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JUNE 6.-And I said, This is my infirmity.-Psalm lxxvii. 10.
While in the body, we are in such an imperfect state, as to be liable to various exercises of mind, through indwelling corruptions, and the suggestions of Satan. Saints in all ages have experienced fluctuating frames. Like mariners on a tempestuous sea, at one time they seem to mount up to heaven, in comfort and joy; at another, they sink down, in apprehension, to the depths of hell : then like persons at their wits' end, they express themselves in a very unreasonable manner. Doubt and uncertainty take place of knowledge and truth; unbelief seems to prevail against faith; and they are ready to call all in question : not only past sweet experiences of God's love to their souls ; but the very existence of God's promises, faithfulness and truth. And they write with the pen of inspiration (though not of the Spirit of truth, but of a lying spirit) many false and bitter things against themselves." Woe is me, I am undone,” saith Isaiah. “Woe is me," saith Jeremiah. "Without were fightings, within were fears," say the apostles. "I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul,” saith David. And in this psalm hope seems to be, as it were, giving up the ghost, and with languid, faint accents breathes, “Will the Lord cast off for ever? will he be favourable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he, in anger, shut up his tender mercies ?” So that you see, o tossed, , tempted, tried believer, this is the way saints in all ages have gone to glory. Thou hast thy lot with them now; soon thọu also shalt be where they are. But Oh, what a gloomy prospect, what soul-distressing views must that poor sinner have, who lives upon his frames, whose hope springs from his own faithfulness, or trusts to the exercise of his own grace, instead of the God of all grace, the blessed Jesus, “who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!” How comforting! how
heart-reviving to know that the Lord, “who sent redemption unto his people, will ever be mindful of his covenant, which standeth fast for ever!" Psalm cxi. 5. Therefore the Holy Spirit stands engaged, in covenant. contract, to execute his office, as the Comforter. When he is pleased to revive the soul with the views of Jesus, his glorious work and finished salvation, Satan skulks away, like a mean, abashed liar: the believer returns to his right mind, takes shame to himself, and says, That I should ever doubt of thy love, call in question thy truth, and suspect thy faithfulness; O my God, this is my infirmity!
JUNE 7.-Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. -John xi. 3.
To have Jesus continually live in our thoughts should be our daily study. To keep a sweet intercourse open between Christ and the soul should be our constant exercise. To be watchful against every bold intruder, that would interrupt our communion with the Saviour, is our greatest wisdom. Thus, through the Spirit's aid, a holy freedom and humble familiarity is maintained with Christ and our hearts. Why should we not be aiming thus to anticipate heaven? For, Jesus never intermits in his love to us, care over us, and presence with us. Through such a happy conduct, we shall enjoy an abiding sense of this. Then, when sin assaults, Satan attacks, temptations beset, afflictions surround, sickness overtakes, sorrow bows down, death threatens, or whatever may be our state, how comforting when the twin sisters of faith and hope, like the two sisters of Lazarus, carry our case to the Master, with, “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick ?” Short, but very expressive. Not like the nobleman's importunate prayer, “Sir, come down, ere my son die ;" but a simple message. They knew the love and power of Jesus. They doubted not his speed. It is enough
to lay our case before the Lord. It is best entirely to submit to his will, and patiently wait his time. "He that believeth shall not make haste," Isa. xxviii. 16.
Is there a poor sinner on earth, who believes in Jesus, that can doubt of his love? Hath he not given the strongest assurances of it; infinitely stronger than if he had sent an angel to testify of his love to us? For he came himself; he more than told us how he loved us; his sorrows, his sufferings, his agonies and death, most loudly proclaim it; for our sins be bled, for our sins he suffered; yea, for that most base sin, that sin of all sins, the greatest of sins, unbelief. This, even this, Jesus bore himself, in his own body, on the tree. Even this he died to atone for, as well as all others. Art thou often sick, and fearest this mastersin will prove the death of thy soul, as it does now the death of thy comforts? Is this the grief of thine heart, and the cause of thy woe? Jesus is the only physician, he alone can cure it. For he is not only the author, but finisher of our faith, Heb. xii. 2. Though like the sisters of Lazarus, we cannot plead our strong love to Jesus, yet, in the belief of his word, we may ever plead his strong love to us. “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” Heal thy servant. “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.". Ask, is Christ's blessed command. It shall be given, is his precious promise, Luke xi. 9.
