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the acknowledgment of the mystery; MARK, not the comprehension, but the acknowledgment; not reasoning about it, but, under divine influence, acknowledging it with reverence; which is manifest in the conduct of all true believers, by seeking no God beside him who is revealed in the scriptures as the God of promise to Abraham and his seed, the God of provision, the God of condescension, the God of direction, the God of consolation, the God of all grace, and the God of glory. Such a revelation of the Holy Three, in the person of Emanuel, will for ever satisfy the quickened soul, who, through grace, receives such a glorious God as all in all.
While such persons daily prove his suitableness, they rejoice to acknowledge him, by openly embracing the whole gospel, and by attending upon that ministry which savours of the Father's love, the person, blood, and righteousness of the Son, and of the person and operations of the Holy Ghost, in and upon the elect. And they will further acknowledge this mystery, by a bold contention with all who dare deny any part of God's truth; and they will rejoice to bear their testimony to the blessedness of election in Christ, redemption by Christ, pardon, peace, rest, and acceptance in Christ, and to the assurance of eternal glorification with Christ. And while sin becomes increasingly hateful, self-loathsome, and glory desirable, it is the high privilege of each to say, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : but after the way which men term heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers.
(To be concluded in our next.)
(For the Spiritual Magazine.) COMFORT FOR THE TRIED FAMILY OF GOD. " When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee ; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour : I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee."
Isaiah xliii. 2, 3, The happiness of the believer is far superior to that of the unregenerate character. The unrenewed character, when exercised with affliction, has no source of comfort; he tries various methods to relieve the anguish of his mind, but consolation fails, and despair rends him asunder. On the contrary, the true believer possesses that happiness which supports him under all the trials of life, and renders him undaunted at the approach of the king of terrors. The reviving consolations of religion are poured into his soul, and the Redeemer whispers to his soul, “ Fear not, for I am with thee!" The precious promises animate his hopes of deliverance from every sorrow, and eternal felicity in that celestial state, where the weary are at rest.” The promises are indeed particularly calculated to comfort the sorrowful spirit. In them we behold a balm for every wound, a cordial for every ar. The chapter from which the words of the text are selected, abounds with these promises ; few, however, are more consolatory than these, “ When thou passeth,” &c. In order to illustrate these words, we shall endeavour to point out,
1. The peculiar trials which believers experience. 2. The promises given them under their trials. 3. The reasons for which the promise of divine presence and support is given, “ For I am the Lord thy God,” &c.
1st. Then we will point out the peculiar trials which believers experience. Various are the figures by which a state of difficulty and trial are represented. The figures of fire and water are adopted, in order to shew the depth of sorrow into which believers are often plunged. The expressions imply,-- 1st. That they have great trials. The present is an afflicted state for the christian ; as a stranger and pilgrim he must expect many things which are painful to flesh and blood, “ For whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth,” and “ Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Jehovah, as a Sovereign, doth not afflict all his servants in the same way; he measures out their trials with an unerring hand, and as they are best adapted to their necessities ; whilst, with impartial justice, he lifts up one, he setteth down another, and causes him to be exercised with many trials to procure the bread that perisheth. Others, though favoured with the bounties of divine providence, and their cup of earthly blessings runneth over, yet are the subjects of acute pain. Disease drinks
of their spirits, and checks that holy ardour which they once fell in devotional exercises. To aggravate their sorrows, and wean their attachment from sublunary objects, the king of terrors is permitted to take
away the desire of their eyes with a stroke. If not thus visited by death, they experience peculiar trials, perhaps in their families; their children, for whom they have wept and prayed in secret, are permitted to become their tormentors. If, however, none of these difficulties befal the believer, he has still great trials arising from the natural aversion of his mind to spiritual things, and that prevalence to backslide, which is the burden of his soul; often in secret he finds that his heart is prone to evil, and that continually ; he would draw near to his heavenly Father, and worship him in the beauties of holiness, but he finds a corrupt nature interposing between him and his God, and sighs for that happy hour, when he shall be “absent from the body, and present with the Lord.”
2nd. That they have peculiar temptations. If we search the history of the saints, we shall find that great have been their temptations. Numbers who are precious in the sight of the Lord, are often mourning on account of a corrupt nature ; they feel the influence of a body of sin, when they lie down and when they arise. In some happy moments they are ready to indulge the hope that their corruptions have ceased; but, alas ! they find that the conflict must be renewed, that nothing but death will deliver them from this burden. Whilst such is the mournful experience of some of the saints, others are constrained to weep on account of the temptations of Satan. Though delivered from being finally destroyed by this adversary, yet they find that he watches daily for their halting. At some seasons he assumes the form of an angel of light, -endeavours to raise high ideas of themselves,--and thus draw them from the cross of Calvary. If this stratagem does not succeed, he appears in his own character. He endeavours to work upon their corrupt nature,-urges them to the commission of sin, and even to blaspheme that holy name, whereby they are called. Determined in his malice, he proposes one temptation after another, and often causes the believer to exclaim, “ I shall one day fall by the hand of this enemy !" “ () God, my soul is cast down within me.”
