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fill it: bring an empty vessel, a poor hungry heart, and he will give into thy bosom good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
And now, what meanest thou, sleeper? Why tarriest thou? Arise, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Lose not time in conferring with flesh and blood; much less in parleying with Satan, or consulting thy unbelieving heart: here delays lead to ruin: the Philistines are upon thee, instantly shake thyself. If thou art not altogether blinded by the god of this world, and led captive by him at his will, this moment, in the powerful name of Jesus, burst the bonds of spiritual sloth: break, like a desperate soul, out of the prison of unbelief: escape for thy life: look not behind thee: stay not in all the plain. This one thing do; leaving the things that are behind, Sodom and her ways, press forward toward Zoar, and escape to the mount of God, lest thou be consumed. By the new and living way consecrated for us, in full assurance of faith, fly to the Father of mercies, pass through the crowd of Laodicean professors, press through the opening door of hope, take the kingdom of heaven by violence.
With halting, yet wrestling Jacob, say to the Friend of sinners, "I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me." If he makes as if he would go farther; with the two mournful disciples, "constrain him to stay;" or rather, with the distressed woman of Canaan, follow "him whithersoever he goeth;" take no denial: through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, torn from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet; through this mysterious veil, rent from the top to the bottom, rush into the bloodbesprinkled sanctuary; embrace the horns of the golden altar; lay all thy guilt on the head of the sin-atoning victim; read thy name on the breast of thy merciful High Priest; claim the safety, demand the blessings, receive the consolations, bestowed on all that flee to him for refuge; and begin a new, delightful life, under the healing and peaceful shadow of his wings. i
But perhaps thou art now devoid of active power, and broken in spirit. The hurry of thy self-righteous nature subsides. Wounded and half dead, thou liest in the way of misery, waiting for the passing by of thy heavenly Deliverer. Thou hadst set thy heart upon being blessed in one particular manner, and God in his wisdom thinks it best to bless thee in another. Thou wouldest scale the New Jerusalem and storm heaven; but he chooses it should come down into thy soul as a fruitful shower descends into a fleece of wool. Be still, then, and know that he is God. Let him break thy self will, which hides itself under godly appearances; and let him practically teach thee that salvation is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who showeth mercy.
Meekly dive into the amazing depths of these words, "In quietness and rest shall be your strength. Stand still, and see the salvation of God." The fire, the earthquake, and the rending of the rocks are over; silence takes place, the still small voice will soon follow. Thou art for a time taken from the foaming billows of self agitation, and led by the still waters: a calm succeeds the impetuous storm, and a passive waiting thy restless, fruitless endeavours. Thou art in the case of one fallen into the sea, who, having struggled long and hard to escape drowning, is obliged to yield at last. Yield then, weary sinner, yield to thy happy fete. Fully surrender to the God of thy life. Entirely abandon thyself to Jesus. Freely trust him with thy present and eternal salvation. Whether thou swim or sink, let thyself go into the ocean of mercy. Catch at no broken reed by the way, but calmly venture into the unfathomable depths of redeeming love. Lose thus thy life, and thou shalt find it. The power of God will soon be "made perfect in thy weakness," and when thy strength is renewed, earnestly wrestle again. Thus go on, alternately striving and waiting, according to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, till, having passed through all the inferior dispensations of Divine grace, thou enter by faith into the rest that remains for the people of God, and take possession of that kingdom of God, which consists in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
VII. In that kingdom, happy believer, the times of refreshing fully come from the presence of the Lord; mercy and love embrace thee on every side, and thy sprinkled conscience enjoys the peace of a sin-pardoning God. Then smiling justice, more than satisfied by the meritorious death of Christ, sheathes her flaming sword, and declares, "There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus: they are justified from all things, and freely forgiven all trespasses." And now thou art more than conqueror through Him that loved thee. Standing by humble faith in his omnipotence, thou canst do all things, through his grace strengthening thee. Sin has no dominion over thee. The cruel and bloody tyrant that reigned unto death is dethroned; and grace, rich grace, sweetly reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. Triumphing in Christ over thy fiercest enemies, and putting thy victorious foot upon the neck of the last, thou challengest his utmost rage, and shoutest, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
Now thou seest and feelest that God is Lovk. Thou dwellest in him, and he in thee. Love, the fulfilling of the law, diffusing itself through all thy heart, influences thy looks, words, and actions, and makes thee spring after Jesus into the chariot of cheerful obedience. Thy heart is as his heart; and while active grace draws thy willing soul along, God's free Spirit pours the oil of gladness upon the fervid wheels of thy affections. Supported and animated by thy Lord's presence, thou swiftly movest, thou delightfully fliest in all the ways of duty; mountains of difficulties sink into plains before thee; wisdom's roughest ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Now thou rejoicest to be thought worthy to suffer shame for Christ's name, and countest it all joy when thou fallest into divers trials. With him the cross loses its dreadful aspect, and enormous weight. When thou findest it in the high way of holiness, instead of consulting with flesh and blood how thou shalt go aside to avoid it, thou immediately takest it up, and it proves a comforting staff, a never-failing prop.
