A Dialogue Between Speaktruth And Thoughtful
THOUGHTFUL: Indeed, friend Speaktruth, I can scarcely tell you: for the truth is, I am going with the rest of my shop-mates a new-year’s gifting, and our master’s connexions are so extensive, that I expect we shall go to many places that I know nothing of at present.
SPEAKTRUTH: I sincerely wish that what you get may be of real service to you, and not prove a means of leading you into a snare. I should be thankful to see the working-people well laden with what is called a new-year’s gift, were they blest with wisdom to make use of it for the real benefit of their families; but, alas! too often the money obtained in this way is spent in dissipation and wantonness. Indeed, I have known more than one of God’s own dear people brought into snares on these occasions, and who have burdened their consciences with fresh contracted guilt, which must at last have sank them into despair, had it not been for a sweet application of the precious blood of Christ, by the invincible energy of God the Holy Ghost.
THOUGHTFUL: Indeed, my dear brother, I am well aware of this; and I am not going this morning without a jealous eye over my own heart; but I have a large family, and a very small income, and I am in hope of obtaining a trifle to-day, to enable me to provide some few necessaries of life which we are very much in want of. Our men have agreed not to compel each other to spend their money, but, when we have gone our round, to divide the spoil equally among us. I assure you I feel my own weakness, and dare not trust my own heart. I have proved it to be deceitful above all things. I have, therefore, endeavoured to commit it into the hands of the .Lord, and have this morning earnestly entreated the Lord to keep me from all snares and evils, and enable me in nil things to act as it be comes the gospel of Christ; and I hope the Lord will not be angry with me for endeavouring to obtain a few necessaries of life in this way.
SPEAKTRUTH: It becomes all God’s people to use all lawful moans to obtain the comforts of this life; to be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; nor is the obtaining of a new-year’s gift any crime; the sin lies in the bad purpose to which the money is too often put. I sincerely wish the working-people could obtain more than they do, both in this way and for their daily labour; but we often see a man who is, on the whole, steady and sober, plunged into a fit of drunkenness by what he obtained in new-year’s gifting, and then it proves a great injury to him, for it both adds to his guilt and distresses his family.
THOUGHTFUL: True, that is a painful fact, and I wish it were otherwise; but I understand some of the gentry and large tradesmen say they will not give any new-year’s gifts because it encourages profaneness. But what makes you smile?
SPEAKTRUTH: Smile! Why, because I believe that it is all a piece of covetous policy, to keep their money in their pockets. I can never believe that the bulk of the rich are sincere in their pretensions to promote morality among tho poor, while they themselves are so profligate. Let them, in the first place, “give unto their servants that which is just and equal,” (Col 4:1) and by their own conduct set an example of sobriety before them, and then there will appear something like sincerity in what they say. But after all, both the rich and the poor stand accountable to God. The following portion of God’s word is applicable to all classes of ungodly men, whether they be rich or poor, kings or beggars: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
THOUGHTFUL: That is a very solemn portion of God’s word. Were it not for the things contained in the next verse, I should be ready to say, Who then can be saved? for verily there is not a just man upon earth that sins not. Eternal truth says, “We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.” But what an infinite mercy it is to be among that blessed number who are loved with an everlasting love, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and quickened and called by the invincible majesty of God the Holy Ghost; to whom the next verso is applicable: “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
SPEAKTRUTH: Indeed, my dear friend, to be one of this blessed number is to be blessed beyond all possible description; but such characters are sure to be concerned to give proof that the grace of God teaches them, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the be great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
THOUGHTFUL: But do you believe that there is no possibility of the people of God sinning after they are so highly favoured of the Lord?
SPEAKTRUTH: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us;” but it is one thing to feel that in many things we all offend, and be humbled on that account before the Lord, supplicating the throne of grace for a manifestation of pardon, and for grace and strength to help us to live more to the glory of God; and another thing to live and delight in the works of the flesh. Sin will both live and at times rage in God’s people; but it shall not reign, and they shall not live in it. After all, both you and I shall find that from first to last our standing fast is all in the Lord; because Christ lives we shall live also. With holy wonder we may adopt the language of an inspired Apostle, and say, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift,” a gift freely bestowed upon all the seed-royal, and eminently calculated to answer all their need.
THOUGHTFUL: Bless his precious name, unspeakable indeed! Here we have an inexhaustible fund of holiness and happiness, of bliss and blessedness. But I am sorry to say that I must be going.
