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&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 cunningly 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 distinguishing 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," verse 3. 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 with. hold from them who walk uprightly.-Psal. lxxxiv. 11.
Vulgar minds have very contracted ideas of the mag. nitude 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! salva. tion, 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 gra. cious 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 for. bids. 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.
MAY 24.-The Father himself loveth you.—John xvi. 27.
The history of the life of sorrows, and death of shame, curse, and agony which Jesus sustained for sina ners, were this believed perfectly in the heart, would fill us with the strongest affection, and inflame us with the most fervent love. But, alas ! all have reason to complain, for want of stronger faith in and greater love to Christ. O unbelief, what an enemy to love! Our love keeps pace with our faith. As one grows stronger, the other increaseth. But if faith grows weak, love declines. Yet, no one sinner, who believes the record of Jesus' love and salvation, as his only hope and confidence, but love, in some degree, is drawn out to Jesus; for "faith worketh by love." The soul in its first love, and for a season, perhaps, thinks more of the love of Christ than the love of the Father. It may be he considers, that what the Saviour did and suffered for sinners, was to procure the love of the Father to them, and to appease the fury of his wrath against them. But this is not right. Let no disciple think so, For, saith the Saviour," the Father himself loveth you." Yea, he teacheth us the love of the Father, as the only source and spring of his coming in the flesh, to save us ; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John iii. 16.
Hence it is plain, God the Father loves sinners, loves them inexpressibly, with the greatest affection. For he gave-whom ? an angel ? an archangel ? myriads of the heavenly host? No; but one infinitely more dear to him, his Son, his only begotten, his dearly beloved Son, who lay in his bosom from all eternity, that we might "believe on him, and live in him." . So, the effect proves the cause. It is plain, the love of the Father to his people was prior to the Son's coming into the world to save them, or to their belief on Jesus. For, says he, “no man can come unto me, except the Father draw him," John vi. 44. And because the Father hath loved us with an everlasting love, therefore, with loving kindness he draws to Jesus. “Behold," O ye followers of the Lamb, “what manner of love the Father bath bestowed on us," 1 John iii. 1. Trace his love to the fountain-head. The Holy Spirit teacheth, that “God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in him, and hath predestinated us to the adoption of children by Christ to himself." To what end? even "to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved,” Eph. i. 6.
May 25.—I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, such an one caught up to the third heaven. --2 Cor. xii. 2.
Visions, manifestations, raptures, and ecstasies of soul, though even from God himself, (which there is ever good reason to suspect, unless they sink the soul in humility, and excite such love to Jesus, as is founded in knowledge, and productive of obedience,) are not to be gloried of. St. Paul says, It is not expedient for me to glory. I know the danger, I fear the evil of it, from the pride and treachery of my nature. It tends to exalt one above measure ; and to make others think more highly of one than they ought to think. Therefore, on these accounts, glorying of these things is to be avoided. Indeed, the cause of truth may require it, and the glory of God may be promoted by it. Though, on these accounts, it may be expedient to glory; yet, it is not expedient, for the christian's own sake, to do it. So Paul declared. Yet he did glory; for necessity com. pelled him.
Behold, admire, and imitate, the humility of this great apostle, “I knew a man in Christ,” &c. When he speaks of himself, it is as a poor sinner, under the
most humbling, self-abasing views. Then it is I myself, Rom. vii. But here, lest ostentation should appear, he conceals himself, under the character of another man. What a contrast is here, between self-exalting principles, and the grace of the gospel! How widely different this, from the notions which many professors entertain! For, if they can but give a tolerable account of some vision, revelation, or manifestation, which they suppose was from God, they conclude they know their sins are forgiven, and all is well. Perhaps, this may have passed on them fourteen years ago, more or less. But what is their frame and temper now? what their pursuit and practice? If no evidence of faith, hope, love, and obedience; but if, while sunk into carnality, and the love of the world, they are strong in confidence that their sins are forgiven, and bold in hope of the safety of their state ; surely such are blinded to the hope of the gospel, through the spirit of this world. Satan trans. forms himself from a minister of darkness into an angel of light. Luther was wont to caution against the white devil, as well as the black one. By how many ways are we liable to be deluded! How then doth it behove us to be on our guard, searching the scriptures, and praying the Lord to keep us! St. John's advice is ever needful, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” 1 John iv. 1.
MAY 26.-He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.—John vi. 56. ,
This is a great mystery, but a comforting truth in the experience of Christ's members. Our Saviour saith, “It is my meat to do the will of him that sent me." So, it is the believer's privilege, to feed by faith on him that is sent, even the flesh and blood of Jesus ; the man “like unto ourselves in all things. But his flesh is