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laid on Him, who, though He knew the burden He had to bear, did not withdraw His neck from the yoke. He did not turn away from the intolerable burden; no, He drank that cup to the very dregs, and now He has given the cup of blessing to His Church to all eternity.
How it should lead to holy service! Though there is enough of spot in any of our holiest services to condemn, yet our poor services are accepted in Him, who cleared away the sin in His own blood. Oh! how sweet the thought!-not merely pardoned, but justified; not merely justified, but accepted; and not only my person is accepted, but my poor attempts to serve God are accepted too; and all in Jesus, Thy best beloved. And may this be thy portion for a dying hour, for a sick chamber, and for the trials of life, to know that there is not a perfection in God that is insulted, trodden under foot or weakened, but every perfection of God is magnified in that clearing ;" ;" His holiness magnified, His law put forth in all its purity and magnitude, and the glory and grace of the Gospel displayed by Him as it never could have been displayed in any other way. Oh! that God would lay these truths on my soul and on your souls. In the hour and article of death, oh! to know, that although I am cleared, Jesus was not; and that although I am acquitted, He was dealt with as guilty; and that although I am pardoned, He was not pardoned, but endured the penalty.
Blessed Lord, accept our adoration, our praises, our thanksgivings, and our love; and let our praises be not merely the praises of the lips, but the praises of the life and the devotedness of the spirit to a Triune God for ever.
A RESTORATION TO JOY DESIRED.
BY THE REV. J. H. EVANS, M.A.
PREACHED AT JOHN ST. CHAPEL, KING'S ROAD, BEDFORD ROW, ON SUNDAY MORNING, JANUARY 18, 1846.
"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation."-Psalm li. 12.
How vast are the blessings that are connected with the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel as felt and known to be "the power of God" in the sinner, as his soul betakes itself to Jesus and there finds safety! For, in proportion as this great and glorious work is received in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, the soul finds "peace in be lieving;" and, in direct proportion as it lives on Christ, and lives with Christ, and lives for Christ-lives for Christ, beloved-in that degree it knows what "the joy of this salvation" is.
We read in the Scriptures, you will remember, of "the joy of the Lord"-that joy of which He is the cause and the spring; and we read of that joy that is "in the Lord," of which He is the substance and the end. It need not occasion us any anxious inquiry as to whether it be in Jesus that we rejoice, or whether it be in God the Father, that we rejoiee; as poor apostate creatures, fallen into sin, and fallen by sin, we never, never can rejoice in God, but as we rejoice in Christ. It is always the stepping stone to our joy in the Father-we never can rejoice in God till we have "received the atonement."
But, beloved, this joy, like every other blessing, though it may not be finally lost,-I believe it never can be lost in the child of God-yet it may be for some time lost, to the great
Vol. XII.-No. 421.-January 22, 1846
cost of the soul.
David is an especial instance of it, even in the "Restore unto me," he says, "the joy of Thy
words of the text. salvation." I had it once, I have it now no more; I had the testimony once, I have the testimony now no longer. But, observe the stirring of the new nature within him; see the" upholding of God's free Spirit" in the midst of it all; see the longing of his heart for that which nothing can supply when it is lost. It is therefore he says, "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation."
I would first of all consider the departures to which the child of God is liable; secondly, that such departures have always a tendency to lesson and destroy his joy; and then, thirdly, that no one but the Lord himself can restore unto him that joy.
You observe, David speaks under the pressure of his circumstances; as much as if he had said, 'I have sorely departed, I have lost my joy, restore it unto me, Lord; uphold Thou me with Thy free Spirit.'
