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life; but thou hast thine answer here. It is not God's predestination which will condemn thee to perdition; it is not sovereign grace of which thou wilt complain; electing love has never treated thee unjustly ; but “they were judged every man according to their works,” and out of these books saint and sinner will be alike condemned. The book of the law and the book of the sinner's conscience have done their work, and every soul is condemned by them to everlasting destruction. But the apostle speaks of another book, and of that other book we too will speak; and well may we call it " the book of life.”
Do you see yon gloomy building ?—its heavy iron gates ?-its massive walls? It is a prison, and there are many prisoners there, and all are under sentence of death: they have been fairly tried, and for their evil works they have been condemned to death. Must they all die ? Will our gracious Queen act unjustly in saving them all? Will she act unjustly in saving only some of them ? They all deserve to die, but, for reasons which she may choose not to submit even to her councillors, she determines to pardon some of them; does she injure the others by doing so ? See, the sheriff is at the prison gates; he has a list in his hand, sent him by the Queen; truly it is “a book of Life,” and every one whose name is recorded on that paper finds that his pardon is sealed, and that he may go free. This is but an imperfect analogy. The Queen's " book of Life gives only pardon, but “the book of Life” of the Lord Jesus Christ gives justification as well as pardon ; delivers from the guilt as well as from the punishment of sin. Do not tremble, then, poor faint-hearted believer, in the contemplation of thy sins and iniquities being all published in the last great day before assembled worlds. Such a record will not dismay thy happy spirit in that eventful hour. It will but exalt the name of thy glorious Surety ; it will but magnify the grace of covenant love. Thou canst sing now to the praise of the glory of His grace; and even thou wouldst gladly tell then with thine own lips of thy many misdeeds, and of Jesus' saving grace! Yes, thou wilt not want to hide one of thy sins in that day, nor dost thou want to hide one of them even in this day; for hast thou not heard those blessed words, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the filesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death,” &c.
Another book is opened, and oh, what a blessed light is now thrown upon the scene in the opening of this book of life.” There are orks recorded here, too, but they are the works of the Lord Jesus on behalf of the members of His mystic body. This book is a register, not of crimes but of names; there is the name of Jesus as the Head of His family, and there are the names of all on whose behalf He wrought out a full, free, and perfect salvation; there are the names of all who were
; given to Him by His Father, and who in their time-state were brought by His Spirit into union and communion with Him. Yes, there is first written "that name which is above every name, even the name of Jesus ; and how blessed is that record of Him, “Yea, He loved the people : all Thy saints are in His hand;" He made Himself responsible for them; He stood as their Substitute, and endured the wrath of God, which otherwise they must have borne, and their names are all in that "book of life.” They were given to Him by number and name, and “they shall again pass under the hand of Him that telleth them.” Saith the Lord Jesus Christ, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou
gavest me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me; and they have kept Thy word;” and, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." Here, then, is the secret of all, ETERNAL LIFE, which Christ hath given them! Condemned by the law, but saved by free, sovereign grace; one with Christ, and their life hid with God in Him. Christ hath given to them the same life " which was manifested in Himself,” and none can separate them from the love of God.
Chap. xxii. 1.-Again we hear of the living waters, and again do we bless God that we do so hear. We have gone through the records of divine truth, and, as those who have tasted that the Lord is good, as those who in the sandy deserts have found a fountain of springing waters, so would we cry aloud to poor perishing sinners, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." The people of the Lord now are, as they have ever been, travelling through the wilderness. The children of Israel went that way, and they with their children and their cattle were like to have perished for lack of water, but there was a rock found, and Paul tells us * that Rock was Christ." And Moses struck the rock, and water flowed forth and became a river, which followed them in their wanderings through the desert, till at length they entered Canaan, "the land of promise " promised unto Abraham and his seed. Yes, “they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” And the law struck Christ, the living Rock, for “He was wounded for our transgressions ; He was bruised for our iniquities." And see the people of Israel in the wilderness: the rock has been smitten, but the multitude know not of it, till soon a trumpet-voice proclaims, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” And who are the “ YE?" The whole host of Israel! Yes, all the host had been brought into that great wilderness—into that land of burning drought-and all thirsted for water. The flocks and the herds, the old men and the little children, all thirsted, and all were called to come and drink. And so it ever has been with the spiritual Israel, and so it is now. The literal Israel did not thirst when they were in Egypt; for, even in the midst of their bondage, they had the comforts of life, and so enjoyed those comforts, the cucumbers and the onions, that they even proposed to leave Moses, to choose another captain, and return to their creature-comforts and their hard bondage. But so it could not be; the cry of the people of Israel had come up unto God; He had seen their affliction ; He had known their sorrows; He had destroyed their enemies, and He would not suffer them to return into Egypt. And the spiritual Israel are made to feel that the service of the world is a hard service; they are brought to listen to the words of the law, even as Israel in Egypt hearkened unto Moses, and the law leads them from Egypt, and through the Red Sea; and, when they see their enemies dead upon the sea-shore, then are they glad, and think their trials and their sorrows are
But every child of God must go through the desert; and what terrible enemies are there! But the Lord Himself will lead them through that great and terrible wilderness, and, when trials and sorrows surround them--when friends despise and forsake them—when they are brought unto their wits' end, and their soul faints because of the way—then, oh, how cheering to hear the trumpet-voice, “ Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." Has there ever been any one of the spiritual Israel who did not thirst ? Methinks I hear some downcast one say, “I do not thirst. Oh that I could thirst! I have drunk in times past
of those living waters, and my heart has been cheered, but now my spirit is cold and dead; the hearing ear' seems to be gone; the understanding heart to be far away; and I am often ready to exclaim, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me'!” Poor doubting soul! is not this thirst? Say then with David, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God ?” Poor anxious one, look upwards, and see
river of the water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Wouldest not thou drink there? Hast thou not borne thy sins and thy sorrows long enough? Is not thine unbelief hateful to tħee? Dost not thou loathe thyself on account of it? Drink then, for “the Spirit and the bride say, COME." Yes, and the Holy Ghost says, “ COME;
“ COME;" and the Church says, “COME;" and thy fellow-believer, who has heard these blessed words, he
" COME." Let every one that is athirst COME, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
But we must look again at this blessed subject. The Lord says, “Behold, I come quickly." "I am the Root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star" (Ver. 12 and 16).-—"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come, and let him that heareth say, Come, and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” Jesus says, “I come quickly," "and the Spirit takes up the happy theme, and cries, “ Yes, Lord Jesus, come quickly;” and the bride [the Church) echoes the words of the Spirit, and says, “Yes, Lord Jesus, come quickly;" and surely we, who by faith hear the voice of the Spirit, and listen to the earnest entreaties of the Church; who by faith have heard the words spoken by the Father unto Christ, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power;" surely we too shall say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly;" and we shall call to the thirsty to come; and, with hearts warmed with a Saviour's love, we shall say to every desponding soul, “Whosoever WILL, let him come and take the water of life freely.” Kennett.
J. F. P.
COVENANT VERITIES IN AND FROM THE COVENANT HEAD. DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD, -- Once more,
out of season,
"I take up my pen to address you in the name of the Lord whom we love, the God whom we worship, and the Beloved whom we adore, hoping that whatever I may write, the Holy Ghost may indite; so that both writer and reader may have real cause to rejoice together in Him “who is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." We shall then rejoice in the Lord, be joyful in our God, and "have no confidence in the flesh,” knowing that “in our flesh dwelleth no good thing.” Our flesh we prove to be a very troublesome neighbour, and we acknowledge that our Brother, even though experimentally far off, is better than that vexing and perplexing neighbour so nigh. Could we at all times live above the flesh feelingly, how delightful would it be! But, alas! to this living state of experimental perfection we do not attain. When we would do good in the spirit, evil is present with us in the flesh; and we find the words of Kent to be most truthful:
“Communion with our God, how sweet!
But oh, the hours, how few,
And foxes not pursue.”
We are often cast down by sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh, but we are not destroyed, for "our life is hid with Christ in God.” Our spiritual life in Him is indestructible. He lives in us as our life, we live in Him above death ; He lives in us our purity, we live in Him above sin; He lives in us in Spirit, we live in Him above the flesh; He lives in us our grace and glory kingdom, we live in Him above the world. We live, by the faith of Him, the life of love and purity. The faith of God's elect works by love and in love, and it enables us to endure “as seeing Him who is invisible," "whom having not seen, we love:” and “we love Him because He first loved us.” When we look at our love to Christ to evidence His love towards us, we are generally doomed to disappointment; but, when we are enabled to look at His love to us, how it produces love to Him. To live upon the cause of love, is to live upon an unchanging and an unvarying reality, but to seek comfort and satisfaction in the effect of love, is to “seek the living among the dead.” One of our poets sings :
“The cause of love was in Himself,
And in Him we'll rejoice.” The Lord will not allow His children to long draw satisfaction from their comforts, for their sweet and pleasant feelings shall wither before the cold and chilling winds of adversity. But cold and chilling winds touch not our life, although they destroy our warmth. Here we make great mistakes. We seek our evidences of spiritual standing and acceptance in our love to the Lord, instead of looking for them in His love toward us. The channel of communication at all times opens in the ocean: the streamlet always takes its rise at the fountain-head. Now, if we constantly keep our eye within expecting to perpetually behold the stream there, we shall again and again meet with disappointment, and be troubled because we see not our signs of life and tokens of love; but, if we be enabled by faith to go out of self and live upon Himself
, our unchanging Beloved, we shall find Him to be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life." All our satisfaction should be drawn from the never-failing source of His love to us, and never, upon any consideration, should we be so led away from the simplicity of Christ as to derive the least comfort from our ever-varying love to Him. “We love Him, because He first loved us; so that if He had never have loved us, we should never have loved Him: and, whenerer we are left to be satisfied with our love to the Lord, we despise the fountain of living waters, and “hew out to ourselves cisterns that can hold no water.' When, however, by the ministration of the blessed Spirit of Christ, we are privileged by faith to go out of self, and fix upon the ever-steadfast Rock of Ages, to leave the creature, and centre in the ever-shining Sun of Righteousness,
flows as a river," and our light shines as the morning. Christ is our unchanging ocean of love, our unalterable fountain of life, and our unvarying Sun of righteousness; for He is Jesus Christ, "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever."
“He never loves by fits and starts,
But loves us all our journey through.” From the very bottom of His bleeding heart of love He says to each and to all His children, "I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed :" and, when He speaks so glorious a portion into the heart, when He seals so precious a word upon the spiritual mind, the recipient of favour so full, the partaker of grace so free, the subject of mercy so abundant, so boundless, so bottomless, and so blissful, breaks forth in holy ecstacy, “It is the voice of my Beloved.” “ His word is with power.” Who can doubt it? Who can question it? Not the living child who has been favoured again and again to hear it and to feel it. No; for how often has he been privileged to sit at His dear feet, and to wonder at the gracious words which have proceeded out of His mouth! And what has been the blessed effect: what the glorious result? The ecstatic exclamation, “ His mouth is most sweet: yea, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, O daughter of Jerusalem.” His voice vibrates and revibrates in the living heart; it echoes and re-echoes in the new-born soul. Speak of electricity, it is not half so swift, not nearly so spontaneous, as the voice of our Beloved, and the felt power of His burning, loving words of grace and glory! How truthful are the following verses: and what an echo will they find in every grace-affected heart, in every love-fired soul! “No other voice can calm my breast, I burn with love intensely warm, Or still the raging sea ;
And feel a heaven below; But when He whispers, ' in the rest, I'm not afraid of wind or storm, I'm lost in Deity.
When He His face doth show. “Oh, how His voice draws out my heart,
“ And if His voice be now so sweet, In burning hot desire;
Whilst in this mortal vale; And oh, such love He doth impart, What will it be when we all meet, My soul is all on fire.
And nought but love inhale ?”
Love is a short word, but it is a shining one; it is a small word, but it is a mighty one; it is a simple word, but it is a mysterious one; it is a plain word, but it is a precious one; it is a common word, but it is a glorious one. It embraces a volume of blessedness, it contains a foun
, tain of sweetness, it comprehends an eternity of preciousness, and it opens an immensity of delight and glory. Love, who can fathom thy depth ? Who can scan thy height? Who can explore thy length and thy breadth ? Who can measure thy fulness? Who can express thy greatness ? Who can estimate thy worthiness? Who can reveal thy hidden glories? Who can behold all thy beauty ? Who can discover the millionth part of thine excellencies? Love, thou art God. God, Thou art love. Christ, Thou art both; Thou art all. Thou art love personified; Thou art love revealed; Thou art love sealed home upon the spiritual mind; Thou art love communicated to the spiritual heart of the living child. Thou art hidden love, secret love, matchless love, boundless love, mercy-love, life-love, grace-love, and glory-love. Thou art the fountain of love, the river of love, the sea of love, and the ocean of love. Thou art my love; I am thy love. Thou art the Author of love, the Source of love, and the cause of love. Thou art the God of love, and the love of God. Not a drop of love have I in my heart that Thou art not. Not a ray of light have I upon my spiritual mind that Thou art not. Not a spark of spiritual fire have I in my soul that Thou art not. Not a breath of real life have I in my new man that Thou art not. Indeed, dear Lord, Thou art all
. But, though Thou Thyself art love, uncreated love, underived love; and, though Thou hast loved my soul with the boundless ocean of Thy love, yet Thy love would have never reached me, but through the channel of Thy precious blood. The spring of love must