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of his cross? Why instruct me in the truths of his salvation? Why make known to my poor heart the unsearchable riches of his grace; redemption in his blood; forgiveness of sins; acceptance with God, and peace and love from him ? And do I possess “a good hope through grace," that as verily as I have learned Christ, heard him, been taught by him, and know the truth as in him, I shall soon be with him? After all this, can I walk in the vanity of my mind? can I turn aside from the free-grace truths of the gospel, to have my teeth set on edge with the sour grapes of corrupt, human systems? Or, canst thou ever think, disciple, that the liberty of the Spirit tends to licentiousness of the flesh; that grace makes sin less hateful; that a holy walk and obedient life do not flow from the doctrines and teachings of our Saviour? Surely thou must know, that as the work of Jesus' life and death was to justify sinners, so the teaching of his Spirit is to sanctify them. And verily, if this be done inwardly on thy soul, it will be evidenced.outwardly in thy life, in separating thyself as a holy vessel, meet for the Master's use, from all sensuality and uncleanness; in “putting off the old man with his deeds," and in serving our God and Saviour “in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter,” Rom. vii. 6. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God's, " 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.
MARCH 9.—Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.-Isa. li. 11.
A good word maketh the heart glad,” Prov. xii. 25. This is true of the good word of gospel grace. Unscriptural notions of conditional grace and salvation, deject the spirits of sensible sinners. God's free-grace declarations, and absolute promises, revive the hearts of contrite ones. Man's ifs, suppositions, and peradventures, only tend to counteract God's shalls and wills, his gracious purposes and loving determinations. "Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say unto him, What dost thou?" In the word of Jehovah is almighty power: “he doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth ; none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What dost thou ?” Dan. iv. 35.
God's "I will" and "you shall,” are the stay, strength, and food of faith. It is the joy of believing hearts, to set their seal to God's free promises, and say, Amen, so be it. The arm of the Lord hath done wonders of old. It is not shortened that it cannot save; that is our mercy. It ever will be stretched forth in
this is our comfort. Every redeemed soul shall return "to mount Sion, to the general assembly of the church of the first-born, which are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling," Heb. xii. 22-24.
All the objects of the Father's love, are the subjects of the Son's redemption, and shall be partakers of the Spirit's power and consolation. In returning to Jesus, we find rest, peace, and joy. By the sprinkling of his blood, sorrow and mourning flee away from our consciences. Then, how joyfully do we sing the song of Moses ! Exod. xv, 2. ^ The Lord is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation," &c., and the triumphant song of the victorious Lamb, Rev. i. 5, 6. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and his Father; to him be glory and do. minion for ever and ever. Amen." What strong consolation! what full assurance is here proclaimed from the mouth of the Lord! Every sentence contains a shall; not it may, but it shall be. Sinners feel the power of grace, which melts hearts of stone into flesh. Saints feel the comfort of love, which turns mournful penitents into joyful souls. All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. v. 18.
MARCH 10.- Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.—Heb. xii. 14.
" He that believeth shall be saved." This is the immutable decree of the God of truth. As without holiness no man shall see the Lord, so no man can be holy without faith in Jesus. But this is the peculiar blessed. ness of every believer, he is holy, he is "sanctified by faith which is in Christ Jesus," Acts xxvi. 18. All such are "called to be saints," 1 Cor. i. 2; called to holiness of life and conversation. There are no holy unbelievers, nor unholy believers. Gospel exhortations are suited to the spiritual state of regenerate souls. They are the subjects of the Prince of peace; are at peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. As, agreeable to their character, the will of God, and for the peace of their own minds, they are ever to study, and endeavour to follow peace with all men, consistent with faith and a good conscience; so of holiness : being holy members of the holy Jesus, beloved children of a holy God, subjects of a holy Spirit, called by a holy gospel
, partakers of a holy faith, heirs of a holy kingdom; therefore, all the way of their journey thither,
ey are to follow holiness. Partaking of the root of holiness, by union with Jesus, all the fruits of holiness spring Christ is the way wherein we are to walk. Conformity to his image is the delight of new-born souls. But we are subjects of a nature which is averse to this. Still we know that holiness and happiness are ever inseparable. Holiness is our vocation, and is ever to be our constant aim; though not to recommend us to God, to procure his favour, or as a condition of our acceptance in his sight; but that we may glorify him "who hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Saints are not to indulge themselves on the bed of sloth, dream of heaven, big with hopes of a fool's paradise; and vainly wish to cast themselves out of Delilah's lap of worldly pleasures and sinful gratifications, into Abraham's bosom of heavenly joys. But we are studiously to avoid every thing which is contrary to the nature of true holiness; and ever to be diligent in the use of such means, which, through the power of the Holy Spirit, may increase our love of holiness, and cause us to abound in the practice of it. True, we have innumerable enemies from within and without, to oppose our progress in holiness. So much the more need of diligence and activity. We know the delicious fruits of happiness grow only in the paths of holiness. The Lord's strength is for us.
Great and precious promises are given us. All to encourage us " to serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life,” Luke i. 74, 75.
MARCH 11.-If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.John xy. 10.
Do any reproach us concerning our hope of eternal life, that we do not expect it by free grace and promise only, but clogged with terms and conditions, which we must fulfil? do they say, we are only dreaming legalists, under the legal yoke, and not Christ's freemen? We answer, We not only talk of, but enjoy Christ; not merely prate about faith, but we partake of its power; not only hear of love described, but we feel its influence; not barely look for salvation from sin, but we enjoy it by the faith of Jesus now. And we know, that we shall partake of salvation with eternal glory. For He, who never spoke one word in vain, hath pronounced of all his members, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. Continue ye in my love." And, the loving heart of Jesus is so set upon our being always happy, that he directs us how to act, so as constantly to abide in the sweet sense of his love; and that we may also enjoy greater measures of it in our hearts. If ye keep my commandments, so shall it be with
you. Jesus ever abode in his Father's love; this he mani. fested by doing his will, and keeping his command. ments. In his work of obedience, he received this testimony from the Father, “This is my well-beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” So Abraham had this blessed witness, by the Lord, "Now I know thou fearest God.” And also, a repetition of the grand promise given him, upon the obedience of his faith, Gen. xxii. 15—18. So shall disciples also find the testimony of the comforting Spirit, in the way of keeping Christ's commandments. Though not for, yet " in keeping thy commandments there is great reward,” Psal. xix. 11. This David well knew, by happy experience. So do all saints.
Faith and love are the commandments of Jesus. To believe in, rely upon, confide and trust in him from hour to hour, is to honour him. To love God, and one another, as his children, is the true badge of the disciples of the loving Saviour; this is to obey him. The more loving faith and faithful love to Jesus abide in our hearts, so much the more will peace, consolation, and joy be increased in our souls. Do any deem this legality? May the God of grace fill our hearts with such legality, day by day! so shall we be truly evan. gelized. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him," Col. ii. 6.
MARCH 12.-The King's daughter is all glorious within ; her clothing is of wrought gold.—Psal. xlv. 13.
Thus Jehovah, the sovereign Lord of all, who “call.