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appeal to its Saviour, “Thou, Lord, knowest what I long for, what I wait for, even the spiritual blessings of thy kingdom; to be more inwardly transformed into thine image, more perfectly obedient to thy will, and to obtain a more complete victory over my worst foes, sin, Satan, and the world." · Verily, the heavenly-instructed soul knows, that all this is of God by Jesus Christ; and, that the contrary to all this is from the lusts that dwell in him and evils that surround him ; therefore God alone is his hope. His hope is not in his graces, his feelings, his frames, his comforts, but in the God of all grace; not in the streams, but in the fountain; not in what he has received, but in the infinite fulness which is treasured up in Jesus for the needy. Hope of salvation in Jesus is our helmet. Faith guards the heart. Hope fortifies the head. Hence, the christian lifts up his head in the day of battle, and in the hour of temptation. His head being thus armed, he dreads not divine wrath, Satan's terrors, the law's threatenings.
Thou man of God, consult not thy carnal reason ; consider not thy body, which is dead, because of sin; but know, that thy spirit is life, because of righteousness. Though the law is weak through the flesh, yet grace reigns; and, through gospel grace, thou hast great and precious promises to encourage thee to hope confidently, and the omnipotent power of the Spirit to work in thee, to make thee go on cheerfully; while Jesus is the stay of thine heart, to uphold and strengthen thee. Fear not: only believe; greater is Jesus than all thine enemies. “Stronger is he who is for us, than all that are against us.” Verily thou shalt not be disappointed of thy hope, seeing it is in the Lord. Where Jesus is the object of faith, and the anchor of hope is cast within the veil, that soul shall safely and comfortably weather out every storm, and assuredly obtain the haven of eternal rest. By faith we possess the promises. Hope expects the perfect fulfilment of them. In waiting, we renew our strength, Isa. xl. 31.
MARCH 15.--Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also that shall believe on me through their word. -John xvii. 20.'
What a rich fund of comfort is here for every be. liever in the Lamb! His loving heart was not contracted, nor his eyes of compassion confined, to the little flock now with him; but he looked forward in love, his bowels of tender mercy yearned over, and his innocent tongue pleaded in behalf of all the tender lambs of his flock, through all succeeding ages, in every period of time. Yea, ere they had a being in the world, or faith in their hearts, they had an interest in Jesus' prayers; for they were given to him by the Father. Methinks one hears some poor doubting member of Jesus, saying, “Ah, if I was but sure my worthless name was written in the Lamb's book of life, if I could but know his heart of love was toward poor sinful me, that I was included in the happy catalogue of those Jesus prayed for, Oh, how happy, how joyful should I þe!” Here, thy Lord has answered thy request. Read it for the joy of thy heart, and the establishment of thy soul in faith and love. Hast thou heard the apostolic truth, Salvation by Jesus Christ? is it glad tidings to thy heart? Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour of the lost and guilty--as the only hope for thy, otherwise, hopeless soul? If so, verily thou hast as much reason to conclude Jesus prayed for thee, as though thy name was written at full length in this very petition. Jesus prays for all who shall believe on him through the apostle's word. · The whole of salvation is sure to all believers, even the weakest of all, from the covenant, from Jesus, from the Spirit, and from the oath and promises of God. Though there is a sea of corruption and sin in thy nature, a world of temptations around thee, legions of devils in battle-array against thy poor soul; yet, as thou hast the faith of God's elect in thine heart, be it ever so weak, thou art possessed of a precious jewel, which
is the inestimable gift of God's Holy Spirit. And verily, so sure as Jesus prayed this prayer on earth unto his Father, thou, even thou, wast in his all-seeing eye, hadst a place in his loving heart, and hast an interest in his finished salvation. Therefore, be assured thou shalt most certainly be brought to glory, to ascribe sal. vation to God and the Lamb, through the happy, happy ages of a never-ending eternity. For so is the righteous challenge of our Saviour, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory," John xvii. 24.
MARCH 16.-I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.—Psalm cxxi. 1.
