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sometimes, our hold of it may seem almost gone, its hold of us shall abide unmoved to the end. “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him," and thus every feeble waiter on him is included in its embrace, and shall be upheld by it, notwithstanding that flesh and heart may fail under the experience of manifold troubles and adversities.
2nd. We expect support in the day of difficulty: and support is and shall be given to every elect vessel of mercy, in ways beyond human control or knowledge. God supports by preparing, beforehand, strength and vigour of body or of mind, or both, to bear the blow ;--it often being the case that a time of special privilege is the prelude of special trial ;-and what, at one time, would have been insupportable, is thus made to be comparatively light. Or, “ He shields the head in the day of battle ;” not permitting us to realize the full weight of our calamity, temptation, or danger ; but warding off what, if felt in all its intensity, would have swallowed us up. Or by leading us to look away from things seen, to things unseen, he shews the true insignificance of every time occurrence ; so that we stand as the three children did, unscathed in the midst of the burning fiery furnace ; calmly sustained like them by the felt presence with us of the Son of man. Blessed is he who has no expectation of succour otherwise than from the Lord ! for he that looks for it elsewhere, is on a sorry errand, that shall end in the bitter experience of the emptiness of all such sources; and shall, if he be the Lord's, necessitate his return with the feeling that he has “ sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind.” But “he that waits on the Lord shall renew his strength, and shall prove from day to day, “as thy day, so shall thy strength be ;” and thereby still holds up, or is held up, endures, pursues, and stands to the end.
3rd. We expect relief and deliverance in God's good time. The Lord could exempt his people from all trouble, were it his pleasure. But it is his will to “shew them great and sore troubles, that he may quicken them again, and bring them up again from the depths of the earth.” He relieves by“ staying his rough wind in the day of his east wind,” or by not sending a storm and a blight at the same time. Or he grants a diversion, by leading our sympathies away from ourselves, and self-pity, to feel for the greater woes of others, and to see kindness blended with the heaviest trials. Or he says in our hearts, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation : for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Then also comes deliverance, the “turning again of our captivity like the streams of the south ;" which“
compass us about with songs;" and help us to bless him for the very sorrows we have felt, because they have been the means of making us know him as we never otherwise should have done ; as in them, as in a dark cloud, he came to us, and shewed us the light behind the cloud ; disclosing, as concerning his dealings, “the excellency of his counsel, and the wonder of his work ; and satisfying us of his righteousness and wisdom, which, with all else needful, though we know not now, we shall know hereafter.”
4th. A further expectation from him is, that he will guide us in the midst of doubt and perplexity; helping us to be still, to observe his hand, and to look for light on our path, that we may see out of obscurity ; and have proved to us that “the meek will he guide in judgment, the meek will he teach his way." wayfaring man, though a fooi, [guided by him) shall not err therein,” though it be a way the vulture's eye hath not seen. God only can teach us in the day of trouble to feel, to speak, to act aright. Under his guidance it mollifies, chastens, humbles; .without it, it hardens, irritates, and sours. How blessed was the feeling that David had when, in the 139th Psalm, he speaks of God as “besetting him behind and before, and laying his hand upon him;" and said, whether in heaven or in hell, in the darkness or the light, in the uttermost part of the earth or the sea, “even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” When God leads and holds us, we may safely go without fear of consequences : assured that there is no way in without a way out; and He who says, Fear not to go down, will also “ make a way in the sea, and a path in the water," that we may pass over.
5th. Preservation is another thing we may expect ; for all his people “ are kept
by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation." Though" by strength no man shall prevail,” his little ones shall find him a “shelter from the storm, a covert from the tempest, and the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” God himself is their dwelling-place, their tower of safety, their sanctuary; and in him they have a life that is indestructible, a power that shall never break down, and an interest that can never be subverted. “ Sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus, and called," they shall stand in their lot at the end of the days; and shall have as we may say,
Lastly, the expectation fulfilled, of an“ abundant entrance into the everlasting glory of our Lord Jesus Christ;"participating in all his triumphs and victories, and upholding the opening up of the wonders of that mystery, which it has taken all time to fulfil ; and which shall then have attained completion, in the safe housing, beyond sorrow, darkness, and death, of every one of those who were “written in the Lamb's book of life, before the foundation of the world,” and in time “ among the living in Jerusalem.”
“Lo this, I have searched it, so it is ; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.” Should you, reader, ever be similarly tried, may you be similarly helped ! May, 1869.
THE EVERLASTING SECURITY OF THE SAINTS OF GOD
“Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every
one shall receive of thy words.”—Deut. xxxiii. 3.
(Continued from page 126.) II. The security of the saints:—“All his saints are in thy hand.”
