Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and eternal life; resigns his soul into the hands of his Saviour, in the faith that he will save it, and devotes himself unreservedly to his service, in the faith that he will give him grace to live to him in all holy obedience. Now, and not till now, according to God's promise, he receives power to become his child : this is God's order. John i. 12. Now he receives life and begins to live; but there is yet a great work before him. It hath pleased God in his plan to finish at once a justifying righteousness; it is his own work, and was finished in that awful hour when he announced it in his last words on the cross. John xix. 30. To this nothing of ours is to be added—with this nothing of ours mixt; it is for ever perfect-it is God's gift; it is made ours by imputation in the hour when we first believe, receive it, rest our souls upon it. But it hath not pleased God in this plan to deliver the believer at once from indwelling sin. This is the subject of the Christian warfare, the race, the good fight, &c. Now the believer receives life, and is called to work. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do. All the promises in this blessed Bible are his-they are yea and amen in Christ; Christ himself is his; his Spirit dwells in him. The believer is united to Jesus by as real an union as the branch to the vine, the members with the head, the building with the foundation. Yet sin dwelleth in him, and is to be expunged by constant applications to Christ in prayer—by means of watching, striving, fighting; fighting under his banner. In his blessed word we are informed where our strength lies, what are our weapons, what our armour. But what can I say on those subjects ? the whole word of God is on the subject of redemption—the whole labours of Christ's

we

ministers, and the whole dispensation of God's providence. Are these things so? My Juliet, this is not the doctrine of any one church. About these subjects there is no dispute ; Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, Independents, all agree in these great things. And are these things so indeed? O, my Juliet, where is the time to be spared for plays, assemblies, and such numerous idle parties of various descriptions? I must stop; the subject is great, and we have many excellent treatises on the various parts of it by able pious men, It would be improper to crowd it thus into a letter, unless to instigate to further investigation.

Farewell! I ever am, my dear Juliet, yours affectionately

I. GRAHAM.

SO

To Miss VAN WYCK, New-York.

Rockaway, 1810. MY DEAR, MY BELOVED ELIZA,

Mr. and Mrs. B. are here on a visit for one night. I did not expect to see them so soon, or I would have had a letter ready. I expect another opportunity in the course of a few days, when I will send you a long letter, from my heart, and, I hope, dictated by your and my Teacher.

I learn by my children that you continue much in the same way in which I left you. It is your own God who mixes your cup, and it is to you a cup of blessing; there is no curse in it. Your Jesus drank that cup to the very dregs, that bitter as well as sweet might be to you a cup of blessing. O, then, my darling, hold fast

same V

by your Redeemer, He is the Lord your righteousness, and the Lord your strength : He connects your profit with his own glory. You shall in this protracted affliction manifest it, and hold out the word of life to those around you*. You shall witness for him that He is the Lord, and besides Him there is no Saviour-that He gathers the Lambs in his arms, and carries them in his bosomthat he is to them a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempestas rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. That it is he that teacheth them to profit, and leadeth them by the way that they should go, and that in due time he will perfect all that concerns them. Farewell! Your's with affection,

I. GRAHAM.

Y DE

IY BELOV

TO THE SAME.

Rockaway, Sabbath, 1810. MY DEAR, MY BELOVED ELIZA,

I wrote you a few lines yesterday by Mr. B. I now propose to fulfil my promise. I expect an opportunity to-morrow or next day, for I saw a great many carriages pass this way to the tavern, as I suppose, from New-York. It is a common thing with some to come here on Saturday, and return on Monday, to spend this blessed day in frolic. You would not, I know, exchange situations with them; you would rather be suffering than sinning.

It is your own observation that God does all in wisdom: in this wisdom he is pleased to lengthen your day of affliction. Sin, my darling, is the cause of all

* This prediction was remarkably fulfilled in the experience of this dear young saint ; an interesting account of whose illness and death has been published in. the Christian's Magazine.

[ocr errors]

suffering; but it is not always the immediate cause. Beside particular chastisement for particular sins, there are afflictions to be filled up in the body of Christ, (his church,) a measure of which, in kind and degree, is appointed by unerring wisdom to each individual member. Col. i. 24. These sufferings bear no part in atoning for sin, nor in redeeming our forfeited inheritance. Christ trode the wine press alone, and of the people there was none to help him. He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; who when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. Heb. i. 3. Again, chapter x. 11. And every Priest, (in the Levitical law) standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God; for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified, whereof the Holy Ghost is also a wilness to us, for after he had said before, (see from verse 5.). This is the covenant which I will make with them after those days, saith the Lordwill put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Paul says the Holy Ghost is a witness, because he copies from the ancient scriptures the prophecies of Jeremiah, chap. xxxi. 31. and Ezek. xxxvi. 25. and from the Psalms lx. 7. Your mother will read to you also the 8th chapter of Hebrews, containing the same things, the new covenant, in consequence of Christ as the surety of sinners, having made full atonement, magnified the law, and made it honourable; therefore there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. It has pleased God, my darling, in the adorable plan of reconciling sinners to himself by Jesus Christ, to perfect at once a justifying righteousness for them, and to bestow it upon them as a free gift. This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John v. 11. But it has not pleased him to deliver us at once from depravity; provision is made for final deliverance by the same covenant, and is effected by the same power, but in this believers are called to work. It is evident from Seripture, and the experience of Christians answers to it, that in the hour of believing they pass from death to life, considered as a state. This is the hour of the new birth—they then receive life for the time, and it is their privilege, by the constitution of the new covenant, to ask and receive from day to day, grace to help in every time of need. To them, and not to the unregenerate, the exhortation is addressed: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.

The means are of God's appointing, in the diligent use of which they go from strength to strength. The grand mean is faith in God's promises, of which there are very many in the Scriptures. Believers are to put forth their own exertions, as the children of Israel were called to go out against their enemies, in the faith that God would give them victory, and lead them to the promised rest. The battle was the Lord's, and he fought for them; but the means were their exertions. Believers are God's workmanship; but this work he carries on by exercising their natural powers, which he sanctifies to a different end from that to which they were formerly by their own spirit directed. Still the Scripture testifies that, if any man say he has no sin, he deceives himself, and the truth is not in him; and, while sin remains,

[ocr errors]

means a

e

« AnteriorContinuar »