SPEAKTRUTH: Why go, my friend? Perhaps your shop-mates will excuse you, and deal as David dealt with the men who were left at the brook Besor; for I am sure that in many respects you must sicken and faint, at the thought of going with them. (See 1 Sam. 30:21-25) David divided the spoil among them that stopped behind as well as them that went to the battle; and, perhaps, with a little good management, you may get your shop-mates to do the same.
THOUGHTFUL: Indeed, I believe the sous of Belial among them would try hard to over-rule that motion, and laugh me to scorn for making it.
SPEAKTRUTH: Well, be it so; perhaps providence will provide some other way. You wish to go a new year’s gifting, as it is called. Now, do you think it is possible that a blessing more suited to our circumstances than Christ, the unspeakable gift of God, can be found? This gift is not only calculated to make up some few deficiencies for the present moment, but contains in it all we can need to make us either holy or happy for time or eternity. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” This is a new-year’s gift with a witness, a gift which none but the seed-royal ever obtain: For “the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded;” (Rom 11:7) yet all the blessings it contains prove its glories and grandeur to be unspeakable; and as you are this day free from your daily labour, let you and me set down and have a little conversation upon this glorious, this God-like Gift.
THOUGHTFUL: To tell you the truth, I feel disposed to stop; and I hope the Lord will be with us, and make it a profitable season.
SPEAKTRUTH: Indeed, if the Lord is not with us, we shall make poor work in attempting to sound or even speak of this fathomless ocean of bliss and blessedness. But it becomes the people of God to speak to one another about the best things; nor is the Lord displeased with their feeble attempts to set forth his glory. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” Thus you see the Lord both takes notice and approves of his people speaking one to another. O what a mercy it is, that whatever Christ is or has, as Head of the church, he is unto all that put their trust in him, and who delight to make mention of his righteousness, and of his only; and the whole of all he is or has is the free gift of the Father: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
THOUGHTFUL: What an infinite treasure they possess who have the Lord for their portion; and what dreadful pride, rebellion, and ignorance we demonstrate, when we are not satisfied with such an inheritance; for if we be Christ’s, then are we Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
SPEAKTRUTH: Yes, my dear brother, we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; nor is there any character a child of God can bear, nor any circumstances he can be in, but. this immortal Gift contains a blessed suitableness thereto. Immortal honours rest upon the head of the glorious Trinity, that Christ, with all his precious suitableness, is a free grace gift. This crowns the whole. Were it for works of righteousness, or even according to works of righteousness which we must do, you and I must shrink back, and eternally despair of ever obtaining the blessing; but thanks be unto God, it is a gift, and that gift is the gift of God; yea, the gift of God’s free grace. This leaves room for the hope of the famishing, naked, poor, and wretched. (Tit 3:5; 2 Tim 1:9)
THOUGHTFUL: There is such a majesty, glory, and blessedness in the Lord Jesus Christ, that one would almost wonder that any child of God, who has sweetly experienced his own interest in him, could ever feel any want or scant, let his temporal circumstances be what they may. Paul solemnly declares to the church at Philippi, “My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory, by Jesus Christ.” (Phil 4:19)
SPEAKTRUTH: It does appear strange that the child of God should ever find fault with the wise dealings of the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; but so it is. For my own part, I have been taught so much of the filth of my own nature, that, in my right mind, I scarcely wonder at any thing the people of God either say or do, in a fit of unbelief, when flesh and blood are consulted, and God’s glory is, in great measure, lost sight of. When the Lord, for wise purposes, hides his face, and the devil kicks up a dust in the conscience, and brings accusations both against God and us, (for at times he does both,) and unbelief and carnal reason become umpires in the business, there is sure to be misery and distress enough. Both Job and Jeremiah cursed the day in which they were born; David said all men are liars; Jonah said he did well to be angry; and Peter swore he never knew the Lord. In fact, every little mole-hill of a trial is swelled into a mountain; and we are ready to conclude that our lot is harder than any man’s. We place before our eyes all the troubles’ and sorrows we have waded through for years past, and “we anticipate ten thousand times more for years to come. Our very hearts sicken at the sight, and we come to this conclusion, that our way is hid from the Lord, and our judgment passed over of our God. We are ready to join with Job, and say, “By the great force of my disease is my garment changed. It bindeth me about as the collar of my coat. He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me. I stand up, and thou regardest me not. Thou art become cruel to me. With thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.” We imagine the Lord will neither send us help from our trouble, nor sympathise with us in it; but, bless his precious name! In spite of Satan, unbelief, and carnal reason, he appears again, and lifts up the light of his countenance upon us; and the moment he makes his visible appearance to the eye of faith, and sheds abroad his everlasting love in the heart, by the blessed energy of the Holy Ghost, all is set right both within and without, and we sweetly exclaim, “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him;” and we feel almost ready to challenge the devil and all his agents to come forward and do their best and worst; but, alas, alas! if they show their faces, and the blessed Master withdraws his, we shrink back, and cry out for quarter.
