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through Jesus Christ. “O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me." Isa. 12:1. This must be an invaluable mercy, for the purchase of it cost the blood of Christ : “ The chastisement of our peace was upon him.” Isa. 53 : 5. He made peace by the blood of his cross, Col. 1:20; and this peace of reconciliation is settled by Christ upon a firm foundation. His blood gives it a more firm foundation than that of the hills and mountains. Isa. 54:10. And that which makes it so firm and sure, is the advocateship of Jesus Christ in heaven : “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” 1 John, 2:1. There is also peace in the believer's conscience-peace as it were by proclamation from heaven; and this is built upon the peace of reconciliation. We cannot have the sense of peace till we are brought into a state of peace; the one is the result of the other. And this is a part of the supper Christ provides to entertain the soul that receives it. How sweet this is, is better felt than spoken. A dreadful sound was lately in the ears of the law-condemned sinner; but now his heart is the seat of peace. This peace is,
(1.) The souls guard against all inward and outward terrors. The peace of God shall keep, or, as the original word is, guard your hearts and minds. Phil. 4:7. The persons of princes are secured by guards of armed men, who watch while they sleep. Thus Solomon had his royal guard, because of fear in the night. Sol. Song 3:7, 8. This peace of God, Christian, is thy life-guard, and secures thee better than Solomon's threescore valiant men about him. Time was when thou wast afraid to sleep, lest thou shouldst awake in hell. Now thou mayest say with David, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety.” Psa. 5:8. Now, come life, come death, the soul is safe ; the peace of God is its royal guard.
(2.) This peace is ease as well as safety to the soul; it is · heart's-ease. No sooner does God speak peace to the con
science, than the soul finds itself at ease and rest: “We which have believed, do enter into rest.” Heb. 4:3. It is with such a soul as it was with the dove Noah sent out of the ark : that poor creature wandered in the air as long as her wings could carry her; had her strength failed, there was nothing but the waters to receive her. O how sweet was rest in the ark!
(3.) This peace is news from heaven, and the sweetest tidings that ever blessed the sinner's ear, next to Christ. The blood of Christ speaketh better things than that of Abel, Heb. 12: 24 ; and you are come to this blood of sprinkling, as soon as Christ comes into your soul. This is the voice of that blood : “Thou hast sinned, I have satisfied; thou hast kindled the wrath of God, and I have quenched it.” The angels of heaven cannot fare better: their joys are not more sweet than those prepared for believers are, whereof this is a foretaste. Whatever trouble a man may be in, this effectually relieves him. Paul and Silas were in sad circumstances, shut up in the inner prison, their feet made fast in the stocks, their cruel keepers at the door, and their execution expected in a few days : God did but set this dish upon the table before the prisoners, and they could not forbear to sing at the feast. Acts 16:25.
3. After pardon and peace, a third blessing will come, namely, joy in the Holy Ghost. This is somewhat beyond peace, it is the very quintessence and spirit of all consolation. The kingdom of God is said to consist in it, Rom. 14:17; it is somewhat like the joy of the glorified, 1 Pet. 1:8; it is heaven upon earth. All believers do not immediately attain it, but one time or other God usually gives them a taste of it; and when he does, it is as it were a realization of full salvation. O, who can tell what that is which the apostle calls, the shedding abroad of the love of God in the heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us? Rom. 5:5. It is a joy that wants an epithet to express its full sweetness : “ Joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” 1 Pet. 1:8. It has the very taste of heaven in it, and there is but a difference of degrees between it and the joy of heaven. This joy of the Holy Ghost is a spiritual cheerfulness streaming through the soul of a believer from the Spirit's testimony, which proves his interest in Christ and glory. No sooner doth the Spirit shed forth the love of God into the believer's heart, than it overflows with joy.