Christ crucified works this miracle of grace; for him thou receivest with every cross; and the moment thou dost so in the power of his Spirit, God, even thy own God, gives thee his choicest blessing; he crowns thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; and with the inexpressible complacence of a Father who receives a lost son, with the triumphant joy of a Saviour who embraces a raised Lazarus, he says to the myriads that surround his throne, "One more sinner repenteth unto life! Hal. lelujah! He hath escaped the avenger of blood;—he hath passed the gate of the city of refuge! Hallelujah! Shout, ye sons of the morning! My angels, strike your golden harps! Dance every heart for joy, through the realms of heaven! Let bursts of triumphant mirth, let peals of ravishing praise, roll along the transporting news;—let all your exulting breasts reverberate, let all your harmonious tongues echo back our glorious joy! For this my son was dead, and is alive again! This your brother was lost, and is found V
And, irradiating thy soul with the light of his reconciled countenance, he says to thee, from a throne blazing with grace and glory, "Penitent believer, receive the adoption of a son. Because thou receivest my Son, my only begotten Son, into thy heart, I admit thee into the family of the first born. Be thou blameless and harmless, a son of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom I allow thee to shine as a burning light in a benighted world. Son, all that I have is thine; be ever with me, and thou shalt inherit all things. Yes, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas; whether my first apostles, or my choice ministers; or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all is thine, for thou art Christ's, and Christ is mine. As thou hast received him, so abide and walk in him, worthy of me, unto all pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in his knowledge, till thy faith is turned to sight, and I am all in all."
Start not, believing reader, at these sayings, as if they were too glorious to be credited. They are the true sayings of God. The Lord himself spoke them for thy comfort. They are the precious pearls which I promised thee out of the unsearchable treasures of Christ. If swine trample them under their feet, wear thou them on thy breast. Instead of being offended at their transcendent excellence, magnify the God of all consolation, who, having " delivered up his own Son for us all, with him also freely gives us all things:" consequently, the richest mines of Gospel grace. And, giving vent to the just transports of thy grateful heart, cry out with the beloved disciple, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that vx should.be called the sons of God! Unto him who" thus "loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." Amen.
APPENDIX TO APPEAL.
CONCERNING THE EVANGELICAL HARMONY THAT SUBSISTS BETWEEN LIVING FAITH AND LOVING OBEDIENCE.
The mystery of our salvation is thus opened by St. Paul: "By grace are ye saved, through faith which worketh by love." This apostolic declaration subdivides itself into the following propositions, which, on account of their clearness and importance, may with propriety be called Gospel Axioms. 1. "Ye are saved by grace." 2. "Ye are saved through a faith which works by love." These propositions, like two adamantine pillars, support the whole doctrine of Christ concerning faith and works, grace and rewardableness; or mercy on God's part, and obedience on our own:—a doctrine which, though clear as the day, has nevertheless been so obscured by endless controversies, that thousands of Protestants and Papists know it in its purity no more.
