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that they have confidence toward Him, and pour out their heart before Him ;64 and they find Him to be the Hearer and Answerer of the humble supplications which they present at His footstool, that He does not cast out their
prayer, but grants them those blessings which they need. They dwell in Him by realizing His presence, and having communion with Him in the spirit of their minds. They lift up their hearts unto the Lord, and cast all their care, every cause of anxiety and disquietude, upon Him; and He manifests His care for them, by ordering all things for them in providence and in grace, as shall be most for His glory, and for their good. He dwells in them, by comforting their hearts and stablishing them in every good word and work; making them happy in the enjoyment of a sense of His favour, causing the peace of God which passeth all understanding, to keep their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus 365 and enabling them to rejoice in hope of the glory of God 66 hereafter. It is the privilege of those who keep His commandments to enjoy this consolation, but of no others. We must believe in Christ, and love those who are, with us, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,66 if we would partake of this blessedness. But lest any persons should think that any merit is to be ascribed to themselves in this matter, the text specifies, in the
64 Psalm lxii. 8.
65 Phil. iv. 7.
66 Rom. v. 2; viii. 17.
Third place, The means whereby the command is obeyed, and the manner in which the promised blessing is conveyed. Hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us. It is by the gracious influence of the Spirit of God upon our souls, that we are enabled to believe in Christ, and to walk in love towards the members of His mystical body. And it is by the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, which is given to us, that we are assured of the fulfilment of the promises of His grace to our souls, and that our profession of faith in Christ is not a delusion. Wherever God is pleased to take up
His abode as the God of peace, it is that He may sanctify His people wholly, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ,67 that when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, in that day, 68 they may be presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy 169 and may receive that blessing which He shall then pronounce to them that love and fear Him, saying, Come, ye blessed children of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.70 When God abideth in His people, He gives His good Spirit to instruct them ;71 to teach them all things72 needful to be known in order to their comfort and salvation; to strengthen them to resist Satan and all their spiritual enemies, and to walk in His holy ways, doing what is pleasing in His sight, doing the will of God from the heart.
67 1 Thess. v. 23. 68 2 Thess. i. 10. 69 Jude 24. 70 Matt. xxv.34.
Let us examine ourselves, to ascertain whether we have this evidence of being the habitation of God through the Spirit. Are we strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man,13 to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold on eternal life, whereunto we are called?* by the gospel of Christ? If our faith and hope be in Christ; if we are influenced and actuated by His Spirit; if we walk with God, and adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, all will be well. But if we rest in a speculative religion, which brings no spiritual life to the soul, and does not produce obedience to the word and will of God in the conduct, we have reason to fear lest we should deceive ourselves, and fail of obtaining that everlasting salvation of which it is the object of the gospel of Christ to put us in possession. May we be taught and led by the Spirit of God, that the blessings of this salvation may be ours in time and in eternity.
71 Neh.ix. 20. 72 John xiv. 26. 73 Eph. ii. 22; iii.16. 74 1 Tim.v.12.
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
AFFLICTION THE PATH TO GLORY.
1 Peter y. 10, 11.
BUT THE GOD OF ALL GRACE, WHO HATH
CALLED US UNTO HIS ETERNAL GLORY BY CHRIST JESUS, AFTER THAT YE HAVE SUFFERED A WHILE, MAKE YOU PERFECT, STABLISH, STRENGTHEN, SETTLE YOU.
To Him BE GLORY AND DOMINION, FOR EVER AND EVER.
The Christian's course through this world, and its blessed termination, are the principal subjects referred to in these words. They are introduced, in the Epistle for this day, by exhortations for the direction, admonition, and consolation of the people of God, while they are passing through this transitory life, to the rest which remaineth for them in His everlasting kingdom.
The first exhortation is, All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility. Humbleness of mind is to characterise the children of God in all their conduct. He who knows himself, knows that he has sufficient cause to be humble, and not to think highly of himself. But a reason is here given why humility of mind is to be cultivated. For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. He setteth Himself in array, as it were, against those who exalt themselves; but to those who are abased at His footstool, He manifests Himself to be the God of all grace, ready to bestow the blessings of His grace upon their souls. This being the case, the inference is drawn, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may
evalt you in due time. Before honour is humility. He graciously regards those who are lowly in their own eyes, and are abased at His footstool, that He may
cheer and comfort their hearts, may raise them to enjoy communion with Himself, and bless them with all the spiritual blessings that are enjoyed in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.75 Such honour have all His saints, who are humbled at His feet to receive His words, who desire and seek the instruction of heavenly wisdom. And He will exalt them hereafter to the throne of His glory, to rejoice in His salvation for ever
75 Ephesians i. 3.