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Oct, 17.-Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.—Rom. vi. 14.
Who are under the law? All who think they can fulfil it, seek to be made righteous by it, and expect salvation from it. All such are under the dominion of sin and the curse of the law. Who are under grace? All who fly from the law as a ministration of condemnation, embrace the gospel as a ministration of righteousness, cleave to Jesus, and expect righteousness and salvation in him only. Over such, sin has no power to destroy. They are out of its territories; in another kingilom; under another king. Jesus rules in and over them; and says of every one of them, Sin shall not have dominion over you. What a heart-reviving promise is this! bow delightful to hear our worst foe, our bitterest enemy shall not lord it over us! Art thou saying, Would God, sin had no being in me, then I should be completely happy! Remember what thy Saviour said to his mother, “Mine hour is not yet come,” John ii. 4. It is enough, that thou art called to the marriage of the Lamb. The Bridegroom keeps the best wine for the last. This is excellent wine on earth, Sin shall not have dominion over us. In glory, sin shall have no being in us.
Be assured, O christian, thine enemies are all conquered; though sense and experience afford thee daily proof they are not all dead. Never think of laying down thine arms, folding thine hands, and setting up thy rest here. Thou art still in the camp. The enemy lies in wait to take all advantage. But here is thy victory; though sin is an enemy whose life is commensurate with the life of thy flesh; though so nearly al. lied to thee, that it is part of thyself; yet being one with Jesus, thou hast a spiritual and eternal life, and the power of Omnipotence is engaged to preserve and keep thee; therefore sin shall not maintain its usurpation, nor hold dominion over thy soul. Its empire is dethroned. The kingdom of Jesus is set up in thy heart. Christ dwells there by faith. Thy heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience, by his blood. He who hath conquered for thee, will also conquer in thee. Take heed of independence on him, and vain confidence in thyself. Think not the root and being of sin are destroyed, and thyself in a sinless state. For then, thou hast no need of Jesus, faith in him, hope on him, nor prayer to him. Oh! if Satan thus rocks any poor sinner asleep, it is in the cradle of delusion, while he sings a sweet siren's song. Be ever active and vigilant to oppose and conquer thy inbred foe. Daily attend this wholesome advice, “Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof,” ver. 12.
Oct. 18.—Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.—2 Cor. v. 9.
"In all labour there is profit.” The belief of this makes the heart diligent and active. Nehemiah was stirred up to build the wall of Jerusalem, amidst the scoffs and opposition of enemies on every side. By prayer, watching, and working, he and his brethren wrought with one hand, a guard in the other, and this confidence of faith in their hearts, “Our God shall fight for us,” Neh. iv. 20. Thus animated, they laboured and finished the work.
So Christ's beloved brethren are called to be "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord :" being confident that the Lord fights for them, and “knowing assuredly, their labour is not in vain in the Lord.” The labour of love is pleasant and profitable to the believing heart. The work of faith is delightful to the soul; while it exercises the patience of hope. Most reviving consideration ! we serve not a hard task-master. We labour not for a rigorous, severe Lord. We obey not from base, mercenary prin
ciples. No; every command of Jesus is in love. Every work we do in his name is from love to spiritual good, as well as to his glory. We have the fullest assurance that we are “accepted in the Beloved." We are not left to doubt the way of acceptance, nor to do any thing to procure it. The truth as it is in Jesus forbids all this. But, knowing our persons are accepted in Christ, is the most enlivening, powerful motive, not only to do, but also to abound in those things which please God. To study this in our walk and way, so as cheer. fully and unreservedly to give up ourselves wholly to our Lord's service, is the sweet exercise of faith and love. Shall we pretend to believe that Jesus is our Saviour, and that we are accepted in him; and not labour and strive by his Spirit that our works may please him, and avoid those things that are contrary to his commands ? Alas! this is “Hail master," only like Judas, to give a kiss of hypocrisy; while faith in him and love to him are wanting.
Thou disciple of Jesus, from that moment thou didst enter into his rest by faith, thou wast called to labour, that thy works may please God, and be accepted of him. And when the heart is whole with our Saviour, and simply looking to him, need one forbid such a soul to refrain from the vain pastimes, and sinful gratifications of a carnal world ? No; he saith, These things do not please my Lord ; they cannot be acceptable to him ; they shall not insnare me: I dare not offend him. “We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John iv. 19.
Oct. 19.—I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.Exod. xxxiii. 19. · Carnal reason, pride, and unbelief, like a three-fold
cord, bind the soul under legal bondage. Each mutually strengthens the other, and all combine to oppose the Lord's sovereign goodness and grace. Instead of believing in, so as to be comforted by free-grace declarations from our God, how apt are we to consult flesh and blood! How prone to reject them, because we cannot reconcile them to our carnal reason! Here is the grand source of that damning sin, unbelief. Marvel not, believer, if the pride of thy flesh rises and rebels against distinguishing grace and discriminating love. This, though sweet to the experience of faith, is bitter to the stomach of rebellious nature. But here is thy mercy; grace which is sovereign in our nature, is saving in its operations. All must be resolved into this humbling confession, "I, a poor sinner, who could neither will nor run the way of salvation; the Lord wills to show me his goodness, proclaim his name, bestow his grace, and comfort me with his mercy in Christ Jesus, to eternal life.”
Thus the Lord speaks in love. Let all his children hear in faith, rejoice, and be humbled. Where, O soul, canst thou fix thy foot, but thou standest upon the ground of free grace? Hast thou faith? It is of grace. Dost thou find pardon of sin and consolation of heart in Jesus? It is of grace. Dost thou love God? It is because he first loved thee. Dost thou hate sin as contrary to God's glory and thy soul's peace? What astonishing grace is this! Consider it on thy knees. Reflect on it with meltings of soul. Why shouldst thou be singled out by the power of the Word, marked by the Spirit's grace for salvation, when so many perish everlastingly? Why are thine eyes opened amidst a throng of blind sinners? Why art thou watered like Gideon's fleece, while others are dry? Was thy nature better ? thy desires holier? What conditions hadst thou performed to procure this ? Grace has taught thee to think otherwise. All must be resolved into this soul-humbling, God-exalting truth, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious." Here
is an inexhaustible source of comfort. This is a never. failing motive to love and obedience. That grace and mercy which God owes to no sinner on earth, he has freely given thee. To rejoice in it is thy privilege, to confess it thy duty, and to lie humble in the dust. "If by grace, it is no more of works,” Rom. xi. 6.
Oct. 20.—This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.--Acts i. 11.
The parting of dear friends is grievous and affecting; but sorrow is alleviated from the hope of meeting again. Oh the joy of meeting our dear friends in glory, who are gone before! But what will heighten all, will be the sight and enjoyment of our best Friend and dearest Saviour. The disciples were looking steadfastly to heaven after their dear Master, ascending to glory, when they received this assurance. They saw his human form, the same dear man, their beloved com. panion, with whom they had so often eat and drank, taken sweet counsel, and who was lately crucified, dead, and buried; this very man Jesus, they saw ascend. The Son of God came from heaven in spirit. He assumed a body of flesh and blood; he lived in it on earth, and, having “finished the work his Father gave him to do," he took the same body with him to glory. This same Jesus shall so come again in like manner. Every eye shall see him in the last day in his human form.
Thus, in all the transactions of Jesus, we behold by faith the Man. View him in his birth an outcast babe in poverty. In advanced years, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, despised and rejected of men.” He died as another man; yea, an accursed death, as a malefactor. He rose and ascended with a human body like our own. Such, believer, was thy Saviour, a man “like unto thyself in all things, but