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reaps the full harvest of joy, are both constrained to apply to the salvation of Christ the saying of Sheba's queen concerning Solomon's glory. “It was a true report that I heard in “ mine own land. Howbeit I believed not the “ words, until I came and mine eyes had seen “it: and behold the half was not told me :" thy goodness, O Lord, “ exceedeth the fame “ that I heard.” (1 Kings x. 6, 7.) The most lively imagination is unable to paint the blessings of redemption with adequate expression. All that it can do is to chalk out a faint outline, and leave experience to fill up and colour the drawing. These “good things pass man's understand
s “ing.” Unenlightened reason, however strong, may be its native powers, however improved and enlarged by education and the acquisition of human science, can form no just ideas of those things which are the portion of God's people even in the present world. “The “ of God which keeps the hearts and minds of “ His people, passeth all understanding.” Its sweetness can only be conceived by him that enjoys it; and it can be enjoyed only by a Divine communication. The plan of redemption from which that peace springs, could “never « have entered into the heart of man to con“ ceive,” if it had not been Divinely contrived and revealed. And when it is revealed, reason cannot comprehend it without Divine illumination. • But God hath revealed it unto us by “ His Spirit ; for the Spirit searcheth all things, “even the deep things of God.” And of this description surely are the doctrines of justification by faith, and of reconciliation with God
« The peace
through our Lord Jesus Christ, and of sanctification by the Holy Ghost. We may therefore cease to wonder at the opposition which is made to Divine truth and to spiritual experience, even by persons calling themselves Christians, and sometimes by men of literature and professors of theology. The doctrines of grace and of communion with God must necessarily puzzle their reasoning faculties, and prove highly objectionable to the pride of fallen man. The opponents of the gospel resemble the inhabitant of the torrid zone who denied the existence of snow because he had never seen it, and could not understand how water could be condensed into ice conformably to the description which he had received from colder climates. It is evident that the most illiterate believer knows more of spiritual things than the most learned philosopher, if unenlightened by Divine teaching: “Unto you,” says our Lord to His disciples, “it is given to know the mysteries of s the kingdom of God: but to others it is not
given," And again the same blessed Teacher says, " If any man will do the will of God, he " shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of “God, or whether I speak of myself.” Experimental philosophy is justly preferred to the mere theory of physics. And surely, if experience be the best instructor in the science of nature, it must also be the best in a science which is above nature, whose data cannot be furnished by reason, but must be derived from revelation. The constitution of vital Christianity is not to be learned in the common way of instruction, by study and application. The rules of human science cannot be applied to it. It requires “ senses exercised to discern it.” (Hebr. v. 14.)
It is impossible to distinguish, to taste, and relish, the spiritual nourishment which is provided for the soul in the gospel of Christ without organs of spiritual sensation* adapted to the purpose. Now faith in its different offices corresponds with the several organs of bodily sensation. The Christian, by faith, sees Him that is invisible, and “beholds, as in a glass, “ the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus " Christ.
He hears by faith the voice of the good shepherd, which the natural man" hears not. He “ tastes that the Lord is gracious.” He smells “the savour of His good ointments.” He touches the hem of the Redeemer's garment, , and derives virtue therefrom.
But the things which are prepared for them that love God “pass the understanding." of man, even in the highest state of grace-not only of “ babes,” who, though possessed of spiritualized senses, are “ unskilful in the word of “ righteousness,"--but also of “them that are “ of full age, who by reason of use have their
senses exercised to discern both good and “ evil.” We must enjoy them in order to understand them; and as we enjoy but in part, 60 we know but in part. Even the beloved disciple who lay on his Master's bosom says, “We « know not what we sliall be.”
There is a height and depth, a length and breadth in the “ love of Christ which passeth knowledge.
* Asorrypio are the organs of bodily sensation, the eye, , the ear, the smell, the taste, the touch. But neither this word, nor the verb air savouat, nor its derivative Arogyris, sense, is used in the New Testament with relation to the external senses. Ao Sytypia are (by a metaphor) the faculties of perception in the soul, analogous to the corporeal organs.
And it is probable that the glory which is hereafter to be revealed, will be gradually disclosed to “ saints made perfect” according as they are capable of bearing and of receiving it. Doubt- . less, every redeemed soul will be filled with beatitude in proportion to its capacity, so soon as it is admitted into the presence of Him whose presence is heaven. But no reason can be given why it should not be supposed that the vessels of honour will be eternally enlarging, as God pours into them the riches of His glory. We are taught to believe that the redemption of sinners has augmented the happiness of angels, by presenting to their view a more enlarged discovery of the Divine perfections than they had hitherto comprehended. Yet they were always as blessed as their capacity could admit. If therefore the glory of redemption will be progressively unfolded to the inhabitants of heaven, both saints and angels, we may assert that those things which God hath prepared for them that love Him, not only pass man's understanding in his present state of mental imbecility, but also the extended power of glorified saints and angels, and will surpass them even after millions of years have been spent in their fruition.
It may be asked, In what sense are these good things said to be prepared ? The inheritance is “ a purchased possession." The price has been paid, and the property transferred to one who acts in our name as our representative. The title-deeds are in His hands. Nay, He has taken possession of it in our name. to prepare a place for us, and waits only till we have passed out of our minority to put the inheritance into our own hands. We * know in whom we have believed, and are per
ded that He is able to keep that we have mitted to Him against that day."
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But for whom are these good things prepared ? Are they prepared for all mankind? No. Are they prepared for all the professing members of the church--for all whose names are enrolled in the parochial register for all who partake of the ordinances of the church? Alas! No. Nei. ther the Scripture nor the doctrine of our church sanctions so wide a comprehension. They are prepared for all those persons, and for those only, who truly love God; for none besides them are qualified to receive and enjoy these good things.
To love God is to conceive of Him as the one desirable object. It is to make the attainment of His image, favour, and presence, our grand aim; and it is to cleave unto Him with all the ardour of our souls. And this we can only do in proportion as we believe that He has first loved us and is reconciled to us. Faith and love, therefore, are inseparable in every stage of the Divine life. They begin to exist and they grow together, till faith is lost in sight, hope swallowed up in fruition, and till love is perfected by union with its glorious object.
Perhaps a humble saint will say, I fear that I do not love God; for if I did the world would not have so much influence over me as by painful experience I find that it has; my heart would not then be so harrassed with “ fear which hath “ torment;" I should find more pleasure in spiritual exercises, in prayer, praise, and meditation, and the thoughts of heaven would be much sweeter to my soul than they are. Let the timid believer consider the manner in which the prophet speaks in the passage quoted by St. Paul. For therein these good things are said to be prepared for them that “ wait for in y modern greet tinnslation grrn 4 Febrei Jent, yeword
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