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world. He that hath destroyed spiritual death, will also for me unsting natural death, and spoil the grave of its victory.
Again, how can it be possible that God should give his Son, himself, his all, and yet deny me any thing? Will not he that is to crown me with glory above, strengthen me with grace below? Will he not bless me with peace of mind, who is to be my peace for ever? Triumph, O my faith! all things are Christ's, and Christ is God's; and God, Christ, and all things, are thine. Time is his, and in it I have my numbered years; the air is his, and in it I breathe; the world, and on it I dwell; its fulness, and I am fed; grace is his, and in it I stand; faith, and by it I overcome the world; tribulations are from him, and in them I glory; perfection is his, and towards it I press; death is his, and by it I arrive at home; heaven is his, and there is my mansion; eternity is his, and there is my treasure and glory.
WILL any, or will I, pretend to teach the Most
High, knowledge, seeing he is excellent in working, and perfect in his ways? Then, since I cannot direct him, why am not I submissive to his disposal? Can I predict events, or foresee futurities? No: how then should I promise myself serenity from a cloudless sky? or fear storms from an obscured heaven? when, as to the first, the gathering meteors may suspend an unexpected umbra before the sun, and draw
a liquid curtain round the sky; or, as to the second, the gathered clouds may scatter, and let the welcome beams refresh the weary world. So, Lord, as from present appearances future contingencies cannot be discerned, it is my duty, and shall be my study, to be WHOLLY, FULLY, and FOR EVER, at thy disposal, to whom all thy works, all my purposes, and all my wanderings, are known from the beginning.
O! how the child of God should glory in his choosing out for him the lot of his inheritance, and be content with that condition which Heaven accounts best for him, though not the grandest or greatest, not the richest or happiest; yea, not that state the most desired. I am not mine own, for I am bought with a price, and dearly paid for too (so to speak.) Would it not seem too daring in me to instruct God how to garnish the heavens, how to set the sun, station the moon, place the poles, plant the fixed stars, and guide the wandering planets? Now, I am as much his by right (yea, in the ties of love, more) and as much at his disposal, as any of these his other creatures; and if I cannot complain of his conduct with these, why quarrel at his providences toward me? But another thing which ought to encourage to submission, is, that God's way is not only equitable in itself, but profitable for his people, for the latter end of the righteous is peace; and the end of the Lord is always gracious to his afflicted ones, who chooses in the furnace of afliction, brings light out of darkness, order out of confusion, real good out of seeming evil; and, finally, brings through fire and water to a wealthy place.
DEAR Saviour, in thy sufferings I not only see the
infiniteness of sin, but also the infiniteness of thy love; so that, though I have cause with myself to be angry on account of sin, I need not despair. If the desert of my folly be death, the merit of thy sufferings is life. If my sins mount up to heaven, thy mercy is above the heavens. Though they reach to the very throne to accuse me, there is ONE upon the throne that will not condemn me. They, in their seven-fold abominations, can rise no higher than the throne, but the rainbow of redeeming love and grace is both about and above the throne, and that in its seven-fold beauties, power, wisdom, justice, goodness, holiness, mercy, and truth. And as all the different rays meet in one glorious beam of light, so all the attributes, all the perfections of God, are summed up in LOVE, who is graciously pleased to be called by it as his favourite name, "God is love!" By the mingling rays of this beauteous bow, all my blackness is removed, and I am clothed with beauty.
When I look to myself, and see my vileness and wants, I am confounded with shame; but when I look to thee, and see thy fulness and all-sufficiency, I am confounded with wonder-Am I weak? He is my strength.-Am I foolish? He is made of God wisdom to me.Am I wicked? He is made my righteousness.-Am I impure? He is made my sanctification.-Am I in bondage? He is made my complete redemption.-Am I in misery? From him tender mercy flows.-Do I falsify? Yet his promise
is the very truth.-In a word, am I enmity itself? Then he is love itself that passes understanding. Mine is but the enmity of a creature, but his love is the love of God.
Sin may raise the tempest of wrath, but can do no more; but Christ not only calms the raging tempest, but gives peace of conscience, flowing from intimations of peace with God, and makes me heir of all things; so where sin hath abounded, grace much more abounds; where misery hath surrounded me, mercy hath crowned me. Sin is too strong for me, but thy grace is too strong for sin. Why, then, so vexed with fears, doubts, and unbelief? Because I am sinful? On that very account, Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin, that I, who knew no righteousness, might be made the righteousness of God in him. But I am a great sinner. Then, he is a Saviour, and a great One. Where is boasting now, soul? See, that it is great mercy in God, great merit in Christ, that saves a great sinner. Since rich and free grace builds the temple of salvation, let it bear all the glory. But I fall often into the same sin. That is my failing, over which I ought to mourn, and by which I should be driven out of all conceit with mine own holiness, high attainments, and religious duties, and cry, with tears of holy joy, Grace, grace to him that has laid the foundation, carries on the fabric of redemption, and will, with shouting, bring forth the copestone.-Now, law, what hast thou to do with me? Turn thee over to my Surety, Jesus. O curse! thou hast lighted on his head, that the blessing might rest on mine! The brandished sword of justice is beat into the pruning-hook of the promise, that I may even plead justice for the blessing, as well as the performance of the promise.
Though once I durst not lift mine eyes heavenward, for fear of divine wrath, yet now I may come boldly to the throne of grace, and claim the blessings of his purchase.
In fine, it is the interest of the Son of God that I be saved. Though he had no concern for my immortal soul, yet he is jealous over his own glory, and will not cast his honour away, the honour of his equity, the honour of his love, the honour of his merits, and the honour of his word of promise, all which are concerned in my salvation. Nothing could hinder him to love me; what then shall make him hate me, seeing his love is stronger than death? He loved me when I was in a state of enmity; and now, when I am reconciled, will he be angry with me, now when I love him who first loved me? His love found me when I was wandering from him; and will he abandon me now when I am looking after him that seeth me? When I was altogether sin, he had mercy on me; and will he now take vengeance upon me, when I am mourning over sin, and grieved that I offend him? I had no claim, no qualification, that could cause his love to descend on me, and abide with me; but love, in sovereignty, visited me, and in sovereignty will dwell with me for ever; and though I sin his presence away, I shall never sin away his love, nor his presence altogether; for he shall appear the second time without sin imputed, and deliver me from sin inherent. Then, sin may be my burden, but shall not be my bane. Yet shall I never willingly let the traitor rest in my breast, that would persuade all my soul into rebellion against my dearest Lord, and best friend. I may have continual war with the invader, but shall obtain the victory at last; meanwhile, I will grieve more for offending him whose name is LOVE,