THE Holy Spirit, in his triumph, brings glorious privileges to his people, and gives them a right to enjoy all covenant privileges and blessings. There are various rights and privileges which the saints of the Most High God enjoy, and none but they. And these privileges are made manifest when the Holy Spirit triumphs in his people. The children of God enjoy all the privileges that faith claims through Christ: a right to him as Mediator, a right to the fruits which proceed from his sufferings, his victorious conquests and intercession, in fact to every possible advantage derivable from Christ. They enjoy special privileges as the friends of God, free access, welcome reception, liberty of speech, familiarity of converse, delightful communion, opening of heart to each other, cheerful counsel, and divine assistance. These in a spiritual way they enjoy with, and from their God; and the reason is, he is their friend.
The privileges of sons also belong to them; they are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Children have the privilege of nearness to their Father, a dwelling in his house, dependence and confidence in him. The privileges of the kingdom of God are also theirs, which consist in peace, joy, safety, blessing, honor, and immortality. Moreover they enjoy the liberty of appeal, and that appeal is accepted and ratified in heaven: they have the liberty to appeal from the judgment seat to the mercy seat, from the demerits of sin to the merits of Christ, from an accusing conscience to an acquitting God, from the law to the Gospel, from their own unworthiness to Christ's righteousness, from their own miserable feelings to God's promises. They enjoy the privilege of communion with God through a Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor. The children of God pray not in their own name, nor succeed on their own account, but in and for Christ's sake. There are two dreadful situations or conditions for man to be in, 1st, to be left to himself so as to have no part in Christ; 2nd, to go alone to God without Christ. But the children of God cannot be in either of these predicaments, for Christ appears for and with them; he pleads their cause, and makes intercession for them; he is their advocate with the Father; he deals with them in no other court than that of mercy, and answers them from no other throne than that of grace. When they have any sin to be pardoned, mercy and grace pardon them through the great atoning sacrifice. Again they may go to God at any time; there is no time when the door is not open, and their God is always at liberty to speak to them. Their access to him is never restrained, though their petitions may not always be granted. Though their pleas may be many, yet they may speak freely with their Father, yea, though thousands of petitions are before him, yet they may put their petitions in, and he will hear and own them because they are the petitions of his children. They may come to him with confidence, importune him and wrestle with him, expostulate with him, nor let him go until he blesses them. Abraham and Jacob did so, and Christ instructed his children to do the same: "Men ought always to pray and not to faint."
They have the privilege to enter in, and survey all the rich treasures and jewels of heaven, and lay claim to them all, and say, "O Lord, all these are mine, by virtue of thy promise and by my right in Christ; thou art mine, and therefore thy son, thy grace, and thy glory are mine." They may expect help from God in all their works, they may go to him for grace, strength, and sufficiency to work in them both to will and to do, to believe and to suffer: "Give thy strength unto thy servant," they may say, "and he will give strength unto his people."
Again, all they have is in the hands of Christ; their life, their righteousness, their satisfaction, defense, and death, are in his hands, consequently all must be safe and secure. They live at free cost all their days, God in the covenant has provided enough for his people: he cares for them, "be careful for nothing," "cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you." He laid up for his children and lays out upon them, he will find food, and raiment for their bodies, grace and salvation for their souls. He grants them sweet manifestations of heaven. None but they know the Father--taste of his love, partake of the joys and comforts of the Holy Ghost, enjoy the hope and assurance of glory. None but his children have a new name, eat of the hidden manna and enjoy the heavenly banquet. Angels are sent forth to minister unto them, they encamp round about them; and what is more, the Lord himself is "round about his people from henceforth even for ever." What shall I say more? The dear redeemed live upon God their Father in time, and when they die they go to him: he is their God in life, in death and after death, and to all eternity. Having the Holy Spirit dwelling in their souls, the Father and Christ dwell there also, which gives them a right to all things. "All things are yours," said the Apostle, all things which God ordained for the good of his people. All the gifts bestowed upon the prophets, apostles, and ministers are for the good of the church; all the good in the world is for the comfort of his people; all conditions and states of things are for their good, and all vicissitudes, whether adversity or prosperity, in fact, all occurrences whatsoever, are for their good. