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Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Rom. xii. 10, 18. Follor peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Heb. xii. 14.
THERE is much contest in the world about property but believers taking CHRIST for their only property, whom nobody can take from them, have in him alone, immense treasures and lasting peace. And since wrath and anger turn into nothing but disquietness, and are punished by themselves, why dost thou suffer thyself to be easily moved by them? The least provocation, even a single word, perhaps, will stir up the corruption of thine heart, so as to change thy countenance and make thee utter dreadful words. Therefore, consider how God bears with thee, and what an abomination anger is. It is a fire from Hell, the true image of the old Dragon; but being called to bear the image of God, and bring forth the fruits of the good Spirit, thou art to follow the lamb-like mind of CHRIST; and to that purpose it is highly necessary, first, To avoid all occasions of strife and contention. Secondly, To bridle our tongue, if quarrels arise. Thirdly, To suffer when we are wronged. Fourthly, To pray directly, and quench the sparks of fire, before they break out into a flame. This is the easiest and the only method to prevent great troubles, and lead a peaceful, happy life for anger carries uneasiness; and lova sweet rest in itself.
Blessed are the men of peaceful life,
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, &c.,let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith; having our hearts sprinkled (with the blood of Christ, by which he once entered into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, and purged our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God) from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb. x. 19-22.
CHRIST has for ever purged our sin by himself; "for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified," Chap. x. 14; and to this sprinkling of the blood of CHRIST, all believers, even the weakest, are to come, in order to receive the forgiveness of sins; and the blood is said to be sprinkled, to shew the need of its application to the conscience by the Holy Spirit. In this purple fountain the believer daily washes; it is his element and life. Thus he "lives by the faith of the Son of God, who also loved him," always applying his ransom to his soul, and pleading his merits before his heavenly Father, which keeps his conscience pure and easy. O may I be enabled every day, by faith, to wash in the fountain of CHRIST's blood.
They find access at every hour
To God within the veil ;
Hence they derive a quick'ning power,
O may this happy lot be mine,
Daily to live to Christ;
And like the favoured of the twelve,
To lean upon his breast.
O happy soul! O glorious stato
Of ever flowing grace!
To dwell so near the Father's throne,
That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. Rom. i. 19. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? &c. Acts xiv. 14, to end. THERE are some things declared and enjoined in the Gospel, which have their foundation in the law and light of nature; such are all the moral duties which are taught therein; these, the remaining light of nature, though obscurely, yet does teach and confirm. The apostle, speaking of mankind in general, says, "That which may be known of God is manifest in them;" the essential properties of God rendering our moral duty to him necessary, are known by the light of nature; and by the same light are men able to make a judgment of their actions, whether they be good or evil. Rom. ii. 14, 15. The same law and light, which discover these things, do also enjoin their observance. Thus it is with all men before the preaching of the Gospel to them. The Gospel adds two things to the minds of men. 1. It directs us to a right performance of these things from a right principle, by a right rule, and to a right end, so that they, and we in them, may obtain acceptance with God. Hereby it gives them a new nature, and turns moral duties into evangelical obedience. 2. By a communication. of that Spirit, which is joined to its dispensation, it supplies us with strength for their performance in the manner it directs.
May God the fruits of heavenly grace,
And by that grace may many learn
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. viii. 35, 37-39.
STARS shine brightest in the darkest night; torches are better for beating; grapes come not to the proof till they come to the press; spices smell best when bruised; young trees root the faster for shaking; gold looks brighter for scouring; juniper smells sweetest in the fire; the palm-tree proves the better for pressing; chamomile, the more you tread it the more you spread it. Such is the condition of all God's children: they are then most triumphant when most tempted; most glorious when most afflicted; most in favour of God, when least in man's and least in their own; as their conflicts, so their conquests; as their tribulations, so their triumphs; true salamanders, that live best in the furnace of persecution: so that heavy afflictions are the best benefactors to heavenly affections; and where afflictions hang heaviest, corruptions hang loosest; and grace, that is hid in nature, as sweet water in roseleaves, is then most fragrant when the fire of affliction is put under to distil it out.
My life, and all its comforts too,
Then if men seorn and Satan roar,
Though weak, I can do all through Thee.
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gonɛ; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land, &c. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, thou art in the clefts of the rock, &c. Song of Sol. ii. 10-14.
O LORD, how often has it been winter with me, but thou hast always quickened me again! Grant that by these experiences I may be so used to thy ways, as always to expect the best from thee in everything, and to have only this one care, namely, how I may please thee as thy bride and dove, and be accepted through thee with thy Father! Let my faith be so strengthened by all thy various dealings with me, that at last I may have boldness, and find complete rest in thy wounds, my crucified Saviour, where there is room for the greatest of sinners, even for me who am the chief.
The voice of my Beloved sounds
Gently he draws my heart along,
The Jewish wintry state is gone,
And when we hear our Jesus say,