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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 bath 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 it ? 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
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love, justifying grace, scheme of salvation, and hope of eternal life, by Jesus only. As the Father gave their persons, so he imputed their sins to Jesus; he bore them away. God chargeth not trespasses to them; they are free from sin, as viewed by God, in Christ. To this truth the Spirit bears witness, through the faith of Jesus. So, believer, reckon of thyself. Though, in thyself considered, black as hell, polluted with guilt, defiled with sin; yet in Christ, “all fair without spot;" fully reconciled to God, and without trespasses before him. What a free access hast thou ever open to God! what cause for triumph in him, and love to him! what assured hope of eternal enjoyment of him! O my soul, what reward shall I render to the Lord for all his mercies? Psalm cxvi. 12.
MAY 17.—When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him, [or chase him away.]—Isa. lix. 19.
When a poor sinner knows what human nature is, and sees his brethren and companions after the flesh “living without Christ and without God in the world;" making a mock at sin, and ridiculing his truths and ways; and finds his own heart touched with a holy, loving fear of the Lord : he is ready to cry out, Whence is this? He can only say, “Grace reigneth ; the Sun of righteousness hath risen upon me. So, Lord, it seemeth good in thy sight. I have not deserved this. Thou hast spoken in truth, and fulfilled in faithfulness. So thy word runs, so thy gospel is glorified, free as the sun, powerful as the wind.” Jehovah's shalls are his people's triumphs. Here are most absolute declarations for faith to fix upon, and plead, in any hour of Satan's attack.
For, so sure as we fear the Lord, the enemy will oppose us. For, if he dare plead with the Saviour, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive be delivered ?" Isa. xlix. 24, verily, he will follow after his once seized prey, and strive to regain his ran. somed captive; yea, he will challenge the sinner as his property. But, is it not strange that the loving, almighty Saviour suffers the enemy, like a surly dog, to snap and snarl at his dear children, and strive to tear their food out of their hands, and his peace and love out of their hearts? No: it cannot be otherwise in our present state ; for we are clothed with an earthly, sensual, devil. ish nature, to which Satan has easy access.
Humble souls have little reason to complain, that they have not known so great a degree of wrath, nor have been terrified with such dreadful apprehensions of hell and damnation, as some others. Oh! rather love and praise Jesus, if thy soul is brought to choose him in faith, and follow him as thy Saviour and thy all, than wish to have the enemy let loose upon thy soul. But if this is the case, he shall not go beyond the length of his chain. His power is thy Father's permission. He may terrify with wrath, but it shall issue in love. Yea, though he should, like a powerful deluge, come in and distress with blasphemous injections, horrible thoughts, perplexing fears, and pronounce hell and destruction to be thy doom, even then thou art safe. The Saviour's power is thy shield. “The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard”-the Lamb on the cross. In the faith of this, "resist the devil and he will flee from you," James iv. 7.
MAY 18.-If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.—Exod. xxxiii. 15.
Happy for us, if this were our address to the Lord, under every enterprise ! how many distresses and diffi. culties should we avoid! how much more peaceful and comfortable should we be, in our journey through life! It is a blessed thing to have an especial eye to God's presence, as well as to his providence. The Lord may
permit his children to succeed in their schemes and undertakings, in the course of his providence, when he doth not accompany their souls with his favour and presence. Yea, believer, canst thou not see in many of thy ways, wherein thou hast been permitted to go, that they have proved the very means of losing the sweet sense of thy Lord's presence? Whatever outward profit or pleasure thou hast gained, verily thou must confess to have sustained an inward loss. How doth it behove every disciple of Jesus to " consider his ways !" It is our wisdom daily to reflect: What is the tendency of my present pursuit ? what is my chief aim ? what can I expect from the end of it ? am I going to gratify the flesh, in pleasing diversions, and carnal delights? Stop one moment. Consider. Canst thou expect the presence of thy God ? canst thou lift up thy believing heart, in prayer to Jesus, to accompany thee? Certainly, if it is not right to ask nor expect his spiritual presence to go with thy soul, surely, there it is unlawful for thee to go. If thou canst not pray in faith, canst thou go in faith? Oh! remember the love of thy Saviour, who died to redeem thee from this present evil world. Call to mind those joys and pleasures, which are experienced from a sweet sense of his love and presence. Think, how cutting to thy heart, how grieving to thy spirit, if under any vain indulgence thy Saviour should put this question, Disciple, lovest thou me more than these vanities? Better for Peter to have been in his Lord's presence with a cold body, than warming himself with the high priest's officers and servants; for there he was blown down by the breath of a damsel. Let his fall warn thee of thy danger.
It is related of Satan, who had taken possession, and greatly terrified and distressed the soul of a christian, that on his being asked, how he dared to enter into a child of God, he replied, "I found her on my own ground, at the play-house; therefore I challenge her as my servant.” Whether the story be true or not, the