Page images

he offers is himself ; the blood is his own blood. He is everything to himself that he requireth in this office, and exceedingly precious he is as such to the sensibly guilty. Wonderful sacrifice, to atone for such ponderous loads of sin ! Wonderful blood, to cleanse from such an innumerable multitude of crimson and scarletcoloured crimes, and to make the washed ones white as snow, and spotless before Jehovah's holy throne. As a Prophet, he is a wonderful Prophet ; none teacheth like him ; never man spake like this man. Every one of his loved and redeemed ones shall receive of his words and sit at his feet. Is he a King ? What a most wonderful King-King of kings—his throne is the highest and brightest, and will stand when all other thrones are no more ; his subjects are the most and the greatest ;“ his kingdom ruleth over all ;” very precious he is to faith in his kingly character. Over all, God blessed for ever. Redeemer-precious name! Ah! he is a wonderful Redeemer-he came to redeem; he has redeemed, and not a few; but he has redeemed to God by his blood, out of every kindred nation, people and tongue, a number that no man can number; he has not made them redeemable; but he has actually redeemed them, given himself a ransom for them ; purchased the church with his own blood ; he has obtained eternal redemption for them. They are, therefore, bought with a price, even his own blood, as of a lamb, without blemish or spot. Oh, how precious is this sweet name to the redeemed soul ! Truly, he is a wonderful Redeemer. As a Shield, how precious is Christ to cover and defend the helpless and exposed against the shafts of hell and power of sin. He only is a sufficient covering from deserved wrath, from constant dangers, and from hosts of devils. Oh he is a most invincible and wonderful Shield ! His name as a Husband -how precious is this name to the spouse of Christ, whose privilege it is to know him in this precious conjugal relation, to be interested in all the love of his heart, and to be favoured to lean on his almighty arm ! He had betrothed her to himself in eternity, in loving-kindness, in righteousness, in judgment, and in mercies. What a Bridegroom, therefore, is Christ.

“Jesus, this heavenly Bridegroom, gave

His life his fallen church to save. His love was unaltered and unabated in the least degree when he saw her sunk in deep disgrace. This was to be the wonderful channel in which his vast and matchless love was to break out and flow forth.

" Love like Jesus' none can measure,

Or its full dimensions know;
'Tis a deep and boundless river,

And its waters freely flow.” Precious Husband he is to love his bride as much in sin, and under the curse, as when he first received her at his Father's hand. It was this wonderful love of Christ that brought him to the spot where his church lay in ruins. “He loved the church and gave himself for it." For this purpose he opened the wondrous fountain, a fountain springing from the veins of Incarnate God. The church's beloved Husband is none less than her Maker the Lord of hosts is his name, and all his majesty and worth are in his merit and blood. Wonderful is his love, as to its unchanging character towards his wayward, wandering spouse. Prone to wander, is her experience, prone to go after other lovers, to forget her best beloved, to treat him with great indifference ; yet, notwithstanding all, he loves her still, and loves her always alike. All the floods of divine wrath could not for one moment damp that vehement fame; he would lose all beside his honour and his church. He gave himself--his own great self-his holy soul ; he poured it out to death—his bodyevery part of his pure and spotless body he gave to be broken; his back to the smiters, his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, his temples to the orns, he hid not his face from shame and spitting, his hands and feet he gave to the nails, and his side to the bloody spear. Oh, how precious is he to faith as exhibited in his matchless work, in his meritorious agonies and death! Precious is his glorious righteousness, his work of obedience; that best and glorious robe that covers com

pletely the naked sinner, and makes him not only free from blame, but exalts him above angels, and makes him to shine with refulgence and glory, as the sun in the kingdom of glory. Oh, how precious is Christ in his substitutionary character to the sensible sinner, to the awakened and deeply convinced soul who has been brought to the place of stopping of months-brought in guilty before God's righteous bar, to lay his hand upon his mouth, and his mouth in the dust, from a felt sense of deserved and apprehended wrath, when brought to look for hell, and solemnly to feel and confess, if banished there, God would be holy, righteous and just; to have a door opened here, from this low point, and to be led to look while prostrate in the dust, by faith, to the bleeding sacrifice, and to have a hope kindled in the breast by the look-to see in his precious blood my hell quenched, my sins washed away, and my character established and maile perfect and complete by his doing and dying. Words cannot then express the preciousness of Jesus to such a soul in such a case. Depend upon it, it is still a fact,

