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grace," as some would tell thee? Does the garment in which thou didst once enwrap thyself with pleasing satisfaction, now appear tattered and torn ; and dost thou discover that no good deeds, no precision of conduct, can save thee ? Art thou more sensible of thine own helplessness, poverty, and sin ; and hast thou less objection to be saved in the way of God's appointment ? Ah! poor sinner, the Master is come, and calleth for thee! He it is, by his own blessed Spirit, has been at work with thee. He is now arraigning thee in the court of conscience, that thou shouldst not be condemned with the world. Though thy present exercises may be painful, yet happy is thy condition. He that has begun the good work within you, will carry it on, and complete it until the day of the Lord Jesus. Divine justice, we admit, may now seem to be against thee ; God, in his righteous and holy law, may appear in terrible majesty, and the demand,“ Pay me that thou owest !” may echo, in a voice like thunder, through every crevice of thy soul ; Satan, thine accuser, may laugh at thy calamity, and mock thy importunities with his infernal grin ; thy past life may afford thee nought else but painful reflection ; and a weight of guilt may press down thy spirit even to the grave : yet, blessed be God, the Master draweth nigh! yea,
“ Jesus lives, and intercedes
Before his Father's face;
Nor doubt the Saviour's grace.”
There is no hope, it is true, in thyself, nor by thyself ; but in Jesus is thine help. He is the one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ; the God and man in one divine incomprehensible person. He is the Surety, the Daysman ; he it is that stands between and shakes hands with offended Deity and offending man. The Lord help thee-yea, enable thee by his own Almighty power (for thou hast no help in thyself) to wrestle and plead with him. Hast thou no words ? Art thou ashamed to lift up thy blushing countenance ? Dost thou feel that thou hast been so great a sinner? And art thou ready to conclude that there can be no mercy for thee? Ah! poor soul, be not discouraged; he knows all about thee. He is the omniscient Jehovah Jesus, and his eyes penetrate to the inmost recesses of thy soul ; there is not one secret there ; everything is naked and open to him. Oh, if thou canst not adopt a form of words, if thy tongue is parched, and if thou canst but sigh and cry before him, still sigh and still cry ; they shall enter into the ears of the Lord God of Sabaoth. Blessed be bis dear name, we feel the power of it while we write. We know that he is a God gracious and merciful, full of compassion, abundant in lovingkindness and in truth. We speak at a point, for we have found him to be so ; we could tell thee how he met with us many years ago, and how he has led us on and kept us to the present moment ; yes, and though we have shown our weakness and folly in ten thousand instances, and though every moment of our lives we display our ingratitude, our unprofitableness, and our utter unworthiness of the least of
all his mercies ; yet he, our own covenant God and Father in Christ Jesus, abideth faithful ; he changeth not, therefore we, the sons of Jacob, are not consumed. We are still hoping in him, looking to him, and have nothing else in the prospect of life or death, time or eternity, but the blood and righteousness of a dear Redeemer to look to and depend upon ; and here, and here alone, is hope and dependence for thee, poor soul, whoever thou art. Thou wilt never attain to solid peace and satisfaction but here ; thou wilt never know the blessedness of pardoned sin, and a good hope through grace, until thou hast betaken thyself to Christ, and he is formed in thy heart the hope of eternal glory. Oh that it may please his blessed Majesty so to call thee, and make his glorious voice to be heard in thy soul, that thou mayst reply, “Turn me, O Lord, and I shall be turned. Other lords have had dominion over me, henceforth by thy name, O Lord, will I be called.”
