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at his feet, saying, under a sense of fin, Trufb, Lord, I am a dog : Well, that is a token of more a coming. Judge not of your approach by your own sense and apprehenfion; for David was not in a desperate case when he was crying, as Psal. xii. 1. How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord, for ever? How long wilt thou bide tby face from me ? When your longings are increased, though your strength be small, yet it is a notable feast, for he will fatisfy the longing foul, and fill the hungry with good things. Be thankful if you get as much as keeps your soul in life, tho' you don't get much. Know, that though he will be faithful to the accomplishment of all his promises, and to do all that he hath engaged for, yet the times and seasons are in his hand, and he hath his own measure of communication ; if some of
would be at, you would grow really giddy, and be ready
cry with Peter, It is good for us to be here, and forget the other work that God hath for you in the world. He is engaged by promise ; but know moreover, that he accomplishes his promise according to your need, and it is for your good and advantage, and according as he hath work and business to put in your hand. Now, some here, I hope, have got their hearts engaged to approach to a God in Christ, upon the ground of Christ's engagement to approach to God in their room; and I hope they can say it with holy confidence, that their hearts have been drawn, and they have been caused to approach to God: And if so, then, I hope, you can say of the water of the well of salvation, O sweet, sweet! O how sweet are thy words to my taste ! sweeter than honey to my mouth! And that all other things in a world, are but empty trash, loss
and dung, in comparison of him. O the gallant fops of the world would think shame of themselves, if they knew how much contempt the poorest saints on earth do pour upon them, and all earthly glory and gallantry, when they get near to God! Surely, if you have attained this approach to a God in Christ, it hath brought you to a great wondring at the grace of God. O what am I? and what is my father's house? Why did he pass by my neighbour, my husband, my wife, my brother, my sister, and fix his love upon me the vilest of them all? It hath brought you to great humility and abasement ; Now mine eyes see thee, therefore I abhor myself, &c. And also to a great longing after more fellowship and communion with him; O when wilt thou come unto me! O when shall
I come and appear before thee! O to depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation! O to be among the four and twenty elders that are before the throne ! o to be drinking at the fountain-bead! Why, what means this language, poor soul ? It seems you're just lying in his lap; He hath loved you with an everlasing love, and therefore with loving-kindness hath he drawn you : His heart is engaged to you, and your heart is engaged to him ; the spirit hath been sent to knit Christ's heart and your heart together, and the knot shall never be loosed; Him that cometh, I will in no wise cast out. And now that he is engaged to do all for you, O does not equity and gratitude require, that you be wholly engaged to him, and that for ever? Let your hearts be more engaged to him than ever ? Let your affections be engaged to, love him ; let your wills be engaged to obey him in his preceptive and providential will; let your thoughts be engaged to think upon him and his Сс 2
loving-kindness; let your tongues be engaged to speak to his praise, In his temple all every one Speak of his glory; let your whole life be engaged to his service, and all so engaged as to depend on him for all. He hath engaged for all, that you may depend on him for all; and all the service you perform will be vain and to no purpose, unless it be done in the faith of his engagement to do all in you
and for you.
The believer hath two hands, the one a holding hand, and the other a working hand; like a woman spinning at the wheel, (to use a homely fimile) the one hand holds the thread and draws it down, and the other hand goes round and sets about the wheel ; now, if she do not hold the thread constantly with the one hand, it is to no purpose tho' the other hand go round with the wheel : Even so it is here; the one hand of the believer is the hand of faith, whereby he takes faft hold of Christ, and draws grace and virtue from him ; the other is the hand of obedience and service, which is accepted only in Christ, and upon the score of his engaging for all, and to do all our work in us and for us. Now, if the hand of faith let go the hold of Christ, so as not to draw virtue from him, nor depend upon his engagement, it is in vain that the other hand of obedience and service does
its round; but, when faith keeps fast hold of Christ's engagement, then there is profitable service and acceptable obedience; for we are accepted in the beloved. Let faith take a view daily of your privileges in Christ; O how strengthning for your work and warfare would it be to you, if you had the lively faith of his engagement ! It would make you approach to God in every duty with boldness, did you believe that his honour is engaged for your
through-bearing, till you get to glory; that his faithfulness is engaged, his power is engaged, his name is engaged, his truth is engaged, his credit is at the stake ; for he hath said, I'll never leave thee nor forsake thee; I will put my spirit within thee, and cause thee to walk in my statutes : Is he thus engaged ? Then let faith keep a fast hold of his engagement; and when faith is like to lose the hold, remember, that he who hath engaged for every thing that concerns you, hath engaged for faith too, having promised to keep your faith that it fail not, and to keep you by his power thro' faith to salvation. Therefore, in the want of faith, look to his engagement for it ; and in the weakness of faith, look to his engagement to strengthen it; and in the trial of faith, look to his engagement to support it. Let not your faith depend upon your faith, but
your faith and dependance be wholly on Christ, for all that
you need with respect to work and warfare, duty or difficulty, soul or body, grace or glory, time or eternity; then will God put your name and Christ's together, saying, Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me ?
The gradual conquest: Or, Heaven won
by little and little.
Two SERMONS preached at Carnock,
July 3d, 1727
By the Rev. Mr. RALPH ERSKINE,
DE U T. vii. 22.
And the Lord thy God will put out these nations
before thee by little and little.
that have been right communicants at
this occasion, you have been upon the field of
battle, fighting in the name and strength of the Lord against your spiritual enemies ;. what victory you have got, I cannot tell : But some may perhaps be saying, O I find my enemies to be yet strong and mighty, iniquities prevail against me, and I fear I shall never attain to the full poffeffion of the heavenly Canaan, there are so many and strong nations of enemies in the way which I cannot get conquered. To such as may be thus exercised, the words of my text may be welcome news, The Lord thy God will put out these nations before thee by little and little. We have here God's promise to Israel of old, concerning their being brought to the possession of the earthly Cangan, which you know was a type of the heavenly Canaan ; and, left they