Imágenes de páginas

its anchor, both sure and steadfast, and finds all safe during the storms of life; yea, has many a sweet foretaste of the promised glory, brought into the soul by these very storms:


Sixthly, We rejoice in tribulations also. These are so far from taking away the joy of the justified man, that they tend greatly to increase it, and to make it more holy, as well as more happy. Tribulations produce a plentiful harvest of blessings; they bring forth

Patience, giving occasion to exercise the graces of the spirit, to find the truth and the power of them; and thereby working submission under the cross to the will of God. " It is good for me,” says David, “ that I have been afflicted;" his troubles brought him to God." Before I was afflicted, I went astray." His troubles kept him near to God, dependant on the divine strength to bear them with patience; and for an happy issue out of them. Whereby he learnt

Experience, which follows suffering and patience. Tribulations teach us what we are

as sinners, and what God is to his reconciled children. They make us sensible of our weakness, and of our being strong only in the Lord ---of our misery, and of his cornforts-of what we deserve, and of what he saves us from--they bring us to live out of ourselves, upon the sure mercies of a covenant God : whereby our hope in hirn being tried, and by trials confirmed, we discover his love to us in suffering; and by daily experience become quite satisfied, that our

Hope is the grace of the Holy Spirit: for it answers the scripture-character; it rejoices in tribulation. It has good reason so to do. It experiences God's faithfulness. Every thing promised being made good to us in time, we thereby grow up into the full assurance of hope, that we shall not fail of receiving the promised glory. And this

Hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given unto us. He is given to satisfy our hearts of the love of God to us, and to lead us to study the nature and the perfections of his love. Behold !

what manner of love, what a free, full, sovereign, and everlasting love, the Father hath bestowed upon us. It is actually bestowed and enjoyed by the power of the Holy Ghost. He shows us how the Father loved us, even when we were without strength; yea, herein God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were sinners and enemies, he gave his Son to live and die for us; much more then, being now justified, we shall be saved from wrath, and brought to glory, through him. How does this commend and set off the love of God! It is the first cause of all the graces here mentioned, and bestows them upon the most unworthy. Faith, justification by faith, access to God, standing in a justified state, rejoicing in hope of glory, and rejoicing in the way to it, even in tribulations, because they exercise and improve patience, and put our graces to such trials, as convince us, that they are the true graces of the Holy Spirit, and that we shall never be ashamed of our hope in God. In this golden chain of experience, love is the uppermost link. It was the first, and draws after it all the rest. The free love of the Father gave his Son for us, and with him gave us all things. The same love has now given his Spirit to us, and he has enabled us to know and to believe, that we are justified, have access to a reconciled God, stand accepted before him, &c. and that he is our loving God and Father in Jesus. The sense of this warms the heart, and sweetly and powerfully influences the affections to delight in, and to walk in love with such an exceedingly gracious and merciful God.

In this delightful portion of Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us how he brings sinners to know that God loves them. It is by believing in the rigliteousness and atonement of the Son of God. Hence spring peace and love-peace with God in the conscience, and love to God in the heart. There is an inseparable connexion between those two graces. The one cannot exist without the other. Whoever knows the God of peace, will find that God is love: for being justifi- , ed by faith, he will thereby see that God is

at peace with himn; and himself in a state of free acceptance before himn : in which he shall stand and be kept safe, until he receive the promised glory. The hope of which will be confirmed by his daily experience of God's faithfulness, making all things, even tribulations, work together for his good in the way to glory: thus will the Holy Spirit satisfy him of the love of God to his soul. And the persuasion of his love begets love. It softens the hard heart. It warms the cold heart. It works kindly upon all the affections; and by setting before them every possible good to be enjoyed in their reconciled God, it mightily disposes them to seek their supreme happiness in walking humbly and closely with him.

Attend, then, O my soul, to this Scripture. Meditate upon the experience of which it treats. Pray for it. Pray for more of it. And, above all, observe the great truth here taught thee by the Holy Ghost; namely, that thou. canst not have any true love of God, but what arises from the sense of his being at peace with thee in Jesus.. O, beware of

« AnteriorContinuar »