ON THE SPECIAL GIFTS OF GOD.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMILITY IN CONTEMPLATING
THE PURPOSES OF JEHOVAH.
THE STABILITY OF THE NEW COVENANT.
How precious are the gifts of God; no human mind can estimate their worth;
their value exceeds an angel's computation. With overflowing gratitude let
us hourly bless our heavenly Father:
For the Gift of His Son- "God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have
For the Gift of His Holy Spirit- "If you, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the
Holy Spirit to those who ask him."
For the Gift of a New Heart- "A new heart will I give you; and a new spirit
will I put within you."
For the Gift of Inward Peace Through the Son of His Love- "My peace I give
unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you."
For the Gift of the Holy Scriptures- "All Scripture is given by inspiration
For the Gift of Eternal Life- "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord."
God, who is infinite in love, does not give and then take away. Of the
endlessness of his gifts we have abundant assurances in his Holy Word. Jesus
said to his disciples, "If any man loves me, he will keep my words, and my
Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with
him. I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he
may abide with you forever." God has secured, by promise, the stability of
his people- "I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not
depart from me." Peter has affirmed, "The Word of the Lord endures forever,
and this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you."
And Jesus to complete the full assurance of hope, has declared, "If any man
serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant
be. Father, I will that they whom you have given me, be with me where I am,
that they may behold my glory." On what an immoveable rock does the believer
in Jesus rest all his hopes of heaven. The eternal truth and faithfulness of
Jehovah are engaged in covenant, to secure the final happiness of his
But, does God never recall any of his gifts? He does indeed frequently
reclaim what he has only lent; such as health, riches, friends, and other
temporal comforts; and often in righteous judgment, he hides his face from
us. But his 'new covenant blessings', which he gives in, and with, and
through his beloved Son, he gives forever; for the gifts and calling of God
Hence, Paul could say to the Corinthians, "You come behind in no gift,
waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall confirm you unto
the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God
is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus
Christ our Lord." To the Philippians he gave the same blessed assurance,
"Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in
you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, even as it is fit for me
to think this of you all, inasmuch as you are partakers of my grace."
Happy, thrice happy is the man, who, like Mary, has chosen that good part,
which shall not be taken away from him. These truths may be called the
children's bread. They are the never-failing support and cordial of holy
souls, who know by sweet experience the sanctifying grace of the Spirit, the
blessedness of being rooted and grounded in love, and the consolation
arising from a firm hold of the promises made to them in Christ Jesus.
Those who know not the Truth, through the teaching of the Spirit, may abuse
these privileges of the true believer, by sporting themselves with their own
deceivings, and throwing the rein upon the neck of their lusts. But, must we
on that account withhold the heavenly manna! Must the children perish for
lack of bread, because some vitiated hearts may destroy its wholesome
quality? Shall fragrant flowers no longer scatter their perfume, because a
few of them may be converted to pernicious purposes? Would we desire the
Almighty to withhold his providential blessings, because they are often
perverted and abused? As it was in the days of the Apostle, even so it is
now; the carnal mind turns food into poison, and blessings into curses.
O that we may have grace to draw out of the precious truths of God, all the
benefit and blessedness, which they are designed to convey.
The character and state of redeemed sinners are most admirably delineated in
the Seventeenth Article of the Church of England. Their election in Christ
being declared, their spiritual state is thus described– "They are called
according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due, season; they,
through grace, obey the calling; they are justified freely; they are made
the sons of God by adoption; they are made like the image of his only
begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at
length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity." This is a
beautiful epitome of the Christian's walk to glory, which the Apostle has so
fully revealed in his various Epistles, by the unerring pen of inspiration.
Whatever poisonous consequences may be drawn by the corrupt heart, from the
sweetest truths of God's Word, of this we are certain, that all is good
which comes from God, and all is done right, which is done from a principle
of faith in Christ, and in obedience to his will. While we cultivate this
holy frame, our duties will be pleasant, our delights will be pure, and our
hopes will be sanctified.
