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of the meridian sun. For, saith our loving Lord, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," John vi. 63.
MAY 8.-I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.-Rom. vii. 21. .
The heathens, at their sacrifices, were wont to cry out, “Keep at a distance, O ye profane.” But they withheld not their offerings, lest the unhallowed should be more polluted, or their sacrifices defiled by them. For the consolation, edification, and establishment of godly souls, the apostle Paul has left his own experience, in this chapter. Here, he confesses that he was a poor sinner, yet a holy and happy believer in Jesus. Hereby, to many precious souls, Christ hath been made more infinitely precious, while sin has appeared more exceed. ingly sinful; and they have been made to sink lower in humility, at the feet of sovereign grace. Let those who dare advert to this blessed testimony, for contrary purposes, remember the Judge is at the door. Shortly they must account for it, if they turn the food of God's word into the poison of their souls.
Fools make a mock of sin, while godly souls groan under the burden of indwelling corruption. The conduct of the former is an awful proof of their state. The sorrows of the latter are a certain evidence of their spiritual life and sanctification. Being born again of the Spirit, to do good is the delight of their hearts. Being living members of Jesus by faith, they love conformity to their Head. Being sons of God by adoption, it is their joy to love, obey, and please their heavenly Father in all things. Perfection in holiness they aspire after. Entire freedom from sin they long for. But God will not suffer his own elect to be deceived, so as to think themselves what they are not, nor will they ever be, in the flesh, perfectly freed from sin; for the old man, with his affections and lusts, is ever present with them. "In their flesh dwells no good thing;" they are not to expect any good from it. It lusts only to evil continually. Hence their best thoughts are interrupted and diverted; their most holy desires damped and discouraged; their best actions are seldom, ifever, free from the bold intrusion of unwelcome guests, the world, the flesh, and the devil. “I would be wholly devoted to the Lord," saith the gracious soul; "all my powers and faculties, time and talents, would I wholly, freely, and willingly dedicate in love to him.” Scarcely is the pleasing thought conceived, but the evil of pride injects, " What a rare name will this acquire me! how shall I be admired, and shine in the christian world !" Oh, this sinks the christian with shame, and causes him to hide his head with holy blushing! But let not this dis. courage thee. Paul abated nothing of his zeal for God's glory because of this. Follow his steps. “Trust in the Lord, and do good," Psalm xxxvii. 3.
MAY 9.-While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.—Gen. viii. 22.
"Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come,” 1 Tim. iv. 8. By faith we receive the declarations of Jehovah, as the blessings of a father's love. The returning seasons, the revolving periods of time, declare the glory of our heavenly Father. While the christian meditates upon the innumerable blessings of time, and gratitude inspires his heart for them, yet, far nobler subjects demand the contemplation of his soul. Happy for us! when temporal blessings are enjoyed as covenant mercies, and are sanctified to us in Christ. We see, and adore the sovereignty of God, in appointing times and seasons. The immutability of his will, is the law by which they are governed. When the fixed period shall come, all nature shall be reduced to
christie, the glorseasons, the blessing receivent which the me for theoul. This is of sin, and and
its primitive nothingness. Time shall be swallowed up in a never-ending eternity. Happy souls! who are taught the displays of grace from the images of nature; who bow to the sovereignty of love, rejoice in the covenant of grace, and rest upon the immutability of God's purposes, and promises in Christ to poor sinners. Such are assured, that as in nature, so in grace, seedtime and harvest shall not fail to God's church and people, because of “his everlasting covenant, which is ordered in all things and sure."
There is a time for the immortal seed of the word to be sown in every elect soul. This is experienced, by the seed striking root in conviction of sin, and its springing up in faith, desire, and love to Jesus. And because the Sun of righteousness ever lives, and shines upon his members, they shall most assuredly reap a harvest of eternal glory. Chilling cold, and winter's blasts, may succeed the summer of love and warmth of affection. Nights of darkness, from desertion, temptation, and affliction, may follow days of peace, joy, and consolation. These various seasons and changes will pass upon, and be experienced by, believing souls, a while the earth remaineth;" so long as our earthly nature continues: but it is sentenced to dissolution. We must leave it on this side Jordan; then we shall see it no more, as an enemy, for ever. But, in the presence of Jesus, the soul shall have fulness of joy, and the body shall be raised a glorious body, to enjoy the pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. There shall be no night of darkness, no chill of affections, no winter of distress. This is now our sweet consolation; Christ saith, “Because I live, ye shall live also," John xiv. 19. And “when Christ our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory," Col. iii. 4.
May 10.-Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck.—1 Tim. i. 19.
“He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved,” Mark xiii. 13. So the Master taught; so disciples believe. By perseverance in faith, the crown shall be enjoyed. So glory perfects what grace begins. God's power is faith's confidence. God's truth is faith's assurance. Faith's author and finisher is Jesus. Therefore, “the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger," saith the son of faith and patience, Job xvii. 9. "The topstone fof finished salvation] shall be brought forth with shoutings; crying, Grace, grace!” Zech. iv. 7. Be strong in grace.
Such are the immutable truths of the covenant of grace, the gospel of grace, and the God of grace. Whatever legal spirits do, gracious souls will ever draw holy influences from the safety and security of grace. "Let him who thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall,” 1 Cor. x. 12;-take heed, that he be not high-minded, and trust in uncertain riches, which he fancies he has obtained by his own faithfulness, creature-ability, and natural free-will; and so be led away from trusting in the living God, who giveth all things. Many such self-sanctified saints have and do daily fall away, and have made terrible shipwreck of their fancied faith, imaginary good conscience, self-applauding inherent righteousness, and have perished in the gulf of vain. glory and presumption. Therefore, see to it, disciple, that you hold fast, and contend earnestly for the faith, once delivered to God's saints ;-such as, the doctrines of eternal election to salvation according to the everlasting covenant love of the ever-glorious Trinity, a finished salvation by atonement, full justification by the perfect righteousness of Jesus, and final perseverance in holiness by the Spirit of truth. Hold them fast, not in word only, but in power, as the essential truths of
Jehovah, as the very life and joy of thy soul. So shalt thou have and keep a good conscience, sprinkled from guilt by the blood of Jesus; and a good testimony of it, by the Spirit of grace, through faith. Ever remember, we have “the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," 1 Pet. iii. 21, Thou couldst obtain it no other way. Thou canst only enjoy it by the faith of this. Beware of putting this away. Hold it fast. Be “confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work [of faith and love in thee) will perform it to the day of Christ," Phil. i. 6.
MAY 11.–And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.—John xvii. 19. · Believers have the strongest assurance of attaining the highest degree of holiness their souls are capable of enjoying, from a reconciled God, from an interceding Mediator, and from the influences of the Holy Spirit. How precious is every work of Jesus! Hath he shed his blood to procure our pardon ? hath he wrought out a righteousness to justify us? what then? Doth he commit to us a stock of inherent grace to improve and be faithful to, in order to sanctify and consecrate ourselves to God? Oh, no! ever be aware of this notion. It leads to pride; nourishes a spirit of independence on our Head : makes faith void ; vacates the office of the Spirit; and ought, therefore, to be rejected as a dangerous heresy. Be humble.
But, saith Jesus, for the sake of all my dear members, Í sanctify myself. Not to the office of priest. This was by the call of the Father, Heb. v. 4, 5. Not to make holy his human nature. He was sanctified by the Spirit, Luke i. 35. But our Lord here speaks of his willingly becoming the Lamb for a sacrifice, to take away the sin of the world. To this he most cheerfully