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JUNE 8.--Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts : we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.—Psalm lxv. 4.
John Bunyan, in his Pilgrim's Progress, observes, “ Christiana's heart was so enamoured by the affecting sight of Christ's cross by faith, that she wished all her carnal friends to partake in what she saw and felt. But she was reminded, that faith's views are of special grace." They are streams which flow from the river of God's electing love. Every man whom the Lord chooseth, “ is blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ.” This is evidenced by spiritual life. Seeing all grace, love, and happiness centre in Jehovah, he delights to draw nigh to him, because confident of access, by a new and living way consecrated through the flesh of Jesus. Here is no fiery law, no flaming sword to terrify and affright the believer in his approach to God. But the Lord himself causes him to approach his presence. Love not only invites but sweetly constrains him to come, as a child to its loving parent. The Father draws to the Son, and the Son reveals the Father, by the Holy Spirit, as a God of love to poor sinners. Without this, no soul can or will ever come unto God, John vi. 44. See thy special mercy. Adore that sovereign grace which reigns over all thy pride and stubbornness. And do I thus approach my Lord ? Oh, what infinite treasures of grace are secured by covenant love and promise! Not a sudden fit of pleasure, or transient delight in the ways of God, do such experience; but they shall “dwell,” their residence shall be near the Lord in spirit, and they shall be satisfied from Jesus. All the glory and magnificence of the temple was only typical of Jesus, who exceeds in glory. All the glory and goodness of the Lord is treasured up in and communicated from him, as man and Mediator to poor sinners. Come then as a needy beggar to receive.
Oh, the superabounding goodness of the Lord, to cause poor, headstrong, high-minded rebels to approach him, and be satisfied with him! Most joyful claim of faith, “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him," Lam. iii. 24. Å glimpse of Christ's glory and goodness sickens the soul to every other object. A lively faith engages the affections towards him; love is very jealous, and excites watchfulness against what may disturb its happiness or destroy its comfort. “I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me," Psalm xiii. 6.
JUNE 9.- Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless.—2 Pet. iii. 14.
It is a most grand delusion to imagine, that the doctrines of grace tend to lull the soul asleep in supine indolence, or slothful stupidity. The believer hath not so learned Christ. Though he is saved by grace freely, yet he is called to “labour diligently." By faith he looks forward to the fulfilment of awful predictions and precious promises. Hence we are excited to daily diligence in the performance of duties, the use of means, and the exercise of graces. Do we look for the burning of the earth, the elements, and all sublunary things ? do we expect to be inhabitants of new heavens and a new earth ? do we wait, and sometimes long for the coming of the Lamb, our loving Master and precious Saviour ? and shall we indulge carnal ease and spiritual sloth ? shall we not fear to be found of Jesus in such a state? Most true, " Jesus hath made peace for us by the blood of his cross." But shall we not be diligent to maintain a lively sense of this sweet peace in our hearts ? shall we not labour after purity of heart? And how is this to be expected, but by studiously avoiding those things which tend to draw the heart and alienate the affections from Jesus? If we lose sight of the Lamb, we lose the sense of peace. If we look at the things which are seen, this begets love to them, and increases anxious solicitude for them. And, alas ! then they only pierce us through with many sorrows. And most of all, when we are in our right minds, do not our sorrows increase, if we decrease in spiritual diligence, and grow in worldly-mindedness ?
Christian, though thou knowest it is God that giveth thee power to get wealth, and his providence is engaged to preserve thy body, yet, this doth not cause thee to abate thy diligence in thy worldly concerns; nor doth it make thee careless, to preserve thy body from harms, and administer to it such things as are for its health.