But art thou, reader, a step farther ? Hast thou known, or fancied thou hast known, somewhat of Jesus and his great salvation ? Hast thou, in seasons that are past, been brought to renounce thy righteousness as nothing but filthy rags, and come to the throne, and laid hold on the horns of the altar, making mention of Jesus' righteousness, even of his only; and does thy conscience now accuse thee of having again turned unto the law as a covenant of works? Does the apostle's admonition, when writing to the Galatians, seem to describe thy condition ? As the fruit and effect of thy legal strivings, dost thou find thyself in a barren, lifeless state-neither at home in the church, or in the world ; neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm ; little desire to attend the word, and yet afraid to absent thyself from the sanctuary altogether ; prayer a task ; the closet lonely ; Christian intercourse insipid? And when thou dost attend the House of God, does not the setting forth of the law as a rule of life, and the recommendation of a round of duties, furnish thee with the hay, straw, and stubble, with which thou dost hasten home to work ? and yet, though thou dost labour and toil never so hard, no satisfaction is afforded ; there is a something wrong ; the Babel building thou hast been rearing affords thee no comfort; there is no drawing nigh to God as a covenant God and Father ; no sweet going out of heart and affection after him-no blessed rejoicing in a finished salvation. And why, poor soul ? Why? Because there is a returning to Sinai again ; there has been a departure from the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus. And now the Master comes, and calls for thee. He has sent leanness into thy soul, poverty into thy spirit, disquietude into thy conscience ; nor wilt thou ever know what enjoyment, satisfaction, and Gospel freedom is, until He, by his blessed Spirit, brings thee back again, to lay hold of him and his righteousness, as thou didst at first. What we said to the brother before thee, we say to thee. In Jesus alone is thine help. The Lord enable thee and us (for we wish ever to speak to ourselves as well as unto thee) to look simply unto him; just like the serpent-bitten Israelites did to the brazen serpent in the wilderness, to look and live. Not to come, as Satan and our own proud hearts would have us come, as if we had attained to a something; they would feign have us approach with a something in our hands in this respect, which
is as bad, or nearly so, as coming half-emptied, partially diseased, at our first approach. No; it must be our desire to come now as poor, as helpless, and as needy, as ever ; as though we knew nothing, had attained to nothing; for, in fact, what have we attained unto—what have we learnt ? Are we any better? Not one whit, but worse ; have only betrayed the rebellion of our hearts, the stubbornness of our wills, and the corruption of our natures, in a thousand fresh instances ? Are we any stronger, and more able to run in the way of his commandments ? Not in the least. We are as weak, nay, in feeling a great deal weaker, than ever; and we seem to require a greater exercise of Almighty power than ever. As to knowledge, what we have attained to in this, is a greater acquaintance with the subtility of our own hearts, a deeper conviction of our own helpless condition, and a fuller sense of the necessity of Christ Jesus being the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end of our salvation. We cannot assist in the work in the least iota or degree. It must be Jesus, Jesus, and his great salvation, from first to last. It must be the Father's eternal love-the Son's suretyship engagements and complete redemption—and the blessed Spirit's divine operations, from beginning to end, or nothing else will do. We never expect to get home to glory upon any other than this blessed salvation scheme ; and were we called to resign our breath this hour, our dying eyes should be directed to Jesus.—We desire, dear Lord, to renounce every other dependence but upon thee and thy great salvation. We know that nothing else will avail us, that nothing will stand the fire of temptation, the hour of soul desertion, and the solemnity of death, but this ; here, and here alone, would we fix our stay.
The Master is come, and calleth for thee. What, reader, hast thou again in measure returned unto the beggarly elements of the world ? It may be that the Lord has cut very close lately; he has come in and snapped asunder the ties of human affection ; he has taken away the desire of thine eyes with a stroke ; he has snatched thy children from thy bosom, and housed them in his own ; and in thy folly thou hast turned to a fawning world. Its sympathies attracted thee, and in thy simplicity thou wast ready to entertain a better opinion of it. But thy Master kindly saw the snare, and yet the notes of sympathy had scarce died away, the tongue of reproach pours forth its venom. It is a mercy for thee ; thou mightest have been ensnared; thou art in an enemy's country ; thou art passing through it on pilgrimage. Expect not better fare than thy Master had. What said they of him ? And “shall the servant be greater than his lord ?” Was he reproached, reviled, accused falsely ; and shalt thou suffer no blame ? Recollect the ever-memorable words of the dying thief (Luke, xxiii. 41), “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds.”
Now, though the world may accuse thee falsely ; though it may belie thee, and speak of thee all manner of evil, yet remember thy Lord could far exceed them in accusation. Though thy conduct may have been such, under the good hand of God, as to put it out of the power of man justly to upbraid thee, yet thine heart sins, thy secret sins, thine inward provocation ; oh, if the Lord were to disclose these hidden evils, what then would be thy feelings ? Let the thought bumble thee, let it cheer thee ; think what a long-suffering God thou hast to do with ; contemplate his forbearance. Go, confess to him thy treachery ; acknowledge before him thy ten thousand aggravations, and plead again and again the efficacy of that most precious blood which cleanseth us from all sin. Oh, that precious, precious fountain !
“ The dying thief rejoiced to see,
That fountain in his day;
Wash all our sins away."