“ All his saints.”—Let us contemplate these blessed words ; for every word is fraught with rich consolation. Look at the first word “ All”—how comprehensive is this little word !—this takes in Old Testament saints, and New Testament saints-strong saints, and weak saints-saints who are advanced in age, and ripe for glory, and saints who are but babes just born ; saints of every age and generation-saints under the patriarchal, the Jewish, and the Gospel dispensations-saints of every nation, color and size-saints before the throne in glory, who are singing unto him that loved, and died, and made them what they are there--and saints that are sometimes here below tempted to despair-saints that are favored like John to lean on the bosom of eternal love, and saints who are like Jonah cast into the deep and in their experience and feelings as it were in the belly of hell,--saints who are feasting in the banqueting house of dying love, and saints who are mourning an absent God, and panting for the light of his countenance,--saints who are sitting, like weeping Mary, at the feet of her loving Lord, and receiving the honey drops of his love from his mouth, and saints who are engaged in fierce conflict with the deadful foe, and whose life appears smitten down to the ground. All are included here-all are in the hand and keeping of the God who loved and made them.
In the second place, notice, they are his saints, his in contra-distinction to all other so-called saints.—“Sing unto the Lord-O ye saints of his.”
Since Jehovah would have saints—the devil has his-the Pope has his—and national churches have theirs ; and these are very numerous: but all these impostors, mockeries, and mummeries will come beneath the heavy and avenging hand of God's wrath; but they were never in his hand, and consequently when he comes to judge the world, and purge his floor, the church, he will say—“Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” The angels, in other words, will gather together his elect, but the rest whether they have borne the name of professor or profane, he will say unto such—“Depart from me, ye cursed; I never knew you.” The Lord knoweth them that are his, and knoweth them with an approving knowledge too.
"I know my sheep, he cries,
My soul approves them well;
And vain the rage of hell.” All his saints are in thy hand-not were, not shall be; but in the present tense they are in thy hand. There is no past or future with our God, but one eternal “ now.” Having thus just noticed the phraseology of the words, let us consider what it is that constitutes a saint, and what it is for the saints to be in the Lord's hands.
1. What is a saint, a Bible saint, or one of God's saints. What saith the Scripture? For it is in this balance, beloved reader, we must be weighed. To the law and to the testimony: if we speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in us. A saint of God, then, we shall find, is the workmanship of God himself-the production of the eternal Trinity—the result of love, blood, and power. “Sanctified by God the Father.” See Jude's Epistle, verse 1: sanctified, that is set apart for a special and gracious purpose; for this sanctification precedes redemption and calling—“Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself:"_separated and set apart by an act of eternal election before the foundation of the world. Here, and here alone will be found the origin or source of saintshipSecondly, Sanctified by the blood of Christ : “That he might sanctify the people with his own blood, he suffered without the gate.” Heb. xiii. '12. “For their sakes, I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.” John xvii. 19. “For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one ; wherefore he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. ii. 11. Here we have God the Father and God the Son, combined in constituting saints. And thirdly, the work of the eternal Spirit is necessary to make a saint vitally and manifestatively by implanting a holy principle, by communicating eternal life in regeneration : “Called to be saints,” with a holy, high, and heavenly calling. Such persons are sanctified in both respects. They are made holy, by a communication of Christ to them, who is their sanctification life, as well as justification life ; and they are separated from, taken out of, and distinguished from the world that lieth in wickedness. They are, and must be separate from all others in doctrine, experience, and practice. They are saints, and yet sinners—sensible sinners; and a sensible sinner is a sacred one, the Holy Ghost has made him so. always a saint in God's estimation. Sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called ; beloved of the Lord, chosen to salvation, and made manifest to himself; and others by the sanctification of the Spirit. The bodies of the saints are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and the saints in their aggregate form are for an habitation of God, through the Spirit-equally loved-dearly redeemed, fully justified, and by grace divine sanctified and made meet for their eternal inheritance. “ This honour have all his saints”-all whom the Father set apart before the world began, were given into the hands of Jesus to redeem : the “ his," therefore, will apply rather to God the Father, and the “thy” hand to the Son of God. “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.” “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me." In another sense it is equally true they are in the hands of all the three persons in God. “My Father which gave them me, is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” Here they are said to be given, and yet retained in the hand of the Father, this sets forth the mysterious and blessed union, between the sacred persons in the Godhead and the mutual proprietorship, they have in the saints. “I and my Father are one.” “ All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.” “And I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” Here is their eternal safety, and security in the heart and hand of God the Father, as his adopted and everlastingly loved family ; in the hand of Jesus to red when fallen, and in the hand of the eternal Spirit, by almighty, invincible, and preserving grace. They are in his sovereign hand, as the clay is in the hand of the potter. They are in his predestinating, and appointing hand, not appointed unto wrath but to obtain salvation. They are in his registering hand, written to life in the Book of the Lamb before the foundation of the world. They are in his
disposing hand, given into the hands of Christ, for a peculiar purpose, they are in his creating hand,—they are in his preserving hand during the period of unregeneracy,—they are in his providing hand, before they know and acknowledge this fact, they are in his redeeming hand, in the dear Redeemer's working hand, in his bleeding hand, engraven upon the very palms thereof,--they are in his feeding hand, as a Shepherd-in his leading hand as a Guide-in his instructing hand as a Prophet—in his cleansing hand as a Priest-in his governing hand as a Kingin his protecting hand as a Shield-in his pleading hand as an Advocate-in his chastening and correcting hand as a Father-in his rescuing hand as a Deliverer (".Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ?")-in his restraining hand when iniquities prevail against them—in his restoring hand when they wander from him, in his supporting hand when passing through the deep waters—in his refining hand when passing through the fire-in his directing hand when full of fear and perplexity as to the path. “I will hold thee by thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not.” They are in his constant supplying hand. My God shall supply all your need out of his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In his keeping hand. “The Lord is thy keeper, the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand," "he will keep the feet of his saints.” They are in his almighty and omnipotent hand to carry them quite through; and the saints, all of them, without a failure, shall most assuredly be in his crowning hand. A crown of glory, the church is now, and a royal diadem in the hand of her God; and a crown to each shall the Lord, the righteous Judge, give at the day of his appearing, and then shall we be in his actual possession and in his glorious hand, to go no more out for ever. In these respects, and many more, “all his saints are in thy hand.”