Let us then think often on the nature, the extent, and the influence of the
love of Christ– what designs it formed- with what energy it acted- with what
perseverance it pursued its object- what obstacles it surmounted- and what
sweetness it imparted under the severest trials. And then, let us remember,
the present and eternal portion of every believer in Jesus is still the same
Almighty, efficacious love– free, sovereign, and everlasting. It is your
portion, even yours, O sinner, if you have laid hold on Jesus; if you have
fled to him as your only refuge from the storm; if you have received him
into your heart by faith.
There is nothing more clearly revealed, or more frequently insisted upon in
the Holy Scriptures, than a holy walk and conversation, as the fruit and
evidence of a justifying faith. Without this blessed work of the Spirit,
religion is but a lifeless form, unacceptable to God, and unprofitable to
When the sinner changes his state before God, through faith in the atonement
of Christ, he changes also his character before men, through the renewal of
the inner man. He becomes a new creature and walks in the newness of life.
His views, intentions, and designs are new. His affections are placed upon
new objects. His will receives a new bias; and in the language of Paul- "Old
things pass away, and all things become new."
The true believer is a decided character. He does not halt between two
opinions. His choice is deliberately and firmly made. The Divine Spirit has
convinced him of his danger, and taught him where to find pardon, peace, and
joy. He wholly relies on the power and grace of Jesus, receives strength
equal to his day, and though encompassed with infirmities, and groaning
under the burden of the flesh, he runs the race which is set before him,
and, through grace, obtains the prize.
How different from all this is the formal professor of Christianity. His
heart is cold and comfortless, while that of the true believer is lively and
joyful. The one, has the Spirit of a slave; the other, that of a child. The
one, serves God through fear; the other, from a principle of love.
Though we see as through a glass darkly, yet quite enough is revealed to us
in the Bible, to condemn us if we miss the road to heaven. What we need is,
a humble mind to receive the great truths of the Gospel as practical truths,
which were revealed, not for the purpose of making us disputants, but
disciples of Jesus Christ; not, that we may indulge our speculative
opinions, but that we may be made wise unto salvation.
However extensive may be our knowledge, or however animated our feelings, it
will avail us nothing, while we remain destitute of those scriptural marks
which designate the children of God, and which can alone prove us to be
among the chosen in Christ Jesus. This truth shines as with a sun-beam in
the page of Revelation, that the people of God are a holy people, each
possessing that inward purity which manifests itself by outward acts of
It is painful to think with what unhallowed freedom some people speak and
write about the Divine Decrees. They assert their opinions with an authority
most bold and daring; and are ready to anathemize all whose views do not
accord with their own. This state of mind is the offspring of pride.
The further advanced the real Christian is in the grace of the Gospel, the
more he possesses the spirit of a little child. He becomes more humble, more
teachable, more submissive, and more dependent upon the light and guidance
of the Holy Spirit. He knows his own nothingness, and the Divine Immensity.
This bending of the mind and will is the blessed effect of the Spirit's
teaching; for, how is it possible that a finite creature should grasp
Infinity; or, that a mind, so contracted as ours, should comprehend the
Eternal Jehovah, in all his purposes and decrees? What created being can
unfold those mysteries of grace which were treasured up in the Divine Mind,
before time began, and which can only be known, as the Spirit has been
pleased to reveal them to us by the Prophets and the Apostles.
Being commissioned to preach these wonders of redeeming love, the
indefatigable Apostle declared to the Corinthian church the source from
where they came, "the wisdom we speak of is the secret wisdom of God, which
was hidden in former times, though he made it for our benefit before the
world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they
had, they would never have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the
Scriptures mean when they say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no
mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." But we know
these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his
Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God's deep secrets. No one
can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone, and
no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. And God has actually
given us his Spirit (not the world's spirit) so we can know the wonderful
things God has freely given us. When we tell you this, we do not use words
of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the
Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths."
