“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3

“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the refiner.” Proverbs 25:4

MARK the great and glorious end of this fiery process—a righteous offering to the Lord; and a vessel formed, prepared, and beautified for the Refiner; a “vessel unto honor, meet for the Master’s use.” Blessed result! Oh the wonders wrought by the fire of God’s furnace! Not only is “God glorified in the fire,” but the believer is sanctified. Have you ever observed the process of the artificer in the preparation of his beautiful ornament? After removing it from its mold, skillfully and properly formed, he then traces upon it the design he intended it should bear, dipping his pencil in varied hues of the brightest coloring. But the work is not yet finished. The shape of that ornament is yet to be fixed, the figures are to be set, the colors perpetuated, and the whole work consolidated. By what process?—by passing through the fire. The fire alone completes the work. Thus is it with the chastened soul—that beautifully constructed vessel, which is to adorn the palace of our King through eternity—the gaze, the wonder, the delight of every holy intelligence. God has cast it into the Divine mold, has drawn upon it the “image of His Son,” with a pencil dipped in heaven’s own colors—but it must pass through the furnace of affliction, thus to stamp completeness and eternity upon the whole. Calmly, then, repose in the hands of your Divine Artificer, asking not the extinguishment of a spark until the holy work is completed. God may temper and soften—for He never withdraws His eye from the work for one moment—but great will be your loss, if you lose the affliction unsanctified! Oh! could we with a clearer vision of faith but see the reason and the design of God in sending the chastisement, all marvel would cease, all murmur would be hushed, and not a painful dispensation of our Father would afford us needless trouble. David’s pen never wrote more sweetly than when dipped in the ink of affliction. And never did his harp send forth deeper, richer melody than when the breath of sadness swept its strings. This has been the uniform testimony of the saints of God in every age. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept your law.” Learn to see a Father’s hand, yes, a Father’s heart, in every affliction. It is not a vindictive enemy who has chastened you, but a loving Friend: not an unfeeling stranger, but a tender Father, who, though He may cast you down in the dust, will never cast you off from His love. The Captain of your salvation—Himself made perfect through suffering—only designs your higher spiritual promotion in His army, by each sanctified affliction sent. You are on your way to the mansion prepared for you by the Savior, to the kingdom bestowed upon you by God. The journey is short, and time is fleeting; what though the cross is heavy and the path is rough—you have not far nor long to carry it. Let the deep-drawn sigh be checked by the throb of gladness which this prospect should create. “He will not always chide, neither will he retain his anger forever.” The wind will not always moan, nor the waters be always tempestuous; the dull vapor will not forever float along the sky, nor the sunbeams be forever wreathed in darkness. Your Father’s love will not always speak in muffled tones, nor your Savior hide Himself forever behind the wall or within the lattice. That wind will yet breathe music, those waters will yet be still; that vapor will yet evaporate; that sun will yet break forth; your Father’s love will speak again in unmuffled strains, and your Savior will manifest Himself without a veil. Pensive child of sorrow! Weary pilgrim of grief! timid, yet prayerful; doubting, yet hoping; guilty, yet penitent; laying your hand on the head of the great appointed Sacrifice, you look up with tears, confessing your sin, and pleading in faith the blood of sprinkling. Oh, rejoice that this painful travail of soul is but the Spirit’s preparation for the seat awaiting you in the upper temple, where the days of your mourning will be ended. You may carry the cross to the last step of the journey—weeping even up to heaven’s gate—but there you shall lay that cross down, and the last bitter tear shall there be wiped away forever! Truly we may exclaim, “Blessed is the man whom You chastens, O Lord, and teach him out of Your law.”


“The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: you will make all his bed in his sickness.” Psalm 41:3

WHAT a view this touching expression gives of the consideration of our heavenly Father—stooping down to the couch of his sick child—softening the sickness by a thousand nameless kindnesses—alleviating suffering, and mitigating pain. Would you learn the Lord’s touching tenderness towards His people? Go to the sick chamber of one whom He loves! Ten thousand books will not teach you what that visit will. Listen to the testimony of the emaciated sufferer—“His left hand is under my head, His right hand does embrace me.” What more can we desire? what stronger witness do we ask? What! is Jesus there? Is His loving bosom the pillow, and is His encircling arm the support, of the drooping patient? Is Christ both the physician and the nurse? Is His finger upon that fluttering pulse, does His hand administer that draught, does He adjust that pillow, and make all that bed in sickness? Even so. Oh, what glory beams around the sick one whom Jesus loves! Trace it, too, in the grace which He measures out to the languid sufferer. The season of sickness is a season, in the Christian’s life, of especial and great grace. Many a child of God knew his adoption but faintly, and his interest in Christ but imperfectly, until then. His Christianity was always uncertain, his evidences vague, and his soul unhealthy. Living, perhaps, in the turmoil of the world secular, or amid the excitement of the world religious, he knew but little of communion with his own heart, or of converse with the heart of God. No time was extracted from other and all-absorbing engagements, and consecrated to the high and hallowed purposes of self-examination, meditation, reading, and prayer—elements entering essentially and deeply into the advancement of the life of God in the soul of man. But sickness has come, and with it some of the costliest and holiest blessings of his life. A degree of grace, answerable to all the holy and blessed ends for which it was sent, is imparted. And now, how resplendent with the glory of Divine grace has that chamber of sickness become! We trace it in the spirit and conduct of that pale, languid sufferer. See the patience with which he possesses his soul; the fervor with which he kisses the rod; the meekness with which he bows to the stroke; the subduing, softening, humbling of his spirit, once, perhaps, so lofty, fretful, and sensitive to suffering. These days of weariness and pain, these nights of sleeplessness and exhaustion, how slowly, how tediously they dray along! and yet not an impatient sigh, nor a murmuring breath, nor an unsubmissive expression breaks from the quivering lip. This is not natural—this is above nature. What but Divine and especial grace could effect it? Oh, how is the Son of God, in His fullness of grace and truth, glorified thereby!


“Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” Romans 7:13

NO child of God, if he is advancing in the divine life, but must mourn over his defective views of sin. The holier he grows, the more sensible he is of this: yes, may we not add, the deeper the view of his own vileness, the stronger the evidence of his growth in sanctification. A growing hatred of sin, of little sins, of great sins, of all sin—sin detected in the indwelling principle, as well as sin observable in the outward practice—oh, it is one of the surest symptoms of the onward progress of the soul in its spiritual course. The believer himself may not be sensible of it, but others see it; to him it may be like a retrograde, to an observer it is an evidence of advance. The child of God is not the best judge of his own spiritual growth. He may be rapidly advancing when not sensible of it; the tree may be growing downwards, it roots may be expanding and grasping more firmly the soil in which they are concealed, and yet the appearance of growth do not be very apparent. There is an inward, concealed, yet effectual growth of grace in the soul; the believer may not be sensible of it, and even others may overlook it, but God sees it: it is His own work, and He does not think meanly of it. God, in His gracious dealings with the believer, often works by contraries. He opens the eye of His child to the deep depravity of the heart, discloses to him the chamber of imagery, reveals to him the sin unthought of, unsuspected, unrepented, unconfessed, that lies deeply embedded there—and why? only to make His child more holy; to compel him to repair to the mercy-seat, there to cry, there to plead, there to wrestle for its subjection, its mortification, it crucifixion. And through this, as it were, circuitous process, the believer presses on to high and higher degrees of holiness. In this way, too, the believer earnestly seeks for humility, by a deep discovery which the Lord gives him of the pride of his heart—for meekness, by a discovery of petulance, for resignation to God’s will, by a sense of restlessness and impatience—and so on, through all the graces of the blessed Spirit. Thus there is a great growth in grace, when a believer’s views of sin’s exceeding sinfulness and the inward plague are deepening.

But how are these views of sin to be deepened? By constant, close views of the blood of Christ—realizing apprehensions of the atonement. This is the only glass through which sin is seen in its greater magnitude. Let the Christian reader, then, deal much and often with the blood of Christ. Oh! that we should need to be urged to this!—that once having bathed in the “fountain opened,” we should ever look to any other mode of healing, and of sanctification! For let it never be forgotten, that a child of God is as much called to live on Christ for sanctification as for pardon. “Sanctify them through your truth.” And who is the truth? Jesus Himself answers, “I am the truth.” Then we are to live on Jesus for sanctification: and happy and holy is he who thus lives on Jesus. The fullness of grace that is treasured up in Christ, why is it there? for the sanctification of His people—for the subduing of all their sins. Oh, do not forget, then, that He is the Refiner as well as the Savior—the Sanctifier as well as the Redeemer. Take your indwelling corruptions to Him; take the easy besetting sin, the weakness, the infirmity, of whatever nature it is, at once to Jesus: His grace can make you all that He would have you to be. Remember, too, that this is one of the great privileges of the life of faith; living on Christ for the daily subduing of all sin. This is the faith that purifies the heart, and it purifies by leading the believer to live out of himself upon Christ. To this blessed and holy life our Lord Jesus referred, when speaking of its necessity in order to the spiritual fruitfulness of the believer: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.”


