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MARCH 18.—This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The 'Lord our righteousness.-Jer. xxxiii. 16.
Before days began, or years were numbered, in the book of God's election all the members of Jesus were written, “which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them," Psalm cxxxix. 16. God's electing love would have remained an eternal secret to us, had not the Spirit of truth made it known. But, as it is revealed in the word, it is an object of our faith. And it ever will be the subject of glory and triumph, to those who possess the faith of God's elect, For faith is a blessed evidence that God hath chosen us in Christ, “before the foundation of the world,” Eph. i. 4. Was the man Jesus, God the Father's, "elect, in whom his soul delighteth ?” Isa. xlii. 1; so are all his members, loved with the same love as the Head. God gave not the Spirit by measure unto Jesus, the glorified Head of the church; but every member receives the Spirit, through Jesus, "according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” Eph. iv. 7.
Unspeakably glorious, distinguishing grace! This is the joy of believing souls: they are beloved, and chosen by God the Father; and partake of the same spirit with Jesus: yea, they also are called by the same name with him. Is Christ called, “The Lord our righteousness ?" Jer. xxiii. 6. So the church, the Lamb's wife, being married in faith and love, is called by the very same name with her Lord and Husband, The Lord our righteousness. But some render the words, "He that shall call her to himself, is the Lord our righteousness." Then be clothes them with the glorious robe of his own righteousness. Then his name is called upon them, for they are one with Jesus.
Angels wonder. Saints admire. O ye righteous, how astonishing is this! Ye, who by nature are children of wrath! ye, who by practice have been rebels and transgressors from the womb! yet exalted by Jesus to such a high and glorious state! Amazing love! ye
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can never, never dwell enough upon the Father's love, the Son's grace, and the Spirit's calling. Glorious days of gospel light and love! While others are left wretched, in nature's pride, free-will boast, and self-righteous glorying, ye shall be saved by free-grace truth; for your Father's justice is satisfied, his law is fulfilled, your enemies are all conquered, God is at peace with you: what then can harm you? for, "as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so Jehovah is round about his people, from henceforth even for ever," Psal. cxxv. 2.
MARCH 19.--Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.—2 John 8.
The salvation of God's people is certain, by his immutable love. Their safety depends on his almighty power, their confidence and glorying are in the finished work of Jesus, and their comforts are enjoyed from the Spirit's testimony of the Saviour to their hearts; as having loved, redeemed, and saved them as lost, guilty, and perishing sinners. The clearer views we have of this truth, so much the more do we cleave to Jesus. As our faith increases, our comforts are strengthened. And this is the evidence of a gracious heart, the comforts of love ever excite to care and circumspection in life and practice. A glimpse of Christ begets longing after more comfortable enjoyment of him: so also, a holy jealousy of soul, lest what is gained should be lost, in sense and enjoyment. While surrounded by false teachers, exposed to unscriptural doctrines, beset by a subtle adversary, and so nearly allied to corrupt lusts and carnal reasonings, we are ever in danger of losing sight of free-grace truths, gospel love, and the finished salvation of Jesus; so as to be moved away from the hope of the gospel, and make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Gospel truths and gospel grace give spring to action, life to obedience, and are the sources
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of encouragement to persevere in the paths of truth and holiness. What thanks are due to the loving Spirit for this wholesome advice! How much concerned should we be daily to improve it! Look to yourselves; see your danger, your vileness, your weakness. Look up to Jesus for safety and strength. Blessed be the God we serve! he is not unrighteous to forget our works of faith, patience of hope, and labour of love. We enjoy his reward in our work, though not for our work. No. Let Jesus have all that glory. Still, the more work, the more sufferings for his sake, so much the more reward; of just debt to him, of righteous grace to us. Oh, how apt are we to pine and grieve at the loss of a little shining dust! Should not the loss of light, liberty, love, peace, and joy in Jesus, infinitely more affect us?
Would we avoid sorrowful complaints of loss? Are we solicitous to rejoice in present gain, and in hope of a future full reward? “Therefore, my brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Cor. xv. 58.
