Page images
PDF
EPUB

he is esteemed a precious Saviour. The operations of the Spirit prove that he is the Comforter, by thus leading us to Christ. Hence faith and experience go hand in hand. There remaineth for the people of God a rest, perfect and uninterrupted in glory. We have the earnest of the inheritance of it on earth; by faith we enter into it. And while we abide in Jesus, we enjoy rest. Who is able to conceive, who can describe the tumult of conscience, the distress of soul, under a feeling sense of sin and fear of wrath ? None but that heart which knows its own bitterness. Who can express the sweet peace, the calm repose of that soul which finds rest in Jesus? It is a joy which a stranger intermeddles not with.

It was God's command under the law, “When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war for one year," Deut. xxiv. 5. This is sometimes the case with the children of faith. When they are first married to the Lamb, and have just entered into his rest, the sound of war is not heard in their camp for a season. Jesus keeps their souls in undisturbed repose. No enemy is suffered to annoy them. The joyful sound of the jubilee-trumpet proclaims in their hearts full freedom, and sweet liberty from the guilt of sin, the bondage of the law, and the tyranny of Satan. Hence they are apt to conclude their enemies are all dead, and they shall see war no more. But it is not so. Our enemies live and are mighty. Bless Jesus for rest. Fear not thine enemies. Know, thou must continue in the militant state whilst in the flesh. But here is the mystery of faith, to triumph in the victory of Jesus. Whilst all are in arms against the soul; though troubled, distressed, perplexed on every side; fightings without, fears within ; though there is no rest from any other quarter, yet it is the sweet privilege of disciples to rest in Jesus. Saith Paul to the dear children, “to you, who are troubled, rest with us," 2 Thess. i. 7. Abide in Jesus. Rest satisfied. Shortly your Saviour shall be revealed from heaven, to destroy all your enemies, and make you for ever happy in his rest and glory. Dis. ciple, indulge not a murmuring thought against thy Sovereign. Expect rest no where but in him. If the world smiles, it is pleasing to the flesh, but a snare to the soul. “ Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest; it is polluted,” Micah ii. 10. If you have now entered into rest by faith, labour to enter the promised rest in glory, Heb. iv. 11.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

SEPT. 27.-Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation : he that believeth shall not make haste.--Isa. xxviii. 16.

A day is coming when every man's work shall be tried. The foundation of the Lord stands sure. But every other foundation shall be destroyed. He who is built on Jesus, and derives all his hopes of life and salvation from him, is safe in time, and secure to all eternity. Before men begin to build, they draw a plan, and every wise builder looks carefully to the foundation ; for on this depends the safety of the superstructure.

The plan of salvation was drawn in the eternal counsel. It is founded in the love of the Father; effected by the obedience and sufferings of his Son. Hence, what was contrived in infinite wisdom above, is laid as a sure foundation in the church below, by the love and power of the Spirit, the Comforter. It is his peculiar office to lay this foundation in Zion, and to manifest and make known to the prophets and apostles, teachers and saints, that Jesus is the only foundation; as a stone, for strength; a tried stone, approved of by the Father, and by his children in all ages; a precious corner-stone, the ornament and beauty, as well as strength and security, of the whole church. Precious is Jesus in all his offices to them that believe: a sure foundation; sure to all the seed; certain to all the purposes of their salvation. And, as the Lord the Spirit lays this foundation in the church, in the truth of doctrine'; so also in the faith and experience of all redeemed souls.

What the word speaks of Jesus, that we prove and find him to be. This is our mercy. “He that believeth shall not make haste." He shall possess such serenity and composure of mind, that he shall not be frightened, in times of distress and calamity, to quit his confidence; not be ashamed of his hope in the Lord. Being well satisfied that Jesus reigns, that the government of his church is upon his shoulders, and the residue of the Spirit with him; he will, by faith, patiently wait and quietly hope for the fulfilment of every promise. Sin and Satan shall not overcome him. In the awful article of death he shall not be confounded, because his heart standeth fast, believing in the Lord. And when Jesus his friend appears, he shall stand forth with boldness; and shall find an abundant entrance into the presence of God and the Lamb, to live, and love, and reign, in glory for ever

“Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner-stone,” Eph. ii. 20.

and ever.