“The Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:39

OUR Lord’s triumphant entrance into glory was the signal of the Holy Spirit’s descent. Scarcely had He crossed the threshold of the heavenly temple, the august ceremonies of His enthronement, amid the songs of adoring millions, had but just ceased, when the promise of the Father was fulfilled, and the orphan Church of Jerusalem was baptized with the Spirit from on high. Oh! how soon was that promise fulfilled! How soon did Jesus make good the pledges of His love! The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost transpired fifty days after Christ’s resurrection. Forty days He was seen of the disciples, “to whom He showed Himself alive after His passion, by many infallible proofs;” consequently but ten days elapsed from the period of His return to His kingdom before the Spirit came down in all the plenitude of His glorifying, witnessing, awakening, and sanctifying power! And why were even ten days allowed to intervene between the glorification of Jesus and the descent of the Spirit? Doubtless to place the Church in a state of preparedness to receive so vast, so holy, and so rich a blessing. The Lord would have them found in a posture suited to the mercy. It was that of prayer, of all postures this side of glory the most blessed and holy. Thus did the Spirit find them on the Day of Pentecost. Returning from the mount of Olivet, where they had caught the last glimpse of the receding form of their ascending Lord, they came to Jerusalem, and “went up into an upper room,” where abode the rest of the disciples. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” And while “they were all with one accord in one place,” breathing forth their souls in fervent petition, “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”

And now how manifestly and how illustriously was Jesus glorified—with what overpowering effulgence did His Godhead shine forth—how gloriously did He appear in the eyes of the awe-stricken multitude, wearing the crown, not of painful thorns, and invested with the robe, not of mock-majesty, but of His real Divinity! With what majestic mien and stately step would He now walk amid the assembled throng, the God confessed! And all this divine glory would be seen arrayed on the side of Redemption—its conquests would be those of Grace—its manifestations those of Love—its signals those of Mercy. Was it not so? See how they crowd the temple! Some, their hands scarcely cleansed from the blood they had been shedding on Calvary; others with the dark scowl of malignity yet lingering on their brows. Mark how intently they gaze! how breathlessly they listen! how fearfully they tremble! and with what anguish they smite upon their breasts, and cry, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Nor did the Spirit rest its triumph here; it paused not until it led three thousand heart-broken sinners to the Fountain which some of them had been instrumental in opening for “sin and uncleanness,” from thence to emerge washed, sanctified, and saved—the heirs of God, the joint-heirs with Christ Jesus. Now was Jesus glorified—now was a crown of pure gold placed upon His head—and now was fulfilled His own prophetic words, “At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and He in me, and I in you.”


“As you therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him: rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6, 7

BY simple, close, and crucifying views of the cross of Christ does the Spirit most effectually sanctify the believer. This is the true and great method of gospel sanctification. Here lies the secret of all real holiness, and, may I not add, of all real happiness. For, if we separate happiness from holiness, we separate that which, in the covenant of grace, God has wisely and indissolubly united. The experience of the true believer must testify to this. We are only happy as we are holy—as the body of sin is daily crucified, the power of the indwelling principle weakened, and the outward deportment more beautifully and closely corresponding to the example of Jesus. Let us not, then, look for a happy walk, apart from a holy one. Trials we may have; yes, if we are the Lord’s covenant ones, we shall have them, for He Himself has said, “in the world you shall have tribulation;” disappointments we may meet with—broken cisterns, thorny roads, wintry skies; but if we are walking in fellowship with God, dwelling in the light, growing up into Christ in all things, the Spirit of adoption witnessing within us, and leading to a filial and unreserved surrender—oh, there is happiness unspeakable, even though in the very depth of outward trial. A holy walk is a happy walk: this is God’s order, it is His appointment, and therefore must be wise and good.

Seek high attainments in holiness. Do not be satisfied with a low measure of grace, with a dwarfish religion, with just enough Christianity to admit you into heaven. Oh, how many are thus content—satisfied to leave the great question of their acceptance to be decided in another world, and not in this—resting upon some slight evidence, in itself faint and equivocal, perhaps a former experience, some impressions, or sensations, or transient joys, long since passed away; and thus they are content to live, and thus content to die. Dear reader, be you not satisfied with anything short of a present Christ, received, enjoyed, and lived upon. Forget the things that are behind—reach forth unto higher attainments in sanctification—seek to have the daily witness, daily communion with God; and for your own sake, for the sake of others, and for Christ’s sake, “give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.”


“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9

FAITH has something still more substantial and firm to rest upon than even the Divine asseverations of the truth, something superior to the averment of the promise—even the faithfulness of the Divine Promiser Himself. Here it is that faith has its stronghold—not the word of God merely, but the God of the word. God must be faithful because He is essentially true and immutable. “He cannot deny Himself.” “God that cannot lie.” “It is impossible for God to lie.” What asseverations of any truth can be stronger? And now, O believer, have faith in God, as true to His word, and faithful to His promise. Has the Spirit, the Comforter, caused your soul to rely upon His promises, to hope in His word? Have you nothing but the naked declaration to bear you up? Stand fast to this word, for God, who cannot lie, stands by to make it good. Have faith in His faithfulness. In doubting Him you cannot dishonor him more. If to discredit the word of man were an impeachment of his veracity, and that impeachment were the darkest blot that you could let fall upon his character; what must be the dishonor done to God by a poor sinful mortal distrusting His faithfulness, and questioning His truth! But “God is faithful.” Have faith in Him as such. He is engaged to perfect that which concerns you, to supply all your need, to guide your soul through the wilderness, to cover your head in the day of battle, and to conduct you to ultimate victory and rest. Oh, trust Him. It is all that He asks of you. Is it now with you a day of trouble? a season of pressure? Is your position perilous? Are your present circumstances embarrassed? Now is the time to trust in the Lord. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Oh, if God were to speak audibly to you at this moment, methinks these would be the words that He would utter: “Have faith in my faithfulness. Have I ever been untrue to my engagements, false to my word, forgetful of my covenant, neglectful of my people? Have I been a wilderness to you? What evil have you found in me, what untruth, what wavering, what instability, what change, that you do not now trust me in this the time of your need? Oh, let your soul be humbled that you should ever have doubted the veracity, have distrusted the faithfulness of your God.” But “if we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself.” “A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.”


“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:22—24

REGENERATION does not transform flesh into spirit. It proposes not to eradicate and expel the deep-seated root of our degenerate nature; but it imparts another and a superadded nature—it implants a new and an antagonistic principle. This new nature is divine; this new principle is holy: and thus the believer becomes the subject of two natures, and his soul a battle-field, upon which a perpetual conflict is going on between the law of the members and the law of the mind; often resulting in his temporary captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. Thus every spiritual mind is painfully conscious of the earthly tendency of his evil nature, and that from the flesh he can derive no sympathy or help, but rather everything that discourages, encumbers, and retards his spirit in its breathings and strugglings after holiness. A mournful sense of the seductive power of earthly things enters deeply into this state of mind. As we bear about with us, in every step, an earthly nature, it is not surprising that its affinities and sympathies should be earthly; that earthly objects should possess a magnetic influence, perpetually attracting to themselves whatever is congenial with their own nature in the soul of the renewed man. Our homeward path lies through a world captivating and ensnaring. The world, chameleon-like, can assume any color, and, Proteus-like, any shape, suitable to its purpose and answerable to its end. There is not a mind, a conscience, or a taste, to which it cannot accommodate itself. For the gross, it has sensual pleasures; for the refined, it has polished enjoyments; for the thoughtful, it has intellectual delights; for the enterprising, it has bold, magnificent schemes. The child of God feels this engrossing power; he is conscious of this seductive influence. Worldly applause—who is entirely proof against its power? Human adulation—who can resist its incense? Creature power—who is free from its captivation? Love of worldly ease and respectability, influence, and position—a liking to glide smoothly along the sunny tide of the world’s good opinion—who is clad in a coat of mail so impervious as to resist these attacks? Have not the mightiest fallen before them? Such are some only of the many ensnaring influences which weave themselves around the path of the celestial traveler, often extorting from him the humiliating acknowledgment—“My soul cleaves unto the dust.” In this category we may include things which, though they are in themselves of a lawful nature, are yet of an earthly tendency, deteriorative of the life of God in the soul. What heavenly mind is not sadly sensible of this? Our ever-foremost, sleepless, subtle foe stands by and says, “This is lawful, and you may freely and unrestrictedly indulge in it.” But another and a solemn voice is heard issuing from the sacred oracle of truth—“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient.” And yet how often are we forced to learn the lesson, that things lawful may, in their wrong indulgence and influence, become unlawful, through the spiritual leanness which they engender in the soul! Oh, it is a narrow path which conducts us back to Paradise. But our Lord and Master made it so; He Himself has trodden it, “leaving us an example that we should follow His steps;” and He, too, is sufficient for its straitness. Yes; such is the gravitating tendency to earth of the carnal nature within us, we are ever prone and ever ready, at each bland smile of the world, and at each verdant, sunny spot of the wilderness, to retire into the circle of self-complaisance and self-indulgence, and take up our rest where, from the polluted and unsatisfying nature of all earthly things, real rest can never be found. Thus may even lawful affections and lawful enjoyments, lawful pursuits and pleasures, wring the confession from the lips of a heavenly-minded man—“My soul cleaves unto the dust.”


“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

IN heaven we shall be freed from the in-being of evil, and be delivered from the tyranny of corruption. Sin, now our thrall, our torment, and our burden, will then enslave, distress, and oppress us no more. The chain which now binds us to the dead, loathsome body of our humiliation will be broken, and we shall be forever free! To you who cry, “O wretched man that I am!” who know the inward plague, and feel that there is not one moment of the day in which you do not come short of the Divine glory—whose heaviest burden, whose bitterest sorrow, whose deepest humiliation springs from the consciousness of sin—what a glorious prospect is this! “It does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” The absence of all evil, and the presence of all good, constitute elements of the heavenly state, which place its blessedness beyond the conception of the human mind. Assure me that in glory all the effects and consequences of the curse are done away—that the heart bleeds no more, that the spirit grieves no more, that temptation assails no more, that sickness and bereavement, separation and disappointment, are forms of suffering forever unknown—and let the Spirit bear His witness with my spirit, that I am a child of God, and a door is open to me in heaven, through which a tide of “joy unspeakable and full of glory” rushes in upon my soul. And this is heaven.

But heaven is not a place of negative blessedness merely. There is the positive presence of all good. “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” The soul is with Christ, in the presence of God, and in the complete enjoyment of all that He has from eternity prepared for those who love Him. All soul, all intellect, all purity, all love—“eye has not seen, nor ear heard” the inconceivable blessedness in the full ocean of which it now rejoices. Its society is genial, its employments are delightful, its joys are ever new. How deeply does it now drink of God’s everlasting love, with what wondering delight it now surveys the glory of Immanuel, how clearly it reads the mysterious volume of all the Divine conduct below, and how loud its deep songs of praise, as each new page unfolds the “height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of Christ,” which even then “passes knowledge”! Truly we may call upon the “saints to be joyful in glory.” Sing aloud, for you are now with Christ, you see God, and are beyond the region of sin, of pain, of tears, of death—“forever with the Lord.” But we cannot conceive, still less describe, the glorious prospects of believers; for “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” We shall soon go home, and experience it all. Then the eye will have seen, and the ear will have heard, and the heart will have realized, the things which from eternity God has laid up in Jesus, and prepared in the everlasting covenant for the poorest, meanest, feeblest child, whose heart faintly, yet sincerely, thrilled in a response of holy love to His.


