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THE NEW BIRTH.
"Ye must be born again." (John iii. 7.)
IN our Lord's discourse with Nicodemus, we see
and exposed to the wrath of God. Alas, alas! putting the Gospel before persons both publicly "Master of Israel," a teacher of others, and and privately. Clear doctrines are not enough, not concerned about his own salvation. Religion We should remember our Master's oft-repeated not true, a religion of dead works, the religion of word, YE! People do not think we are in earnest how wisely, faithfully, and graciously He met the fathers, the religion of the people, the rites and sincere, if we only make general statements, professedly religious man. The Lord's mode of and customs of synagogue duties, with their was much struck the other day, in reading an dealing with this Pharisee was different from His attendant honours and official trappings, was the account of a young man. A faithful servant of way with the woman of Samaria, though His powerful current which was hurling this "ruler Christ said to him, "Do you know that you are purpose of bringing them both to Himself for of the Jews," and others, downward at a fear-going on to perdition?" "No!" said he, "neither salvation appears the same. The latter was a fully rapid course, and that, too, with the name do I think your people believe it either. My notoriously sinful woman, insensible of her guilty of God upon their lips. mother is a member of your congregation, and I How very solemn! and undone state; the blessed Lord therefore But is it not the same now? What is to be feared am sure she loves me dearly, and if she believed brings her at once to a sense of her ignorance is the condition of thousands around us? Is it it I am persuaded she would have told me of it. and foul course, by saying, "Go call thy husband, that they deny the existence of Almighty God? My sister also is a member; she loves me very and come hither." But the former case was that Do they contend that He should not be wormuch; and I am sure if she believed it, she of an outwardly blameless man blinded by false shipped? Do they set aside ecclesiastical of Would throw her arms round my neck and say, religion; the first thing therefore the Lord does fice? Do they dispute the veracity of the Holy Don't, O don't, go to perdition." with him is to cut down his religion, root and Scriptures? Certainly not. But if you ask We may next notice how decidedly the Lord branch, and then shew him that he is a perishing them if they have experienced the new birth, insisted on the necessity of the new birth-"Ye sinner needing mercy, and, like a bitten Israelite, you will find that some will hang down their MUST be born again.' Not you may, but you could only live by looking to God's remedy. heads in confusion, others will judge you a MUST; not you should desire it merely, but you The religion of this man of the Pharisees, I say, ranter, or a wild fanatic, while others will try to must. Yes, without the new birth, you must be was false, though not altogether so, for Satan's shelter themselves behind some delusive sacrafor ever in darkness-"cannot see the kingdom deadliest snares are composed of a mixture of mental form, and deny altogether the truth of of God;" without the new birth, you must be truth and error. It was so with the woman in regeneration by the sovereign power of the Holy shut out for ever from the presence of Godthe garden, and was so with the Pharisees, and Ghost. But some, perhaps, may say, Is it not "cannot enter into the kingdom of God." How it is common also in the present day. Nicodemus very uncharitable to conclude that all who have plain! how decisive! How essential to be “born believed in God, assented to the veracity of the not experienced the new birth are hastening on of the Spirit"! This secret of the new birth the Scriptures, held the existence of both angels and the broad road to eternal destruction? May learned Pharisee was entirely ignorant of, and spirits, and the resurrection of the body; these there not be something good and hopeful in them vainly tried to argue the impossibility of a points were according to truth; but the grand without this? We unhesitatingly reply, No; second birth; but it only drew from the loving, foundation truth of the gospel-redemption by because our Lord Jesus said, "Except a man be faithful heart of Jesus a thrice-repeated testi. blood, was thought nothing of; this was the fatal BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT SEE the kingdom of mony to the absolute necessity of it, and the The measure of truth, little as it was. God." O that the Holy Spirit might so work in explanation that the new birth was from above held by a man of such dignity and education, the hearts of thousands of professors around us, and spiritual. This positive declaration at once only tended to keep his mind in darkness, and that they might know the folly and unprofitable-cut at the root of the Pharisee's religion, and enable him more successfully to spread his false ness of that religion which does not begin with razed to the ground all his cherished confidence religion among those who came in his way; being "born again!" and expectation; for it pronounced a verdict on whereas a person wallowing in pollution and The first word of our text shews us how the best man in the flesh, as being so apostate transgression, without any religious profession. pointed and personal our Lord was in His and corrupt as to be unfit for the presence of would have no such temptation, hence our Lord ministry-"YE must be born again." This God. But, while it