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who pretends to be more religious than all the rest of his neighbours. As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and ever will be; he that is born after the flesh will persecute him that is born after the Spirit, Gal. iv. 29. What then? our enemies no sooner assault us with their tongues, but our God takes our part. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you, 1 Pet. iv. 14.
But, let every disciple see to it, that he suffers as a christian. Take heed, that thy life and conduct be as becometh the gospel. It is a great blessing so to behave, that carnal men can find no just occasion against our moral conduct. This they are judges of. Their eyes are upon us. They watch over us for evil. This ought to make us very circumspect. Our religion they abhor. For this, every follower of the Lamb is sure to be hated, for his Master's sake. Woe be unto us, when all men speak well of us, saith our Master, Luke vi. 26. They seek enough against us, as to oạr faith, hope and life. And some would as surely cast us into a den of lions, as they did Daniel, were it practicable, and permitted. Yet they could not deprive him of the love, presence, and protection of the Son of God. These make every place a heaven of delight and joy. And when hated of all men for his sake, he pronounces us blessed, bids us rejoice, and hath left us an example, patiently to follow his steps.
Christ's dying prayer for his very murderers, was, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Ignorance of the truth is the cause of hatred and malice against his servants. Hast not thou a heart to pity and a tongue to pray for thine enemies? Here we may indulge sweet revenge. These weapons we may always use. And how knowest thou, but the most furious persecutor, like Paul, may be a chosen vessel of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and ere to-morrow's sun the grace of the Holy Spirit may make him a humble penitent? 6 Who maketh thee to
differ from another? or what hast thou that thou didst not receive ?” 1 Cor. iv. 7.
JUNE 12.–For Christ is entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.--Heb. ix. 24.
How highly was Zacharias honoured! He heard the gospel of salvation from the mouth of an angel; who said, “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God, and am sent unto thee, to show thee these glad tidings.' But we see the awful effects of unbelief. Though thus beloved and honoured of God, yet he was struck dumb for a season, Luke i. 20. Though God most dearly loves his people in Christ, yet he sees their sins, and with fatherly affection chastises for them. Do we not see somewhat of our own case here? For, as faith inspires the heart and tongue with boldness, so unbelief strikes us dumb. We cannot speak a word or offer a plea for our poor souls, if faith lose sight of Jesus. But he never forgets us. Our souls are never neglected by him. The Lamb is in the midsi of the throne for us. In our nature, in the same human body which was hanged on the tree, with the five pierced wounds of his hands, his feet, and precious side, he appears in the presence of God. There, like some victorious conqueror, who has gloriously delivered his country from the cruelty and rage of a merciless enemy, he glories in the scars he received in the field of battle.
When Jesus wept over dead Lazarus, See how he loved him! said the Jews. But when poor sinners think of our dear Lord's wounds, crucifixion, agonies, and death, Oh, what infinitely greater reason have we to say, See how he loved us! see how he still loves us ! Notwithstanding all our base, unloving behaviour to him, still, Oh, soul-affecting truth! still he appears before God for us; he presents his once mangled body, he pleads his once bleeding wounds in our behalf, as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, for our salvation. Thus glorified, Jesus now appears in the presence of God for us; as our dear Mediator, loving Lord, and precious Saviour, our affectionate Advocate, and powerful Intercessor. But saith the adversary, "This is a cunningly devised fable.” What profit is this to me? saith carnal reason, backed with unbelief. But the Spirit of truth bears witness to this, first, in type and figure under the law; and, now, in reality and substance in the gospel. To this very end, that at any time, when sin burdens the conscience, sorrow bows down the heart, doubts arise in the mind, and fears oppress the spirit, the poor sinner may, with confidence, thus consider Jesus, look unto him, and call upon him; and find this to be the food of his faith, and the support of his soul: for “ if God (Jesus) be for us, who can be against us?” Rom. viii. 31.
JUNE 13.-And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.-Matt. i. 21.