I. With regard to the first point, there is something deeply affecting in the thought, that in every child of God, however he may be devoted to God, however consecrated to His service, however he be filled with His Spirit-for 1 believe, beloved, there are as many grades in the spiritual life amongst God's children, as there are grades in the natural life amongst God's creation-it is an affecting, a deeply affecting thought, that in the child of God, however he may be devoted to God, however he may be consecrated to God, and however closely he may have lived with God, yet there are all the seeds of departure from God. I believe, indeed, that there is such a thing as habitual walking with God, and I believe that in proportion as we walk habitually with God, there is a habitual tendency to keep close to Him, and many thousand evils will be prevented in that soul that habitually walks closely with God; for there are habits both ways-oh! that you and I may cultivate these holy habits, for they are great strengtheners to the soul; but in the midst of all this, we remark, that the child of God has in him the element of all departure from God. When he rises in the morning there is need to have this perpetually brought before him—‘This day as yesterday, I possess the seeds of all departure from God; so that
I have need to be held up; I have need to be kept in; I have need to be kept from presumptuous sins.' "Take heed," says the apostle "lest there be in any of you"-in any one of you-some of you are fathers, some of you are young men, and some are babes-but "in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." I should say, if there is any child of God here who thinks that he stands little in need of this warning, I believe that he stands the most in need of it of any man here. There is something deeply affecting in this thought-I have but little power to dwell upon it as I ought to do, and time would not allow. There would be something deeply touching to you that are parents, if after all your kindness and love to your children, after all your forgiveness of their many faults and failings, after all the many costly proofs that you have given of your tenderness and love, you found in them after all, that which must be kept in, that which must be checked, that which must be kept back, that you must watch over them perpetually, or else they would depart from you. One might almost say, that one would hardly seem to estimate the love of any creature as worth having on such terms. Yet let me ask the children of God that hear me, whether, but for the checks and restraints, the rods and the crosses, and the disappointments and the bitters that they have had, and the secret restraining power of the Spirit of God that has kept them back, and kept them in, there would not have been through the past year such departures, as would make those children of God hang down their heads for very shame.
But not only is there a tendency, to actual departures-(we are not speaking of gross departures)—but to that sort of departure, of which no one knows anything but God. What departure there may be in a look! what departure there may be in a word! what departure there may be in a tone of voice! what a departure there may be in a thought-actual departure from God! And there are periods, besides, in which, as I believe, the Lord for certain wise and holy purposes, takes off His restraining hand, when we have got into the region of self-security, and think ourselves no longer exposed to certain evils; or it may not be so, but we may neglect God in secret; or it may be in hurried prayer, hurried reading of the Word-the mere shell, the kernel withholden-just to satisfy and quiet consci
ence; going on for a time in the ways of religion, yet with little heart in them, the heart taken up with worldly business; giving to God as it were the dregs, but giving to our business the first. Oh! I believe there are periods in which the Lord takes off His checks, and reproves sin by sin. And then what is the effect? Why, the outside goes on, but what becomes of internal religion? There are the prayers, but where is the secret dealing with God? There is no absolute neglect of outward duties, but how little of God is there in all! Ah! beloved, if these be not watched over, if these be left to themselves, this leads downwards; it leads to the darkening of the mind, it leads to a stubbornness of will, it leads to want of tenderness of conscience, it leads to the heart alienated from God. Oh! with how solemn a voice does it speak to us-" let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." Yet I as much believe in the security of God's saints, that they shall never finally fall, as I believe in the efficacy of the atoning blood of the Son of God; I believe that if one could, all would; and that it would be impossible to establish the doctrine of salvation by mere grace, if the whole turning point were not found in God from first to last-so that the crown shall be cast before His throne, and the acknowledgment shall be to all eternity," Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be glory, for Thy mercy and for Thy truth sake."
II. But, beloved, wherever there is departure from God, in direct proportion as it prevails, there is a tendency,—I thank God for it!to lessen the believer's joy. It is wisely, holily, and tenderly ordained that it should be so; that our departures should be our corrective. There is always in them a tendency to weaken joy, and unless watched over, to destroy joy. How can it be otherwise?
What is the real happiness of the child of God? It is God himself. He does not even rest in Christ; He rests in God through Christ. Christ is the way to God, and "no man cometh unto the Father, but by Him." I do rest in Christ entirely for atonement, I do rest in Him for acceptance, I do rest in Him for justification, I do rest on the work of the incarnate God; but that this is my last resting place, I utterly deny. For it is only as I am led to rest in God, to rest in the perfections, the goodness, the kindness, and the love of Him,