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Romish church does, in defiance of the second commandment. He who has the love of God in bis heart will avoid every thing of the kind. He knows that there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, and therefore he draws nigh with confidence to the throne of grace, through the merits and mediation of his Divine Redeemer, that in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, he may make known his requests unto God by Christ Jesus, and may be assured of obtaining an answer of peace. He who loves God will reverence His name, and not profane it or take it in vain. He will reverence His sabbaths as days of sacred rest, to be employed in the worship and contemplation of Him in whom he lives and moves and has his being. He will love the worship and ordinances of God, because in them the Lord has graciously promised to come unto His people, and to bless them. And he will seek Divine grace to enable him to deny himself with regard to that selfishness of disposition, which naturally prevents man from loving his neighbour as bimself. Love to God and man, or obedience to the first and great commandment, and to the second which is like unto it, is the first fruit of the Spirit.
From thence proceeds joy, real abiding joy of heart. True religion is not that gloomy thing which some people falsely imagine it to be. It produces fulness of joy. The apostle says, We joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement, or reconciliation with God. A pardoned sinner has real cause for rejoicing. He who is justified before God by faith in Christ Jesus, and has peace with God, and is living in a state of acceptance with Him, has joy and peace in believing. The joy of the worldling is like the crackling of thorns under a pot," which make a great blaze and noise for a short time, but are soon consumed and turned into darkness. The joy of the Christian is abiding, it will know no end, it will issue in pleasures for evermore. It ought therefore to make him of a cheerful countenance. The Psalmist could say, My soul shall be joyful in the Lord, it shall rejoice in His salvation. The lovingkindness of the Lord to His people, and the blessedness which He has promised to bestow upon them, are subjects of continual rejoicing. The people of God are therefore exhorted to rejoice in Him, because the joy of the Lord is their strength. It is a means of encouraging them to press forward in the narrow way to the kingdom of heaven, to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life whereunto they are called. The apostle exhorts, Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice; and he describes Christians as those who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.8 It is the privilege of the humble believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, to rejoice and be glad all the days of his life, because of the goodness and mercy of which he is a partaker from his heavenly Father. Thus he is to manifest his gratitude for the blessings which have been bestowed upon him, and his confidence that all the promises of God in Christ Jesus will be made good to him in his eternal salvation.
99 1 Chron. xxviii. 9.
1 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.
2 Phil. iv. 6.
Peace is an attendant on the joy of the true Christian. He has peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeps his heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Knowing that his Redeemer has made peace through the blood of His cross,' he walks with God, who fills him with all joy and peace
in believing. And having this peace of God in his conscience, he endeavours, if it be possible, as much as lieth in him, to live peaceably with all men.' It is the privilege of the believer in Christ to enjoy these blessings. They are the genuine fruits of a living faith in the Son of God. Having the love of God in his heart, the joy of the Lord in his soul, the peace of God in his conscience, he
71 Tim.vi.12. 8 Phil. iv.4,7; iii. 3. 9 Col.i.20. 10 Rom.xv.13; xii. 18. 11 Phil. iv. 8. 12 Col. iii. 5. 13 Rom. xii. 1.
is enabled to exhibit in his conduct to those with whom he has intercourse, longsuffering, or patience, to bear and forbear with them. The patience which has been exercised towards him by his heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, of which he is deeply sensible, makes him desirous to imitate it in his conduct towards others. He manifests also gentleness, or benevolence. The true Christian is the true philanthropist. He shows also goodness; or whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report,virtuous, and praiseworthy, he thinks on these things and does them. His deportment also exhibits faith, or fidelity, meekness, and mildness of behaviour, temperance, and moderation; restraining his unruly passions, which he seeks for Divine grace to enable him to do, when they would break out in opposition to the word and will of God. Thus as the apostle observes, They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. They not only mortify the members of the earth, but those affections and desires which would draw away their hearts from God. They not only present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,13 but it is their earnest prayer that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ;14 that He may be the supreme object
14 1 Thess. v. 23.
of their affection, and their thoughts and desires may be pleasing to Him, as well as their words and their actions. They deny themselves, and take
ир their cross, and follow16 Christ, as all their salvation and all their desire.
These fruits of the Spirit, which are produced by the true believer in the Lord Jesus, are not contrary, but agreeable to the law of God. Against such there is no law. They who, through Divine grace, are filled with these fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God,16 take the moral law for the rule of their conduct, and desire to live according to its directions, which they implore the help of the Spirit of God to enable them to do. So that walking in the Spirit is receiving Divine strength to do that which is pleasing in the sight of God, and agreeable to His commandments, His holy, just, and good law. It is thus only that any
of the fallen race of Adam can act according to what God has commanded us for our good. Let us seek grace from God to enable us to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, that we may receive His blessing both in this life, and in that which is to come.
15 Matthew xvi. 24.
16 Philippians i. 11.