"Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice; cause me to hear it."Song viii. 13.
Hark, my soul! Is not this Jesus speaking to thee? Listen to thy Lord, for sweet is his voice, and his countenance is comely. But how know I that Jesus is speaking to me in these words of the Song? Search, and see if it be so. What are these gardens, the Lord speaks of? Surely the special congregations of his churches. Is not Jesus's church, one universal church, of jew and gentile, made up of the several assemblies of the faithful throughout the earth? And art thou, my soul, brought into the church of Jesus, by regeneration, by adoption, by the special call of God the Father, the purchase of Christ's blood, the conquest of the Spirit, and the voluntary surrender of thine heart to God? And dost thou dwell in those gardens? Are Jesus's ordinances thy delight; his holy days thy beloved days; his presence thy joy; his tabernacles amiable to thee? And is it the uniform desire of thine heart, to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of thy life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple? Oh! the blessedness of such a dwelling! the felicity of the souls who dwell in it! Is it not to all such who keep his sabbaths, and join themselves to the Lord to serve him, that the Lord Jehovah speaketh in that most gracious promise, "Even unto them will I give in mine house, and within my walls, a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters, I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off," Isa. lvi. 5. My soul! when thou hast answered this inquiry, go on, and make a farther search concerning "the companions." But what a large door of examination will open on this ground! The holy Lord himself, in his threefold character of Persons, has condescended to reveal himself according to the church's faith in Christ. And every individual believer, even thou, my soul, poor and worthless, and insignificant as thou art in thyself, yet considered in relation to Jesus, even thou, in common with all true followers of Jesus, carriest about with thee evident tokens of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. Pause, and determine here again: Are these sacred Persons companions of thine? Do they walk with thee, and thou with them? Do they hear thy voice speaking of the love of each, the grace, the mercy, the goodness of covenant compassion to poor sinners, in and through the rich salvation of the blood and righteousness of Jesus? But are there not other companions, even fellow saints and fellow citizens of the household of God, which may be implied in these words? And do they bear thy testimony concerning Jesus? Can they witness for thee, that thy lips drop as the honeycomb concerning thy Lord, and that his name, his love, his full, free, finished salvation, are the one constant, unceasing subject of thy whole conversation? Dost thou so speak, so live, and dwell upon the precious name of thy Lord, and not only talk of Jesus, but walk with Jesus? And doth Jesus hear thee, and take pleasure in thy edifying conversation, ministering grace to the bearers? Is a book of remembrance written before him, concerning those that fear the Lord, and speak often one to another, and think upon his name? And doth Jesus, while he graciously looks on and hearkens, bid thee come to him, and say, "Cause me to hear thy voice?" What! are thy praises of Jesus, and thy praises to Jesus, pleasant to my Lord? Doth he indeed love to hear thy poor lisping stammering tongue? If, while I speak to others of my companions of his blood and righteousness, and of my soul's joy in him, my adherence to him, my dependence upon him, and my expectation from him, Jesus not only favours the sweet employment, but bids me come to him, and tell himself of all that passeth in my heart concerning him; surely henceforth I will hasten to my Lord, pour out my whole soul before him, and tell him that he is a thousand times more precious to me than thousands of gold and silver. Yea, blessed Lord! night and morning, and seven times a day, will I praise thee, and thou shalt hear my voice. Witness for me, ye my companions, angels of light, yea, my Lord himself, if aught but his love and his raise occupy my soul. Thy name, thy love, thy grace, all, all that belongs to Jesus, shall dwell in my heart, and wholly fill it; shall hang upon my tongue in endless commendation of his beauty, and my soul's delight in him. And even in death, may the last trembling sound the companions gather from my lips be of Jesus, the altogether lovely, and the chiefest among ten thousand!From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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