exposed man's total inability said of some, "Publicans and harlots shall enter tells out His faithful love. He did not propound to fit himself for the kingdom, it referred to the into the kingdom of heaven before you." dry doctrines, or get up eloquent addresses, to power and goodness of God in quickening the The erroneous character of this man's religion please the itching ears of His audience. No. dead in trespasses and sins. The doctrine our was soon exposed by our blessed Lord, for He He was the Faithful Witness, and He came not to Lord here propounds is of the highest importance; knew what was in man. The religion of this destroy, but to save. He knew the worth of the for men may be moral, amiable, benevolent, out"man of the Pharisees " was not spiritual. soul, and salvation had its paramount claim inwardly religious, and the like, but they must be He knew nothing of the new birth. This is His mind. His loving heart would bear with the horn again. They may be high even in ecclefatal ignorance. He passed over man's fall in unworthy manner in which He was approached, siastical office, far advanced in theological educaAdam, his death in trespasses and sins, he saw no and set salvation before His hearers in the plain- tion, but they must be born again. Man's thought necessity for repentance, or the new-birth, and est and most pointed way. To the cavilling of religion is that he must gradually improve, yet took his place as a religious man, offering Jews in the synagogue, His word was, "Except and perhaps be ultimately saved. God's religion service in the name of God as if he were holy we eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink is first to have life, and then rejoice in an assured instead of being polluted; considering himself a His blood. ye have no life in you." On another hope of glory. Man's thought is to work for creditable member of a popular religious sect, occasion He said, "Ye are from beneath; I am life; God's way is to work from life. Man proand considered worthy of dignity and esteem as from above; we are of this world; I am not of poses to himself eternal life at the end; God such by others. But it was carnal religion, which this world. I said, therefore, unto you, that ye presents it to the true Christian at the very we are told cannot please God, and as man in shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that beginning. Man's wisdom consists in reformathe flesh cannot rise above his own level, it was I am, ye shall die in your sins." Again we see tions and improvements in the flesh, with pernecessarily connected with walking and acting Him standing in the midst of a crowd, and say-severing efforts to pile up a quantity of supposed to be seen of men, instead of as in the sight of God-ing. "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise creature-merit and self-righteousness; the Lord "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; perish." To the careless Samaritan He said, Jesus knocks it all down with that uncomprobut God knoweth your hearts, for that which is "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is inising sentence, "Ye MUST be born again.” highly esteemed among men is abomination in that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou But what are we to understand by the new the sight of God." wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have birth? "Ye must be BORN AGAIN." Certainly But Nicodemus had heard of Jesus, and desired given thee living water. He said to the seeking it is not an alteration of the old fleshly nature some intercourse with Him; how, then, could it be blindman, "What wilt thou that I should do into that which is spiritual, for our Lord in the accomplished? how could this honoured "Master unto thee? And when he replied, "Lord, that previous verse clearly shews the distinction beof Israel," this "ruler of the Jews," have an in- I may receive my sight," Jesus said unto him, tween the two natures and the two births: "That terview with the despised Nazarene? What Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee." which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which would the people say? Nicodemus, however, is not And so in the text before us, our Lord did not set is born of the Spirit is Spirit." The apostles, too, at rest, for he believed that Jesus was "a teacher before Nicodemus some profound points of the- in their writings, continually keep up this discome from God," and see Him he must. Heology for his consideration, as the ruler, perhaps, tinction of the two natures, not only as a matter therefore came to Jesus by night! for in this way expected, neither was it a display of eloquence, of doctrine, but also of experience and practice. he could satisfy his conscience, without displeas- such as a learned man might have appreciated, The believer is spoken of as made a partaker of ing men, or exposing himself to their scorn and neither did He set truth in a general way before the Divine nature, and as having the Spirit of persecution. Such is man. Such was the spirit him. No; He came at once to the point, and Christ in him; his experience is referred to as in which this "man of the Pharisees" approached said, "YE must be born again!" O that search- necessarily one of conflict, because of the oppothe Lord of glory. His thought was about Jesus ing word YE! This is divine ministry, this is site workings of the two natures-flesh and spirit, being a teacher. He might have imagined it the way of the perfect preacher, and this is the "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the would be beneficial to him professionally to listen style that should be imitated in the present day. Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to His instruction. Though he was constantly It is when the Holy Ghost powerfully and per- the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the occupied with the letter of Scripture, and the sonally applies the truth, so as to say to the con- things that ye would." While in reference to religious duties of the synagogue, it does not science, "Thou art the man," that decided good practice, he is exhorted to "walk in the Spirit." appear to have once entered his mind that he was is accomplished. Persons may read the Bible, and "not fulfil the lusts of the flesh;" to put off a sinner, and needed a Saviour. Now pause, and and think it is all about others; they may hear the old man which is corrupt, and put on the new mark the way of Christ with this man. Did He the gospel, and say that the preacher was very man, which after God is created in righteoussay, you come to me in such an unworthy way, faithful to some present; but it is when a person ness and true holiness." This is a subject of imI cannot grant you an audience? Did He say, feels that the truth read or heard affects himself, mense importance, for if a really exercised soul cast away this and that first, and then I'll speak that we may expect blessed results. "Oh, yes,' imagines that regeneration is a conversion of the to you? Did He say, get better first, and then said a learned gentleman, after reading the Epis-old Adam sinful nature into that which is holy, I'll receive you? Oh, no. The loving Saviour tle to the Romans, "I see this doctrine in the he cannot be in peace, for he must find that his in this, as in every other instance, fulfilled His Bible." "But do you see it in your heart?" experience does not correspond with the idea. own blessed word, "Him that cometh to me, I replied his friend. That question led him to Hence many a quickened soul thinks he cannot will in no wise cast out." How full of encourage- consider, and make the truth of such personal be a Christian because he finds, with a principle ment this is, and how blessedly it unfolds to us application as to be the means of his conversion. of delight in the law of God, that there is another the graciousness of the Lord Jesus! Nicodemus Fellow Christians! we should be pointed and principle working in him which is contrary to did not see that he was "condemned already," personal, as well as deeply affectionate, in holiness; therefore he concludes that he is not a
Christian, while the truth is, he would not be difficulty of how a man is born again, very simply ately say to you, that you are dead in sins, and "born again" if he had no experience of this and beautifully told out by our Lord. He refers what you want is life-eternal life! Sacraments inward conflict. His conscience must find peace the enquirers to his own Scriptures; the Book of and ordinances of any kind cannot give you life. alone in the blood of the Cross. Instead of Paul Numbers is selected, and the well-known tale of Withdrawing from the foulest forms of blasphemy Separation from immoralities cannot give you life. saying that he felt sin was rooted out of him, he the serpent of brass is brought forth as the key and delusion still leaves you without life. Enlisting "Sin dwelleth in me;" though instead of to unlock the mystery of the new birth. obeying it, he kept his body under and brought Pharisee's conscience is brought at once to the yourself among the ranks of your most religious it into subjection, which, by the new life received, fountain of living water; the bitten, dying Israel-neighbours cannot give you life. The strictest he was enabled to do. He regarded his "old ites are depicted as receiving life through looking outward propriety cannot give you life. Neither man,' as an enemy, and kept it under, and at the serpent of brass lifted up; and there Nico-Can church office, ecclesiastical honours, or theoexhorted saints not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh, demus might learn that, with all his Pharisaic logical knowledge, as we have seen in Nicodemus, but to bring every thought into captivity to the religion and theological science, he is still dead in give you life. God only can give you life, and obedience of Christ. Regeneration, clearly then, sins, and, like the bitten Israelite, must perish, Beware then, lest you die without an interest is not a conversion of the flesh" into "the unless he renounce every other refuge, and look in Christ; for he that believeth in the Son Spirit." simply to the Son of Man lifted up on Calvary's Neither does the new birth consist in mere Cress. By looking only to the brazen serpent, the hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not outward reformations and moral amendments; sinful, dying Israelite lived; and so now dead and the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God for "a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good ruined sinners receive life eternal only by faith in fruit." Let the immoral become moral, the li-Christ crucified. It was life, eternal life, that centibus chaste, or the drunkard sober, still, be-Christ presented to the sinful Pharisee, as the fore God, he is only "born of the flesh." You free gift of God, to "every one," "any one," may trim up, cut off the branches of a thorn tree," whosoever" believeth on the crucified Son of and make its appearance more agreeable to the God. eve, still it is a thorn, and cannot bear grapes.
that life-- eternal life is in His Son Jesus Christ.
abideth on him."
