« PreviousContinue »
truths, and bring back a fresh and lively sense of God's past dealings with us! “Remember this, and show yourselves men.” “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord," 1 Cor. i. 9.
JAN. 24.-Sanctify them through thy truth.—John xvii. 17.
Thus prayed our great High Priest on earth. What he asked in his humiliation, is founded upon the word and will of his Father, and he hath power to effect in his exaltation. Hence we have the fullest assurance of the perfect sanctification of all his members. Hence the desires and breathings of souls after holiness are encouraged, and the prayers of the faithful gather the strongest confidence of success.
While our Beloved expresses his affectionate concern for his people's salvation, we see his equal regard for the honour, and glory of his Father's word. Love for holiness and love of the truth are inseparable. As the gospel prevails in the heart, holiness is increased. It is first life, then liveliness in the soul. It is the ministration of the Spirit in the sanctification of the Spirit. Whatever workings we find of the Spirit in the heart, all are by the word of truth. The life of believers is from Christ, who is The Truth; therefore increasing light, refreshing comforts, stronger affections shall abound, and all by that same law of grace and truth whereby the soul was at first converted to the faith of Jesus. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes,” Psalm xix. 7, 8.
There is a peculiar glory in the order of salvation. "God hath chosen us from the beginning (before the foundation of the world) to salvation.” But how is this made manifest? Only "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," 2 Thess. ii, 13. Thus faith and holiness flow from electing love. So every word of God's truth is prized, and the fulfilment of every promise is expected. We love the truth of the word, because it discovers God's most ancient love to us in Christ: it reveals Christ's righteousness to us for our justification; revives our hearts with the knowledge of pardon by his blood, and the certainty of full sanctification, and perfect glory, through his intercession. So Jesus prayed, so we believe, so we poor sinners are saved. Saved, unspeakable mercy! from the power of sin and the prevalence of pride. Happy the heart, where the love of holiness prevails, agreeably to the word of truth. Dreadful delusion, when the truth is held in unrighteousness; or zeal for holiness is contended for, while the truths of electing love, Christ's righteousness, his members' certain salvation, are opposed and denied. Glory to the Father for his everlasting love; to Jesus, for his justifying righteousness and atoning blood; and to the Spirit, for his sanctifying influences. This will ever be ascribed by truly sancti. fied hearts. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder,” Matt. xix. 6.
JAN. 25.—Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.—Luke xiv. 33. • There must be the heart of a disciple, before there can be the conduct of a disciple. Hence says Christ, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again,” John iii. 7. The blessed effects of this spiritual birth will be evident in choosing Christ as our Lord, and becoming his disciples. Earthly objects will be forsaken; heavenly ones prized. Jesus being esteemed our treasure and our hope, our hearts will be with him, our affections set on him; and it will be our chief delight to hear his voice, and follow him in the regeneration. Coming to Christ, is turning our backs upon the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." By the faith of Jesus we renounce and forsake all these things, as our curse and shame. The clearer views we have of Christ's glory, and the stronger our faith is in him, so much the more we become dead to all things beside him. Thus it is manifest who are the disciples of Jesus. Their Master so teacheth them. We have need to pray daily, Sun of righteousness, shine brighter on our minds! Lord, increase our faith! For the flesh, with its affections and lusts, still abides with us; and as the life of Jesus increaseth, through faith in the heart, so shall we, more and more, groan under what is contrary thereto. The victory is obtained only through faith. In its nature very simple, but in its fruits and effects most comprehensive. For, hereby, we enjoy more happiness and comfort in Christ, than all that this present world can give us. Ye sons of earth, ye disdain us; we pity you. As ye are now, so once were we. We enjoyed your carnal gratifications, and feasted on your vain delights too, too long. We confess it, and grieve for it. Now we have found Jesus, we have another and a better life. In divine pleasures, spiritual joys from Christ, and sweet communion with him, we anticipate future glory. We enjoy a heaven of comfort in a world of 'sorrow. Therefore, in forsaking all, we gain all. In following Jesus, though painful and grievous to the flesh, we reap spiritual consolation and joy to our souls. Our greatest honour upon earth is to be his disciples. Our greatest glory is to confess him. And our chief happiness is to walk worthy of him. Experience will ever prove, that he who walks most by faith will be the most comforted disciple. He who lives nearest Christ in faith, will follow him closest in love; and, consequently, keep at the greatest distance from the world's vain pleasures, and the carnal delights of the flesh. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," Rom. viii. 13.
JAN. 26.-Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.—1 Tim. ii. 6.
The gospel is quite sufficient to answer every objection, and to silence every cavil against salvation by Christ. This sacred oracle we are to consult day after day. Do we ask, Why are any sinners saved ? It assures us God hath loved them; this is the cause. If we inquire, How doth God save them? It tells us, In à way of strict justice, consistent with the honour of his law, the perfection of his righteousness, holiness, and truth. Therefore redemption is by stipulated price, the blood of the covenant, the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without spot. Do we seek to know who are the redeemed of the Lord? Jesus assures us," he gave his life a ransom for many,” (Matt. xx. 28.) even for all which the Father hath given him, John vi. 39. · God's word mentions no one in particular; but sets forth salvation in general and extensive terms: it is exactly suited to the most vile and accursed state of sinners, perfectly sufficient to relieve the mind, encour. age hope, forbid despair, under a sense of the most complicated sins and accumulated guilt of lost, wretched, and undone souls. For the ransom of Jesus is sufficient, all-sufficient. The price he paid for our redemption is fully equivalent to satisfy for all our transgressions, and to answer every demand of law and justice. To this very end Christ gave himself. So is he testified of in the gospel of grace. This essential and important inquiry, Have I redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of my sins ? is also explicitly answered: for "he that believeth shall be saved," "he is justified from all things." Thus the Holy Ghost testifies in the word. Where this is received and believed in the heart, the same Spirit also bears witness to it with our spirits. And the faith of God's elect is evidenced, by bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit.
There is a time, a due time, when Christ shall be thus testified of, to the souls of all God's chosen. The ransom-price being paid, he will set the captives free, and "say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways (of light and truth ;] and their pastures shall be in all high places, (even the mountains of consolation, and the hills of joy.) They shall not hunger nor thirst [after any other hope but Jesus;] neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; [trials and afflictions shall profit them:] he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, [they shall not walk in their own crooked ways,] even by the springs of water [of refreshment and holiness) shall he guide them,” Isa. xlix. 9, 10.
JAN. 27.-Jesus said, When ye pray, say, Our Father, &c.—Luke xi. 2.
Faith in the heart excites prayer from the lips. So the faith of God's elect manifests itself. It cometh from the Lord the Spirit. By it, the soul is led to Jesus the Mediator; and by him, to God the Father. So each person in the Godhead is known, worshipped, and glorified by believing souls. While we see and feel nothing of our misery and wants, no marvel prayer is an irksome task. From a sight of ourselves, and the knowledge of Jesus, we come to him daily with simplicity of heart, Master, teach us to pray! Our
cise, is to draw nigh to God. What greater on earth, than to come to the throne of the King of kings ? And that fear and shame may not beset and keep us back, knowing our vile nature and sinful practice, hear our Saviour's encouraging direction, “When ye pray, say, Our Father,” &c.
But can it be, that I, a child of wrath by nature, a son of perdition by sin, a vassal and slave of Satan by practice, and accursed by the holy law ; can it be that