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or any other men could have done, there wants another interpreter. The Holy Spirit must inscribe them upon our hearts, and explain them to our hearts, or we never shall have the relish of their divine power abiding with our understandings.
What wonderful words are these : “I am the way,”-then there is none other, but what terminates in error. “ I am the truth,”—then all out of Christ is falsehood. “ I am the life,» -.then any life elsewhere derived ends in death.
In glory, our inherent selfishness will be done away, totally absorbed in the sovereignty of God. Your left arm is as dear to you as your right, neither could you, if asked in which to prefer pain, give any choice, the value of both, and the sensations of both being quite equal. So it is as to the church. “Ye are all one body, (says the Holy Ghost by Paul,) and members in particular.” Wherefore in glory a member of the church will be as dear to me as myself; which is not the case now, in our highest sympathies with each other.
None can prize divine manifestations, drawn from the word of God, either in private or social ordinances more than I do; but evidences of salvation, however to be enjoyed, are not essential. We are not lost because we do not see clearly. The desire of the renewed heart after Christ, is as much a divine gift as the testimony of an apostle to the truth. There are two experiences which no natural man was ever yet the subject of; and yet these two hinges of the Christian life are conjoined in the soul of every one of the Lord's people. Awful and increasing views of the dreadful nature of sin, of its existence, and its baleful influence; this is the first experience, and the other is a spiritual sight of Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour. “ Oh Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help.”—Hosea xiii. 9.
Ezekiel's vision (chap. xlvii.) of the rising waters, is a lively illustration of the tide of divine grace, which flows and increases into a believer's soul. First the river wetted the prophet's ancles; thus a new convert, on his earliest hour of awakening, cries mostly for pardon of past transgressions; but as he advances, the water ascends to his knees. So we, having assurance of pardon, desire a righteousness in which to appear before God. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Being brought into clear views of Jesus Christ, as the Lord our righteousness, the waters progressively rise to our loins; we next perceive that Christ is our sanctification, the source of all holy influence, perpetually giving out of his fulness and grace for grace. Ezekiel at length could swim in the increasing stream ; " it became a river which could not be passed over.” So, a child of God, when made a participator of these blessings, finds yet an influx of deeper mysteries, revealed in deeper mercies. He can now discern his union with Christ; that in the person of Emmanuel he is made a partaker of the divine nature, whereby the territories of two eternities are pledged by Jehovah for his security. He looks back to the interminable horizon, and sees himself chosen before all worlds ;he looks forward, and perceives an ocean of grace, which stretches its line beyond time, into the boundless depths of glory.
When the Israelites were bitten by the fiery serpents of the country, and intreated Moses to intercede for their removal, their prayer is not answered as to its purport; yet the Lord supplied these sufferers with a remedy. The serpents continued to sting, but a cure for the
wound was provided in simply looking towards the brazen representation of the serpent which the Lord caused to be erected. Here we have a lively figure of the sin of nature, which is permitted to annoy us in the body, and the very anguish of its wound leads believers to that alleviation the Lord has proclaimed. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” The experimental usage of this balm of grace is the result ordained by the Lord in all our temptations, and in every dispensation of sorrow. It was the result of St. Paul's exercise, and the blessing poured upon his prayer. To feel the sufficiency of grace superior to the inefficiency of nature, was mercy beyond what he had solicited. “Let me glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
“ Go tell my brethren,” says Christ to Mary Magdalen, when he favoured that honoured woman with the first view of her risen Saviour. Surely it is right to relate to each other the Lord's goodness to us, for these recitals warm every heart which sympathizes in the love of Jesus to his brethren ; while the Holy Spirit ignites the glow of enjoyment by his presence, so that the blessing kindles into a lively flame.
Diversity of gifts in the ministry—Christian
fellowship— Influence of the Gospel on the taste and feelings—The unobtrusive character of female example-Apollos improved by the converse of Aquila and Priscilla-A lesson to believers in their private intercourse.
The foregoing selections have been enlarged somewhat beyond my original design, but for this I offer no apology; because in the introduction of pastoral fragments I have had my readers' best interests so much at heart, that I can commit these gleanings of a gospel ministry to the Lord, and in every instance where they may be perused with pleasure, I simply behold his renewed blessing on the truths they witness; if received with coldness, and laid aside with indifference, I know that the absence of that blessing, is the hindrance to their efficacy. Be