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spring of consolation ? What have we done, or what could we do, to get an interest in Christ, or procure a right to such heavenly treasures ? Verily, we have done enough to forfeit, but nothing to deserve them. Know this and be humbled ; consider this, and be joy. ful in love: “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. v. 18. Improve your blessed privileges, by walking worthy of the Lord, Col. i. 10.
MARCH 22.—Thy Maker is thine husband.—Isa. liv. 5.
All marriages are, or ought to be, founded in mutual love between the contracting parties. This is the chief ingredient to produce happiness in the conjugal state. Where this is wanting, true comfort cannot be enjoyed. When a person of noble birth, and great fortune, marries a woman in poor circumstances, and involved in debt, we justly conclude, he chose her out of pure love and affection. And surely, such a one is under the most endearing obligations to love and chastity. She can never call to mind her former indigent state, and her present affluent circumstances, but it must tend to inflame her with the most ardent affection to her hus. band. This is somewhat the case between Christ and his church. Pure love, in the heart of the heavenly Bridegroom, caused him to betroth his church unto himself, in loving kindness. Though in the most abject state, and despicable condition, yet he secretly loved her from eternity, and openly espouses every member, in time of conversion, one by one. So saith St. Paul, “I have espoused you to one husband, Christ,” 2 Cor. xi. 2.
Canst thou, O believer, call to mind thy natural state of poverty and distress; over head and ears in debt; writs issued from the law, which justice might have executed; liable every moment to be cast into prison,
And doses? Cansition to hide verlasting)
where thou must have lain everlastingly, with nothing but rags, filthy rags, to hide thy shame, and cover thy nakedness? Canst thou think of this without humility? And dost thou now see the kindness and love of thy Husband? Has he paid all thy debts, cancelled every bond, put in a plea against every accusation, and per. fectly fulfilled the holy law, and satisfied divine justice? Art thou “blessed with all spiritual blessings” in him? hath he "clothed thee with the garments of salvation,” and adorned thee with “the robe of his righteousness ?” and doth he say of thee, “Thou art all fair, my love; I see no spot in thee?" Cant. iv. 7.
Oh, what purity of affection, what ardency of love, what chastity of behaviour is due to such a Husband! He took thee . at first "for better, for worse;" his love to thee is ever the same, affectionate and constant, full of complacency and delight, sympathizing with thy troubles, and ever nourishing and cherishing thee. Shortly, the Larnb will, in the most public manner, appear as thy Bridegroom, and celebrate the marriage in a blissful eternity. Then it shall be said, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
MARCH 23.-Jesus said, One thing is needful.Luke x. 42.
The disposition and carriage of the sisters, Martha and Mary, much resemble the different desires and actings of the flesh and spirit, of which every christian is composed. The flesh, like Martha, is careful and troubled about many things; it is ever restless and uneasy; always in want; seldom satisfied; never truly happy. But the spirit has chosen the good part, the one thing needful. It is truly wise in its choice, quite satisfied in its object, and really happy in its enjoyment.
Thus it is, while the christian is under the prevailing
influence of this one thing needful. One thing, the enjoyment of God, was our first parents' paradise. A thirst after and enjoyment of two things, the knowledge of evil, as well as good, caused all their woe, and made them miserable. And it is the knowledge of the former which keeps all their posterity under the sad circumstances they are fallen into, till they are brought to know the one thing needful. What is this but the saving knowledge of God, our Saviour ? This was the great apostle's continual prayer, “That I may know him.” This, Mary was happy in the enjoyment of, and what our Lord himself commends her for; and calls, “that good part which shall never be taken away.”
This one thing comprehends all wisdom, holiness, and happiness. To know Jesus, is to believe in him; to believe in him, is to love him; and to love him, is to keep his commandments. In every station, in all seasons, and under every circumstance, this one thing, this knowledge of Jesus, is ever needful, ever season. able. Doth the christian enjoy health? This knowledge joins to health of body, peace and joy of soul. Is he in sickness? To know Jesus is the richest cordial, the most reviving draught to his soul. Is he tempted? What consolation to know, Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, that he might succour the tempted. Doth sin distress ? doth the law condemn? The soul that knows Jesus, can boldly challenge, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect ?" He can confidently declare, “there is no condemnation to them.” Does death, the king of terrors, affright him? By the knowledge of Jesus, he is disarmed of his strength and sting, which is the law and sin. So that, O soul, thou mayst take up this triumphant challenge against the last enemy,“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?” I have all things, and abound, in possessing this one thing; I have Christ my Saviour found; and I pray daily, to be found in him, Phil. iii. 9. MARCH 24.--And Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.—Exod. xx.20.
Pride and self-confidence are deeply rooted in the human heart. False hopes are built on self-righteous pleas. By these, the heart is blinded to the exceeding sinfulness of sin, hardened against the fear and dread of the Lord: hence all such live in rebellion against the truth, as it is in Jesus. Like Paul, we are all, naturally, alive without the law; and, with these Israel. ites of old, are ready to say, “ All that the Lord hath spoken we will do," Exod. xix. 8. Alas! when poor sinners utter such words of ignorance and pride, like the disciples on the mount, "they know not what they say.” But whom the Lord loves, he proves. The Lord is a jealous God: he will suffer no fesh to glory in his presence; nor shall his dear children live without bis fear, and a holy hatred both of pride and sin. They must, therefore, go out of their tents of vain confi. dence.
When the Lord discovers himself in glory and majesty, as a holy, sin-avenging God; when the law, in its holy, just, and righteous demands, is revealed in the conscience, it makes the stoutest heart tremble: it fills the guilty, self-accused sinner with fear and horror; and then, "sin revives, and he dies," dies to all his former, false, self-righteous hopes. Yea, and he would, if left to his own dreadful apprehensions, fly from God, sink into black despair, and perish everlastingly, with out hope. But the dear Mediator is ever near, and prevents this; he speaks in love, “Fear not.” This dispensation is not to destroy your soul, but to kill your vain hopes, to prove and try you, to show you what is in you; that you may be dead to the law, be alive to God, by a better hope, through the faith of Jesus your Saviour. So fear the Lord, with a loving fear, as to die to sin. Thunders of wrath, terrible peals of curses, are necessary to be heard in the conscience;
they fulfil God's will. For, by the law is the knowledge of sin, Rom. iii. 20. The bleak, north wind of the law, kills the pride and vermin of nature; while the warm, comforting, south wind of the gospel, enlivens and cherishes the seeds of grace. See the value, and improve the worth of both.
Thus the Spirit humbles proud hearts, revives contrite spirits, endears Christ, who hath endured the curses we deserved, and imbitters sin to believing, penitent souls. “Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living,” Job xxxiii. 29, 30.
MARCH 25.—Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.--2 Pet. i. 14.
Nothing but the life of Jesus, manifest in our flesh, can reconcile us to death. This, and only this, delivers from the fear of death, disarms it of. its sting, and fortifies the mind with the knowledge of complete victory over the ghastly king of terrors, “through him who hath loved us." Constant converse with Jesus makes death familiar. So we learn to die daily; so the spirit. ual, immortal life of the soul triumphs over the sensual, mortal life of the body. The happy spirit, in some highly-favoured seasons, is so far from fearing and trembling at the body's dissolution, that it rejoices, and even longs to be set at liberty from its imprisoned state; it pants with desires after its Beloved, and says, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly;" it ardently wishes that it may
Clap its glad wings and tower away,
And mingle with eternal day. · How sweet to live in such a frame! how desirable! how earnestly to be sought for daily! that, when the frail body is attacked with any sickness, the soul may