Page images

Since continuance here is so uncertain, all worldly · enjoyments so precarious, and all certainly perish in the using; what temperance, what sobriety of conduct becomes us! And this is certain, Jesus, with his much incense, is ever before the throne. It is a mercy-seat, sprinkled with his precious blood. From hence all grace is bestowed ; all power given. Oh, may we be concerned to watch continually, against the motions of the enemy, the stirrings of pride and lust; watching in prayer for the power of the Spirit, watching after prayer for an answer of peace! And when, disciple, is the time that this exercise may be omitted ? Verily, not till faith is lost in sight, hope turned into enjoy. ment, and prayer lost in praise. Oh, what a precious word is this from our Jesus! “ Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that I will do,” John xiv. 13.

APRIL 2.—He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.—Psalm xxiii. 3.

With gratitude and joy, every believer has daily cause to address his soul in the words, spoken to Naomi at the birth of Obed, “Blessed be the Lord, who hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, or redeemer, whose name is famous in Israel, who shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life,” Ruth iv. 14, 15. To the glory of Jesus, be it ever remembered, that life once received from him can never be lost. The soul once quickened from a death in trespasses and sins, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over it. For it is delivered from the cause of death, sin. Partaking of eternal life from Jesus, sin has no more dominion over it, to kill and destroy it.

But, though the soul enjoys life in Jesus, yet sin is pot dead. It dwelleth in us; it worketh in our members; and opposeth the life, peace, and comfort of the new-born soul. Is there a day passeth, but we find,

· that the old man is still alive? Yea, at times, the soul

is so pressed above measure, that it almost despairs of life. It seems to sense and experience, as though the sentence of death was executed.. Oh then, how doth Jesus again revive and restore it! Sin often brings death upon the comforts of the soul, though it cannot touch its life; that is secure in the life-giving Head; it is hid with Christ in God,” Col. iii. 3. Believers can never sin themselves beyond the extent of Christ's love, nor the reach of his power to restore them. The precious blood of Jesus is all-sufficient, to purge away all sin from the conscience; yea, sins of the deepest dye. See then the exceeding sinfulness of sin, in the most exceeding precious fountain that is opened for its cleansing. See the love and care of the faithful Shepherd, in restoring his wandering sheep. But know, soul, whenever thou dost deviate from the path of Jesus, or backslide into sin, thou turnest thy back upon thy best Friend, thy kindest Lord, and joinest thyself to his and thine implacable foes. True, so unchangeable is the love of Jesus, he will restore the souls of his members; but love mingles bitter potions to do this. And the most bitter of all is, thou sinnest against the richest grace, and most precious love that ever was known; love, that has followed, and will follow thee all thy days; love, that will heal thy backslidings, and restore thy soul; love, that will lead thee in the paths of righteousness to salvation and glory. When thou rememberest this, thou wilt be ashamed and confounded for all that thou hast done; and most sincerely love him, who doth all freely from love, Ezek. xvi. 63.

APRIL 3.-Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.—Heb. ii. 14. . We read of one, who was so affected with the glory

of the sun, that he thought he was born only to behold it. With what propriety may a christian judge of himself, that he is born again to behold the glory, and delight himself in daily contemplating Jesus, the Sun of righteousness! Lord, thou shalt never stoop to that mean office of "washing my feet," said honest-hearted Peter. But what was that stoop of abasement, when Jesus was in flesh, compared to his taking flesh upon him? Be astonished, 0 heavens! rejoice, O children of faith! admire and adore what you can never fully comprehend: the Lord of life and glory in your nature; clothed with flesh and blood, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs. See Jesus--consider Jesus. Oh! dwell in contemplation on the humility of our God Jesus, till it warms your heart with love. Say, which is greatest, his love, or his humility ?

