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maidens to religion, but we soe tbem so often usurp and tyrranize over their mistress, that while we trust our pages will not affront the eye of fastidiousness, we are determined that they shall not be overladen with meretricious ornaments, or obscured by fanciful imagery.
Reader, such is and such has long been the Spiritual Magazine. During a companionship which has now existed nearly a quarter of a century, hath our intercourse tended in any measure to thy spiritual edification ? Thy answer will resolve best our first question, and prove whether in thus conducting our work, we have or have not been profitably employed. We have been, and not unfrequently, encouraged by testimonies affirmatory of this, and they are very delightful. As the number of our years increase, as our array of volumes lengthen, it is pleasant to reflect that our labour has not been thrown away, and that our two and twenty volumes are not regarded as lumber. Our name is unknown, our toil is unobserved, but we do wish the fruit of our labour to be apparent. Grant it, we beseech thee, O thou who alone canst render it efficient, and as the Spiritual Magazine is carried on wholly in dependence upon thee, do thou water it with thine own dew, and shine upon it thine own bright "influences, so shall it be, as we fervently pray it may be, a means in thine hand to the souls' good of thy people, and the glory of thine own holy name.
“Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
THE SPIRITUAL MAGAZINE,
" For there are Three that bear record in heaven, the FATHER, the WORD, and the
Holy Ghost: and these Three are One."-1 John v. 7. “ Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."-Jude 3. “ Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."-1 Tim. iii. 6.
THE RIVER OF GOD ENRICHING HIS
BY REV. JOHN JOHNSON.
nience of his creatures ; which conTHE COSPEL PULPIT.
sideration alone affords very useful meditations to excite in us both thankfulness and obedience to God. And it may be observed, that some
thing figurative appears in the words A Sermon preached at the New Meeting taken only in their natural significaHouse, Liverpool,
for a river, simply considered, cannot greatly enrich the earth, (or
but a very small part thereof,) without “ Thou greatly enrichest it with the River the concurrence of other natural of God, which is full of water.”—Psalm
blessings, as the sunbeams, showers Ixv. 9.
of rain, breezes of air, &c.; therefore It is usual with the Holy Ghost, in the “ River of God ” here epoken of, Scripture, to deliver spiritual truths must be understood of all that conin terms taken from natural things, fluence of natural blessings by which so that many expressions are to be the earth is replenished. But if we understood both in a literal and meta- closely attend to the former part of phorical sense, as might be instanced the psalm, it is easy to perceive that in many particular texts; which, re- the inspired psalmist had not his taining only their proper natural sig- thoughts wholly confined to natural nification, have indeed a substantial things, but had something higher in meaning, very useful and instructive; view. And as God frequently speaks but when understood according to of visiting and blessing the earth, their spiritual intention, afford in. when he intends his chosen people structions of a more rich and excel. upon it, who because of their earthly lent nature. And such is the text original may be called earth, though before us.
blessed with heavenly grace in Christ; The psalmist is here describing the so the spiritual and heavenly blessings great goodness of God to mankind in by which their souls are enriched, are general, in watering and replenishing frequently called rivers. Wherefore, the earth, to make it fruitful and de- I conceive, the chief and ultimate in. lightful for the support and conve- tention of the Holy Ghost in these
words, is to express how greatly God to his elect in Christ Jesus, which enricheth his people with heavenly has its original in God alone, without grace in Christ; which is the sense the concurrence of any creature, or to which I shall attend in the ensuing anything lovely in the creature, discourse ; wherein two things are to whereby God might be induced to set be considered.
his love upon them; but dwelling First.—The river of God, which is eternally in himself, and flowing from full of water.
himself, because it is himself ; God is Secondly. The enrichings which love. Not that we loved God, but God's people are blessed with from he loved us. Therefore it is called this river.
an everlasting love. It is sovereign Under the first head, I would in. like God himself: Who shall sepaquire into three things.
rate us from the love of Christ? It First.-What we may understand is of perpetual duration; for having by the river of God?
loved his own which were in the Secondly.-What by the water in world, he loved them unto the end. this river ?
And all the blessings which spring Thirdly.-Wherein its fulness con- from this love are of the same kind; sisteth?
election bears the same date; accord. First.-Would we understand this ing as he hath chosen us in him, beriver, we must closely attend to the fore the foundation of the world. phrase : the river of God. It is not Predestination, or God's purpose of called a river, but the river, implying grace, has no other foundation, but that it is not any common blessing, the good pleasure of his will. Acbut a peculiar flow of blessings; and, cording to the eternal purpose which therefore, directs us to the only be- he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, gotten Son of God, in whom all ful. And the blessings of grace were given ness dwells. And it is called the river us in Christ Jesus before the world of God; denoting it to be the greatest, began. And the covenant, wherein highest, and most excellent stream of all the blesings of grace are blessings. It being a thing common firmed to God's chosen, is called an with the ancient Hebrews, to join the everlasting covenant; a covenant of name of God with anything wherein peace, which shall not be removed. they meant to express the highest de- And it may well be compared to a gree of excellency or perfection ; that river, for the abundance of blessings name being the highest epithet they which flow in it; as the Lord being could possibly use for expressing any their God, and they being his people, wonderful thing.. In the same light writing his law in their hearts, and it may here be taken ; shewing the forgiving their iniquity, &c. Yea, it blessings to be not only supernatural, is one perpetual stream of blessings, but the highest degree of supernatural for time and eternity, life and peace, blessings; that is, the fulness of grace and glory. Christ, that fills all in all. And it is Secondly.—The person of Christ, to be observed, that a river is a con- for the abundance, the constancy, and stant flow of water, permanent and perpetuity of heavenly blessings, uninterrupted; without beginning, but which dwell in him, and flow from what cometh originally from the ocean, him, ngay well be called the river of which no man can trace; and with God, full of water, for it pleased the out end, but what issueth into the Father, that in him should all fulness sea, which no man can pursue ; which dwell; not only in him dwelleth all may be useful for illustrating the fol- the fulness of the Godhead bodily, lowing particulars.
but every believer beholds him, full of First.-The love of God the Father, grace and truth. So full and large,
that he not only gives living water to dry ground, which our Lord Jesus every one that asketh of him, but Christ expresses in these words : “ All inviteth every one that thirsteth, to things that the Father hath are mine ; come to him and drink; yea, to drink therefore, said I, that he shall lake of abundantly. And for the constant mine and shall shew it unto you.” And supply found in him, he is called the which the apostle Paul, in his prayer fountain of life, fountain of living for the Holy Spirit to be sent forth to waters, fountain opened, &c. And perform his grace-office in the souls the riches of grace and glory, which of the Ephesians, so fully declares, flow from him, are called a pure river when he concludes his petition thus : of water of life. Also for his un- “ That ye might be filled with all the changeableness, he is said to be Jesus fulness of God." The Holy Spirit Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, also descends as an irresistible stream, and for ever.
none being able to hinder his operaThirdly.--The glad tidings of sal- tions; therefore, the apostle, in another vation by Christ, and truths con- prayer for the Holy Spirit upon the tained in the Holy Scriptures, and Ephesians, intreats for his operations, preached in the gospel, that pure according to the working of his mighty word of life, are frequently compared power, which he wroughtin Christ, when to waters, dropping as rain, distilling he raised him from the dead. Yet the as dew, watering the earth, &c. And streams are most gentle and refresh. Christ is said to sanctify and cleanse ing; he guides into all truth, and his church with the washing of water brings to remembrance all the gracious by the word ; and Apollos to water words which Christ hath said, and the church by preaching the gospel to these blessings are perpetual; the believers. The scriptures may well promise is, “ And I will pray the be compared to a river ; since they Father, and he shall give you another reveal unto us the mystery of the Comforter, that he way abide with Father's will; testify of Christ; are
you for ever." used by the Holy Spirit in his special Thus the everlasting love of God the operations; and are not only of his father, the person of Christ in his meown inditing, but under his special diatorial office, the gospel of Christ reinfluence are made profitable, to the vealed in the holy scripture, and the thorough furnishing the people of Holy Spirit, in bis gracious influences, God, to all good works, through the may each distinctly be called a river ; many precious truths, gracious pro- the river of God full of water, by mises, and wholesome instructions reason of the abundance of grace therein contained; which flow which flows in them to the children streams, and which God has pro- of God. mised, shall never depart from his But as all these have one original, children.
