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blessed be God, not one step to retrace. Does not the thought gladden your heart and cheer your drooping spirit? Some, we know, are but just buckling on the harness. Well. for you, the strength which those of us have received, that are in the midst of the journey, and bearing the burden and heat of the day, is in reserve for you ; and you that are in this latter position, cheer up, brethren, all is well. Thirty-forty, years in the wilderness ; think on the faithfulness with which he has carried us on ; plenty of trials, but an equal plenty of mercies. Think how we started ; ah, think indeed! And there are our låged readers, arrived at the extremity ; on the verge of Jordan, with Canaan in full view ; think you that he will leave you ?
* ; it: ' " What, after so much mercy past,
*** v nat, after so much mercy past.
. . Suffer you to sink at last ? " Vannonihus, tom
Oh, no, no ! There shall be provision by the way, notwithstanding all the discouragements that the present aspect of the times presents : if nothing more, there will be bread and water ; that we have the promise of our God for, and that will be amply sufficient to keep life in this poor dying frame, until He that shall come, will come, and knock down this poor, frail, tottering tabernacle! What a blessed downfal it will be; will it not ?
This brings us to a last particular, which frequently presents itself in the shape of a painful exercise or temptation-the fear of death. And the Lord knows how to deliver from this also. “All my life long, said one, “ have I been the subject of the fear of death, but now it is approaching, it is completely taken away.” “ The next time I come this road," said the same individual, “I shall be in my coffin ; butel oh! I have not the least fear of it.” Beloved, what a sweet mercy All is well, though you may have your fears about it. Your present apprehensions are overruled for good ; for thereby you are kept waita ing at the throne, and there is sweet deliverance awaiting you, even from these fears. The more fear in the prospect, the more calmness in the reality. Generally, the most timid in life are the most courageous in the darksome hour, called death. He that has been your Companion across the wilderness, will surely be present there, to escort you through the river ; yes, and with Bunyan's Pilgrim, you shall 4 feel the bottom, that is good.”
is v ir 1 puode « When through the deep waters He calls thee to go. t:'! hinnad
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow; in so bi
The EDITORA ; font i fleis investiment
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' : 'I biti 81
THE GREAT BLESSEDNESS OF AN INTEREST IN
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.—Rom. viii. 4. In resuming this great subject, it is proper to refer the reader back to November, 1841, of this Magazine, in order to take up, or, rather, attempt to take up, the thread abruptly broken. A delineation is there attempted of the law's demands, and man's inability to perform its conditions ; by reason of which the law is said to be "weak." Still, as we proceeded, we found its sweeping precept unflinchingly enforced, and, in order to the maintaining of the holiness of Jehovah's throne, it must be fulfilled. No provision being made for his inability, because the law knows no mercy, obedience is enforced, able or not able-willing or not willing ; either in person or by proxy. This made way for the rich display of everlasting love, hid behind the reeking sword of justice. One, whose strength, whose love, whose zeal, were never yet described, came forward, and rendered unto God the price demanded. He alone fought the battle against sin ; which mighty achievement made his people more than conquer by standing still—not having a hand in the matter. His own language concerning it is, “Mine own arm brought salvation."
We now come to the end contemplated, and which is sweetly introduced by the apostle-viz. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
It has been attempted to follow the believer through some of those intricate windings, the invariable coincidents of the Spirit's work on the mind, into which they only can enter who are Spirit-taught. Having gone through all those seasons of what (to use a familiar term) may be called the winter-part of his spiritual career, out of which scarcely a star let fall a ray of light on his path, and the only sounds ringing in his ears were those of vengeance ; not knowing that the righteousness of the law was fulfilled, until the Spirit turns him about, and bids him look in an opposite direction. There he beholds Christ, pierced and bleeding under the weight of what he had been expecting to fall on himself. Still, not one inch can he move onward, but as he is led onward. It requires the putting forth of the hand of Omnipotence to make the plan of salvation harmonise in his understanding of the Scriptures and the power of God. The music of eloquence may expatiate at large, and enter into all the wide ranges of the attributes of Jehovah ; but it is no music to him until an assurance is given him that Christ hangs there instead of himself.
Thus taught, and viewing him in his previous condition, makes a contrast indeed. How great the transition! He is now called out of darkness into God's marvellous light. The day of summer breaks upon
him, and the clouds disperse. “The singing of birds is heard," and his spiritual apprehension of God's word expands; and, in proportion as he trembled, he now rejoices in the assurance of God's everlasting love through Christ manifested to himself. “ The righteousness of the law” had been fulfilling, but is now fulfilled, and, as he rises from the mire and clay, bis ears are saluted with an “ Arise, shine, for tby light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." The vigour of the law, demanding full payment, contributes largely to the preparing of his mind for the reception of those brighter manifestations of God in Christ. By the laws of reason which regulate his mind, and balance, in even scales, all things which are presented to his observation, he is taught to conclude that the love of Christ must be at least equal to the justice of the law, and the legality of the sentence which it recorded against himself. Viewing it, therefore, as a covenant of works, and seeing how it interferes with the affections, which, retrospection tells him, were alienated from God, he sees clearly that God had mercy on him when he had no mercy on himself.
How these reflections magnify Christ and his perfect obedience, in his estimation! and the mind which was once absorbed in gloomy apprehensions, pondering over the harsh sentence of the law (which rather tended to harden him in his sorrow than otherwise affect him), is now employed in wonder and amazement as to the cause of this great effort on the part of Christ. He plainly sees that his own conduct towards God, not only did not merit it, but resented it ; so that, so far from its being, even in a distant sense, the moving cause of the divine conduct, as far as the puny effort of a mortal could effect the reverse, he did it. In summing up the evidence on both sides, and appealing both to God's word and his own experience, he, at length, arrives at the conclusion, that God loved him because he would love him, and that his love or hatred did nothing towards procuring or promoting it Thus, the difficult problem is solved into an act of God's absolute sovereignty. The Spirit proceeds with his teaching, and applies the blood of Christ to cleanse, and the righteousness of Christ to justify him, so that he stands before God as though he had never sinned.
