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they were. Such only show the fulfilling of the Scripture, “We will not that this man (this God-man) should reign over us.” When the arm of the Lord is lifted up in behalf of the convinced sinner, Satan skulks off. We do not read any more of him on this occasion, after this manifestation of Jehovah's power.
“Now Joshua was clothed in filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” All this while the poor sinner is in his filthy state. This is a very trying season too (though, doubtless, heartily glad of the discomfiture of his resisting enemy, but still he is in his filthy state), as all those know who have experienced the same; but they can also remember, it was but of short duration. The Eternal Three do not their work as we are apt to do, tire, and then do a little more ; oh no! blessed works of this kind are soon performed, for this plain reason, it is the alone work of an Almighty Power.
“ And he answered and spake to them that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him.” This seems to have been the employ of the angels, who are elsewhere styled the messengers of God; his ministers, that do his will. “And unto him (Joshua) he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee.” Mark this well, “ Unto him he said " (does not this look very much like personal election, think you ?), “ Behold” (take particular notice, wonder, and admire), “I” (not the angels now; oh no! this is beyond angels' skill, none but the Lord himself is entitled to the glory-of the sinner's salvation from first to last) “ have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” In his purpose in his dear Son, he had thus caused it ; our blessed Saviour bore the sins of every elect sinner in his own body on the cross. And what were they to have in exchange-were they to be left naked ? Oh no! Oh love unparalleled ! but that they might be clothed with his righteousness (by imputation) instead, to justify them in the sight of a sin-hating and holy God. You see this too is God's act—"I will clothe thee with change of raiment." But we should do well first to notice that, before this new clothing is put on, all the old filthy garments are said to be "taken away ;” and for a very good reason, they would not suit together
-no Christ and Co. If we saw a beggar (the comparison is not too mean) in a filthy state, and our compassion should be called forth upon him, by giving him new clothes, should we not act wisely to remove his filthy ones first ? Just so in grace. Yet there are many professors who would claim such judgment for themselves, and yet deny it to Infinite Wisdom in this matter. Thus the sinner is justified in the sight of God by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ; and sanctified by the Holy Spirit's testifying that he is accepted in the Beloved. “ Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin ; whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins ” (Isa. xliii. 25). The convinced sinner who may peruse these lines, will do well to refer to the whole chapter ; it is full of such precious promises to all of God's people when brought to trust on him alone for succour, and for them alone. Paul tells us how this is to be apprehended by the believer-viz. by faith ; " Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Gal. iii. 24). Read the whole chapter. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth,” &c. (Rom. viii.). “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” They are now renewed in the spirit of their mind, and with the spirit of adoption, whereby they are enabled to cry, Abba, Father. When Paul uses the word now in the above verse, it must evidently be his meaning, “ to the convinced sinner's own mind ;' for he was justified in the sight of God from all eternity (see Rom. viii. 30, for his own explanation). We do well to compare Scripture with Scripture in seeking after truth. Any other justification which may be pleaded ever so plausibly by man, in opposition to, or even by way of supplement for, acceptance at the bar of God, will be rejected ; and the fate of those who attempt it is pronounced by our Lord himself (Matt. xxv. 41, and following verses). It will then be known in the face of the assembled world, that the “imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ " is something more than “ imputed nonsense” (I tremble while I record such blasphemy), as the late Mr. John Wesley used to term it, and as do many of his deluded followers to this day. May He, in whose hands are the hearts of all men (as far as is consistent with his divine will), turn their hearts from such an awful error; and “ pluck them as brands from the fire," that they may live to show forth the praises of sovereign grace and redeeming love. Hasten thy work, O Lord, and “shortly accomplish the number of thine elect ;” and, blessed Spirit, brighten our evidences, that we may be enabled to see more clearly that we are justifed freely. Amen.
RICHARD EBDON. Bridport, April 4th, 1841.
What a kind and gracious God is ours, that he should be pleased to make use of such every-day figures in order to set forth his love to his church and family! How evident is it that he foresaw all our unbelief and numberless doubts, fears, and misgivings, from the fact of his having chosen metaphors which should appeal to our inmost feelings, and with which we are constantly more or less familiar.
Our nature is so opposed to all that is good, and we are so prone to wander from Him whom we desire to love ; such a multitude of unholy, rebellious thoughts and inclinations so continually rise against his blessed Majesty, that we are frequently compelled to exclaim, “Can ever God dwell here? Is it possible that there can be ‘hope in Israel' concerning me, who seem to become daily more and more loathsome and
vile ?” The word of God sweetly answers, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth those that fear him.”
