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to the cross of Christ, just as I am, blind, ignorant, helpless, guilty, and polluted, that I may obtain through the riches of his grace, light, and strength, and righteousness, and sanctification.
If I do not come, the fault is altogether my own; it is because I will not. The guilt lies in the bad state of my heart. If I do come, it is through the secret, yet powerful operation of divine grace, seeing God is the first mover of the heart to himself. Infinite wisdom knows how to reconcile these seeming differences; and what the believer knows not now, he shall know hereafter.
Hence it is evident, that all the specious pleas and excuses which sinners make for not coming to Jesus, will ere long be found to originate in their love of sin, and in the corrupt state of their will. Hell will be filled with self-reproaches, and with eternal self-condemnations.
Let not Satan then, O! my soul, and a perverse, rebellious will, keep thee from the Saviour. Press to him through the crowd. Be not afraid of meeting with a repulse. His heart is full of tenderness and love.
Bartimeus could not heal his blindness; nor the leper his leprosy ; nor the poor woman her issue of blood. They all felt their respective maladies. They believed that Jesus could restore them. They applied to him, and were healed. Go and do thou likewise.
Cry thou also to the Saviour ; touch the hem of his garment; and he, who is all power, and grace, and love, will impart this saving faith, and enable thee to draw virtue from him ; saying, “I will, be thou clean.” “ Only believe. All things are possible to him that believeth.” .
Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. Lord, increase my faith. Enable me to come to thee now
in humble confidence and love, that I may receive out of thy fulness, grace for grace. Lord, shine upon thy work. Make me a monument of thy mercy, that I may live to thy glory, and sing thy everlasting praise.
St. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, declared : “ Some of you have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” And may not the same reproof be directed to multitudes of professing Christians of our day ? The ignorance of many is lamentably great.
Light is in the dwellings of the righteous, and the spiritual Goshen is illuminated by the beams of heavenly truth : but what an awful extent of territory still remains enveloped in Egyptian darkness, under the tyranny of Satan and in bondage to sin ! With Isaiah we must lament, while casting our eyes over the moral world, that, “ darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.”
With what fervency then should true believers supplicate for the promised out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, who alone can enlighten the understanding, and guide the wretched slave to Jesus Christ for spiritual redemption.
Too many, it is to be feared, seek their knowledge from human sources, rather than from the fountain of divine wisdom. The writings of good men may be lawfully used as little rills flowing from the sacred fountain of inspiration; but woe be to that church or people, who substitute them for the blessed spring itself. It is a never-failing mark of a fallen church, when human traditions or human systems are raised above, made equal with, or set in opposition to, the revealed word of God.
The Bible is the grand depository of every truth that is necessary to be known, believed, and practised in order to eternal salvation. But even the Holy Bible itself is but a dead letter without a spiritual discernment of its doctrines, and a spiritual relish for its precepts. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” But, says the apostle, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
How affectionately did St. Paul pray for the Ephesian converts, that God “would give unto them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; that the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, they might know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
Many professing Christians would be at a loss to give a reason of the hope that is in them. They tell us indeed that God is merciful; that they trust to Jesus Christ ; that they do the best they can, and want to injure no one; and therefore hope that all will end well at the last; though they do not pretend to so much religion as some people, who are perhaps no better than others, notwithstanding their preciseness and apparent sanctity of character.
This is a creed which satisfies the consciences of thousands, while their affections are glued to the world, and the love of Christ is a stranger to their hearts. Such persons have no sublime views of the Christian hope. A mist of ignorance rests upon it, which obscures its glory and damps its joy.
Lord, give me, through the teaching of thy Spirit, a sweet realizing view of this blessed hope, which bears up thy people under all their trials, and enables them to glorify thee, even in the fires.
The hope of the believer in Jesus, flows from the free, sovereign love of Almighty God; therefore it is called “a good hope through grace;" “good," because it issues from the fountain of goodness : 6 through grace," because it originates solely in un-. merited mercy. This hope rests upon an immoveable foundation, even on the divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ, who is called by the Spirit of Truth, “our hope;" because all our hope of salvation is treasured up in him, and flows from him. All who possess this hope, have Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith ; therefore, says the apostle, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The Spirit of Christ is the earnest and seal of future glory, and abides in the hearts of all the faithful in Christ Jesus.
But how are we to know when we truly possess this hope of glory? St. John informs us: “Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself,
the The hope on love of Almhrough graces.
even as God is pure.” It is therefore a holy principle, sanctifying and cleansing the soul. He, who has the hope of dwelling with Christ in glory, cannot delight in the service of Satan, or in the pleasures of sin. They are an offence unto him. To live in sin, whilst professing to enjoy the hope of glory, forms an indisputable mark of hypocrisy, or self-delusion.
Oh! with what jealous care should real Christians watch against those destructive tenets, which under the cloak of evangelical doctrines would break down the barrier of Gospel holiness, and let in the wild boar of the wood, to trample under foot the sacred ground of Zion. “He that şaith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
The believer who is taught from above, well knows that sin separates between him and his God; and prevents the communication of his gracious beamings on the soul. He therefore hates and loathes this infinite evil. He lorgs for more of his Saviour's presence and love; and mourns over every corruption of his nature, and every contracted defilement, of which his heart is made conscious.
Knowing what numberless deviations from the holy law of God, his Saviour's eye beholds continually in his daily walk and conversation : he lifts up the prayer of David with self-abasement: “ cleanse thou me from my secret faults.”
He pants after that blessed period, when sin shall no longer rebel against the Spirit dwelling within him ; and therefore, the “hope of glory,” is to him a glorious hope, and makes him long to be dissolved, that he may be with Christ.
The Christian's hope is “a lively hope." It gives the believer vigour in running the race that is set before him. It animates him in his arduous