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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 miracle 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
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 reconciliation 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, 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.
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, we must fulfil the terms and conditions of the gospel, for our holiness and obedience secure our salvation." Such poor creatures reason carnally; their principles are only selfish; their views mercenary. God is not served at all; but pride and self are at the bottom of all they do. To establish a righteousness of their own is their chief aim. The glory of God is not sought. His grace is overlooked. Jesus is depreciated in his work and office, as though all his toils and sufferings, holy life and bitter death, had only procured salvation upon a better bargain and easier terms for us. Such principles are servile, base, and dishonourable to a God of grace and love. Vain is the talk of such about working for God. They do nothing for God, but want to earn something from God for themselves. Take away that idol self from them, and all working is at an end with them.
But the liberal soul acts from gracious principles, and deviseth liberal things. He sees salvation is all of free grace, and free gift by Jesus. He is our all. He hath done all, suffered all, obeyed in all things, prevails for all things, and makes all effectual to our final salvation. “The Saviour is in my eye and heart. He is my Alpha and Omega, my first hope and last stay. My views are to his glory. Oh! when I deserved nothing but hell, electing, everlasting Love looked on me with pity, and was manifested to me, through Jesus, by the word and Spirit. Therefore I delight daily to glorify my ever-loving God. I cheerfully devote my all to him who hath done all for me, who loved me and gave himself for me. My life of faith, hope, love, holiness centres in Jesus, and is from him. If I have but a cup of cold water, I give it in my dear Lord's name, in love and gratitude to him." Such are the generous senti. ments of the liberal soul. "By liberal things he shall stand;" stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free; be established in God's truth, against Satan's power and subtilty, and all precarious systems of man's devising. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity,” 2 Tim. ii. 19.
MAY 16.—God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.2 Cor. v. 19.
The only living and true God, the infinitely great and essentially glorious Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, is manifested to sinners, as dwelling in the Man Christ Jesus. This is the peculiar and precious truth of the gospel; a glorious mystery, known only to believing souls. All other pretended knowledge of God is but vain speculation and pompous ignorance, which dwelleth in men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth. But the new-born soul draws all his comfort, peace, joy, and holiness, from this inexhaustible foun. tain of truth and consolation. From hence ariseth his love to God, and delight in him. He beholds God in Christ, loving and embracing poor sinners of the human race. God is well pleased with and delights over them, to do them good. Thus saith Luther, "Mark this well, in the matter of justification. When any of us shall have to wrestle with the law, sin, death, and all other evils, we must look upon no other God, but only this God incarnate, and clothed with man's nature, Eph. ii. 18. Col. i. 15-20.
Thus God and man unite in the Man Christ. In this faith only, are the minds of christians easy and happy. Amazing grace! wonderful love! Canst thou read iť? canst thou believe it without transport of joy? God is perfectly reconciled; he doth not impute trespasses. Unto whom? Verily, the world, the elect world, of gentiles, as well as Jews; all sinners of the fallen race, whom the Father hath given to his Son. God is reconciled to them. In faith and love, they shall be reconciled to him; to his covenant transactions, electing