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conformity to God; it eyes God as its centre, enjoyment of him as its happiness, and full conformity to him as its perfection. To indulge, pamper, and gratify the flesh is contrary hereto; therefore mortification, selfdenial, and subjecting the flesh to the spirit, will be the exercise of living, believing, loving souls. But why all this ? not from legal principles; not from slavish fear of hell and damnation; not through dread of being reprobated, and cast away for ever. No: Paul had not so learned nor so taught Christ. Believers act from love to Jesus, being assured of perfect salvation by him. “Eternal life is the gift of God," Rom. vi. 23.
APRIL 25.-The Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.—Psalm xciv. 14.
Therefore, drooping soul, cast not off thy confidence in him. A meteor will expire, when the earthly matter is spent that maintained its blaze for a time. Profession may carry to a high elevation. Persons may appear as fixed stars in the church of Christ; but time may discover them to be no other than shining meteors, or shooting and falling stars. Yea, angels kept not their first estate. But the Lord's chosen people is his portion. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church of Christ. All "those that be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God," Psalm xcii. 13. Here is the consolation of Christ, the comfort of love, the fellowship of the Spirit, “He that believeth in Jesus shall be saved ;" not for days, months, years, but saved with an everlasting salvation. For all such are the objects of the everlasting love of an unchanging God. He will never cast off nor forsake them, even when in the furnace of trials and afflictions. Hear the declarations of love concerning them: “They shall call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say, It is my people.”. Hear the claim of faith : " Then shall they say, The Lord is my God,” Zech. xiii. 9.
David knew that friends had cast him off; yea, father and mother might forsake him, his frames and feelings had deserted him, his joys withered; and his eomforts seemed all blasted in an hour. But, says he, age and observation have fully confirmed me in this truth, “I never saw the righteous forsaken of his God:” “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down." Why so? Truly, saith he, “The Lord upholdeth him with his hand,” Psal. xxxvii. 24. wound the soul, bruise the spirit, cause sinkings of heart, and dejections of mind. Satan may sadly daub and bespatter the poor child of God, and endeavour to persuade him that he is in such a filthy condition, that hi Father doth not know him, will not own him. The Lord help us to fear such a state, and watch and pray that we may stand! For the Lord will not cast away his people, whom he did foreknow; nor forsake his chosen inheritance. There is balm in Gilead. Jesus is the skilful Physician. He will heal and restore his beloved members : he knows them; he loves them; they are his property. Oh, how should this endear him to our souls! cause us to cleave to him with full purpose of heart, to hate all sin, and cry continually, "Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not," Psal. xvii. 5.
APRIL 26.-Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.—Rom. xii. 12.
The gospel brings us from a hopeless into a hopeful state ; but not an independent one. We are never to expect freedom from trials and tribulations in this vale of tears; they lie in our way, to the end of our hope, the enjoyment of God in glory. Faith takes hold of that which is substantial, and makes the soul triumph in hope. Hope makes the soul joyful, and excites patience. Tribulations cause a throne of grace to be prized, a covenant God in Christ to be sought unto and
delighted in. In the rough waves of difficulties, in the storm of affliction, in the boisterous sea of temptation, hope is an anchor to the soul: when that is cast within the veil, the vessel shall safely ride out every storm. Though tossed, it shall not be driven from its moorings; it keeps the soul steady and safe.
The grace of patience is ranged between the joy of hope and the constant exercise of prayer; as though it could not exist without either, but is supported and strengthened by both. Jonah sleeps sound in the ship; but prays hard in the whale's belly. Distress and hope raise an importunate cry. A hopeful soul will be much in prayer; and the more in converse and communion with God, the soul will thrive more, in every grace of the Spirit. “Ask, and ye shall receive," is the grand charter of Heaven. Yea more, lest children grow remiss, be sparing in their addresses, and content with any portion, when the exuberance is necessary, saith our munificent Lord, “ Ask and receive, that your joy may be full," John xvi. 24. Sip not at the streams, but drink large draughts at the fountain-head.
