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to be our constant aim; though not to recommend us to God, to procure his favour, or as a condition of our acceptance in his sight; but that we may glorify him "who hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
Saints are not to indulge themselves on the bed of sloth, dream of heaven, big with hopes of a fool's paradise; and vainly wish to cast themselves out of Delilah's lap of worldly pleasures and sinful gratifications, into Abraham's bosom of heavenly joys. But we are studiously to avoid every thing which is contrary to the nature of true holiness; and ever to be diligent in the use of such means, which, through the power of the Holy Spirit, may increase our love of holiness, and cause us to abound in the practice of it. True, we have innumerable enemies from within and without, to oppose our progress in holiness. So much the more need of diligence and activity. We know the delicious fruits of happiness grow only in the paths of holiness. The Lord's strength is for us. Great and precious promises are given us. All to encourage us "to serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life," Luke i. 74, 75.
- MARCH 11.-If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.-John xv. 10.
Do any reproach us concerning our hope of eternal life, that we do not expect it by free grace and promise only, but clogged with terms and conditions, which we must fulfil? do they say, we are only dreaming legalists, under the legal yoke, and not Christ's freemen? We answer, We not only talk of, but enjoy Christ; not merely prate about faith, but we partake of its power; not only hear of love described, but we feel its influence; not barely look for salvation from sin, but we enjoy it by the faith of Jesus now. And we know, that we shall partake of salvation with eternal glory. For He, who never spoke one word in vain, hath pronounced of all his members, “ As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. Continue ye in my love.” And, the loving heart of Jesus is so set upon our being always happy, that he directs us how to act, so as constantly to abide in the sweet sense of his love; and that we may also enjoy greater measures of it in our hearts. If ye keep my commandments, so shall it be with you.
Jesus ever abode in his Father's love; this he mani. fested by doing his will, and keeping his commandments. In his work of obedience, he received this testimony from the Father, “This is my well-beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” So Abraham had this blessed witness, by the Lord, “Now I know thou fearest God." And also, a repetition of the grand promise given him, upon the obedience of his faith, Gen. xxii. 15—18. So shall disciples also find the testimony of the comforting Spirit, in the way of keeping Christ's commandments. Though not for, yet "in keeping thy commandments there is great reward,” Psal. xix. 11. This David well knew, by happy experience. So do all saints.
Faith and love are the commandments of Jesus. To believe in, rely upon, confide and trust in him from hour to hour, is to honour him. To love God, and one another, as his children, is the true badge of the disci. ples of the loving Saviour; this is to obey him. The more loving faith and faithful love to Jesus abide in our hearts, so much the more will peace, consolation, and joy be increased in our souls. Do any deem this legality ? May the God of grace fill our hearts with such legality, day by day! so shall we be truly evangelized. "Ås ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him," Col. ii. 6..
MARCH 12.-The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold.-Psal. xlv. 13. · Thus Jehovah, the sovereign Lord of all, who " call.
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interest in and meetness for it. Thus faith's views are struck from the royal signet of God's word. Woe to licentious tongues, who would deprive the church of her inward glory and holiness. Woe to those sacrilegious hands of Pharisees, who would strip the church of her glorious robe of imputed righteousness. “For, saith the Lord, I will be the glory in the midst of her. He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye,” Zech. ii. 5, 8.
MARCH 13.–Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. -Heb. iv. 7.
No marvel, that Satan, to distress sinners, and cause them to despair of God's mercies in Christ Jesus, urges this, “Your day of grace is past, the time of your visita. tion is ended." Hence, many poor souls have been driven to their wits' end. And have not some preachers also, who have increased such persons' fears, by speaking in a most unscriptural manner on this point? But such are the effects of human systems and free-will notions, with their offers of Christ, and proffers of grace. I heard one declare; “ This is the last offer; if it be not now accepted, eternal damnation will be the in. evitable doom." Does thus preaching hell and damnation make converts to Jesus? From such harsh, unwarrantable declarations, these unscriptural conclusions have been drawn by sensible sinners, “that they have withstood the offers of mercy; their day of grace is for ever ended ; and there is no place for repentance, though they seek it carefully with tears." Most satanic falsehood!
Most injurious thoughts of a God of love! most dishonourable thoughts of precious Jesus! Never was any sensible sinner so willing to be saved from wrath,
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any weary, heavy-lodeu sinner so willing to come to
Jesus, as he is to receive him. “The Lord is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," 2 Pet. iii. 9. Therefore he limiteth a certain day, the day of gospel light and salvation, the day of glad tidings to poor sinners. In the day of his power his people are made willing to trust to Jesus' blood and righteousness; come to his feet; claim him as their King, and submit to his laws and government. His voice of grace is first heard in his word; when that is believed in the heart, his voice of love is heard in the soul. While the gospel is proclaimed, God's heart and arms are open to the chiefest and vilest sinners out of hell. His word assures, "the elect have obtained, and the rest were blinded." But who blinds them? Not the God of love. No: "the god of this world blinds the eyes of those that believe not.” Who hardens them ? Not a God of grace; " but they are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." If any sinner's heart is soft and yielding to Jesus' love and salvation, “it is the Lord's doing, and is marvellous in our eyes." How long hath he waited to be gracious to thee! Reflect on thy past conduct with shame, thy present state with gratitude; look forward with hope; "walk worthy of the Lord,” Col. i. 10.
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MARCH 14.-And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.—Psalm xxxix. 7.
What a blessing is inward composure of mind! How delightful an exercise is waiting upon the Lord! What a profitable privilege is prayer! How happy that soul, whose hope is in God! These are all sweet attendants upon, and promoted by the grace of faith in Christ Jesus. While that grows strong in the soul, we are lively and comfortable. Hence the disciples' petition, “Lord, increase our faith,” is daily needful. Then it is well with the soul, when enabled to make this solemn