This important declaration of Paul, puts the seal of inspiration upon his
communications to the churches, and makes his writings to be the Word of
God. It is also a fulfilment of the Savior's promise to his disciples, "I
have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit,
when the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, he shall
glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." Thus
the Gospel dispensation is emphatically the dispensation of the Spirit. May
our hearts overflow with gratitude for this revelation of redeeming love. O
Spirit of Truth, by whose power the whole body of the church is governed and
sanctified, shine into our hearts, and give us the light of the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Open our understandings to
understand the Scriptures, and mold our souls into the holy image of our God
Man would be wise above what is written; taking reason for his pilot, he
loves to launch into a sea of theory and conjecture. Pride swells his
canvass; and while in quest of some discovery, which he fondly hopes shall
immortalize his name, his vessel, freighted with vanity, is driven by every
wind of doctrine, until at length it sinks amid the rocks of infidelity.
Knowing the danger of such unhallowed speculations, Paul, with apostolic
faithfulness, thus warns the Colossians, "Beware lest any man spoil you
through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the
rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." He also cautions Timothy,
"Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish
discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge."
Were our minds duly humbled under a conscious feeling of our ignorance, we
should seek for wisdom from above, that we may know what is good to be
known, and experience the sanctifying influence of the truth upon our
hearts. However we may wish it, we cannot reach beyond the limits which
Infinite Wisdom has prescribed. Even within that boundary line, there are
many things hard to be understood. Humility and obedience will guide us,
through the Spirit, into all truth; for, "If any man will do His will, he
shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God."
Mutability is inscribed on every earthly thing; but, "the counsel of the
Lord stands forever; the thoughts of his heart to all generations." This
divine stability and unchangeableness was the rock upon which David built
his hopes, "It is my family God has chosen! Yes, he has made an everlasting
covenant with me. His agreement is eternal, final, sealed. He will
constantly look after my safety and success." Happy saint–
"Who can sink with such a prop,
Which bears the world and all things up!"
This truth comforted the afflicted Jeremiah; "The Lord has appeared of old
unto me, saying; Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore
with loving-kindness have I drawn you." Isaiah was honored to be the bearer
of this divine consolation to the suffering Church, "The mountains shall
depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you,
neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord that has
mercy on you."
A time of trial is the time when the promises of God are peculiarly
precious. The Lord, whose grace is sufficient for us, has grace in store for
suffering seasons. "As your days so shall your strength be." This was
experienced at a period of national judgment, when the king of Babylon was
commissioned to carry away captive the idolatrous house of Judah. During
this season of distress, the prophet Jeremiah was favored with a divine
declaration of faithfulness and mercy. It would seem to the eye of sense,
that the promise, made to the house of David, was about to be cancelled by
the overwhelming desolation. But God will never disappoint the hopes of his
saints, who rest upon his Truth. They may partake of the general calamity,
but not of its penal character; for while the wicked are made to drink of
the cup of divine indignation, the righteous shall be refreshed with
abundance of peace. At such a period, the Lord, as he has graciously
promised, will be a little sanctuary to his people; a refuge from the storm,
when the blast of the terrible ones is a storm against the wall.
To these hidden ones, thus says the Lord– "If you can break my covenant with
the day and the night so that they do not come on their usual schedule, only
then will my covenant with David, my servant, be broken. Only then will he
no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my
covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. And as the stars
cannot be counted and the sand on the seashores cannot be measured, so I
will multiply the descendants of David, my servant, and the Levites who
minister before me." O! how firm is the promise of Jehovah. He might well
say, "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore, you sons of Jacob are not
But as his promise is true to his people, so are his threatenings to his
enemies. The rebellious Jews had sent to Egypt for help against the
Chaldeans, and no doubt they rejoiced in the success of their worldly
policy; for, "When the army of Pharaoh was come forth out of Egypt, and when
the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed
from Jerusalem." Inspired with hopes of deliverance, they began to think–
'Now we shall see what will become of Jeremiah's predictions; neither we or
our land shall fall a prey to Nebuchadnezzar.' Trusting to an arm of flesh,
they despised the Word of the Lord, and indulged the infidel hope, that his
threatenings would prove abortive.
