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pray to him with the heart. It is a great and marvellous work he has to do in us, but not too great for him whose name is Wonderful, and who, with the same power that he cured all manner of diseases, spoke the boisterous waves into a calm, and raised the dead, can make every one of us say, with joy and wonder, “ one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” Look for it at his hands. Let not your unbelief stand in the way of his mighty work Lord Jesus, work the wonders of thy
3. Let us renounce our own wisdom as perfect folly, and if we would be well taught, and safely directed in the way of salvation, take Christ for our Counsellor. Why does he come to thee, O man! with this name, but because thy happiness is dear to him, and because he only knows what will bring thee to it? Thy own reason is very shortsighted, and, for the most part, at the command of thy perverse will; and, when left to thyself, thou art sure to
i mistake thy road, and go on blindfold in the way of destruction. Thy Saviour knows this. He knows thy own thoughts and thy own choice would ruin thee, and, therefore, kindly offers to take thee, a weak, ill-judging creature, by the hand, to guide thy soul into all truth, to change the vicious bent of thy affections, and fix thy will in subjection to his unerring commands.
O Jesus! we are by nature" wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," and, at the same time, so deluded by the pride of our evil hearts, as to say, “ we are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." Do thou convince us of it, that we, knowing ourselves in some measure as thou knowest us, may gladly take thy counsel,“ to buy of thee gold tried in the fire, that we may be rich; and white raiment that we may be clothed, and that the shame of our nakedness do not
appear; and to anoint our eyes with eye-salve, that we may see:” see good and evil, life and death, and have but one prayer for ourselves, that thou wouldst be to us,
4. “ The Mighty God.” The God of our help, the God of our hearts, through whom all our mercies are conveyed to us. If this is his name, nature, and essence, let us join with all the angels of God in worshipping him; trust in him, and fly to him as our sanctuary. “Who is this,” says Isaiah, when he saw him in the vision or prophecy, “ that comes travelling in the greatness of his strength ?” The Lord answers him, “ I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” He was perfect in righteousness as man, for man; and is “ God mighty to save.” This it is which gives such a dignity and value to all his acts and sufferings, and is a sure foundation for our hope and confidence in him. Fear not, thou poor worm, trembling sinner, when thy transgressions rise up against thee, and stand as a mountain betwixt thee and thy God; thy faith may remove it.“ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Though thy sins are more in number than the hairs of thy head, yet thy Redeemer is mighty. His promise stands engaged for thy deliverance; he wants no power to effect it; the blood that was shed for thee is the blood of God. O Jesus ! Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, make that blood the sovereign antidote against all the distresses of our consciences ; let thy bowels be moved for us; take us into thyself; for thou art also
“ The Everlasting Father.”. We, who by nature, and as descended from Adam, are heirs of sin and death, through grace become members of a new family, of which Christ is the Head and Father, and conveys what he is, righteousness and life, to all his children. Certainly this is a noble privilege, and a most blessed change in our condition ; not less than for a beggar to be taken from the dunghill, and set on a throne, Ps. cxiii. 7, 8. It should be our care to preserve this honourable and happy relation, and endeavour to act up to it; knowing to whom our choicest affections are due, studying to be the true children of Christ in obedience, as well as by adoption and grace, and remembering always that holiness becometh his house for ever. Even so, Lord Jesus, grant we may resolve to be thine, and may be heirs of thy glory.
Thus you see, my brethren, how Christ is made unto us what he is called, and is, “ Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Each of these titles holds forth blessing, happiness, and comfort to us; let us look well to our interest in them. All Christ's names are promises, and signify what he has to do in us; but if we do not put ourselves into his hands for that purpose, we hear them in vain. What remains is, that you take the words of the text for your guide,“ to examine yourselves whether you be in the faith?” Make the inquiry,
Make the inquiry, as persons that would not be deceived for the world, with respect to your salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. Put your hearts to answer the great interesting question, whether you know him in any measure, in his grace, power, and peace, according to the
, virtue of these names. And may he, who has all power given unto him in heaven and earth, assist and bless you in it. To him, with God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost, the blessed Trinity in Unity, be glory and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew, v. 10. The righteousness of the Gospel, considered as inherent in ourselves, is very different from what passes for such in common esteem. It is real inward holiness; the newal of our souls in the image of God; the knowledge and love of God by his own Spirit. It is the full and free surrender of ourselves, our whole state and being, to God in simplicity and sincerity, that he may choose for us, and live in us, and be all in all to us. It is an upright will and an obedient conscience; the sacrifice of the heart, and the mind that was in Christ. It is turning to God from the evil that is in the world, and in our natures, with the whole strength of our will and desires ; walking continually in his presence, and giving up ourselves without reserve to his operations. It begins in humility, is rooted in faith, nourished by prayer, perfected by love, and ends in acquaintance and communion with God here, and the everlasting enjoyment of him hereafter. And it is the highest wisdom in man, and the sole end of his creation, thus to "seek after God, if haply he might feel after him and find him ;" to turn to him in faith and longing earnest desire; to resign our will to him, and place our affections upon him, that he may flow in upon us with ,
his goodness, and communicate his own happiness to us.
It is the design of this discourse to illustrate the nature of Gospel-righteousness, or true holiness; to contrast it with that which commonly passes for such in the world; to show why the first is persecuted and the last applauded; and then to conclude with a few inferences.
The Bible was written to show us the absolute indispensable necessity of being renewed in the deep ground of our hearts; to teach us the one sole method of being restored to the original dignity and perfection of our natures ; to quicken our desires and endeavours after it; to furnish us with all proper helps for it; and especially to caution us against trusting to any expedients or inventions of our own in this great affair, in opposition to the counsel and will of God for our salvation and recovery, so fully declared to us, and so plainly set before us. It acquaints us that the whole state and condition of man, when he first came out of the hands of his Maker, was very
different from what it is now: that he stood before God as an angel in paradise, holy and happy, with a capacity of receiving continually new degrees of life and blessing from him : that by withdrawing his heart from him, and foolish imagination of being more perfect and happy independently of him, he fell, as God had told him he would, and as every creature necessarily must do that turns its will and desires from God, into a state of misery, corruption, and death : that, in this sad condition of darkness and alienation from the life of God, he begat children in his own likeness, who are, therefore, the heirs of his sin and weakness ; born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards; wearying themselves in a vain pursuit after happiness ; and sure never to see the hour when they are at rest, and can say they have what they wish for, because they have that fatal taint in their blood, that aversion to God, and love to the creature, which is the death of their souls, and the essence of misery. That, notwithstanding the dreadful fall of man into this unnatural helpless state of sin and condemnation, the God and Father of mercies did not forsake him, or leave him to perish in it, but took occasion from hence to display the