« AnteriorContinuar »
thyself. Upon these two commandments hang the whole law and the prophets."
Master. I will now, that thou tell me further what law is that which thou speakest of; that which we call the law of nature, or some other besides?
Scholar. I remember, master, that I learned that of you long ago; that it was ingrafted by God in the nature of man while nature was yet sound and uncorrupted. But after the entrance of sin, although the wise were somewhat after a sort not utterly ignorant of that light of nature, yet was it by that time so hid from the greatest part of men that they scarce perceived any shadow thereof.
Master. What is the cause, that God willed it to be written out in tables and that it should be privately appointed to one people alone?
Scholar. I will shew you. By original sin and evil custom, the image of God in man was so at the beginning darkened, and the judgment of nature so corrupted, that man himself doth not sufficiently understand what difference is between honesty and dishonesty, right and wrong. The bountiful God, therefore, minding to renew that image in us, first wrought this by the law written in tables, that we might know ourselves, and therein, as it were in a glass, behold the filth and spots of our soul, and stubborn hardness of a corrupted heart: that by this mean, yet acknowledging our sin, and perceiving the weakness of our flesh and the wrath of God fiercely bent against us for sin, we might the more fervently long for our Saviour Christ Jesus; which, by his death and precious sprinkling of his blood, hath cleansed and washed away our sins, pacified the
wrath of the Almighty Father; by the holy breath of his Spirit createth new hearts in us; and reneweth our minds after the image and likeness of their Creator, in true righteousness and holiness. Which thing neither the justice of the law nor any sacrifices of Moses were able to perform.
And that no man is made righteous by the law, it is evident; not only thereby, that the righteous liveth by faith; but also hereby, that no mortal man is able to fulfil all that the law of both the tables commandeth. For we have hinderances that strive against the law: as the weakness of the flesh, froward appetite, and lust naturally engendered. As for sacrifices, cleansings, washings, and other ceremonies of the law, they were but shadows, likenesses, images, and figures of the true and everlasting sacrifice of Jesus Christ, done upon the cross. By the benefit whereof alone, all the sins of all believers, even from the beginning of the world, are pardoned by the only mercy of God, and by no desert. of ours.
Master. I hear not yet, why Almighty God's will was, to declare his secret pleasure to one people alone, which was the Israelites.
Scholar. Forsooth, that had I almost forgotten. I suppose it was not done for this intent, as though the law of the ten commandments did not belong generally to all men; for as much as the Lord our God is not only the God of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles. But rather this was meant thereby, that the true Messiah, which is our Christ, might be known at his coming into the world; who must needs have been born of that nation, and none other, for
true performance of the promise. For the which cause, God's pleasure was to appoint out for himself one certain people, holy, sundered from the rest, and, as it were, peculiarly his own: that by this means his divine word might be continually kept holy, pure, and uncorrupted. (To be Continued.)
"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted," Psalm 1xxxix. 15, 16.
THERE are various opinions in the world respecting the true nature of happiness, and how it is to be obtained. Some place it in one thing, and some in another, but all are wrong in their estimate until their minds are enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God. Real, solid, lasting happiness consists in the knowledge and fear of God, the enjoyment of the love of God in Christ Jesus, and the bright, anticipations of future and eternal glory-"Blessed is the people who know the joyful sound;" the sound of the Jubilee trumpet was a joyful sound to the distressed Israelite the year of Jubilee was the great year of release from bondage, and of restoration to inheritances that had been parted with from necessity. The sound of the Gospel trumpet is a joyful sound: the Gospel itself is "good news, glad tidings of great
joy;" not to one nation in particular, but to all people. The Gospel trumpet announces pardon to the guilty, liberty to the captive, health to the sick, life to the dead, yea the inheritance of heaven, forfeited by transgression, but restored to every believing soul as the rich purchase of the Redeemer's blood.
My dear friends, it is one thing to hear the sound of the Gospel, and it is another thing to know and understand its import: it is one thing to listen to the glad tidings of gospel salvation, and it is another thing to become acquainted with the power of that salvation. Blessed are they, and only they, who experimentally know and practically obey the gospel of Christ: "they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance." It is the privilege of Jehovah's people to walk in the light of Jehovah's countenance: as their reconciled Father and Friend he looks upon them with the smile of complacency and love, and is ready to bless them with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. The children of God habitually enjoy the favour of God under all the varied scenes of their earthly pilgrimage: the hour of their prosperity is gilded with a brighter radiance; and the season of their adversity relieved of a large portion of its gloom. Under trials the most accumulated and severe they can still say in the language of unshaken confidence, "The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” “In thy name shall they rejoice all the day;" by the name of God we are to understand the perfections of God which shed a glory around the eternal throne. The holiness, justice, truth, and mercy of God are a rich source of joy to his believing people. They delight in the contemplation of God's
holiness, and desire to be more and more conformed to it in heart and life: they rejoice in the justice of God, and view it as a grand security of their salvation; in the truth of God, and regard it as engaged for the fulfilment of all the precious promises of the gospel; and above all in the mercy of God, as most sweetly displayed in the pardon of all their sins through the blood of the Lamb. The joy of God's people in the name of their God is not a transient or a passing joy, but it is an abiding one." In thy name shall they rejoice all the day."
But yet again, "In thy righteousness shall they be exalted." The righteousness which the Lord Jesus wrought out by his obedience unto death is imputed to the believer for justification, according to the language of the Apostle, "By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." Those who are interested by faith in the Redeemer's righteousness, are advanced to a state of favour and acceptance with God, and from that exaltation nothing shall be able to cast them down:- "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" Arrayed in the spotless robe of Jesu's righteousness they stand " unreprovable and unrebukable" in God's sight, and shall at length be introduced to the mansions of eternal glory and happiness in the kingdom of their Father above. It is a privilege, my dear friends, to hear the gospel of life and salvation; millions of our fellow creatures do not enjoy this privilege: with privilege is always associated responsibility: the greater our privileges, the greater our responsibility: "to whom