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is announced by his inspired servants : “ The friendship of the. world is enmity with God.” Before the eye of the true Christian there is extended another and a far different portion, even the service of God; to labour in the cause of Jesus Christ, to dedicatehis life to him, and to worship him in spirit and in truth. On the calmest deliberation, the most mature reflection, and on reasons grounded on the truest principles, he makes his choice for the Lord God. He gradually renounces the world; day by day he becomes less absorbed in its pleasures and pursuits, and lives more and more continually for a better and a higher end. In proportion as he is separated from the world, does the Lord become his inheritance ; he is more closely united to him, and more exclusively employed in his service; he perceives the wisdom of his choice, tastes of the blessings that are at God's right hand, and finds a supply of all his wants from the fulness that is in Christ Jesus. That the Lord is his portion and his sole inheritance, he has taken him for his own, and every other less perfect and substantial, he has absolutely and utterly renounced.
Again: The Christian has the Lord for his inheritance, in that all things are working together for his final salvation. I know not that there can be conceived a greater privilege than to be able to take such a view of God's Providence, as to be convinced that all events and circumstances are so ordered as to be working together for the final salvation of our souls. Thus every thing that God ordains to befal his chosen servant in this world of trial, is seen to be directly tending to one point. Each peculiarity of circumstance, the state of life in which he is placed, the men by whom he is surrounded, his hours of prosperity, the disappointment of his wishes, the heaviest afflictions, even the hinderances he meets with in his Christian course and exclusion from religious advantages, all are doing the divine work, and tending, with unerring certainty, to his final happiness and glory. That such a privilege belongs to the real Christian is not left to conjecture, nor to the conclusions of human reasoning on the government and providence of God. “ We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” Such was the experience of Paul, under circumstances perhaps more trying than any other to a faithful and zealous minister of the word, when the loving and peaceable Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in a spirit of envy and strife in order that it might add
affliction to his bonds : “ I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The confidence that animated the breast of the apostle need not be absent from our own. Every thing is contributing to build up the servant of Jesus Christ, and to create in him a fitness for heavenly places. Things indifferent in themselves, by this become of unspeakable importance. Things, in themselves grievous and afflicting, by this are invested with glory and unutterable joy. They are divine instruments, separating him from the world, uniting him to Jesus Christ, vanquishing the carnal mind, overcoming the dominion of sin, infusing a spirit of holiness, conforming him to the Gospel pattern, and raising up the man a new creature from the ruins of the fall. Thus to him God is in every thing. In all events he beholds his in heritance, for the Lord is with them all. They are sanctified by the presence of Jehovah. In every one of them “he bows his heavens and comes down.” “ The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him."
But again: The true believer has the Lord for his inheritance, because he has the peace of God shed abroad in his heart. The search after a real and abiding peace is one in which we are all engaged. By a thousand different paths men pursue one and the same object. And all are agreed in this, in hopes and anticipations of its attainment. The worldly man anticipates the day when, his present toil and difficulty at an end, he shall enter into rest and happiness as yet unknown. He does not believe his present disquietude will last for ever, and it would make him miserable if he did. He has a scene on his mind's eye, which, removed from the objects of his care, will leave his soul at liberty to take advantage of all the means of enjoyment within his reach. Alas! he is unconscious that to change the scene and vary the circumstances of existence is not to change the heart, and make that world of restlessness and agitation the abode of happiness and peace. Not thus can he still the cravings of diseased nature, nor satisfy the legitimate desires of an immortal spirit. He carries the sting within in his own heart, and the poison rankles in his veins independently of the beauty or deformity of the external scene.
Unconverted and still alienated from God, he asks a happiness he will never find. God is the sole fountain of bliss, and Christ alone is able to satisfy the soul, and his peace is pledged to no one but the true believer, while to him it is guaranteed by the word and promise of the
Almighty. It is the express assurance of the great Head of the Church : “ My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you.” The assurance is repeated by his apostle: “ The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” Its faithfulness has been proved by every son of man who has sought his pleasures at God's right hand, and become personally interested in the merits and perfections of the Saviour. In every such case, without exception, has there been a discovery of the peace of God. The voice of Christian experience is unanimous. God does not hide himself from those whom he has given to his beloved Son. They have a "joy with which the stranger cannot intermeddle:” a joy independent of, and superior to, all outward circumstances. It is poured down into the heart from the bosom of Jehovah. It is the saint's inheritance, the presence of God, the foretaste of that bliss which will be shed around and upon them, in its perfection, in the world of eternity.
