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of the sun, that he thought he was born only to behold it. With what propriety may a christian judge of himself, that he is born again to behold the glory, and delight himself in daily contemplating Jesus, the Sun of righteousness! Lord, thou shalt never stoop to that mean office of “washing my feet,” said honest-hearted Peter. But what was that stoop of abasement, when Jesus was in flesh, compared to his taking flesh upon him? Be astonished, 0 heavens! rejoice, o children of faith! admire and adore what you can never fully comprehend: the Lord of life and glory in your nature; clothed with flesh and blood, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs. See Jesus--consider Jesus. Oh! dwell in contemplation on the humility of our God Jesus, till it warms your heart with love. Say, which is greatest, his love, or his humility ?
He took part with "the children.” Such was Jacob's delight in Benjamin, that “his life was bound up in the lad's life,” Gen. xliv. 30. The soul of Jonathan was so knit to David, that he loved him as his own soul.” 1 Sam. xviii. 1. Verily, our life is bound up in the life of Jesus. Truly he hath loved us better than life. He took our part against our invincible foes, sin, Satan, and death. He hath conquered all--for whom ? “The children;" by nature, children of wrath; by practice, rebels against God; yet, amazing grace! the objects of his Father's love. Hence, given to Christ, to redeem and save. They had interest in his love, ere they had a being in the flesh. Therefore he prays for them as their Mediator; he owns them, by that special mark which the Holy Ghost puts upon each of them, in the day of his power, faith. “I pray for them also, which shall believe on me," John xvii. 20.
We may joyfully triumph, “If Jesus be for us, who shall be against us ?” “The Lord taketh my part, therefore I shall see my desire upon them that hate me," Psalm cxviii. 7. Every believer may be sure of victory. Faith in Jesus overcomes the world, disarms death of its sting, which is sin; and the strength of sin,
which is the law. By the blood of the Lamb, Satan is overcome. Christ gained the conquest in our nature, over Satan and death, by taking away that which gave power to both, over his children, sin. This he effected by his own death. He died for sin. He rose to justify. He lives to save.
Thanks eternal for his victory, 1 Cor. xv. 57.
APRIL 4.-In a little wrath I hid myself from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.Isa. liv. 8.
Love is ever open and communicative: it conceals nothing from the object beloved, which may profit or comfort. “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” saith the God of love, concerning his friend, Gen. xviii. 17. The Lamb saith of his followers, “ Ye are my friends." Servants are not made acquainted with their masters' secrets; but friends are. Therefore saith the great interpreter of covenant love, “ All things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you,” John xv. 15. Children shall not be chastised, but they shall be told of the Father's kindness, and mercy in it. Love is ever in his heart, though wrath may appear in his conduct.
The joy of creation is revived by the bright shining of the sun. When that is withdrawn, clouds, mists, and darkness gather. So when the Sun of righteousness hides himself from the soul, it seems a dark season of wrath. The mists of corruption rise, the thick fog of unbelief spreads, the gloom of dejection hangs heavy on the mind, and the prince of darkness is very busy at such a season :-like Job's friends, he is a physician of no value, but a miserable comforter to the soul. Now all sense, nature, and feeling, write bitter things against the
poor sinner. The Father chastises, the Saviour hides himself, the law accuses, conscience condemns, sin terrifies, Satan threatens, but-Father, thy mercy never dies; thy love changes not. Therefore faith endures, and turns to love. What saith that? "In little wrath I hid myself.” Little in comparison of thy deserts, O soul! little compared with the greatness of the love of thy God. Faith listens to the testimony of Jesus. The Lord thy Redeemer speaks : “My deserting thee is of the shortest duration; a moment; the twinkling of an eye;" as no space of time, compared to eternity. Then love vents itself and declares, “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee."
The word of the Lord shall stand. His covenant is sure, his love unchangeable, his promises immutable. Hence the soul is excited to confidence, to assurance, full assurance; yea, the fullest assurance of a God of truth, though all present appearances seem against it. Then hope dawns in the soul, and love to Jesus is quickened. Holy shame and godly sorrow for past follies, fill the heart; while the Comforter inwardly testifies of Jesus. “Weeping may endure for a night, (of desertion,) but joy cometh in the morning, (of his presence,) Psalm xxx. 5.