· MARCH 20.—Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.- Jer. xv. 16.
That is a sweet petition in the service of the church of England: “Grant, O Lord, that we may not only hear, read, mark, and learn, but inwardly digest the holy scriptures.” So soon as the Lord hath fulfilled this prayer upon any poor sinner, then Christ is the hope of his soul, he esteems the scriptures as his daily food, the doctrines of grace are the joy and rejoicing of his heart, and he will love and attend such prophets of the Lord, who have also “found God's words and have eaten them."
Glory to our loving Shepherd! he finds his sheep
scattered, and starving upon the barren mountains, he leads them to green pastures of gospel grace and love; there they feed, and lie down, beside the still waters of peace and salvation. And this heightens every comfort, and improves every joy, even an inward testimony, “I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” How happy, when minister or disciple is able, in simplicity and godly sincerity, to make this appeal, “Thou hast called me!" Thou, Jehovah, who rulest over the armies of angels and archangels, and all the heavenly host, thou hast condescended to make known thy name, thy grace, thy salvation to me, even wretched me. I hear thy voice, I know thy voice, I feel desires after thee, my heart thinks of thee with pleasure and delight, I find a hungering and thirsting within me, which nothing but thy blessed self can satisfy ; I am grieved when I offend thee, only happy when thy love and presence are enjoyed, and am concerned that I enjoy them no more. This is heaven below. Feeding upon the word of truth, increases desires after Jesus the object of faith. So the soul also becomes dead to the life of sense, the intrusions of sin, the allurements of the world, and the baits of Satan. Happy those in whom the word of Christ dwells richly, in all wisdom! Happy those, in whose hearts Christ dwells by faith! O soul, hast thou an appetite to feed upon the Bible, and digest it? Is it health and nourishment to thee? Then thou art blessed with the most exquisitely delicate taste. A poor sailor was lately cast away, lost his all, was almost naked. The first-half crown he got, he inquired where to make a purchase-of what, think you ? Oh, what was dearest to his heart-a bible. Blessed evi. dence of a christian! “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly," Col. iii. 16.
MARCH 21.—Ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. 1 Cor. iii. 23.
St. Paul ransacks heaven and earth, time and eternity,
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to make up the christian's rich catalogue of mercies. But, as though the utmost stretch of thought of men, or angels, might omit some part of the believer's treasure ; and lest any thing should be found wanting, for support and comfort, to any needy soul, he twice repeats, “ All things are yours." Believer, wouldst thou know thy title? wouldst thou inquire, Whence is it the Lord should consign such innumerable blessings, such infinitely rich mercies to us? Whereas one thing we know, we feel daily, we are sinners to this very hour. And will not this prevent the right to possession, and the freedom of enjoyment? No: justice and wisdom conspire to take away this, and every objection. The medium of communication is such, that neither reason, law, nor equity can gainsay.
Dwell on this point; look up to the Spirit of truth, to establish faith, strengthen hope, increase love, and promote joy. “Ye are Christ's, by special gift; his dear purchase, and his precious reward. We have all in him, by rich love, peculiar grace, free gift, and precious promises. Precious faith is the blessed evidence of interest and proprietorship in this blessed inventory. But how came faith? From hearing the word of God. From whom came the word ? By the Spirit of truth, who also gives faith. Why is the Spirit given ? Because Jesus is glorified. Wherefore came Jesus, to seek and save the lost ? The Father loved us, and gave his Son for us. Why did the Father love us? It was the good pleasure of his will, according to which he chose us, in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world; predestinated us to the adoption of children, and blessed us with all spiritual blessings in him, Eph. i. 3–5. Hence, O believer, how clear thy title ! how certain thy possession!
" Christ is God's," God's beloved Son; so art thou in him. Christ's is God's gift for thee, God's gift to thee, and thou art given to him. Thou enjoyest all in him, and receivest all from him. Canst thou ever want food for faith, a source of love, a fountain of holiness, or a