James Smith, 1855
"It is a good thing that the heart he established with grace" — that we have such clear views of Gospel doctrines, and such steady confidence in the grace displayed in them — as will keep the soul steady amidst all the changes we experience within and without.
Unless the plant is firmly rooted — it will not stand the blast. Just so, unless we are firmly rooted in Christ — we shall not be steadfast in trials.
Unless the materials are cemented together, and united to the foundation — they will not resist the storm. Just so, unless we are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit, and to the saints by holy love — we shall not be steadfast amidst the trials and temptations that will come upon us.
Let us look well to the root of our profession — what is it? Is it the work of the Holy Spirit? Let us examine if we are really united to the Lord Jesus, for there is no safety, but in union to him. Let us call upon the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal kingdom and sought to establish, strengthen, and settle us — that we may be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.
It was said of Israel of old, that their "spirit was not steadfast with God" (Psalm 78:8). This is the case with too many now. They are unstable. They are blown about with every wind of doctrine, and tossed hither and thither by the power of temptation.
Steadfastness is . . .
founded in grace,
realized only by living faith, and
maintained by communion and fellowship with God.
It is true of too many of us, that we do not steadfastly believe that GOD, our God, is gracious, loving, and merciful; along with jealous, holy, and true. Were we steadfast in our belief of this, how different would we be!
Holy fear would prevent us from running into evil.
Holy love would sweetly draw us to obedience.
We are not steadfast in believing the love that God has to us — or we would be more lively, devoted, and courageous in his cause.
We are not steadfast in expecting . . .
all that God graciously promises to us,
all of the Savior's sweet relations to us,
and all the Spirit's loving invitations to us!
What should a child expect from his Father — who is God over all, and infinitely gracious? What should not the bride expect from her Bridegroom — whose riches are unsearchable, and his love to her unparalleled?
We are not steadfast in resigning all to, and for, Jesus. This is the effect of the former deficiency — for if we expected as we ought, we would be prepared, with Paul, "to count all things but loss," and esteem them but dung, that we may win Christ, and be found in him. But, alas! how we cleave to earth, how temporal things seem to entwine themselves around our hearts, and how large a portion of the mind do they appear to occupy!
We are not steadfast in working for the Lord; in laying ourselves out to promote his glory, advance his cause, and honor his dear name.
We ought to hold fast the confidence we had at the beginning, steadfast unto the end — to resist Satan, steadfast in the faith — to have good hope for our anchor, which is sure and steadfast, entering into that which is within the veil. But instead of this, we are often tossed about with carnal fears; we cannot leave the Lord's work in his own hands, his Church to his own care, and our concerns to his prudent arrangement. O that we could! O that we did! How happy we would be!
We often feel very perplexed, because, though we see how
exactly suited the Lord Jesus is to us, in all circumstances, and at all
times, yet we cannot live upon him, or make use of him as it is our
privilege to do. What poor, frail, weak, erring mortals we are! How often we
have to say —
I would but cannot rest,
In God's most holy will;
I know what he appoints is best.
Yet murmur at it still.
In what striking colors, does this set forth our depravity. How it manifests the power and tendency of those evil principles which inhabit our nature, and which we daily carry about with us. We sometimes think, in consequence of this, that our faith is weaker, our confidence in God less, and our dependence on God more feeble, than it was formerly. But this is a mistake; our principles are more tried, our path is more difficult, and therefore such thoughts arise. This is our comfort — Christ is just suited to us, the promises of grace belong to us, and the Holy Spirit condescends to teach and instruct us. But we ought to seek grace to be steadfast, we ought to hold fast that we have, that no man takes our crown.
Oh, to love Jesus more! Oh, to be like him! Oh, to live near him! Oh, to glorify him! Oh, to be honored to lead thousands of sinners to him!