The new birth, then, is something very different from outward reformation. Neither are persons born again by scramental rites. It is easy to say it is so, but it is a fearful delusion. It is true that our Lord spoke of being born of water, but it was of water and the Spirit: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." By water our Loid, doubtless, referred to the grace of God, that "living water" which He dispenses to thirsty souls, as presented in the story of the woman of
How many professed Christians I meet with In this beautiful discourse with Nicodemus, our Lord shewed also how competent He was for this who have no confidence in their security, great work of giving new life to the dead in sins, no assurance of their acceptance with God, and also of the amazing power and virtue of the work of the Cross, by telling him that He was no certainty of being for ever with the Son of God as well as Son of Man-God and man Lord. How is this? It does not appear to in one person, in heaven and yet on earth. "No have been so with primitive Christians. man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man does not appear to be the proper state of bewhich is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the lievers in Christ. We ought to know if we serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of are born again. We ought to know if we are Mn be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in in Christ. We ought to know if the Spirit Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only of God dwells in us. Or, in a word, if we begotten Son," &c. The Lord also most plainly shewed the freeness of the grace of God, that is, are Christians, we ought to be satisfied of it, the willingness of His heart to receive all, and and rejoice in it. cast out none that come to Him, by twice saying, "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The new birth is a spiritual work: "so is every one that is born of the Spirit." We feel His operations in our hearts, but we can tell nothing of His coming or going. It is a heavenly work: we are born from above [margin]. It How is it then that so many are uncertain, is not man's work, but the work of God: we are uneasy, and almost always in doubt and fear? "born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God." It is a new life, so The doctrine of the new birth is therefore Perhaps they do not look simply to Jesus. that those who are partakers of it are new crea-taught by our Lord in connexion with the Cross. Now Jesus is presented to us to be the object tures: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new A new birth is inseparable from a new life; that of our faith. He has all we need, or can creature." It is done once and for ever: we are new life is here defined to be not temporal, but "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of in- eternal, and as flowing only to us from God need. He is willing to bestow all upon us, corruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth through the Cross of Jesus, and that to every one and do all for us that we require. It is for and abideth for ever." Regeneration, then, is that believeth Therefore our Lord told Nicoclearly the work of God the Holy Ghost: "We demus that to be born again of water and the us, therefore, to look to Him for all we need, are his workmanship, crented in Christ Jesus unto Spirit, he must take the place of a ruined, and away from all we fear. To look to Him good works," &c. perishing sinner before the Cross of the Son of at all times, and under all circumstances, Nicodemus might well be astounded at our God, and thus he would receive a new life, Lord's decisive preaching, and exclaim, How and stand no longer as one condemned, but as remembering that He changes not. Now, if can these things be?" which at once opened the having pardon and acceptance with God. This, I look to Jesus to be my present, perfect, and door for our Lord to present to him the wondrous indeed, is being born of God. The Holy Spirit everlasting salvation, I shall have peace. If story of the Cross. Having broken down the always directs the soul to the person and work rule's religion by the doctrine of the new birth, of Christ. The Holy Ghost does not say, LookI look to Him for all I need at present and in Jesus now presents to him the glorious salvation at me for salvation, look to my operations for future, I shall enjoy confidence. of the God of all grace, and shews him that the peace, look to my gifts for assurance. Oh, no! only place a man can truthfully take is that he is the Glorifier of Christ, therefore He saith, of a perishing sinner, and a receiver of mercy, Look to Jesus lifted up, look to the Lamb slain, before Him. This is the way in which sinners look to the Saviour of sinners; believe on the are born again. Man is a fallen creature, has Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved! been driven out from the presence of God, and is and if we be led of the Spirit we shall surely dead in sins. Jesus is the fountain of life, and testify of Christ. Were I merely to preach, Ye the Cross is the fountain opened-there the water must be born again, it would be no gospel of glad of life flows freely. Christ crucified is the smit- tidings, no balm for the weary and heavy laden, ten Rock, whence streams of living water flow no comfort for the anxious enquirer; but when abundantly to the needy and undone; and there we connect with the doctrine of the new birth the Spirit brings perishing, thirsty souls, to look the blessed truth, that Christ crucified is an ocean and live, to drink and live for ever. Wherever of boundless love, an overflowing fountain of living else they drink they thirst again, but whoso water, a well of everlasting life to every sinner drinketh of the water that Jesus gives shall never that believes, we announce good tidings of great thirst, but it shall be in him a well of water joy. springing up into everlasting life. Yes, Jesus My reader, what think You of Christ? Has is everlasting consolation, a never-failing soul-your thirsty soul drank the living water of His satisfying portion. There is no possibility of salvation? or, are you perishing with hunger while being born again, apart from Christ crucified and there is bread enough and to spare in the Father's risen. There the river of le flows. There it is house? The fashion, pleasure, and honour of this written, "Whosoever will, let him come and present evil world are rapidly passing away. The take the water of life freely." Such thus believ-summons of the God of all flesh will ere long They do not rely on His word. The word ing on the Lord Jesus for salvation, have received | call you into His presence. Your own conscience of Jesus to the sinner is. "Come unto me.” Him whom God hath sent, and have passed from admonishes you that you are a simmer. Experience Him that cometh I will in newise cast out.” has long ago convinced you that you are hastening An intelligent Israelite ought to have known to the chamber of death. You have often tried "He that believeth shall be saved." Coming gomething about the new birth. The plain state- earth's best refreshments, and as often proved that to Christ is believing on Him, and believing ment of Ezekiel, "I will give them a new heart," he that drinketh of this water shall thirst again. should have been enough to have taught the ruler You have avoided the foul habits of the licentious; on Him is coming to Him. For faith is the this, while the prophet's vision of the resurrection you have shunned the companionship of the riot- out-going of the heart to Christ, relying on of the dry bones should have shewn him that God ous; you have refused to walk with scoffers; you Christ, and entrusting its eternal interests to is the quickener of the dead; our Lord, therefore, have withdrawn from Socinian blasphemy, and the exposes still further the ignorance of this "man infidelity of popery; but have you been born Christ. The word of Jesus to the soul that of the Pharisees" by the question, "Art thou aagain! or, in other words, have you, as a guilty, has come to Him, or believes on Him is, "He master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" undone sinner, been brought to the foot of the The ruler's question, however, "How can these Cross, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for that believeth hath everlasting life, and shall things be?" was speedily responded to; and the salvation? If not, dear reader, let me affection- not come into condemnation." Now, if I
They do not trust alone in his blood. That blood cleanses from all sin. That blood justifies the sinner before God. That blood gives an unquestionable title to everlasting life. That blood is set before us in the gospel, that we may trust in it, plead it before God, and expect to be saved by it. Now, if I receive God's testimony concerning the blood of His Son, and if I place my simple and entire dependance on that blood, I shall enjoy certainty, and my soul will be at ease. But, if I am not satisfied with the blood of Christ alone, but must look into myself for something else, or to my conduct for something beside, as the ground of my confidence before God, I shall never be happy for long together.
