« 이전계속 »
rit would therefore satisfy their hearts of it by discover. ing to them the unchangeableness of their Father's love, as it has been manifested in the divine covenant, and confirmed with the divine oath. In both which the witness of the Father to his children is given in this manner-I have freely loved you, I have engaged to love you, and I will ever be mindful of my covenant engagements -as I live, saith the Lord, I will love
unto the end-yea, I will bless you with all spiritual and eternal blessings in Christ Jesus-what he, your elder brother, is now in glory, that will my love make youthe mountains shall depart, and the hills shall be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenent of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on you.
These are faithful sayings, and worthy of all acceptation. O evil heart of unbelief, what pretence hast thou to reason against the truth of them? O ye of little faith, wherefore do ye doubt of receiving the goodness of them ? Your Father is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should alter his
purpose. Hath he said, and shall be not do it? Or hath he spo. ken and shall he not make it good? Yea, the purpose of his heart, spoken with his mouth, shall be made good with his arm : all his perfections stand engaged to establish his faithful word, and therefore it is a safe ground to build and rest upon. Trusting to it the believer may boldly claim the promised blessings of his Father's love, and with a hope that will never make him ashamed, he may expect a growing enjoyment of its free covenant and eternal blessings.
Well then, O my soul, thou hast considered the subject. What are thy sentiments of the love of the Father? Are they such as the scripture teaches ? Take heed of error.
A little mistake here will have dreadful effects upon thy walk. Dost thou believe, that thou, coming to the Father through faith in the life and death of his co-equal Son, art pardoned and justified before him, and that this thy coming to the Father through
the Son is from the grace of the Spirit? Therefore the Three that bear record in heaven do witness to thy being an object of covenant love. Does this witness keep thy conscience quiet, and thy heart happy? Canst thou plead it against guilt and fear, and maintain the influence of it in dark and trying times? The love of thy heavenly Father is immutable: dost thou experience it to be so? It is everlasting. Canst thou depend upon it as such? It has provided all blessings for thee in Jesus: art thou receiving them out of his fulness, grace for grace? It is proposed to thy faith in John xvii. and in Eph. iii. as a never failing spring of consolation. Read and try, whether thou art practically acquainted with what is there written. Examine the character of the Father's love; and be assured what is not agreeable to it, is not the teaching of the Holy Spirit. His office in thy soul is to witness to what he hath revealed in the scripture, to explain it to thine understanding, to make it the ground of thy faith, and the enjoyment of thy heart. Dost thou then understand, and believe, and enjoy the Father's love according to what the Holy Spirit has testified of it?
Perhaps thou art clear in thine understanding, but through the weakness of thy faith has but little enjoyment of the love of God. Why is thy faith weak ? Search into the cause (depend upon it. God is not the cause) and having discovered it, inquire into the remedy. There is provision made in the covenant for all the infirmities of thy faith ; for it was well ordered in all things and sure, and thy faith was well ordered and
-infallible securities were provided in the covenant to make it sure. That thou shouldst have it, that thou shouldst keep it, and keep it too unto the end, the blessed Trinity have engaged by their immutable counsel, and their immutable oath. Therefore thou art now kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. The power of God, which is thy keeper, has given thee faith, and keeps thy faith, that it fail not. Thou and it are well kept. A covenant God has the charge of
both. Almighty love watches over thee, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Till these fail, thy faith cannot fail. O what powerful motives are these to induce thee to believe without wavering! Consider them carefully. And may the Lord render them the means of strengthening thy faith, and of thereby enabling thee to cleave more closely in love to thy heavenly Father. It
may be thou art hindered from living by unshaken faith, because thou hast so little love to God-he ought to have all thy heart and soul, and mind and strength, but it grieves thee to observe what a small part he has of them. This view is always humbling. Our love at best is not what it ought to be. It is not constant: it ebbs and flows. It is not perfect: the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit. It is not what God deserves, as payment for love received: who will compute the full value of his love to one redeemed sinner? On earth it surpasseth knowledge. In heaven it surpasseth all returns of praise. The highest love of glorified saints is only acknowledgment; but not payment. They are perfectly humble, and therefore willing that God should have all the glory of their salvation. To him they ascribe it. The same mind in thee would refine thy love, and make it something like their's. When thou art corsidering thy love to God, and ashamed at the sight of it, then look at his. Look especially at his, when thine is little. Believing views of his will increase thine. Thine has nothing else to excite it, or to nourish it. Thou art not called upon to warm thyself with the sparks of thy love to God, but with the pure constant flame of his love to thee. His is to keep up
thine. His is the first cause, and thine is but the effect. The experience of his will heal all the infirmities of thine. When thy love is little, unsettled, cold, and dull, then study the divine properties of his: these rightly understood will increase, settle, warm, and actuate thine affections. By believing meditation thou wilt find a pardon provided for thy little love: the sense
of it will comfort thy conscience. Thy heart will
grow hot within thee: while thou art musing the fire will kindle. It will break out. Thou wilt speak with thy tongue praise and thanksgiving to thy loving God and Father.