The most comforting subject to a spiritual mind, the most delightful object to a spiritual eye, is “God in Christ, reconciled to us, not imputing trespasses unto us.” The hills afford us a pleasing idea of Jesus. As they are elevated parts of the same earth with the lowest valley; so Jesus was found in fashion as a man; took on him the same nature, and was in all things like unto his brethren, sin only excepted. Wherefore “God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name;" (Phil. ii. 9;) even the precious name, Jesus, the Saviour. We can never dwell too much upon the human form and humble appearance of him, while we entertain the most exalted ideas of his eternal power and Godhead. “He bore our sins, and carried our sorrows;" all our help is laid upon him, all our hope is in him, and all our help cometh from him. And for the encouragement of faith, his word assures us of his love towards sinners, and his power to help them.
Soldiers of Christ, what is your chief business on earth, but to glorify God? what your daily work, but "to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life?" This is our calling: the light of another day, is vouchsafed us. But whither can we turn our eyes, but enemies surround us on every side? Yea, from within, as well as without. And can we experience safety, or walk in comfort, but wbile our eyes are up to Jesus? He is entered into heaven "to appear in the presence of God for us," Heb. ix. 24. He says to us, 1 Look unto me, and be ye saved,” Isa. xlv. 22.
The sight of sin that dwelleth in us causeth dejection. Looking to our own righteousness and fancied excellence, begets pride and vain confidence. The power and subtilty of that malicious spirit, "the prince of the power of the air," is enough to make one tremble. This present evil world, with its honours, profits, and pleasures, is exactly suited to our carnal nature. Who can withstand its smiles, renounce its carnal children, and bear their reproaches? who is proof against these potent adversaries? Verily, with all knowledge received, all grace communicated, all past experience enjoyed, we shall not be able to stand, and maintain our ground, or persevere in comfort, if we are not continually lifting up our eyes and "looking to Jesus," as our only present help. For we are kept by his mighty power, to salvation; but let us ever remember, it is through Christ-exalting faith, 1 Pet. i. 5.
MARCH 17.—Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.—Col. iv. 6.
“There shall not a hoof be left behind,” said meek Moses to the stubborn monarch Pharaoh. All that belonged to God's children, must go with them for his service. So, the whole man, the soul with all its faculties, the body with all its members, Jesus claims for his glory and service. The tongue, though but a little member; words, though but as wind; speech, though but as sound; yet the name, the work, the love, the glory of Jesus are hereby greatly advanced in the world. As salt not only preserves from putrefaction, but also seasons flesh with an agreeable savour and relish, so doth grace in the heart the speech.
To a heart warm with the love of Jesus, and alive to his glory, why is the vain conversation of carnal company so disagreeable? Truly, the christian is out of his element. He fears getting harm. An embargo is laid on his tongue. It is his glory to shun, rather than seek such company. If, through connections in life, he cannot totally refrain from such, it is his wisdom to restrain his speech, and keep his mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before him, that he sin not with his tongue. But we ought alway to season our speech with the grace of Jesus, to the glory of his name. The tongue is either the best or the worst member:-best, if employed in the service of Christ to warm cold hearts with his love :--worst, when it defileth the body, and is set on fire of hell.
But when saints meet, what should be the end of their conversation, but Jesus? The free favour of God in Christ, to poor sinners; the glorious doctrines of grace; their perfect consistency and blessed tendency; the comfortable work of grace, from Jesus, upon our own souls; how begun, carried on, and how it is with us now--these should ever be our delightful subjects. But this, by no means to catch applause, as though we were not in ourselves poor sinners, hanging upon and hoping in Jesus from day to day. The precious promises of grace in Christ, how immutable and establishing! the salvation of grace by him, how unconditional, and absolutely certain, to every believer! Conversing on such subjects, how savoury and relishing! Speech thus seasoned, how becoming and profitable to gracious hearts! When it is not so, it is a sad sign, that the soul is like salt that has lost its savour. This calls for great searchings of heart. “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt,” Mark ix. 49.