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though you can witness no more for God than this, yet one thing you can and do say, and a blessed thing it is to say, Once I was blind, now I see." John
Ye ministers of God! Ye who are ministers indeed, "not of the letter," but of the spirit! see that in your ministration to the church, ye do carry with you the true mark of your high calling; and while you insist upon the work of God in the soul of others as the only proof of a real believer, you can bear a true testimony for God in your own soul also. Oh! it is blessed, when, like John, the ministers of Christ can say, "that which we have seen and heard, we declare unto you," 1 John i. 3. With faithful servants sent. of God, of divine ordination, and not of human, the church of God expect that they should speak as those that know, and not as hearsay teachers. Thus John taught; thus so Paul; and thus so Peter. 1 John iii. 14. v. 20. 2 Tim. i. 12. (or v. 1.) 2 Peter i. 16.
Reader, farewell! The Lord, in opening a new year, give grace to his people to be his witnesses upon earth, as he is himself" the amen, the faithful and true witness," both in earth and heaven. And though the church of God is encompassed around with foes of all descriptions, though legions of enemies and troops from hell are without the camp, and compass the church on every side, yet had we but power to see spiritually, as the prophet's servant did when the Lord opened his eyes on the mountain, we should behold "horses of fire, and chariots of fire," all engaged for our defence. Salvation hath God appointed for walls and bulwarks, and the whole army within is garrisoned with the divine
Thus the church of God hath ever stood, still stands, and will stand for ever. And when the hand that now writes, and the eye that now reads, shall have both ceased their office, the Lord's proclamations will still
be heard till time shall be no more-" Bring forth the blind that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears; let all the nations be assembled; ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." Amen.
THE GOINGS FORTH OF JEHOVAH, IN HIS TRINITY OF PERSONS,
OF GOD, BOTH IN THE LIFE THAT NOW IS, AND IN THAT
One of the sweetest employments in the spiritual life, when once the work of grace is begun in the heart, is when, like the prophet, the Lord leads his regenerated children to their watch-tower, and brings them into a waiting frame, for the comings forth of Jehovah, in his Trinity of Persons, to bless them "with all spiritual blessings in Christ." Those renewings of the Holy Ghost are precious things. They perfume the soul with an apprehension of the Person, blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and both "shed abroad the love of God in the heart, and direct the heart into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." They induce similar effects to what was done by the fragrancy of the oil, from the anointings in the tabernacle. They act upon the spiritual senses of the regenerated, as the sun's warmth upon the flower; melting all the finer particles of the plant, and drawing forth and impregnating the whole atmosphere with the odour. But without those renewings of the Holy Ghost "shed upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour," we lose all apprehensions of spiritual enjoyment, even in divine things. For though there be an habitual state into which the child of God is brought by regeneration, yet the actual exercises of the soul in desires after the Lord, and communion with
the Lord will be wanting, where the renewings of the Holy Ghost are wanting. Hence, the cry of old testament saints, "O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy; yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God, my God." Ps. xliii. 3, 4. But, on the contrary, when grace was not in lively exercise, we find the sad complaints of the church. Lord, hide not thy face from me; put not thy servant away in anger," Ps. xxvii. 9. It was this deadness of soul which made the spouse in the Canticles complain, amidst many love-calls of Jesus, "I sleep, (said she) but my heart waketh. It is the voice of my beloved!" Song v. 1, 2. She knows his voice, and could, and did call him, her "beloved." But she was in too sleepy a frame to enjoy his presence at that time. ings of the Holy Ghost were wanting. and such always must be the state of the ages without the influence of the Spirit.
It is very profitable, when under divine teaching, we are brought acquainted with those things. The Lord passeth and repasseth before his redeemed ones in an unremitting attention to their necessities; and he is for ever pouring out of his fulness to supply their emptiness. But in proof that there is still somewhat wanting to give this spiritual relish and enjoyment of these mercies, how often, in the very moment of receiving the Lord's gifts, are we insensible of the giver? "The Lord openeth his hand (as it is expressed in that beautiful imagery of scripture) and satisfieth the desire of every living soul," Ps. cxlv. 16. But not unfrequently the hand which bestows all is hidden from our shortsighted view in the cloud of his own bounties. The church of God (I mean the regenerated church) can have no question whatever of the Lord's everlasting presence of his people, and of his everlastingly watching
The renewAnd such is, church in all
over them for good. He saith himself, in that sweet love-song he sings to his vineyard, the church, "Sing ye to her, a vineyard of red wine! I, the Lord, do keep it. I will water it I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day," Isa. xxvii. 2, 3. And very sure must every regenerated child of Godbe, that his keepings, and waterings, and watchings are as the Lord hath said. But who among the Lord's people, yea, even those among them who walk most closely with the Lord, are alive to the thousandth part of what is thus every moment going on of the Lord's care? I know not indeed what others of the Lord's children may be able to say to this enquiry, but for myself, I am free to confess (though I blush while I confess it) that I am constrained to plead guilty to ten thousand omissions of the kind. Numerous are the love-tokens of my Lord that daily pass by me unheeded. And even those which are seen, too often leave no longer remembrance in my cold and forgetful heart, than impressions made on water. And were it not that God the Holy Ghost, in that gracious office of his, I mean, as the remembrancer of Christ Jesus (an office infinitely precious, but too little regarded) mercifully recalls to my recollection at times what hath before passed between Jesus and my soul, I should have continual occasion to say, as Jacob once did at Bethel, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not." Gen. xxviii. 16, 17.
I have said in the title page of this humble but affectionate salutation, Health to the church of Christ, from the fountain of health, Christ!' And what can give health to the souls of the Lord's people but the goings forth of the Lord to his people, in his Trinity of Persons? Acts of personal communion from each glorious Person in the Godhead with each and all of the persons of the Lord's people, can be the only source of blessedness either here or hereafter. For from whence
hath the church her being, and her well-being? Is it not from the Holy Three in One "which bear record in heaven ?" Was not the church of Christ chosen in Christ by God the Father" before the foundation of the world?" And did not Christ then betroth the church to himself for ever? And did not God the Holy Ghost then anoint both Christ and his members; by virtue of which the head was called Christ, that is, the anointed; and the church had " grace given to her in Christ before the world began ?" And if from this fountain, this ocean of all blessedness, the church hath her being and well-being, from whence, but from this same source, can the church derive health and salvation for her continuance in well-being, either in relation to "the life that now is, or of that which is to come?"
And what a world of attention is shewn in the scriptures of God by the Holy Three in One to comfort the church with assurances of the unalterable love, and grace, and favour which Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons hath towards his church in those councils and covenant transactions which are there related, when going forth for the blessing of his people? The bible is full of them, either in rehearsing what was then said, or since done. We meet with those divine discourses between the divine Persons from the very first opening of scripture. "Let us make man," Gen. i. 26. "Behold the man is become as one of us," Gen. iii. 22. "Let us go down," Gen. xi. 7. And the personal act of each in the Godhead, as if to define Person, and yet no less carry conviction to the people of God, that the works of the holy Trinity are one and undivided; and are so plainly set forth in many parts of the old testament, but more particularly in the new, that like the prophet's vision, “he that runs may read." One of the fathers in the early centuries (Gerard) in his comment upon that blessed discourse of the Lord Jesus Christ, John xvi. 13-16. where our Lord hath so particularly