He took part with "the children.” Such was Jacob's delight in Benjamin, that “his life was bound up in the lad's life," Gen. xliv. 30. The soul of Jonathan was so knit to David, that "he loved him as his own soul.” 1 Sam. xviii. 1. Verily, our life is bound up in the life of Jesus. Truly he hath loved us better than life. He took our part against our invincible foes, sin, Satan, and death. He hath conquered all—for whom? “The children;" by nature, children of wrath; by practice, rebels against God; yet, amazing grace! the objects of his Father's love. Hence, given to Christ, to redeem and save. They had interest in his love, ere they had a being in the flesh. Therefore he prays for them as their Mediator; he owns them, by that special mark which the Holy Ghost puts upon each of them, in the day of his power, faith. “I pray for them also, which shall believe on me,” John xvii. 20.

We may joyfully triumph, “If Jesus be for us, who shall be against us?” “The Lord taketh my part, therefore I shall see my desire upon them that hate me," Psalm cxviii. 7. Every believer may be sure of victory. Faith in Jesus overcomes the world, disarms death of its sting, which is sin; and the strength of sin, which is the law. By the blood of the Lamb, Satan is overcome. Christ gained the conquest in our nature, over Satan and death, by taking away that which gave power to both, over his children, sin. This he effected by his own death. He died for sin. He rose to justify. He lives to save. Thanks eternal for his victory, 1 Cor. xv. 57.

APRIL 4.-In a little wrath I hid myself from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. Isa. liv. 8.

Love is ever open and communicative: it conceals nothing from the object beloved, which may profit or comfort. “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do ?” saith the God of love, concerning his friend, Gen. xviii. 17. The Lamb saith of his followers, “Ye are my friends." Servants are not made acquainted with their masters' secrets; but friends are. Therefore saith the great interpreter of covenant love, “ All things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you," John xv. 15. Children shall not be chastised, but they shall be told of the Father's kindness, and mercy in it. Love is ever in his heart, though wrath may appear in his conduct.

The joy of creation is revived by the bright shining of the sun. When that is withdrawn, clouds, mists, and darkness gather. So when the Sun of righteousness hides himself from the soul, it seems a dark season of wrath. . The mists of corruption rise, the thick fog of unbelief spreads, the gloom of dejection hangs heavy on the mind, and the prince of darkness is very busy at such a season : like Job's friends, he is a physician of no value, but a miserable comforter to the soul. Now all sense, nature, and feeling, write bitter things against the poor sinner. The Father chastises, the Saviour hides himself, the law accuses, conscience condemns, sin

terrifies, Satan threatens, but—Father, thy mercy never dies; thy love changes not. Therefore faith endures, and turns to love. What saith that? "In little wrath I hid myself.” Little in comparison of thy deserts, O soul! little compared with the greatness of the love of thy God. Faith listens to the testimony of Jesus. The Lord thy Redeemer speaks : “My deserting thee is of the shortest duration; a moment; the twinkling of an eye;" as no space of time, compared to eternity. Then love vents itself and declares, "With everlasting kind. ness will I have mercy on thee."

The word of the Lord shall stand. His covenant is sure, his love unchangeable, his promises immutable. Hence the soul is excited to confidence, to assurance, full assurance; yea, the fullest assurance of a God of truth, though all present appearances seem against it. Then hope dawns in the soul, and love to Jesus is quickened. Holy shame and godly sorrow for past follies, fill the heart; while the Comforter inwardly testifies of Jesus. “Weeping may endure for a night, (of desertion,) but joy cometh in the morning, (of his presence,) Psalm xxx. 5.

APRIL 5.—And the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; according to the faith of God's elect.-Tit. i. 1.

St. Paul, though an eminently distinguished apostle of Jesus, yet in regard to the salvation of his own soul, his extraordinary gifts procured it not. Nor could his former hatred and persecution of Christ and his members, frustrate the electing love of God, or obstruct the sovereign operations of the Holy Spirit. But, being chosen of God in Christ, his heart must partake of the precious faith of God's elect. Love, almighty, wonderful love, seized him ; Jesus challenged him as one of his redeemed souls ; stopped him in his mad career; touched his heart, and brought him trembling and as

« PreviousContinue »