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variableness, nor shadow of turning; they were as secure as they will be when bound together as one with GOD or his throne of glory-as secure as when the second person in the Trinity consented to become their surety the work was as secure in him, as truly accomplished, as it will be when the last redeemed sinner sets his foot on the heavenly land.
And not only so, but we obtain a sweet sense, and persuasion, a knowledge and full assurance of our interest in GoD's work, as Jehovah our Righteousness. And this is that which we conceive is meant in a very short sweet prayer in our service, which occurs among the collects-few words, which comprehend the whole of what I have just been advancing
Grant unto us pardon and peace." How comprehensive-"Grant unto us pardon and peace!" Grant unto us faith in the fulness of salvation that is in the Messiah, as the Saviour of his people; and grant us that full sense in our hearts, that will shed abroad hope, and peace, and refreshment, and strong consolation.
Now this is what every spiritual mind longs for-not only to be the Lord's, but to have an effectual wellgrounded hope; not only to be in Christ as "the Lord our Righteousness," but to know this. And when we are praying to the Lord, and asking the pardon of sin and acceptance, what are we in fact praying for? What are we praying for but the manifestation of this to our apprehension and mind and soul? What are we praying for, but to know that the persons in Jehovah met in covenant, and met for us, and that when Christ stood up, engaged to become the surety of his people, it was for us as truly, as though it was for us only. It was for us, calling us by name, that he then covenanted. What is it we pray for, but to know, that
when he became incarnate, it was for our salvation-when he bore the sins of his people, it was for our sins individually? Our sins were transferred to him, and were laid on him, and these were the sins that made him groan in the garden of Gethsemane, and say-“ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death:" our sins constrained him to pray, that the cup might if possible pass from him: and when he agonized on the cross, and when our guilt was pressing on him, and through the weight of the transgression of his people, he drank at that very time the cup of wrath put into his hand, and said,
'My God, my GOD, why hast thou forsaken me?"—it was for us: not in the general way as sons of the whole race of Adam, which they may reap the benefit of, just as they please; but that in the covenant way, they were our sins that were taken from us, and laid on him. So, when he appears again, and ascends to heaven to carry on this work, as the great work of his people, he ascended for us, with our names written in his inmost soul, and in his heart; and he is now actually interceding for us, and on our behalf. These are the precious things which we derive from the manifestation of Jehovah's rich and glorious, and abundant, and everlasting mercy to our souls, as individuals.
Now, we apprehend, this is what the Psalmist meant: Lord," says he, "lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." That is, give me to know it: he seems here to say, Give me to know this by thine own immediate and direct testimony to my heart and soul. "Lift up the light of thy countenance upon me; speak thou peace and pardon to my soul: give me to know that the everlasting covenant that made it mine, was made to me as an individual as
he, "take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh :" I will take away their naturally hard and impenitent hearts, and will give them humble, penitent, trembling, hearts. He says, that he will so instruct those that are his in covenant, that they shall feel their need of Jesus, and that they But though we apprehend he has shall be enabled thus to fly to him this view of the immediate testimony and to put their trust in him. "All of Jehovah, he had also in his mind thy children shall be taught of the the use of those appointed means Lord, and great shall be the peace of which God has instituted; as, for in- thy people." And what is the meanstance, when he prays, in his prayer ing of this? It is to express our that he might have respect to all the Lord's greatness. "Every one that bleeding sacrifices-that he might hath heard and learned of the Father have respect to the word of GOD― cometh unto me;" they must trust that he might have respect to that in me. And what does he say again? work of GoD in his own heart, of He will give them the spirit of grace which he had had experience-and and supplication-one of the sweetest when he was thus praying, Lord, tokens of covenant love and mercy lift thou up the light of thy counte- that he could bestow; the spirit of nance upon me," that I may see in grace and supplication. His words these types, this bleeding sacrifice, a are these: "I will pour on the house type of Messiah, and realize his day, of David and upon the inhabitants of as my father Abraham did of old. Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and Or he might say, "Lift thou up the of supplication." Now this is what is light of thy countenance upon me- spoken of in the New Testament, you open thou mine eyes that I may be- recollect, with respect to Saul of Tarhold wondrous things out of thy law." sus, as a convincing proof of his real Open my eyes, that I may see what conversion, and that he was a vessel thou hast condescended to reveal of mercy, appointed not to wrath to the children of men, respecting (though he had appointed himself to thy covenant promise of salvation. be such, but his Father contradicted And then he may have respect to it), but that he would obtain salvation God's work in him; and he might through Christ Jesus. You recollect pray, "Lord, lift thou up the light of there was a direction given in a vision thy countenance upon us," that I may to a certain man named Ananias, to go see what thou hast wrought in me, to him; for, said the Lord, "Behold what thou hast engaged to work in he prayeth." But Ananias, knowing those who are the subjects of thy his character as a persecutor, and everlasting mercy. Because, has not injurious to the church, answered the GOD engaged to do something for Lord, "Lord, I have heard by many this purpose? Has he not promised of this man, how much evil he hath several things concerning them? For done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and instance, has he not promised to take here he hath authority from the chief away the heart of stone, and to give priests to bind all that call on thy them an heart of flesh? How expresBut the Lord said unto him, sive are the words: "I will," says Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel
well as Abraham. This shall put joy and gladness into my heart; this shall enable me to lay down, and sleep in peace, surrounded by outward danger and distress." As though he should say, as he has said in another place, "Say unto my soul" speak to my heart-"Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation."
unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel." He had offered many long prayers as a Pharisee, but he never prayed yet. "Behold he prayeth;" he has the promised spirit of prayer; he has the new covenant spirit of prayer, and thus he is immediately a vessel of mercy, and “Behold he prayeth."
Now the psalmist may be uttering this prayer-"Lift up the light of thy countenance upon me," not only in the points already mentioned, but also in respect to that before us. “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me," that I may see thy work thus to be accomplished; that what I have experienced I may be enabled to discover to be the work of thy hand. And he thus furnishes instruction for others. So if your hearts are brought under a sense of sin, if you have a new heart, a broken and contrite heart, it is a manifest token of covenant love and mercy; because it is promised to none but those with whom the Eternal Jehovah covenanted before the foundation of the world. And so, if you fly to him as your only refuge, and put your whole trust in him, and rest the whole salvation of your souls upon him, you have a manifest token of his love to you. He has said, " All that the Father hath given to him," in covenant, "shall come to him." Are we not addressing some few persons who feel themselves under a blessed constraint to come to the Lord-not merely as a matter of duty (it is the duty of all to pray), but a matter in which you cannot do without. You must go to GoD in secret; and, in this way, there is a manifest token given you of mercy and salvation. Yet it is true that all these things may be in you and abound, and yet you may not be able to see these things clearly; you may be questioning them in your hearts; questioning
your knowledge of Jesus, and questioning whether you know anything at all of the real spirit of prayer. It is prayer, firm and persevering prayer, prayer in the same spirit with Jacob, who was the father of prayer; it is this very spirit-" Oh give me to know that thou hast loved me; give me to know that I am thine; lift up the light of thy countenance upon me, and put joy and gladness into my heart."
But we have said that the psalmist seems to have respect to the direct testimony of Jehovah to the heart. You recollect that the Holy Ghost was promised as a comforter to the church; and we have this remarkable passage in the Epistle to the Romans: "Ye have not," says the Apostle in the eighth chapter, "received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father;" pointing out, we apprehend, that this has been the tendency of the gospel dispensation; and then he immediately adds, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of GOD: and if children," he goes on, 'then heirs, heirs of GOD, and jointheirs with Christ:" the Spirit himself, by his own immediate and direct testimony to the heart. And who will dare to deny, that he cannot, without the use of means, convey to the souls of his people, if he sees good, a full persuasion of their covenant interest in Christ? though we apprehend he most generally acts through the instrumentality of his own blessed and holy word, which is his own direct and immediate voice. The Lord may bring to the recollection some sweet portion of Holy Scripture, and apply that scripture to their hearts by his own means, and so speak by that scripture, that it shall be, as it were, the immediate and direct testimony to himself. It is to open his eyes; because "All scripture is given by
inspiration of GOD:" "Holy men of GOD spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." It is his own word that he applies by his own immediate power and influence to the soul. The psalmist says, "Oh lift up the light of thy countenance upon me," and that shall " put joy and gladness into my heart:" speak thou peace to my soul, that I may be satisfied: bring to my recollection some portion of thy word, and seal it on my heart, and seal it by thine own power, and make it a blessing, and then I will exult in thee and thy salvation.
