Page images
PDF
EPUB

I say unto you, that

every

idle nord that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matt. xii. 36.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, &c.

Eph. iv. 29; See also chap. v. 4. HERE all corrupt communication, jesting, foolish talking, or whatever is not convenient and good to the use of edifying, is plainly forbidden. But who truly believes the report and the truth of these awful words ! Surely the world does not believe them at all. This is quite plain, from that very common and shocking practice of judging, lying, swearing, jesting, and talking all manner of filthiness; yea, even religious people very often do not believe and consider them enough. How many heedless, slanderous, idle, and unprofitable words are sometimes spoken by these! Be therefore careful, O my reader, to weigh every word, and to make light of none; for such will increase thine account. Whenever we are going to speak, let the question be first, Is it needful to speak? does it tend to the glory of God ? will it profit me or others ? O Lord, grant that never an idle word may drop from my lips. Whenever I am to converse with others, give me grace first to converse with thee by secret prayer. In all companies let thy presence be before mine eyes, always looking upon thee as the chief person in the place, and receiving direction when and what I am to speak. May thy good Spirit always teach me, and sanctify all my thoughts and words.

And must I give a strict account

Of every idle word ?
Then set a watch upon my lips,
And guard my tongue, O Lord.

Let every man abide in the same calling wherein

he was called. 1 Cor. vii. 20. Most of the employments of life are in their own nature lawful; and all those that are so may be made a substantial part of our duty to God, if we engage in them only so far, and for such ends, as are suitable for beings who are to live above the world. This is the only measure of our application to any worldly business ; it must have no more of our hands, our hearts, or our time, than is consistent with a hearty, daily, careful preparation of ourselves for another life. For since all true Christians have renounced this world to prepare themselves, by daily devotion and universal holiness, for an eternal state of quite another nature, they must look upon worldly employments as upon worldly wants and bodily infirmities; things not to be desired, only to be endured and suffered, till death and the resurrection have carried us to an eternal state of real happiness. A person's being called into the kingdom of grace, is not designed to make void the duties that arise from his peculiar calling or situation in life, but to enforce the practice of them in such a way as may be most to the glory of God. He, therefore, that does not consider the things of this life as of little moment, or even nothing, in comparison of the things that are eternal, cannot be said either to feel or believe the greatest truths of Christianity.

Lord, save me from my calling's snare,
From fraud and from the love of gain;
My hand be filled with worldly care,
But all my heart with thee remain.
In honour of thy glorious name
Let a!l my worldly deeds be
And may the thoughts be to the same,
Of all who dwell beneath the sun.

ne;

ness

יי

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down ;

and the haughtiness of man shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. Isaiah ii. 17. I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and I will lay low the haughti

the terrible. Isa. xiii. 11. The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Rev. xix. 6. “ PRIDE was not made for man,” says the son of Sirac; “ and the proud in heart are an abomination to the Lord ;” and yet what is more common than pride and self-righteousness among the fallen children of Adam? So deeply are they ingrafted in our corrupt natures, that nothing short of Almighty grace can root them up. It is the great design and effect of the blessed Gospel, wherever it is applied to the heart by the Spirit of God, to mortify this cursed temper. In that day the haughtiness of man, his self-will which he set up in opposition to the will of God, shall be brought down; and his self-righteousness, by which he thought to recommend himself to the favour of God, shall be made low; and CHRIST and his righteousness alone shall be exalted.

Hath this precious promise ever been fulfilled in thy experience, O my soul? Is the will of God thy rule? is the righteousness of Christ thy hope ? and is the language of thy heart and life, “ Let God in all things be exalted in me, and by me, through Christ Jesus ?" Without this, O my šoul, thy profession is vain, thy faith is also vain, and thou art yet in thy sins. Grant, O Lord, that I may be humble in heart and soul.

Lord, lay my legal spirit low,

And every lofty look subdue;
Bid all my heart to Jesus bow,

Exalt, and love, and trust him too.

I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, ana

hast pleasure in uprightness. 1 Chron. xxix. 17.

The Lord looketh on the heart. 1 Sam. xvi. 7. As God searches the heart and tries the reins, he cannot be deceived by outward form; we ought not therefore to deceive ourselves in this particular. It is no certain proof of a real conversion to God, if we only reform the grosser sins of our former lives, much less if we only abstain from such things as by nature we are not so much inclined to indulge ; but if our hearts are so renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit, as to be firmly and habitually opposed to our most beloved lusts, we have good evidence of a real conversion : for these inward capital enemies the Lord and all his upright followers attack most before all the rest. If we would give over that which is dearest to us, we must first know and believe that Christ is able and willing to help us, and has engaged his word that none shall seek his face in vain. Let us keep this thought ever in our minds; it will both stir up faith and encourage diligence in seeking after salvation.

Mistaken souls that dream of heaven,

And make their empty boast
Of inward joys and sins forgiven,

While they are slaves to lust.
Vain are our fancies, airy flights,

If faith be cold and dead;
None but a living power unites

To Christ, the living Head.
'Tis faith that changes all the heart;

'Tis faith that works by love;
That bids all sinful joys depart,

And lifts the thoughts above.
Faith must obey her Father's will,

As well as trust his grace;
A pard’ning God is jealous still

For his own holiness.

I will hedge up her way with thorns, and make a

wall that she shall not find her paths; and she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them and not find them; then shall she say, I will go and return nto my first husband, for then was it bet

ter with me than now. Hosea ii. 6, 7. As it is only with thee, O my dear Saviour, that I can be happy, I would never leave thee any more. And that I may not slip from thee unawares, even under good pretences, I desire to have my way well hedged up, and be encompassed everywhere with thorns. Let me quickly discover and crucify everything which would give the least disturbance to the enjoyment of thy love, that I may always closely walk with thee alone, and never take a step out of thy way, for fear of running myself into the thorns, and bringing unnecessary sufferings upon me; though I do not mean to avoid the cross of CHRIST in other respects, but would willingly submit to any sufferings, which are never without good fruit. Glory be to thee, O my blessed Saviour, that thou hast not given me up yet, and suffered me to run into destruction in my own ways! O be pleased to restrain me evermore; and whenever I am in danger of sliding into the broad way, let me find no rest till I am brought back, though it be through the briers of affliction.

I know thy judgments, Lord, are right,

Though they may seem severe;
The sharpest sufferings I endure

Flow from thy faithful care.
Before I knew thy chastening rod,

My feet were apt to ay ;
But now I learn to keep thy word,

Nor wander from the way.

« PreviousContinue »