death unto life.
Why Professors have no Certainty.
BY JAMES SMITH, CHELTENHAM.
this, is to question the truthfulness of Christ. If I believe in Christ, I have everlasting life, and shall never come into condemnation; not to believe this, is to make the Son of God a liar. If, therefore, I am uncertain about my salvation, or uneasy about my state, either I do not simply look to Jesus, or I do not really trust in His blood, or I do not rely on His
come to Jesus, I shall be received: to doubt His law and justice. Self-despair drives us for should he be sunk so low as to say with out of self entirely, and then we build on one of old, "I am a worm, and no man,” yet Christ wholly and alone. The work of the even there will the promise reach him; for it Holy Spirit is needed. It is His work to strip is addressed not to prevailing Israel, but to To empty us the worm Jacob. "Ah, but,” says the timid us of every thing of our own. of self entirely. To lead us entirely away one, "I know I am a worm; but the promise from self. To enable us to cast ourselves says, worm Jacob." Well, and so thou art upon Christ. To apply the blood to our condoubting whether thou art like Jacob. Just sciences. To assure our hearts, and to bear let me tell thee, then, who Jacob was: he witness with our spirits, that we are the chil- was a dissembler-a sinner saved by sovereign dren of God. Until there is a deeper work grace; and if thou knowest that thou art a of the Holy Spirit in many doubters, they sinner, deserving wrath, and yet dost desire will not have confidence, or enjoy settled mercy, looking for that mercy in Christ Jesus peace. And yet they are not to look at the alone, then thou mayest cast away thy fears, work of the Spirit, in order to have peace, and trust simply in what Jesus has done; for but at the work of Jesus. Our peace was none ever knew their utterly lost condition, made on the cross. Our peace flows from the and sought for pardon through the atonement of Christ, unless the Holy Spirit had first begun a work of grace in their heart, which work, when once begun, SHALL be completed and end in glory; so that notwithstanding thou art but a worm, yet the Master says even unto thee, "FEAR NOT."
And peace flows into our souls, by our looking to the cross. Yet, realizing the fact that we need the teaching, enlightening, and enablings of the Holy Spirit, we may, and should pray for the same. But even while we do so, we should endeavour to keep the eye fixed on what Jesus has done for sinners, and look for pardon through His blood, acceptance through His righteousness, and life through His death.
But why is this? Well, it may be that self-righteousness is not destroyed. If we look to self at all, we cannot look wholly to Jesus. If we depend on self at all, we cannot depend on Christ alone. We must therefore renounce all dependance on our good works and pleasant feelings, and take Christ to be our perfect Saviour. And it is as necessary to take the eye off our feelings as our works; and to renounce all dependance on the one as well as on the other, if we would enjoy settled peace and constant confidence in God. Perhaps the world is not wholly given up. If not, there can be no positive assurance of our acceptance with God, for the friendship of the world is enmity with God; if any man therefore will be the friend of the world, he is the enemy of God. While, therefore, there is a clinging to the world, its peasures, its customs, its fashions, and its spirit, there can be no settled peace. But if, perceiving that the world is at enmity with God, and is doing all it can to dishonour God, we come out of it and are separated from it, God will receive us, become a Father to us, and send the
"Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." (Isaiah xliii. 1.)