THOUGHTFUL: I solemnly protest that that is a truth. For my own part, I have no real religion but what I have in and from the Lord Jesus Christ. When my blessed Lord sweetly breaks into my mind with his light, love, and glory, and, by the unctuous power of the blessed Spirit, tells me to arise and shine, for my light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon me, I that moment feel the world to drop its charms, and all creature-goodness lose its imaginary beauties. I shrink to nothing at the feet of my dear Lord, while at the same time I feel I am in a blessed measure swallowed up in his glory, life, and loveliness, and the following portion of scripture appears indisputably true; “The voice said, Cry; and he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; because the Spirit of tho Lord bloweth upon it. Surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of the Lord shall stand for ever.” O what a blessedness there appears in Christ the Incarnate Word. All the openings of the matchless love of the glorious Trinity to the seed-royal centre in him. His mediatorial beauties surpass all human comprehension, nor is the hand of faith able to grasp in a hundredth part of his glory; but she takes in enough of it to fill the soul with wonder and adoration. But we must die to gaze upon his glory with unclouded eyes without a glass between.
SPEAKTRUTH: There is a wonderful mystery in the kingdom of God in all its bearings; for the same blessed Spirit which discovers to us the filthiness of fallen nature makes manifest the glory of Christ, and teaches the real Christian that all the transcendent excellences of Christ stand for ever, and his people for ever stand in them complete, entirely complete in him. The heirs of promise are the most mysterious creatures in the world. In and of themselves they are nothing but wretchedness, a mass of filth, a walking pestilence. Like David, they can say, “My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness.” But O the wonders of God’s grace! In and of Christ they are all beautiful and fair! The eternal God, who is of purer eyes than to behold sin with any degree of allowance, “hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” Christ, the Husband of the church, says, “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” But where does all this beauty rest? In Christ, the unspeakable gift of God the Father. ” According as he hath chosen us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved;” “And ye are complete in him.” Mind this; their acceptance before the Lord and their completion are both in Christ, and to this they are predestinated according to the good pleasure of God’s will, to the praise of the glory of his grace. Nay, such matchless dignity has free grace stamped upon them in Christ their Head, that Jehovah has said, “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of thy Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Thus, in Christ, the believer is all glory, beauty, and dignity; and we live vastly below our high calling, when we are not enabled to trace our real character in Christ. We must not ransack old nature, but trace the real beauties of Christ, to have a proper idea of what the people of God are in the Lord’s sight. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” I believe, my dear brother, if you and I were more sweetly and constantly employed in entering into the beauties of Christ by faith, instead of moping over our miseries, felt and feared, we should often see cause for gratitude and thankfulness, when we produce little else but rebellion and disorder.
THOUGHTFUL: I feel quite sensible of this; but how true it is that without him we can do nothing. It is the blessed prerogative of God the Holy Ghost to take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us. He is to glorify Christ both in us and by us. We can only enter into the things of God as they are revealed unto us by the blessed Spirit. Whatever blessings are couched in God’s word, they are freely given to us of God, and are a blessed part of the unspeakable gift. We are entirely dependent upon the teachings of the blessed Spirit for all the spiritual understanding we have of them. Little did I think, when I first enjoyed peace and pardon through the precious application of the atonement to my conscience, that 1 should be a royal pensioner all the days of my life; not only dependent upon Christ for a new covenant inheritance, but dependent also upon the blessed Spirit for wisdom to discern, and power to enjoy, any one branch of its blessed contents. But experience has demonstrated the fact. It is true, my judgment often outruns my feelings. Could my feelings but keep pace with my judgment, I should mako a different appearance among my brethren than I do at present. I once thought I could both pray and praise, and do many wonders; but my dear Lord has cut clown many of my great I’s, and brought me really to feel this truth, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.” Thanks be unto our adorable Three-One God, however dark or gloomy, or even dumb we are, if we are unable to speak, and can only groan, “he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
SPEAKTRUTH: It is a blessed thing to be brought to feel our entire dependence upon the Lord, for it both stops the boasting mouth, and makes us give God all the glory. “Who hath made us to differ from another, and what have we that we have not received?” I feel that all I possess in Christ, yea, all the blessed Spirit has communicated to me from Christ; all he has given me hope to expect, or faith to believe; in a word, all I have, or am, or ever shall be, as an heir of promise, more than the most abandoned profligate, or oven the damned in hell, I am and have by the grace of God; “for by the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Cor 15:10) I believe all the seed-royal, both in time and in eternity, will feelingly say, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, .and for thy truth’s sake.” Our election, redemption, justification, effectual calling, faith, hope, love, patience, zeal, humility, pardon, peace, and joy, yea, our sanctification, perseverance, and final glory, are all of the Lord, and all secured in the gift of Christ: for we have all spiritual blessings in