The Almighty God, who searches the deep recesses of the heart, sent this
message to his unbelieving people. "Thus shall you say to the king of Judah;
Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to
Egypt, into their own land; and the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight
again this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus says the Lord;
Deceive not yourselves, saying, the Chaldeans shall depart from us; for they
shall not depart."
Now mark the impossibility of defeating the purposes of Him, who can destroy
a wicked people by the weakest instrument, "For though you had smitten the
whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but
wounded men among them, yet would they rise up every man in his tent, and
burn this city with fire." O that rebellions sinners would lay this to
heart; for neither wisdom nor strength, however matured or combined, can
defeat the purposes of Jehovah. The weaker the means which are employed, the
more is the power of God manifested thereby. The locusts, the caterpillar,
and the palmer-worm can reduce a land of plenty into barrenness, as
expeditiously as the devouring sword; sooner than the Word of God shall
fail. Jesus has assured us, that the stones would immediately cry out. Human
projects are uncertain in their results– not so the Divine counsel, "Heaven
and earth shall pass away, but my words," said the Omnipotent Savior, "shall
not pass away."
As the judgments of God overtook his enemies, so do his mercies encircle his
people. When the famine was desolating the land of Israel, the prophet
Elijah was sustained by that Almighty hand, which in all ages protects and
feeds the saints- "Hide yourself by the brook Cherith- I have commanded the
ravens to feed you there." O afflicted believer, whatever be your straits
and trials, God has means to help and deliver you, as he did his suffering
servant. When the brook was dried up, then came the word, "Arise, get you to
Zarephath, behold, I have commanded a widow woman to sustain you." It was
not a king or a noble who was to preserve the life of this holy Prophet. No-
it was to be a poor widow, who, with two sticks, was about to bake her last
cake for herself and her son that they might eat it, and die! Let these
instances of God's providential care, and miraculous preservations, shame us
out of our unbelief and mistrust of his goodness- "for the barrel of meal
wasted not, neither did the cruise of oil fail, according to the Word of the
Lord, which he spoke by Elijah."
The Bible is full of wonders. This delightful Book would arrest the
attention, and attract the admiration of mankind, were it not for its holy
character. Its light is too pure- its standard is too exalted- its
statements are too humbling, for the pride and wickedness of the natural
heart. In the Bible, truth shines with unclouded luster. Wherever it is
received in faith and love, there, darkness flies before it. At the glorious
Reformation, its Holy Light, concealed in cloistered cells, shot forth
filling those nations with unnumbered blessings which embraced its heavenly
doctrines. O may we never by our sins provoke our God to withdraw His Truth
Protesting against Papal errors and Infidel blasphemies, let us rally around
the Word of God- that standard of Eternal Truth. Clinging to the cross, and
confessing Christ, let us ever, with fearless integrity, maintain our Gospel
principles, and earnestly contend for that faith, once delivered to the
saints, which is founded upon the bible- the whole bible- and nothing but
Whatever infidelity may assert, this truth is written as with a sun-beam on
the page of Scripture, and in the Book of Providence– that all the purposes
of Jehovah, whether of mercy or of judgment, shall have their full
accomplishment. The puny arm of man can neither turn aside the burning
wrath, nor suspend the shower of blessing.
We naturally expect great effects to arise from what we conceive to be
powerful causes. So did Naaman, when he esteemed the rivers of Damascus
better than all the waters of Israel. "But, my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. My strength is made
perfect in weakness. Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for
wherein is he to be accounted of?
This truth, so humiliating to our vanity, Paul boldly declared to the
Corinthians- "Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers
foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those
who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised
by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to
nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in
the presence of God."
For this reason he was not ashamed to say- "Dear brothers and sisters, when
I first came to you I didn't use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you
God's message. For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and his
death on the cross. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my
message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive
speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this so that you
might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom."