" Sinners can say

And none but they

How precious is the Saviour." O how precious the healing balm to the wounded conscience, the melodious sounds of pardon, full and free, proclaimed to the captive, imprisoned, and condemned criminal. His precious merits revealed to faith by the Holy Ghost at once sets open the prison-door, knock off the fetters and liberate the soul; then does “the laine man leap as an hart;" then does the tongue of the dumb sing, when these precious waters in this wilderness and desert place break out.

Perhaps the reader can look back upon this blessed part of his experience, and many are looking forward and longing for it; and every one who has ever known what pardoning love sealed home to the heart is, with dear Newton, can sing –

“ Sweet was the time when first I felt

The Saviour's pardoning blood
Applied, to cleanse my soul from guilt,

And bring me near to God.” Exceedingly precious Christ is, when first apprehended and appropriated by the believer ; precious in all his after manifestations ; precious when sucking as a babe at Zion's breasts; precious when we come into the wilderness, and we lose our joys and comforts and happy feelings. Christ is the same, and while he teaches us all is wilderness and desert out of him and apart from him, bless his name, he has never been a wilderness to Israel. 'Tis here his preciousness is realized in all his sweet names, offices, and titles. We have this precious smitten rock, but where ? In the wilderness—how welcome, how refreshing are his streams! We have him as the bread of heaven—but where ? In the wilderness ; this heavenly manna falls where we are, even in the desert ; and without these constant miraculous supplies, we must necessarily droop, and fail, and die. Adversity of soul, and adversity of circumstances are the place to realize something of his preciousness as a brother born for adversity; when friends degenerate to foes, and enemies war around, then is the time to realize the preciousness of this. Friend that loveth at all times, and that sticketh closer than a brother. Precious he is in the battle field, in the daily conflict with the world, flesh and devil. Precious, indeed, are his sympathies with his tempted ones here, and precious in his timely aid, when the enemy comes in like a flood. Ah, then he is the standard God the Spirit lifts up to prevent our being carried away. His precious blood quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one ; precious as our harbour in every storm ; precious as our skilful Refiner in every fire ; precious as our Pilot to steer us in safety across the troubled waters of time; precious as a refuge in distress ; as a covert from the tempest; as a hiding-place from the wind; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, as rivers of water in a dry place ; precious in his unremitting care of his people, his eye is ever on them for good, from their birth-cry to their dying groan; precious in the constancy of his love, in the bowels of his compassion, in the power of his arm, in the faithfulness of his heart, in the efficacy of his blood, in his constant intercession, in his government of all worlds and special management of all their minute affairs ; precious when every comfort departs ; precious in all his sweet promises for Christ is in every one, and every promise is in him; precious when strength fails ; precious when old age and infirmities creep on the believer, and precious on a dying bed, when everything and every one else besides that might be precious must leave us. Truly precious is Christ in this tremendously solemn moment, when the world recedes from view, friends say farewell, the eye drops down upon time, and eternity appears. What, then, were not Christ at hand ? but ah, he is there ! Himself is waiting to receive the departing soul. Yes, bless his dear and precious name, he is there to wipe away the last tear, to dispel the last fear, and to cleanse away the last stain of sin, and to carry safely home on the other side the blood-washed spirit, and to introduce his redeemed one to mingle its neverending hallelujahs with the host of perfected ones before the throne. And then oh how precious will he be to the ravished gaze of his ransomed ones for ever. Yes, for ever from himself will emanate the glory and unspeakable bliss, which will be heaven indeed. Oh what beams of heavenly grace will transport the happy throng as in his presence they live, and beneath his face-to-face smiles they bask, no more to go out, no more to sin, or be capable of ning, but to be like him and with him, to see him as mine, to claim him as mine, and to love him with all the power of a glorified and expanded mind. How precious will be his looks, his glorious displays of affection to his ransomed ones ; to be led by him to living fountains of waters, and to feed for ever by himself from his own infinite resources, never to desire another object. There and then will his preciousness be ever unfolding, not to faith, but to open vision.

