« PreviousContinue »
upon the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." By the faith of Jesus we renounce and forsake all these things, as our curse and shame. The clearer views we have of Christ's glory, and the stronger our faith is in him, so much the more we become dead to all things beside him. Thus it is manifest who are the disciples of Jesus. Their Master so teacheth them. We have need to pray daily, Sun of righteousness, shine brighter on our minds! Lord, increase our faith! For the flesh, with its affections and lusts, still abides with us; and as the life of Jesus increaseth, through faith in the heart, so shall we, more and more, groan under what is contrary thereto. The victory is obtained only through faith. In its nature very simple, but in its fruits and effects most comprehensive. For, , hereby, we enjoy more happiness and comfort in Christ, than all that this present world can give us. Ye sons of earth, ye disdain us; we pity you. As ye are now, , 80 once were we. We enjoyed your carnal gratifications, and feasted on your vain delights too, too long. We confess it, and grieve for it. Now we have found Jesus, we have another and a better life. In divine pleasures, spiritual joys from Christ, and sweet communion with him, we anticipate future glory. We enjoy a heaven of comfort in a world of sorrow. Therefore, in forsaking all, we gain all. In following Jesus, though painful and grievous to the flesh, we reap spiritual consolation and joy to our souls. Our greatest honour upon earth is to be his disciples. Our greatest glory is to confess him. And our chief happiness is to walk worthy of him. Experience will ever prove, that he who walks most by faith will be the most comforted disciple. He who lives nearest Christ in faith, will follow him closest in love; and, con. sequently, keep at the greatest distance from the world's vain pleasures, and the carnal delights of the flesh. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," Rom. viii. 13.
JAN. 26.—Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.-1 Tim. ii. 6.
The gospel is quite sufficient to answer every objection, and to silence every cavil against salvation by Christ. This sacred oracle we are to consult day after day. Do we ask, Why are any sinners saved ? It assures us God hath loved them; this is the cause. If we inquire, How doth God save them? It tells us, In à way of strict justice, consistent with the honour of his law, the perfection of his righteousness, holiness, and truth. Therefore redemption is by stipulated price, the blood of the covenant, the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without spot. Do we seek to know who are the redeemed of the Lord ? Jesus assures us,
gave his life a ransom for many,” (Matt. xx. 28.) even for all which the Father hath given him, John vi. 39.
God's word mentions no one in particular; but sets forth salvation in general and extensive terms: it is exactly suited to the most vile and accursed state of sinners, perfectly sufficient to relieve the mind, encour. age hope, forbid despair, under a sense of the most complicated sins and accumulated guilt of lost, wretched, and undone souls. For the ransom of Jesus is sufficient, all-sufficient. The price he paid for our redemption is fully equivalent to satisfy for all our transgressions, and to answer every demand of law and justice. To this very end Christ gave himself. So is he testified of in the gospel of grace. This essential and important inquiry, Have I redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of my sins? is also explicitly answered: for "he that believeth shall be saved," "he is justified from all things.” Thus the Holy Ghost testifies in the word. Where this is received and believed in the heart, the same Spirit also bears witness to it with our spirits. And the faith of God's elect is evidenced, by bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit.
There is a time, a due time, when Christ shall be thus testified of, to the souls of all God's chosen. The ransom-price being paid, he will set the captives free, and “say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways [of light and truth ;] and their pastures shall be in all high places, (even the mountains of consolation, and the hills of joy.] They shall not hunger nor thirst [after any other hope but Jesus;] neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them;[trials and afflictions shall profit them:] he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, [they shall not walk in their own crooked ways,] even by the springs of water [of refreshment and holiness) shall he guide them,” Isa. xlix. 9, 10.
JAN. 27.—Jesus said, When ye pray, say, Our Father, &c.—Luke xi. 2.
Faith in the heart excites prayer from the lips. So the faith of God's elect manifests itself. It cometh from the Lord the Spirit. By it, the soul is led to Jesus the Mediator; and by him, to God the Father. So each person in the Godhead is known, worshipped, and glorified by believing souls. While we see and feel nothing of our misery and wants, no marvel prayer is an irksome task. From a sight of ourselves, and the knowledge of Jesus, we come to him daily with simplicity of heart, Master, teach us to pray! Our highest honour, sweetest privilege, most blessed exercise, is to draw nigh to God. What greater on earth, than to come to the throne of the King of kings ? And that fear and shame may not beset and keep us back, knowing our vile nature and sinful practice, hear our Saviour's encouraging direction, "When ye pray, say, Our Father," &c.
But can it be, that I, a child of wrath by nature, a son of perdition by sin, a vassal and slave of Satan by practice, and accursed by the holy law; can it be that God will receive, own, hear, and bless me as his child? Yes: grace triumphs over nature's deserts : love glories over creature's demerits. The lips of truth have said it, and who dare reverse it? Then by the sword of the Spirit slay the unbelief of thy heart. What Jesus hath taught his disciples to call God, that he is to them. As Jesus is the Saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe, so God is the universal Parent of all; but in an especial manner, the Father of all the dear members of his beloved Son ;-a Father, by covenant love, by election of grace, by precious promise, by strict justice ;-a Father in holiness and truth, because of the suretyship, the righteousness, the atonement, and the holiness of Jesus. And the weakest, feeblest be. liever in Christ is a member of him, and possesseth him, with all his blessings, as man and Mediator. He is in Christ, and one with him. Hence God is the Father of all such. He loveth them with complacency and delight. The paternal affections of his heart ever yearn over them. How blessed this in doctrine! how joyful in experience! seek we an evidence, that God is our Father, and that he loves us ? our Lord gives it. “The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God," John xvi. 27. Children's hearts should continually be drawn out to their Father, in holy affection, fervent desires, and humble confidence. For, "we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Christ," Eph. iii. 12.
JAN. 28.-Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.—Heb. x. 36.
Are the christian's exercises great, and his patience small ? Yet, can be ever be at a loss to know, by whom this
grace is increased ? Verily, the Lord he serveth is "the God of patience," Rom. xv. 5. Hath he need of patience? Hear the Comforter's declaration, by St. Paul, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory.” Mind, disciple, this is covenant mercy; therefore, with every other grace, it comes through a Mediator: hence it is added, " by Jesus Christ,” Phil. iv. 19. We have done the will of God, when we
believe on the name of his Son Jesus, and love one another," 1 John iii. 23. Hence, "all the promises are in Christ Jesus yea and amen," sure and certain to every such soul. " By faith we have the earnest of eternal life.” “Having received the firstfruits, the harvest shall follow in due season." there are many conflicts to be engaged in, a great fight of afflictions to be endured on earth, before we shall be crowned in glory; therefore, patience is necessary. Patience must have its perfect work. By faith we stand, by patience we endure. Believing, we look forward in hope; this brings patience in sufferings.
But Satan has a very poignant dart, which he dared to cast at Jesus; no marvel that he shoots it against us also; "If thou be the Son of God," why doth thy loving Father suffer such distress and affliction to fall on thee? Faith can answer,
Father's will. All is from his love, all shall be to his glory; and all shall be for the good and profit of my soul. I cannot doubt his love, I dare not murmur against his dispensations, I desire patience under all, I will not cast away my confidence; time is short, sufferings are but for å moment, eternity is near, afflictions are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. “Through Jesus, we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience,” Rom. v. 1-3." Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith," Heb. x. 37, 38. Christ accomplisheth the most glorious things in us by degrees. Patience must endure the whole military ex. ercise. It is as necessary as faith to the enjoyment of