Though honored to preach the Gospel of his grace, this humble servant of
Christ sought not glory from men. Ever desirous to exalt the Savior, he told
the Corinthians, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the
excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
Humility is inseparable from the Christian character. Pride was not made for
man; yet man is a proud sinner- a fugitive from God. His darkened
understanding, his perverted will, his corrupt affections, his polluted
memory, his seared conscience, his defiled imagination, all prove him to be
a creature fallen from original righteousness, obedient to some other power,
and pursuing an end, the very opposite to that for which he was created.
Satan being entrenched in his self-love, obtains an easy conquest over him.
The artful foe whispers to his heart the flattering tale, and he receives it
with complacency. Listening to this hellish fiend, he boldly eats of the
forbidden fruit, and braves the vengeance of Omnipotence.
Truth is too bright for his diseased intellect- too stern and faithful for
his fastidious ear. He slights the monitory warnings of his truest friend,
and fondly cleaves to Satan and his lies. O what a blessing is a humble
mind, a teachable Spirit, a dependent frame of heart. This happy state of
soul contains within itself the abundance of peace. Jesus dwells in such a
lowly bosom, and beautifies the meek with his salvation. Happy shall we be,
if our wills are made conformable to the Will of God. Then however dark may
be his dispensations towards us, at evening-time it shall be light. Then,
when heart and flesh shall fail, Jesus will be the strength of our heart and
our portion forever.
"Would that my heart were fully bent
To serve you, Lord, in faith and love;
That my desires were all intent
On heavenly joys, and things above.
Vouchsafe with energy divine
To visit me and make me thine.
Oh Savior, with your presence cheer
This heart, and chase the gloom away
Rise, Sun of Righteousness, and here
Light up an everlasting day.
Your grace dispels the shades of night;
Wherever you dwell, there is light.
I seek you in affliction's hour,
When every earthly comfort fails;
I seek you when the tempter's power,
Against my feeble heart prevails;
My burdened bosom breathes its sigh
To You, and knows that you are nigh.
Dear Lord, I shall not ask in vain,
For you have taught me how to pray;
Here I will wait till I obtain
Your grace to take my sins away
My helpless soul with pity see,
And let it now be filled with thee."
ON THE ETERNAL LOVE OF GOD, THE SOURCE OF THE BELIEVER'S HAPPINESS.
THE FINAL GLORIFICATION OF THE SAINTS.
The unchangeable nature of the promises of God in Christ, which are YES, and
AMEN, to the glory of his grace, gladdened the afflicted Apostle under all
his troubles. By the inspiration of the Spirit, he was enabled to lead his
Christi;tn corivc-rts to the one only source of all their holiness and
happiness- -the eternal purpose and love of God in Jews Christ, through whom
their souls were redeemed and sanctified.The sweet Psalmist of Israel struck
his harp to this inspiring theme- "Salvation belongs unto the Lord; your
blessing is upon your people." O may we catch the sacred fire, and feel our
every power glow ing with holy love. None but ransomed sinners can fully
estimate the blessings of redemption.Salvation springs altogether from the
grace and sovereign will of God, who has mercy on whom he will have mercy.
It is not of him that willetb, nor of him that runneih, but of God that
shows mercy; who dispenseth his blessings, whether temporal or spiritual, as
seemetb good in his sight.All blessings in time and eternity must be traced
to 32374CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 375this infinite love of
God the Father, in, and through, his beloved and co-equal Son. The heart of
Paul glowed with holy fervor whenever he dwelt upon this theme of mercy.
Angels delight to look' into this mystery of love. Devils tremble at the
amazing sight of man's redemption. None but unhumbled sinners turn from it
with disgust!1Vhen writing to the churches, the divinely-inspired Apostle
kept back nothing that was profitable; ateither did he shun to declare the
whole counsel of God. Ministers who are swayed by interested motives, easily
forsake the path of rectitude. Instead of preaching those truths which would
be profitable to others, they preach such doctrines as are profitable to
themselves., Paul was a man of another spirit. He had tasted that the Lord
is gracious; to him Christ was precious; and his heart's desire and prayer