« PreviousContinue »
to reason, so inconsistent with the nature of things. You a child of God ? you a believer in Jesus? your sins atoned for by Jesus? your soul clothed with his righteousness and sanctified by his Spirit ? Is not everlasting love mere imagination, electing grace the creature of fancy, the safety and perseverance of the saints of. Jesus the whim of a heated brain ? Is Jesus the essentially true God ? hath the Lord spoken so much against sin? doth he require so much strictness of life, and holiness in walk, as is contrary to the rest of the world, and exposes to their hatred and contempt? hath God said so and so ?” &c.
Thus with art and sophistry Satan insinuates, and puts on the air of a candid disputant for truth. But what did Eve get by listening to and conversing with him? rather, what did she not lose ? even the life, the love, the joy, the peace of her soul. It is our wisdom, not to parley with, or study to answer Satan's sug. gestions, but instantly to "resist him, steadfast in the faith,” (1 Pet. v. 9,) taking the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, wherein is contained the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," 2 Tim. iii. 15–17. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," James iv.7.
JAN. 17.—And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath.-Luke iv. 28.
Human nature, how low fallen in misery and wretchedness! yet how high does it rise in pride! Though the meek Lamb of God is the preacher of sovereign grace and distinguishing love, yet the wrath of man dares to exalt itself against his doctrine. Fury bursts forth like fire: vengeance and resentment break the bounds of the law of God and man, and would have instantly put Jesus to death.“
Pride is the first born of Lucifer: “Ye shall be as gods," hath tainted our whole nature with the cursed leaven, and will be the last enemy that is destroyed in us. Out of the abundance of pride in the heart, the mouth is opened against God's sovereign grace, discriminating love, and divine dispensations. “Be still, and know that I am God,” is a lesson the proud nature of man is averse to. “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy,” (Exod. xxxiii. 19,) though spoken from the mouth of the Lord, yet the hearts of sinners rise in wrath against it: they look with an evil eye upon the good pleasure of the Lord; and dare challenge and call in question his truths, and his dealings with the children of men.
Disciple, this day a real likeness, a true picture of thy proud nature, is presented to thy view. Behold thyself in thy proud brethren. See thy natural aversion to the sovereignty of God's truths and thy Saviour's doctrines. All these worshipping Jews, priests as well as people, conceived wrath, even in God's house; yea, their teeming hearts were soon filled with it against Jesus, a man who told them the truth. The histories of the Sareptan widow and Naaman the Assyrian, they were well acquainted with, but could not bear the doctrine of them. Good Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, 2 Chron. xxxii. 26. Do we not feel the stirrings of it also ? Oh then, what cause, what daily cause for his practice! Stout words proceed from unhumbled hearts. When our voices are heard on high against God's sovereign determinations, it is a sad proof that our hearts are not laid low with a sight and sense of our being guilty before God. Those who challenge God's purposes, have some plea founded upon their own imaginary goodness. “Be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble," 1 Pet. v. 5. God's truths are most humbling to the proud heart of man. They are above carnal reason, and contrary to corrupt judgment. We never truly submit to them, till our high thoughts are brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. x. 5.
JAN. 18.-Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts : and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. -Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24.
"He that doth the truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God,” John iii. 21. This is an infallible touchstone of true conversion, given by the oracle of truth. “He that trusteth to his own heart is a fool,” Prov. xxviii. 26. Sincerity may be attended with diffidence. Sincere, upright souls know they have to do with a heartsearching God: to him they appeal, and desire to be tried and searched by him. What avails it the soul, to obtain a favourable opinion from our vain fellowmortals, if we are conscious all is not right within ? What peace, what comfort, what joy, though men approve, and the soul itself be ever so confident, while conscience testifies, My ways do not please the Lord, my walk is contrary to his will ? True love to Jesus will ever excite godly jealousy in the heart.
While in the flesh, we are ever exposed to deceits from a subtle foe, a deceitful heart, and an ensnaring world; yea, and from false teachers also. Our paths may be intricate, darkness may overtake, and Satan may thrust sore at the soul, that it may fall, or be driven into by-ways of error and wickedness. Here is the wisdom and patience of saints, when they cannot see their way, to cry to their Guide. Jesus is the way, the only way, the way everlasting; in which the saints in all ages walked to glory. Faith in Jesus is inconsistent with every wicked way, though in our present state, there is no entire freedom from sin, which dwelleth in us; consequently no perfection in righteousness performed by us. Yet, the more we abide in Jesus, the
Wher excite gory to his will not please cent,
siste, aber eonsequenzetu
closer we cleave to him, the more steadfastly we behold him ; so much the more through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we shall be dead to sin, and alive to holiness. We shall experience the ways of wisdom to be ways of pleasantness, and all her paths to be paths of peace, Prov. iii. 17. This is the end of simple-hearted, sincere souls, in their appeals at a throne of grace, that “with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,” they may be “ changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,” 2 Cor. iii. 18. Thus the new creature looks and lives out of nature and appeals to the God of all grace, to be searched, tried, and led. Thus our new state and new life in Christ are manifested, that “we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Rom. viii. 1.
JAN. 19.—If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.—John viii. 31.
As mutual love subsists between Jesus and his believing members ; so there is a mutual choice of each other. Hence says the church, “I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine," Cant. vi. 3. So there is a mutual inhabitation also; every believer dwells in Christ, and Christ in him. This can only be comfortably experienced by continuing in the truth. For, “whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son,” 2 John 9. He has the love of the former and the peace of the latter.
Many profess to be disciples of Jesus in name. But what profit is this? If souls have not been sick of sin, Jesus will be a Physician of no value to them. If they have not seen themselves lost, their state accursed, and their case hopeless and desperate, so that none but Jesus can restore and save them, they will lightly esteem him. However precious he is to others, he will
a Physiciauls have not in name
be but little regarded by them. They may profess his word, but not being his disciples indeed, they will not continue long, they will only follow him for a season. Ah, poor souls, how soon are they offended! Little things put them to a stand. Trifles turn them back. Temptations and trials prove what they are. Other objects engage their affections, and they presently fall quite away, and follow the Lamb no more.
Continuance in the truth is the touchstone of faith; thus only is it evidenced. Disciple, remember, “ if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation," Ecclus. ii. 1. So surely as thou art a disciple indeed and in truth, thou must become a crucified servant of a crucified Lord. As thou hopest for the comforts of faith, so expect the trials of faith, and the exercise of patience. Thou must abide the tribulations of Jesus' word, as well as its consolations. The Master deceives none. He tells us what we are to expect; every thing grievous to flesh and blood. But blessed be his gracious name, he bids us, “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, [fiery darts of Satan, hot temptations within, and burning malice of men without,] thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Why all this safety in the midst of such danger? Most joyful reason! “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour," Isa. xliii. 1--3.
ing malicets of Satan, when though the time the walethon
JAN. 20.-Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.—Jer. xvii. 5.
It is very remarkable, after the prophet pronounces the curse of confiding in the flesh, and the blessedness of trusting in the Lord, he immediately adds, “The