Thou art willing then, O my soul, and ready to set out to follow thy God. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit thou hast chosen him for thy portion, and in a constant dependence upon his grace thou hast taken his way for thy daily walk. How great is the love, wherewith he loveth thee ! Survey it. Measure, if thou canst, the dimensions of it in thine own particular case. The more thou art acquainted with it, the readier wilt thou be to give him all the glory of it, and to make such acknowledgments as these :
I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that being justified by faith I have found peace, and free access to a reconciled God. We are agreed, and now I desire to walk with him. He is my Father in Jesus, and I know he has bowels of the tenderest affection for me. I ought not, it would be base in me, to question it, since he has shed his love abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost ; who has made me of one mind, of one heart, and of one way with himself. His
is become mine : for he has reconciled me to it by causing me to see, that he chose me freely, as an object of his electing love, that he gave
his Son to finish salvation work for me, and that he has now given his Spirit to me, who has called me, and given me ears to hear, who has bestowed on me faith and hope, and has enabled me to look upon these fruits of the Father's covenant
and everlasting favour. O what exceeding riches of love are these! If I would declare and speak of them, they are more thanı can be numbered. What añ I, that I should be accepted in the beloved ? His Father mine. He sees me, loves me, yea blesses me in him. My title is clear to all spiritual blessings, because God being my God in Jesus, all things are mine. He will make them all
way to heaven.
work together for my good. He that withheld not his own Son, but gave him for me, how shall he not with him freely give me all things? Having his free grant
of them in the word of promise, and trusting to his faithfulness, I have set out to walk with my divine Friend and Father, hoping to enjoy his loving presence all the
I would not aim at getting any new title to his love, but to have new enjoyment. Every day I am seeking for more knowledge, and for more experience of his abundant love to me in his beloved Son. And for this end I would walk close with him in his way-not to buy his love, it is inestimable-not to merit it, free grace and merit cannot stand togethernot that I may deserve it for my walk, but may freely receive it of him in my walk-not that he may give it me for walking with him, but that in walking with him I may enjoy what he has already given me. His love is a free gift. I would by faith enjoy it in time, as I hope by sense to enjoy it in eternity. Whatever blessing, strength, victory, or comfort, I stand in need of, I look to the fulness, which he has laid up in Jesus, and from thence I receive it. I read my title to it, and I take possession of it, for nothing done in me or by me, now or at any other time, but only in or for the free grace of his Father and my Father. While I can live thus by simple faith I find I am enabled to go on well. The sense of his free covenant, everlasting love keeps my heart happy, and makes walking with him my delight. O that he may enable me to press forward, that I may hold my confidence, and the rejoicing of my hope stedfast unto the end! And why need I doubt of it, since he has me in his keeping ? His love has bound itself to me by covenant engagements, which are my full security for what he has declared, I will never
leave thee nor forsake thee.”.
These desires, I am persuaded, are from thee, O Father of mercies. I could never have sought my happiness in thy love, unless thou hadst first loved me. O grant me then the desire of my heart. What thy good