Is my reader a parent? Does his child at times display so much selfwill, that he is compelled, in the acquittal of his conscience, to carry out the divine precept, “Chasten thy son while there is hope ?” He has seen the misbehaviour of his child-marked his unwillingness to obey his commands-observed the halting step, the frowning countenance, the muttering lips ; reproof has been unavailing-admonitions have had no influence : and at length, as a last resource, he takes from the mantelpiece the rod, and inflicts the dreaded stroke. Under the smarting irritation, the child turns to the angry parent, and while with uplifted hand he seeks to ward off a second blow, his streaming eyes, his supplicating countenance, and broken sobs, make an appeal which only a parent can understand. But the child exhibits signs probably of a reckless disposition ; reproofs being soon forgotten, need early repetition ; and it is deemed necessary that reconciliation should not be too soon effected. The child is driven from the room, and passes, it may be, several hours in seclusion. With earnest solicitude, and yet with timidity and fear, he listens for his father's approach ; but anxious for reconciliation though he be, his anxiety is far inferior to that of his parent. He has left him with apparent indifference—has answered his supplications with a frown ; and addressed him in tones of anger. But his heart—his bowels yearn over his offending child ; and, while he appears tranquil and pleasant with his more dutiful offspring, his whole attention and concern are secretly occupied with his absent one, for whom he appears to have ten-fold more love in exercise. He paces to and fro his parlour, or seeks for satisfaction in the exercise of his accustomed duties ; but that satisfaction is sought in vain, while as yet a coolness subsists between him and his offending boy. He at length invites him (apparently by an unemployed messenger) to solicit his forgiveness ; or purposely comes in contact with his child, to furnish him with an opportunity of so doing; and then, upon the first indication of sorrow, after showing him the impropriety of his conduct, he presses him to his bosom, and loves him with untold affection. The child, in return, walks more tenderly, cautiously, and affectionately.
This, dear reader, is an imperfect emblem of the love, the sympathy, and compassion of our God. We, his poor unwary children, ofttimes, by our sin and folly, offend his blessed Majesty, and, as it were, compel him to veil his lovely countenance. While this is the case, we are strangers to happiness ; a deathliness is experienced in every engagement; we find no peace, freedom, nor enjoyment in our accustomed duties; and enter upon every undertaking with timidity and apprehension. We feel at first, perhaps, self-pity, self-will, and rebellion at work; a multitude of hard thoughts arise against the majesty of God, while we feel disposed to charge home the sin and opposition of our nature for which he is chastening us, upon himself; and a thought rises in our minds that we will follow the bent of our inclinations, be the consequences what they may. But from this his unseen hand graciously guards us, by either restraining the force of the temptation which at other times presents itself with greater power when more grace is in exercise ; or by arousing in our minds such an apprehension of the results of so presumptuous a course, as shall "prevent our steps." Dangers present themselves, and the soul, amazed and affrighted, flees to his God, acknowledges his guilt and demerit ; is enabled to take shelter in the compassionate heart of a dear Redeemer ; and finds, to his delight and joy, a gracious God coming forth as a “father pitying his children.”
(Continued from page 216.) Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain ; so the Lord shall
make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in his field.—Zech. x. 1.
Second.-We have now to consider the gracious condescension of the blessed God, in that he should take such notice of poor sinners like you and I, and concern himself about us, when we have no care nor love for him. But the time of drought which has come over thee, has been the result of his all-wise management, for he is one of “the two witnesses” that stand in the church militant, and he has power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of his prophecy; and he has now, in his love and wisdom, shut thy heavens, and made them like brass : but nevertheless thy God seeth thee, and when thy water of consolation is entirely spent in thy vessel, he will speak, and call to thee as out of heaven-yea, he will call thee by name, as he did Abraham. on the mount, Hagar in the wilderness, and Mary at the sepulchre, and thy heart shall reply, “Rabboni, speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” And what will he say? Why, “ Ask of me rain in the time of the latter rain ; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers, and to every one grass in his field.” Now how condescending is this ! for though the Lord doth not show us a well of water, yet he tells us how to touch a spring, which shall cover our heavens with those bottles which shall pour out their precious contents on our parched ground and thirsty land, so that the one shall be turned into a pool, and the other into springs of water; and the very “ habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes, as tokens of plentiful moisture." And do you ask what is that spring which, by being touched, shall produce such wonders ? It is faith touched by the finger of true prayer! Faith createth the worlds, removes mountains, and roots up sycamore trees; and to faith all things are possible. Faith brought water out of the rock, and hath wrought very many wonders. And now the poor soul feels that she wants her brazen heavens turned into bright clouds, and the earth into fruitful softness : but how is it to be done ? " Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain ? or can the heavens give showers ? Art thou he, O Lord our God ? therefore we will wait upon thee, for thou hast made all these
things." Here faith inquires, how rain may be obtained, and then, on