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proclaims nothing but good news or glad tidings. This is its name: its nature and properties perfectly agree therewith. Hence it is called, The gospel of the grace of God; or good news of his free favour, Acts xx. 24: and, The gospel of salvation; or glad tidings of salvation, by Christ only, Ephes. i. 13. It was the wisdom of Adam to distinguish, and give a proper name to every creature of God. We should imitate him in knowledge, to distinguish the law from the gospel, and to call each by its proper name. For when the law of works and gospel of grace are blended together,
it puzzles the mind, and troubles the conscience.
We may say of the gospel, as Tertullus said of Felix, “By thee we enjoy great quietness,” Acts xxiv. 2. For by it, the mind and conscience of the believer is filled with peace and comfort. From hence spring love to God, and conformity to his will.
But preaching terms and conditions, to be performed by us, in order to entitle to gospel grace, hath a native tendency to distress the mind, weaken faith, damp love, deject hope, and, of consequence, make the believer less zealous of good works. Yet, through blindness and ignorance, some call this gospel ; but Paul denies it: he says, “It is not another,” he will not mention gospel. It deserves not the name; it is a mere system of man's devising. Oh! but if there be great task of morality, and specious pretence to holiness, this makes a great show in the flesh, so as to trouble some, and deceive many. But such “pervert the gospel of Christ;" for that proclaims eternal election, everlasting love, an established covenant of grace, rich consolation, by an everlasting righteousness, through faith, and certain salvation to every believer. The gospel, like some stately ship, is richly laden with the most munificent blessings of our Father's patrimony: the last will and testament of our Saviour, freely consigned, under the care of the Spirit, to us sinners. Oh, study the immense value and riches of the gospel ! be on thy guard, lest any deprive thee of its freeness and fulness. Gos
pel-perverters are conscience-troublers. Listen not to their specious guiles, lest thy mind be perplexed. It is our mercy, though false teachers shall arise, yet it is impossible they should deceive the elect of God, Matt. xxiv. 24.
JUNE 23.-And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.-Zech. vi. 13.
With what rapture and ecstacy of soul did good old Israel hear of his son Joseph! Not only alive,
but also governor of the land of Egypt. “It is enough,” said he, as though he could enjoy no more. How then ought our hearts to be filled with joy, and fired with transport, to hear, that our Friend and Brother Jesus, lives for evermore; that "the government is upon his shoulders ;" that he is our King and Priest upon his throne; that the counsel of peace is fixed and unalterably established, between the Father and him, on our account! Surely, if we believe this, as verily as Jacob believed the report of his son, we shall also cry out, “It is enough,” perfectly sufficient. More joyful news cannot be heard, more comfortable truth be believed, fuller evidence be desired, stronger proofs be given, than are revealed, of the covenant transactions of the adorable Trinity in behalf of sinners.
Here is "the Lord of hosts,” and the “Man," who is called the “Branch.” And, see we not the third person in the Divine Essence? For the establishing of faith, be it ever remembered, though the Father and the Son only are often mentioned in scripture, yet the Lord, the Spirit, in his office is evidently to be seen, and clearly known. For whatever is covenanted and agreed between God the Father and Son, is manifested, revealed, and enjoyed in the heart, by the Spirit. We had never heard of this blessed peace, had it not been by the Holy Ghost, through the word of truth. Therefore, “the Spirit bears witness, because the Spirit is truth," 1 John v. 6. Ever bear this in thy mind, disciple. As thou hadst not known sin, but by the law, so thou couldst have no knowledge of peace, but by the gospel, through the Spirit. He is the revealer, sealer, and applier of all grace, peace, love, and holiness. The love of the Father is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost.” “He shall testify of me,” saith Jesus; all my members shall be taught of him: “He shall glorify me," John xvi. 14. Here is a peace established between heaven and earth, between the righteous Lord and sinful man, firm as a rock, durable as the ages of eternity. God the Father is the author of this peace. Jesus obtained it by the blood of his cross. Rebels and traitors against God are made the subjects of it. The Spirit begets faith, and applies the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, to the soul. And though all in nature, sin, Satan, and the world, are at war with us, still this is our glory, Jesus “is our peace," Eph. ii. 14
JUNE 24.-In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul.-Psalm xciv. 19.
