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Spirit and life; insomuch that one drop of this river of the water of life mixed with this word will make it a life-giving word. Therefore, in his great name who says, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;" in his name and authority we say, O, dead and dry bones, hear the word of the Lord; for the God that quickens the dead calls you. O lame and diseased souls, that cannot stir, rise and come, for the Lord of life calls you. "O dead sinner, dead Lazarus, that hath been so long rotting in the grave of sin and sloth, God give life with his word that you may come forth, for he that is the resurrection and the life calls you. However long or short time you have been dead in sins and trespasses, and stinking in that filthy sepulchre, yet if there be any stream of the water of life running from the throne this moment, any motion of the living Spirit about your heart, then a quickening voice from the throne of God and of the Lamb is calling you. Words without power will not do with you; the words of men and angels cannot give you the least degree of life, nor quicken that dead heart of yours; but, Where the word of a king is, there is power.' Rise, then, dying, drooping soul, the Master calls you. The King of glory, that sits upon the Father's throne, is speaking to you, and saying, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; however foul and filthy, black and ugly in thyself. Lo! The winter is past, and the rain is over and gone;' the storm of divine wrath, that should have fallen on thee for ever, is over thy head, and hath fallen on my head, when I sweat in the garden and hung upon the cross; and now I have mounted my father's throne, to draw thee up to me, and to send down my Spirit as the river of life to run into thy heart, and quicken thee to hear my voice, and answer my call. Come, then, though you see yourself black like hell, and like a devil; Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Come with me from Lebanon; from the lion's den, and mountains of leopards.' Come away from this vain world, this vile world, this venomous and viperous world; come and share of my grace in time, and my glory for ever after time.* Blessed are they that hear his voice and open to him. If the river of life that proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb be running through any heart here, the work is done, life is begun, and open doors are made for the King of Glory. If it be otherwise, I have no more to say, but, Glory to God and the Lamb, that as many as were

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ordained to eternal life shall believe,' and live for ever."

* 66 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."

LONDON; Houlston & Wright, 65, Paternoster Row; Alfred Gadsby, 17, Bouverie Street. E.C. Twopence. Two or more copies post free for the amount sent in stamps to the Editor of the "Little Gleaner," Shefford, Beds. All the back numbers may still be had. Printed by ALFRED GADSBY, 17, Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, London. E.C.




"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."ROM. VIII. 28.

THIS chapter is like a string of pearls, every one of them more precious than another; if we might loose the string, and single out this one from among the rest, to take a particular view thereof, we may find an immense worth and preciousness in it. The whole of this chapter is consolatory, and holds forth some special grounds of consolation for supporting justified and sanctified ones against all evil whatsoever. We may take up the substance of the chapter in four heads.

1. We have comfort against the condemning sentence of the law, in the beginning of the chapter, to the fifth verse. Such as have union with Christ have no reason to fear the dreadful sentence of the minatory part of the law.

2. We have comfort against indwelling sin that adheres even to them that are justified and sanctified; for it shall never hinder the indwelling of the Spirit here, nor the glorious resurrection of the body at the last day, nor the eternal happiness of both soul and body; from the fifth to the seventeenth verse.

3. There is comfort against all afflictions, crosses, and tribulations in this world; from verse seventeenth to the thirty-third.

4. Not only comfort against all adversity, but against all adversaries whatsoever, and against all charges and challenges, insomuch that believers are brought in triumphing in the God that justifies, so as none can lay anything to their charge.

* This sermon was preached at Glasgow, on Monday, October 4th, 1747, being a thanksgiving day, after the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's supper there.

No. 11. November.]

Vol. 1.]

The chapter begins with no condemnation to the believer, and it ends with no separation from Christ; and, to be sure, the top-stone has a solid foundation, for nothing can be more certain than this. There is no condemnation to them to whom there is no separation from Christ.

This text is one of the pearls of the third part of this chapter, and it contains a sum of the believer's comforts. There are two things especially that hinder the comfort and consolation of a Christian; the one is sin, the head of the serpent, and the other is affliction, the tail of the serpent; against which the apostle brings a sovereign remedy, taken from the providence of God, which is the daily executor of his purpose," working all things after the counsel of his will," and making them the means to help forward the happy end; nothing shall hinder, but rather everything shall promote their spiritual good and eternal happiness. "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

The words contain two general parts. We have, 1. A divine consolation, encouragement, and privilege: "We know that all things work together for good." 2. A due limitation or restriction, specifying the objects to whom this comfort pertains; it is to "them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose."