“Then shall we o'er his beauties rove,

And pay our Saviour love for love." Islington.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]


A FEW WORDS TO THIRSTERS. In the interesting account of our Saviour and the Samaritan woman at the well, we have the figure of water very beautifully used to represent or set forth the grace of God.

“Give me to drink," said the Lord to the woman who had come out to draw water from Jacob's well, in the city of Sychar.”. Then said the woman of Samaria unto him : “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me which am a woman of Samaria ? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” What a great mercy and blessing it is that Jesus Christ the Lord of life and glory, did not scorn, but deigned to have dealings with a Samaritan woman! In answer to this question of the woman, our Lord directly leads her mind from the natural element to the spiritual gift, saying unto her, “ If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him and he would have given thee living water.” (John xiv. 7-10). This beautiful and significant answer of our Saviour leads us at once to enquire what is here intended by living water. I think we may safely infer that his grace, which is through living faith, is here meant, for in the 14th verse we read that '“ Whosoever drinketh of this water shall never thirst, but that it shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” Yes, the soul that has once been blessed to taste the love and grace of God, and has been brought to hope and trust in his mercy by faith in Christ Jesus; that soul shall never thirst. Never thirst ? (perhaps some may ask). How is it then that the Christian is continually thirsting ? Well, the love of God once fixed on a soul can never be disturbed.

" Whom once he loves he never leaves,

But loves them to the end."

His love once implanted in the soul can never be eradicated. The spark once kindled can never be quenched; but still, though such be the case, the enjoyment of a full realization of an interest in the Redeemer's love and work of atonement may, for a time, be lost ; then the soul has to cry to God saying, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation !" And thus, when the Christian traveller is tired with his journey, and thirsty for a fresh token of God's love, he knows where the living waters, are and wishes to get at them : for such this promise is left on record, that “with joy shall ye draw water from the wells of salvation.” And further, it says “that whosoever drinks of this water, it shall be in him a well of water," &c., and so it is. The love of God manifested to the soul begets in that soul a love reflective. God, as it were, prepares a place in the sinner's heart to hold Jesus Christ, to contain his love, and this shall be in the soul a well of water; an earnest of everlasting life ; a principle which shall not be fully satisfied till everlasting life is the issue. Though “ many waters” try to quench the spark of love ; instead of being quenched it will kindle and kindle until it bursts into a flame never to flicker or grow dim, and the bud will be fully blown, never to fade away in everlasting life—an everlasting life of blessed nearness to him who is the Fountain of all goodness, where we shall sing his praises in loftier strains, love him more fully and there

" From the rivers of his grace,

Drink endless pleasures in.” There are frequent allusions in Scripture to water, thus we read of " water of life,” “the waters,” “the fountain of living waters,” and “ wells of water,” &c., and we can only understand the beauty of the figure when we consider the scarcity of that article in the East. It is one of the greatest of blessings. How welcome to the parched traveller, and how cleansing and refreshing ! Thirst is the only true preparative for it. In Isaiah we have that blessed invitation, “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy wine and milk, without money and without price.". Then it is not everyone indiscriminately, whether thirsty or not, but every thirsty soul ; such are freely invited to drink of the freest waters that ever flowed. They flow freely and abundantly from God through Christ Jesus to sinners, whatever be their condition or state, if they come as the characters described in the words of God ; if poor and needy, with a soul fainting within them, they seek the Lord, the fountain of living water. He will give them to drink of that water, and they, as they travel along in their pilgrimage below, will from time to time, as the Holy Spirit shall enable them, "draw with joy water from the wells of salvation.” What are these wells of salvation? I should say they contain living water. We consider them to be the promises and consolations of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is the essential property of the water they contain. If we say they contain the love of God, Jesus Christ is the channel through which that blessed water flows to man. It flows from the throne of God, through the mediatorial work of the dear Redeemer, and its streams flowing in the hearts of God's people, by the agency of the blessed Spirit-make glad the city of God.