By nature, we are all slaves to Satan, havTo conclude: the more we look away from ing voluntarily submitted ourselves to his hard self the better. The more we are taken up bondage. For all the chosen, who believe in with the person, sacrifice, and death of Christ, Jesus' name, and trust in the Saviour's work, the better. For it is only by looking away He has paid the redemption-money, the price from self, and being taken up with Jesus, that being His own atoning blood. This redempwe shall enjoy peace of conscience, confidence tion being final, perfect, and abiding, they toward God, and certainty in the prospect of who are thus made free, can never more be glory. Holy Spirit, teach us to look simply brought into a state of slavery, but are the to Jesus; enable us to trust alone in His property of Him in whom they have liberty; blood, and bring us to rely confidently on His and, losing their old service, they likewise word. Destroy all our self-righteousness, surrender their old name, being now called bring us clean out of the world, and instruct by their Redeemer "CHRISTIANS." In Jeus that we may clearly and fully understand sus they are safe, and shall be made comthe gospel warrant. Bring us to feel self-pletely happy; so that they may even now, "FEAR NOT." despair, empty us, and strip us of every thing though surrounded by enemies, "Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, of our own, and fill us with Christ; clothe us in the garments of salvation, and cover us Jeshurun, whom I have chosen." (Isa. xliv. 2.) with the robe of His righteousness. Fill, O fill us, with all joy and peace in believing, to the Sunday-school teacher, who, toiling on that we may abound in hope, rejoice in Christ year after year, meets with no apparent sucJesus, and live in the joyful expectation of cess. He labours earnestly through the week eternal glory, through His finished work.
Spirit of adoption into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father." Therefore, says the apostle, John, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Or the warrant of the gospel is not seen. The gospel warrants any sinner and every sinner to believe in Jesus, and gives to every one that believes, the positive assurance of everlasting life. If, therefore, I believe in Jesus, the gospel warrants me to feel assured that eternal life is mine, that I am saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation. If, then, to prepare his lessons; he wrestles fervently I am in a state of uncertainty as to my state, at the throne of grace for a blessing to rest if I am uneasy about my salvation, let me "Fear Not." on his efforts; he strives assiduously to im enquire, is self-righteousness destroyed in BY T. W. MEDHURST, OF COLERAINE, NORTH OF IRELAND, press the minds of the children with the me? Is the world fully given up by me? great verities of the gospel of Christ; ret Do I understand the warrant the gospel gives "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right still no result is seen. Faint not, my brother, me to believe in Jesus, and then to feel you shall not lose your reward. God looks assured of my salvation? If so, do I look to not at the manifest result, but at the secret Jesus, trust in His blood, and rely on His word? If so, to doubt, fear, or feel uncertain, is unscriptural and improper.
This sweet "FEAR NOT" may be applied
LATE OF KINGSTON-ON-THAMES.
What is needed in many cases of uncertainty? Self-despair. Until we are brought to despair of all help and hope in ourselves, and in every thing we can do and suffer, we shall never trust in Christ alone. Slight convictions of sin, or faint impressions of divine truth, do not bring us to this; and therefore it is that so many hang between works and grace, between their own feelings and the blood of the Lamb, between self and Christ. We must be brought to despair, absolutely to despair of ever doing any thing to recommend us to God; or of suffering any thing, in whole, or in part, to satisfy the claims of
hand, saying unto thee, FEAR NOT; I will help
When the child has hold of its parent's motive. If your simple aim is the promotion hand, it feels safe, and fears no danger. So of His glory, you shall, ere long, hear the should it be with the believer, for he is God's welcome plaudit, "Well done, good and faithchild; and as an earthly parent will uphold ful servant; thou hast been faithful over a and defend his offspring, so will our heavenly few things; I will make thee ruler over many Father aid and protect all His adopted family. things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Think, O heir of glory, how safe thou art, for Still labour on, dear teacher; your work is thou hast Jehovah for thy defence. He holds important; and though the reward may tarry, thy hand, and will not suffer thy foot to slip. it is sure. "Go forward," and " FEAR NOT." He guides thee with His eye, and encourages Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have not thee with His words, saying, FEAR NOT." I told thee?" (Isaiah xliv. 8.) "Fear not, thou worm Jacob." (Isa. xli. 14.) Afflicted heir of heaven! Jesus has left it Many a real Christian oft feels his own un-recorded, that in this world you must have worthiness to such an extent, that he is apt tribulation; therefore think it not strange to imagine it to be utterly impossible that he when you are called upon to pass through the should be one of the chosen seed: to such fiery trial; for Jesus considers it to be needan one this promise is specially applicable; ful for you, and you know Jesus cannot make
a mistake; He is too wise. Jesus cannot be unkind, He is too good; therefore let sweet resignation accompany you, as you onward press, even though in your path you should meet with floods and flames, for His dear
"Though painful at present, it cannot last long, And then, oh! how pleasant the conqueror's song." How loving did Jesus shew Himself to be, when He said to His disciples, "If it were not so, I would have told you;" shewing
His care for His own flock. And think you, tried believer, that if Jesus would not keep a secret from you, that He would grieve you unnecessarily, or try you too sorely? Oh, no, no, No; Jesus is too loving to hurt one poor timid soul who trusts in His mercy. Wipe your eye, stay that murmur, hush that hard thought, for the promise bids you "FEAR NOT."
