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Christ

By which I do not mean filial fear; for that is a grace of the Holy Spirit, planted in the heart by him, and has the goodness of God in Christ for its object. This fear is a reverential awe of a good and gracious God, that presents us under his watchful eye, and him always before our eyes. This fear is a little sentinel, one of the post army of grace, Song vi. 13. For the church is a company of two armies, grace and corruption, which war against each other. This fear is to keep us from departing from God, in which we are counselled to walk. “My son, be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”

When any danger appears; when any error is advanced and presented to us by Satan or his hawkers; or when any trap is set by enemies, intended to be a future handle of reproach; or any temptations to sin; this little-watchman, called fear, is upon his tower. He sounds the alarm, awakens the little camp, and will not let us proceed without…

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This legal spirit closes the heart, and bars it up against every warm, cheerful, savoury, and unctuous Christian; yea, such an one will even shun their company and their sight; finding a heart to embrace none, to receive none, to commune with none, no, nor even to seek fellowship with any but those that are in shackles, bondage and slavery, as well as himself. “Like love its like.” Hence the Galatians received the Judaizing teachers and their companions, who crept into houses, cordially; they were zealously affected by them, and zealously attached to them; even to the danger of excluding Christ himself. But, as for Paul, he had no place in their hearts: no, not as a friend, nor as an apostle, nor even as a true witness for Christ; for they counted him…

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The Lord our God, “whose name is jealous, is a jealous God,” Exod. xxiv. 14. “How long, Lord, wilt thou be angry for ever; shall thy jealousy burn like fire?” Psalm lxxix. 5. The spirit of bondage brings a little of this ingredient with it. The spouse in the Song felt this pretty sharply; she refused to open to her beloved, and so he withdrew; she sought him, but found him not; she called him, but he gave her no answer. He then went down into the garden; that is, down among the more meek, humble, and lowly souls. This she knew, and begged these young daughters to stay her with flagons, and to comfort her with…

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Jonah is ordered to Nineveh. He rebels and goes to Joppa, in order to flee to Tarsus from the presence of God. He is thrown overboard, and sinks in the belly of hell. Then he is humbled, and prays heartily. God brings him up again, and repeats his command to Nineveh. Jonah goes, and delivers his message, which was all that God required of him. He might then have gone home again, if he would; but Jonah seeks another quarrel, like Lot’s wife, who looked back to see what became of Sodom: Jonah “makes a booth, and sits there to see what becomes of the city.” He had no orders…

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The operations of this spirit of bondage, and the sensible displeasure of God felt in it, bow the soul down. “I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.” The Holy Spirit of God is grieved, and does not operate as a comforter; hence the complaint – “The comforter, that should relieve my soul, is far from me,” Lam. i. 16. “Thou hast removed my soul far off from peace; I forgat prosperity; and I said, My strength and my hope are perished from the Lord,” Lam. iii. 17, 18.

The sensible presence of God appears to be wholly withdrawn, and nothing left but a bitter sense of our loss, and the remembrance of former halcyon days, which the soul is ready to conclude are gone for ever. “O that I were…

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By the law God doth not communicate his Spirit, and without his influences there can be no fruit. Refreshings come from God’s presence; but in the law his presence can never be enjoyed; no good fruit, unless we abide in the vine; for under the legal yoke Christ profits us nothing, with respect to sensible union and communion; our joys withers, and love waxes cold. No blossoming like a rose, with divine enlargement; no heavenly-mindedness, no life and peace enjoyed; nothing felt within but God’s anger, man’s rebellion, and Satan’s assaults; nothing without but gloominess, fresh scenes of troubles, and dissatisfaction with…

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The scripture, in many places, speaks against such a soul, who cannot exercise faith on the promises. His heart is shut up, the Bible is a sealed book to him, and therefore it gets out of favour with him. “Repent, and do thy first works,” &c.

The ordinances are a dry breast. He cannot mix faith with the good tidings, and therefore comes with reluctance, rather driven with terror than drawn by love. “I have somewhat against thee; thou hast left thy first love.”