1.-We consider the characters to which this promise belongs. The truster and humble dependent on the Lord, and those whose salvation God has become, these are they who are included in the little word “ye." It takes in the whole family of God, from the babe to the full grown man in grace. What are these people? They are called in the Bible, as indeed they are,“ pilgrims and sojourners.” Pilgrims in a land where no water is (naturally). No, the thirst of the soul can no longer be assuaged by anything short of Jesus Christ, the living fountain of water. All other waters are bitter to the taste, and are poison to the soul ; but when the soul is privileged to sip and taste the love of Jesus Christ and find how good it is, it wishes others to come to these wells of salvation, saying, "O taste and see that the Lord is good—good beyond all my expectation-good over and beyond all my badness. But lest some thirster for the water from these wells of salvation should doubt his welcome to them and interest in them, fearing they are not included in the fraternal word " ye,” I would remind them of David when he said, “As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Now, WHOSOEVER thirsteth, panteth or crieth; in short, whosoever wants Christ is included. If thy desire is toward God, the living God, then this promise sweetly belongs to thee. When the poor and the needy seek water, and there is noné, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them ; I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys ; I will make the wilderness a pool of waters, and the dry land springs of waters.” (Isa. xl. 17, 18.)

The hart is a beautiful and happy figure of the thirster after God. Hunted by enemies, the thirst of the hart becomes intense, so that it brayeth or crieth after the waterbrooks from whence it has been driven. So the soul hunted from every haunt, from trusting in self and creature performances ; no promise does it seem to be able to draw comfort from ; then it pants for God to become its salvation, and when by faith the Christian can rest and rely on God alone for strength, and say, He has become my salvation, then with joy does that soul draw water from the wells of salvation.

Ask the oldest pilgrim, the most tried saint, if these wells of salvation, these promises of God, so bountifully strewed throughout the Bible, have not often given him refreshment. Sometimes, ready to faint, fearing he shall never reach the regions of rest and immortal bliss, the traveller has been favoured to find one of these wells, and having tasted, by faith, a little of Jesus Christ in it, he has gone on in the strength of it more hopeful in the Lord ; and thus the Christian, the child of God, continually goes from strength to strength, from well to well, from promise to promise, until he finishes his journey and reaches the fountain-head of all bliss and happiness in heaven, his resting place. Here all the travellers will, at last, rest. The weakest saint shall reach it, though death and hell oppose ; for through the support of God they shall come off at last more than conquerors, and when only the cold river of death shall intervene, then the Saviour hiniself will come and take us unto himself. (To be continued.)



“God is faithful, by whom yê were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our

Lord.”—1 Cor. i. 9.

THERE are three things to be noted in this verse : I. The faithfulness of God; II. The calling; and III. The fellowship.

I.The faithfulness of God is illustrated by the performance of his promise to Abraham, recorded in Gen. xii. 2. Four hundred and thirty years went by; the Israelites, the descendants of Abraham, had increased in multitude ; but they had been kept in Egypt in hard bondage, where they had almost forgotten their God. And lo! a man comes to them with a message from the great I AM,- he comes with a call from God to his chosen people,--and he comes endowed with power. Here is a call, but there is also the leading of the Israelites out of their bondage.

The history of these people affords many remarkable instances of this great attribute of Jehovah, and consequently, we find the holy men of old testifying their faith therein. David, in Psa. cxxxii

. 11, says : “ The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it." Solomon, in his famous dedication prayer, 1 Kings viii. 20, refers to the promise of God to his father, and says, “I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised;" and further on, he reiterates the idea, and reminds God of having fulfilled his promise. Micah, some generations later, takes up the same cheering and solid Theme, and says, (vii

. 20) “ Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Paul, the great apostle, in writing to the Hebrew converts, exhorts them (x. 23): “Let

« PreviousContinue »