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sence. Boasting is for ever excluded; because all is of grace. Wisdom to teach the sinner saving knowledge, righteousness to justify him, strength to keep him, comforts to bless him, heaven to receive him; these are the free gifts of covenant love : for by grace is he 'saved through faith, and that not of himself—it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. Thus would the Lord hide pride from man; and would teach him practically such scriptures as this" Not for your sakes do I' this, saith the Lord, be it known unto you, but for mine holy name's sake.” Ezek. xxxvi.
Closely connected with this divine lesson is the FULNESS of covenant mercies. Every thing needful for the salvation of the sinner is fully, as well as freely provided by the ex® ceeding riches of grace, and is treasured up by the Father's love in the fulness of the Son. To this the Spirit bears witness in the word of truth, and seals his witness upon the believer's heart. It pleased the Father, that in the Word made flesh, should ALL fulness dwell, and that out of his fulness his people
should receive grace for grace. This is the infinite ocean. There is not a stream, not a drop of grace to be had, but from hence. Jesus Christ, as God-man, has it all in himself, and for the same end, as the head has the senses in itself. He has it to communicate to his members, a fulness of light and life, of sense and understanding, of love and joy; yea, of every spiritual blessing. On him, as the head of the body, the church, every believing member is directed to live. On him must he depend at all times; and to him must he go for all things. If he seek pardon and peace, righteousness and holiness, a supply of his wants, strength for his warfare, comforts under his miseries; if he expect life in death, and life eternal, he must make continual use of the fulness of Jesus : for in him dwelleth ALL the fulness of the Godhead bodily. It dwelleth in him, as in an overflowing fountain. The Father's love to his adopted children, the experience of it by the grace of the Spirit, are entirely in, and from the salvation of Jesus Christ. Out of his fulness comes every covenant mercy of the Godhead, and in a rich
abundant stream, always flowing with some blessing or other into the believer's soul. The enjoyment of it, on his part, may not be always alike comfortable; but it is always alike sure on God's part. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can turn its course. Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. The river of the water of life proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb; and it will be running on, till it come back into its own ocean. “The water that I will give him," says Jesus, speaking of the believer," shall be in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life, and bringing with it the fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore."
No man will see any reason to set out in the way to heaven, until he be made acquainted with those truths. His judgment must be enlightened with the knowledge of them. He will never think of changing his course, until he be made sensible of his own sinful and helpless state : and when this is brought home to his conscience, and he has nothing in himself left to trust in, then he will be led to
look abroad for help. The Spirit of God will teach him the doctrines of grace, the nature of the Godhead, the persons in the Godhead, the covenant of the divine persons, by which every grace and blessing was freely and fully provided, given by the Father to the Son, in whose fulness they were all laid up for the use of his body, the church, and communicated to every member of it, through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Thus he is taught, that all is of grace, from first to last. Whatever good a sinner receives on earth, or enjoys in heaven, is so given, as to exclude all boasting; and to lay every proud and self-righteous principle in the dust, that grace alone may wear the crown, and may have all the glory.
Here then, O my soul, is matter of close examination. Dost thou know thyself, thy state and condition, and hast thou fled from the wrath to come ? Has the light of God's word shone into thy understanding, and made thee to see that thou art indeed set out in the way to heaven? How was this discovered to thee? Did the Holy Spirit ever convince thee
of sin, and that thou hadst lost the image and forfeited the favour of God? Didst thou ever see thyself fallen in Adam, in him a child of wrath, a ruined, miserable sinner? Hast thou felt how utterly unable thou art to atone for thy sins, or to make thyself holy? And wast thou brought to this after many legal trials and self-righteous efforts ? At lasť forced to give up all hope in thyself, and to look to the Lord who made heaven and earth, from whom alone thy help could come ?
And hast thou been taught the true knowledge of the unity of the Godhead, and of the persons in it, Father Son, and Spirit, the covenant of the ever blessed Three, and the absolute security of all covenant mercies, promised by the Father, and engaged to be given to the Son, as the head of his body, the church, who is now actually as God-man in possession of them, and by his Spirit he freely and fully bestows them upon his members ? For they will never cease to be receiving out of his fulness grace for grace,
, until they receive out of the same fulness glory for glory.