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mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten. No, your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind, as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as brightly on the earth as the stars of heaven."
4. We ought to be grateful for the grace of God in every instance of holy influence that has survived the pious dead. When a Christian dies, especially when he dies in the midst of his years and usefulness, we mourn their loss. We marvel at the mysteries of God's providence. And do we not sometimes forget to be grateful for the good they have done, and the pious influence they have left behind them. Every community, every house, and every heart, feel the influence of the pious dead. Let us then so live that not the marble that may be placed at the head of our graves shall give the only intimations to posterity that we have had a being on the earth; but that there shall be other, more enduring evidences of our life, in the good we have done, the impress of our faith and pious deeds on souls that shall live, when marble monuments shall have crumbled into dust.
BY REV. WILLIAM DEMAREST,
BOUNDBROOK, N. J.
THE OBJECT AND FOUNDATION OF CONFIDENCE.
"For this God is our God, for ever and ever.”—Ps. xlviii. 14.
Ir is the language of appropriation alone which can inspire with consolation. Of what advantage can a blessing be to me, if it be in no sense mine. There are certain things which are in one sense ours, and may be of benefit to us, though in another sense they are not ours. We may find pleasure in looking to the heavens above, and contemplating sun, moon and stars, though they remain fixed at their vast distance from us. We may find satisfaction in contemplating terrestrial scenery-we may derive pleasure in beholding vegetation in its beauty, the fruits of the earth in their richness, and animals in the exquisiteness of their formation, the skillfulness of their movements, and their adaptation to the uses for which they were intended-these things afford us pleasure, because they are so constituted as to afford
gratification through the eye, the ear, and the other organs of sense, and it is immaterial whether or not we have them in possession, nay, though they should be the property of an enemy. But when we consider our entire dependence, and the equal dependence of all things upon God, what can we find capable of affording us consolation, but the thought that God is our God. This consideration must be much enforced by the circumstances, that if God be not our friend he is our enemy. But if he is for us, what can then be against us? The inquiry is an inspired one. It is equally a reasonable one. It is put into the form of an inquiry because a reply is impossible. Every one must be for him, for whom God is. Happy then, they who are able to say, "This God is our God for ever and ever." Let us consider,
I. THE OBJECT OF CONFIDENCE specified.
II. THE FOUNDATION OF THAT CONFIDENCE.
I. The OBJECT OF CONFIDENCE here specified.
It has been well observed that it is one thing to have the belief of a God, and another to believe in God. An Apostle, in order to convict as worthless a faith not connected with a correspondence of disposition and act, observes to those who, it seems, were disposed to indulge such faith, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble." What God is in himself is one thing; to have an interest in what he is, is quite another.
God is in himself unchangeably the same-the same infinitely perfect being. As the first person of the Trinity, he sustains to the second the relation of a Father, nay, he is, by creation, the Father of all his creatures. As Creator, he is no less a Father to devils than to men. As Creator, he was no more a Father to our first parents before their fall than after that sad event. But with what comfort can this exalted relation be realized by devils in their place of torment? And with what comfort can man, viewed in his state of subjection to the Divine displeasure, contemplate the author of his existence and of all his blessings? Must not the fact, in both cases, add poignancy to the misery already ex-perienced?
But, it is a fact calculated equally to draw forth our wonder and delight, that God has anew exhibited himself to man in the relations of a Father. And whereas it is possible, nay, according to the opinion of some, is more than probable, that the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in the Godhead was not unknown to man before the fall, and that the knowledge of the fact was communicated to angels at the commencement of their being, the new discovery is now made to men and angels, that the natural relation of the persons of the Godhead to one another, lies at the founda
tion of God's purposes and acts of mercy towards man. The curtain concealing an eternity past from the view is withdrawn, and the Son of God is exhibited as the foundation of all the Divine purposes, and the only channel of Divine exertion. By him, and for the display of the glory of God through him, were all things created, in him were his people from eternity chosen, by him are all things governed, and by him will the destinies of all creatures. be fixed. God the Father, who is the God and Father of Jesus Christ, is also the God and Father of his people.
The bond which unites the Lord Jesus Christ to his people is a double one. The first one is that which has just been described, and without which they must forever have remained in a state of hopelessness and misery. Had they not been made the objects of the eternal compassion of God, and had there not been in the Divine mind a plan, according to which they could consistently be rescued from their misery, they must have continued subject to the wrath of God. But to complete the union there is need of a second bond. While the atonement of Christ rendered the exercise of the Divine favor towards them consistent with the justice of God, the justice of God and their own happiness at the same time required, that the favor of God proffered to them, should, with suitable feelings, be embraced. The favor of God is thus embraced by faith-by that faith which is no natural exercise of the mind, but is the gift of God, which is the result of its illumination and renewal by the word and Spirit of God, which comprehends in itself a recognition of the claims of God upon us, sorrow for our sins, as a practical denial of those just claims, and dependence upon Christ as having satisfied those claims, with feelings of entire satisfaction, and the unreserved surrender of ourselves to God. Thus the elect sinner becomes, in the full sense of the term, a child of God and a partaker of all blessings which belong to a child: "When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ (nay, as it is elsewhere expressed), a joint heir with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
But, what are the consequences of the exalted relation which the believer sustains to God? They may properly be arranged under two heads, those which spring from our character as creatures, subject to certain necessities, and those which are appropriate to our character as creatures in a state of affliction, and these comprehend all possible consequences.