him. But the whole of this goes to show what an inestimable gift the Lord Jesus Christ is. There is nothing which is really pleasant or profitable but we have it in him; so that if you and I are enabled to begin the year with a sweet enjoyment of this blessed gift, we shall be favoured with the most delicious entertainment and substantial blessings that mortals can possibly enjoy. The Lord grant unto us an unctuous sense of his love, and sweetly draw into exercise faith, hope, love, prayer, praise, watchfulness, and spiritual meditation, that we may be much engaged with God, and so have unctuous fellowship with the Father, and with his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Then shall we in very deed say, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” Here, my dear brother, is our treasure. The Lord keep our hearts here also; and when the devil, and sin, and the world, and unbelief, and carnal reason, and all their cursed crew, begin to make a clamour in the conscience, and endeavour to smother us with the filth of corrupt nature, then, O thou blessed Spirit of all grace and truth! direct our faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, and grant unto us a glimpse of his overwhelming sufferings, or his personal beauties. Open unto us the chest of new covenant mercies, and cause us by faith triumphantly to say, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
THOUGHTFUL: O, my dear brother, how much we live below our high privileges! how lamentable it is that the world gains so much of our hearts.
SPEAKTRUTH: David had to complain of the same things, and cry to the Lord for deliverance: “My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken thou me according to thy word.” But it is no small branch of consolation, that however we change in the frame of our mind, new covenant mercies stand the same. Although my house be not so with God, though I do not always sensibly shine as the light of the morning when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds, but am surrounded with clouds, both within and without, and my path often appears vastly obscure to sense and reason; though a dark cloud often covers all my duties, and all my acts of devotion, and all I am engaged in, in the world, in the family, and in the church of Christ; and although the blessed graces of the Spirit do not always appear to spring up in me like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain, but I feel shut up and cannot come forth, and every grace seems almost banished from my sight; although this be the case with me and the rest of God’s family on earth at times, yet, “he hath made with them, an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.” In this well-ordered covenant the seed-royal have the sure mercies of David eternally secured unto them. Every blessing that, can be for their eternal glory in the world to come is safely locked up in the heart of Christ, and he keeps the keys, and when he opens none can shut, and when he shuts none can open. Our life is hid with Christ in God, and there it is safe out of the reach of all our foes. Whatever Christ is or has in his mediatorial capacity, he is unto and has for his people; they are beautiful in his beauty. He fills a variety of offices, and makes himself known by an infinite variety of characters and names, for the express purpose of answering all law claims in behalf of and for his people, and suits himself to every case and circumstance they can possibly he in; nor will he withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Notwithstanding all our natural depravity, he now and then skips over the mountains of our guilt, or rather takes them upon his own shoulders and removes them out of the way, and pays our consciences a precious love-visit, kissing our souls into thankfulness, humility, and obedience, and giving us a hearty welcome to all the dainties of his house; and, with inexpressible love shining in his countenance, he says, “Eat, O friends! drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved!” Now, brother Thoughtful, if a covenant God has given to you and me this beloved Christ, this unspeakable gift, we have a gift that is ever new, and ever rare, and will be to eternity. This is a new-year’s gift indeed. There is no such a thing as spending it up, nor out-living it. As soon will a sparrow drink the sea dry as the people of God can spend up their treasure in Christ; nor will the banquet it affords torture us the next day, with either the headache or the heartache; for “the blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
THOUGHTFUL: Indeed, my dear brother, I feel quite abashed before the Lord that. I should be so often unthankful for such unspeakable mercies, and so much concerned about the things that perish; “for what will it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” And though I believe the blessed Trinity will never suffer the seed-royal to perish, yet I am sure, from past feelings, that the cares of the world may so choke and smother the soul that for a time it may seem lost to all the sweet enjoyment of its best interests; no unctuous enjoyment of the love of God; no nearness of soul in prayer ; r.o holy freedom with the Lord; we cannot feelingly say, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” It appears to me that we cannot enjoy the presence of the Lord, and be swallowed up in the business of the world at the same time. When the blessed Lord takes sweet and sensible possession of the heart, and sweetly sheds abroad his love, then the world must withdraw, for they cannot live in union together. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