“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1, 2

WHAT a ground of rejoicing have the saints of God! You may see within and around you—in your soul, in your family, and your circumstances—much that saddens, and wounds, and discourages you; but behold the truth which more than counterbalances it all—your freedom from condemnation. What if you are poor—you are not condemned. What if you are afflicted—you are not condemned! What if you are tempted—you are not condemned! What if you are assailed and judged by others, you yet are not forsaken and condemned by God; and ought you not then to rejoice? Go to the condemned cell, and assure the criminal awaiting his execution that you bear from his sovereign a pardon; and what, though he emerge from his imprisonment and his manacles to battle with poverty, with sorrow, and contempt, will he murmur and repine, that in the redemption of his forfeited life there is no clause that exempts him from the ills to which that life is linked? No! life to him is so sweet and precious a thing, that though you return it trammeled with want, and beclouded with shame, you have yet conferred upon him a boon which creates sunshine all within and around him. And why should not we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” for whom, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” there is now no condemnation? Christ has “redeemed our life from destruction;” and although it is “through much tribulation we are to enter the kingdom,” yet shall we not quicken our pace to that kingdom, rejoicing as we go, that “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”? “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Be earnest and diligent in making sure to yourself your discharge from the sentence and penalty of the law. Sue out the great fact in the Lord’s own court by fervent prayer and simple faith. Your Surety has cancelled your debt, and purchased your exemption from death. Avail yourself of the comfort and the stimulus of the blessing. You may be certain, yes, quite certain, of its truth. No process is more easy. It is but to look from off yourself to Christ, and to believe with all your heart that He came into the world to save sinners, and assurance is yours. The order is—“We believe, and are sure.” Oh, do not leave this matter to a bare peradventure. Make sure of your union with Christ, and you may be sure of no condemnation from Christ.


“Jesus says unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

NOT the least costly blessing, flowing from the vital power of the atoning blood, is the life and potency which it imparts to true prayer. The believer’s path to communion with God is called the “new and living way” because it is the way of the life-blood of the risen and living Savior. There could be no spiritual life in prayer but for the vitality in the atoning blood, which secures its acceptance. Not even could the Holy Spirit inspire the soul with one breath of true prayer, were not the atonement of the Son of God provided. Oh, how faintly do we know the wonders that are in, and the blessings that spring from, the life-procuring blood of our incarnate God! Touching the article of prayer—I approach to God, oppressed with sins, my heart crushed with sorrow, my spirit trembling; shame and confusion covering my face, my mouth dumb before Him. At that moment the blood of Jesus is presented, faith beholds it, faith receives it, faith pleads it! There is life and power in that blood, and lo! in an instant my trembling soul is enabled to take hold of God’s strength and be at peace with Him, and it is at peace. Of all the Christian privileges upon earth, none can surpass, none can compare with, the privilege of fellowship with God. And yet how restricted is this privilege in the experience of multitudes! And why? simply in consequence of their vague, imperfect, and contracted views of the connection of true prayer with the living blood of Jesus. And yet, oh, what nearness to, what communion with, the Father, may the meanest, the feeblest, the most unworthy child at all times and in all circumstances have, who simply and believingly makes use of the blood of Christ! You approach without an argument or a plea. You have many sins to confess, sorrows to unveil, many requests to urge, many blessings to crave; and yet the deep consciousness of your utter vileness, the remembrance of mercies abused, of base, ungrateful requitals made, seals your lips, and you are dumb before God. Your overwhelmed spirit exclaims, “Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.” And now the Holy Spirit brings atoning blood to your help. You see this to be the one argument, the only plea that can prevail with God. You use it—you urge it—you wrestle with it. God admits it, is moved by it, and you are blest! Let, then the life-power of the blood encourage you to cultivate more diligently habitual communion with God. With sinking spirits, with even discouragement and difficulty, you may approach His Divine Majesty, and converse with Him as with a Father, resting your believing eye where He rests His complacent eye—upon the blood of Jesus. Oh the blessedness, the power, the magic influence of prayer! Believer! you grasp the key that opens every chamber of God’s heart, when your tremulous faith takes hold of the blood of the covenant, and pleads it in prayer with God. It is impossible that God can then refuse you. The voice of the living blood pleads louder for you than all other voices can plead against you. Give yourself, then, unto prayer—this sacred charm of sorrow, this divine talisman of hope.


“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27

THE perfect harmony of the Old and the New Testament confirms our faith in the Divine authenticity of the Scriptures of truth. Upon what other ground can we account for this singular agreement of the Word with itself, and for this exact and literal fulfillment of its predictions, but on that of its Divinity? “Your word is truth” is the glorious and triumphant inference fairly deducible from a fact so striking and self-evident at this. And in what particular is this beautiful harmony especially seen? In exalting the Lamb of God. The Old and the New Testament Scriptures of truth do for Christ what Pilate and Herod did against Him—they confederate together. They unite in a holy alliance, in a sublime unity of purpose, to show forth the glory of the incarnate God. Divine book! Precious volume! Behold an illustration of what the Church of the living God should be—a transparent body, illumined with the glory of Immanuel, and scattering its beams of light and beauty over the surface of a lost and benighted world. How much does a perfect representation of the glory of the Redeemer by the Church depend upon her visible union! A mirror broken into a thousand fragments cannot reflect the glory of the sun with the same brilliancy, power, and effect as if a perfect whole. Neither can the Church of God, dismembered, divided, and broken, present to the world the same harmonious, convincing, and effective testimony to the glory of Jesus, as when, in her unimpaired oneness, she is seen “looking forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Oh then, by all that is precious in the name of Jesus, by all that is sanctifying in His glory, and attractive in His cross, by all that is sweet and persuasive in Christian love, by all that is solemn in the near approach of death and eternity, and by all that is blissful in the hope of eternal life, springing from the one atonement, reader, seek to promote the visible unity of Christ’s Church. Resolve beneath the cross, and by the grace of God, that you will not be a hindrance to the accomplishment of so blessed, so holy an end. Hold the faith with a firm hand, but hold it in righteousness. Speak the truth with all boldness, but speak it in love. Concede to others what you claim for yourself—the right of private judgment, and the free exercise of an enlightened conscience. And where you see the image of Jesus reflected, the love of Jesus influencing, and the glory of Jesus simply and solely sought, there extend your hand, proffer your heart, breathe your blessing and your prayer. Oh, this were to be like Christ; and to be like Christ is grace below and glory above!


“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

A SPIRITUAL and continued contemplation of the Redeemer’s humiliation supplies a powerful check to sin. What is every sin committed, but opening afresh the wounds, and reacting anew the humiliation, of Jesus? Oh, how hateful must that sin appear in our serious moments, which shut out the sun of God’s countenance from the soul of Christ, and sank Him to such inconceivable depths of humiliation! We need every view of divine truth calculated to sanctify. At present, the deepest sanctification of the believer is imperfect; his loftiest soarings towards holiness never reaching the goal. And yet to be ever thirsting, panting, wrestling, and aiming after it, should be classed among our highest mercies. We too much forget this truth, that the thirsting for holiness is as much the Holy Spirit’s creation, as it is His work to quench that thirst. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness;” or, blessed are they who have the desire for Divine conformity, who long to know Christ, and to resemble Christ more perfectly. They may never reach the mark, yet ever pressing towards it—they may never attain to their standard, yet ever aiming for it, they are truly blessed. Here, then, is one powerful means of attaining to holiness—the spiritual eye brought in close and frequent contact with the lowly life of God’s dear Son. But for our sins, His mind had never been shaded with clouds, His heart had never been wrung with sorrow, His eye had never been bedewed with tears, He had never suffered and died, had never known the wrath of an offended God. How fraught with soothing and consolation is this subject to the bereaved and tried believer! It tells you, weeping mourner, that having drained His wrath, and poured it on the head of your Surety, nothing is reserved for you in the heart of God but the deep fountain of tender mercy and loving-kindness. Then where springs your present trial, but from the loving heart of your Father? In the life of Jesus all was humiliation; in the life of the believer all is glory; and all this glory springs from the headship of Christ. In every step that He trod, he is one with Him—the only difference being that Jesus changes positions with the believer, and thus what was bitter to Him becomes sweet to us; what was dark to Him appears light to us; and what was His ignominy and shame becomes our highest honor and glory.

Humbling as may be the way God is now leading you, forget not that the great end is to bring you into a fellowship with Christ’s humiliation—into a more realizing oneness with your tried head. How contracted were the believer’s view of, and how limited his sympathy with, the abasement of God’s dear Son, but for the humiliation of His life, but for the way the Lord leads him about in order to humble him! To be brought into sympathy with you in all the gloomy stages of your journey, “He humbled Himself;” and that this feeling might be reciprocal, bringing you into a sympathy with the dark stages of His life, He humbles you. But deep as your present humiliation may be, you cannot sink so low but you will find He sunk yet lower, and is therefore able to sustain and bear you up. “I was brought low, and He helped me.” Never can Christians sink beneath the everlasting arms; they will always be underneath you. You may be sorely tried—painfully bereaved—fearfully tempted—deeply wounded. Saints and sinners, the Church and the world, may each contribute some bitter ingredient to your cup; nevertheless, the heart of Jesus is a pavilion within whose sacred enclosure you may repose until these calamities be overpast. Your greatest extremity can never exceed His power or sympathy, because He has gone before His people, and has endured what they never shall endure. Behold what glory thus springs from the humiliation and sufferings of our adorable Redeemer!


“Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

THERE is an external and an internal call of the Spirit. The external call is thus alluded to: “I have called, and you refused;” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This outward call of the Spirit is made in various ways. In the word, in the glorious proclamation of the gospel, through the providences of God—those of mercy and those of judgment—the warnings of ministers, the admonitions of friends, and, not less powerful, the awakening of the natural conscience. By these means does the Holy Spirit “call sinners to repentance.” In this sense, every man who hears the gospel, who is encircled with the means of grace, and who bears about with him a secret but ever-faithful monitor, is called by the Spirit. The existence of this call places the sinner in an attitude of fearful responsibility; and the rejection of this call exposes him to a still more fearful doom. God has never poured out His wrath upon man, without first extending the olive-branch of peace. Mercy has invariably preceded judgment. “I have called, and you have refused.” “All day long I have stretched forth my hands.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He reasons, He argues, He expostulates with the sinner. “Come, let us reason together,” is His invitation. He instructs, and warns, and invites; He places before the mind the most solemn considerations, urged by duty and interest; He presses His own claims, and appeals to the individual interests of the soul; but all seems ineffectual. Oh, what a view does this give us of the patience of God toward the rebellious! That He should stretch out his hand to a sinner—that instead of wrath, there should be mercy—instead of cursing, there should be blessing—that, instead of instant punishment, there should be the patience and forbearance that invites, and allures, and reasons!”—Oh, who is a God like unto our God? “I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.”

But there is the special, direct, and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain. God says, “I will put my Spirit within them.” Christ says, “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” And in the following passages reference is made to the effectual operation of God the Spirit. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.” “The word of God which effectually works in you that believe.” Thus, through the instrumentality of the truth, the Spirit is represented as effectually working in the soul. When He called before, there was no inward, supernatural, secret power accompanying the call to the conscience. Now there is an energy put forth with the call, which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul, and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Mark the blessed effects. The scales fell from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undone—without pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! “What shall I do to be saved?” is his cry: “I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, is hell!—and were God now to send me there, just and right would He be.” But, blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on, and completes it. Presently He leads him to the cross of Jesus—unveils to his eye of glimmering faith a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Savior—and yet a Savior with outstretched arms! That Savior speaks—oh, did ever music sound so melodious?—“All this I do for you—this cross for you—these sufferings for you—this blood for you—these stretched-out arms for you. Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest—Him that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out—Look unto me, and be you saved—only believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Are you low sunk? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with you—no price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to me, just as you are, poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die.” “Lord, I believe,” exclaims the poor convinced soul, “Help You mine unbelief.” You are just the Savior that I want. I wanted one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my poverty—I wanted one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved grace—I have found Him whom my soul loves—and will be His through time, and His through eternity.” Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His especial, direct, and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvelous light. “I will work,” says God, “and who shall let it?” (marg. turn it back.)


“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might though the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed from day to day.” 2 Corinthians 4:15, 16

CHRISTIAN sufferer! you marvel why the Lord keeps you so long upon the couch of solitariness and upon the bed of languishing—why the “earthly house of this tabernacle” should be taken down by continued and pining sickness, the corrodings of disease, and the gradual decay of strength. Hush every reasoning, anxious, doubtful thought. Your heavenly Father has so ordained it. He who built the house, and whose the house is, has a right to remove it by what process He sees fit. The mystery of His present conduct will, before long, be all explained. Yes, faith and love can even explain it now—“Even so, Father, for so it seems good in Your sight!” Yours is an honorable and a responsible post. God has still a work for you to do. You have been waiting year by year, in the quietness of holy submission, the summons to depart. But God has lengthened out your period of weariness and of suffering, for the work is not done in you and by you, to effect which this sickness was sent. Oh, what a witness for God may you now be! What a testimony for Christ may you now bear! What sermons—converting the careless, confirming the wavering, restoring the wandering, comforting the timid—may your conversation and your example now preach from that sick bed! And oh, for what higher degrees of glory may God, through this protracted illness, be preparing you! That there are degrees of glory in heaven, as there are degrees of suffering in hell, and degrees of grace on earth, admits of not a doubt. “As one star differs from another star in glory,” so does one glorified saint differ from another. Will there be the absence in heaven of that wondrous variety of proportion which throws such a charm and beauty around the beings and the scenery of earth? Doubtless not. Superior grace below is preparing for superior glory above. And the higher our attainments in holiness here, the loftier our summit of blessedness hereafter. For these high degrees of heavenly happiness your present lengthened sickness may, by God’s grace, be preparing you. Sanctified by the Spirit of holiness, the slow fire is but the more perfectly refining; and the more complete the refinement on earth, the more perfectly will the sanctified soul mirror forth the Divine Sun in heaven. Be, then, your beautiful patience of spirit, meek and patient sufferer, increasingly that of the Psalmist, “I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”


“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.” John 15:26

WITH regard to the spiritual sorrows of a child of God—those peculiar only to a believer in Jesus—we believe that a revelation of Jesus is the great source of comfort to which the Spirit leads the soul. Here is the true source of comfort. What higher comfort need we? What more can we have? This is enough to heal every wound, to dry up every tear, to assuage every grief, to lighten every cross, to fringe with brightness every dark cloud, and to make the roughest place smooth—that a believing soul has Jesus. Having Jesus, what has a believer? He has the entire blotting out of all his sins. Is not this a comfort? Tell us, what can give comfort to a child of God apart from this? If this fail, where can he look? Will you tell him of the world—of its many schemes of enjoyment—of its plans for the accumulation of wealth—of its domestic happiness? Wretched sources of comfort to an awakened soul! Poor empty channels to a man made acquainted with the inward plague! That which he needs to know is the sure payment of the ten thousand talents—the entire cancelling of the bond held against him by stern justice—the complete blotting out, as a thick cloud, of all his iniquity. And, until this great fact is made sure and certain to his conscience, all other comfort is but as a dream of boyhood, a shadow that vanishes, a vapor that melts away. But the Holy Spirit comforts the believer by leading him to this blessed truth—the full pardon of sin. This is the great controversy which Satan has with the believer. To bring him to doubt the pardon of sin, to unhinge the mind from this great fact, is the constant effort of this arch-enemy. And, when unbelief is powerful, and inbred sin is strong, and outward trials are many and sore, and, in the midst of it all, the single eye is removed from Christ, then is the hour of Satan to charge home upon the conscience of the believer all the iniquity he ever committed. And how does the blessed Spirit comfort at that moment? By unfolding the greatness, perfection, and efficacy of the one offering by which Jesus has forever blotted out the sins of His people, and perfected those who are sanctified. Oh, what comfort does this truth speak to a fearful, troubled, anxious believer, when, the Spirit working faith in his heart, he can look up, and see all his sins laid upon Jesus in the solemn hour of atonement, and no condemnation remaining! Dear child of God! poor, worthless as you feel yourself to be, this truth is even for you. Oh, rise to it, welcome it, embrace it, think it not too costly for one so unworthy. It comes from the heart of Jesus, and cannot be more free. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Having Jesus, what has the believer more?

He possesses a righteousness in which God views him complete and accepted, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Is not this a comfort? To stand “complete in Him”—in the midst of many and conscious imperfections, infirmities, flaws, and proneness to wander, yet for the sorrowing and trembling heart to turn and take up its rest in this truth, “that he that believes is justified from all things,” and stands accepted in the Beloved, to the praise of the glory of Divine grace, what a comfort! That God beholds him in Jesus without a spot, because He beholds His Son, in whom He is well pleased, and viewing the believing soul in Him can say, “You are all fair, my love; there is no spot in you”! The blessed Comforter conveys this truth to the troubled soul, brings it to take up its rest in it; and, as the believer realizes his full acceptance in the righteousness of Christ, and rejoices in the truth, he weeps as he never wept, and mourns as he never mourned, over the perpetual bias of his heart to wander from a God that has so loved him. The very comfort poured into his soul from this truth lays him in the dust, and draws out the heart in ardent breathings for holiness.


“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16

THE term is forensic—employed in judicial affairs, transacted in a court of judicature. We find an illustration of this in God’s word. “If there be a controversy between men, and they come into judgment, that the judge may judge them, then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” It is clear from this passage that the word stands opposed to a state of condemnation, and in this sense it is employed in the text under consideration. To justify, in its proper and fullest sense, is to release from all condemnation. Now, it is important that we do not mix up this doctrine, and the Church of Rome has done, with other and kindred doctrines. We must clearly distinguish it from that of sanctification. Closely connected as they are, they yet entirely differ. The one is a change of state, the other a change of condition. By the one we pass from guilt to righteousness, by the other we pass from sin to holiness. In justification we are brought near to God; in sanctification we are made like God. The one places us before Him in a condition of non-condemnation; the other transforms us into His image. Yet the Church of Rome blends the two states together, and in her formularies teaches an imputed sanctification, just as the Bible teaches an imputed justification. It is to be distinguished, too, from pardon. Justification is a higher act. By the act of pardon we are saved from hell; but by the decree of justification we are brought to heaven. The one discharges the soul from punishment; the other places in its hand a title-deed to glory.

The Lord Jesus Christ is emphatically the justification of all the predestined and called people of God. “By Him all that believe are justified from all things.” The antecedent step was to place Himself in the exact position of His Church. In order to do this, it was necessary that He should be made under the law; for, as the Son of God, He was above the law, and could not therefore be amenable to its precept. But when He became the Son of man, it was as though the sovereign of a vast empire had relinquished his regal character for the condition of the subject. He, who was superior to all law, by His mysterious incarnation placed Himself under the law. He, who was the King of Glory, became by His advent the meanest of subjects. What a stoop was this! What a descending of the Son of God from the height of His glory! The King of kings, the Lord of lords, consenting to be brought under His own law, a subject to Himself, the Law-giver becoming the law-fulfiller. Having thus humbled Himself, He was prepared, as the sacrificial Lamb, to take up and bear away the sins of His people. The prophecy that predicted that He should “bear their iniquities,” and that He should “justify many,” received in Him its literal and fullest accomplishment. Thus upon Jesus were laid all the iniquities, and with the iniquities the entire curse, and added to the curse, the full penalty, belonging to the Church of God. This personal and close contact with sin affected not His moral nature; for that was essentially sinless, and could receive no possible taint from His bearing our iniquity. He was accounted “accursed,” even as was Israel’s goat, when upon its head Aaron laid the sins of the people; but as that imputation of sin could not render the animal to whom it was transferred morally guilty, though by the law treated as such, so the bearing of sin by Christ could not for a single instant compromise His personal sanctity. With what distinctness has the Spirit revealed, and with what strictness has He guarded, the perfect sinlessness of the atoning Savior! “He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Oh blessed declaration to those who not only see the sin that dwells in them, but who trace the defilement of sin in their holiest things, and who lean alone for pardon upon the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God! To them, how encouraging and consolatory the assurance that there is a sinless One who, coming between a holy God and their souls, is accepted in their stead, and in whom they are looked upon as righteous! And this is God’s method of justification.


