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heart appear to him, and the more will he desire to crucify the old man, and to follow on that he may attain more and more to his true standing and character as a child of God. Therefore follows the exhortation of the apostle, as grounded and enforced upon what had already been done in them, and by them, through the grace of God. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue," &c. Give all diligence; be not slothful, but apply yourselves as those who are in earnest and conscious of the high and heavenly calling of God, even to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works. The faith which they had, made them manifest as the children of God, but they were not to rest here. Not, indeed, that they could attain to anything higher than being a child, but they might expect to know more of their privileges and standing as children, and also be more manifested as the children of light in this world of darkness; as children, it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do whatever of good is in you, and it is on this ground that we exhort you to work, well knowing that of and by yourselves you have no strength whatever even to think a good thought, much less to do what is pleasing or acceptable to God. But our God worketh by means which he has ordained to the end. We exhort you, therefore, as children, to suffer the word of exhortation, and if God the Holy Spirit be pleased to bless it, and apply it to your hearts, then will you be brought into the obedience of faith, and give heed to the exhortations of God's word; for we are said to be elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience. Keeping this, then, ever in remembrance, we proceed to show, shortly, the meaning of these various exhortations. Add to your faith virtue ;* i. e., show that you are of the faithful by your life and conversation, which should be such as becometh saints, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. You should live soberly, righteously, and godly, for the time past of your life sufficeth you to have wrought the will of the Gentiles. You are called, not only to be heirs of glory, but also to virtue, that you may show forth the praises, or reflect the virtues (as it is literally) of Him who hath called you out of darkness into light. A partaker of this precious faith is a new creature, and as such he must and will show his high birth, and therefore walk uprightly with his affections set on things above, and not on the earth; and though he will but too often have to mourn his backslidings and shortcomings, yet on the whole his desires and aim are to have Christ, not only as his Saviour, but also Example, who left us an example that we should follow His steps. What, then, can we say of that individual, however great his knowledge may appear to be, who asserts that it matters not what his life is or what sins he may commit?
*This word virtue is also sometimes translated power, and is the same as used by our Saviour when touched by the woman in the press. He said, Virtue is gone out of me. I conceive, therefore, that the full force of the word represents the powerful manifestation of that faith which the Lord gives, "As the body without the soul is dead, so faith, if it hath not works, is dead also." We are made sensible of the soul inhabiting the body by the motions of the various members, so we are to distinguish a living faith from a dead faith by its effects, and these effects constitute what is here called virtue.
THE WORKINGS OF DIVINE LIFE IN THE SOUL.
such a man be heaven-born? Can he be led by the Spirit? And if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. That faith which is without works is spurious and dead. The faith of God's elect is abounding to every good work as the Lord may direct, not as any ground of trust, but as partakers of so great a benefit they are desirous to show whose they are and whom they serve, and that they may be followers of Him who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. "And to virtue, knowledge." The love of God is set forth as a constraining principle that we should live not unto ourselves, but unto Him that loved us and gave Himself for us. The display of God's love towards us in those various streams which flow from it, and which make glad the city of God is, then, under the Lord's blessing, the means unto a more virtuous and godly life. We therefore find, in this Epistle, and elsewhere, the greatest importance laid on an increase of knowledge; and what can this knowledge be but of God, as He is pleased to display Himself even as of great love and rich in mercy? (See the Apostle's desire for the saints and faithful in Ephesus, chap. i. and elsewhere.) And to knowledge, temperance or moderation. This becomes us both as to things temporal and spiritual. We are to receive every creature of God as good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer; at the same time we are to be as though we had them not, i. e., holding them with a loose hand, that if taken away or withheld, we may not be as if stripped of all that we valued.* He that has the pearl of great price and keeps it, has not so much cause to grieve when he loses the pearls of inferior value, since the One he has entitles him to inherit a throne of glory. Temperance also, as to not hankering after the perishable things of this life, but rather ever putting up the prayer of Agar," Remove far from me vanity and lies, &c." (Prov. xxx. 8). Temperance also, as to spiritual things, in that we should be content to leave what the Lord hath not been pleased to reveal. That which He hath revealed we are not to presume to say is not good or well to be known or preached, but if He has kept anything hidden or obscure, to be content to wait till the time we shall know even as we are known. Temperance, also, towards others who may not know so much as
In this day of commercial distress, when so many are thrust from a state of affluence to comparative poverty, how much ought this exhortation to moderation be kept in remembrance. Numbers, we fear, will be but too ready to take up a similar lamentation to Micah, "Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me what aileth thee?" (Judges xviii. 24). "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall those things be?" In contrast to this, how different is the standing of one, who, having precious faith, has his treasure in heaven, where "Moth and rust do not corrupt, nor thieves break throngh nor steal" He is taught to look through the things seen to those that are not seen; and if in the providence of God he is deprived of that which is lent to him by God, he is taught to feel and say, "Now I know what it is, having nothing, and yet possessing all things." Such were the words of an eminent Christian in a letter to me, after having been deprived of his worldly all. In a fortnight after, the Lord took him home to his heavenly inheritance. "Let the morrow take care of the things of itself."