1. We have a divine consolation, or great privilege asserted, wherein you may observe four things most comfortable and remarkable. (1.) A blessed end proposed, namely, good; spiritual and eternal good. (2.) The plentiful means for accomplishing this end; namely, all things. Here is a general including of all particulars. (3.) The harmonious influence that these means have for reaching this end, they work; and they work together in a wonderful harmony. (4.) The certain evidence hereof, "We know it," says the apostle, both by faith and experience," that all things work together for good to them that love God." The operation of the Spirit, in helping the infirmities of the saints, of which the apostle was just now speaking, is not more certain than this wonderful dispensation of providence; for it is emphatically asserted, in connection with that and the other great truths here delivered, that "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”

2. We have a due limitation, or restriction; or, if you

will, a specification of the objects to whom this comfort pertains, "to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose." And here also four things may be observed. (1.) The cardinal grace by which the believing child of God is described, namely, love. (2.) The glorious object on whom this love is terminated, namely, God. Every believer is a lover, and the principal object of his love is a God in Christ. (3.) The immediate root and spring of this love, and that is calling; they are called, viz., effectually, and so have Christ formed in them, and are new creatures. (4.) The eternal foundation of this call, and that is the divine purpose; they are "called according to his purpose," and this purpose of God, as the foundation of effectual calling, is more clearly explained in the following verses, 29, 30: "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." There is, therefore, here a remarkable chain in answering this question, who they are to whom all things shall work together for good? Why, it is the elect. But how shall we know who are elect? Why, they are effectually called in time. But how shall we know who are effectually called? Why, even by their love to God; we may know eternal election by vocation, and effectual vocation by our internal affection towards God in Christ.

Observe in general, "That God's free love and gracious purpose is fertile and productive of many precious fruits." Why, on this root grows the blessing of effectual calling, wherein the seed of all grace is sown, whence love particularly springs; insomuch that our love to God, if it be true and genuine, is the fruit of God's everlasting love to


On this root also grows the co-operation of all things for our good; insomuch that it may well be said of believers in Christ and lovers of God, "All things are yours." The God that made all things had no other design in doing so but his own glory, and the good of his friends and lovers. O how fruitful is his free love and gracious purpose! I might here relate to you some of the special fruits of his love; but I proceed to the doctrine I mainly intend.

OBSERV. That it is the comfortable privilege of all God's

loving children that "all things work together for their good."

The method we propose for handling this important subject, as the Lord shall be pleased to assist, is the following:

I. To inquire what we are to understand by this note of universality, all things?

II. What is this good that all things shall work? that God's lovers may know what they are to look for.

III. What is the meaning of their working, and working together for good?

IV. Inquire a little into the character of those who are thus privileged, namely, as they are lovers of God, being "called according to his purpose."

V. Show whence it is that all things shall thus "work together for good to them," and so point out the evidences the apostle hath for saying, we know that it shall be so; and here also observe the suitableness and connection between this character of loving God and this privilege of all things working together for good.

VI. Deduce some inferences for the application of the whole.

I. We are first to open up this note of universality, all things. This we shall essay both negatively and positively.

1st. View it negatively. And, in general, we are not to understand it simply or absolutely, but relatively or respectively; that is to say, we are not so to view it as if all things indefinitely, even those that the believer has no concern in or notice of, such as all things that fall out in China or Japan were to work for his good who lives here; but we are to understand it relatively, of all things that relate to him, and wherein he is immediately concerned, and whereby he is exercised, such as all afflictive things, whereof the apostle had been speaking. Therefore,

2ndly. Let us view it positively and more particularly, all things that he hath to do with, whether good or bad. I shall offer a short catalogue of good things and evil things that shall work for the believer's good and advantage. Here is a little word "all," but it is great in signification; and all that can be said of "all things" must be but a few things, for "all things" is a subject that will never be exhausted.

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