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T'he everlasting Gospel. Rev. xiv. 6, The gospel is properly called “ Glad Tidings,” for these reasons : We
are polluted with the filth of sin; in it is opened a fountain for sin and uncleanness. The way to Heaven is blocked up by our sins; it reveals os
a new and living way, through the flesh of Christ." imprisoned debitors by multiplied transgressions ; it shows that a price, the most inestimable, has been paid to discharge us! We have by nature hard, strong, and impenitent hearts; in it is promised an heart of flesh. We can of ourselves do nothing; it shows that through Christ we can do all things! We feel that we are liable to err and backslide ; it declares, that God will scourge us till we return to him, but not take his loving kindness from us. We know that we are liable to many caa lamities; it teaches us, that we shall all work together for our good. We see that we are dying creatures; by it we are assured that we have a Forerunner in Heaven, and an eternal habitation with God in glory! Lord, send abroad and bless this gospel!
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him. Tit. i. 16. THERE is a profession of a special kind, which in its own nature is ex
posed to reproach in the world: “they that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” There is a being in Christ, and not living godly; for there are branches in the vine by profession, that bring forth no fruit; men that have not in them the mind that was in Christ Jesus, which torments the men of the earth: but they that will live godly; that is, engage in a profession that shall, on all occasions, and in all instances, manifest the power of it, they shall suffer persecution. We see many every day keep up a profession ; but such a profession as will not provoke the world. Now this is to be ashamed of the gospel, to be ashamed of the power and glory of it, to be ashamed of the Author of it. No man can put Jesus Christ to greater shame than by professing the gospel without shewing the power of it. Phil. iii. 18. Rev. xi. 10. There can be no more vile and sordid hypocrisy, than for any to pretend unto inward habitual sanctification, while their lives are barren in the fruits of righteousness and obedience. Reader, Of all dangers in professions, beware of a customary, traditional, or doctrinal owning of gospel-truths, without an experimental acquaintance with the reality and efficacy of them; for all such will have their portion where is “ wailing and gnashing of teeth!"
O fairest pearl of price,
Thy riches let me see, And freely sacrifice
The world's esteem for Thee!
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and
her seril; it shall bruise thy head, und thou shalt bruise his heel.
Gen. iii, 15. By “ the seed of the woman” is to be understood Christ the Saviour;
not excluding his friends and followers in every age of the world. This prediction of a Saviour, signifies to our first parents these four things: 1. That the promised Saviour was not to be the man's, but the woman's seed, or born of a virgin: 2. That he was to be a man by that expression, ". Thou shalt bruise his heel:" 3 That he should break the head of the serpent or destroy his power and dominion over mankind, and punish hin, and all his votaries with an utter clestruction; and, 4. That in order to our Savivur's doing so, he must have his own heel, or human nature, that lowest part of his mediatory person, bruised by the serpent, or persecuted and put to death by the devil and his emissaries. This was the first intimation of a Saviour that was made to the world: it was made to the serpent, for his immediate confusion; made in the presence of our first parents, and before their sentence was pronounced, to inspire them with the hopes of pardon and life, and with a sense of the distinguishing mercy of God, who, before he denounced so much as any temporal punishment, animated them with the hopes of eternal redemption. Arise, arise, thou woman's seed, And bruise the serpent in my heart;
Employ thy vengeance on his head, 1 And deadly strokes each day impart.
The Lord do that which seemeth him good. 2 Sam. X. 12.
A CHRISTIAN still feels the motion of self-will, and consequently of sin in
his heart. And if it be asked, How can Christ and sin dwell together in one heart? The answer is, As a king and rebels in one kingdom or town; he does not agree or correspond with them, but subdues them, and maintains peace. But where self-will bas the dominion, there is nothing but trouble and confusion; for unsanctified passions, and a bad conscience, not only are inward torments, but often occasion perplexity and damage in our worldly affairs; whereas, in the blood of Christ we have a good couscience, abundance of peace, and can be content and happy in the most indifferent outward circumstances.
Take great heed, therefore, O my dear Christian, never to be led by thy own spirit, were it even in such things as seem to bring glory to God, if it is not of his own appointment. Our hearts sometimes are very deceitfully desirous of what pleases ourselves, while we pretend to seek God's glory; and were we not crossed in these our designs, they would prove a great burden to our life. Blessed is he who not only prays with his lips, but is heartily willing also that nothing but the will of the Lord should be done in every thing. It is God alone that understands what may be good or dangerous to our spiritual or temporal circumstances. We being often blinded, or drawn by our lusts,' are too much inclined to choose at random what would be perhaps most detrimental.
The Lord will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their
prayer. Ps. cii. 17. They looked unto him and were lightened; und their frices were not ashamed. Ps. xxxiv. 5. See also the instance of the Woman of Canaan. Matt. xv. 21, 28. And what Christ says, Luke xi. 5—13; and chap. xviii. 1-3. Likewise of a tossed vessel. Mat. viii. 24-27.
Tue load of outward and inward affliction is not always prayed away
with a few words, or in a few days. Sometimes it is necessary even to wrestle with God, and be very instant too; how else could faith and patience be exercised? If therefore the trials be sharp and lasting, it is not to weaken our faith, but to stir us up to be more in"stantly zealous in prayer, and the right use of the word of God; and by this means to be so much more gloriously delivered and strengthened in faith ; for whatever God sends upon us, it is not for the lessening, but for the increase of our faith.
God is the refuge of his saints,
When storms of sharp distress invade;
Behold him present with his aid.
Down to the deep, and bury'd there;
Convulsions shake the solid world,
Our faith should never yield to fear. Tho' loud the troubled ocean roar,
Our souls may yet in peace abide, While ev'ry nation, ev'ry shore,
Trembles, and dreads the swelling tide.