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Christian, make this prophecy to look beyond David to the Son of David; glorious things are here spoken of, of the kingdom of our most glorious Christ, both before and since His incarnation. It is predicted concerning that kingdom,
1. All the subjects of it shall be carefully and powerfully protected (ver. 9): “He will keep the feet of His saints.”
2. No power shall prevail against it. 3. Its enemies shall be destroyed.
4. It shall extend its conquests and its government to distant regions (ver. 10). “The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth.”
5. That the power and honour of Messiah the prince shall grow and increase more and more (ver. 10). He shall give strength unto his King, &c., for the accomplishment of this great undertaking (Psalm lxxxix. 21; Luke xxii. 43), strengthen him to go through the difficulties of his humiliation, and in his exaltation he will lift up the head (Psalm cx. 7), lift up the horn, the
power and honour of His anointed, and make him higher than the kings of the earth (Psalm lxxxix. 27). His crown's the triumphant song of Hannah, and is more than anything the matter of her exaltation. Her horn is exalted, because she foresees the horn of the Messiah will be so. This secures the hope the subject of Christ's kingdom will be safe, and that his enemies will be ruined, for the Anointed, the Lord Christ, is girt with omnipotent strength, and is able to come and destroy unto the utmost the wicked and all the nations that forget God (Amos ix. 8; Micah v. 10, 1 Cor. i. 19.)
St. Paul says,
A GOOD MAN. “ For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; and much
people was added unto the Lord” (Acts xi. 24.) A GOOD man is one who is made so by the grace of God. By nature we are all alike guilty before God.
“For I know that in me [that is, in my flesh] dwelleth no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.” And David says, “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” This is a very sad but very true picture of the heart of man in an unregenerate state; but, when it pleases God the Holy Ghost to quicken a dead soul, He implants within that soul His own nature, which is holy in every sense, clothes him with the righteousness of His own dear Son, whereby he is rendered complete even in the eye of spotless purity, and then it is he becomes a truly good man, and infinite justice looks upon him with satisfaction.
That is a wonderful passage, “And they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." We do not half realise this as we ought that God in very deed dwells in us; we can understand in some measure the indwelling of Christ and the Holy Ghost in the heart of a believer, but are too apt to forget that God Himself dwells there too; this is because we so often let go the truth that Christ is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, therefore it is the triune God we should always be careful to acknowledge. This train of thought has arisen from remarking that the new nature implanted in a child of God is God's own nature, and this alone constitutes “a good man.”
HALF AN HOUR'S “CHAT” BETWEEN “GEORGE AND
MARY." George. Well, my beloved sister, I am glad to see you once more, it brings to my remembrance those sweet lines
“And all I love in Christ below
Shall join the glorious band.”
Mary. Ah, my dear brother, but shall I join that "glorious band ?” I assure you that that causes me many an anxious thought. Oh, if I were quite certain of that at all times, I think I should be as happy as an angel
“My summer would last all the year.” But still I trust, fearing, as I am sometimes, poor, weak, and worthless as I am, I can yet go to Him at times as my Friend, my Beloved, and tell Him of all my wants, all my cares, all my sorrows. Yes, spread all before Him; yes, things that I could not tell my own beloved husband. Yes, I trust I can, at least, sometimes say, " Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth I desire in comparison of Thee.”
George. Well, my dear sister, did the poet say of that great multitude who stand before the throne, and before the Lamb," some of whom we have known
“Once they were mourning here below,
And wet their couch with tears ;
With sins and doubts and fears." But sorrowing, fearing, and doubting are now for every fled away. This happiness, my dear sister, will be yours by-and-by; yes, He will perfect that which concerneth you. Remember it is He, the mighty One, that will do it, not you. Yes, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah xxxv. 10).
Mary. If I among them stand by-and-by, methinks I shall sing the loudest of them all; yes, cry with a “loud voice," “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.' Oh, that that may be my happy portion ! George. And so I hear our friend Mr. R- is at last
66 to his long home.” I trust he is now "present with the Lord. And, oh, what a blessed exchange it must be for him, sufferer as he has been, more or less for so many years.