Oh what can exhibit such a manifestation of Jehovah's especial covenant and everlasting loving-kindness and mercy to a poor, lost, ruined, and hell-deserving sinner? David found it so; you recollect that he could exult in the Lord in the midst of his enemies: he could lay himself down and sleep in peace though they were seeking his destruction; because the Lord made him to dwell in safety. My soul will dwell in safety whatever becomes of my body; and no power of hell or earth can ever cast me out of that covenant, or separate between me and the covenant. "He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure." Oh well might David say this; he knew he might say it; but it would have been impossible had Satan power to darken his soul. How can a man lay down in peace and sleep, when he is so far from having any reason to conclude that the Lord will lift up the light of his countenance upon him? that he his laying down to sleep under the weight of his wrath? "He that believeth not, the wrath of GOD abideth on him:" he is making his sin grow thicker and thicker; and when he closes his eyes to sleep, he knows not but that it may be before morning, sink his soul into the bottomless pit. How can such a man
as this sleep in peace? But, on the other hand, what cause has not he to close his eyes in peace to whose heart the Lord hath testified, to whom there is even now no condemnation, to whom no condemnation shall ever happen, they who shall never come into condemnation? What abundant cause there is for them to lay down and sleep in peace to whom the Lord has said, "Fear not, I am thy GOD; be not dismayed, thy sins are forgiven thee. I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." I have set thee up, and will never forsake thee. Oh they shall never, never-he says to the church under the Old Testament-they shall never be forsaken of me. You see this exhibited in many remarkable instances, to which we may refer; and if you look to the Psalm of Asaph, he says,-" Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth, that I desire beside thee." Others will say, “Who will shew us any earthly good?" but he says—“ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee:" and then he immediately adds,
My flesh and my heart faileth: but GOD is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Here is a man in the enjoyment of his life, and he is laying down his head in peace, to sleep the sleep of death, and he says, "My flesh and my heart faileth" but, says he, "God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Then if you look at the Prophet Habbakuk; he says, "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the GOD of my salvation:" he is the God of my salvation; he has lifted up the light of his countenance upon me; he has given me peace; therefore I will continually rejoice in him as the GoD of my salvation.
(To be continued.)
salem." It is evidently implied, that such are liable to be cast down need
unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not."
It is not the will of the Lord that we should be thus; for we have encouragement upon encouragement given us in Scripture. But Satan ever raises in our minds the suspicion, what hast thou to do with this, when there is so much evil in thee, and how canst thou expect any thing of this kind? Whenever any suspicion of this nature arises in your heart, reject it. Know that the Lord is a merciful God. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord
It is certain, as we have already hinted, that those who have the least cause to doubt suspect, are often over-lessly and without any cause. taken by a continual disposition to fear and apprehension. But you see how the Psalmist did: pour out your heart unto God; trust in him at all times, and pour out your heart before him. In the Prophet Isaiah's description of such a character, he says, "Who among you feareth the Lord, and heareth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light," that is, comparatively. And what shall he do?" Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his GOD." Implying, that he is staying on the word of God, and pouring out his soul before him, and making known his sorrows to him, and casting his every care upon him. So that we may observe, in the next place, that there is nothing unbecoming in the Christian character, for persons to ask for precious mani-pitieth them that fear him. For he festations of Jehovah's loving kind-knoweth our frame; he remembereth ness; not only to seek to be the Lord's, but to know that we are the Lord's. There is no need that God's people should pass away to his kingdom hanging down their heads; to go towards the crown he has prepared for them, as felons to the place of execution; quite the contrary. Therefore he has given so many instructions to his ministers. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your GOD. Speak ye comfortably to Jeru
that we are dust." And even where we are sensible that we have robbed ourselves, and pass by our own incorrectness and misconduct, where we have wrought a veil, as it were, between us and Jehovah, if we have the light of his countenance on us still, we are encouraged to cry to him, and seek the return of his presence and his blessing. And you have a remarkable instance of this recorded for your encouragement, respecting the