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August 9.-Great peace have they who love thy law; and nothing shall offend them.—Psalm cxix. 165.
All peace and tranquillity of mind arises from knowledge and love of God's law. But, hath not the apostle told us, "the law worketh wrath ?” Rom. iv. 15. Have not believers felt wrath in their conscience, through "the knowledge of sin by the law ?" Yes, verily. But this law, the moral law, is subservient to the everlasting law of love, the eternal covenant of grace and peace; therefore “it was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come,” to whom the promise was made; even Jesus, the Seed of the woman, in whom the law of peace and salvation centred, of whom the ceremonial law was a shadow, and by whose holy life the moral law received perfect obedience to all its demands, and a full satisfaction for all its curses and penalties by his sin-atoning sacrifice.
This eternal law or purpose of God was manifested by promise from Jehovah himself, to the sin-convicted pair immediately after their fall; and confirmed again both by promise and oath to Abraham and his seed, which is Christ. This law or covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect,” Gal. iii. 17. No; this law of life by promise is sure to all the seed." It is immutable, unchangeable; therefore not one of them can perish. Hence, this law of salvation is the delight of believers. They have great peace from it. For they know “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death," Rom. viii. 2. They say, "Oh, how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." This Paul calls the law of faith, Rom. iii. 27. Though many things from within and without grieve and offend them, yet nothing from the law of grace and truth, which came by Jesus Christ, shall. Christ is not " a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence" to them. They stumble not at the word of his grace; are not offended that salvation is all of grace,
according to election through the blood and righteousness of Christ, applied to their souls, in faith by the Holy Spirit. No; all this is their consolation and joy. Christ's precepts do not offend them; "his commandments are not grievous,” 1 John v. 3. Thus they confidently and comfortably hope for eternal life, by God's purpose and grace, according to his everlasting law of love, and free gift by Jesus Christ, Rom. vi. 23.
AUGUST 10.—The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, &c.-James iii. 17.
True knowledge centres in one point, namely, that Christ is our only wisdom; even as the sun is the only source of all light. From hence, light is communicated to the dark earth freely. As that hath no power to influence the sun to shed forth its comforting beams of light; so neither are we able or willing while in a state of sin and folly to exert any power to procure wisdom. But unasked, unsought, unmerited Jesus, who is emphatically styled Wisdom, came down from above that wisdom might once more be found in our nature. In Him most conspicuously shone forth every perfection of purity, peace, gentleness, &c.
This is our gospel, to believe that Jesus hath thus "abounded towards us in all wisdom," Eph. i. 8. So also it is the rich experience of all his members, that "out of his fulness we all receive." Hence, we are made wise unto salvation, for we know, love, and approve of Jesus, as "made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” This is our chief glory, to glory in Him who is our greatest glory. This is our highest wisdom, to glory in Him who is our wisdom. Nature with all its powers is averse to this; but wis. dom seeks and apprehends us, causes us to hear her voice, to be in love with her beauty, or we never should have had so much as one desire after her. The cry after wisdom is wisdom in the heart. A desire aftor
Jesus is from his being made known to the soul. Thus Christ goes before us. He first cometh from above to us; then we soar from beneath towards him.
This is the purity of true wisdom; it hath no mix. ture with anything from beneath. All the human systems and carnal schemes which the “wise of this world" call religion, as well as the impurity of the flesh, it turns from. It brings purity of affection to Jesus only, like a chaste virgin who has but one object of love: it brings peace to the soul through the same object. Thus where Christ dwells in the heart by faith, that soul dwells. in wisdom, and is united to purity and peace, &c. When the soul hath but once tasted this wisdom that cometh from above, there is an insatiable thirst after more; that so, from this uncorrupted fountain, the pleasing streams of purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, and good fruits may incessantly flow. "Thus wisdom is justified of all her children,” Matt. xi. 19.
AUGUST 11.--Now I know thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.-Gen. xxii. 12.
So spake Jesus to his friend of old. What! did not God know that Abraham feared him before this? Doubtless he did. But now in the exercise of faith and love he approved himself to God. He gave full evidence that God's commandments are not grievous; but that it was his joy and delight to obey his God. Lord, give what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt, is the breathing of faith and love! Thus was the faith of Abraham justified by its fruits. Seest thou how his faith wrought by his works? And by works he gave full proof that he possessed the faith of God's elect. Thus he obtained this glorious testimony to his own soul, from the mouth of the Lord, Now I know that thou fearest God with a loving, filial fear. Thy faith worketh by love; it has influenced thy heart
Jesus, is “
to this eminent act of cheerful, unreserved obedience to me. His faith consulted not flesh and blood, it surmounted carnal reason. The command of the Lord was the only rule of his conduct. He both sacrificed and enjoyed his Isaac. Thus saith Jesus to every
be. liever, “ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you,” John xv. 14. The Spirit of God, by James, styles him a “ vain man," who thinks he has faith without works, James ii. 20. For both his soul and his faith are dead.
It is our wisdom to know that justification in the sight of God, through the blood and righteousness of
perfect and entire, lacking nothing." This is received by faith only. But this belief cannot exist without its object, Jesus; therefore cannot be alone in the heart without love. Faith works by love, and love lives by faith. An inward faith manifests itself by obedience as an outward evidence. Thus the believer's works are manifest, that they are wrought in God, and that the soul walks in the light of God's truth and love. But, alas ! it is an awful case amongst professors, as Paul said on another occasion :
Many are sick and weak among you, and many are fallen asleep," through intoxicating draughts of the love of this world, and living after the flesh. Such have no inward testimony that they please God. They possess not joy and peace in believing. They give no outward evidence that they are married to the Lamb, and live by faith on him. Examine thy own soul, O christian, whether thou art in the faith; prove thy own self. Knowest thou not thy own self, how that Jesus Christ is in thee, except thou be a reprobate? 2 Cor. xiii. 5.
AUGUST 12.—Whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom. viii. 30.
What poor scanty thoughts do we too often entertain of the love and beneficence of our covenant God! At
best our conceptions are too contracted.
We are straitened in our own bowels, while we have no cause to be straitened in our Lord's superabounding grace. Little reason have we to borrow contracted thoughts of God's love from Egyptian task-masters. Our own corrupt nature, too, too often furnishes us with carnal pleas and unbelieving suggestions, which weaken our faith, cool our love, damp our zeal, deject our spirits, and grieve our hearts. Simple hearts should have nothing to do, but with the plain, simple truths of God. Hath the Lord said it ? He will also do it. Faith defies Satan's power, and smiles at human contradictions. Though humble souls lie low in self-abasement, yet their views are exalted to the highest confidence, by God's purposes, declarations, and promises in Christ Jesus. So they are established in the truth. Be this
All the blessings of grace and glory are sure to every believer; for all such are in Jesus, beloved, justified, and saved in the sight of God. So also in themselves, they are discharged from guilt, absolved from punishment, acquitted from the curse of the law. When the Comforter brings the sweet knowledge of this to the conscience, then how do they triumph in Jesus ! Satan cannot see this without envy. Then he stirs up all the powers of nature and corrupt reason to stop their glorying. Some miserable teachers are not aware whom they serve, when they talk of the righteous, justified members of Christ, being consigned over to eternal damnation. Justification by faith is a fruit of electing love. All such as are chosen to salvation can never perish. St. Austin says, “If any of the elect perish, God is deceived; but God is not deceived, therefore none of the elect can perish; for the Lord knoweth who are his." In Jesus they have a sure right and title to glory. And, the Lord the Spirit glorifies every justified soul. The church, the King's daughter, he makes all glorious within now. So each member hath a meetness for glory above. The glory of God lies