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All that mankind have ever seen of God was to pardon it; righteous in executing his law, yet unfolded to them through the mediation of the gracious in passing by the transgression of the Son; for “no man knoweth the Father, but the remnant of his people, because he delighteth in Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal mercy. him. He is in the bosom of the Father,' a * Blessed are our eyes for they see.' partner in his counsels, perfectly conversant with God made clearly manifest not only to our underall the movements of the divine mind; and he standings, but even to our bodily senses. The Lord came forth from the Father to declare that which said to Moses, “Thou canst not see my face; for the world by its wisdom did not know, and never there shall no man see me and live.' The view could have known concerning God. Having ful- of God's unvailed glory would be too bright and filled his commission he could say, 'I have mani- dazzling for our feeble faculties. But in the face of fested thy name unto the men which thou givest Christ it is softened down, and brought nigh, and me out of the world. This he did in
presented in a form which we can safely approach, The constitution of his person. By uniting and intimately contemplate, and profitably study. the human with his divine nature, he embodied The Saviour has conferred upon us other and, the Godhead, and made it not only visible to our in some respects, more important benefits. But contemplation, but in some degree level to our in estimating his claims to our gratitude it is ever comprehension. In the Man Christ Jesus we are to be remembered that all the knowledge of God brought into immediate contact with the divine which we have or can attain to comes to us presence, and we behold a distinct and intelligible through Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. They exhibition of all that is peculiar in the divine only who know Christ can be truly said to have character. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us
seen God. the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto The pure in heart alone shall see God. He him, Have I been so long time with you, and that ascends into the hill of the Lord, or stands hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath in his holy place, must have both clean hands and seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest a pure heart; for what fellowship hath rightethou then, Shew us the Father ?' He declared ousness with unrighteousness, or what communion the character of God in
hath light with darkness ?' To see God is not The doctrine which he taught. He exposed so much the act of a mind enlightened by his the errors of heathenism by declaring the unity word, as it is the exercise of a heart renewed by of God, the spirituality of his nature, and the his grace. And as moral purity is the necessary unlimited extent of his dominion. At the same qualification for seeing God, so it will be the intime he corrected the prejudices of the Jews by variable effect. But we all, with open
face beinculcating the truth that God is not the God of holding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are any one people exclusively, and that Jerusalem changed into the same image from glory to glory, is not the only place where men ought to wor- even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' ship, but that of every nation and in every place,
After all, how little can we see of God in our he that feareth God and worketh righteousness present state of imperfection and sinfulness. Here is accepted with him.' He spake of God, of his we see darkly as through a glass. It doth not names and attributes, of his prerogatives and yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that purposes, with the freedom, and fullness, and when he who is our Life shall appear, we shall familiarity of one who had a perfect knowledge be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Who of the subject. He taught the way of God can conceive the blessedness of seeing God face truly. He declared God by
to face, of beholding his beauty, and of being The redemption which he accomplished. What satisfied with his likeness? "O God, thou art my is the cross of Christ but an illustration of the God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth perfections of God, of his absolute sovereignty, for thee; my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and his inflexible justice, his immaculate holiness, his thirsty land where no water is. To see thy unfathomable wisdom, his everlasting love; of all power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in that is great and gracious, or awful and amiable the sanctuary. My soul shall be satisfied as with in his character? Attributes seemingly inconsis- marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise tent with each other are there made to appear in thee with joyful lips.' perfect harmony. We see God to be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus, manifesting at once his hatred to sin, and his love to the sinner, strict to mark iniquity, yet merciful
tians all who are Christians only in name, what
a distressing minority would be left behind! *For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, The same instrumentality which proves effec
in them that are saved, and in them that per- tual in saving some is not merely unproductive ish.
To the one we are the savour of death of good to others, but will be to them the occaunto death ; and to the other the savour of life sion of a heavier condemnation. In itself the unto life,' 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16.
gospel is calculated in every instance to become ‘A SWEET savour' is that which gratifies the the savour of life unto life.' Such is its designed senses, such as the taste of some delicious fruit, or effect, and such too is its actual effect
all the fragrance of a rich perfume. The expression who believe and obey it. But it does not prois used by the sacred writers chiefly in connection duce this effect mechanically or necessarily. with the offering of sacrifice. To intimate the Every thing depends, under divine influence, divine acceptance of Noah's sacrifice we are told upon the manner in which it has been received. that the Lord smelled a sweet savour.' The The wilfully ignorant, the unbelieving, and imofferings required by the Jewish law were pre- penitent, who reject the counsel against themsented for a sweet savour unto the Lord. These selves, cannot be saved. And they perish not were merely the shadows of good things to only without
aggravabut the body is Christ, who also 'gave himself tion of guilt. They have incurred the penalty not for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a only of disobedience to the law, but also the sweet-smelling savour.' The labours of his ser-heavier penalty of disbelieving the gospel. By vants in the ministry of the gospel cause to ascend holding the truth in unrighteousness they pervert to the throne of God the incense of a precious the word of life into an instrument of death. and acceptable offering, promoting, as they do, the They extract poison from the flower which honour of his name, and the advancement of his was intended to yield only honey. Instead of kingdom; therefore, Paul speaking for himself being renewed and sanctified by the truths, and and his Christian brethren could say, We are precepts, and ordinances of the gospel, they beunto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that come, through a presumptuous and thoughtless are saved, and in them that perish.'
