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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 å 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 ? 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 A bijah, 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 good works;" and after the inward man, "they delight in the law of God.” Some good thing is found in them, which manifests itself in love, fear, and obedience to the Lord their God. The graces of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers, and the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, are evidences in time of God's covenant love to them, in Christ Jesus, before time. God views the work of his new creation in the soul with delight; pronounces it good, and to his own glory records the graces of his people. What comes from God, leads to him and to his glory.
Thus we see some good thing” found in the heart of Abijah, manifesting itself in the wicked house of Jeroboam, to the glory of Jehovah, the God of Israel. Oh, how highly honoured are some, who are converted to God's glory and service in the morning of youth! while the Sun of righteousness doth not arise upon others, till the sun of nature is near setting. Hath distinguishing grace made us to differ, as well from our former selves as from others? It is all from the love of the Father, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit. We have nothing whereof to glory in ourselves, nor over others; it is our duty to confess it with our lips, and manifest it in our lives. May it encourage us daily to walk in faith and love! “T'he just shall live by faith,” Heb. x. 38.
JUNE 19.—Let no man beguile you of your reward. -Col. ii. 18.
There is a present reward of grace enjoyed in the hearts of the faithful, which consists in pardon of sin, peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost. These are the rewards which Jesus' toils and sufferings have reaped for us. Since an artful and subtle serpent hath gained access to the human heart, we can never too much be warned to beware of men. Satan deceived man at the beginning, by means of part of himself. He still beguiles men by man. Though the adversary cannot pluck one of Christ's sheep out of his hands, nor rob the loving Saviour of one of the precious jewels of his mediatorial crown; still we are to consider him as a restless, implacable foe, who will strive, by all means, to perplex and distress our souls. Has Jehovah Jesus appeared to us, in the vision of faith? hath he spoken to our trembling hearts, in his word and by his Spirit, as he did to the father of the faithful ? “ Fear not; I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward," Gen. xv. 1. Like the racers in the Olympic games, we must expect false judges, corrupted umpires, who will judge against us, and determine the prize contrary to our faith and hope in free-grace promises and sovereign determinations. “Oh, for a steadfast faith in divine truth! For they will judge against the truth and glory of our prize, as though we were not complete in Christ Jesus, as though we were not wise by his wisdom, righteous by his righteousness, holy by his holiness, perfectly redeemed from all sin, curse, and wrath by his complete redemption; but that somewhat is to be found and trusted to, in nature and self, to entitle us to God's grace, and secure to us the crown of glory. Blessed admonition! “Let no man beguile you,” judge against you, ye free-born, heaven-born souls, concerning the perfect freeness and infinite fulness of your prize, your reward, in and by Jesus. For by this they would weaken your faith, disturb your peace, and oppose your comfort. So they would beguile you to run uncer. tainly; as though your hopes were suspended on your own faithfulness to grace, your fulfilling terms and conditions, whereby to secure the prize. Ever reject such selfish, mercenary, base, low, compounding notions with detestation, as contrary to covenant love and gospel grace, dishonouring to our precious Saviour, and griey. ing to the holy, sovereign Spirit, who bears witness, that “there is a remnant according to the election of grace ;" that the prize is adjudged to them by grace, not of works; "Otherwise grace is no more grace; but
if it be of works, then it is no more of grace; otherwise work is no more work,” Rom. xi. 5, 6.
JUNE 20.—Verily thou art a God that hidest thy. self, O God of Israel, the Saviour.—Isa. xlv. 15.
Mourning under a sense of sin, and complaining of inbred corruptions, are consistent with true faith in Jesus, and real rejoicing in his salvation. Sorrowing under the painful sense of an absent God, has been the experience of blessed saints in all ages; few, if any, have been exempt from it. And, this is a sure evidence that they have felt his comforting presence, enjoyed the smiles of his love, and rejoiced in the light of his countenance. So the life and love of the soul are manifested. A christian is known by his sorrows, as well as his joys. He sorrows after a godly sort. This the unregenerate are perfect strangers to. · But, why should a God of love hide himself from his own dear children? We may say, he is a Sovereign, and answer in the words of Elihu, “ He giveth not account of any of his matters," Job xxxiii. 13. But it is most sweet to say with David continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, who hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servants," Psalm xxxv. 27. Therefore, when God hides himself from the souls of his believing children, it is in wisdom, love, and faithfulness to them ; it is to advance his own glory, and heighten the prosperity of their souls. But, he never leaves himself without a witness in their hearts. For we see the church addresses him, even though he hideth himself. She sweetly applies to him as Jesus, the only Saviour, and utters her complaint before him, “Thou hidest thyself," and I am troubled. So the sun withdrawing his genial, comforting warmth, makes vegetable nature droop and languish, and mourn in silent sadness. But the root is still alive, and it will, when the sun returns, bring forth its fruit in due season. Backward springs