“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.” Romans 3:24, 25

By a change of place with the Church, Christ becomes the “Lord our Righteousness,” and we are “made the righteousness of God in Him.” There is the transfer of sin to the innocent, and, in return, there is the transfer of righteousness to the guilty. In this method of justification, no violence whatever is done to the moral government of God. So far from a shade obscuring its glory, that glory beams forth with an effulgence which must have remained forever veiled, but for the redemption of man by Christ. God never appears so like Himself as when He sits in judgment upon the person of a sinner, and determines his standing before Him upon the ground of that satisfaction to His law rendered by the Son of God in the room and stead of the guilty. Then does He appear infinitely holy, yet infinitely gracious; infinitely just, yet infinitely merciful. Love, as if it had long been panting for an outlet, now leaps forth and embraces the sinner; while justice, holiness, and truth gaze upon the wondrous spectacle with infinite complacence and delight. And shall we not pause and bestow a thought of admiration and gratitude upon Him, who was constrained to stand in our place of degradation and woe, that we might stand in His place of righteousness and glory? What wondrous love! what stupendous grace! that He should have been willing to have taken upon Him our sin, and curse, and woe! The exchange to Him how humiliating! He could only raise us by Himself stooping. He could only emancipate us by wearing our chain. He could only deliver us from death by Himself dying. He could only invest us with the spotless robe of His pure righteousness by wrapping around Himself the leprous mantle of our sin and curse. Oh, how precious ought He to be to every believing heart! What affection, what service, what sacrifice, what devotion, He deserves at our hands! Lord, incline my heart to yield itself supremely to You! But in what way does this great blessing of justification become ours? In other words, what is the instrument by which the sinner is justified? The answer is at hand, in the text, “through faith in His blood.” Faith, and faith alone, makes this righteousness of God ours. “By Him all that believe are justified.” And why is it solely and exclusively by faith? The answer is at hand, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Were justification through any other medium than by believing, then the perfect freeness of the blessing would not be secured. The expressions are, “Justified freely by His grace;” that is, gratuitously—absolutely for nothing. Not only was God in no sense whatever bound to justify the sinner, but the sovereignty of His law, as well as the sovereignty of His love, alike demanded that, in extending to the sinner the greatest boon of His government, He should do so upon no other principle than as a perfect act of grace on the part of the Giver, and as a perfect gratuity on the part of the recipient—having “nothing to pay.” Therefore, whatever is associated with faith in the matter of the sinner’s justification—whether it be baptism, or any other rite, or any work or condition performed by the creature—renders the act entirely void and of none effect. The justification of the believing sinner is as free as the God of love and grace can make it.


“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5

THE utter impossibility of the sinner’s admission into heaven with the carnal mind unchanged is most clear. Suppose an opposite case. Imagine an unrenewed soul suddenly transported to heaven. In a moment it finds itself in the light and holiness and presence of God. What a scene of wonder, purity, and glory has burst upon its gaze! But, awful fact! horror of horrors! it is confronted face to face with its great enemy—the God it hated, loathed, and denied! Is it composed? Is it at home? Is it happy? Impossible! It enters the immediate presence of the Divine Being, its heart rankling with the virus of deadly hate, and its hand clutching the uplifted weapon. It carries its sworn malignity and its drawn sword to the very foot of the throne of the Eternal. “Take me hence,” it exclaims, “this is not my heaven!” And then it departs to its “own place.” But we are supposing an impossible case. For it is written of the heavenly city, “There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie; but they who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Listen to the declaration of the Great Teacher sent from God—“except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Ask you what this new birth means? We reply, you must become a new creature in Christ Jesus. You must ground your arms before the Eternal God of heaven and earth. You must give up the quarrel. You must relinquish the controversy. You must cease to fight against God. You must submit to the law and government of Jehovah. Your will must bow to God’s will. Your heart must beat in unison with God’s heart. Your mind must harmonize with God’s mind. Implacable hatred must give place to adoring love—deep ungodliness to a nature breathing after holiness—stern opposition to willing obedience—the creature to the Creator—yourself to God. Oh blissful moment! when the controversy ceases, and God and your soul are at agreement through Christ Jesus. When, dropping the long-raised weapon, you grasp His outstretched hand, and rush into His expanded arms, fall a lowly, believing penitent upon His loving bosom, take hold of His strength, and are at peace with Him. Oh, happy moment! No more hatred, no more enmity, no more opposition now! It is as though all heaven had come down and entered your soul—such joy, such peace, such love, such assurance, such hope do you experience! What music now floats from these words, “No condemnation in Christ Jesus”! How blessed now to lean upon the breast which once you hated, and find it a pillow of love; to meet the glance which once you shunned, and find it the expression of forgiveness; to feel at home in the presence of Him to whom once you said, “Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of Your ways”!

What an evidence of the reign of grace in the soul, when the mind fully acquiesces in the moral government of God! “The Lord God omnipotent reigns” is the adoring anthem of every heart brought into subjection to the law of God. To the Christian how composing is the thought, that the government is upon Christ’s shoulders, and that He sits upon the throne judging right. From hostility to the law of God, his heart is now brought to a joyful acquiescence in its precepts, and to a deep delight in its nature. “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” “O Lord,” he exclaims, “my holiness is in submission to Your authority. My happiness flows from doing and suffering Your will. I rejoice that the scepter is in Your hands, and I desire that the thoughts of my mind and the affections of my heart may be brought into perfect obedience to Yourself. Be my soul Your kingdom, by my heart Your throne, and let grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life.”


“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

NOT only is Jesus the actual, but He is also the relative life of the believer—the life of his pardon and acceptance. See it in reference to the blood of Immanuel. It is the blood of Him who was essential life. And, although springing from His pure humanity, essential life gave it all its virtue and its power. The resurrection of Jesus confirmed forever the infinite value and sovereign efficacy of His atoning blood. Oh what virtue has it now, flowing from the life of Jesus! It has removed transgression to the distance of infinity, and for ever from the Church. Washed whiter than snow, forgiven all iniquity, blotted out all sin, the believer stands before God a pardoned soul. And, oh! what life does he find in the constant application to his conscience of the atoning blood! One drop, what peace does it give! what confidence does it inspire! what vigor does it impart to faith, and power to prayer, and cheerfulness to obedience! Oh, it is living blood. He who spilt it lives to plead it, lives to apply it, lives to sustain its virtue, until there shall be no more sins to cancel, and no more sinners to save. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin,” and “speaks better things than the blood of Abel,” because it possesses undying life. Behold then, beloved, how manifestly is Jesus the life of your pardon. Oh! as fresh, as efficacious, as precious is that blood at this moment as when it spring warm and gushing from the pierced side of the glorious Redeemer. It is life-giving and life-sustaining blood. Here we see the antitype of the “living bird dipped in the blood of the bird slain,” and then suffered to go free, suspended mid-heaven upon the wing of unrestricted and joyous life. As the living bird bore upon its plumage the crimson symbol of atonement—death and life thus strangely blended—what was the glorious gospel truth it shadowed forth, but the close and indissoluble union of the pardoning blood with the resurrection life of our incarnate God? And, O believer, lose not sight of the deep significance of the “running water” over which the bird was slain. That flowing stream was the image of the perpetual life of the blood of Jesus. And it bids you, in language too expressive to misunderstand, and too persuasive to resist, to draw near and wash. Glorious truth that it teaches! Precious privilege that it enforces!—the repeated, the perpetual going to Immanuel’s atoning, life-giving, life-sustaining blood, thus keeping the conscience clean and at peace with God.

My beloved reader, no experimental and practical truth does this work enforce of greater moment, of more precious nature, and more closely interwoven with your happy, holy walk than this. Your peace of mind—your confidence in God—your thirsting for holiness—your filial access—your support in the deepest trial—spring from your soul’s constant repose beneath the cross. What is your present case? what is the sin that wounds your spirit? what the guilt that burdens your conscience? what the grief that bows your heart? what the fearfulness and trembling that agitate and rock your mind? what gives you anxious days and sleepless nights? See yonder stream! It is crimson, it is flowing, it is vivifying with the life-blood of Jesus. Repair to it by faith. Go now—go at this moment. Have you gone before? go yet again. Have you bathed in it once? bathe in it yet again. See! it is a “running stream.” Cast your sin, your guilt, your burden, your sorrow upon its bosom; it shall bear it away, never, never more to be found. Oh, deal closely with the atoning, life-giving blood! When you do rise in the morning, and when you do lie down at night, wash in the blood. When you go to duties, and when you come from duties, wash in the blood. When your deepest sigh has been heaved, when your holiest tear has been shed, when your most humbling confession has been made, when your sincerest resolution has been formed, when your solemn covenant has been renewed, when body, soul, and spirit have again been fully, freely, unreservedly dedicated—wash in the blood. When you draw near to the Holy Lord God, and spread out your case before Him, plead the blood. When Satan accuses, and conscience condemns, when death terrifies, and judgment alarms, flee to the blood. Oh! nothing, save the atoning blood of the spotless Lamb, gives you acceptance at any moment with God. And this, at any moment, will conduct you into the secret chamber of His presence, and bow His ear and heart to your faintest whisper and to your deepest want.


