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fied, it is because we do not, in sincerity, ask this blessing from our heavenly Father. We are not only to ask, as it respects the subject matter of our prayers, what is agreeable to the will of God; but to obtain the blessing, we must also ask in that Spirit which he requires, and which he alone can impart. We must ask in faith; then comes the blessing : “ whatsoever ye ask in my name, believing," said the divine Redeemer, "ye shall receive."
We have here the reason why so few are sanctified. Either they do not pray at all; or if they pray, they do not ask in faith. Hence, the whole guilt lies upon the sinner. He has no desire to be sanctified, being destitute of true faith, and so his prayers are formal, heartless, and unanswered.
But oh! when we duly contemplate the grand design of the Gospel, what an encouragement is held out to the awakened sinner, who is crying out, 66 what must I do to be saved ?” What an encouragement, to know that God wills his sanctification, and that if he ask according to the will of God, he shall assuredly obtain his request. He listens to this declaration of love: “ believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;" and relying, through grace, on the merits of his Saviour, and making mention of his righteousness only, he supplicates at the mercy seat for pardon and purity, for peace and perseverance, and obtains all the riches of the everlasting covenant, to the praise and glory of God.
However disputants may marshal one part of divine truth against another, the glorious doctrines of the Gospel, like stones in a compact edifice, are firmly united together. No created power can separate them. Men may disagree in sentiment, but they cannot destroy the unity of truth. The word of the Lord endureth for ever.
The Gospel of Christ, like the rivers in Eden, branches itself out into many fertilizing streams. Each truth makes glad the city of God, the church of the Most High. This sacred river shall continue to flow, with progressive increase of blessedness, till the whole earth shall be filled with spiritual beauty and gladness, through the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.
When the rosy streaks of morning
Then we know the sun, advancing,
Thus the waiting saints, beholding,
Now they know their Lord is coming;
Nations wrapt in awful darkness,
Truth, and love, and holy concord
XVI. ON PERVERTED VIEWS OF THE GOSPEL.
Men in general have most low conceptions of true religion. They neither understand its nature, nor desire to understand it. When we look into the nominally Christian world, it would almost seem as if the great bulk of professing Christians thought nothing about the holy design of the Christian dispensation, or of their own responsibility respecting it. Their views are awfully erroneous on a subject of all others the most important.
Taking their own wisdom for their guide, they go on stumbling in the dark, till either Sovereign Grace makes them wise unto salvation, or Infinite Justice suffers them to reap the fruit of their own folly, in 66 the blackness of darkness for ever."
Some consider the Gospel as a mitigated law, whereby the standard of holiness is lowered, and a door opened for the commission of venial offences.
Others imagine, that mercy, by being ultimately extended to all, will rejoice against judgment ; though all may not reach that standard, which some over-righteous enthusiasts deem essential to salvation.
Some view the plan of salvation as happily accommodated to the wants of sinners. Jesus they acknowledge as the only Saviour, whose merits are apportioned to the deficiencies of each applicant for mercy; so that very moral persons need less of the Saviour's merits than the profligate; as their own excellencies help to fill up the scale of righteousness. Thus Jesus becomes a mere make-weight in the balance of their good works.
O the pride and blindness of the human heart !
Others blasphemously make Christ the minister of sin, declaring that nothing can hurt the privileged believer; no, not even the cherished evils of his own deluded heart. They assert that Christ
has done all; and left him nothing to do but to rejoice, although unsubdued corruptions are continually breaking out in his life and conversation. They maintain that divine grace is the more glorified, by thus rising superior, in its gifts of mercy, to the infirmities and allowed sins of believers. Thus the moral law is set aside; and holiness considered as a burden, from which they are happily freed.
How Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, the more effectually to allure and destroy !
Awful delusions indeed ! Such self-deceivers love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. Of divine truth, they are willingly ignorant."
How great is the change, when God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of his glory, in the face of Jesus Christ. By this divine process, we become new creatures, bear the image of the Saviour, shine forth in the beauty of holiness, and live to his glory, who worketh all things after the counsel of his will. The redeemed sinner is a child of God. He is born from above; and resembles his heavenly Father in his imitable perfections.
“God is love." Hence every one that loveth, is bom of God and knoweth God.
God is “glorious in holiness.” His people are therefore a holy people; being called with a “holy calling."
God is just. And his children are all righteous. They walk before him in uprightness, simplicity, and godly sincerity.
God is eternal truth. His redeemed ones speak the truth from the heart. They abhor deceit and lies.
God is almighty. His people are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;" and
come off“ more than conquerors through him that loved them."
God is “rich in mercy" His children are commanded to be merciful, even as their Father which is in heaven is merciful.
God is wisdom. All his faithful servants are enlightened by his Spirit, guided into all truth, and made wise unto salvation.
Thus every communicable perfection which resides in the Deity, is reflected by the new creature to the praise of his glory, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift.
From this view.we perceive, that the. mere externals of religion will
' avail nothing unto salvation. There must be the accompanying power of godliness, and an inward experience of the truth upon the heart. Head-knowledge, without heart-work, is but a shadow, good for nothing.
The gracious promise of our all merciful God is sweetly proclaimed by the Prophet Jeremiah: “I will give them a heart to know me that I am the Lord." and St. Paul declares that “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” “My Son give me thy heart," is the paternal command of the Almighty, at once reasonable, loving, and delightful.
Now let me ask myself seriously, as in the sight of the all-searching God: Am I reflecting the bright beams of his grace on my own soul ? Do I love God, his people, and his ways? If I am a child, I must of necessity be filled with love, for God is love.
Do I hate all sin, and walk in all the commandments of God; knowing that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord ?
Am I just and equitable in all my dealings, remembering that God has declared his abhorrence of all unrighteousness of men ?
Are deceitful lies hateful to my soul? Do I love