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man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost ;" * “Hereby we know that God dwelleth in us by the Spirit which He hath given us.”+
4. God, as the reconciled God, may be con. fided in. It is not the work of unpardoned sinners that our Lord and Master demands ; it is the work of children born of God, and adopted by being made one with Christ : for through faith in Christ we receive power to become the Sons of God. I It is not as meritorious act that the doing of the work of God's servants is commanded and recommended. It is not said, Work out your own salvation, that you may merit God's favour: God's favour is gained through the merits of Christ, and it is His favour which enables you to work, and not your work which enables Him to favour you. Because, through Christ, He is well pleased with you, His divine energy is exerted to make your will and your deeds well-pleasing to Him, according to His revealed law.
5. As the Hearer of prayer, God is confided in.
“ This is the confidence that we have in
* 1 Cor. xii. 3.
John, i. 12, 13.
+ 1 John, iii. 24.
Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."*
In the day when I called Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.”+ Unless you pray, you faint. I But Paul not only believed that prayer
for him would be drawn forth from himself. We hear him expressing the happy conviction, that he always undoubtedly possessed, as a moving power, the prayers of his fellowChristians for him. We have already noticed him saying,
“Through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ;" but in the same breath we find the words, “Through your prayer."ß Faith working by love is a machinery which in the circle of Christ's family brings down heaven upon earth; and a part of this heavenly mechanism is the mutual help which the members of that family, thinking of each other's good, procure for their brethren and companions by prayer to the covenant God.
6. God, who has begun a good work in you,
* 1 John, v. 14, 15.
Luke, xviii. 1.
of Ps. cxxxviii. 3.
deserves the confidence of you, who truly trust in the Saviour.
The Psalmist speaks of God as performing all things for His people. Not only is His will done, but the work is His. What an argument for confidence-"He who bath begun & good work in you will perform it!"
Let me reiterate the truth, which I hope pervades these discourses. Eternal life is not a mere płucking out of brands from the burning, but is a life of holy and heavenly thoughts, words, and actions, obedience, love, and praise. To this salvation God gives you a right at the very outset once for all. When the command in my text is addressed to you, it is supposed that you have agreed to plead Christ's merits, and that thus you possess a right to the full salvation here spoken of.
Here is an argument for confidence. Work out your own salvation, to which you have a right. It is not a supposition of yours; it is a mutual understanding between your covenant God and
you have a right to it. You are not commanded to make bricks without straw, a task which Christless moralists virtually exact from you. The very desire along with the strength to obey God is part of salva
tion itself, to which you have a right, and into possession of which He has pledged Himself to admit you. You resolve that you will do His will, He provides that you shall do it; indeed, it is He who put the resolution into your heart. In this manner the work shall progress on earth until it is faultlessly done in heaven; and the grand explanation of all is, that the Saviour is worthy, for He was slain, and has redeemed us to God by His blood.
It is a mistake to look upon confidence in God as the crown of the work ; look
upon the foundation : it is not the reward of labour, but the moving power-the first introduction to the work of the Lord. Consequently you mistake the purpose of self-examination, if you look to yourselves to know if you have a right to exercise confidence in God through Christ; you are to look to yourselves to know if you are exercising this confidence. Whatever is an argument for " fear and trembling," is also an argument for looking beyond yourselves to Christ your righteousness and strength. Deficiency in the evidences of the divine life, which must, to a greater or less degree, be the report of your self-examination, does not tell you that
you have no right to place confidence in the Saviour, but it reproves you for neglecting to exercise it, and accuses you of having given way to partial or temporary unbelief. Declare to God and man that you employ Christ as your Saviour, and exercise a firm and joyful confidence in Him at the foot of the throne of grace, and in the life of faith, and labour, and patience.
The head and front of all corrupt principles is unbelief. “ Take heed, therefore, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin : for we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast to the end."* Unbelief is departing from the living God, and its opposite, faith, is the renouncing of self, of self-dependence and self-confidence, as well as of self-righteousness. Let me then press upon your attention the grand duty of dependence on God's working. My text makes God do all : the work is God's --the glory is God's. How opposed to this is the old and oft-revived heresy, which would reform and improve upon my text, by giving
* Heb. iii. 12-14.