Pierced! Who pierced Him? We did, and pierced Him to the heart. Nor were we "Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither satisfied with piercing Him once, for we have be ye afraid of their revilings." (Isaiah li. 7.) pierced Him often, and pierced Him through Those who belong to Christ will be re- and through. Our unbelief pierces Him. proached by Satan, and reviled by the world; Our ingratitude pierces Him. The coldness they will meet with taunts and sneers on the of our love pierces Him. Our forgetfulness right and on the left. Let not such imagine of Him pierces Him. Our preferring the a strange thing has happened unto them, for world to Him pierces Him. Our neglect of this is the lot of all who will live godly in His ordinances pierces Him. And our doubtChrist Jesus. The reason why Christians are ing His love pierces Him. It was we who not reproached more than they are, is because pierced Him on Calvary, we put the nails and they are not so holy as they should be. Our the hammer into the hands of the executioners; religion is at a low ebb, when the world and put the spear into the hand of the Roman ceases its annoyances. Jesus has told us soldier. Yea, it was we that gathered the that in this world we shall have tribulation; thorns, and picked out the strongest and the and then, in order that the cup of our bitter-sharpest, formed them into a mock crown, ness may be sweetened, He has given us the thrust it on His head, and, with the staff, beat sweet assurance, that in Him we shall have the thorns into His temples. See, see, there peace. Surely this precious promise should He hangs, pierced in His head, hands, feet, strengthen our faith, and enable us to "FEAR and side-pierced for us; pierced by us! NOT."
He who has a good hope, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, has a hope that maketh not ashamed, because his hope is based on the promise of Jehovah, who is unchangeably the same, and who will not alter the word which has gone forth from His mouth. He who trusts in Jesus alone and entirely, to a complete renunciation of self, may sing joyously,
Look, my soul, at the pierced One. It is "Fear not; for thou shall not be ashamed." God's only Son that hangs on that Cross. He (Isaiah liv. 4.) created the heavens and the earth. He was before all things, and by Him all things consist. He is naturally and eternally Divine, and yet man. He was God by nature. He became man by choice. As God-man He suffers, bleeds, and dies. O my soul, look at Jesus! He is thy Substitute. He is there for thee. He is suffering death for thee. He is bearing the desert of thy sins in His own body on the tree. He is enduring thy curse, being made accursed for thee. He is revealing what is in man's nature, what is in God's heart, and what He is willing to do, suffer, or become, rather than I should perish. Yes, Jesus is there for me. He represents my person, He answers for my crimes, He dies in my stead. O Saviour, was ever love, was ever agony, was ever death, like thine! Look, my soul, look to Jesus, the pierced One, as Israel of old looked to the brazen
Poor sinner, if thou hast no desire after
serpent, until thy guilt is removed, thy fears
"CHRISTIANS," said Mrs. Judson, must Jesus, I dare not bid thee "Fear not;" for pray more, they must give more, and from heaven, earth, and hell, thou hast much make greater efforts to prevent the Misto fear, but nothing to give thee comfort. If sionary flame from becoming extinct. thou desirest Jesus, and art seeking Jesus, God's justice eternally satisfied, and thy sal-himself guilty if he has not done all in Every individual Christian should feel then I can say to thee, Fear not;" for all vation made easy and honourable. Look, and his power for the spread of the gospel, who desire Jesus to be their salvation may mourn, because thy sins degraded, disgraced, and the enlightening of the heathen have Him; all who are seeking Jesus to be and put Him to grief. Look and rejoice, for world. On earth we serve God, in heatheir Redeemer shall find Him. Look then, thou shalt have dignity by His degradation, ven we enjoy Him, is a motto I have long poor sinner, look to the crucified One, who honour by His disgrace, and life by His death. wished to adopt. When in heaven, we only can give thee pardon. God help thee to Look, and be sorry that thou hast ever sinned, can do nothing towards saving immortal do so, for Jesus' sake. Amen. and so caused Jesus to suffer. Look, and re-souls."
"Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given; More happy, but not more secure,
The souls of the blessed in heaven."
The Word of God declares to all who believe in Jesus, "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." With this sweet word, and many precious exhortations, we, by God's rich grace, will "FEAR NOT."
Looking on the Pierced One.
BY JAMES SMITHI, CHELTENHAM.
joice that thou shalt live for ever to glorify and praise His name. O my soul, Jesus was THE senses affect the soul. What impres- wounded for thy transgressions, and bruised sions are made through the ear, but perhaps for thine iniquities! His blood has made thy more and deeper through the eye. A look peace with God, His righteousness gives thee has led into sin, and a look has led away from a title to eternal life, and His death delivers sin. thee from dying. I wish to fix my eye intently on Jesus in Gethsemane, in Pilate's hall, before Annas, Caiaphas, and Herod, and more especially on the hill Calvary, and marking all His tears, wounds, and agonies, feel that I was the cause of all. I did it; yes, I bruised Him, scourged Him, spit on Him, crowned Him with thorns, smote Him with the fist, and nailed Him to the cursed tree. I inflicted all. He patiently endured. God to endure it; and I, O wonder of wonders! I allowed it, because He voluntarily undertook derive ease, holiness, and eternal life from it!