" Far better” it must be indeed. Mary. Yes, he died on the 3rd of this month (February, 1869); I trust you have a good foundation for your hope concerning him. I have known him now for some years; but, for my part, I had my fears about him. I thought there was a great deal of self-righteousness about him, and you know that won't do to stand before God in, for all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;" his views also were misty or “muddy,” and therefore his expressions tinted with Arminianism. Still I know nothing is too hard for the Lord;" and I must say this of him, that, notwithstanding his being reduced, as it regards this world's goods, and notwithstand
ing his sufferings, I never heard a murmur escape his lips; he seemed to be the most patient man I ever knew.
George. Yes; I have known him also for many years, and believe all you say of him is true; and it was painful to hear him at times so warmly taken up with politics, and “declaiming," as dear Newton says of “Querulus,” “against the management of public affairs.” Nor was he quite free from these kind of things, even since the time he considered himself—and I trust he was-converted. But well may we say, dear sister, especially in these days of spiritual declension, when bright lights' are indeed few, in the language of the Psalmist : "If Thou, Lord, wert extreme to mark what is done [and spoken] amiss, O Lord, who among us could stand ?” Sad it is to hear and witness what we do in these days, not only of those who we fear are only professors, but of those also who we trust are possessors of true religion. May the Lord pour out His Spirit upon us, and take us by the hand and draw us from the world to Himself. But, however, I am glad to be able to give you a reason for ny hope concerning Mr. R— You know twelve months ago he was sick “nigh unto death,” and, from the conversation I then had with him, my hope of him is principally founded. You shall hear the substance of a few of those conversations as scribbled down at the time, then you will be able to judge whether I have not a good foundation for my hope.
Sunday, February 16th, 1868. Visited Mr. R- He related to me again that up till about one year and a half ago, he was building upon his own righteousness. The Lord about that time, it seems, began to open his
eyes to see that that would not do; it was a sandy foundation, till at last he was "driven," he said, "to the greatest despair;" his
agony of mind was very great indeed,” he could not " express how great." He, in this extremity, driven to the last point, it seems, went to some secret place, "and cried unto the Lord, and cast himself on Him,” just as
And the Lord delivered him out of his sore trouble by speaking these words into his soul: "Thy sins are forgiven thee,” which made him “ dance for joy unspeakable.” The 12th of Isaiah was then most precious to him. And several times before my visits, and since, I have seen the tears run down his cheeks when speaking of his deliverance, at the time mentioned. He never, it seems, lost his confidence whollyalways, I think, referring to that precious chapter. He told me he could now sing the whole of that chapter (the 12th of Isaiah) in spirit. He had often sung it when a boy, he said, as an anthem, but knew it not in its spiritual meaning. He had had “raptures of joy” at times, he said, during the last day or two, while lying on his bed. Yesterday, he said, he had been cast down for some little time, but those words : « thou cast down, O my soul,”' &c., came to his mind, and were the means of restoring him again, bringing peace and liberty into his soul. I read, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me,” &c., to him, which he spoke highly of.
He told my dear wife, two or three days before this, how happy he had been for a day or two.
