« PreviousContinue »
people of God, when they read Moses and the prophets, and as it is still continued upon the hearts of many of God's people, although we are ever looking forward to a day of transcendent light, yet do we frequently err, not knowing the scriptures. A serious attention to the scriptures would give us reason to expect, that darkness, such as has never yet been witnessed in our world, will abundantly prevail, before the second grand appearance of the Redeemer. But as we are told, God maketh darkness his pavilion, that he dwelleth in the storm, in the thick darkness, and that every eye shall see; when we recollect that the Being from whom we receive these assurances cannot lie, we do not surrender ourselves to lamentation and woe-We already see the remnant are saved, and we anticipate the era when all those individuals, however scattered, which constitute the whole of that nature, that composes the body in its aggregate, shall be full of light. I want nothing more than an attention to the scriptures to render me a believer in their divine author, except indeed the spirit, by which they were written, witnessing with my spirit to the truth thereof. No man can receive and understand the things of God, but by the spirit of God; but as faith cometh by hearing, it is necessary we hear this word, that bringeth salvation unto all men!
It is a blessed thing to know God. We are told, it is life eternal to know God, but certainly it is not life eternal to know God, except we know God as he is, the life of the world. It is a blessed thing to know God in this character, for in knowing him to be the life of the world, each individual of the world, who thus knows him, knows him to be his life, and each individual, thus taught, can say for himself, God is my life, and he whom God gives by his Spirit's teaching thus to know him, is an individual in that little remnant, who is saved in consequence of believing; but this not to the exclusion of the rest, for when every eye shall see, then every heart will consequently believe.
I am delighted and astonished, as I examine this divine treasury, to observe how many plain passages it contains, which testify of the Creator, as the Saviour of the world! I am, saith Jehovah, God the Saviour, and beside me there is none other, so that whatever erring mortals may apprehend from God their Creator, God their Saviour, he remembers his own name, and gives this name, as a reason for acting the part of a Saviour.
Be it known to you, not for your sakes do I do this, but for mine own name sake. Truly, it is said, God hath a name which is above every name, and to this name, when universally known, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess. How the rich testimonies of my God cluster to my imagination-salvation is said to be of God, but this is not enough-corroborating testimony upon testimony immediately follows, until a cloud of witnesses pass in review. The name Saviour is appropriated to the Messiah, and it is as idle to ask of whom is the Messiah the Saviour, as it is to ask to whom doth the sun belong. We should be astonished to find this question seriously discussed among the learned. Who hath a right to enjoy the light of the sun; A disciple of our great Master, listening to such a conversation, would naturally observe, God maketh his sun to shine upon the just and upon the unjust.
It is an eternal truth that Jesus is, and that he was, the Saviour of all men, before the foundation of the world; but of this, the world are ignorant, they think of the Lamb of God as an adversary, and sometimes when they are very serious, religiously serious, they are afraid of him in that character; and it is from these fears that they believe that a remnant is saved. Trembling with apprehension, terrified mortals assay to obtain an interest in Christ; Alas, for them, how greatly are they misled! Would to God they knew, that their security rests upon this fundamental fact, that Christ Jesus hath an interest in them. The Divine nature gave the human nature, in all its fulness, to the Son, and the Son declareth, all that the Father giveth unto me, shall come unto me, and they who come, I will in no wise cast out; who then dare say, a remnant ONLY shall be saved? My people shall be willing in the day of my power, for it is written in the prophets, they shall be all taught of God; who, then, dare say, a remnant ONLY shall be taught of God? It is said by him of whom all the prophets have written, all who learn of the Father shall come unto me, and sooner or later, all shall learn of the Father, sooner or later, all shall come unto the Saviour, and all shall of course be saved; who, then, dare say, a remnant ONLY shall be saved? The fact is, every man who cometh into the world is already saved in the LORD, and in consequence of this salvation, men, all men will one day be saved in themselves, and when they are thus taught of God, thus saved, they will wonder
they did not before believe: for, at the moment they commence genuine believers, they will acknowledge what they then believe was as true before they believed as it ever was, or can be, at any given period.