for all things are of God, they all Fourthly.–The Holy Spirit is ex- unite in one, for Christ is all, and in pressly called rivers of living water. all; they all agree in one grand deAnd he may be so called because he sign, to the praise of the glory of his proceedeth from the Father, who hath grace; and all tend to the same delife in himself; and being received sired end, to bless his elect with all by the Son, who is the true God and spiritual blessings in heavenly things eternal life, is by him, sent from the in Christ, that he might bring us to God. Father to his people. Also, because For all blessings which at any time, he sheds forth such a plentiful effusion or in any way or manner, have been of love, and grace from the Father made known or communicated to and Son, upon the souls of his chil. God's people, are no other but what dren, comparable to floods upon the were originally hid in God, and in
due time manifested, according to the illustrated by considering some of the good pleasure of his will. All the properties of rivers, blessings which God purposed from First.-All rivers have their original everlasting, he purposed in Christ; from the ocean, or the great unfathom. and all his rich grace is now made able deep. For God, in the creation, manifest by the appearing of our gathered the water together into one Saviour Jesus Christ. All the grace place and called it the seas; whereand glory fulness, that dwells in fore all the waters that appear in Christ, (so far as we at present are rivers, fountains, clouds, rain, dew, capable of conceiving it) is contained or otherwise, are one way or other, in the scriptures, written in the volume brought from that one place; nor of the book, and by the gospel is was there ever any water upon earth, preached unto us ; and the whole for the common use of man, but what revelation from first to last, amounts came from the sea, there being no to nothing more or nothing less, than other place from whence it could pro. to declare the unsearchable riches of ceed. Christ. All the spiritual blessings So this river of God has its original conceived in the eternal counsels of from that immense boundless ocean, the Father, and manifested in Christ, the unsearchable mind, will, and coun. are communicated to the souls of his sel of the Lord Jehovah; nor has it children by the Holy Ghost; even any cause but God himself. This those things which the natural man so astonishing to the apostle cannot know, God bath revealed them Paul, as made him
O the unto us by his Spirit. And all the depth of the riches,” &c. All the operations and influences of the Holy blessings of grace flow according to Spirit, are nothing more nor less, than the purpose of him who worketh all enriching the people of God with things after the counsel of his own those blessings which proceed from will. And the great salvation is the Father and Son; powerfully ap. wrought according to his own purplying, and sealing to his children, pose and grace, which was given us that grace
which in a word is declared in Christ Jesus before the world be. to them by the gospel.
gan. The glad tidings of the gospel So that they are all one entire un- are no other than the hidden wisdom divided river. Therefore, by the river which God ordained before the world. of God, which is full of water, we And the truths revealed to us by the may understand all the inconceivable Holy Spirit, are no other than the deep depths of the boundless ocean of the things of God. And as the water grace of God, in all its streams, with which breaks forth in fountains among all its out-goings and overflowings, the hills and valleys, which becomes its blessed effects, and glorious end. the heads of rivers, is carried far Wherein is contained all the blessings through the earth, under ground, in of life, and peace, grace, and glory ; a way to us unknown; so the river of as adoption, redemption, righteous. grace was carried on in the secret deness, forgiveness of sins, sanctification, crees of God, undiscovered until the and eternal salvation, with whatsoever time appointed of the Father, being may contribute to the glory of God, kept secret since the world began; and his people's eternal happiness; and is called the mystery which hath . all flowing from the throne of God been hid from ages, and from geneand the Lamb.'
rations, but now is made manifest Thus much (and nothing less) is to his saints. And the spotless comprehended in this phrase, the, Lamb of God (in whom all grace river of God; which may be further resides, and through whom it is con