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28) Outward mercies are blessings to them; they eat, drink, rejoice, and bless the Lord their God for them. Outward afflictions are also mercies to them, they do them good; "It is good for me that I have been afflicted," said David; "by these things men live," said Hezekiah; "he chastises us for our profit," said the Apostle. Wants and enjoyments, honor and dishonor, health and sickness, smiles and frowns, life and death, all work for their good. All the good in the world is in their Father's hand. He is the possessor of heaven and earth, and his dominion reacheth over all; "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof;" (Ps. 24:1) both riches and honors come from him, and in his hand are power and might: he exalts and abases man; he raises monarchs to thrones, and pulls them from thence at his pleasure. In the covenant of grace God has made all creatures subservient to his people's good; thus the prophet Hosea speaks, "In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely; and I will betroth thee unto me for ever." (Hos. 2:18-20) There are two things observable in these words: one is, that God makes a covenant with his people to bring them into a near relation unto himself; a second is that God makes a covenant for his people. This covenant is twofold, 1st, for their security from all danger and evil; and 2nd, for their prosperity. No creature shall hurt them or do them any ultimate injury, neither the beasts of the field nor the fowls of the air, the creeping things of the earth, nor the enemies who bend the bow or draw the sword and prepare to the battle. As when a covenant is between nation and nation, all the people are thereby included, and protected from all acts of hostility and mischief, so the Lord, by making a covenant with the beasts, prevents them from being prejudicial to his people. The prosperity of God's people is secured by this covenant. This you may find in verses 21,22: "I will hear the heavens, and the heavens shall hear the earth." As if all the creatures were so many supplicants and petitioners unto God, entreating of him that they might be used for a blessing to his children. The heavens, as it were, beg of God that they may send down seasonable showers and seasonable influences, and the earth, as it were, begs of God that it may be made fruitful by those influences of heaven; and God has promised to hear every one of them for Jezreel. When God says to any of those creatures, go, or come, they obey. He has an overruling providence over them; all their powers, operations, and motions are at the sole will and command of him; they act as God will have them act, when, and for whom he will. Surely, then, all this must be for the good of his dear redeemed! All the good creatures are a part of their portion, and but a very small part.
Such as are blest by him, shall inherit the earth: the righteous shall inherit the land; he will not suffer the righteous to want; he watches over them to do them good. I do not know any one outward blessing that God has not promised to his people: length of days, riches, honor, and peace, (Prov. 3:16,17) food, raiment, liberty, safety, friends, children, and the former and latter rain. Joseph's blessing from Jacob is their portion. (Gen. 49:25) "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Heaven itself is the kingdom prepared for them, and an inheritance reserved for them. All I will say to the dear children of God with regard to temporal blessings is, you shall have the surest enjoyments of them, bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure; the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you: you shall comfortably enjoy them; the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it; "a little that the righteous hath is better than the riches of many wicked." Your outward mercies are all of them sweet drips distilled out of the love of your covenant God, and are enjoyed together with the sweet apprehension of God reconciled to you in Christ, with peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost. You enjoy these outward mercies at an easier rate than the wicked; the wicked have often to pay dearly for them, the price being their immortal souls! but the righteous obtain them by prayer to God and believing in him. You enjoy them the longest, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:" "Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb, and even to your old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you!" (Isa. 46:3,4) From these promises spiritual blessings are not excluded. Considering the great care God takes of his dear children, I would say, "Take no thought, saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed, for your heavenly Father knoweth you have need of all these things:" "Cast all your care on him, for he careth for you." I can tell you what your inordinate cares for the things of this life are, they are heavy burdens; David calls them so, "Ps. 55:22: they lie heavier upon your spirits than your wants, which make you go heavy all the day long: they are like pricking briars which wound and distress. (1 Tim. 6:10) As they are fruitful troubles so they are fruitless helps; they cannot add one cubit to your stature. But to remove your cares let me remind you of the allsufficiency of your heavenly Father, he is able to supply all your wants, and succor you in all your distresses; he is omniscient, he knows every want and strait of yours; he knows you have need of all these things.
Let me remind you of his authority; all the creatures and all your helps are in his hands; of his willingness to do you good, or else he would never have promised those things. Remember he is your Father, remember his engagement, he bound himself by oath and promise, he must wrong himself to forget you (I speak in reverence); remember his love to you, it is more than the whole world in value, his bounty, he has given you Christ and grace, and will give you glory! And shall he not with these give you all other things? Remember his faithfulness, he will not break his word, nor fail his children. Remember his promise, "I will never leave thee;" remember, too, the account and reports made by his own people, and their opinion of him, "the God that fed me all my life long unto this day," said Jacob and Ps. 37:25. God does good to his enemies, therefore he cannot forget his friends; if he supplies dogs surely he will feed his children! If he provides for ravens surely he will provide for his doves!