“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.” Romans 10:4

BEHOLD, what an open door does this subject set before the humble, convinced sinner. It encircles the whole future of his being with the covenant bow of hope. Beneath its gorgeous and expanding arch he is safe. The law, now honored as it never was before, invested with a luster in view of which its former glory pales, and at the brightness of which angels veil their faces, the utmost glory brought to the Divine government, do you think, penitent reader, that the Lord will reject the application of a single sinner who humbly asks to be saved? What! after the Son of God had stooped so low to save the lowest, had suffered so much to save the vilest, will the Father refuse to enfold to His reconciled heart the penitent who flees to its blessed asylum? Never! Approach, then, bowed and broken, weary and burdened spirit. There is hope for you in Jesus, there is forgiveness for you in Jesus, there is acceptance for you in Jesus, there is rest for you in Jesus, there is a heaven of bliss and glory awaiting you—all in Jesus, the law’s great fulfiller. Oh, how welcome will the heart of Christ make you! How full and free will be the pardon of God extended to you! How deep and rich the peace, and joy, and hope, which, like a river, will roll its gladdening waves into your soul the moment that you receive Christ into your heart! “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” “He that believes shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”

Saints of God, keep the eye of your faith intently and immovably fixed upon Christ, your sole pattern. Our Lord did not keep that law that His people might be lawless. He did not honor that law that they might dishonor its precepts. His obedience provided no license for our disobedience. His fulfillment releases us not from the obligation—the sweet and pleasant, yet solemn obligation—to holiness of life. Our faith does not make void the law, but rather establishes the law. The “righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us” when we “walk after the Spirit,” in lowly conformity to Christ’s example. Was He meek and lowly in heart? Did He bless when cursed? Did He, when reviled, revile not again? Did He walk in secret with God? Did He always seek to do those things which pleased His Father? Did He live a life of faith, and prayer, and toil? So let us imitate Him, that of us it may be said, “These are they who follow the Lamb withersoever He goes.” What richer comfort can flow into the hearts of the godly than that which springs from this truth? “The righteousness of the law fulfilled in us.” What wondrous, blessed words! You are often in fear that the righteousness of the law will rise against you; and when you consider your many failures and short-comings, you justly tremble. But fear not; for in Christ the law is perfectly fulfilled, and fulfilled in your stead, as much as if you had obeyed in your own person. Is not this a sure ground of comfort? You see the imperfection of your own obedience, and you are alarmed; but have you not an eye also for the perfection of Christ’s obedience, which He has made yours by imputation? “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus,” because He has fulfilled the law’s righteousness in their behalf. You are cast down because of the law of sin, but the Spirit of life has freed you from the law. You are troubled because of the law of God, but that law, by Christ’s perfect obedience, is fulfilled in you. You desire a righteousness that will present you without spot before God; you have it in Him who is the “Lord our righteousness.” Christian! Christ’s whole obedience is yours. What can sin, or Satan, or conscience, or the law itself allege against you now? Be humble, and mourn over the many flaws and failures in your obedience; yet withal rejoice, and glory, and make your boast in the fullness, perfection, and unchangeableness of that righteousness on the Incarnate God which will place you without fault before the throne.

Sinner! if the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled in you now, that righteousness will be exhibited in your just condemnation to all eternity! Flee to Christ Jesus, “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.”


“For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

BUT imperfectly, perhaps, beloved reader, are you aware of the high privilege to which you are admitted, and of the great glory conferred upon you, in being identified with Jesus in His life of humiliation. This is one of the numerous evidences by which your adoption into the family of God is authenticated, and by which your union with Christ is confirmed. It may be you are the subject of deep poverty—your circumstances are straitened, your resources are limited, your necessities are many and pressing. Perhaps you are the “man that has known affliction;” sorrow has been your constant and intimate companion; you have become “acquainted with grief.” The Lord has been leading you along a path of painful humiliation. You have been “emptied from vessel to vessel.” He has brought you down, and laid you low; step by step, and yet, oh, how wisely and how gently, He has been leading you deeper and yet deeper into the valley! But why all this leading about? why this emptying? why this descending? Even to bring you into a union and communion with Jesus in His life of humiliation! Is there a step in your abasement that Jesus has not trodden with you—ah! and trodden before you? Is there a sin that He has not carried, a cross that He has not borne, a sorrow that has not affected Him, and infirmity that has not touched Him? Even so will He cause you to reciprocate this sympathy, and have fellowship with Him in His sufferings. As the Head did sympathize with the body, so must the body sympathize with the Head. Yes, the very same humiliation which you are now enduring the Son of God has before endured. And that you might learn something what that love and grace and power were which enabled Him to pass through it all, He pours a little drop in your cup, places a small part of the cross upon your shoulder, and throws a slight shadow on your soul! Yes, the very sufferings you are now enduring are, in a faint and limited degree, the sufferings of Christ. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you,” says the apostle, “and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His body’s sake, which is the Church.” There is a two-fold sense in which Jesus may be viewed as a sufferer. He suffered in His own person as the Mediator of His Church; those sufferings were vicarious and complete, and in that sense He can suffer no morel “for by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” The other now presents Him as suffering in His members: in this sense Christ is still a sufferer; and although not suffering to the same degree, or for the same end, as He once did, nevertheless He who said, “Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?” is identified with the Church in all its sufferings; in all her afflictions, He being afflicted. The apostle therefore terms the believer’s present sufferings the “afflictions of Christ.”


“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Timothy 2:11, 12

BEHOLD, then, your exalted privilege, you suffering sons of God! See how the glory beams around you, you humble and afflicted ones! You are one with the Prince of sufferers, and the Prince of sufferers is one with you! Oh! to be one with Christ—what tongue can speak, what pen can describe the sweetness of the blessing, and the greatness of the grace? To sink with Him in His humiliation here is to rise with Him in His exaltation hereafter. To share with Him in His abasement on earth is to blend with Him in His glory in heaven. To suffer shame and ridicule, persecution and distress, poverty and loss for Him now, is to wear the crown, and wave the palm, to swell the triumph, and shout the song, when He shall descend the second time in glory and majesty, to raise His Bride from the scene of her humiliation, robe her for the marriage, and make her manifestly and eternally His own.

Oh! laud His great name for all the present conduct of His providence and grace. Praise Him for all the wise though affecting discoveries He gives you of yourself, of the creature, of the world. Blessed, ah! truly blessed and holy is the discipline that prostrates your spirit in the dust. There it is that He reveals the secret of His own love, and draws apart the veil of His own loveliness. There it is that He brings the soul deeper into the experience of His sanctifying truth; and, with new forms of beauty and expressions of endearment, allures the heart, and takes a fresh possession of it for Himself. And there, too, it is that the love, tenderness, and grace of the Holy Spirit are better known. As a Comforter, as a Revealer of Jesus, we are, perhaps, more fully led into an acquaintance with the work of the Spirit in seasons of soul-abasement than at any other time. The mode and time of His divine manifestation are thus beautifully predicted: “He shall come down like rain on the mown grass; as showers that water the earth.” Observe the gentleness, the silence, and the sovereignty of His operation—“He shall come down like rain.” How characteristic of the blessed Spirit’s grace! Then mark the occasion on which He descends—it is at the time of the soul’s deep prostration. The waving grass is mowed—the lovely flower is laid low—the fruitful stem is broken—that which was beautiful, fragrant, and precious is cut down—the fairest first to fade, the loveliest first to die, the fondest first to depart; then, when the mercy is gone, and the spirit is bowed, when the heart is broken, the mind is dejected, and the world seems clad in wintry desolation and gloom, the Holy Spirit, in all the softening, reviving, comforting, and refreshing influence of His grace, descends, speaks of the beauty of Jesus, leads to the grace of Jesus, lifts the bowed soul, and reposes it on the bosom of Jesus.

Precious and priceless, then, beloved, are the seasons of a believer’s humiliation. They tell of the soul’s emptiness, of Christ’s fullness; of the creature’s insufficiency, of Christ’s all-sufficiency; of the world’s poverty, of Christ’s affluence; they create a necessity which Jesus supplies, a void which Jesus fills, a sorrow which Jesus soothes, a desire which Jesus satisfies. They endear the cross of the incarnate God, they reveal the hidden glory of Christ’s humiliation, they sweeten prayer, and lift the soul to God; and then, “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” Are you as a bruised flower? are you as a broken stem? Does some heavy trial now bow you in the dust? Oh never, perhaps, were you so truly beautiful—never did your grace send forth such fragrance, or your prayers ascend with so sweet an odor—never did faith, and hope, and love develop their hidden glories so richly, so fully as now! In the eye of a wounded, a bruised, and a humbled Christ, you were never more lovely, and to His heart never more precious than now—pierced by His hand, smitten by His rod, humbled by His chastisement, laid low at His feet, condemning yourself, justifying Him, taking to yourself all the shame, and ascribing to Him all the glory.


“Now he which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22

IT is, and has long been, the solemn conviction of the writer, that much of the spiritual darkness, the little comfort and consolation, the dwarfish piety, the harassing doubts and fears, the imperfect apprehensions of Jesus, the feeble faith, the sickly, drooping state of the soul, the uncertainty of their full acceptance in Christ, which mark so many of the professing people of God in this our day, may be traced to the absence of a deep sealing of the Spirit. Resting satisfied with the faint impression in conversion, with the dim views they then had of Christ, and the feeble apprehension of their acceptance and adoption, is it any marvel that all their lifetime they should be in bondage through slavish doubts and fears?—that they should never attain to the “stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus”—that they should never rise to the humble boldness, the unwavering confidence, the blest assurance, and the holy dignity of the sons of God? Oh no! They rest short of this blessing. They hang upon the door of the ark—they remain upon the border of the goodly land, and not entering fully in, the effects are as we have described. But, beloved reader, the richest ore lies buried the deepest—the sweetest fruit is on the higher branches—the strongest light is near the sun. In other words, if we desire more knowledge of Christ—of our full pardon, and complete acceptance—if we desire the earnest of our inheritance, and even now would taste the “grapes of Eshcol,” we must be “reaching forth unto those things that are before,” we must “press toward the mark,” and rest not until that is found in a clear, unclouded, immoveable, and holy assurance of our being in Christ; and this is only experienced in the sealing of the Spirit. Again we say, with all the earnestness which a growing sense of the vastness of the blessing inspires, seek to be sealed of the Spirit—seek the “earnest of the Spirit”— seek to be “filled with the Spirit”—seek the “anointing of the Spirit”—seek the “Spirit of adoption.” Say not, it is too immense a blessing, to high an attainment for one so small, so feeble, so obscure, so unworthy as you. Oh, impeach not thus the grace of God. All His blessings are the bestowments of grace; and grace means free favor to the most unworthy. There is not one lowly, weeping eye that falls on this page, but may, under the blessed sealing of the Spirit, look up through Jesus to God as a Father. Low views of self, deep consciousness of vileness, poverty of state or of spirit, are no objections with God, but rather strong arguments that prevail with Him why you should have the blessing. Only ask—only believe—only persevere, and you shall attain unto it. It is in the heart of the Spirit to seal “unto the day of redemption” all that believe in Jesus. May it be in the heart of the reader to desire the blessing, seeing it is so freely and richly offered!