SPEAKTRUTH: There are two principles in all the quickened seed-royal; the one loves the world and the things that are in it, the other loves Christ and the things that are in him; and this is what makes a warfare in their souls; but thanks be unto God! victory over the world, flesh, and the devil is sure. Hence, says our infinite Captain, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world;” so that our victory is in him, and we can only gain the advantage over our foes as we stand and light in and with Christ. He is our shield and our defence. In our spiritual warfare faith has to do with Christ, and hope expects victory upon the ground of the conquest of Christ, and no other. The Lord is infinitely kind unto his people, and often uses the most endearing language to invite them to hearken unto, and meditate upon what Christ is, and what’ they are in him. But how ever kind this mode of speaking is, unless he speak with power to the conscience we are naturally prone to turn a deaf ear to all he says, and listen to any thing sooner than the things that make for our peace. So foolish and ignorant are we that we are naturally prone to slight our best treasure, and seek after mud and misery. It is well for us that salvation in all its bearings is of the Lord. What a blessed description is given of Christ, and of his church in him, in the 45th Psalm; and how sweetly the Lord invites his people to hearken to its contents: “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.” As if the Lord had said, “O ye much esteemed and highly-favoured spouse of Christ, hearken unto, and meditate upon the glorious majesty of Christ. Behold him in all his personal beauties, offices, and relationship. Consider them well; turn them over and over again in your mind. Survey your treasure in him, and see what dignity and beauty he has conferred upon his beloved queen; how richly he has decked you, both without and within, with his own rich robes of majesty, glory, and grace: ‘For the king’s daughter is all-glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold.’ Let a sweet view of this ever cause thee to forget all thy earthly prospects.”
THOUGHTFUL: There is an indescribable grandeur in that blessed psalm. It gives a glorious description of Christ, and of the seed-royal in him.
SPEAKTRUTH: Yes, and what adds to the glory of it is, that, notwithstanding the untowardness of God’s people, he has engaged to make the name of Christ to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise him for ever and ever.
THOUGHTFUL: What, do you suppose is meant by the name of Christ?
SPEAKTRUTH: All he is, and all he has, as the glorious Head of the church. It contains his eternal Godhead and power; for his name shall be called the Mighty God, and he is the true God and eternal life. It also takes in his blessed incarnation, for his name shall be called Immanuel, God with us. This is the Angel of the Covenant, even the God Man that Jacob wrestled with, and prevailed. “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God; yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed. He wept and made supplication unto him. He found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us, even the Lord God of Hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” This blessed name contains the nature and substance of the mission of Moses. This is the God that appeared in the bush, to whom Moses said, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them. The God of your lathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say unto me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Here we find the man of God was really concerned to know the nature of his mission. He was not concerned merely to be a minister, as is too much the case in our day, but his soul burned with ardent desire to be well acquainted with the nature of his mission, and the Lord condescended to give him a satisfactory reply.) “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Ex 3:13,14) I am the stomal, immutable, self-existent, God; and as this eternal I AM THAT I AM is, in verse 2nd, called the Angel of the Lord, it is evident that Moses was to view him in his blessed mediatorial capacity; and when the Lord said, I AM THAT I AM, it was as much as if the Lord had said to Moses, Tell my people that if they need life, I am that; if they need light, I am that in a word, whatever they need to give them a title to, meetness for, and put them safe in possession of, the promised rest of glory, I am that, that 1 am. When God proclaimed the name of the Lord in the holy mount, he proclaimed the “Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.” (Ex 34:6,7) What a blessed name is this to his people under all circumstances. He is not only merciful, but be keeps mercy, has a redundance of it in reserve for all the heirs of promise. They are therefore encouraged to come boldly to Christ, the throne of grace, “that they may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The name of the Lord couches in it all the offices he fills and the characters he bears. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor; wonderful in all bis works and ways, and in all ho is and has; and, as counsellor, he thoroughly pleads his people’s cause; nor shall any poor soul ever be nonsuited who is enabled to commit its cause into his hands, be its case as desperate as it may; for he pleads upon the ground of bis own finished work, and his work is perfect. “He has finished transgression, and made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness.” “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and are safe.” Our safety from the storms of the world, sin, Satan, death, and the law is in the name of the Lord. Run where we will, if not into the name of the Lord, we are sure to be overtaken by the various storms connected with sin; but his name is called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins. They do not first get rid of the guilt of their sins and then come to Christ, but the Holy Ghost directs them to Christ with the weight of all their sins and guilt upon them, and his precious blood cleanses them from all sin. Through this blessed name is preached unto you the forgiveness of sin. His name contains the sweet unctuous manifestations of his love and loveliness, for it is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love him. This blessed name, in all its bearings, is the unspeakable gift of God, and those sinners who are blessed with this gift possess a gift worthy of all acceptation; “which things the angels desire to look into.” The seed-royal possess honours peculiar to themselves. They are loved and chosen in Christ; redeemed by Christ, quickened in Christ, live in Christ, are justified in Christ, made holy hi Christ, and shall eternally shine in the likeness, bliss, and blessedness of Christ. They now make their boast of, and glory in the Lord, and shall do when the world is in a blaze.