But further: The true believer has surrendered to him the Lord Christ himself as his inheritance; he has him for his own. It is the assurance of St. John that “ he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life.” Thus, having the Son is made the distinguishing characteristic of the true Christian, for every true Christian is an inheritor of life eternal. He has, therefore, the Son, for if he had him not he would be yet dead, dead in trespasses and sins, and unransomed from the second death ; but now he was dead and is alive again, he liveth and believeth in Jesus, and shall never die. He, therefore, hath the Son, for he that hath not the Son hath not life. Again, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul prays for the Spirit for his converts, “ that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith.” And it is the promise of Christ himself unto those that love him, that he and the Father “ will come unto him, and make their abode with him." The believer is united to the Son of God by a mysterious union, but not on that account less real and actual. He is united to him by a living faith. He has him by that faith which is the substance of things hoped for, and which therefore puts him in an anticipated possession here of all that he is to enjoy in fulness and in perfection hereafter. He has him as the propitiation for his sin, his substitute in the sight of God, for wisdom, for righteousness, for sanctification and redemption. He accepts him as his prophet and teacher, he submits himself to
his guidance, and forms himself by his precepts. He knows him as his ruler and his king, and walks in obedience to his commands. Above all, he takes him for a principle of holiness, to sanctify his heart, and prepare him, by an entire conversion, for heavenly abodes and the immediate presence of Jehovah. In a word, he has him for all the ends for which he is revealed in Scripture. I ask, then, whether the true Christian may not be said to have the Son of God? Does he not dwell in his heart by faith? Does he not come and make his abode with him? He has the Son. The Son is possessed, in the highest and most important sense, not by the world that is guided by his providence, not by the heavens that behold his glory, not by the devils that feel his power, but by the lowly and contrite heart that bows at his footstool, and rejoices in his salvation.
Thus, then, is the Lord the Christian's inheritance in this life. He has deliberately chosen him for his own, in preference to the charms and allurements of the world ; all things are working together for the final salvation of his soul; there is shed abroad upon his heart the peace that passeth understanding; and he possesses the Son of God by a living and abiding faith. And the believer actually feels all this; it is not a mere theory; he knows it by the undoubted testimony of his own secret but sure experience. As surely as there is a spirit within him capable of being invigorated and refreshed by the Spirit of Almighty God: as surely as the Christian life is altogether different from that of a world lying in ignorance : as surely as he has found the events and trials of his earthly pilgrimage building him up and preparing him for his eternal home: as surely as he has ever felt within his heart God's unutterable peace: as surely as he knows himself personally interested in the work of his dying and risen Saviour, so surely does he feel that the Lord is his inheritance ; the Lord is his portion, and he is a portion which no power in the universe can rend away.
But not only in this life, but also AFTER DEATH—not only in time, but also IN ETERNITY, has the Christian the Lord for his inheritance. He is not deprived of his portion by the separation of soul and body, by the change of scene, nor the commencement of a spiritual existence. Not only is it his own now, but also in the world to come. For, first, He is eternally with him. Wherever is the heaven
where Christ lives and reigns, there is the habitation of his chosen people. They are with him where he is, they see him as he is, they walk in the light of his countenance. “ Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.” Whenever death summons us to leave this earthly tabernacle, we “ depart, and are with Christ, which is far better.” When the day of judgment comes,
meet him in the air,” and “ so shall we ever be with the Lord.” It is not within the compass of death itself, nor the powers of darkness, nor the tribunal of God, to separate those from Jesus whom he has once loved. In eternity he is theirs for evermore. No veil shall then obscure from the longing vision the everlasting brightness of his presence; no envious distance interfere to bar us from personal intercourse with the beloved; no earth-born languor shall control the rising spirit. Never again shall the face of God be hidden from us, or the heart seek him in vain. Praise shall be offered at the very foot of the eternal throne; the heavenly harps must be swept in the presence of him who has placed them in our hands, and homage shall be paid to the personal effulgence of the Deity.
But the great truth stands out in all its excellency when we find il is the presence of the Lord that constitutes the believer's happiness and joy. Every joy and blessing of those blessed places originates in the fact, that we are to dwell in the presence of the Lord. His presence is the fountain and spring of happiness to every individual of his glorified Church. Hence it is the prayer of Christ in behalf of his accepted servants, “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.” He knows that to behold his glory is sufficient for the perfect blessedness of every immortal spirit. In the same beatific vision rests the unlimited perfection to which it is our hope that we shall attain ;
- When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” The image of the great God, seen, beheld, and actually enjoyed, shall at once exalt the creature to the highest excellence of which it is capable. Every thing also that is essential to a perfect and eternal existence shall be supplied from the same source; “ The city has no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God does lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Thus the Lord is the believer's inheritance in the highest and most important
He not only possesses him, but he fills all bis desire. He