« PreviousContinue »
Ever put this soul-humbling, grace-exalting question, “Who made me to differ? What have I, that I have not received ?" I have nothing in myself whereof to glory. I glory in Him, who saith, “I will work, and who shall let it ?" Isa. xliii. 13.
JUNE 15.-We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened.--2 Cor. v. 4.
It is a sore temptation, that saints of God in all ages have fallen under, that upon a survey of the outward ease, pleasure, and prosperity of the ungodly, they have called " the proud happy;" (Mal. iii. 15;) and under a sense of their own inward groanings, burdens, and sorrows,
have been led to think it is vain to serve God, and to call in question his love to them and care for them. Such sentiments as these, at times, exercise their minds : “I called by grace! Is my soul quickened and made alive to God? Have I fled to Jesus for refuge? Am I a child of God by adoption, through the faith of him? Surely it cannot be. Were it so, should I be thus plagued all the day, and chastened every morning ? Should I groan thus under oppression from Satan, tribulation from the world, and be thus burdened with the lusts of the flesh, and the carnal workings of my corrupt nature? Surely, if ever I have known anything of Jesus, in spirit and power, it is all come to an end. Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency to no purpose." Thus doth the subtle serpent artfully steal into the mind, and borrow the tongue of saints. But this is very injurious to the soul, as we see in the experience of the psalmist, Psalm lxxiii. And it is highly resented by our loving Lord and Saviour, as very dishonourable to him. See Mal. iii. 15. Beware of this.
Saints' burdens are creature allotments; believers' groans are Jesus' concerns; children's sorrows reach
the Father's heart, they are the lot of God's people in every age. Prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors of Jesus, none are exempt while in this tabernacle. Yea, they evidence the life of the soul, and also, under the Spirit's influence, work for its profit. Hereby it is instructed in self-knowledge, so as to bow to the sovereignty of God, live in humility and dependence on Jesus. Prayer is excited, faith called into exercise, God's word searched, promises prized, exhortations become pleasant, carnal hopes cut off
, worldly joys appear irk. some, earth is less loved, a sinful body groaned under, and perfect freedom in glory longed for. Oh, there is a blessed writ of ease and rest, issued from the court of heaven! Soon, very soon, it will be served upon us. Then, down tabernacle; up soul, to the presence of thy Lord. Farewell earthly groans. Welcome eternal triumphs. Here is a sweet portion of comfort. Drink of the brook by the way, and lift up thy head. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved,” Psalm lv. 22. “They who sow in tears, shall reap in joy,” Psalm cxxvi. 5.
JUNE 16.—The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, is in the sight of God of great price.—1 Pet. iii. 4.
Godly parents are delighted in their hearts if they see their dear children partakers of the grace of God. How joyful to hear those who are part of one's self inquire after Jesus and his salvation! Love and duty unite to constrain us to teach our little ones the knowledge of Jesus, and to instruct them in the ways of the Lord. And if the Spirit of grace is pleased to crown such endeavours with success, infinitely more precious is the adorning of grace to their immortal souls, than all the gayety of dress to their perishing bodies.
As we to ours, so doth the Lord rejoice over all his dear children in Christ. He takes pleasure in their dress, which is the glorious robe of his Son's righteous.
Their ornaments, which are the graces of his Spirit, are delighting to his eyes. He makes them all glorious within: he loves his own image, which he hath formed by his Spirit, “in the hidden man of the heart." Both their inward graces and their outward fruits are an ornament to them; and are “of great price in the sight of their heavenly Father.” By daily fellowship with our God and Saviour, we get more and more "conformed to his likeness." By close walking, constant communing, free conversing with Jesus, love is maintained in the heart; and a meek and quiet spirit ever accompanies love. Where the former is wanting, the declinings of the latter are evident. As faith works by love, so love shows itself by meekness of spirit and quietness of behaviour. There is a sweet harmony in the graces of the Spirit. By faith the soul abides in Jesus, and receives out of his fulness. By love the heart is comfortable. And as Peter and John said to the beggar, “What we have received of the Lord, that we give unto you;" so the christian dispenses out of his heart love to his brethren, and peace and quietness to all mankind. Love controls the boisterous passions of nature. Love constrains to meekness of temper and quietness of spirit. We sadly mistake, and are greatly deceived by our corrupt nature, carnal reason, and the subtlety of Satan, when we act with any other spirit, and attempt to find an excuse for it. It is unbecoming our character, a disgrace to our profession, a dishonour to our Saviour, it grieves the Spirit; is a badge of Satan's livery, a fruit of the flesh, and is contrary to the Spirit. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God, peace with men, nor the comfort of the soul. "Put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering," Col. iii. 12.
JUNE 17.-For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake; because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.—1 Sam. xii. 22.
The prophet Samuel, like the apostle Paul, “shunned not to declare all the counsel of God,” Acts xx. 27. They feared no licentious consequences from preaching the faith-establishing, soul-comforting truth, of God's unchangeable love to his people. Yet, Samuel encourages the people to cleave close unto the Lord, and not turn aside from following him; assuring them, if they walked contrary to him, though he would never change in his love, or cast off his people
, “whom he did foreknow;" yet he would certainly change in his conduct and dealings towards them. God will surely visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes; nevertheless, his loving-kindness he will not utterly take away, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail, Psalm lxxxix. 32, 33. Like a tender and affectionate parent to a disobedient child, his love is ever the same, when he corrects, as when he comforts. It is of the Lord's good pleasure only that he chooses and makes a people for his glory. He calls them to him. self by sovereign grace. The honour of his great name, and the perfection of all his attributes, are engaged for their safety and salvation. Believe this, and be happy.
The faith of a christian, how firm its foundation! It builds on the Rock of ages, the eternal truth of an unchanging God of love. His hope is an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, which is entered within the veil; whither the forerunner for us is entered, even Jesus, Heb. vi. 19, 20. How then should our love be inflamed, and burn with incessant ardour, to our everloving Lord and Saviour! Hath it pleased the Lord to put me among his children ? to make me one of his people? It was free, unmerited love. Hath the blessed Spirit enriched my heart with faith in precious Jesus? hath he, in his word, over and over assured us, that "he will never leave nor forsake; but whom he loves, he loves to the end ?” Why is all this? Even because it pleased the Lord; " so it seemed good in his sight." And have I sinned 2 Heart-wounding thought! sinned against his love? am I backslidden in affection? grown cold and indifferent to the kindest and best of beings? Shameful ingratitude! Is God's love in Christ the source of all present grace, the security of future glory? Verily, it should sink us to the lowest humility, the deepest self-abasement, and sorrow for sin; yet excite godly hope and rejoicing in Christ; and influence us to serve the God of love, "without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”
JUNE 18.—Because in him there is found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.--1 Kings xiv. 13.
Such was the testimony which the Lord gave, by his prophet, of young Abijah, the son of wicked Jeroboam. The father was branded, even to a proverb, for his abominable wickedness. Behold, the son is recorded by the Lord for his goodness; singled out from the whole house of his father, to be blessed of his God, and come to his grave in peace.
Children of grace often spring from the loins of ungodly parents. The offspring of godly parents often appear graceless. Grace is not hereditary: it is the sovereign gift of God. Parents may, and ought, to give good instructions, but God only makes them successful. Some good thing would not have been found in young Abijah, if the Lord had not put it there. It was of the will of the Lord, or because the Lord was his Father, as his name Abijah signifies. God's covenant children, though by nature children of wrath, and though in their “flesh dwells no good thing;" yet, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, "are created anew in Christ Jesus, in righteousness and true holiness, unto