SEPT. 28.-But the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.- John xiv. 26.

Our blessed Lord here gives us the clearest discovery of the ever-glorious three Persons in covenant, for our salvation. In this knowledge lies all our hope. From this belief springs all our comfort. In the love of this is our heaven upon earth. For the knowledge, belief, and love of this truth, we are wholly indebted to the Comforter. He teaches all things : not by any

new light or fresh revelation; but he graciously in. structs and comforts us, by the same light of truth and love, which beam forth in the first promise, and which shone brighter and brighter in prophecies, types, and shadows, until the substance, Jesus, was come. Then the canon of revealed truth was completed by the apostles, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost. The substance of which is, what Jesus spake, did, and suffered, on our account, as our substitute, and for our salvation.

It is the peculiar office of the Spirit to glorify Jesus, and to sanctify us. This he doth by the word of truth: teaching us the Father's electing love in Jesus, and directing our eyes to him, as made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Let no man deceive us with expectations of new revelations from heaven, or new truths to comfort us; but ever hear Paul, “ Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than

that ye have received, let him be accursed,” Gal. i. 8. Let us prize and study the gospel. In and by that the Spirit teaches and comforts. In everlasting love, and the most ancient truth, he establishes us. We are poor sinners from day to day. We feel many things in and around us to deject and distress us. When we remember, what sin hath done to us, brought on us, and exposed us to, we are in fears and doubts what will become of us. But the Comforter brings to our minds the transcendently rich love of Jesus; what he undertook, spake, and did in life, suffered in death, and still lives to plead for us, in our behalf, before the throne. Oh the heartfelt joy of this! He relieves our minds, and refreshes our spirits by the knowledge of the truth. So he teaches us self-despair, animates us to go on in the path of holiness, and fortifies us to withstand all that is against us. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption, Ephes. iv. 30.

SEPT. 29.—Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.-Rom. viii. 12.

Christianity teaches us to owe no man anything. He is prudent, who keeps his accounts clear, and knows to whom he is indebted. He is grateful, who owns favours with just sentiments. If this be necessary and commendable in the economy of this short life, how much more so in things of a spiritual and eternal na. ture! How wise, how just to render to all their dues! If we are debtors to the flesh, let us serve that; but if to the Lord, it is our duty and privilege to serve him. What owest thou, O christian, to the flesh? verily, neither suit nor service. But, alas! thou hast obeyed its sinful motions, gratified its corrupt lusts; and what hast thou reaped, but shame and sorrow? These are the only fruits that sin and folly bear. The flesh, with its corruptions and lusts, is at enmity to thy God, and at war against thy soul. Willingly to give place to such an enemy, to fulfil the lusts and live after the sinful desires of the flesh, will most assuredly weaken thy confidence in Jesus, and bring death upon thy peace and comfort. Yea, "if ye live after the flesh ye shall die.” Lord, strengthen us daily to deny its demands and mortify its lusts ! for we are not debtors to the flesh, but to the Spirit—debtors, in an immense sum of love and gratitude. Time can never discharge it. We shall be paying this debt through a never-ending eternity.

The gospel is no licentious doctrine. True, it sets at liberty, but it is from the most galling yoke, and most servile drudgery to sin and lusts. But yet it binds the soul, in sweetest bonds of grateful service and loving obedience, to Jesus, the best of Masters. What owest thou to the Spirit, О christian? write upon thy heart, Even all my present peace, all my future hopes. For, he it is who convinced thee of sin, revealed the love of God in Christ, gave thee power to believe, and grace to repent. He fills thee with joy and peace in believing. He bears witness with thy spirit, and assures

« PreviousContinue »