Ever remember, christian, the life of sense is contrary to the life of faith. Walking after the flesh, gratifying its lusts, and conforming to a sinful world, deadens the life of the soul, indisposes it to prayer, makes hope decline, impatience prevail, and all the graces wither. And canst thou delight to live at a distance from thy Saviour, without a sense of his peace and love? wouldst thou not fear to die in such a frame? "Keep yourselves in the love of God," Jude 21. Look unto Jesus under every circumstance; avoid every thing contrary to love; be diligent in those means, which excite and strengthen the liveliness of faith, the comforts of love, the joy of hope, and the patience of the soul. If you aim at this, you will be instant in prayer." That is, live in the spirit of prayer all the day ; contin; ually darting up petitions, Lord, keep, strengthen, and sanctify me. If ye do these things, ye shall never fall," 2 Pet. i. 10.
APRIL 27.-Then had the churches rest and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.-Acts ix. 31.
The form of godliness, without the power, is sufficient to make men saints, good churchmen, honest souls in the eyes of the carnal world. But when, by the power of the Spirit, our hearts possess the faith of Jesus, it cannot be hid, but the life of Jesus also will be manifest in our walk and conversation. Then, persecution awaits us, the world hates us, their former esteem and good opinion of us is changed into hatred and opposition. The word of the Lord must be fulfilled, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution," 2 Tim. iii. 12. This is the lot of every disciple, it is a touch-stone of faith: but this is overruled by our Master's wisdom, for his glory, and our spiritual advantage. These have proved the most thriving seasons to the church of God, most prosperous to the souls of disciples. Then, the love of this world has been most purged from the heart, and the closest fellowship with Jesus enjoyed. Without adversity our
But is the rage and fury of opposers abated ? have we a little more rest and quiet from those, who, at our first conversion to Jesus, vexed and oppressed us ? Here a godly jealousy is needful, close examination necessary. Is Jesus still dear to us? do we keep close to him as the beloved of our souls? are the promises of God still precious ? and do we stand steady against the smiles of the world, preferring Jesus to all? See, mark the blessed connection between edification of the truth, walking in the fear of the Lord, and enjoying the comforts of the Holy Ghost. So the church of old prospered, when rest was given them. These things are inseparable. Saving knowledge of Jesus ever discovers itself by a holy, loving, filial fear of him. The more we are edified in the faith, fear increaseth. Faith and fear are founded in love, and accompanied with the comfort of the Holy Ghost.
But though the churches had rest from persecution, still the members were in the body; Satan was active; afflictions and temptations ceased not. As they, so we shall never be exempt from trials in this vale of tears. To endure them is our blessedness, James i. 12. By them, we learn many useful lessons of faith, patience, humility, and resignation to the will of God, and are made to partake more of his holiness. “This is not your rest, because it is polluted,” Micah ii. 10. “There remaineth a rest for the people of God. Let us labour to enter into it," Heb. iv. 9, 11.
APRIL 28.-But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.- Isa. xliii. 22.
“God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew," Rom. xi. 2. Zealous professors may become shameful apostates. God's own children may awfully backslide from him, sadly decline in their love to him, and service of him. Sucb à conduct is most base to the best of beings, most ungrateful to our most loving Lord and Saviour, most wounding to sensible, gracious hearts. But such wandering sheep shall hear the lov. ing Shepherd's voice, and shall return with weeping and supplications. Slighted mercies, forfeited privileges, neglected means of grace, indifference to the cause of Jesus, and growing weary of his ways and service, bear sad witness against the soul.
A little self-examination will discover, that such a one hath found other lovers; with them he is delighted, and after them he hath gone. If the life of sense prevail against the life of faith, the lusts of the flesh are preferred to spiritual delights; carnal, worldly' company is more relished than communion of the saints; fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness is more attended to than fellowship with Jesus: if the private duties of the closet, the public ordinances of