Monday evening, February 17th. Again visited Mr.R- He spoke of his delighting in former years to keep the Sabbath outwardly, not seeing the need of anything more till the time the Lord opened his eyes. Spoke again of the agonies he was then in, “no tongue could tell his agonies." I mentioned how distinguishing the case of the thief on the cross wasone taken, the other left. “Grace must make all the difference," I said. He feelingly responded in the words of that precious verse,
“Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Bind my wandering heart to Thee,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Seal it from Thy courts above.” I spoke of the old nature being the same till the last; he said, “Yes." He again spoke of Isaiah xii.: "How delightful to be able to repeat it in the Spirit.” He also spoke of our Lord's being brought up before Pilate. He had been, it seems, led to remember, to think, to view him as it were before Pilate. Tuesday, February 18.—Just saw Mr. R— this morning. He told
me the "joys,” the “raptures,” he had had for some days previously were “relapsed,” meaning they were not so great; were stayed in a measure. The pain of body had almost overcome him ; made him unconscious at times; but no murmur did I hear escape Evening, seven o'clock.-Again visited Mr. R
Read the hymn
“Yes,” he quickly replied, "that's where I stood,” referring to the time when he went out in solitude to cry to the Lord, with his sins like a "mountain" on him, and the Lord gave him the "release," which he so often spoke of; the “rapturous joy” he could not "express.” Again spoke of the “raptures of joy" he had for a few days before, saying, his wife on one occasion asked him what he was grieving about. He told her he was not grieving; it was tears of joy. Told me also how precious the anthem taken from Cor. xv., on victory over death, which he used to sing in the church when a boy, had been to him, I think during
"A song of triumph ;" he had often sung it with his voice when a boy; he could now sing it in spirit. It seemed to be read into him, causing him to rejoice in spirit. I asked him if he was troubled with evil thoughts or suggestions of the devil ? “No,” he said, “I am free from them all for the present; Satan is kept at a distance."
Wednesday, Feb. 19.–Again visited Mr. R— He quickly said to me, “Oh, Mr. H the Lord has granted me a renewal," meaning of peace and joy, having had, as he said, a “season of dulness." I replied, "Rejoicing in tribulation.” “Rejoicing in hope,” he said. He then
* told me of the “glorious views" he had had that day of the agonies of
Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Told me also how much he had that day entered in spirit into Luther's hymn or anthem
“Great God, what do I see and hear,
The end of things created !
On clouds of glory seated!
Prepare, my soul, to meet Him.” He really seemed to enjoy it in spirit as he repeated it to me. I then spoke to him of the Lord's distinguishing mercy to him who was not any better by nature than others. No not one " bit” better, he replied, or words to that effect. He spoke again of the time when he was brought so “low"_" to the lowest scale,” he said and what effect the words spoken into his soul produced-could not "express the joy.” He men
. tioned "peace in believing," I think as descriptive of his feelings on that day. Spoke of Paul's hearing a voice-had been speaking of it to his wife. Seemed to rejoice in the prospect of death.
Friday, Feb. 21.–Again visited Mr. R- He spoke of that “beautiful” hymn,"Jesus, Lover of my soul,” &c. It had been in a measure precious to him that day, read into his mind it seems, but still the rapturous joys of which he had spoken on my previous visits were, I believe, in a great measure abated. On his asking me to pray with him, I asked him what I should
for. “A renewal,” he said, meaning a renewal of the great joy and peace he had been favoured with before. Satan had been kept from him, he said. Hoped the Lord would keep him till the end. He gradually recovered from that time. I would just say, he sent for me at the time of his " release" spoken of, to tell me of it; but I confess I was doubtful concerning it at the time, and by my prayer or what I said at the time, he knew it, and more than once reminded me of it afterwards.
Mary. Well, I cannot but hope you have a "good foundation" for your hope of his end; that the Lord was indeed - merciful to him" in his old age, for he was arrived to the advanced age of seventy-seven. Yes, I do trust Jesus was indeed what he said to me a few days before he died. He was his “Surety," and that, therefore, all our fears concerning him were groundless; for who shall lay anything to the charge of that man or woman whose Surety is the MIGHTY GOD? He has answered for ALL!
George. Good-bye, my beloved sister. The Lord deliver thee from all thy fears, and make thee a living epistle of Jesus, read of all men.
Mury. Good-bye, my beloved brother, till we meet again. May “His lovingkindness break through the midnight of thy soul," and deliver thee from that "oppression" of the enemy to which thou art subject. May the God of heaven “ bless thee and make thee a blessing." Martock.
It most demonstrably appears that true grace is of that nature that the more a person has ofit, with remaining corruption, the less does his goodness and holiness appear in proportion, not only as to his past deformity, but as to the present aspect of sin that now appears in his heart, and in the abominable defects of his brightest affections and highest attainments.