familiarity with these, more hardened in sin, All existing diversities of character belong to more alienated from God, and tenfold more the one or other of the two classes which are here children of hell than before ;
and in consequence, contrasted, and may be identified either with that which was appointed to be the savour of them that are saved, or with them that perish. life unto life,' is to them the savour of death The former of these classes may be comparatively unto death.' few, but absolutely they will be a multitude whom But God will be glorified both in them that no man can number. Nor are they confined to are saved and in them that perish. His infinite any one sect or party in the church, but include holiness, justice, and truth will be manifested in all of every sect and party who have been renewed the one ; his sovereign compassion, wisdom, and in the spirit of their minds, and who love the Lord love will be displayed in the other. He deJesus Christ in sincerity. But all have not faith. lighteth in mercy, and hath no pleasure in the The apostle, in making mention of them that death of the wicked, yet they shall be punished perish,' speaks not of heathens, nor of such as with everlasting destruction from the presence of never heard of Christ, but of those to whom the the Lord, and from the glory of his power. And gospel has been preached, and by whom it has his procedure will be triumphantly vindicated, been professedly embraced. It is a mournful and his character supremely honoured in the yet undeniable fact that a large proportion of estimation of an intelligent universe, who will those who have access to the means of grace, in confess that in this, as in every thing else, the stead of improving them for their salvation, abuse Judge of all the earth has done that which is them to their own destruction. If from the pro- right. fessing friends of the gospel we could deduct The labours of his faithful servants may fail to the ignorant who do not understand it, and the be useful to men, but they cannot fail to be aclukewarm who are indifferent about it, and the ceptable to God; for we are unto God a sweet sceptical who secretly disbelieve it, and the hypo- savour of Christ. He is not indifferent to the critical who selfishly pervert it, and the profane success of his own word. He commandeth all who openly trample upon it, and the licentious men every where to repent, and willeth that all who daringly abuse it; if, in short, we could should come to the knowledge of the truth, that separate froin those who bear the name of Chris- they may be saved. Sinners may turn a deaf ear
to his call, but they cannot deprive him of his He sustains also the character of a reprover: for glory. His servants may spend their strength'he will reprove the world of sin.' By reproving or for nought and in vain, but they shall in no wise convincing of sin, he produces feelings of alarm, lose their reward. They are accountable for the and grief, and self-condemnation in the soul. But want of fidelity, but not for the want of success. having wounded, he also heals. He gives the Those for whose salvation they labour may derive oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise no benefit from their exertions ; but having acted for a spirit of heaviness.' His gracious influences their part honestly and faithfully they shall de- are equally effectual in removing the anguish of liver their own souls, and receive at last the spiritual distress, and alleviating the pain of temapproving welcome of Him who is not unrighte- poral affliction. To mourners of every descripous to forget their work of faith, and their labour tion he says, “As one whom his mother comof love, “Well done, good and faithful servant, forteth, so will I comfort you. He fulfils also enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'
the office of He has provided for our work, as well as for An Instructor. The disciples were in disour reward.
We serve a liberal Master, who is tress, and needed the ministrations of the Comboth our righteousness and strength. Let us forter. But much of their anxiety proceeded honour him by our simple dependence on his from ignorance; and therefore the Comforter was word, on our cheerful submission to his will
. promised to them in the appropriate character of For the Lord God is a sun and shield ; the " the Spirit of truth. Howbeit when he, the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into will he withhold from them that walk up- all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but rightly:
whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. On the day of Pentecost they obtained the expected
Comforter in the descent of the Holy Ghost, who SIXTEENTH DAY.-EVENING.
called them out of darkness into his marvellous · But when the Comforter is come, whom I will and attainments for the arduous work to which
light, and imparted to them all necessary gifts send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit they had been set apart. Their experience was of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he peculiar and miraculous; but the dispensation of will testify of me,' John xv. 26.
