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seen hand watching over, and preserving him when in the pit where there is no water. He is now satisfied that it is a small thing to be approved of men, but of the last importance to be approved of God. Let the world despise and depreciate him, the approbation of the Lord infinitely overbalances such abuse, and fills his heart with consolation. He not only discovers present objects formerly unobserved, but he looks within the vail, and his faith realizes unseen things. He now believes that there is an important day coming, when all, without exception, must appear at the Divine tribunal, and receive according to their works, whether they have done good or evil. Struck with the amazing happiness of the Lord's people, and inconceivable misery of his enemies; it is the one thing which he desires-to find mercy of the Lord in the day of the Lord. That day will set all to rights. Faith discovers that God has that day ultimately in his eye in all his procedure to his people, and makes the saint keep it in his eye in all his exercises. That his jewels may shine that day, and appear worthy of him, is the chief reason of many dispensations which appear very trying to sense and the carnal eye; but faith, discovering the grand design, submits with satisfaction to the hottest furGod says, They shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels: faith listens, believes, fills the heart with joy unspeakable, and cries out, If I only be his that day, let him now do what seemeth him good, for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in all his saints.
Having already spoken of believers under the idea of jewels, we proceed, as was proposed, to
II. Inquire how they are made up.
1. The Lord makes up his jewels by means of his word and ordinances. His ultimate end in these is his own glory; but this is chiefly promoted by gathering in sinners, and polishing them for himself. Where he has not that work to accomplish, he does not send the means. Where there is no vision the people perish. Every ordinance is a mean appointed by Christ for polishing his jewels. The word is the great mean of convincing men of their miserable situation, and their need of Christ. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The Gospel points out the remedy, and by the promises sinners are begotten to a lively hope, and made partakers of a divine nature. It is the great instrument of beginning and promoting the spiritual life. The word, too, is the great mean of sanctification. This seems evident from Christ's prayer, John xvii. 17, "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth," and from what he says elsewhere, “Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." It sets before us in the clearest manner the necessity of holiness, and assures us that without it no man shall see the Lord. It discovers the only method by which it can be attained, namely, through the blood of sprinkling efficaciously applied to our hearts. It enjoins holiness, and opens up the most encouraging and powerful motives. It sets before us examples of holiness for our imitation,
especially Christ himself, the great pattern, in whose steps we ought to walk.
These things are only a part of Christ's work when he makes up his jewels, and the word is the great mean. Whatever is done by it may partly be ascribed to ordinances, the chief design of which is to open up the word, and bring it home to the heart, that it may have its proper effect. However the Lord may bless the reading of his word for making up his jewels, there is a special blessing annexed to the preaching of it; and he has promised to be in all places where his name is recorded, and bless them. The great ordinance of the supper, when blessed by the Master of the feast, adds peculiar polish to his jewels. In a very affecting manner it puts the believer in mind of the situation in which Christ found him, and the wonderful method of his deliverance by the death of the Redeemer. Suitably improved, it seals his interest in the covenant of grace, and is a sure pledge of eternal glory. It awakens in the heart of the worthy communicant all these gracious workings, by which the Lord polishes and makes his jewels up. His heart is filled with humility, and flows out in gratitude. Self-emptied, he glories only in the Lord. Impressed with his own vileness, he applies to the Head of sanctifying influences. Filled with wonder at what has been done for him, he determines to devote and dedicate himself wholly to the Lord.
2. Christ makes up his jewels by his Spirit. The best means would never prove efficacious of themselves. They would neither hew a jewel from the quarry, or give him the least polish. The letter
kills; the Spirit alone makes alive. Without supernatural influence, the best means would only prove hardening. The Holy Spirit must begin the work in a day of power, and carry it on gradually. He is both the author and preserver of the spiritual life. By new communications from him the Christian grows, and has cubits added to his spiritual stature. The saints could never make themselves in the least degree better in any duty, or under the highest privileges, without his influences. He works in them both to will and to do, both in the beginning and progress of sanctification. The influences of the Spirit are variously described in Scripture, to point out their universal effects upon the hearts of the saints. He convinces and quickens, sanctifies and strengthens, and comforts and seals. To perform the operations necessary for polishing believers, he dwells in their hearts, and abides with them for ever. The personal inhabitation of the Spirit in every saint, though a great mystery, is a great reality. How it is, none can tell; but the weakest babe in Christ feels it in his comfortable experience.
3. He makes them up by his providential dispensations. Redemption, which is the great work of Providence, in all its parts is a making up the Lord's jewels. If we consider the Church at large, the whole plan of Providence is subservient to her interest, and every dispensation shall eventually promote the holiness and salvation of individual saints. The kingdom of providence is committed to Christ for the benefit of his Church: hear his own words after he rose from the dead, Matt. xxviii. 18, “ All
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." The greatest revolutions in nations, and the smallest events, even to the falling of a sparrow, are equally the fruit of his sovereign purpose, the immediate work of his hand; and overruled by his all-powerful direction for the interest of his people. Often he employs agents for the accomplishment of his purposes which they never thought of, and which, could they have discovered them, they would have laboured to prevent. He has all hearts in his hand, and the whole universe under his irresistible control. He sits in heaven, and does whatsoever pleaseth him. The united efforts of the great and wise cannot obstruct, for a single moment, the least event which he hath determined. Nay, without their knowledge, and contrary to their design, they are active agents to perform his pleasure.
Providence often appears dark, and the eye of faith can scarcely discover any thing but apparent ruin and devastation to the Church. God's way is in the sea, and in the great waters: but he will make darkness light, and crooked things straight. Till faith can discover the propriety of his procedure, it rests on his word, and trusts him even when he seems to slay. The darkest dispensations are equally designed by Jehovah for the benefit of Zion, as the most smiling. Wise men may make some things answer a few purposes; but the Lord Jesus is possessed of that wisdom which makes all things answer all things. Were a child admitted to an artist's shop, and saw him filing jewel, or applying rough instruments, he would be ready to apprehend that its lustre, instead of being