Then there is the Master's call from looking to the law as a covenant of works, or a ground of acceptance with God. For a poor sinner thus to look at the holy and righteous law of God, there is everything to alarm and frighten him. Well may the thunders of Sinai still peel in his ears, and Moses appear in terrible majesty against him ; but in Christ, when led by the eye of faith to view him, we behold our blessed Law-fulfiller, our divine Surety, and covenant Head and Representative. Unto Him, poor law-distressed, conscience-smitten sinner, thou that hast been toiling at the law for years, and got no farther yet ; unto Him, the Lord the Eternal Spirit enable thee to look. It is look and live. Thou hast nothing to do; thou hast no strength, no power, and by nature no will or inclination. If therefore thou now hast a desire, take it as a good omen—the Lord has been calling thee; thou, too, hast heard his voice, and when he speaks again, Samuel like, say, “Speak, Lord, for thy.servant heareth.” Oh that he may bring thee forth to the light, and cause thee to behold his righteousness; not thine own, for that is most filthy and repulsive. It is “none but Jesus can do helpless sinners good ;” it is in him and from him that thou hast strength to rise above and fight against thy corruptions ; it is because thou art poring over thy misery and sin ; it is because thou art constantly looking within, hoping to discover some improvement, that thou art again and again overtaken and ensnared by sin. When the Lord speaks effectually, with divine irresistible power, to thine heart, then thou wilt be compelled to look unto him instead of into thyself...
Doubtless some of our readers know the blessedness of a simple LOOKING UNTO JESUS; such know what it is literally, as well as spiritually, to look unto him. Instead of a drooping countenance, they feel a sensible drawing upwards ; and as they are led “to look unto the hills whence cometh their help,” they discover that there is a casting aside, a laying down the various cares, anxieties, and sorrows, which for the most part so press down and burden them. Oh, it is sweet work thus to be enabled to look unto our dear Lord and Master ! may his blessed Majesty grant, if it be his will, that many of our dear readers may enter into the precious participation of it. We would not for worlds deceive them, and cry,“ Peace, peace, when there is no peace ;”. we wish, therefore, the Master to have all to do with it. He knows to whom to speak, how to speak, and when to speak; and if it should
please him to speak through such a puny voice as ours, his own name shall have the praise ; and when we get home to glory, both readers and writer shall rejoice-eternally rejoice together. This leads us to another particular, when it shall be said of us, and to us, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. We are laid, it may be, upon the bed of affliction ; remedy after remedy has been prescribed, but still all are unavailing, the patient does not improve, disease still progresses :
“ Languor and disease invade,
His trembling house of clay." The patient groans, the bystanders weep, the doctor looks serious. What is it all? Why, it is the Master coming to call one of his children home. He has nearly done with him here ; his work is all but completed ; and the chariot wheels are already on the way to carry him to his Father's house above. Oh, blessed, blessed, soul-transporting hour! What ! the Master calling-coming to take his poor, weather-beaten, faint and weary traveller home ; home-to be with him, to enjoy him, to rest in his dear bosom for ever! What! to come no more out for ever! to encounter no more temptation, sin, and sorrow; no more sighing, groaning, crying ; no more distress, nor pain, nor disquietude: and there to see him as he is, to be like him, to dwell with him, and “ see his face, and sing and love." No more to be separated; no dark veil to come again between us ; no more gloomy doubts ; no more apprehensions of having love to him ; but an eternal fulness of glory and of joy in his immediate presence.
“Oh, glorious hour! oh, blest abode !
The sacred pleasures of the soul.” Dost thou not long for it, dear reader? The poor writer does, far more than he can tell thee. He longs to hear his dear Master's voice, saying, “ Come, come up hither.”
But art thou saying, “Ah! but how shall I meet him ? I am so timid, so fearful, so apprehensive whether my feeble faith shall hold out in the trying hour when soul and body separate ? ” Ah! beloved, be it thy concern to leave all these matters in the hands of thy gracious Lord. What! the Lord of life and glory—the great, the eternal Jehovah Jesus —the everlasting I AM, love with a love which had no beginning-redeem with blood beyond all price-and through a series of years work within, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure; shall such a God, infinite in might, majesty, and dominion, suffer that soul to fail ? Shall he bring him within one step of glory, and then leave him to step into hell ? What! shall He who hath the keys both of death and hell without whose permission not one, high or low, rich or poor, can pass into the unseen world—shall He suffer a stronger than he to snatch the key of death from off his girdle, and suffer one of his little ones to pass through into perdition ? Oh, no, no! We have not such a Keeper, such a Surety as this to do with. No! beloved, we are graven upon the