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this world are left in the darkness, pride, and rebellion of their nature? Oh, what shall I render unto the Lord ? How fearful to offend, how studious to please, how joyful to glorify my God ought I to be, from day to dayi “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith " Heb. xii. 2.
JUNE 4.-And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.—2 Sam. xv. 31.
Clouds gathered very fast and grew very black at this time over the head of king David. His own beloved son had drawn the sword of rebellion ; his subjects flocked in great numbers to him; and to heighten the king's distress, his own counsellor joined the conspiracy. But under all this, David showed himself to be a man after God's own heart. His soul looks through every discouragement. He knew the throne of grace was ever open and accessible, therefore the very tidings that brought sorrow to his heart, he instantly makes the subject of his prayer. Happy conduct! when, before carnal reason is suffered to plead, the prayer of faith is presented. Too, too oft do we, upon hearing disagreeable tidings, consult flesh and blood, before we apply to our ever-loving and faithful friend, Jehovah. This ought not so to be. According to David's faith and prayer, so the Lord answered him. The counsel, which he had reason to dread from Ahithophel, was defeated by the Lord, and turned to his own destruction. Thus the Lord only “is our refuge and strength; a very present help in every time of trouble," Psalm xlvi. 1.
Knowest thou not, disciple, there is treason and rebellion found with thee, against David's Lord, even Jesus thy King? Not greater reason had David to
fear and pray against Ahithophel's counsel, than thou hast daily. As his name signifies “brother of ruin," or folly, it reminds us of the flesh, a brother or partaker of the ruin of sin with the soul; and also, that its wisdom is ever with us, ever counselling and conspiring against the peace and safety, the love and holiness, the joy and happiness of the soul in Christ. It not only counsels against, but also lusts contrary to the spirit
, continually: May this be our daily prayer, in the spirit, and in faith, “O Lord, turn the counsel of our flesh into foolishness, confound its pride, destroy its lusts, subdue its passions, suffer us not to confer with flesh and blood, let us not sow to the flesh; but enable us to confer with thee by faith. May our conversation be in heaven! So strengthen us to put off the old man with his deeds, until we put off the body, to be sown in dishonour, and to be raised in glory.” Is this the cry of our souls ? Verily, then, we assuredly are Davids, dear to and beloved of the Lord. For, he has distinguished us by the gift and grace of his Holy Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit,” Gal. v. 16.
JUNE 5.—Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.—Luke xvii. 3, 4.
Mind this loving word. “Do thyself no harm." The least degree of malice, hatred, or revenge, is contrary to the genius of the gospel, inconsistent with the character of a disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus. But our Master knows what is in man; that his mem. bers are composed of flesh, as well as spirit; and there. fore liable to offend, one against another, so as to hurt and injure each other, in the peace of their minds and fellowship of their spirits. So also, they cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of by the adversaries
, who are glad at every advantage to cry out, “Oh, these
your saints ! see how full of wrath they are; how they bite and devour each other." Therefore, “take heed to yourselves," saith the Head to his members. Watch against this evil. Offences will come. I teach you how to behave. Suppose thy brother trespass against thee, pity his weakness; pray for him by name, to thy Father and his Father. Beware of angry resentment. If he aggravates his offence, by frequent repetition, thou shalt in no wise hate thy brother; but, as oft as he offends, if he, as often, “turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." But are we not to forgive him until, and unless, he do turn and say, I repent? In one sense we ought; perhaps not in another. We must not, at our peril
, entertain anger, or let the sun go down on our wrath; but in our hearts freely and fully forgive an offending brother. But what if he remains stubborn, and persists in a spirit of bitterness ? Even then we are to forgive him in our hearts, and be desirous of embracing him in love.
But may we not justly suspend declaring our for, giveness to him, until he turn and say, I repent? Herein have we not God's word and method as our example? Though God loves his people in Christ, and for his sake pardons their sins; yet, until they actually turn to him, and repent, he does not manifest bis pardon and love to them. But let us ever remember, as God's thoughts of love are toward us, before we turn to him, so our thoughts of love should be to our offending brethren, ere they turn to us. Doth the Lord Jesus require us to forgive every repeated offence, even until seventy times seven, four hundred and ninety times daily ? Surely then, he will magnify his love, and display his mercy, in pardoning the innumerable offences of all who turn to him. Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you,' Eph. iv. 32.
JUNE 6.-And I said, This is my infirmity.-Psalm lxxvii. 10.
While in the body, we are in such an imperfect state, as to be liable to various exercises of mind, through indwelling corruptions, and the suggestions of Satan. Saints in all ages have experienced fluctuating frames. Like mariners on a tempestuous sea, at one time they seem to mount up to heaven, in comfort and joy ; at another, they sink down, in apprehension, to the depths of hell : then like persons at their wits' end, they express themselves in a very unreasonable manner. Doubt and uncertainty take place of knowledge and truth; unbelief seems to prevail against faith; and they are ready to call all in question : not only past sweet experiences of God's love to their souls ; but the very existence of God's promises, faithfulness and truth. And they write with the pen of inspiration (though not of the Spirit of truth, but of a lying spirit) many false and bitter things against themselves. Woe is me,
I am undone," saith Isaiah. “Woe is me," saith Jeremiah. "Without were fightings, within were fears," say the apostles. “I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul,” saith David. And in this psalm hope seems to be, as it were, giving up the ghost, and with languid, faint accents breathes, “Will the Lord cast off for ever? will be be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he, in anger, shut up his tender mercies ?" So that you see, O tossed, tempted, tried believer, this is the way saints in all ages have gone to glory. Thou hast thy lot with them now; soon thou also shalt be where they are. But Oh, what a gloomy prospect, what soul-distressing views must that poor sinner have, who lives upon his frames, whose hope springs from his own faithfulness, or trusts to the exercise of his own grace, instead of the God of all grace, the blessed Jesus, "who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!” How comforting ! how
heart-reviving to know that the Lord, "who sent redemption unto his people, will ever be mindful of his covenant, which standeth fast for ever!" Psalm cxi. 5. Therefore the Holy Spirit stands engaged, in covenantcontract, to execute his office, as the Comforter. When he is pleased to revive the soul with the views of Jesus, his glorious work and finished salvation, Satan skulks away, like a mean, abashed liar: the believer returns to his right mind, takes shame to himself, and says, That I should ever doubt of thy love, call in question thy truth, and suspect thy faithfulness; O my God, this is my infirmity !
JUNE 7.-Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. -John xi. 3.
To have Jesus continually live in our thoughts should be our daily study. To keep a sweet intercourse open between Christ and the soul should be our constant exercise. To be watchful against every bold intruder, that would interrupt our communion with the Saviour, is our greatest wisdom. Thus, through the Spirit's aid, a holy freedom and humble familiarity is maintained with Christ and our hearts. Why should we not be aiming thus to anticipate heaven? For, Jesus never intermits in his love to us, care over us, and presence with us. Through such a happy conduct
, we shall enjoy an abiding sense of this. Then, when sin assaults, Satan attacks, temptations beset, afflictions surround, sickness overtakes, sorrow bows down, death threatens, or whatever may be our state, how comforting when the twin sisters of faith and hope, like the two sisters of Lazarus, carry our case to the Master, with, “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick ? Short, but very expressive. Not like the nobleman's importunate prayer, “Sir, come down, ere my son die but a simple message. They knew the love and power of Jesus. They doubted not his speed. It is enough
be G ne to