the Spirit which began with them was designed We learn from these words what the Holy Ghost to be perpetual: and the subject matter of the is both in nature and in office. The language Spirit's teaching is to us what it was to them. here employed by our Lord obviously describes, It is He of whom Moses in the law and the not a mere influence, but a distinct and divine prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son person. In this sense the disciples unquestion of God, and the King of Israel.' • He shall ably understood it. They often had occasion to testify of me,' said Christ to his disciples; and allude to the character of the Spirit; and in all again, “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive that they either said or wrote on the subject, the of mine, and shall show it unto you.' idea of his personality is clearly expressed or im- But there is a difference in the manner of the plied. Personal feelings and actions are uni- Spirit's testimony. To the primitive disciples it formly ascribed to him. It was their practice was communicated by immediate and supernatural to consult the mind of the Spirit, and their pri- inspiration. We have a permanent record of it vilege to receive communications from him. in the holy scriptures, which were given by inThus the Holy Ghost said, 'Separate me Bar-spiration of God, and in every part of which the nabas and Saul; we read of their having been Spirit testifies of Christ-of his personal glory
forbidden of the Holy Ghost. They inform us and mediatorial abasement, of his justifying rightethat the Spirit searcheth all things; that he ousness and atoning blood, of his perfect charac“beareth witness;' they admonish us not to ter and plenteous redemption. These are the 'grieve the Holy Spirit,' with many other ex- things of the Spirit of God,' which the natural pressions of similar import, all attributing to the man receiveth not, and knoweth not, for they are Spirit the character and properties of a distinct spiritually discerned. “But God hath revealed personal subsistence.
them to us by his Spirit. For what man knowBut it is chiefly in his official capacity that the eth the things of a man, save the spirit of man Spirit is here presented to our contemplation. which is in him? even so the things of God He is by name and by office the Comforter.'l knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now
we have received, not the spirit of the world, I expect that God would interpose in his behalf, as but the Spirit which is of God; that we might he had graciously promised to do, and as he had know the things which are freely given to us of done on many former occasions. He, therefore, God.'
prayed not only for the “light' of God, but also We have, therefore, not only the external for his “truth' or faithfulness in the fulfilment of testimony of the Spirit which speaks to us, but those promises upon which he had been encouralso the internal testimony of the Spirit which aged to hope. speaks in us. In the one case, the Spirit testi- The situation of David was peculiar, but the fies of Christ as revealed in the scriptures; in the feelings which it awakened are common to all the other, the Spirit testifies of Christ as formed in children of God, and the petition which it called the heart by the working of that mighty power forth will be found equally applicable to every which raised him from the dead: for “the Spirit variety of spiritual distress. The terms light itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are and truth' fitly represent the illuminating and the children of God.'
comforting influence of the Holy Spirit. He is The wisest of men are liable to err, as the best the Spirit of truth, whose entrance gives light, of men are prone to sin; but the teaching of the and produces a joy that is “ unspeakable and full Spirit is both infallible and efficacious. It is not of glory.' in man that walketh to direct his steps; but He In offering this prayer we do not ask from is wise in counsel, and leadeth the blind by a God any new revelation of his will. We have way that they knew not, and which is the right no warrant to expect the light and truth of imway that will bring them to a city of habitation. mediate and supernatural inspiration. But we * As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they ask from him the right and profitable understandare the sons of God. And if children, then ing of that revelation which he has already heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; granted, and which is perfectly sufficient for all if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be the purposes both of holiness and comfort. Noalso glorified together.'
thing is to be expected in answer to such a prayer without the use of ordinary means ; but these means can be effectual only when they
are accompanied with the demonstration of the SEVENTEENTH DAY.-MORNING.
Spirit, and with power. The natural man receiv
eth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can O send out thy light and thy truth, Psal. xliii. he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.' 3.