A look has ruined, and a look has brought salvation. A look has hardened the heart, and a look has softened it. Looking represents believing; because in believing, the mind is fixed on an object, affected by the object, and if good, drawn to the object. There is one object on which the eye of the mind should be constantly fixed, if we would enjoy peace, grow in grace, or walk with God. Therefore it is written, as the language of our crucified Lord, "They shall look upon One whom they have pierced." (Zech. xii. 10.)
A CHRISTIAN lady slept,
And dreamt a dream of heaven;
She stood upon the sea of glass,
Amid the white-robed throng;
The conquering palm was in her hand,
And on her radiant head she wore
Ah! clime of glory, no regret
May ever mar thy rest;
Yet sighed the sleeper, as she dreamt,
She marked the sparkling diadem
O'er turquoise fair, and priceless pearl,
No radiant jewel beamed.
O that to grace her coronet
One gem she might yet win;
And save one soul from sin.
These crowns so rich a blaze;
She woke, and lo! 'twas but a dream!
She read who, in the courts of bliss,
That they who unto righteousness
Christians should be more earnest.
The Deaf and Dumb Boy. stepped forward, and again shrank back. innocence, but (wondrous love!) His At last he took courage, went out of the SON for poor LOST sinners. Satan A GENTLEMAN once being on a visit to a friend in Manchester, the conversation heard the book was sold in secret. College, and entered the house where he always tries to tell us lies about God. He Nothing could shew forth the riches of turned upon the great blessing of the bought the precious volume, and then His grace like this, that He has GIVEN Deaf and Dumb Institutions, when the hastened to shut himself closely in his HIS OWN SON FOR POOR SIN "God commendeth HIS love former expressed his incredulity as to room, to study it. As he read the book, NERS. those thus affected really understanding he came to the words, 'THIS IS A FAITH-toward us, in that, while we were yet sinwhat they were taught. His friend pro-TATION, THAT CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO FUL SAYING, AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEP-ners, Christ died for us." GOD IS RIGHTEOUS, in what? in posed he should visit the Institution, in THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS, OF WHOM I requiring goodness from us? No! "He order that he might have the opportunity AM CHIEF."' He laid down the Testa- is righteous and just to forgive us our of judging for himself. They accordingly ment to reflect on the verse. As he sins" in estimating the worth of His went, and he was requested to write on turned to it again, he cried, "Oh, saying own Son's work. The blood of Jesus the black board, which was hung up in of St. Paul, how sweet thou art unto my Christ His Son cleanses from all sin." soul!" The result was, as he tells us, When we stand in the centre of God's the room where the children were sitting, that "this one sentence, through God's love encompassed by it, we find it imany questions he wished to propose. He inward teaching, did so rejoice my heart, measurable. "Come; taste and see that took the chalk and wrote, being before almost in despair, that I the Lord is GOOD; blessed is the man soon found peace." "Jesus Christ saves!" that trusteth in Him."-Extracted from he cried; "yes, Jesus Christ saves!" "Words of Truth." From that time he became a preacher of the those "glad tidings of great joy" which had filled his own soul with comfort; and at last he suffered as a faithful
"Who made all things?"
One of the little boys wrote, "In the beginning God created heavens and the earth."
He again wrote,
Asleep in Jesus. How wondrous are the dealings of God with guilty, lost sinners. He who is rich in mercy Why was it Jesus Christ came into martyr." The eye of some dear uncon- manifests His grace in various ways to the verted student, for whom many prayers children of men. Marvellous truth-God is have been made, may rest on this, and love! And He sent His well beloved Son to his soul may long for a similar salvation save those who by nature love him not. throngh Christ Jesus. "To you, my Every sinner who trusts in the Lord Jesus friend, is the word of this salvation for salvation is delivered from guilt, condemsent:" "Jesus Christ saves! yes, Jesus nation, and eternal death. Christ saves!" O that you so felt it that you could die, if need be, for your Saviour's sake. Whoever you are- if you can make out yourself to be a sinner-Christ Jesus came into the world to save you, for He came to save sinners. Come to Him now, and be saved for ever!
The answer given, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
He took the chalk again, and wrote, How is it that I can both hear and speak, whilst you are deaf and dumb?
The little fellow's eyes filled with tears, whilst he wrote underneath,
"Ever so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
This touching answer rebuked the unbelief of the gentleman, who retired, not only convinced, but deeply affected.
God good, and righteous.
JESUS did not come to cultivate the good
The Cambridge Student.
Dear reader, I will tell you a little about a
that curse you, do good to them that hate