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from another quarter; self righteousness exalts its baneful head against them. “Now I am somebody. I possess inherent grace and strength. I am justified. My sins are pardoned, and I have got a clean heart." Hence towering imaginations swell against God's everlasting love, election of grace, the imputed righteousness of Jesus, and the final perseverance of his saints. When these evangelical truths are rejected, it proves that pride, self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness prevail.“ Thou trustest in thine own beauty, and playest the harlot because of thy renown. Woe, woe unto thee." A severe reproof this, from the Lord, Ezek. xvi. 30. St. Austin is peremptory. “It had been profitable to some proud spirits to fall into gross offence, for they have not lost so much by their fall, as they have got by being down." It is better to be humbled under sin than proud of grace. God will suffer no flesh to glory in his presence. His truths, tried at the bar of carnal reason, will be rejected. But that Spirit who indicted them, will bring disciples to submit to them. To reject the doctrines of grace, under a specious pretence to holiness, is to blaspheme the God of wisdom. High thoughts of ourselves oppose God's truth. Vain imaginations strengthen self-confidence against the faith of Christ. To see Jesus all in all, and ourselves nothing at all, is to see aright in the light of truth, and by the Spirit of truth. There is inward obedience of heart, in submission to the righteousness of God, as well as outward obedience of life. There may be much pride and holiness of the pharisee without, where there is no simple faith and love of Jesus within. "Be clothed with humility,” 1 Pet. v. 5.
Oct. 14.-I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.—Matt. x. 34. - Is not our Saviour the Prince of peace ? Hath he not made peace between God and man by the blood of
his cross? Doth he not give peace in the conscience, and establish peace among his people ? Doth not the gospel preach peace by Christ? All this is true. Why then doth our Lord say, “I came not to send peace, but a sword ?” Conceive not of the meek Lamb, as though his soul delighted in war: and, that the sword of slaughter should be drunk with human blood. No; he came not to destroy, but to save men's lives. Therefore, this sword is no other than the “sword of the Spirit, the word of God," rendered in St. Luke, division. This sword divides and separates a christian from his carnal friends and relations: yea, divides asunder flesh and spirit. Hence open war commences, and hostilities begin. For there never, never can be any peace, harmony, and agreement, subsisting between carnal and spiritual men; no more than between flesh and spirit, in the christian. These are contrary to and at continual war with each other. “Wars and fightings come from your lusts." Sin is the cause of all contention and division among men. Every christian is a soldier. The sword of the Spirit, the word of God, is one blessed part of his armour. By this he is enabled to resist Satan, subdue lusts, cut down unbelief, and to stand his ground against every enemy from the world, flesh, and devil, which are always in battle array against him.
Thus the weapons of our warfare are not carnal; but spiritual, and mighty through God “to the pulling down the strong holds of Satan." Though earth and hell are at war against thee, yet strengthen thyself in thy God; he is on thy side. Fortify thyself by the word of his truth. This, for thy comfort, assures thee, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that riseth up in judgment against thee thou shalt condemn,” Isa. liv. 17. By this sword of the Spirit thou shalt prevail. By the blood of the Lamb thou shalt overcome. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts,” Zech. iv. 6. But we are ready to say, My strength is small, my arm
weak; though such a weapon is put into my hand, I have neither skill nor courage to use it aright; sin, Satan, and the world will be too strong for and overcome me at last. No; this is impossible. Though weak as infancy, this blessed word exactly suits our state, and is a cordial to our spirits, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because, greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world," 1 John iv. 4.
Oct. 15.—Jesus said to them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.-Luke xxii. 46.
The dull, sleepy frames of disciples, though natural to them, are by no means commendable in them. Nor are they to find excuses for them; as though this was a sleepy state with the churches, therefore we are to lie down, and take our rest. This is injurious to the honour of our dear Master; brings discredit upon his cause and interest; is very uncomfortable, and exposes sleeping souls to many and great dangers. Though love may excuse it, yet will Jesus sharply reprove for it, “Why sleep ye? wherefore indulge yourselves in sloth when called to activity ? sleep is unreasonable when danger is near. Yea know, my beloved disciples, your adversary, Satan, is ever wakeful, watchful, busy in plotting and seeking to rob you of your shield of faith. Is this a time to be sluggish? to fold your hands and cry, A little more carnal ease and worldly pleasures, a little more spiritual slumber? Most inexcusable, to be taking sleepy opiates of pleasure, to indulge the flesh; and intoxicating draughts from the world, to drown the spirit. What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise and call upon thy God.” Say not, “I am in an unsuitable frame, dull and heavy." Thou readest of no such reply from these drowsy disciples to their Master. Wilt thou stay till thou art rich, before thou wilt be industrious ? He who calls to duty, is both able and willing
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to give strength and power to perform duty. Take with you words and say, Jesus will give the spirit to pray. Ever remember, prayers move God, not as an orator does his hearers, but as the cry of a beloved child his affectionate father. When we are out of the reach of danger, prayer will be needless. But when will that be? not in this life; not till every enemy is destroyed : that will not be till death is swallowed up in life.
Now there is danger from temptation. Temptation cannot hurt us, but entering into it will. Jesus was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin. His temptations were all without him. They could not enter in, to defile him; but they may us. When the love of the world enters and prevails, the sense of God's love is lost. When the lusts of the flesh get power, the Spirit's consolations are not enjoyed. When ease and happiness are expected from any other object but Jesus, he is slighted and disesteemed; then, our views of his love are eclipsed, and our souls miserably darkened. “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer," 1 Peter iv. 7.
Oct. 16.—I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.-Psalm cxix. 162.
The saints of God in all ages were taught by the same Spirit, looked for the same salvation, and were comforted by the same truths of God's word. Hence the word is so precious to them. For it causes their souls to rejoice. Thus it is of the written word of the Lord, which makes known his everlasting, loving designs to sinners of mankind. This also is true of the essential, divine, and uncreated Word, the Lord Jesus. He, in person, manifested God's thought of love, as words declare what is in the mind. Jesus lay in the bosom of the Father from eternity. He has revealed the Father's eternal love to us. He who findeth Jesus,
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will rejoice indeed. With joy says Philip, “ We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write," John i. 45. Hath a conqueror cause for rejoicing, who hath obtained a complete victory over, and is enriching himself with the spoils of a wealthy enemy? how much greater has the christian daily from the word of the Lord! Alas! the joy of the one is but momentary and uncertain. What he hath gained in war to-day, he may be deprived of to-morrow. But joy through the victory of Jesus, and the spoils the christian reaps from his word, are durable and eternal. The victory of Christ Jesus is the christian's spoil. Here he beholds sin subdued, death conquered, Satan vanquished, hell overcome, a crown of eternal life and glory fully obtained, absolutely insured, and which shall most certainly be enjoyed. In the written word of the Spirit are given unto us "exceeding great and precious promises." In the essential Word Jesus, "all the promises are yea and Amen to the glory of God." By the former, we understand "what is the hope of our calling, and what the riches of the glory of our inheritance in the saints." By union with Jesus and faith in him, we obtain the happy assurance that all things are ours. “Whether ministers, the world, life, death, things present, or things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's," 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. And “ nothing shall be able to separate from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 39.
Blessed be God for the word of his grace, the Bible; and for his unspeakable gift, Jesus. He is thy treasure, O christian! where should thy heart be, but in meditation and delight herein daily For thou canst get spiritual joy from no object, but victorious Jesus, set before thee in the gospel. The clearer thou seest salvation by him, thy faith will be stronger in him. “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” Phil. iv. 4.