That knowledge by which the soul is savingly This psalm contains the record of David's feel- converted unto God must, therefore, be the effect ings on an occasion of very trying emergency. In of divine illumination, opening at once the eyes consequence of Absalom's rebellion he had been of the understanding and the door of the heart, driven from Jerusalem, and subjected to many turning it from darkness to light, and from the sad reverses. But there was one privation which power of satan unto God. And the same divine inhe felt and lamented above every other. He Auence which begins the good work of grace in the expressed no concern about the recovery of his soul, is needful to carry it forward, and bring it royal honours and prerogatives; but his heart to perfeetion. Not only in the commencement was ready to faint within him when he remem- of the spiritual life, therefore, but in every subbered Zion, and the courts of God's house, now no sequent stage of its progress, even under the longer accessible to him. His affections still most favourable circumstances, and with the lingered in the sanctuary, and he poured forth his most matured attainments, the believer has occadesire in these emphatic words, 'O send out thy sion to adopt the prayer, O send out thy light light and thy truth; let them lead me, and bring and thy truth' me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.' There are, in the experience of every child of
Doubtless the psalmist uttered this prayer God, particular situations which more especially with a special reference to the circumstances of call forth this devout aspiration. When the his own condition. Light may be understood to mind is harassed with difficulties relative to the express the joy which springs from a manifesta- truths of revelation, arising from inability to tion of the divine favour. Never did David stand understand them, and to reconcile them with more in need of it than now when his soul was each other, or with the perfections of God, or bowed down with grief, and filled with disquie- the demands of his law, or the dispensations of tude and alarm. Yet there was good reason to his providence; when cases of perplexing doubt
occur in which conscience is at a loss to dis
SEVENTEENTH DAY.—EVENING. cover the path of duty, or to decide between what is lawful and what is merely expedient, Thy word have I hid in mine heart,' Psal. cxix. and knows not either what to think, or how to
11. act; in such circumstances how precious the pri- By the word of God we understand the revelavilege of being permitted to ask direction from tion of his will in the holy scriptures. It is his Him who is wise in counsel, and who has pro- word, inasmuch as it came from him, treats of mised to guide the meek in judgment, and to him, and will lead to him. He is its Author, teach them his way!
its subject, and its end. Holy men of God were To mourners of every description, to those espe- employed by him as the channels of communicacially who mourn in Zion, who are cast down and tion, but they spake only as they were moved by disquieted with fears respecting the safety of their the Holy Ghost. spiritual condition, or oppressed with grief and The bible is proved to be the word of God by vexation of spirit under a sense of their own ex- its peculiar excellence, and its practical influence; ceeding sinfulness, and of the unprofitableness of by the originality of its doctrinal discoveries, by all their services, and of the little comfort which the purity of its moral precepts, by the harmony they have found in religious ordinances, and the of its different parts, and the perfect adaptation small progress which they have made in Chris- of the whole to the condition of man as a sinner. tian attainment; to those who lament the hid- It requires no addition, is susceptible of no imings of God's countenance, and the absence of all provement, admits of no alteration; it exhibits satisfying communion with him ; who go mourn-in every part the stamp of truth, and the impresing all the day, walking in darkness, and ready sion of divinity, and is profitable for doctrine, for to faint with the sickness of hope deferred; to all reproof, for correction, for instruction in rightesuch there is provided a never-failing resource, a ousness, that the man of God may be perfect, fountain of rich and refreshing consolation lies thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' within their reach ; and they are invited to ap- Few men have been so well qualified as David proach it, taking along with them a form of ap- was to appreciate the value of the word of God. plication, which the Hearer of prayer has himself He had made it the subject of humble, habitual, prepared for them in the words of the inspired and prayerful investigation. It had been his psalmist, “O send forth thy light and thy truth.' meditation by day, and his song in the night.
As a preparation for duty this prayer is no His knowledge of it, obtained through divine less appropriate than it is necessary for our com- teaching giving effect to his own researches, was fort in distress. David said, “I will wash mine extensive, intimate, and experimental. He could hands in innocency; so will I compass thine altar.' say, “I have more understanding than all my Not only the more solemn services of devotion, teachers;' and he uttered the language not of but every act of religious worship requires the ignorant superstition, but of enlightened and preparations of the heart which are from the practical devotion, when he declared, “Thy word Lord. To him we must look for the capacity to have I hid in mine heart. It is evident that serve him acceptably and profitably in the ordi- David possessed a very minute and distinct renances of his own appointment; and after all collection of the word of God. It was his prithat we have done or can do in the work vilege to have constant access to the scriptures of preparation by examining the state of our themselves; but he had transferred a large por-hearts, by reflecting on the conduct of the tion of them to his memory, from whose stores past, and forming purposes of obedience for the he could derive either subjects of meditation, or future, or otherwise cultivating the frame and motives to duty, or sources of comfort, or helps feelings which are suitable in drawing near to to devotion, as circumstances might require. God, we must have recourse to Him with whom The language of David is strongly expressive is the residue of the Spirit, and without whom of his attachment to the word of God. With we can know nothing, and do nothing aright. Job he could say, “I have esteemed the words • Search me, O God, and know my thoughts. of his mouth more than my necessary food.' And see if there be any wicked way in me, and What is sweeter than honey? The Psalmist lead me in the way everlasting. O send out thy replies, 'How sweet are thy words to my taste; light and thy truth, let them lead me, let them yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.' What bring me unto thy holy hill
, and to thy taberna- is more valued than riches? Hear David again, cles; then will I go unto the altar of God, unto · The law of thy mouth is better to me than God my exceeding joy.'
thousands of gold and silver.' It was to him