3rd. They have many persecutions. All the beloved of the Lord are called to pass through the fire of persecution. In the primitive ages numbers ascended to glory in the fiery chariot, and proved that their love to Christ was stronger than death. It is true, in the present day, persecution does not brandish her flaming sword, but the spirit of persecution remains the same. Every calumnious expression against the faithful heralds of the cross-against the sovereignty of Jehovah, is but the spark, which if suffered to increase, would soon devour the bodies of the saints. In proportion as the believer lives near the Lord, and is steadfast in his attachment to the truths of sovereign grace, his name is cast out for evil. Carnal professors shun him, and the most opprobious names are given him. These are some of the trials which the Lord is pleased to suffer his people to pass through ; and there is a needs be for their afflictions. The christian, like the palm-tree, best grows when he is most weighed down. Prosperity, of any kind, makes him either lukewarm, or rebellious. The Lord, therefore, to fulfil his covenant engagements, causes his people to pass under the rod. He tries them in various ways, that their dross may be consumed, and their graces brought into lively exercise. We proceed,
2nd. To shew the promises given to them under their trials,—“When thou passeth,” &c. This promise is calculated to produce the greatest joy and peace in the believer's mind. It brings to him every thing that he can need, every thing that can dissipate his fears. There is a promise-1st. Of the divine presence. It is the presence of that God, who hath said, “I will be with thee in trouble.” Favoured with his presence, the believer finds that happiness which empires cannot purchase. The most adverse dispensations of divine providence assume a bright aspect, and the heaviest trials become the choicest mercies. Supported by the presence of the Most High, he can pass through the fires of persecution and temptation with courage, and bid defiance to the malice of all his foes. In the language of triumphant joy, he can say, “ The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Now, it is this promise which the believer is taught to expect amidst all the trials that he has to experience. And the fulfilment of this divine promise the believer finds. Amidst all his trials he experiences, at seasons, that joy, arising from the presence of the Most High, which causes him to bless the hand by which he is chastised. Favoured with the divine presence, he exclaims, " Why shall I complain of my trials ? Am l interested in the favour of my
God? Has he engaged to bring me through all my trials ? Then I will trust, and not be afraid. A few more waves of trouble will conduct me to the peaceful shore, where there is neither sorrow, pain, or death.”
2nd. It is a promise of divine support,-—" When thou passeth through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Painful as are the temptations of the saints, yet God hath promised to keep them in the hour of temptation. He hath engaged to limit the power of temptation, and with every temptation to make a way for their escape. And the covenant engagements of Jehovah are fullilled-in the experience of the saints. Amidst unnumbered temptations they are upheld. Often when they seem ready to become a prey to satan, the Lord brings them relief. He bids the tempter be still, and checks the power of corruption. If for a moment they fall by temptation, they are not utterly cast down. The work of grace is still maintained; and at the appointed season they are brought to a throne of grace with weeping and supplication, for strength and renewing grace. Nothing indeed but a miracle of power can uphold the christian amidst his temptations. The spiritual life is like a spark of fire in the midst of the ocean, which nothing but a miracle of grace keeps in existence. And it is a sweet thought that all the temptations of satan are known to the Lord, and under his controul. Here then, tempted christian, is your support. The Lord is your refuge, and underneath you are the everlasting Whilst, then, you often say, “ O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me,” remember that the battle is not your's, but the Lord's; and he will fight for you, against all your enemies. Sunderland.
CLERICUS. (To be concluded in our next.)
THE PUBLICAN AND PHARISEE.
Luke xviii. 10–14.
But, mark the contrast-see the lowly soul
In the world
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
CHRIST THE PEACE OF HIS CHOSEN. « These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
ye shall have tribulativi; but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world,--John xvi. 33.
The doctrines of God's most holy word, which are an opening of his divine mind and will, are so many parts of God's revelation of himself, and of what God is, and has been from everlasting to his chosen and beloved people in Christ Jesus. This he hath seen good to express by his words, and by his works, which are an uniform expression of his infinite and unalterable love to his church, which hath never ceased to be exercised towards her, in the most perfect harmony with his righteousness, holiness, and truth. As led by the Holy Ghost, and under his unctious teaching, tò meditate upon the love of God our heavenly Father, we may well cry out with devout and holy admiration, “ blessed, O Lord! is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee ;" — while the mind from such a scripture is raised to take in a spiritual sight of the adorable Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Man of God's right hand, in whose person, mediation, and salvation, with the covenant made with him as the Head and Mediator of his church, with the purposes of Jehovah in him, and the acts of Jehovah towards him, we have the truest realization of the everlasting and immutable favour of God towards his church.
In the direct exercise of the mind upon God's revelation of his Son, as standing first, though not alone, but as the first-born among many brethren, and tracing up the fixation of the love of God to the church, in the person of the glorious Mediator, we may proceed to consider the particulars thereof; and thus become partakers of such an acquaintance with it in a way of believing, as to entertain a prevailing sense of it in the mind, resulting in that which may be termed a rich experience of it: which leads to a spiritual understanding of what we, as saints, are individually called to meet with, under the dispensation or reign of God's favour and grace towards us; under which we live and shall continue to be, in all the events and circumstances of this present mortal life. With those in whom the word of God dwells richly, by which means alone there is any good degree of establishment in the faith of the gospel, there will be found, more or less, a spiritual understanding and deciphering of the will
, purpose, and design of God; to be answered in the way which he is pleased to take with them, and the circumstances he is pleased to bring them into in the present state. This spiritual perception of the will of God concerning his saints, will be found to correspond exactly with the measure of simplicity attained in the knowledge of Christ, his person, love, and salvation, as made known in the gospel; to which all spiritual enlargement and prosperity of soul is to be traced. To be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding," we must
” VOL. III.--No. 26.