Page images

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 nor evil, 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.

itute a Ferily, his spirit enjoy to his

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.

to Phity? I am wiele goo

- MAY 13.-My soul cleaveth unto the dust : quicken thou me according to thy word.—Psalm cxix. 25.

One would dread that state, most of all others, which St. Paul describes," being past feeling," Ephes. iv. 19. True, there is this alleviation, such are insensible of their deplorable condition. But, if the great trumpet of the gospel awakes not the soul, in this life, to spiritual sense and feeling, verily, the loud archangel's trumpet will rouse it, to hear its awful sentence, and feel its dreadful doom at the last day. Oh, what a mira. cle of grace to be quickened, to know one's misery, feel one's wants, believe the remedy, and cry for relief! This blessed work is not from the will of the flesh. No man can quicken his own soul. It is the sovereign work of almighty power. It is equally ascribed to the loving Father, redeeming Son, and sanctifying Spirit, John v. 21. and vi. 63. Therefore, gracious souls, give all the glory to the ever-blessed Trinity. Free-will is the child of pride, it dwells in the heads of almost all christians, and is only boasted of by the enemies of truth. Be clothed with humility.

I am come, that my children might have life, saith Jesus. He quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins; and then they cry to him, to have life more abundantly. Here is the wisdom of heaven-born souls ; they deny themselves of the vain pleasures, carnal delights, and sensual gratifications of this world. They know these things oppose the life, interrupt the peace, and damp the joy of their souls. Their only happiness centres in Jesus, and in life and love communicated from him. Therefore, they study to avoid such things as are contrary to his mind and will. And, as they too often find themselves cleaving to the dust, to the sensible, earthly, vain enjoyments of this world, this alarms them, it is a burden and grief to them. Hence they pour out their complaints to their beloved Lord, with, “ Master, let it not be thus. Quicken my drooping spirit. Enliven my declining heart. Cheer my languishing soul, according to the word of thy grace, and the truth of thy promises." Here is the blessed confidence of faith. His word is our plea. By that we have assurance of being heard and answered. The precepts of his word teach us his will; and we cannot feel a want, but God's word promises to supply it. Therefore, that is the warrant of faith, a light to direct our feet; and is also our best directory for prayer. So Christ prays for all his, "Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth,” John xvii. 17. Ever remember thy Lord's words, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," John vi. 63.

MAY 14.- Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.—Heb. xiii. 12.

Sin, viewed in the glass of God's holy law, fills the soul with terror, works wrath in the conscience, and leaves the sinner under the curse, without hope. But, while the infinitely precious sacrifice of Jesus is beheld, sin appears exceeding sinful, the sinner is truly humbled, sin loathed, Christ cleaved to, and hope springs up in the sin-distressed conscience. Hast thou this lively hope?

In the tabernacle of old, as there were no windows in it, a lamp was to burn always, that the house of God might not, at any time, be in darkness. This the Lord ordained unto the children of Israel, Exod. xxvii. 20. As the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth, we see Jesus who is the altar, the sacrifice, and the Priest, by and through whom we are sanctified. This truth is to be kept burning bright daily, in the lamp of faith, in the temple of the heart. The Man Jesus, upon whom all the sins of the elect were laid, was made a curse for them; he cheerfully devoted himself, his holy body, his precious blood, his innocent soul, as a sin-offering for them, in the great day of atonement. “By his one offering he hath for ever perfected

upon neurse for his pihero

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

enernt with bodies of the red by the blis love by the

all them that are sanctified;" that is, separated, by the choice of the Father, as the objects of his love. They are all consecrated to God by the blood of Jesus. Reader, art thou one?

As the bodies of the beasts, under the law, were burnt without the camp, and their blood brought into the holy of holies, and sprinkled on the mercy-seat; so our dear and ever-precious Jesus suffered all the inexpressible agonies of soul and body, from the fire of God's wrath, due to our sin; bore all the scandal, curse, and reproach of it, "without the gate of the city,” as an alien and outcast of the people. His own most precious blood, having once purged, expiated, and taken away the guilt of sin, and made perfect reconcili. ation for his people; it ever speaks in their behalf, and pleads their cause before the throne; averts all wrath from them, and obtains all blessing for them. Thus we are purged from the guilt of sin; thus we are consecrated unto God. In the faith of this, “we have boldness to enter into the holiest, even by the blood of Jesus.” Thus purged, thus consecrated, every believer is a priest unto God; he is encouraged to draw nigh to God, with confidence of access, and it is his high and peculiar honour, "to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," 1 Pet. ii. 5.

[ocr errors]

May 15.—The liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand [or be established.]—Isa. xxxii. 8.

We all, naturally, act from selfish principles, and with mercenary views, because we are under the legal covenant, “Do this and live.” Hence say some, “If doing righteousness and performing good works will not justify and save us, as good sit still, and do nothing, no matter how wicked I am.” Say others, “To be sure, we are justified by faith only; but then,

« PreviousContinue »