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communion with, and rejoicing in, and dependance upon, each glorious Person in the Godhead in covenant relations, that the Lord's gracious designs may be abundantly accomplished, and that the joy of his people
may be full.
And do thou, dearest Lord, as in the days of thy flesh, thy people saw thee, heard thee, looked upon thee, and their hands handled the word of life, so now in the day of thy power manifest thyself to them in all spiritual enjoyments. Come, Lord, in a way of grace, in a word of power, in the dispensations of thy providence, in the ordinances of thine house; in the ministry of thy word, and in the sacramental communications in breaking of bread, and of prayer; we shall, indeed, have all this and more; if not in the same outward manifestations as thy beloved disciple had, when he handled thee, and saw thee, with bodily eyes; but we shall know thee, and enjoy thee spiritually, and bear, witness to thy eternal power and Godhead, when our souls live upon thee, and experience the efficacy of thy great salvation. Oh! what precious, blessed, soul-quickening, soul-feeding, soul-comforting sights of the Lord Jesus are those, when by thy Holy Spirit thou meltest our hard hearts, and takest away our stony hearts; so that when Jesus is looking upon us, in a way of grace, our eyes are looking unto thee in a way of supplication; and the springs of true godly sorrow are opened, in beholding him whom we have pierced, and mourn as “one that mourneth for his only son, and are in bitterness as one that is in bitterness for his first-born,” Zech. xii. 10.
Moreover, in the personal enjoyments our God affords us, in his Trinity of Persons, shall we not know, that when the Holy Ghost gives his people grace to walk in the light, as God is light; to know and feel the plague of our own heart; and, while assured, that though in ourselves we are nothing but sinful dust and ashes; yet, beheld in Christ, and accepted in Christ, we are comely from the comeliness the Lord hath put upon us. Oh! Lord God! how sweet and precious it is to the souls of thy people, to come before thee in the righteousness of God our Saviour, and to “ make mention of his righteousness, even his righteousness only.” But in the same moment that we find boldness to come before our God, in this new and living way which he hath consecrated for us in the Person, blood, and righteousness of his dear Son: Lord, we feel, and know, and confess before thee, “ that in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing.” Thy throne of grace is a constant witness for all thy dear children, what groans and confessions we pour out from the consciousness of indwelling sin; and the many prayers which go up before our God, and awakened by the grace of God, for the being kept from the commission of sin, and for the unceasing manifestations of God's pardoning love under the many sins we fall into, all testify for thy redeemed ones, that we cannot, we dare not say, have no sin, for the truth would not be in us.” And conscious also that many, many, are the sins and infirmities of our nature, which we fall into, while we ourselves are too often ignorant of them, doth not the cry of the soul, when taught by sovereign grace, go up in the words of one of the saints of old, “
keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, and let them not have dominion over me. O cleanse thou me from my secret faults," Psalm xix. 12, 13.
But O Lord God! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! what soul-refreshing words have we here before us, under all the sins and infirmities of thy people! Surely it is God the Holy Ghost which gives grace to his people to know and feel the burden of sin, and as fully and freely to make confession of our sins. And the faithfulness of God our Father is pledged, on the acknowledgment of our sins, “ to forgive us our sins, and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yes, blessed God and Father, every child of God may say, yea, and ought to say, thy faithfulness is made over in an everlasting covenant, which cannot be broken, that by the blood of the covenant thou wilt send forth, yea, thou hast sent forth the prisoners, whom thy dear Son, who is himself the whole of the covenant, hath delivered from the pit wherein is no water. Zech. ix. 11. Oh! the blessedness of looking up in Christ, to a faithful God in Christ, and pleading that faithfulness! And Oh! the still greater blessedness of hearing that faithful God himself, proclaiming himself under that gracious character, and commanding all his people so to know him! “Know, therefore, that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God!” Deut. vii. 9. And doth not God, even our own God, give us the blessing? Doth not God, even our own God, in every instance of pardoning grace, remember his everlasting covenant with his dear Son, and set the captive free? Is not God's faithfulness and truth our shield and buckler? And if the Son of God hath paid my ransom with his blood, shall I not say to God, in God's own words, “ if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness !"
And, added to the faithfulness of God the Father, in forgiving all sin, and the enlightening of God the Holy Ghost, in teaching my poor heart both to feel and know that I am a sinner, and daily, and hourly making confession of my sins and sinful nature, before the mercyseat. Oh! what an endless subject, both for prayer and praise, is opened to me in what is here said, in this precious scripture," and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin!” Not the blood of bulls, or of goats; not the sacrifices of lambs, of a year old, offered upon a thousand altars: not all the ordinances and means of grace; fastings or prayers, repentance or tears; not all the almsgivings or eharities; chapels or
hospitals; no, not even if men would give “ the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul?” None of them, nor all of them put altogether, would, or could take away one sin. Nay, the Lord teacheth, that all charities to man, if not done with an eye to God, is altogether sin; “ for whatsoever is not of faith is sin," Rom. xiv. 23. And all that men do, or say, in a way of praise, or prayer, if not cleansed and perfumed with the blood of Christ, is offensive before God. And that the child of God is not consumed upon his knees, for the iniquity of his holy things, is because this sin-bearing Lamb of God, whom the high priest of old typified, beareth them away, and in him their persons are accepted before the Lord. Exod. xxviii. 38. Oh! for grace in all my drawings nigh to the mercy-seat, to be for ever pleading, and never losing sight of this precious scripture, “ the blood of Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, cleanseth us from all sin !” O Lord!" cause me to feel, that this is speaking blood; in speaking to God of the finished salvation of his dear Son; and speaking from God, of his covenant faithfulness, who is well pleased for his righteousness sake! Let me know also that it is sweet-smelling blood : for sure I am, that my prayers in themselves would find no acceptance, but from this, and this alone, which comes up before God as “ an offering and a sacrifice, for a sweet-smelling savor!" Yea, all the blessings of redemption, I can and do plead for, when grace and faith are in lively exercise, for all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings, are the purchase of this blood. " In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,” Eph. i. 6. Oh! for grace to be unceasingly singing with the church, the song of redemption, “ who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," Rev. vii. 14. I know not how to quit the view of this proclamation of grace" the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” Cleanseth us, that is, the church! Oh! the blessedness of the person, Jesus Christ! “ one with the Father over all, God blessed for ever, amen!" the blessedness of his relationship; God's dear Son! the blessedness and infinite preciousness of his blood, which an apostle calls the blood of God, by which he purchased his church, Acts xx. 28. And that little word us, which as it relates to the church, is also of infinite and eternal moment. So that Christ's church is hereby, cleansed from all sin. And if there were a sin in all the creation of God which the church of Christ had not in her nature, by the Adam-fall transgression, then would not this blessed scripture be so infinitely precious. But when the Holy Ghost here declares, that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin! evidently the church in the Adarnfall transgression, hath all sin in herself, and that, in every individual of her whole body; and which nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth from. Oh! what grace, what distinguishing grace, may every redeemed child of God say am I the subject of, that while there is not a sin among the miserable in hell, and all mankind upon earth, but what is in me also, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's dear Son, hath cleansed me from all sin. Thanks! thanks! be unto God for his unspeakable gift. Glory to God and the Lamb! to him who is one with the Father, over all, God blessed for ever, amen.
Amen! said Paul: amen! say I. Amen!
Amen! say all the church in heaven. Amen! the loud response of the redeemed upon earth. All hail! thou great amen!
I forbear to trespass further. Those examples I have given from a chapter in the old testament, and another in the new, will serve to explain, how easily, under divine teaching, may every regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only from beginning to end I speak) convert the words of God into prayers to God; and