« PreviousContinue »
reiteration. Our chief aim, in the face of surrounding adversaries, is to set forth the power and excellency of divine truth—particularly in its constraining and sanctifying influences on the heart and affections of the happy recipient. We leave others to brandish the torch of discord, while, by the help of the Lord, it is our determination to stand alone on the defensive against our enemies' attacks, --witnessing their futile efforts with composure, and acting on our Lord's example, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”
We renew our grateful acknowledgments to our Contributors and Patrons, to whose continued exertions we attribute the increasing circulation of the Spiritual Magazine: and we pray that covenant blessings may descend in rich abundance on them, and on all whose souls' desire corresponds with that of the enquiring Greeks - “ SIR, WE WOULD SEE JESUS!"
* There are Three that bear record in heaven; the FATHER, the WORD, and the HOLY GHOST: and these Three are One."
John v. 7. « Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
(For the Spiritual Magazine.)
REFRESHMENT FOR THE WEARY. « As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”—Prov. xxv. 25. TO all who through regenerating grace are thirsting for a knowledge of Christ, the gospel contains the most suited and consolatory tidings; and when accompanied with the unction of the Holy Ghost, is indeed a joyful-sound of free and full salvation, from sin in its guilt, the law in its curse, the world in its snares, and death in its sting. And to all who know the plague of the heart, and feel the need of salvation by free grace, how precious must the gospel be, which reveals the Lord Jesus as the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him. Heb. v. 9.
This is his glorious character, in personal conjunction with the Father and the Holy Ghost : for as the elect were chosen by the Father to salvation, and receive the knowledge of salvation by the anointings of the Holy Ghost ; so also our dear Lord Jesus accomplished the work of redemption by his own incarnation, obedience, sufferings, death, and resurrection, Dan. ix. 24. whereby he gave full proof of his eternity as God, since none less than the eternal God could have brought in an eternal salvation. 2ndly. It proves also his real assumption of the body prepared by the Father, as an atonement for sin must of necessity be made in the nature that sinned. 3rdly. It demonstrates the perfection of his work, in the full accomplishment of the Father's will; John vi. 38, 39. xvii. 4. by which he did for ever supersede all human performances in salvation; and upon the foundation of his finished work, the gospel proclaims salvation by grace, Eph. ii. 8, 9. And 4thly. It furnishes us with very high discoveries VOL. III.-No. 26.
of the freeness of his love to the church, since he became the author of salvation; it was his own voluntary act, for he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham ; wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Heb. ii. 16, 17.
Here let the redeemed rejoice, in union to this glorious Lord, who in the same scripture which saith, he is the author of salvation, saith also, he is the Son of God; Heb. v. 5, 8. corresponding with his testimony in John x. 30. I and my Father are one. One in union of nature and perfections; as that which the Father is, the Son is also, possessing the same underived greatness. And lest any should conceive the Father to be more glorious than the Son, because of his mediatorial abasement, Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8. it is written, the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son ; that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Futher which hath sent him. John v. 22, 23. And as there is a perfect oneness between the Father and the Son, so also there is with him, and the church, who are accounted members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. and one with him in all the perfection of his work, and glory of his righteousness, which is so fully accounted their’s, that as he is, so are they in this world, 1 John iv. 17.
But it is no less important to know what is meant by our obeying him. Let not the reader run to the law of Moses, as though that required something in addition to the work and obedience of Christ; but let him enquire into the meaning of Rom. xvi. 26. The obedience of faith; and also Rom. iv. 5. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. And faith which cometh from God, leadeth to God, in dependence upon the work of Christ, and while the recipient of grace can do nothing. Yea, if salvation depended upon one good thought in the creature, he must for ever despair: yet precious faith, led forth by God the Spirit, discovers such an infinite fulness in the person of Emanuel, as causeth the redeemed soul to sing,
“O happy, happy man!
What glorious scenes I view;
I nothing have to do.” Thus in the gospel of free grace, we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and triumph by faith in the efficacy of his blood -the perfection of his righteousness—the prevalence of bis intercession—the freeness of his mercy—the fulness of his grace-the stability of his covenant—and the perpetuity of his love. Of the gospel St. Paul declared himself not ashamed, having proved it to be the power of God to salvation, Rom. i. 16. And in his address to the saints at Galatia he said, I certify to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man; for I neither received it
of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Gal. i. 11, 12.