Reader, whose superscription do you bear? It may be your reply is—“I want Christ; I secretly long for Him; I desire Him above all beside.” Is it so? Then take courage, and go to Jesus. Go to Him simply, go to Him unhesitatingly, go to Him immediately. That desire is from Him; let it lead you to Him. That secret longing is the work of the Spirit; and having begotten it there, do you think that He will not honor it, and welcome you when you come? Try Him. Bring Him to the touch-stone of His own truth. “Prove me now herewith,” is His gracious invitation. Take His promise, “Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out,” and plead it in wrestlings at the mercy-seat, and see if He will not “open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Go to Him just as you are; if you cannot take to Him a pure heart, take an impure one; if you cannot take to Him a broken heart, take a whole one; if you cannot take to Him a soft heart, take a hard one—only go to Him. The very act of going will be blessed to you. And oh, such is the strength of His love, such His yearning compassion and melting tenderness of heart for poor sinners, such His ability and willingness to save, that He will no more cast you out than deny His own existence. Precious Jesus! Set us as a seal upon Your heart, and by Your Spirit seal Yourself upon our hearts; and give us, unworthy though we are, a place among “those who are sealed.”


“This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has shed forth this, which you new see and hear.” Acts 2:32, 33

THE day of Pentecost, with its hallowed scenes, cannot be too frequently brought before the mind. Were there a more simple looking to Christ upon the throne, and a stronger faith in the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit, and in the faithfulness of the Promiser to make it good, that blessed day would find its prototype in many a similar season enjoyed by the Church of God to the end of time. The effects of the descent of the Spirit on that day upon the apostles themselves are worthy of our especial notice. What a change passed over those holy men of God, thus baptized with the promised Spirit! A new flood of divine light broke in upon their minds. All that Jesus had taught them while yet upon earth recurred to their memory, with all the freshness and glory of a new revelation. The doctrines which He had propounded concerning Himself, His work, and His kingdom, floated before their mental eye like a newly-discovered world, full of light and beauty. A newness and a freshness invested the most familiar truths. They saw with new eyes; they heard with new ears; they understood as with recreated minds: and the men who, while He was with them, teaching them in the most simple and illustrative manner, failed fully to comprehend even the elementary doctrines and the most obvious truths of the gospel, now saw as with the strength of a prophet’s vision, and now glowed as with the ardor of a seraph’s love. Upon the assembled multitudes who thronged the temple how marvelous, too, the effects! Three thousand as in one moment were convinced of sin, and led to plunge in the “Fountain opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.” And how does the apostle explain the glorious wonder?—“This Jesus,” says he, “has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has shed forth this which you now see and hear.”

This, and this only, is the blessing which the Church of God now so greatly needs—even the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She needs to be confirmed in the fact, that Jesus is alive and upon the throne, invested with all power, and filled with all blessing. The simple belief of this would engage her heart to desire the bestowment of the Spirit; and the Spirit largely poured down would more clearly demonstrate to her the transcendent truth in which all her prospects of glory and of happiness are involved, that the Head of the Church is triumphant. Oh, let her but place her hand of faith simply, solely, firmly, on the glorious announcement—Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, with all grace and love in His heart, with all authority in His hand, with all power at His disposal, with all blessing in His gift, waiting to open the windows of heaven, and pour down upon her such a blessing as there shall not be room enough to receive it—prepared so deeply to baptize her with the Holy Spirit as shall cause her converts greatly to increase, and her enterprises of Christian benevolence mightily to prosper; as shall heal her divisions, build up her broken walls, and conduct her to certain and triumphant victory over all her enemies—let her but plant her faith upon the covenant and essential union of these two grand truths—An exalted Redeemer and a descending Spirit—and a day on which, not three thousand only, but a nation shall turn to the Lord, and all flesh shall see His glory!


“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Romans 8:35

OF whose love does the apostle speak? The believer’s love to Christ? On the contrary, it is Christ’s love to the believer. And this view of the subject makes all the difference in its influence upon our minds. What true satisfaction and real consolation, at least how small its measure, can the believer derive from a contemplation of his love to Christ? It is true, when sensible of its glow, and conscious of its power, he cannot but rejoice in any evidence, the smallest, of the work of the Holy Spirit in his soul. Yet this is not the legitimate ground of his confidence, not the proper source of his comfort. It is Christ’s love to him! And this is just the truth the Christian mind needs for its repose. To whom did Paul originally address this letter? To the saints of the early and suffering age of the Christian Church. And this truth—Christ’s love to His people—would be just the truth calculated to comfort, and strengthen, and animate them. To have declared that nothing should prevail to induce them to forsake Christ would have been but poor consolation to individuals who had witnessed many a fearful apostasy from Christ in others, and who had often detected the working of the same principle in themselves. Calling to mind the strong asseveration of Peter, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I,” and remembering how their Master was denied by one, betrayed by another, and forsaken by all His disciples, their hearts would fail them. But let the apostle allure their minds from a contemplation of their love to Christ, to a contemplation of Christ’s love to them, assuring them, upon the strongest grounds, that whatever sufferings they should endure, or by whatever temptations they should be assailed, nothing should prevail to sever them from their interest in the reality, sympathy, and constancy of that love, and he has at once brought them to the most perfect repose. The affection, then, of which the apostle speaks, is the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

The love of Christ! such is our precious theme. Of it can we ever weary? Its greatness can we fully know? Its plenitude can we fully contain? Never. Its depths cannot be fathomed, its dimensions cannot be measured. It “passes knowledge.” All that Jesus did for His Church was but the unfolding and expression of His love. Traveling to Bethlehem—I see love incarnate. Tracking His steps as He went about doing good—I see love laboring. Visiting the house of Bethany—I see love sympathizing. Standing by the grave of Lazarus—I see love weeping. Entering the gloomy precincts of Gethsemane—I see love sorrowing. Passing on to Calvary—I see love suffering, bleeding, and expiring. The whole scene of His life is but an unfolding of the deep, awful, and precious mystery of redeeming love.


“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39

THE love of the Father is seen in giving us Christ, in choosing us in Christ, and in blessing us in Him with all spiritual blessings. Indeed, the love of the Father is the fountain of all covenant and redemption mercy to the Church. It is that river the streams whereof make glad the city of God. How anxious was Jesus to vindicate the love of the Father from all the suspicions and fears of His disciples! “I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you.” “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son.” To this love we must trace all the blessings which flow to us through the channel of the cross. It is the love of God, exhibited, manifested, and seen in Christ Jesus; Christ being, not the originator, but the gift of His love; not the cause, but the exponent of it. Oh, to see a perfect equality in the Father’s love with the Son’s love! Then shall we be led to trace all His present mercies, and all His providential dealings, however trying, painful, and mysterious, to the heart of God; thus resolving all into that from where all alike flow—everlasting and unchangeable love.

Now it is from this love there is no separation. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The apostle had challenged accusation from every foe, and condemnation from every quarter; but no accuser rose, and no condemnation was pronounced. Standing on the broad basis of Christ’s finished work and of God’s full justification, his head was now lifted up in triumph above all his enemies round about. But it is possible that, though in the believer’s heart there is no fear of impeachment, there yet may exist the latent one of separation. The aggregate dealings of God with His Church, and His individual dealings with His saints, may at times present the appearance of an alienated affection of a lessened sympathy. The age in which this epistle was penned was fruitful of suffering to the Church of God. And if any period or any circumstances of her history boded a severance of the bond which bound her to Christ, that was the period, and those were the circumstances. But with a confidence based upon the glorious truth on which he had been descanting—the security of the Church of God in Christ—and with a persuasion inspired by the closer realization of the glory about to burst upon her view—with the most dauntless courage he exclaims, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


“Our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 2:10

THAT there is a separating power in death is a truth too evident and too affecting to deny. It separates the soul from the body, and man from all the pursuits and attractions of earth. “His breath goes forth, in that very day his thoughts perish.” All his thoughts of ambition—his thoughts of advancement—his thoughts of a vain and Pharisaical religion—all perish on that day. What a mournful sublimity is there in this vivid description of the separating power of death over the creature! What a separating power, too, has it, as felt in the chasms it creates in human relationships! Who has not lost a friend, a second self, by the ruthless hand of death? What bright home has not been darkened, what loving heart has not been saddened, by its visitations? It separates us from the husband of our youth—from the child of our affections—from the friend and companion of our earlier and riper years. It comes and breaks the link that bound us so fondly and so closely to the being whose affection, sympathy, and communion seemed essential elements of our being, whose life we were used to regard as a part of our very existence. But there is one thing from which death cannot separate us—the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, and all the blessings which that love bestows. Death separate us! No; death unites us the more closely to those blessings, by bringing us into their more full and permanent possession. Death imparts a realization and a permanence to all the splendid and holy anticipations of the Christian. The happiest moment of his life is its last. All the glory and blessing of his existence cluster and brighten around that solemn crisis of his being. Then it is he feels how precious the privilege and how great the distinction of being a believer in Jesus. And the day that darkens his eye to all earthly scenes opens it upon the untold and unimaginable and ever-increasing glories of eternity. It is the birth-day of his immortality. Then, Christian, fear not death! It cannot separate you from the Father’s love, nor can it, while it tears you from an earthly bosom, wrench you from Christ’s. You shall have in death, it may be, a brighter, sweeter manifestation of His love than you ever experienced in life. Jesus, the Conqueror of death, will approach and place beneath you His almighty arms, and your head upon His loving bosom. Thus encircled and pillowed, you “shall not see death,” but, passing through its gloomy portal, shall only realize that you had actually died, from the consciousness of the joy and glory into which death had ushered you.