(To be concluded in the next number.) Islington, June 1st, 1869.
SEEKING THE KINGDOM OF GOD. An Extract from a Sermon preached in the Baptist Chapel, Rye-lane, Peckham, on
the Lord's-day morning, 7th March, 1869,
By MR. GEORGE MOYLE, PASTOR. “ But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added
unto you” (Matt. vi. 33.) It is plain, I think, from these words, that the Lord Jesus Christ designed to raise and elevate our minds above the world and its vanities, and to direct us to “set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” Therefore he says,
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness ; and all these things shall be added unto you.” There is no prohibition that a good man should not seek industriously for earthly things in a becoming manner; for we read that “if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel ” (1 Tim. v. 8.)
Our Lord does not say, Do not take care about your business, or be indifferent about performing your lawful avocations, but he says, “ Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness ; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The language of our text is to be taken in a comparative sense.
When you are seeking for that which is according to you necessary wants and condition, it is perfectly right and lawful ; for your heavenly Father knows you want temporal things. He“ knoweth that ye have need of all these things." But place earthly things where they ought to be, and heavenly things where they ought to be ; that earthly things have the lowest place, and heavenly things the supreme, the highest, the holiest place. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all other things shall be added unto you.
The language of our text contains three very important branches,– First—The things we are to seek—"The kingdom of God and his righteousness;" Secondly—The directions given—that it is not enough to know that there is such a place, but that
we are to seek for it; for our religion is not to be a religion of mere creed, but of earnestness. We are to carry out
practically what our creed is ; and Thirdly-A blessed conclusion—"all other things shall be added unto you."
First, The noble things to seek—“the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” With respect to the kingdom of God, it takes in two ideas, First, He has his kingdom on earth—his church-all sincere believers in, and on, the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, He has his kingdom in heaven,-his glorified church. And saints in anticipation may here sing,
“ There we shall see his face,
And never, never sin:
Drink endless pleasures in."
Shall I say, His kingdom on earth is preparatory to his kingdom in heaven? It is here on earth that we are “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”-all the election of divine grace. The kingdom of Christ on earth is a spiritual kingdom. It is not a political
It is not a parliamentary concern. It is not governed by human laws or acts of parliament; but is created, and governed by the “ Kings of kings and Lord of lords.” It does not stand in need of human power. We only say with regard to human or political power, in reference to spiritual matters, “Let us alone : we do not want persecution, and we do not desire to interfere.”
The principles of this kingdom are not of earthly growth, but of heavenly origin. What man can form doctrine for us ? or invent a gospel for us? We are told that “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. ii. 9, 10). Therefore they are heavenly principles, they are divine principles, that constitute the heavenly kingdom. And the apostle has told us what these principles are. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom. xiv. 17.) All the institutions of the ceremonial law are gone, but the principles that constitute this kingdom remain. We must not depend on human, outward performances, or depend on meats and drinks " or any thing of that kind ; for the principles of this kingdom are worthy of God, and the more we know of them the happier for us.
Righteousness is one of the foundation principles of this kingdom: Christ is the Lord of righteousness. This righteousness may be looked at in a twofold point of view, first-the righteousness of God without us, and secondly—the righteousness of God within us—all the righteousness of the righteous law of God. It is our title to the heavenly world ; it is our acceptance with God; and the more we know of the righteousness of Jesus, the more we shall want to know. Like Paul, we shall say, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Phil. iii
. 8, 9.) This is our righteousness without us ; this is our “ robe of righteousness,” our “wedding garment;" and wrapped in this, we stand before God.
But, secondly, there is the righteousness within us, when we become regeneratewhen the Holy Ghost sanctifies our nature and gives us new life, happiness, faith, love, humility, &c. Then “old things are passed away ; behold, all things are be
.” (2 Cor. v. 17.) There are new and holy principles generated in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. So that the righteousness within and the righteousness without, qualify us for fellowship with God on earth, and with God in glory.
The next principle is peace-peace with God, peace in the church, and (as much as possible) peace with all men ; but not at the sacrifice of truth. Stand by truth, stand by holiness, stand by God, stand by Christ, at any price! Better a holy war than an unholy peace ; better have the Lord with us, though all the world should