THOUGHTFUL: O the wonders of God’s grace! I sometimes think that these blessings am too great to be conferred upon such a reptile as I; but at other times I have been sweetly drawn to say, “He loved me, and gave himself for me.” But what are the methods the Lord takes, to make the name of Christ to be remembered?
SPEAKTRUTH: The revelation of his name in the word of God; the ordinances he has instituted under various dispensations; the infinite variety of wonders he has wrought for his people, in various ways and under various circumstances; the raising up, and sending forth faithful labourers into his vineyard; but above all, the unctuous teachings of God the Holy Ghost.
THOUGHTFUL: This opens a large held, and I fear I have already trespassed too much upon your time, for you to enlarge upon these particulars.
SPEAKTRUTH: The Lord enable us both to meditate daily upon the blessings they contain; but at present we must be content with just dropping a hint upon them. I consider that the whole cluster of doctrines, promises, invitations, and declarations of mercy, revealed in the word of God, are designed to make the precious name of Christ to be remembered in all generations. (See 2 Tim 3:10-17; Rom 15:1117; Rom 6:22-24) The precious name of Christ runs through the whole Bible like a glorious river, containing a,u infinite variety of refreshing streams, for the comfort and consolation of the family of God; nor is there one ordinance revealed in the Old Testament, by divine appointment, but what was designed to make the name of Christ to be remembered, as is fully demonstrated by Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. Christ was the grand object, to be viewed by faith, through all those typical representations, under the Old. Testament dispensation, “which, was a’shadow of good things to come, but the body is of Christ;” (Col 2:17) and so the ordinances of the New Testament are to set forth Christ in his sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection: to point him out as our living Head, and as our meat and drink; and as oft as we attend unto them we are to do it in remembrance of him. But we observe again. All the deliverances God has wrought for his people, under all circumstances, are means by which he makes the name of the Lord to be remembered. Head the 107th Psalm. Not one trouble that any of the family of God have ever waded through has been in vain. Under all circumstances, the Lord has in his own time wrought deliverance for them, and has done it in such a way as to make them remember the precious name of Christ: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” The Lord raises up faithful ministers for the express purpose of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. All things, compared with him, and the blessings contained in him, are dung and dross. Ministerially to exalt Christ, is the principal work of the ministers of God. But lastly. The Lord makes the name of Christ to be remembered by the teachings of God the Holy Ghost; and without this, all the rest will prove ineffectual. But it is the settled will of Jehovah that the seed-royal shall remember the name of Christ. Darkness may endure for a night, and the child of God be ready to conclude that the Lord has forsaken him, and will not regard his prayer; but “shall not God avenge his own elect, that cry day and night unto him? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” This the blessed Spirit makes manifest in the conscience, seals Christ in the heart, and sets the soul at rest; and though we may for a season lose the unction of tho name of Christ, we never can totally forget it. Even in our dark seasons, the blessed Spirit will cause us to remember our song in the night. (Ps 77:5,6) The Holy Ghost will pay us ten thousand visits of love and mercy, and open unto our understandings the intrinsic beauties of Christ; seat Christ in the heart, and the heart in Christ; and make us feelingly say, “This is my God, and I have waited for him;” and thus make us remember his blessed name. Every fresh discovery of Christ that the blessed Spirit makes to our conscience tends to endear him unto us, and causes us to remember him.
THOUGHTFUL: Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
SPEAKTRUTH: And the Lord grant us much of the enjoyment of it. Amen and Amen.
William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher, writer and philanthropist.