As the saints of old were cautioned against another gospel, and exhorted to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; surely in this day of awful departure from the simplicity of the scriptures, so manifest in the great mass of religious professors, it becomes the faithful ministers of God to sound an alarm, to warn against antichrist, to expose the delusive systems of mere pretenders to divine knowledge, and to make known the good old way with much plainness of speech. And as this is written exclusively for the benefit of God's covenant family, I beg the reader to consider, that the gospel is wholly of God, to the total exclusion of man's wisdom, ability, or worthiness.
And in the gospel, the Holy Persons in the glorious Trinity are set forth in their personal acts, and by their personal names, each manifesting a mutual delight in, concern for, and an unalterable determination to save, a number of precious souls, which no man can number. For this purpose, these divine Persons entered into a covenánt before the foundation of the world, in which the objects of their love were chosen, blest, and appointed to eternal glory. See Ps. lxxxix. 3, 4, 19 to 37. Prov. viii. 22 to 31. Isa. xlii. 6, 7.; xlix. 7 to 12. and Eph. i. 3, 4.
In the gospel, the people of Jehovah's choice are taught their security, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ. Col. ii. 2.
Love is the origin of the gospel; for God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John iv. 16. Here the elect have dwelt from everlasting, interested in the covenant purposes, provisions, and promises of love: and such is their oneness,
that they are knit together as an act of divine sovereignty in the holy person of their elect head; the Word that was with God-the Word that was God, creating all things by his eternal power; and the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us; in whose everlasting arms they were placed by the Father; from wlience none can pluck them. John X. 28. As they were knit together, by election, before time, so were they declared to be gathered in one, by the offering of Jesus, in the fulness of time. John xi. 52. And they were manifestly knit together, in the day of regeneration, by God the Spirit's quickening, cementing grace and they are described in the scriptures by the similitude of the vine and its branches, a foundation and its superstructure, a head and its members; and such are distinguished from all others, as the called out of darkness into God's marvellous light, as taught the fallacy of human foundations, and as led by God the Holy Ghost to Christ Jesus, the only true foundation on which they are knit together, and grow up to an holy temple in the Lord.
Here let the reader observe, this knitting is together- not with all
classes, whether for Christ, or against Christ; but together, as members of one body, living in the Spirit, and walking after the Spirit; who from their union to the Lord, are of one spirit with the Lord ; and being thus knit, they become witnesses for God, contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, and by opposing the enemies of the cross, manifest to whom they belong, and resemble a band of men whose hearts God hath touched. In the gospel such persons are taught all that is essential to their peace, and God's glory; and they possess the riches of the full assurance of understanding, which leads to that acknowledgment, for which the apostles most earnestly contended, and by whom the sweet savour of Christ's knowledge was manifested. The religion of Christ is not, as some assert, made up of ignorance; neither are its principles received by mere human influence; but all who were given to Christ as the choice of the Father, for whom he poured out his soul unto death, are taught of the Lord, even the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Christ; and by whom all the regenerated are made acquainted with their ruin in the first Adam, the pollution of their nature, the pride, carnality, and sin, that is visible in their best works, the spirituality of God's holy law, and the suitableness, sufficiency, and preciousness of Christ, as their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
This knowledge is promised in the new covenant, Jer. xxxi. 34. and is received by the gospel, 2 Cor. ii. 14. which gives such a full assurance of understanding, as to put the truths of the gospel beyond a doubt; making its possessor not only acquainted with the condition of man by sin, but in giving life to feel it, not only of the law's extent, but of deliverance from it; not only of God's love and Christ's work, but an interest in it; not only of the existence of the Holy Ghost, but a possession of his witness in the conscience. It is indeed a full assurance not founded on man's word, but God's oath ; and while that which is advanced by man leaves room for a doubt, all that our God hath said is in very faithfulness, and must stand for ever: and when he speaketh life into a dead soul, light into a dark mind, and liberty to the poor captive, it is attended not only with a full assurance of interest in his love, but with the riches of eternal life. As our gracious Saviour said, in his address to the divine Father, “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” John xvii. 3. Here I beg the reader particularly to observe, that this knowledge and heavenly instruction, is always attended with an acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; as expressive of the equality, unity, and eternity, of the Holy Three which bear record in heaven. And though St. Paul was highly favoured with discoveries in the mysteries of the kingdom, so much so, as to cause Peter to say, “ He had written some things hard to be understood,” 2 Pet. iii. 16. yet he could give no further explanation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, than express his fervent desire that the saints might come to