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rience of the heart. So sure as repentance is given to any soul by the Spirit of Jesus, that soul is forgiven by God the Father, through the blood of Jesus, Eph. i. 7.
MARCH 27.-Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.-Acts xxvi. 19.
We are sometimes called to bear testimony before unbelievers of our hope. It is difficult to speak of the manifestation of Christ to the heart, so that he alone may be exalted. Somewhat of self naturally creeps into the relation. It is very pleasing to nature, to be esteemed as one highly favoured, who has made great attainments in christianity. Oh! that single letter, with great sound, I. But it was furthest from the heart of that eminent champion for free-grace salvation, Paul, to give the least encouragement, from his conversion, to any fellow-sinner to talk of obedience to God's call, or faithfulness to his grace, as conditions of salvation. He would be fired with a holy zeal for his Master's glory, were he now on earth, to hear his language abused, and his meaning perverted, by men of self-righteous principles, who oppose the truths of the gospel, deny God's unconditional election, unmerited love, the finished salvation of Jesus, and its being sure to all his seed, through the sovereign application of the Spirit, to make way for their unscriptural notions of terms and conditions of salvation. They arrogantly teach, that obedience to Jesus is the condition of salvation. Will they not also say, that when Jesus called, “ Lazarus, come forth,” his rising up was a condition of his being restored to life? How hard for pride and folly to forsake the human heart!
Paul was favoured with an extraordinary vision of the Lord Jesus from heaven, to call him to be his faithful servant. Obedient hearts are caused by effectual calls. But, after Paul had laboured more abundantly than all the rest of the apostles, what was his glorying?
“Yet not I, but the grace of God;" striving (says he)
MARCH 28.—Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.--Hos. vi. 3.
Disciples enjoy sweet fellowship in the truth. Hence they mutually help and encourage each other's faith. Christ blesses them, and manifests himself to them, in this way. So the disciples, after his crucifixion and death, resorted together, and communed with each other; and Jesus, though unknown to them at first, joined their company, expounded the scriptures, and opened their understandings; "and they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, as he talked with us by the way ?” &c., Luke xxiv. 32.
Thus disciples in the Old Testament church exhorted one another in faith. “We shall know, we shall follow on to know the Lord.” So the words may be rendered. Those who know a little of Jesus' love, and are but just brought acquainted with his free grace and salvation, shall hold on their way. Knowledge, light, peace,
and love shall increase to their souls, through that Spirit by whom they are regenerated and born again. Though at first they are but "babes in Christ, yet, through the milk of the word, they shall grow and increase with the increase of God.” The going forth of Christ's love towards us is as the morning. At the dawn of day, light is scarcely discernible, it seems opposed by surrounding darkness; yet gradually increases, till the sun gains its meridian. So "the path of the just shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
The sun never forsakes the earth, though, at seasons, its light and heat seem withdrawn in comfort and enjoyment. Thus is it with the Sun of righteousness. He shall also “come unto us as the rain,” to refresh, enliven, and make our souls fruitful in knowledge, peace, love, and holiness; yea, as “the latter and former rain." In the land of Israel, they had usually two rains in a year, one just after the seed was sown, the other when the corn was almost ripe, and the harvest at hand. Sometimes, just after the seed of eternal life is sown in the hearts of young converts, they are favoured with joyful, refreshing seasons of love and joy. Others experience the most plentiful showers of heart-reviving love, just as the sickle is to cut them down, that they may be gathered into the heavenly garner. Our Lord best knows what seasons to give, whether the storm of affliction, the rain of prosperity, or the sunshine of joy. Jesus “is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him,” Isa. xxx. 18.
MARCH 29.—The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.-Psalm li. 17.
It is the wisdom and joy of disciples, to see somewhat of Jesus in every page of the lively oracles. Then, the word is searched with pleasure, studied with delight, and made exceedingly profitable to the soul. To this end, the sins and backslidings, humiliations and repentings, joys and experiences of saints of old, are recorded. We see their deserts to be the lowest hell; but grace reigns. Though sin abounded in them, yet grace superabounded over them. But all is through Jesus ; no mercy for sinful men, but through that dear Man, and blessed Mediator,
So he glorifies his name, and makes his power known to be “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," in saving his people from their sins. Though sin may blind the eyes to his love, and harden the heart against his fear, and the spirit become stout and rebellious for a season; yet see his amazing love, behold the effects of his almighty grace! A cruel, murdering, adulterous, yet beloved David shall be arraigned, plead guilty, sue for
mercy, and hope for pardon. But, did a broken spirit and a contrite heart entitle him to this? Did he plead his present griefs and humiliations to atone for his past transgressions ? No; alas, if he had no other hope than this, horror and black despair would have been the portion of his backsliding soul! God will not, doth not, cannot bestow pardon of sin, till he makes the soul sensible of and sorry for sin. Nor will he ever despise, abhor, or reject broken-hearted, contrite souls. For his Spirit effects this in them. Though no plea can be founded on this, yet the soul is sweetly encouraged hereby to hope; because, here is an evidence that the Lord hath not given up such to a reprobate mind. Still he works in them. They feel the effects. A sense of guilt is dreadful to be borne, and distressing to feel; therefore such will cry for deliverance, “Restore unto me the joys of thy salvation.”
Our loving Lord breaks the heart for sin, though sin cannot break the covenant of his love; therefore sin shall not reign unto death., O soul, art thou mourning for thy sins? Remember him on whom the iniquity of us all was laid. Look to him “who bore our sins in his own body on the tree, by whose stripes we are healed." A contrite spirit flies from the pleasures of
sin, which are but for a season; it cannot rest till former joys are restored; it is also solicitous about his future walk, lest he fall again; therefore cries, “Uphold me with thy free Spirit.
MARCH 30.--Are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?1 Cor. iii. 3.
The phrase, carnal saints, the self-righteous look on as a very opprobrious term, as though contradictory to the character of a real christian.
But such persons differ in judgment from an inspired apostle. Paul calls these Corinthian converts, “babes in Christ;" while he says to them, “Ye are carnal.” Yea, he appeals to their judgments: “ Are ye not so ?” Do not your walk, your words, your strife, your views, give sad evidence of the truth of this assertion ? do you not act and behave too much like men, who are strangers to Jesus, and the life and power of vital godliness? But,
Believers are a compound of flesh and spirit. The new-born soul dwells in a sinful body, and is opposed by a carnal nature. There may be true grace within, though much carnality appears without. Weak faith in Jesus may be opposed with strong corruptions and unbelief; a little true knowledge of him in the heart, beset with great ignorance and weakness of judgment; the dawning of true hope in Jesus, but interposed with clouds of darkness; the stirrings of real love to Jesus, but resisted by the love of the world, and the objects of sense; real esteem for a preached gospel, and yet, carnal contentions and debates may arise about ministers, and things of no real profit to the soul. This is true. Yet, such weaklings in the faith, such babes in Christ, are as safe, because loved by the same Father, redeemed by the same precious blood, and renewed by the power of the same Spirit, as young men and fathers in Christ; but indeed, they are not so happy, they do not glorify God so much, they do not bring