1. In the first place, they include such as are suited to our character as creatures, subject to certain necessities. We are natu
rally necessitous creatures. All creatures being dependent are necessitous. This is true of fallen and unfallen creatures, of angels and men, and no less the inferior creatures. The necessities of creatures correspond with their constitution. Man agrees with inferior creatures in having a body. He agrees with angelic beings in having a rational spirit. Whatever then is necessary for both the body and spirit shall be afforded the believer.
The body shall be provided for. What shall be bestowed is not said. Is it not enough to know that what is necessary shall be bestowed? Whatever is necessary, be it little or much, shall be bestowed. The circumstances in which a believer is placed may be such that he shall need much. He may need to be possessed of his thousands or his millions. He may need to be surrounded with splendor, to be clothed gorgeously and fare sumptuously. An approach to the magnificence and glory which characterized Solomon may be necessary for him. If it be so, it shall not be withheld. Has not what is here supposed been often realized? Is it Solomon only who has occupied a royal seat? Are not David, Hezekiah and others of ancient times to be reckoned among pious kings? Have not the pious been found occupying elevated seats in more recent times? Are not station and piety now, in some instances, to be found combined? And may it not, perhaps, far more extensively be so hereafter? If less, however, be necessary, less shall be bestowed, and however little may be required, that little shall not be withheld.
The spirit shall be provided for. It shall, first of all, be upheld in being. Its exalted faculties shall be preserved. "O bless our God,” is the exhortation of the Psalmist, "who holdeth our soul in life." But especially shall the faculties of the soul be preserved in proper exercisethey shall be held in spiritual life.
Entire present freedom from sin is not promised. This God might confer, as he might also have altogether prevented the entrance of sin into the world. But as God has been pleased to permit the entrance of sin into the world, so it is his will to bring forth the display of his glory, not by the immediate expulsion of it from the world, but the over-ruling of it for good.
The first adaptation of himself to the souls of his people for their good, takes place at their conversion. Then, by the experience of the renewing operations of the Holy Spirit, they are at once brought to the entertainment of right sentiments toward God, and to the enjoyment of true happiness then love to God-the hearty choice of his service-approbation of what is truly excellent takes possession of the soul, and it is brought back to God the chief good-conscience, so far as allowed sin is concerned, is hushed, the appropriation of the merits of Christ imparts perfect peace, the sanctified affections find in God a congenial object, and all the powers are furnished with an adequate motive to action.
The work begun in conversion shall be maintained and carried on in the work of sanctification.
Their love shall continue. Their faith by which they draw all their supplies from God, shall not fail. Their joy in the Lord, which is their strength, shall not be taken from them. The promise on this point is explicit: "I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."
The Lord will complete in heaven what he begun on earth. With their
translation from the body, the people of God shall be transformed into the spirits of the just made perfect. The Lord will "give grace and glory," and "there shall in no wise enter into it, anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie."
2. But this world is also to be viewed as a state of affliction. It is a valley of Baca-a dry and dreary valley. What child of God has not his afflictions! How grievous are the afflictions of some! Whose are not
grievous! "The heart knoweth his own bitterness." But these shall be made to work out good for the children of God who are subjected to them. Though called to "pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a well, the rain also filleth the pools." The promise is here also explicit : "All things shall work together for good to them that love God." Afflictions are, in the plainest manner, spoken of in the word of God, as tokens of the love of God. "As many as I love," says the Saviour, "I rebuke and chasten." This can be well understood, but it is often an occasion of depression to a child of God, that he has brought his troubles upon himself by his sins, and the solicitous inquiry arises in his heart, shall such troubles work together for my good? We may, perhaps, obtain satisfaction upon this point by inquiring, whether all our troubles whatever, are not occasioned by sin, and by our sins, and whether the whole design of redemption is not to counteract sin, and the effects of sin. It is also manifest, that if troubles into which we have been brought by our sins be the means of leading us to profound humiliation for our sins, then our sins work together for our good, and nothing is more plainly declared in the Scriptures, than that the believer shall be at last satisfied -that the effect of all the dispensations of God will be to bring him into a state equally conducive to his own happiness and the glory of God, and leaving him nothing to regret and nothing to desire.
II. But what is the FOUNDATION of these exalted expectations-this unbounded confidence? That foundation is his ability and his willingness. He is Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, and therefore able; he is a Father, and therefore willing.
1. In the first place he is able.
Ile has indicated this by the epithets he has assigned himself. The first of these which may be mentioned, is the Almighty. By this name he proclaims himself to the Patriarchs. "I am," said he to Abraham, "the Almighty, the all-sufficient one." The same appellation is also to be found in the Prophets. A term so expressive was fitted to convey an adequate idea of God. Saints of all ages must delight to dwell upon and employ it; and it is to be observed of it, that it implies in it every other perfection. The same may be said of Jehovah and the God of eternity (or the everlasting God), which are terms applied to God. These terms by implication, if not directly, express infinite perfection. What can be lacking in God in form of ability? In correspondence with this, it is hence said, "With God nothing shall be impossible."
But God has further indicated his All-sufficiency to us, by appealing to the act of creation-by holding himself up to view as maker of heaven and earth. For the comfort of his disconsolate people of old, we hear him saying, "Hast thou not known-hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not,