Allow me to remind the reader of the cautious manner in which the inspired penman proceeded with this subject. There is, here and there, interspersed and closely knit, in a most prominent manner, the combined operations of all the sacred Persons in the Godhead ; as if it were intended to exhibit the justice of God the Father as Lawgiver. This shows up to meridian day the helplessness of man, to which may be added his unwillingness to comply with those terms held out by the law, even supposing he were able ! Next to this, and in harmonising order, comes to view our beloved Surety ; unsolicited and unheeded by man-nay, more, hated for his love, persecuted and murdered. Still, even this was insufficient to make man sensible of the benefits resulting to himself. This makes way for the blessed Spirit's application to his mind, the justice and mercy of God.
It is worthy of remark here, that herein lies the extreme difference
between superficial or natural religion, and that which is spiritual and taught by God himself. The former displays itself in some formal way or other of mere professional conformity to the mere outworks of Christianity, in order to appease, for the time being, the rankling thorn of conscience. Rules propounded and applied to with stringent zeal, and retired from with an air of felt self-importance, give rise to the almost only internal sentiment—viz. “ I have done my duty.” Added to this, there may be also a tolerably clear theoretical knowledge of Scripture truth; but the natural religionist requires nothing spiritual ; contented and at ease, he folds his arms, and, having gone through his regular routine, is upon a par with the Mussulman who has counted his beads; easy outwardly and easy inwardly. While the spiritual religionist is most discontented with himself, and, on recapitulating to himself his (more or less) grief-trodden path, and bringing to mind the scourges of the law when he was a servant, the chastening by which he was received (Heb. xii.), remembrance lays before his eyes the several order of the Spirit's work on his mind. The times are not forgotten when under the law and under the curse; and when the scene was reversed, and he beheld the handwriting cancelled, he had long known it to be contrary to him, but groaned from inability to remove it. Well, it is fulfilled now-that is to say, not only in reality, but in its application to himself by the Spirit's teaching. He remembers the “horror of great darkness” which fell upon him; the hard pillow of stone on which he rolled his head in restless disquietude ; nor, now he is received, has he forgotten the ladder he saw, and who it was that spoke to him at Bethel.
But he is, in the experience of God's rich grace, received into the 'family, and, the eyes of his understanding being enlightened, he comprehends, with all saints, the love of God in its height and breadth, depth and length. Moreover, and more wonderful still, and that which baffles finite comprehension, he knows that which passeth knowledge—that is, it is presumed he possesses an ability to compare things which seem to differ; and, having experienced that which natural men never know, and to whom it is foolishness, he binds the strong cords into one, which, in his previous apprehension of them, were all wrong, now they are all right, and he, in an ecstacy, exclaims, “ He hath led me by a right way.” He sweetly discovers that salvation is of grace from beginning to end, and his knowledge of it has been brought about through a course humiliating to himself and glorifying to God.
He walks “not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” considered in a previous paper, and which I here omit to avoid tautology. A future paper, God willing, will take into consideration the words immediately following Cossey,
FREE AMONG THE DEAD.
PSALM LXXXVIII. 5. Oh! the unspeakable privilege of hearing the voice of the Lord in this howling wilderness of woe, calling us away from the unmeaning voice of the multitude of sinful men, saying, “ Come out from among them, be ye separate from sinners ;” receiving an express invitation from the King of kings to come to his holy mount, for there God standeth in the great congregation, and every one of us in Zion appeareth before him. But how do we appear? This is the great question of individual concern. Surely with the praises of God in our mouths, with the song of thanksgiving on our lips, and his love shed abroad in our hearts, as “ free among the dead;" to give all the glory to his great and holy name, who hath called us out of nature's darkness into his own most marvellous light; who hath breathed upon the inanimate existence of empty vitality, and, from a death in the grave of sin, raised us, by new birth, unto righteousness and eternal life. My reader, the era in which we live stands prominent in the church's history for days of darkness and deception. Sad delusion is practised, to an awful extent, by the openly profane ; while declension from the truth, and departure from its simplicity, are manifested even by those who profess to know and love the Lord. Can we look upon the times with unconcern? Can we see the enemy coming in like a flood, and not pray that the Spirit of the living God may lift up a standard against him? How do we manifest our freedom from the yoke of sin, if not by standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free?
Oh! how sad, in the present day, is the cold Christianity of those who slumber, in death-like silence, on the couch of mere formal profession. True, they are termed pious persons; they stand high in the world as being devoted Christians, eminent for their zeal in the cause of religion, and have a strong pretended love for the souls of men ; but I do not see these individuals are close walkers with a covenant God; are those who live by precious faith on a precious Christ; or aspire to be conformed to his image and likeness, and whose souls' sincere desire is to depart and be with him, which is far better. They esteem it not an honour to suffer for the cause of Christ, being utter strangers to persecution ; nor is it their glory to bear the reproach of men for his sake who bore it for ours, and reviled not again. They are neither poor, afflicted, .nor despised, but among the noble, the rich, and the great men of the earth; they are lovers of self, lovers of pleasure, and not lovers of God. I do not see them mix with the meek and lowly followers of the Lamb, who follow hard after Christ, and who go all their days mourning on account of their sins ; nor are they acquainted with the Christian's internal conflicts, which keep up open war in their souls.
These are the “ dead ” in the midst of which the believer, in real,