ourselves, for we should bear in mind that we have not arrived at our present knowledge in a day, but little by little. "He that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." 'And to temperance, patience." We, like the fathers of old, have need of patience; and what a pattern of patience have we in Christ our Lord, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but committed Himself unto Him who judgeth righteously. He waited patiently, for in waiting He waited for the Lord. When we consider how much our God has to bear with us, how ought we to be patient unto all men, and show towards the brethren that love in the truth which hopeth all things, believeth all things, and beareth all things. "And to patience, godliness," i. e., all that becomes us as dear children and followers of God; and also brotherly kindness, and charity, or love. As members of one household, citizens of one city, members of one and the same body, what sympathy, forbearance, mutual assistance, what bowels of mercies, what kindness, what faithfulness, what comforting one of another, should not be shown. Yea, if these things be in you, and abound, ye are then neither barren nor unfruitful, but glorifying your Heavenly Father by bearing much fruit. But the child of God that lacketh, then, these things, is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. He is blind whilst lacking these things, to his true calling, and to what becomes him ; he is not walking uprightly; he cannot see that God's name is concerned in the life and walk of His children. He hath forgotten that when the blood of sprinkling was applied to his heart and conscience, he became clean, and as such was set apart to God's service. He must expect the rod of a loving Father, who is not unmindful of His people. J. W. GowRING.
(To be continued.)
THOUGHTS ON THE CALL OF ABRAHAM.
THE first thing we find to remark in the call of Abraham, is God's exercise of his royal prerogative, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." He and all his family were idolaters. God testifies of them (in Joshua xxiv. 2), "They served other gods," and then asserts that it was his own sovereign act which separated Abraham from them. "I took your father Abraliam." And this expression not only suggests the thought of God's sovereignty in choosing one and passing by another, but it also implies irresistible power. And is not this power put forth secretly in the case of every one that is called by grace? God called Abraham, and he obeyed the call-willingly, and not apparently by any constraint, yet God says, "I took him." So the sinner hears the gospel call; through grace he obeys it; Jesus says to him, "Come
unto me," and he comes-and willingly too-for "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." But is there no secret force employed to compel him to come? Is not a hand put forth to pull him in? Jesus has said, " I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." That word "draw" implies a gentle violence. It is the same word in the original that is used in John xxi. 6, 11, where it speaks of drawing a net full of fishes to shore, and in Acts xvi. 19, where certain men at Philippi "drew" or "dragged" Paul and Silas to the market place. God says, "I drew them with cords." It was not enough that He "laid meat unto them." So it is with sinners. It is not enough that Jesus in all his suitableness and sufficiency, in all his grace, love, and power, in all his beauty and glory, be set before them in the most alluring and inviting manner; so dull and stupid, and carnal and blind, are they, that they can see no beauty in Him, nor will they stir one step towards Him, till God puts forth his almighty power, and "taking them by the arms,' ""teaches them to go.' "I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." "Where the word of a king is, there is power"-power accompanying the word. This made the call effectual in Abrahain's case, and this makes the gospel call effectual in the case of all who are saved; for many are called, and few chosen," which proves that the call is not always effectual. When the king merely sends a message through his ambassadors, sinners may slight and disregard it (though it is to their peril if they do so), but when He speaks himself, He does not speak in vain. "He spake, and it was done." When he says, "live," "the dead hear his voice," and they live. When He calls, He calls " according to purpose." And "the Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed so shall it stand."
"Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house." Abraham is here called upon to give up all for God." So Jesus says, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." But does He demand this sacrifice without bestowing something better in its place? Oh, no. "God is not unrighteous." See the magnificent promise made to Abraham. And Jesus said when Peter asked him, "Lord, we have left all, and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?" (though that "all" of which he boasts, consisted only of a boat, and its mended nets). "Verily, I say unto you, there is no man that hath left houses, or brethren, or lands, &c. for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive a hundred fold more in this present time, and in the world to come eternal life." God never calls upon us to give up anything for Him, without making us a princely compensation. Abraham was especially called to forsake his worldly, idolatrous, and ungodly companions and relatives. So the Lord says to every one whom He calls to Himself, "Hearken," O son. "O daughter, incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house, so (there is the ample compensation) shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.'
Abraham was "called to receive an inheritance." And "the God
of all grace hath called us to his eternal glory." We are called to an inheritance, and that inheritance is no less than the infinite God Himself! Heirs of God." "I am their inheritance." What a vast possession. Eternity alone will suffice to "walk through'this land, in the length and breadth of it." "Abraham went out not knowing whither he went." Blessed be God, this is not our case. "Whither we go, we know, and the way we know," for we are journeying to the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you." And Jesus has said, "I am the way." Still the believer may often, in his experience, be somewhat in Abraham's circumstances. Like him, he must "walk by faith, not by sight;" for though he may have light enough to perceive he is in the king's highway, he may not always be able clearly to discern his path. "I will lead the blind by a way they know not." God often leads his people about"-sometimes in paths so strange and unexpected, that they are constrained to look very narrowly to ascertain whether the ark of the covenant is going before them, for they "have not passed that way heretofore." But, however dark or intricate the path may be, it becomes us to trust implicitly to our infallible Guide, to be looking steadily at Him who has said, "I will guide thee with mine eye," and to believe to our soul's joy and comfort, that "He is leading us forth by the right way, that we may go to a city of habitation." Z. Z. Z.
JOHN IN THE WILDERNESS SENDETH GREETING TO HIS FELLOW-TRAVELLERS AND COMPANIONS IN THE LOWLANDS, UPON THE OPENING OF THE NEW YEAR, 1848.
BRETHREN and SISTERS, who are one in Christ Jesus, whom we love with a pure heart fervently, whose faith standeth not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God, with the warmest and most ardent affection of soul, we meet you once more in Meshech's vale, having so far ascended the hill of time, as to require an alteration in the numerals used, is expressing to our capacities the fleeting portion of vast eternity called so, for with us only can such things be, seeing with the Lord is one eternal now. Many, with most of us who have plodded our way in company with our "monthly communicator," have been the years that have gone over us, in which we (who are alive and remain) have saluted each other in the Lord, upon these occasions, while "many have fallen asleep," yet we sorrow not, as those that have no hope," well knowing that, if they sleep, they shall do well; and already we ourselves are made to feel the power of that drowsiness and wearied state of our mortal bodies, which indicate that earth is not our home. The year 1847 has now closed in upon us, and, with its all-rolling tide, is swept away for ever; all that corroded our little barques as they glided over its surface; the unfathomable depths; the terrific rocks; the hidden quicksands; the threatening breakers; the howling tempest, and the whole sea of mire and dirt, in its casting up, have been passed; and standing