O precious birth! precious son! precious name! The Holy Ghost brings consolation to the hearts of poor sinners, from the belief of the manhood of Jesus. To this end, he bears so particular witness in the word of Christ's conception and birth. It is our happiness, at all times, to consider the Saviour as “Immanuel, God with us;" our Brother; “flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone.” Thus to conceive of Jesus, is a sweet mystery, joyfully known to believing hearts.
The name of Jesus is above every name to us; it is as precious ointment poured forth;" it diffuseth the sweet odour of the Father's everlasting love, issuing in our eternal salvation. In the name of Jesus the whole gospel lies hid. By his work he saves us. Here is no if, perhaps, or peradventure; but a positive declaration what he absolutely shall do. He shall save his people
from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for them; from the wrath of God due to them, by suffering in their stead; from the punishment their sins deserve, by the atonement of his precious blood; from the guilt of sin in their conscience, by the sprinkling of his blood through faith ; from the love and power of sin in their hearts, by his Spirit, regenerating and renewing them in the spirit of their minds. So that they are as perfectly saved in Jesus from all sin, as if they had never fallen into sin. And all this, by no strength, power, or ability of theirs. Here is blessed work for faith to glory in!
Whom does Jesus thus save? "His people:” all his people, of every kindred, nation, tribe, and tongue, even all that the Father hath given him, John xvii. 9. Who are partakers of this precious salvation ? Every one, who believes in Jesus. It is free for all who will come to him. All, who do come, and trust in him, find he is Jesus, their salvation. Obeliever! here is the nature, the
name, the work of thy precious Jesus to look to, and live upon from day to day. It is thy mercy, that salvation is his work, and he hath finished it. It is thy comfort, to believe this daily. It is thy duty, to give him all the glory. The more light thou receivest from the word and Spirit of truth, so much the more wilt thou see of thine own vile, sinful nature, and abhor thyself. How long? even until thou receivest the end of thy faith, the salvation of thy soul. Then wilt thou eternally glory in ascribing all salvation, from first to last, to God and the Lamb, Rev. vii. 10.
JUNE 14.-It is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.—Phil. ii. 13.
It is the peculiar blessing of new creatures in Christ to be “ renewed in knowledge." As we advance in the divine life, we more clearly understand the heights and depths of the mysteries of God's grace by his word and
Spirit: so we also feel more and more of the workings of the mystery of iniquity within us. Therefore, such have done with talking of their own free will, and works of righteousness having any share in obtaining salvation. These notions are the weeds of nature. They spring from pride. Pride is interwoven with our very constitution and being. This opposes and rebels against our own mercies, even the free-grace truths of the gospel. But it is the exercise of faith, to bow to God's sovereign will, submit to Christ's righteousness, and adore his Spirit, who worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Disciple of Jesus, thou art sweetly constrained to own this, from the rich experience of the truth upon thy own soul. What is the natural bent of thy free will, but to reject Jesus the Lord of life and glory? Its language is, “I will not have this man to reign over me." I have other and better lovers, and after them I will go. I will enjoy the pleasures of sin. I will love the world; I will take my full swing in the gay delights, pleasing profits, and glorious honours of it. I will be saved in my own way, for my own works: I will not be indebted to be saved wholly by grace. Thus, the natural free will of man speaks plain, by its affections and actions, through the darkness of the understanding. Thy free will was, to destroy thyself. The will of Jesus was, to save thee. Therefore, in the day of his power his Spirit made thee willing to come to him for life and salvation. With free choice, and cheerful willingness, thou camest in faith, as a perishing sinner, to a precious Saviour. Wilt thou any more ascribe glory to thy will? Shall thy power share in the trophies of thy Lord ? Nay, shall not free, sovereign, unmerited grace have all the glory? Is not this thy constant, humble prayer? “Leave me not to myself; for without thee, O Jesus, I can do nothing, nothing but sin against thee, and wound my own soul." Yet I delight in the law of God after the inward man, and "to do those things which are pleasing in his sight.”