Vain thoughts and carnal reasonings, like impertnent visitors, often intrude upon the christian's mind. In this depraved state, it cannot be otherwise. Though born again of the Spirit, and our minds renewed by grace, still our old friends, our present foes, the world, the flesh, and the devil, will furnish us with various exercises from troublesome thoughts. That they do cause grief, are prayed against, and resisted, are blessed evidences of a regenerate soul; which is also fed, delighted, and comforted with the precious truths of God's gracious word. Is this thy experience? then, praise thy Lord.
There are frequent seasons, when God's dear chil. dren are exercised with distressing, gloomy thoughts. AMictions are painful and grievous to the flesh; then, how naturally do murmuring and repining thoughts arise! “Are these the tokens of God's love? how can I, who am visited with sorrow, pain, and trouble, think the Lord loves me with the love of a tender father, or that I am his child ?” The sight of our vile, polluted nature, corrupt lusts, sinful passions and affections, sinks and discourages us. A multitude of thoughts arise within: How can I have faith in Jesus, love to him, and delight in his ways, while I find so much in me contrary to his will, and unconformed to his image ? If the Lord hides away his face, then these dejecting thoughts beset us: God is acting in wrath against us, his mercy is clean gone for ever. And, with the church, we complain, "The Lord hath forsaken me; my God hath forgotten me," Isa. xlix. 14.
This is all very natural. But how speaks the voice of grace? Most cheering to the harassed mind. “Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivers out of them all :” “ As many as I love, I'rebuke and chasten," Rev. iii. 19. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, she may forget, but I will not forget thee,” Isa. xlix. 15. Jesus "receiveth sinners,” Luke xv. 2. His“ blood cleanseth from all sin," 1 John i. 7. God's immutable love, unchangeable covenant, eternal truth, precious promises, and solemn oath, all stand engaged for the safety and salvation of souls redeemed by Jesus; who saith, He that believeth on me shall never perish, John iii. 15. Shall all the powers of earth and hell make Jesus, the God of truth, à liar? The Bible is the christian's charter. Study that, and judge of God's love from his word and promises, not by our circumstances, trials, frames, and feelings.
JUNE 25.—When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.-Jonah ii. 7.
In the prophet Jonah's conduct we have a true picture of human nature, in its strong opposition to the power and grace of God. Though Jesus clothes his saints with righteousness, and the Spirit sanctifies and renews them in the spirit of their minds; yet pride, obstinacy, and
self-will still dwell in their corrupt, fallen nature. The Spirit of truth and wisdom discovers the vile sins of his eminent prophets and faithful people, as well as their holy graces. This proves as a touchstone to us, to try whether we have received the true grace of God in our hearts. Regenerate souls will never draw any encouragement to indulge sin and rebellion against God, because they read of David's complicated sins of murder and adultery, Jonah's fleeing from and provoking behaviour to God, or Peter's sad denial of Jesus with abominable oaths and curses. If scripture truths prove as poison, it is only to reprobate minds. They are ever wholesome food to sanctified hearts. Such behold, in the falls of saints of old, those evils, to which themselves are ever liable. If they are kept, they are humble; and give the dear Saviour all the glory. If they are fallen low, they think on the Lord. "I remember the Lord,” says Jonah. Grace creates a good heart memory, where there is a bad head one. The soul can never forget the Lord Christ. It will call to mind the Lord's love, and how he dealt with his people of old. They see his loving-kindness, faithfulness, and truth never failed them.
Hence the Holy Spirit stirs up and encourages poor, broken-hearted, backsliding souls, to trust afresh in a God of covenant love. A sense of pain brings the body into a weak, fainting state. So a sense of sin, fear of God's wrath, the hidings of his face in Christ Jesus, make the soul faint and languid. But, in the lowest ebb of hope, and under the weakest frames of