Blessed, right blessed are the people, who in this their day know the joyful sound; they walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. The Ephesians were children of darkness, they were Heathens, and without God in the world. Blinded and shut up
One thing is clear, the man of Tarsus was a christian, and as the christian, hath received the LORD Jesus, so he walks in him. In fact, the christian man puts on the LORD Jesus as his righteousness, his holiness, and his redemption; he needs no more, yet he wishes for more; he wishes to be with, and like unto his God; he wishes the whole body were even now saved individually from all consciousness of sin, even as the remnant is, in the present moment, saved; and he pants for that era, when he shall realize the blissful scene described in the twenty-first chapter of Revelations, where the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb was the light thereof. This assuredly will be a catastrophe abundantly more to the honour and glory of God, than if the family of man were sent from the presence of God their Creator, God their Father, God their Redeemer, into regions of sorrow, into doleful shades, where peace and rest shall never dwell.
The doctrine of rewards and punishments is almost the coeval of time; it has kept pace with every dispensation, and its date is truly ancient. Nor will the man of God's right hand, in any wise, lose his reward. But, what is the reward of the man of God's right hand? Let us enquire of the Psalmist. Psalm cxxvii. 3, "Children are the heritage of the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is his reward." But, shall he lose this reward? Did he not suffer upon the cross and endure the shame, in the hope of the recompense which was set before him? And shall he not see the travail of his soul and be satisfied? Will a remnant ONLY of his inheritance be his final portion? Nay; but his reward will be always with him. Lo! I am with you always, is the language of Emmanuel, God with us, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Such is the language of the faithful Creator.
Mercy, saith this faithful Creator, shall be built up forever; it endureth forever; it goeth before the face of God forever. The sins of the people are thrown behind the back of the Creator; and, as God never turneth back, this divine Figure presents a glorious exhibition of his abundant goodness, of his abundant mercy to the children of men.
The creature can never fall lower, than the lowest. Jesus Christ was made in the likeness of sinful flesh; he was the highest and the lowest. There was no God above him, nor no man beneath him. I am, said Emmanuel, the Alpha and Omega. He is the foundation and the top-stone. And, in his character, will be made manifest, in presence of every creature in heaven, on earth, and in the sea, that perfect righteousness, which, as garment, shall cover every member of that mystical body, of which he is the ever perfect, ever dignified, ever glorious head. And in the day which approaches, will be revealed the salvation of the complete piece, of the whole family of man, when the whole of human nature, having one new heart, shall, from the fulness of this one new heart, ascribe to the world's Saviour, all might, majesty, power, and dominion, worlds without end: Amen and Amen.
Reflections upon John i. 45-51.
PHILIP findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses, in the law and the prophets, did write-Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip said unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered, and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee; when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered, and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered, and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than
these. And he said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Is it not true, that the human species have, from the beginning, been divided into two classes, Pharisees and Publicans? All admit, that there is a God, and that this God is good. He is bountiful to the good, and to the good only, say the Pharisees. He is bountiful to all, say the Publicans. But, whether Pharisee or Publican, all agree, that it is both the duty and the interest of every man, of all descriptions of people, to follow after, and to obtain virtue. The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and the fragrant flowers of peace spring up in the paths of rectitude. Some, it is said, are good; and if some are good, the presumption is, that all may become good; and persons deeply conscious of the plague of their own hearts, look forward, however, to a period, when they shall become, in their own individual characters, even in this state of depravity, perfectly righteous, at least, as far as it respects themselves. Individuals, cherishing these ideas, are immeasurably happy, when they can press any passage in sacred writ into their service, on which to base their aerial superstructure. David, say they, was a man after God's own heart; and in their fondness for system making, they forgot that, as David was, in reality, a man black with crimes, the passage which describes him as a man after God's own heart, can only point to David's antitype. But, as I said, if they can draw but the shadow of reason from scripture, in support of their fancied excellence, they tenaciously adhere thereto, and that, in the face of a variety of plain testimonies, which expressly contradict their views. David experimentally describes the general corruption of mankind, particularly in the fourteenth Psalm:"They are corrupt; they have done abominable works; there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. They are all gone aside; they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good; no, not one."
The Apostle Paul is in unison with the Psalmist. Romans,chapter third, from the ninth to the conclusion of the twentieth verse, and to this testimony the Redeemer himself subscribes; and yet, when we hear of good persons and good things, it undoubtedly