« PreviousContinue »
forth so much fruit to God, nor so greatly adorn the gospel of Jesus, as those, who are strong in the grace which is in him, and more established in the faith and love of him.
But let not such discourage their hearts, nor entertain hard thoughts of our loving Master, as though he expected to reap where he had not sown. Let them not burden their weak minds with things that are too strong, nor exercise their tender hearts with matters that are too high. But let them simply consider Jesus, look to the Lamb of God, confess their weakness at his feet, pray to him for strength, study his word for knowledge; and, "as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby.” For “those that be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God,” Psal. xcii. 13.
Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” Isa. xli. 10.
MARCH 31.-The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hope in his death.Prov. xiv. 32.
"Oh, how comfortable, in a dying hour, to look back upon a well-spent lifel” say many. But it is most comfortable, to "forget the things that are behind, to look forward, and press toward the mark, for the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus," saith the christian, Phil. iii. 14. What a delightful prospect, in a dying hour, to view a reconciled God, a glorified Jesus, and a kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world! But, if we have not experienced a life of faith on Jesus, and by the grace of God had our conversation in the world, a life of self-righteousness will only beget vain confidence, and delude the soul with false hopes, which will end in awful disappointment at death. But who are the wicked ? Verily, all who reject the faith of the Son of God; refuse to submit to his righteousness; hope in themselves, and trust to what they can do, to make themselves righteous, and to make their peace with God. This is the very essence of wickedness. All such are destitute of righteousness. Their eyes are blinded by sin; and their hearts hardened against the truth. Living and dying so, they shall be driven away from the comforts of the righteous, in the awful hour of death. In the tremendous day of judgment, they shall be driven away from the presence of Jesus, with, "Go, ye cursed."
Who are the righteous ? even all, who receive the gift of new.covenant love, the gift of righteousness, which cometh upon all the children of faith by one, Jesus Christ, Rom. v. 17. The righteous man is of divine extraction; born again from above: he hath the mind of Christ, he loveth righteousness, and hateth iniquity. The righteous hath hope in a God of justice, hope in a God of truth, hope in a God of faithfulness; because his hope standeth in God's own covenant grace and love, which makes sinners righteous in Christ. This hope shall never forsake the righteous : it animates him in life, to love and obedience; it comforts him in death, against fears of wrath, and terrors of hell; it inspires him with joyful assurance of a crown of righteousness in life and immortality, according to the free-grace, precious promises of God, through the righteousness of Jesus.
Well might that eminently faithful minister of Jesus, the late Rev. Mr. Hervey, so sweetly fall asleep, with this hope in his heart, while his lips were warbling his dying song, "Precious salvation ! Precious salvation !" All our hope is in "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Gb ist,” 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
APRIL 1.—The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.—1 Pet. iv. 7.
The word of grace and truth, like a judicious physician for the body, prescribes different kinds of recipes for the soul. Sometimes the bitter draught of affliction; at others the strengthening, comforting
balsam of faith, with the restorative mixture of love; but at all times, a necessary regimen, whereby to rule and govern our lives, so that our souls may prosper and be in good health.
To use means, in faith, is our bounden duty. To neglect them is a contempt of the wise Prescriber; whereby we suffer loss and receive hurt to our souls. As faith binds the soul to Jesus in the sweet bands of love, so it produces a conformity to him in heart and life. As the Spirit enriches the soul with precious graces, so they are accompanied with his transforming influence. He ever directs to the word he inspired, that we may be taught to avoid all things contrary thereto; and also to practise those duties, which have a native tendency to strengthen the soul in persevering in truth and holi
An intemperate thirst after, and inordinate indulging ourselves in the enjoyment of any of the good creatures of this life, sadly indispose the mind to spiritual concerns. This is contrary to the life of faith, interrupts sweet communion with the Father of spirits, deadens the heart to holy fellowship with Jesus, and opposes the comforting consolation of the blessed Spirit. Hence the soul finds great languor, deadness, and formality in its addresses at the throne of grace. Thy soul, and mine, are therefore called upon to consider, Time, how short! eternity, how near! The Judge is at the door. All things are on the point of dissolution. We are to be expecting the certain messenger, to call us hence.
Since continuance here is so uncertain, all worldly enjoyments so precarious, and all certainly perish in the using; what temperance, what sobriety of conduct becomes us! And this is certain, Jesus, with his much incense, is ever before the throne. It is a mercy-seat, sprinkled with his precious blood. From hence all grace is bestowed; all power given. Oh, may we be concerned to watch continually, against the motions of the enemy, the stirrings of pride and lust; watching in prayer for the power of the Spirit, watching after prayer for an answer of peace! And when, disciple, is the time that this exercise may be omitted ? Verily, not till faith is lost in sight, hope turned into enjoyment, and prayer lost in praise. Oh, what a precious word is this from our Jesus! “ Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that I will do,” John xiv. 13.
APRIL 2.—He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.—Psalm xxiii. 3.
With gratitude and joy, every believer has daily cause to address his soul in the words, spoken to Naomi at the birth of Obed, “Blessed be the Lord, who hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, or redeemer, whose name is famous in Israel, who shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life,” Ruth iv. 14, 15. To the glory of Jesus, be it ever remembered, that life once received from him can never be lost. The soul once quickened from a death in trespasses and sins, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over it. For it is delivered from the cause of death, sin. Partaking of eternal life from Jesus, sin has no more dominion over it, to kill and destroy it.
But, though the soul enjoys life in Jesus, yet sin is not dead. It dwelleth in us; it worketh in our members; and opposeth the life, peace, and comfort of the new-born soul. Is there a day passeth, but we find,
that the old man is still alive? Yea, at times, the soul is so pressed above measure, that it almost despairs of life. It seems to sense and experience, as though the sentence of death was executed. Oh then, how doth Jesus again revive and restore it! Sin often brings death upon the comforts of the soul, though it cannot touch its life; that is secure in the life-giving Head; it "is hid with Christ in God," Col. iii. 3. Believers can never sin themselves beyond the extent of Christ's love, nor the reach of his power to restore them. The precious blood of Jesus is all-sufficient, to purge away all sin from the conscience; yea, sins of the deepest dye. See then the exceeding sinfulness of sin, in the most exceeding precious fountain that is opened for its cleansing. See the love and care of the faithful Shepherd, in restoring his wandering sheep. But know, soul, whenever thou dost deviate from the path of Jesus, or backslide into sin, thou turnest thy back upon thy best Friend, thy kindest Lord, and joinest thyself to his and thine implacable foes. True, so unchangeable is the love of Jesus, he will restore the souls of his members; but love mingles bitter potions to do this. And the most bitter of all is, thou sinnest against the richest grace, and most precious love that ever was known; love, that has followed, and will follow thee all thy days; love, that will heal thy backslidings, and restore thy soul; love, that will lead thee in the paths of righteousness to salvation and glory. When thou rememberest this, thou wilt be ashamed and confounded for all that thou hast done; and most sincerely love him, who doth all freely from love, Ezek. xvi. 63.
APRIL 3.-Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.-Heb. ii. 14.
We read of one, who was so affected with the glory