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The more we look to and consider ourselves, the more discouragements arise. But if eternal truth, and almighty power, founded in everlasting, unchangeable love, can secure, and bring us to glory, we are surely safe now, we shall be eternally happy in glory. For, our hope is founded on God's truth and promise.
Hath the God of truth promised eternal life before the world began? to whom then could this promise be made ? Verily, to no other but Jesus, the Surety of the everlasting covenant; the Head and representative of all his chosen members. O soul, before conversion to Jesus thou wast a dead sinner, without hope. Hast thou faith in Jesus ? then hast thou “the faith of God's elect, and dost acknowledge the truth which is after godliness." Thou hast also eternal life in hope now; and the possession is as sure to thee, as if thou wert now in actual enjoyment of it. The eternal God of truth must become a liar, if thou fail of thy hope. Was eternal life promised upon certain conditions? Jesus hath performed them all. He became Surety to this very end. God the Father is perfectly satisfied, and eternally glorified with his work. God the Spirit bears witness to it. Hereby hope is established in the heart. Oh! then take heed not to invert the order of the gospel, lest thy mind be perplexed, hope clouded, and Satan gain an advantage. Be thankful for the grace of hope; but ever glory in the God of hope. Frames and feel ings often vary: they may delude and deceive. Gifts may be lost; graces decline. Jesus our hope cannot. “He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Wherefore are eternal transactions revealed ? but for God's glory, and the confirmation of his people's faith and hope in God, and to excite love to him. Ever re. member, by grace ye are saved, "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus," 2 Tim. i. 1.
JUNE 1.-Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.-1 John v. 1.
It is too common for many of God's dear children to perplex and distress their minds, in seeking after marks and evidences of the new birth; while they too often expect to find them outwardly in the flesh, instead of looking inwardly to the spirit. For the satisfaction and comfort of all such, the Holy Ghost hath laid down this inward evidence, faith in Jesus, as an incontestable mark of a new-born soul.
When Peter made that glorious confession, “Thou art Christ the Son of the living God,” Jesus replied, “Blessed art thou, Simon; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven," Matt. xvi. 16, 17. All the powers and abilities of human nature and reason, so far from teaching, are at enmity against this soul-saving truth. No man can teach it his brother, so as to cause his heart to receive and believe it. It is a knowledge only revealed by the Spirit, received and believed by heaven-born souls, that the man Jesus is the only Saviour, that he is the anointed of God to the work of saving lost sinners. The very devils know and confess this, but without any hope of salvation hereby. But, when any poor sinner is enabled to believe this in his heart, it is a sure and blessed evidence of the love of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then," he hath the witness in himself, that he is born of God." He hath the mark and evidence of a child of God within him. As the gift of Jesus is the fruit of God's everlasting love, so faith in Jesus is the fruit of his having died for our sins, risen again for our justification, ascended to the Father, and sent the Holy Ghost to testify of him. This belief honours the God of truth; and glorifies the God of grace, by receiving the record he hath given of his beloved Son Jesus. It is a holy faith; it dwells in holy
hearts, and produceth holy fruits. Happy that heart, which hath received this power, and privilege, to become a son of God. The love of the holy Trinity is upon such a soul. It is his privilege, like the happy eunuch, "to go on his way rejoicing.” It is his happi. ness, ever to be “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith;" relying on Jesus, who is our righteousness, (1 Cor. i. 30,) trusting in Jesus who is our hope, (1 Tim. i. 1,) rejoicing in Jesus, who is our peace, (Eph. ii. 14,) glorying in Jesus, who is our atonement, (Rom. v. 11,) and thus, as poor sinners, ever “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," Jude 21.
JUNE 2.-Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity ? Curse God, and die.—Job ii. 9.
In seasons of distress and affliction, how must it alle. viate the mind, and soothe our sorrows, to have so near and dear a friend, as the partner of our life, speak a good word, in due season! but on the contrary, when such a one is used as an instrument by the adversary, it heightens distress, and adds a double weight to the pressure of afflictions. Such was the case of patient Job. Flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, taunts at him for his integrity, and urges such advice, which was like a dagger to his very heart. Verily, believer, thou also art" born to trouble, as the sparks fly upwards." Thou hast, therefore, need of faith and patience, as well as Job. These thou also art a partaker of, though not to so eminent a degree. Thou also hast a peevish, fretful, repining partner for life; which will ever be urging reproaches against thee, and giving such advice, which it is at the peril of thy soul to hearken to. Here is the exercise of thy graces. Be on thy guard against this dear partner, rather near enemy, even thy own carnal, sinful nature, the flesh, with its affections and lusts. Know assuredly, when it would reason with thee, it is to beguile; when it demands an audience, it is to instil the venom of poison. Its nature is enmity, its workings rebellion, its reasonings treason, against thy God. If thou give place to the flesh, it will wound thy soul. If thou suffer it to gain ascendency, it will darken thy mind, and bring distress upon thy conscience. “If thou livest after the flesh, thou shalt die.” If therefore, at any time, through the pride and perverseness of the flesh, thou art tempted to entertain hard thoughts of thy God; to be impatient under his chastisements, and murmur against his allot. ments; to call in question the truths of his word, the stability of his covenant, the freeness of his promises, and the security of thy soul's salvation through the faith of Jesus; resist its suggestions, in the firm faith of God's word. Turn from its reasonings, as from a bitter foe. Silence all with this humble, submissive language of faith ; “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ?” Job's wife was mor, tal: so is thy flesh. His sorest afflictions were soon at an end. The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. Lo, thus shall it be with thee. Here is our joy of faith. Our time is short. Our heaven sure. Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Our light afflictions are but for a moment; they "work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," 2 Cor. iv. 17.
JUNE 3.-Jesus said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.—Matt. xi. 25, 26.
The true ministers of Christ are greatly encouraged in their labours, knowing they serve that sovereign
Lord, who hath declared, "My word shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please; it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it,” Isa. lv. 11. “To some, the gospel is a savour of life unto life; unto others, of death unto death.” To some Jesus is revealed; to others the gospel is hid. Nevertheless, his ministers“ are unto God, a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish,” 2 Cor. ii. 15.
What shall we say to these things ? shall we dare to cavil against the sovereign dispensations of God, or arraign him at the bar of our weak judgments? shall the potsherds of the earth contend with Jehovah, and say, What dost thou? Shall the pride of our carnal reason, and the rebellion of our corrupt nature, vent itself with, “I will not allow it at all; I cannot allow it to be just and righteous, that the Lord should act with sovereignty, give or withhold his special grace, as it seemeth good unto him ?" St. Paul sharply reproves such daring speeches, "Nay but, О man, who art thou that repliest against God ?" It is plain that such walk not humbly; they have not the mind of Christ. The Father's will was his joy; Jehovah's purposes bis de light; and with sovereign dispensations, Jesus most cheerfully acquiesced: "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Herein he hath left us an example. This is beyond all other reasons we can as. sign for God's dealings both in grace and providence, Such sentiments show, that we have been taught of God, are little in our own eyes, passive as babes in our own judgment, and are submissive children to our Father's will.
A spiritual revelation of the hope of the gospel, is by the sovereign grace of the Holy Spirit, “who divid. eth to every man severally as he will.” It ever begets humility of heart. Why me, Lord ? creates amazement of soul: What am I? ever excites love and gratitude. Am I called to the faith of Jesus, and the hope of salvation, while others of the wise and prudent of