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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, it 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. 1.
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 of 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. 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 in herent 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 remem. ber, 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, I 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 set himself apart, and consecrated himself to God, for the sake of all his beloved members; according to the covenant of truth, the law of truth, and the grace of truth. And, to this blessed end, “that they also may be sanctified through the truth." Then cleave stead. fastly to God's truth.
Through this same truth, all the members of Jesus, being yet unborn, and having done neither good norevil, were to be sanctified-set apart, or consecrated unto God. Thus “ Jesus suffered without the gate, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood,” Heb. xiii. 12. God chose them from the beginning, “through the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth," 2 Thess. ii. 13. Through belief of what truth doth the Spirit sanctify? Through the faith of Jesus, who is the Truth, they are sanctified to God; (Acts xxvi. 18,) are made vessels for his use, and to his glory. Drooping believer, thou feelest thy sins and corruptions, groanest under a body of sin and death, and therefore sayest, “I am not sanctified, I have neither part nor lot in this matter." What! believe the truth, believe in Jesus, and yet destitute of the sanctification of the Spirit ? Impossible. As verily as Jesus hath consecrated thee to God, by his blood; his Spirit hatḥ sancti. fied thee, through faith. Wouldst thou enjoy more fellowship with him, and be more conformed to his image? “ Abide in me,” saith the Lamb, John xv. 4.
May 12.-But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.—Heb. xiii. 16.
Through the artful wiles of Satan, the corrupt reasonings of deceitful nature, and the doctrines of false teachers, disciples are in danger of errors on the right hand and on the left. Because good works do not merit God's favour, and entitle us to his acceptance, therefore, say some, “ We cannot do any thing that is good, and well-pleasing in the sight of God." So, if Satan cannot blind us by false hopes and legal confidences, he strives to poison our minds with detestable, licentious notions, dishonourable to Jesus, contrary to faith, subversive of love, and destructive of the holiness and peace of the gospel. But it cannot be so, when Jesus is beheld, and rejoiced in, as our sacrifice and atonement for sin, as our Beloved, in whom our persons are accepted. “ By him we are made priests unto God.” He is our altar, on which our sacrifices are offered, and which consecrates our gifts. Are we exhorted to do good, and to please our gracious God and loving Father? Faith excites most powerfully, love binds with strongest cords, and hope animates with most prevailing pleas, to this. “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” Such was his love. In gratitude for such love, to sacrifice our all to him is ever our bounden duty, and ought to be our constant practice.
Shame to us, that we should be prone to forget this. Exhortations remind us, that we are apt to this; and, of what our Lord expects from us. God hath not forgotten to be gracious to us. Jesus never intermits in his suit for us. Shall we at any time forget our duty, and neglect to do good on earth—not study daily to please him, who is our portion, our all, in time and eternity? Doth the glorious Jebovah condescend to assure us, I am well pleased with your beneficence, your communicative goodness to my creatures, and your brethren, for my sake? and shall we ever be unmindful of and indifferent about this? Forbid it, Lord! animate us with more of the fire of thy love! To live without prayer and praise, argues insensibility and ingratitude; not studying to glorify God in our actions, shows the want of love: and where the Spirit of prayer, praise, love, and obedience are wanting, where, alas, is our evidence, that we are the children of a gracious God, members of a compassionate Saviour, and influenced by the Spirit of love? "To him who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin," James iv. 17.