Page images

If the bellion poison. mands

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 mo: ment; they “work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," 2 Cor. iv. 17.

faith the securid covenant, the truths against hipa

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 delight; 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 assign 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 this world are left in the darkness, pride, and rebellion of their nature? Oh, what shall I render unto the Lord ? How fearful to offend, how studious to please, how joyful to glorify my God ought I to be, from day to dayi “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ” Heb. xii. 2.

JUNE 4.-And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.—2 Sam. xv. 31.

Clouds gathered very fast and grew very black at this time over the head of king David. His own beloved son had drawn the sword of rebellion ; his subjects flocked in great numbers to him; and to heighten the king's distress, his own counsellor joined the conspiracy. But under all this, David showed himself to be a man after God's own heart. His soul looks through every discouragement. He knew the throne of grace was ever open and accessible, therefore the very tidings that brought sorrow to his heart, he instantly makes the subject of his prayer. Happy conduct! when, before carnal reason is suffered to plead, the prayer of faith is presented. Too, too oft do we, upon hearing disagreeable tidings, consult flesh and blood, before we apply to our ever-loving and faithful friend, Jehovah. This ought not so to be. According to David's faith and prayer, so the Lord answered him. The counsel, which he had reason to dread from Ahithophel, was defeated by the Lord, and turned to his own destruction. Thus the Lord only “is our refuge and strength; a very present help in every time of trouble,” Psalm xlvi. 1.

Knowest thou not, disciple, there is treason and rebellion found with thee, against David's Lord, even Jesus thy King? Not greater reason had David to

fear and pray against Ahithophel's counsel, than thou hast daily. As his name signifies “brother of ruin," or folly, it reminds us of the flesh, à brother or partaker of the ruin of sin with the soul; and also, that its wis: dom is ever with us, ever counselling and conspiring against the peace and safety, the love and holiness, the joy and happiness of the soul in Christ. It not only counsels against, but also lusts contrary to the spirit, continually. May this be our daily prayer, in the spirit, and in faith,“O Lord, turn the counsel of our flesh into foolishness, confound its pride, destroy its lusts, subdue its passions, suffer us not to confer with flesh and blood, let us not sow to the flesh; but enable us to confer with thee by faith. May our conversation be in heaven! So strengthen us to put off the old man with his deeds, until we put off the body, to be sown in dishonour, and to be raised in glory." Is this the cry of our souls ? Verily, then, we assuredly are Davids, dear to and beloved of the Lord. For, he has distinguished us by the gift and grace of his Holy Spirit. “Walk in the Spirit,” Gal. v. 16.

own with his deep strengthth May dash; but enabith

Case our soul and to be put of tent of theation

JUNE 5.—Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.—Luke xyii. 3, 4.

Mind this loving word. “Do thyself no harm." The least degree of malice, hatred, or revenge, is contrary to the genius of the gospel, inconsistent with the character of a disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus, But our Master knows what is in man; that his mem. bers are composed of flesh, as well as spirit; and there. fore liable to offend, one against another, so as to hurt and injure each other, in the peace of their minds and fellowship of their spirits. So also, they cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of by the adversaries, who are glad at every advantage to cry out, “Oh, these

your saints ! see how full of wrath they are; how they bite and devour each other.” Therefore, “take heed to yourselves," saith the Head to his members. Watch against this evil. Offences will come. I teach you how to behave. Suppose thy brother trespass against thee, pity his weakness; pray for him by name, to thy Father and his Father. Beware of angry resentment. If he aggravates his offence, by frequent repetition, thou shalt in no wise hate thy brother; but, as oft as he offends, if he, as often, “turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." But are we not to forgive him until, and unless, he do turn and say, I repent? In one sense we ought; perhaps not in another. We must not, at our peril, entertain anger, or let the sun go down on our wrath; but in our hearts freely and fully forgive an offending brother. But what if he remains stubborn, and persists in a spirit of bitterness ? Even then we are to forgive him in our hearts, and be desirous of embracing him in love.

But may we not justly suspend declaring our for, giveness to him, until he turn and say, I repent? Herein have we not God's word and method as our example? Though God loves his people in Christ, and for his sake pardons their sins; yet, until they actually turn to him, and repent, he does not manifest his pardon and love to them. But let us ever remem. ber, as God's thoughts of love are toward us, before we turn to him, so our thoughts of love should be to our offending brethren, ere they turn to us. Doth the Lord Jesus require us to forgive every repeated offence, even until seventy times seven, four hundred and ninety times daily ? Surely then, he will magnify his love, and display his mercy, in pardoning the innumerable offences of all who turn to him. “Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you,” Eph. iv. 32.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »