely." forth into many rivers ; yet all cen. And the assurance that they shall tre in one; and is one, eternal, and receive, is as strong as the invitation perpetually overftowing river of life, is free. “ Jesus answered and said love, grace and glory ; whose original, unto her, if thou knewest the gift of whose springing forth, whose proGod, and who it is that saith to thee, gression, and whose consummation are

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all in God; whose effects are so sa- the wrath of God is revealed against lutary. and whose fulness is so inex. all their unrighteousness, but the Fahaustible. And as God is its all, the ther bath imputed their unrighteous. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in one, ness to his Son ; for “ he hath made united to complete its perfection; it him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” is not in the power of adversaries, in He hath actually laid their unrighearth or hell, to stop the stream, or teousness upon him. The Lord prevent its sovereign virtues. And hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." hence ariseth the strongest encourage. He hath sent forth bis wrath against ment, to the thirsty soul, to look to him : " Awake, O sword, against my Christ for salvation, and for a supply Shepherd, and against the man that of whatsoever he wants. Whether is my fellow, saith the Lord of he be a sinner under wrath, there are Hosts." Yea, Christ did verily feel peace and pardon in Christ; or whe. the punishment due to all the sins of ther he be a regenerate soul labour. all his people.

Surely he hath ing under temptations, and thirsting borne our griefs and carried our sorfor God, there is grace sufficient to rows: ke was wounded for sustain him, and to perfect that trangressions, he was bruised for our which is lacking in his faith. Nor is iniquities : who his own self bare our there any discouragement to any sins in his own body on the tree.” soul, whatsoever his condition be, He hath set them free from wrath ; since no enemy can be so strong, but having made peace through the here is victory; no disease so malig- blood of the cross.” And is become nant, but here is healing virtue; uo their righteousness; they being made bondage so severe. but here is liberty; “ the righteousness of God in him.” no pollution so contaminating, but Therefore the soul is not only achere is purification; no misery so quitted from all imputation of sins : deep, but here is consolation ; nor being justified freely by his grace any poverty so distressing, but here through the redemption that is is a supply of durable riches. And in Jesus Christ : * in whom we no soul can be disappointed, that have redemption through his blood, waiteth for the refresbing streams of the forgiveness of sins, accordthis river of God.

ing to the riches of his grace,” but I come now to the second head ; also, the application of this redempwhich is to consider, the enrichings tion and justification, is by the Holy which God's people are blessed with Spirit brought to the conscience ; from this river ; these consist in two whereby the soul is enabled to look things.

to Christ, with an appropriating First, Freedom from evil.

faith ; and with the apostle to triumph Secondly, The enjoyment of bless- saying, “ Who shall lay any thing to ings.

the charge of God's elect ?” It is In the first place, every one that true, the law pronounceth a curse is made partaker of the special grace against every one that transgresseth of God in Cbrist finds deliverance, it in the least degree, and continueth

First, from the condemning power not in every precept; but the belieof sin, as saith the scripture;

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ver can with joy and courage plead, is therefore now no condemnation to that “ Christ hath redeemed us from them which are in Christ Jesus.” He the curse of the law, being made a that believeth on him, is not con- curse for us." It is true, demned. He that heareth my word, of sin is death;" but Christ hath and believeth on him that hath sent abolished death. and “ destroyed him me, hath everlasting life, and shall not that had the power of death ;" so come into condemnation. It is true, that the believer can with satisfaction

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