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How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against
God? Gen. xxxix. 9. JOSEPH was a slave, and in a strange country ; he was tempted by a wanton and revengeful mistress; had he complied, he would have been sure of secrecy and rewards; but if he resisted, he might expect her keenest resentment, if not the loss of his life. Yet all these could not influence him ; he chooses to submit to every inconvenience and danger, rather than be guilty of so foul a crime, and sin against God. From hence we may learn, that the fear of God is a most effectual preservative against all criminal indulgences; it was this that restrained Joseph, and will, where it is possessed, have the same effect on all mankind, upon all occasions, and in every scene of life. It strikes every passion, every spring of human actions, and includes in it all the most powerful motives by which the conduct of mankind is determined. If interest be the principal thing that sways us, that surely cannot be so certainly promoted as by securing the favour of God, and avoiding his displeasure. If we are governed by our fears, he is the most formidable being in the universe to a mind that has perverted its faculties and transgressed the laws of its nature; if by hope, he is the supreme God; if by love, he is the most amiable and perfect Excellence; if by gratitude, he is the Author of all our happiness.
Give me, O Lord, such godly fear
As feels thy presence nigh;
And makes the Tempter fly.
In sad nor happy hour,
Be guided by thy power.
I have found the book of the law in the house of
the Lord. Because thy heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, 8c.
2 Kings xxii. 8, 19. The priests, probably to save themselves the trouble of writing, and the people of reading the book at large, had furnished themselves with abstracts of the law, leaving out, or slightly mentioning, some parts thereof, and particularly the threatenings; which Josiah was so much affected with, as being new to him. The book of God's law seems in our day to be lost; a sealed book to most of the congregations that profess themselves Christians; imperfect accounts of it are given, which hide the promised blessings and threatened curses of God. When this book by spiritual light is found, and on reading or hearing thereof, conviction reaches the conscience, it is a great instance of God's favour, a token for good, and must be faithfully acknowledged as such. Reader, art thou truly apprehensive of the weight of God's wrath, and solicitous to obtain his favour? Seek then earnestly, upon thy knees, and in the house of the Lord, redemption from the curses of the law; pray that Jesus may be revealed to thee; the blood of the Lamb of God alone can take away the guilt of sin; having found the law, rest not till thou find the Gospel also, and arrive at a comfortable assurance of thine interest in its blessings. Josiah's heart was tender, he wept, and was encouraged ; follow his sorrow, and thou wilt partake of his blessings; and make the law of God thy delight and counsellor.
The precious word of God is hid,
Or sealed everywhere;
'Tis found and read with care.
Draw me, we will run after thee. The King hath
brought me into his chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee; we will remember thy love more than wine ; the upright love thee. Song of Sol. i. 4. In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
Hosea xiv. 3. See also Ps. cii. 13. The needle's point in the seaman's compass never stands still, but quivers and shakes till it comes right against the north pole. The wise men of the East never rested till they were right against the star which appeared unto them: and the star itself never stood still till it came right against that other Star, which shone more brightly in the manger than the sun did in the firmament. And Noah's dove could find no rest for the sole of her foot all the while she was fluttering over the flood, till she returned to the ark with an olive branch in her mouth. So the heart of every true Christian, which is the turtle dove of Jesus Christ, can find no rest all the while she is hovering over the waters of this world, till with the silver wings of a dove, and the olive branch of faith, it flies to Jesus, the true Noah and rest of our souls, who puts forth his hand out of the ark, and taking the dove in, receiveth it to himself.
Vain are the things of time,
There's nought of pleasure here,
Is dark, and wild, and drear;
In all created good;
And makes me cry for God.
What think ye of Christ? Matt. xxii. 42. AND ought we not to put this question to our souls, when our happiness for ever depends upon him, and when without him we are undone to eternity? How ought we then to think of the Lord Jesus Christ ? Surely, as the scripture represents him to be," the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely."- We ought to think of him in his person as the great God incarnate; in his work and his offices, as the Saviour of Israel. We ought to think of him as one, in whom justice is satisfied, love and righteousness are manifested, and sinners are saved. O how highly have God's people ever thought of Christ Jesus! and how exulting do the saints now in heaven think of him ! But what think we of CHRIST when burdened with sin, when oppressed with affliction ? When we cannot entertain a good thought of ourselves, can we then think of CHRIST as highly as heretofore? Alas, how very weak is our faith at the best ! Lord, strengthen our faith, inflame our love, enlarge our views, support us in trials, guide us by thy counsels, and receive us into glory, that we may sing thy praise to all eternity. Amen.
Now living waters flow
To cheer the humble soul;
And spread from pole to pole.
And grow on earth again;
And o'er the nations reign.
The world shall hear his word;
Our conversation, or our citizenship, is in heaten.
Phil. iii. 20. Therefore rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke x. 20. And set your affections on things above, not on things
on the earth. Col, iii, 2. A CHRISTIAN being only a traveller through the world, must expect a traveller's fare—bad roads sometimes, bad weather, and bad accommodations; but since his journey's end and city is heaven, all his actions, sufferings, prayers, trade and conversation turn that way. His actions. for whatsoever is bound on earth is bound in heaven; his sufferings, for those who overcome shall receive a crown of glory; his prayers, for grace is the answer to prayer; his trade, for whatsoever is of the world is sin; his conversation, for whatsoever is earthly is abomination, and worketh a lie. O Lord, grant
O Lord, grant that mine eyes may be always fixed upon this mark, so as to regulate all my doings accordingly! asking myself in everything, whether it be fit for heaven, and agreeable to the mind of the heavenly Bridegroom, and to the manners of the heavenly citizens !
Lord, bid my soul fly up and run
Through every heavenly street;
That's worthy of thy feet.
And tread the courts above :
Shall tempt our meanest love.
Stand bending round the throne;
The infinite Three-One.
That joyful hour appear,
To dwell among them there?