According to the FIRST of these axioms, all that go to heaven give Divine grace the glory of their salvation; because they are all saved by mere favour, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. And according to the SECOND axiom, all that go to hell are obliged to clear Divine justice, because they are condemned merely for their avoidable unbelief, and obstinate disobedience. Upon this evangelical plan the righteous are graciously rewarded, and the unrighteous justly punished; the doctrine of God's mercy, in giving grace for Christ's sake, and of man's faithfulness in using it by Christ's help, sweetly coincide ; and from their blessed union springs the just proportion of every part of the Gospel.
These axioms are so strongly maintained, and so frequently alluded to by the sacred writers, that whoever rejects either the one or the other might reject one half of the Bible. Attentively consider them asunder, and your unprejudiced reason will perceive their equity. Impartially compare them together, and instead of finding them incompatible, (as some prepossessed persons would persuade us they are,) you will see that they harmonize, in so exquisite a manner, as to answer the most excellent ends in the world.
To give you an idea of their working in the breast of believers, permit me to compare them to those two opposite and yet consentaneous motions of the heart, which anatomists call diastole and systole. The one forcibly dilates, the other powerfully contracts, that noble part of the human body; and both together, by means seemingly contrary, cause the circulation of the blood, and diffuse vital powers through all the animal frame. Just so passive faith and active love. The one perpetually receives favours from God, the other perpetually bestows them upon man; and thus, by continually performing their contrary (not contradictory) offices, they make spiritual life circulate throughout the believer's soul, and enable him to diffuse kindness and good works throughout the social body of which he is a member.
From the animal we pass to the planetary world; and we shall see
another striking emblem of the harmonious opposition which subsists between the two Gospel axioms. There we eminently discover the centripetal and the centrifugal force. Though opposed to each other, they are nevertheless so admirably joined together, that from their exquisite combination results the harmonious dance of the spheres: I mean, the circular motion of the planets around the sun, and around each other. Such is the wonderful effect of evangelical promises and legal precepts, when they meet in a due proportion, in an upright heart. The promises. which are all wrapped up in the first Gospel axiom, powerfully draw believers to Christ, who is the Sun of righteousness, and the centre of the Christian system; the precepts, which the second axiom necessarily supposes, drive them forward in the straight line of duty. Being thus delightfully attracted, and powerfully impelled, like planets of a different magnitude, in the firmament of the Church, believers rapidly move in the orb of evangelical obedience, where the original light of Christ warmlj shines into their own souls, and their borrowed light mildly gleams upon their fellow mortals.
If ever you saw a person thus swiftly and evenly moving in the immense circle of religious and social duty, freely receiving all from his God, and freely imparting all to his neighbour, you have seen one of the "stars in the Lord's right hand;"—you have seen one who practically holds the two Gospel axioms;—one who believes as a sinner, and works as a believer;—one in whose heart the doctrines of faith and works, free grace and free obedience, Divine faithfulness and human fidelity, are justly balanced ;—one who keeps at an equal distance from the dreadful rocks upon which Antinomian believers and antichristian workers are daily cast away. In a word, you have seen an adult Christian, a man who "adorns the doctrine of Christ our Saviour in all things."
If the two Gospel axioms are of such importance, that the health and vigour of every Christian flow from the proper union of their power in his heart, is it not deplorable to see so many people every where rising against them? Self-conceited moralists violently attack the first axiom, and self-humbled solifidians will give the second no quarter. Those opposed assailants have all, I grant, a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; for the former know not that they rob God of his glory, and the latter do not consider that they pour upon him our shame. The one refuse to acknowledge him the grand Author of our bliss: the other, to mend the matter, represent him as the grand Contriver of our ruin. Both. nevertheless, have truth on their side; but, alas! it is only a part of the truth as it is in Jesus; and truth divided, like an animal cut through the middle, is dreadfully mangled, if not entirely destroyed.
You are also desired to observe, judicious reader, that as a just proportion of sail and ballast, next to a favourable wind, makes a ship sail with speed and safety i so the just balance of the two Gospel axioms, next to the Spirit of God, makes a believer run swiftly and safely the race that is set before him. He does not properly run, he merely hops in the way of truth, who, discarding one of the Gospel axioms, moves only upon the other. Antinomian Laodiceans, therefore, and antichristian Pharisees, are equally blamable. For the piety of the former stands only upon the first axiom; and the devotion of the latter has no other basis than the second. The one will hear of nothing but faith; the