APRIL 5.-And the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; according to the faith of God's elect.Tit. i. 1.
St. Paul, though an eminently distinguished apostle of Jesus, yet in regard to the salvation of his own soul, his extraordinary gifts procured it not. Nor could his former hatred and persecution of Christ and his members, frustrate the electing love of God, or obstruct the sovereign operations of the Holy Spirit. But, being chosen of God in Christ, his heart must partake of the precious faith of God's elect. Love, almighty, wonderful love, seized him ; Jesus challenged him as one of his redeemed souls; stopped him in his mad career; touched his heart, and brought him trembling and astonished to his feet. And the power of faith in his heart was manifested, by the obedient cry of his lips, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" Acts ix. 6.
Thus election is a doctrine according to godliness. Faith in the heart is an evidence of interest in God's electing love. It is a special gift of grace, and connected with salvation, Eph. ii. 8. Faith proves itself to be a genuine grace of the Spirit, for it submits to and trusts in Jesus' righteousness for justification, his blood for pardon, his all-prevailing intercession for life. Thus faith glorifies Jesus as a Priest, to atone; honours him as a King, to rule and govern; and yields obedience to him as a Prophet, to instruct in the truths of godliness. So the believing soul is stripped of every self-righteous plea; brought as an humble, self-condemned sinner, to the feet of Jesus; and glories in him, as his only hope, for life and whole salvation. If there be no election of sinners by God the Father, there is no true faith ; for saving faith is peculiar to God's elect only. Do any object, “I do not believe the doctrine of election ?” We can only say, We cannot help you; we pity you; you do not understand your Bible, you do not yet "acknowledge the truth which is after godliness." The faith of God's elect springs from God's electing love; has Jesus for its author and finisher, his life and death for its object, the truths of God's word for its warrant, God's promise in Christ its support, love and holiness its evidence, sure and certain salvation its end. Well may this be called precious faith indeed. Whereas mere human faith, as it arises only from the power of the creature, centres only in nature and self, talks high of terms and conditions, boasts much of human abilities, opposes free grace, exalts the sinner, debases Jesus, denies the imputation of his righteousness, and renders salvation not only precarious and uncertain, but utterly impossible. Study this humbling, joyful truth: “By grace are ye saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” Eph. ii. 8.
APRIL 6.—Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.--Isa. xii. 3.
Why “therefore ?" what had the church done to procure such an inestimable promise ? Oh, the joyful day of her public espousal to Jesus has come; that day, that blessed day of power, when the loving bride claims her beloved Bridegroom, Jesus! Therefore she sings this joyful song, “ Behold, God is my salvation : I will trust, and not be afraid. For the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." The claims of the faith of poor sinners are well-pleasing in the sight of God. They honour his word, glorify him, and cause joy in heaven among the angels; while the humble claimants obtain the consolation and joy thereof. With joy shall ye draw, &c.
But, this was not to be a transient fit of comfort, but an inexhaustible fountain of joy. Believers are to come daily, and draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation. Jehovah, the Father, is “the fountain of living waters," Jer. ii. 13. Salvation takes its first spring from his everlasting love, is secured by his unalterable covenant and unchangeable promises. The Spirit and his grace are called, “ a well of water springing up to everlasting life,”_ John iv. 14. He shows poor sinners their want of Jesus, this living water, its freeness and sweetness; supplies them with the bucket of faith, to draw with joy, and drink with pleasure. This well of salvation by Jesus was opened in paradise ; its streams have run through every successive age of the church. Patriarchs, prophets, apostles, believers in all ages, have had their hearts made glad and their souls joyful hereby:
The everlasting love of the Father, the rich grace of the Son, and the exuberant joy of the Holy Ghost, compose these wells of salvation. Yet it is but one fountain of grace, flowing from the unity of the divine essence; and is communicated to us, out of the fulness of the man Jesus. Hence we are invited by him, "O