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Lord is perfect freedom. He loves a cheerful giver.
other idol suited to nature and sense. Where the treasure is, there will the heart be also." Spiritual affections can only be happy from spiritual objects. The heart can only be bappy in God, when cheerfully given up to him in faith and love. This is the very essence of vital godliness.
Our Father invites us to spiritual joys. “I know, my children, in your present state, clothed with flesh, you have many lovers, which would rival me in your affections; but cheerfully devote your heart to me. Let your eyes be upon my ways. Consider my love to you. I gave my beloved Son to die for you. My Spirit hath called you to enjoy my love. It is my good pleasure to give you a kingdom: therefore, in love to my glory and for your comfort, I demand your heart as a free-will offering.” Oh! where is the faithful, grateful soul, but in ecstacy of love will cry out, Give, Lord, the power to obey, and command what thou wilt? For mind, this giving the heart to God, is to be the daily work of thy life, because thou art his son and a joint-heir of God with Christ, Rom. viii. 17.
Y 21—But he giveth more grace. - James iv. 6. It is a sure mark, that the true grace of God, by Christ, is in the heart, when it cries for more grace. For then there is a harmony between the Father's promises and the children's wants. God giveth more grace: I daily need msre, saith the sensible soul. “He that drinketh of the water of life," saith Jesus, "shall never thirst again;" never thirst after any other fountain; seek no other spring but me. There is no grace, favour, or good-will from God, to sinners, but what is by Christ, and communicated from him. Here is the believer's mercy; he has not a stock of grace, stored up in his own heart, to live upon, which may be expended, and he be lost at last for want of more. No. But all God's favour and love towards him is treasured up in Jesus. Here is the humility of believers; they come, like Joseph's brethren, to Jesus, who is their elder Brother, for every supply; out of his fulness they receive grace upon grace. Jesus is an inexhaustible storehouse, therefore his members can never want. God the Father gave them grace at first in Christ, he called them by his sovereign grace, justified them fully by grace, saves them daily by grace, sanctifies them freely by grace, comforts them continually by grace; and he will glorify them, according to the exceeding riches of his grace. Thus all is of grace, freely given to and richly bestowed upon poor, vile, undeserving sinners.
But these reasonings are in every humble sinner's heart, What suitable returns do I make? what reward shall I give unto the Lord, for all his blessings of grace? Oh, what a poor unloving, ungrateful wretch am Il how do I requite the Lord my God?” Such is the genuine language of gracious hearts. The aboundings of grace make sinners humble, self hateful, and sin abominable: "Not rather, as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say, Let us do evil that good may come; whose damnation is just," Rom. iii. 8. If God giveth "more grace," then not one of his children, that ever had a single spark of the grace of Jesus, shall ever go to hell for want of grace. It is equally as impossible that a gracious soul should fall from God's love and grace, turn hater of him, and so be a prey to the devil, as for Lazarus to quit Abraham's bosom for the flames of hell. The holy fire of grace being once kindled in the soul, never goes out. The fire of the altar was an emblem of this. It is as true in this respect of gracious souls, as it is of the wicked in another, "their fire never goes out." Why not? Because “grace reigns through Christ's righteousness unto eternal life,” Rom. v. 21.
MAY 22.-Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.-Psalm lv. 5.
Such was the mournful complaint of David; yea, of Jesus too, the root and offspring of David. "Lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon" the father of the faithful, Gen. xv. 12. The Lord suffers his dearest children to be distressed; yet it is their privilege, and they are again and again exhorted, “ Rejoice in the Lord alway," Phil. iv. 4. Let not disciples entertain hard thoughts of the God of love: but ever remember, they are heightened by our anniversary. Least of all should humble followers of the Lamb judge themselves not true converts, because they have not felt such dreadful terrors of hell and damnation, in their conscience, as some talk of. It is an unscriptural notion, the word of God lays down no such rule, that the soul must be under such deep convictions of horror, and -shook as it were over the very mouth of hell, as a mark of true conversion to Jesus. Innumerable are the in. stances of persons, crying out under dreadful terrors of wrath and damnation, as if hell itself was let loose upon them, for a season ; but yet after all, being still unclean and filthy, they have turned back to their old courses, “ like the dog to his vomit, and the sow to her wallowing in the mire."
True, the loving Spirit convinces of sin, but not as a tormentor, to terrify with wrath and hell, but as a comforter, to testify of Christ and salvation. He opens the eyes of our understanding, to see our lost state and wretched condition, and also the hope of our calling, &c., Eph. i. 18. "And the fruits of the Spirit are love, peace, joy,” &c., Gal. v. 22. He works effectually. He teaches us by the law to despair of nature and self, and revives and comforts with hope of full and perfect salvation in Jesus. But while the Spirit of truth sows the good seed of the kingdom in the heart, Satan sows tares to spring up and choke it. He works upon our unbelief, practises his devilish art upon our carnal reason, and suggests that God is an implacable enemy, the meek Lamb a devouring lion, the gospel a cun. ningly devised fable; or requires such hard terms as we can never fulfil; therefore misery, wrath, and hell must be our doom. He is ever an implacable adversary to salvation by Jesus, by sovereign love and distin. guishing grace. Such terrors are to be prayed against, rather than covered. David knew whence they came, “ Because of the voice of the enemy, and the oppression of the wicked one,
Look to that precious promise, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him," and put him to flight, Isa. lix. 19.
MAY 23.—The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will be withhold from them who walk uprightly.-Psal. lxxxiv. 11.
Vulgar minds have very contracted ideas of the magnitude of that glorious luminary, the sun. The most knowing form but very inadequate notions of its nature and properties. We daily see his power, and feel his influence. These he incessantly sheds upon the whole creation freely. How vain and arrogant would be be, who should assert that he could procure the cheering light and comforting warmth of the sun! Dwells there in the breast of man a thought, that he can procure the light of grace: or, by his doings, merit salvation from Jehovah? Yes : so vain, so arrogant, is that vile worm, that weak creature, proud, fallen man.
By sin, how stript of all but shamel by pride, he " opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God," 2 Thess. ii. 4. But grace, like the streaming light of the sun, freely and powerfully sheds its benign, humbling, comforting influence upon the ungodly and unworthy. So the Lord enlightens and renews the soul of man, makes it fruitful to his glory, and with his almighty arm shields and defends it from the violent attacks of every foe. Grace, as well as glory, is God's free gift.
Children of God, members of Jesus, how safe! salvation, how secure! For all is of rich grace; free favour, unmerited love, unconditional election; not earned by our doings, but freely given by promise. Glory not procured by condition, but freely bestowed through Jesus. See thy portion, believer, read it with joy, dwell on it with triumph. Here is a redundancy of promises ; what the Lord is, what the Lord will give freely, " without money and without price;" all things, every thing for his own glory and his children's good. Love overflows all bounds; gives the fullest vent to its gracious disposition. No good thing will he withhold. From whom? See the character of those on whom the sun of grace hath shined. Is it thine ? They are not in angelic purity, or sinless perfection; but upright, sincere in heart with Jesus, chaste virgins, married to him in faith and love; he is all in all to them," their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. They choose him for their only King to reign in and rule over them; they delight in his work and way; they grieve for, strive and pray against all he forbids. Of their sins they are ashamed; in their own righteousness they have no confidence.
In Jesus, their Bridegroom, they glory. "The upright love thee," Cant. i. 4.