This will appear, if you consider the matter of it: it arises from the light of God's countenance, Psa. 4:6, 7, the heavenly glory : “Whom having not seen, we love.” 1 Pet. 1:8. The soul is transported with joy, ravished with the glory and excellency of Christ. Didst thou ever see Christ with whom thy soul is so delighted ? No, I have not seen him; yet my soul is transported with love to him, " whom having not seen, we love." But if thou never sawest him, how comes thy soul to be so delighted with him? Why, though I never saw him by the eye of sense, I do see him by the eye of faith ; and by that sight my soul is flooded with spiritual joy: “Believing, we rejoice.” But what manner of joy is it which you taste? No tongue can express that, for it is joy unspeakable. But how are Christ and heaven turned into such joys to the soul? The Spirit of the Lord gives the believer a sight to discern not only the transcendent excellency of these spiritual objects, but his interest in them also. This is my Saviour, and this the glory prepared for me. Without appropriation, heaven itself cannot be turned into joy. My soul rejoices in God my Saviour. Luke 1:47. We read of some who shall have a sight of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yet shall be without joy, Luke 13:28; a dreadful sight to such, for want of a joint interest with them in that glory. They shall see, and yet weep and gnash their teeth. But an interest sealed gives joy unspeakable. As to the excellency of this joy, it will prove the pleasant light of the soul. Light and joy are synonymous terms in Scripture. Psa. 97:11. It is as the cheerful light of the morning, after a sad and dismal night. You who have sat in darkness and the shadow of death, who have sat mourning in the dark without one glimpse of a promise, who have conversed with nothing but dismal thoughts of hell and wrath-0, I shall be cast away for ever; what will you say, when after all this darkness, the day-star shall arise in your hearts, and the joy of heaven shall beam upon your souls ? Will not this be a glorious reward for all your self-denial for Christ, and fully recompense the frowns of ungodly relations for giving entertainment to Christ? This joy of the Lord, if there were no other heaven, is an abundant recompense. This joy of the Lord shall be your strength. Neh. 8:10. Let God but give a person a little of this joy into his heart, and he shall presently feel himself strengthened by it, either to do or to suffer the will of God. Now he can pray with enlargement, hear with comfort, meditate with delight; and if God call him to suffer, this joy shall strengthen him to bear it. This it was that made the martyrs go singing to the stake. This therefore transcends all the joys of the world. There are sinful pleasures which men find in fulfilling their lusts; there are sensitive joys that men find in the good creatures of God, filling their hearts with food and gladness; there are also delusive joys, that hypocrites find in their ungrounded hopes of heaven. The joys of the sensualist are brutish, the joys of the hypocrite are ensnaring and vanishing; but the joys of the Holy Ghost are solid, sweet, and leading to the fulness of everlasting joy.
4. We read in Scripture of the sealing of the Spirit, a blessed privilege of believers, consequent upon believing : “In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." Eph. 1:13. This may be expected by every soul that opens to Christ, how rich soever the comforts of it be. The Spirit indeed seals not before faith, for then would he set his seal to a blank; but he usually seals after believing, and that as the Spirit of promise. Notice here the agent or person sealing, “the Spirit;" he knows the counsels and purposes of God. 1 Cor. 2: 10, 11. He also is authorized to this work; and being the Spirit of truth, he cannot deceive us. There is a twofold seal spoken of in Scripture; one referring to God's eternal foreknowledge and choice of men: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his,” 2 Tim. 2:19; he perfectly knows every soul that belongs to him throughout the world. But the believer has more than this. There is another sealing of the Spirit, as his act on believers, to make them know that they are his. The first is general, The Lord knoweth who are his; but this is particular, The Lord knoweth thee to be his. This is joyful news indeed. The former makes it sure in itself, the latter makes it sure to us. Now this is a glorious privilege, a work of the Spirit, which has a most delightful sweetness in it; for,
(1) The weightiness of the matter sealed, which is no less than Christ, and the eternal inheritance purchased by his blood. This seal secures our title to Christ, and to the eternal glory. We are sealed to the day of redemption. The sealed believer can say, Christ, how great, how glorious soever he be, is my Saviour; and the covenant of grace, and all the invaluable promises contained in it, are mine
(2.) The rest which follows it, makes it an invaluable mercy. This brings the anxious conscience to peace. O what a mercy is it to have all those knots untied, those objections answered, those fears banished, under which the doubting soul so long labored, and which kept it so many nights waking and restless. God only knows how some poor creatures live, under their alarms of conscience and frequent fears of hell. And what an inconceivable mercy