“But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

DOES the ear of some dear departing saint of God lend itself to the recital of these closing words? Beloved of the Lord, beloved in the Lord, what a blessed opportunity have you now of leaning the entire weight of your soul, with all its sins and sorrows, upon the finished work of Jesus, your Almighty Savior, your God, your Redeemer! The great debt is cancelled. Justice exacts not a second payment, the first from your Surety, the second from you. No! justice itself is on your side; every perfection of God is a wall of fire round about you. You stand complete in the righteousness of the incarnate God. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Father’s own Son, cleanses you from all sin. Many and aggravated you now see to have been your flaws, your derelictions, your departures, your backslidings, your stumblings; sin appears now as it never did before; the sense of your utter unworthiness presses you to the earth. Well, who is on the eager watch for the first kindlings of godly sorrow in the heart of the prodigal? Who welcomes his return with joy, with music, with honors? Whose heart has not ceased to love, whose eye has not ceased to follow, amid all the waywardness and wandering of that child? Oh, it is the Father! “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Behold your God, your covenant God and Father in Christ Jesus! This reconciled Father is yours. Throw yourself in His arms, and He will fall on your neck, and will seal upon your heart afresh the sense of His free forgiveness and His pardoning love. Heaven is before you. Soon will you be freed, entirely and forever freed, from all the remains of sin. Soon the last sigh will heave your breast, the last tear will fall from your eye, and the last pang will convulse your body. Soon, oh, how soon, will you “see the King in His beauty,” the Jesus who loved you, died for you, ransomed you, and loves you still! Soon you will fall at His feet, and be raised in His arms, and be hushed to rest in His bosom. Soon you will mingle, a pure and happy spirit, with patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs, and with all who sleep in Jesus, who have gone but a little before you. See how they line the shores on the other side, and wait to welcome you over! See how they beckon you away! Above all, sweetest and most glorious of all, behold Jesus standing at the right hand of God, prepared to receive you to Himself! Jesus has gone before, to make ready for the glorification of His Church. “I go to prepare a place for you.” Oh sweet words! A place prepared—a mansion set apart for each individual believer! “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” A mansion in His heart, a mansion in His kingdom, a mansion in His house, for the weakest babe in Christ. The Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus! How sure is heaven! How certain the eternal happiness of every pardoned and justified soul!


“For you are my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord will lighten my darkness.” 2 Samuel 22:29

BLESSED Lord! You are my light. Accepted in Your righteousness, I am “clothed with the sun.” Dark in myself, I am light in You. Often have You turned my gloomy night into sunny day. Yes, Lord, and with a love not less tender, You have sometimes turned my “morning of joy” into a “night of weeping.” Yet have You made my very griefs to sing. Many a dark cloud of my pilgrimage has You fringed with Your golden beams. “In Your light have I seen light” upon many a gloomy and mysterious dispensation of my covenant God. “By Your light I have walked through darkness,” many a long and lonely stage of my journey. Oh, how have You gone before me each step You do bid me to travel. You, too, did pass through Your night of solitude, suffering, and woe. But You were deprived of the alleviations which You do so graciously and tenderly vouchsafe to me. Not a beam illumined, not a note cheered, the midnight of Your soul. The light of the manifested Fatherhood was hidden from Your view, and in bitter agony did You exclaim, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” And all this did You willingly endure, that I might have a song in the night of my grief. Thus Your darkness becomes my light; Your suffering my joy; Your humiliation my glory; Your death my life; Your curse my crown.

O Lord! that is a blessed night of weeping in which I can sing of Your sustaining grace, of Your enlivening presence, of Your unfaltering faithfulness, of Your tender love. In Your school how well have You instructed me! How patiently and skillfully have You taught me! I could not have done without Your teaching and Your discipline. With not one night of suffering, with not one chastising stroke, with not one ingredient in my cup of sorrow, could I safely have dispensed. All was needful. And now I can see, as faith, with a reflex action, surveys all the past, with what infinite wisdom and skill, integrity and gentleness, You were appointing all, and overruling all the incidents and windings of my history. With not less shame and self-abhorrence do I cover my face, and lay my mouth in the dust before You, because You has brought light out of my darkness, and educed good from my evil, and overruled all my mistakes and departures for my greater advance and Your richer glory, and are now “pacified towards me for all that I have done.” I have stumbled, and You have upheld me. I have fallen, and You have raised me up. I have wandered, and You have restored. I have wounded myself, and You have healed me. Oh, what a God have You been to me! What a Father! What a Friend! Shall I ever distrust You, ever disbelieve You, ever wound You, ever leave You more? Ah! Lord, a thousand times over, yes, this very moment, but for Your restraining grace. “Hold You me up, and I shall be safe.”


“You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24

LORD, give me more clearly to see Your love in all Your dealings. Anoint my eye of faith afresh, that, piercing the dark cloud, it may observe beneath it Your heart, all beating with an infinite and a deathless affection towards me. The cup which my Father has prepared and given me, shall I not drink in deep submission to His holy will? O Lord, I dare not ask that it may pass my lips untasted: I may find a token of Your love concealed beneath the bitter draught. Your will be done. Nearer would I be to You. And since You, my blessed Lord, were a sufferer—Your sufferings now are all passed—I would have fellowship with You in Your sufferings, and thus be made conformable to Your death. Grant me grace, that patience may have her perfect work, wanting nothing. Calm this perturbed mind. Tranquillize this ruffled spirit. Bind up this bruised and broken heart. Say to these troubled waters in which I wade, “Peace, be still.” Jesus, I throw myself upon Your gentle bosom. To whom can I, to whom would I, tell my grief, to whom unveil my sorrow, but to You? Lord! it is too tender for any eye, too deep for any hand, but Your. I bless You that I am shut up to You, my God. “Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside You.” You did hear my prayer, and have answered me, “though as by fire.” I asked for health of soul, and You gave sickness of body. I asked You to possess my entire heart, and You broke my idol. I asked that I might more deeply drink of the fountain of Your love, and You did break my cistern. I asked to sit beneath Your shadow with greater delight, and You smote my gourd. I asked for deeper heart-holiness, and You did open to me more widely the chambers of imagery. But it is well; it is all well. Though You do slay me, yet will I trust in You. Divine and holy Comforter, lead me to Jesus, my comfort. Witness to my spirit that I am a child of God, though an erring and a chastened one. Lord! I come to You! My soul would sincerely expand her wings, and fly to its home. Let me go, for the day breaks. Come to me, or let me come to You. Ever with You, Lord, oh! that will be heaven indeed. Why do Your chariot wheels so long tarry? Hasten, blessed Savior, and dissolve my chain, and let me spring into glory, and see Your unclouded face, and drink of the river of Your love, and drink—forever.


“Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1, 2

GOING home! what a soothing reflection! what an ecstatic prospect! The heart throbs quicker—the eye beams brighter—the spirit grows elastic—the whole soul uplifts its soaring pinion, eager for its flight, at the very thought of heaven. “I go to prepare a place for you,” was one of the last and sweetest assurances that breathed from the lips of the departing Savior; and though uttered eighteen hundred years ago, those words come stealing upon the memory like the echoes of by-gone music, thrilling the heart with holy and indescribable transport. Yes! He has passed within the veil as our Forerunner; He has prepared heaven for us, and by His gentle, wise, and loving discipline He is preparing us for heaven. Amid the perpetually changing scenes of earth, it is refreshing to think of heaven as our certain home. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” This is no quicksand basis for faith—no mirage of hope. Heaven is a promised “rest”—exquisitely expressive image! And that promise is the word of Him who cannot lie. Nothing can surpass, nothing can compare with this! Human confidences—the strong and beautiful—have bent and broken beneath us. Hopes, bright and winning, we too fondly fed, have, like evening clouds of summer, faded away, draping the landscape they had painted with a thousand variegated hues in the somber pall of night. But heaven is true! God has promised it—Christ has secured it—the Holy Spirit is its earnest—and the joys we now feel are its pledges and “first-fruits.” The home to which we aspire, and for which we pant, is not only a promised, it is also a perfect and permanent home. The mixed character of those seasons we now call repose, and the shifting places and changing dwellings we here call home, should perpetually remind us that we are not, as yet, come to the perfect rest and the permanent home of heaven. Most true indeed, God is the believer's present home, and Jesus his present rest. Beneath the shadow of the cross, by the side of the mercy-seat, within the pavilion of a Father's love, there is true mental repose, a real heart's ease, a peace that passes all understanding, found even here, where all things else are fleeting as a cloud, and unsubstantial as a dream. "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." But it is to heaven we look for the soul's perfect and changeless happiness. With what imagery shall I portray it? How shall I describe it? Think of all the ills of your present condition—not one exists in heaven! Bereaved one! death enters not, slays not, sunders not there. Sick one! disease pales not, enfeebles not, wastes not there. Afflicted one! sorrow chafes not, saddens not, shades not there. Oppressed one! cruelty injures not, wounds not, crushes not there. Forsaken one! inconstancy disappoints not, chills not, mocks not there. Weeping one! tears spring not, scald not, dim not there. "The former things are passed away." There rests not upon that smooth brow, there lingers not upon those serene features, a furrow or line or shade of former sadness, languor, or suffering—not a trace of wishes unfulfilled, of fond hopes blighted. The desert is passed, the ocean is crossed, the home is reached, and the soul finds itself in heaven, where all is the perfection of purity and the plenitude of bliss. Ages move on in endless succession, and still all is bright, new and eternal. Oh, who would not live to win and enjoy a heaven so fair, so holy, and so changeless as this? He who has Christ in his heart enshrines there the inextinguishable, deathless hope of glory.

Enough that God is my Father, my Sun, and Shield; that He will give grace and glory, and will withhold no good and needed thing. Enough that Christ is my Portion, my Advocate, my Friend, and that, whatever else may pass away, His sympathy will not cease, His sufficiency will not fail, nor His love die. Enough that the everlasting covenant is mine, and that that covenant, made with me, is ordered in all things, and sure. Enough that heaven is my rest, that towards it I am journeying, and that I am one year nearer its blessed and endless enjoyment.