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brought forth with shoutings, crying grace, grace unto it!" Zech iv. 7. with 1 Pet. v. 10.
One word more, and that according to my view not an unimportant one, namely, the whole church of Christ are all alike the objects and subjects of this grace, are all equally dear and all equally included in this rich salvation, and every one becomes an equally interested and essentially necessary member in the mystical body of Christ Jesus our Lord. There may be, and indeed there must be, a diversity of gifts, in the several members of Christ's mystical body, for the general welfare of the whole, and to carry on the purposes of his government; but this makes no difference in respect to union with the glorious head, and the communion in all that belongs to him, "the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee." No, nor even the glorious head himself, Christ Jesus, cannot say to the foot, "I have no need of you." For if an atom of the Lord's body was wanting, how would the whole be perfect? 1 Cor. xi. 21. The little ones, therefore, are as dear to Christ, and as much united to Christ, as prophets or apostles; and for this plain reason, they are all equally given by the Father, all equally married- and redeemed by the Son, all equally regenerated and anointed by the Holy Ghost. True indeed, such of the Lord's family as the Lord hath given larger portions of faith to than others, will have larger enjoyments therein than those of smaller attainments; nevertheless, in point of salvation, all are upon a level for as none are saved for any work wrought in them, but for what Christ hath wrought for them, it is by every one in this particular, as by Israel gathering their manna in the wilderness," he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack," 2 Cor. viii. 15. The faith of Abraham was God's gift, and not the patriarch's merit; hence, it
added nothing to the soul's safety, no more than the weakest babe in Christ. For it is not what we feel, but what Christ is; not our faith in holding him, but his grace in holding us. Very sweet are those words of the Lord Jesus to this effect," Fear not, little flock, it is your heavenly Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," Luke xiii. 32. Observe, what a volume of comfort is contained in the bosom of this short verse, and how it corresponds to the leading feature of this discourse. The little ones of Christ's fold are for the most part fearful ones, but their safety is not in themselves but in the Lord; and it is their heavenly Father's good pleasure to give them the kingdom; not from their deservings, but his gift; and not simply his will in doing it, but his good pleasure. And thus it runs up to the same fountain head as from whence we began; "for the Lord hath pleasure in his people; he will beautify the meek with salvation.”
Reader, farewell! I cannot better offer my salutation of the church in the opening of the year than by closing my paper in once more repeating the prayer of the apostle; "wherefore also, we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
THE DEATH OF THE LORD'S SAINTS PRECIOUS IN THE LORD'S SIGHT.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints," Ps. cxvi. 15.
It may be proper by way of introduction to remark (though the very designation of the title-page should seem to render the observation unnecessary) that it is
the saints of the Lord, and them only, whose death is said to be precious in the Lord's sight; and consequently, for whom only this little work of remembrance is intended. In relation to the world at large, we are taught, and by an authority not to be questioned, that "the whole world lieth in wickedness," 1 John v. 19. Hence, the very reverse of the proposition must be accepted in respect to all such: and that trembling scripture is in confirmation, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked," Ezek. xxxiii. 11. And who shall calculate the horrors of that state, when men die as they have lived, and as they were born, in the unawakened, unregenerate, unrenewed nature of the Adam-fall transgression? Yea, when in the full ripeness of original sin, inherent in the very essence and elixir of their being which they brought with them into the world, and with which they go out again, only with the accumulation of actual guilt also; falling as grapes of gall from the vines of Sodom, and the fields of Gomorrah; rotten in bitterness, and defiling even the earth that covers them! The mind sickens as it contemplates the prospect. It cannot be supposed that for persons of this complexion this little work is intended. It is the death of the Lord's saints which are said to be precious in the Lord's sight, and to them the consolations to be found in death only can be applicable. And who they are, the word of God very clearly ascertains. They are described, "as called to be saints," and "the faithful in Christ Jesus," Rom. i. 7. 1 Cor. i. 2. Eph. i. 1, &c.-by which is intimated, that in the original state of nature in which they were born they were as all men are by nature, sinners, and "children of wrath even as others," Eph. ii. 2, 3.-but being called by sovereign grace, to the knowledge of the Lord, "they who were sometimes darkness, are now light in the Lord," Eph. v. 8.
They who were afar off, and enemies in their mind
by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death!" Col. i. 23. And hence, in reference to this recovered state of the church, Paul speaks, when he said, "And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor. vi. 11. Hence, "being delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son, they are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light," Col. i. 12, 13. To all of this description and character, this love-token of remembrance is affectionately sent, at the opening of the new and eventful year of our Lord God, 1823. An eventful An eventful year indeed it may be to the church of God in general, in numberless providences as the Lord shall appoint. An eventful year it must be in particular, if the death of the writer or reader, or both, should be among these appointments. And an eventful year it ought to be to all and every one of the spiritual church of Christ in watchfulness, like the prophet on his watch-tower; that come whensoever our Lord may, at midnight, or cockcrowing, or in the morning, we may not "be ashamed before him at his coming." For if our lives are now hid with Christ in God, our deaths will then be precious in his sight; and "when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory."
Having thus premised for whom and to whom the subject of this little token of remembrance is intended, I begin it with observing, that it is the most delightful consideration to the mind of every redeemed and regenerated child of God, in the spiritual church of our most glorious Christ, that the Lord, in whose sight the death of his saints is precious, is Jehovah, in his Trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For the death and life indeed of every individual member of Christ's mystical body is both precious in the sight of
God the Father, precious in the sight of God the Son, and precious in the sight of God the Holy Ghost. And it is impossible to be otherwise. For, as each glorious Person in the unity of the divine essence, hath taken an equal part in all covenant engagements concerning the church before all worlds, so doth each continue an equal attention to the church during the whole of her time-state here, and will in all her eternal state hereafter when there shall be no worlds. And I beseech the reader to pause over this view, and ponder well the love, the grace, the tenderness, (what shall I call it?) the infinite and undescribable condescension of the Holy Three in One, which bear record in heaven, thus to reveal and make known what, without the Lord's own revelation of himself, never could have been known to the spiritual apprehension of his chosen, the gracious love-tokens of each, and of the whole conjunction in the Godhead. As if the Lord intended thereby (and which indeed is evidently the design) that beside the general knowledge given in holy scripture of the divine Majesty existing in his Trinity of Persons, his redeemed and regenerated ones might have somewhat yet more near and endearing to lean upon in their personal apprehension of and communion with, day by day, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And what I very earnestly and affectionately beg of every redeemed and regenerated child of God, in the spiritual church of our most glorious Christ, in whose own heart a saving work of grace hath been wrought, that he will remember, and, if possible, never lose sight of what the scriptures of God have taught concerning the united operation of Jehovah, in his Trinity of Persons, in this accomplishment. And I must and will contend, as one that contendeth on scriptural ground for a plain matter of fact, that in every instance of conversion from a state of nature to a state of grace, how unconscious soever of these divine operations the highly favoured objects of