The cheerful countenances of lively saints are rather a grief and trouble to him than otherwise. He cannot help envying them even in the house of God; he looks at them with a jealous eye; and often concludes that he is like Saul, who, when left…

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He finds his soul bitter, and his temper peevish. He murmurs and inwardly frets, at everything that makes against him; and indeed nothing seems to go well with him; his spirit is stiff and stubborn; God, in a way of providence as well as grace, seems “to walk contrary to him, and he walks contrary to God. He is froward; and God shews himself froward.” His enmity against God is stirred up; and hard thoughts of God possess him, which at times are unadvisedly spoken with his lips; or, as the prophet says, “his tongue muttereth perverseness.” Against these corruptions he strives hard; but they stir not a whit the less for that. He goes forth in the morning, determined to watch his conduct more narrowly, and to be more…

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All his striving against sin in his own strength is like Peter’s resolution, only betrays him into sin, and into the sieve of Satan; for without Christ he can do nothing. And every time he sins there is something fresh for the wrath of the law to work on, and fresh matter for conscience to accuse of; both which awaken his fears, and summon all his terrors about him. “If I sin, then thou markest me, and wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me: changes and war are against me,” Job, x. 14, 17.

Hardness of heart always attends this labour in vain. The poor creature may groan till his breast-bone be sore, but his heart cannot melt; nor can he pour out either his soul, or one penitential tear, to God, without a ray from the sun…

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Notes of a Sermon preached on 11 April 1843

“I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish.”—John 10:28

The Holy Ghost, in the canon of Scripture, has borrowed a variety of metaphors from natural things to show us what Christ is to his people, and what his people are to him. Here he calls them “sheep,” and himself the “Shepherd.”

Jesus has received his sheep from his Father’s hand as his portion, as the lot of his inheritance. He knows his sheep intimately and perfectly. When they are wandering on the mountains of the Adam fall, the shepherd has his eye upon them, and he seeks them out, and calls…

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“God with us.”—Matthew 1:23

There will be such a mystery unfolded, in “God in our nature,” as will fill the church of God with immortal wonder for ever and ever. When Christ speaks of it, he says, “Father, I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are thine,” and “that they may be one in us.” This blessed Redeemer, this Person of the Son, takes our nature, and is “God with us.” I believe that our blessed Christ really took soul and body, the whole of humanity. He was “God with us” in his weakness; “God with us” in his conflicts; “God with us” in his victories; “God with us” in his exaltation; “God with us” to strengthen us, to watch over us, to direct us, and to deliver us; completely to save us; to rule over us and in us; to defeat all…

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“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”—Matthew 5:6

The righteousness intended here is not creature-righteousness, worth, or worthiness; for that is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away; nay, at best it is only filthy, and its fountain unclean. Eternal truth declares that all flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field, which withereth and fadeth away when the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.! But the righteousness the dear Lord has in view in this text is that blessed righteousness which is unto all and upon all them that believe, even the glorious Person and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ; for “Christ is the end of the law for…

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“Blessed are the pure in heart.”—Matthew 5:8

There may be some poor soul here to-night who is exclaiming, “Ah! That text cuts me up, root and branch; for, so far from my heart being pure, it seems to be the abode of every evil, rising up continually, causing me to groan and sigh, and cry to be delivered from it; but the more I groan and cry, the more those evils seem to rise up, until I am almost smothered.” Why, now, poor soul, you are just the character whose heart is pure. Every man’s heart is vile by nature, and it is…

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Preached on Tuesday Evening, May 25th, 1841, in Gower Street Chapel, London.

“For he that is dead is freed from sin.”—Romans 6:7

In the chapter preceding this, the apostle has been led by the Divine Author of the Word to take a view of the two Adams and their two seeds; that Adam the first, by his awful sin and apostasy, brought death and condemnation upon all his offspring, so that in him, in his very first act of transgression, they “all sinned and came short of the glory of God,” and thus, “by one man’s offence death reigned by one;” but that Adam the Second, “the Lord from Heaven,” represented an elect seed, and had them all in his loins, chosen by the Father and locked up safe in him. Though that seed fell with the rest in Adam the first, in Adam the Second they were preserved from the awful damnation that their sin had merited, and, by his obedience and the invincible power of the Spirit, all are brought to newness of life and to justification of life, and so are made the rich…

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Preached in Manchester, 9 Februay 1840.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward; not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”—2 Pet 3:9

To add to, or diminish from, the Word of God is a crime, though much employed in the frivolities of the world; and the office of a minister is a very responsible one. He is God’s steward, and he must one day give up his stewardship; and if he seeks to please men, he is not a true servant of God; nay, it is insulting God. Some say God is not willing that any creature should perish, but every one should come to repentance; but in our text we are told…

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