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death, our unwillingness “to be absent from the body that we may be present with the Lord ?" Truly, all this ariseth from the mystery of iniquity, which worketh in us. But here is our wisdom, to oppose the mystery of faith to that. Never venture to think of your own dying, without considering the death of Jesus. Look not at your own sins, without looking at the blood of Jesus. Think not a moment of his appearing as a Judge, without remembering him as our precious Saviour. Dwell not on the glory and majesty of his eternal power and Godhead, without reflecting on his humble form, his manhood state. Conceive not of him as a King and Lawgiver, without considering him as a Priest to atone for our sin, an Advocate to plead our cause, and our Forerunner entered into the heavens for us. For so shall we daily prove, that we are more than conquerors over every foe, that opposeth the holiness and comfort of our souls, through Jesus, who loved us. “Behold, he cometh!” O joyful day! most desirable sight! Then our sorrows, our fears shall for ever cease, Then our eyes shall see our dearest Friend: and our foes, that we this day find and feel, we shall see no more for ever. “To them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation.” Lift up your heads with joy, for your redemption draweth nigh, Luke xxi. 28.
Nov. 27.—Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.—Psalm lxxiii. 24.
That is a precious caution, “ Judge not according to the appearance," John vii. 24. St. Paul reproves saints, “Do ye look on things after the outward appearance ?” 2 Cor. x. 7. Through this, saints in all ages have puzzled their minds, distressed their souls; and have been tempted to hard thoughts of their God. They have not “judged righteous judgment," in respect to carnal men, and the dispensations of God's providence to them. So we see Job greatly exercised, Job xxi. 7, and Asaph, in the above Psalm. But, after the cloud of carnal reasoning and unbelief passed over their minds, the sun of glory and truth shone again with splendor upon them: then faith puts forth its lively exercises, and sweet appropriations of God. “O my God and Saviour, I see thy ways to man are just! Righteous art thou, O Lord. Thou art my God, I will love thee. Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel," &c. As the Lord is often said to make a covenant with his people, when only renewing his old covenant of grace and love in Christ Jesus ; so faith frequently makes a fresh choice of, claim to, and glory in, the Lord Jesus. “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure," saith the Lord, Isa. xlvi. 10. Amen, saith the believing heart. By thy word and Spirit guide me continually. I cannot guide myself. Jesus, be thou my guide, my companion, and my familiar friend. · Blessed christian! though in Paul's case, (Acts xxvii. 20,) when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, when no small tempest is upon thee, and all hope of being saved seems taken away ; yet Jesus is at the helm. Thy vessel shall ride out every storm. He will guide thee safe to the haven of glory. Some seem so wholly taken up with prying into the secret purposes and inscrutable depths of God's decrees, that they take no heed to their steps; but, like the philosopher, who was so intent in observing the starry heavens, that, being careless of his walk, he fell into a ditch. Not God's secret purposes, but his revealed truths, are the objects of our faith; "his word is a light to our feet.” By that he counsels and directs us. His gracious Spirit leads and guides us in the paths of peace and holiness. Regenerate souls love God's word, the way of holiness, and long for glory. In this, the children of God are manifest. God will most certainly receive all such to glory. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” Rom. viii. 14.
Nov. 28.—Zealous of good works.—Tit. ii. 14. .
Call to mind, disciple of Jesus, how in times past thou didst walk according to the course of this world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and yet, the god of this world so blinded thine eyes, and so deceived thine heart, (strange infatuation!) that thou didst talk of, and trust in, even what had no existence, thine own good works. Glory to the rich grace of our Saviour, who delivers us from the natural notions of our corrupt reason, pride of our free-will, and vain con-. fidence in our own righteousness! Now, all our glorying is in Jesus. For though, by nature, we are slaves to our lusts, in bondage to iniquity, our minds defiled, our consciences impure, and therefore to every good work reprobate; yet, such was the love of Jesus to us, that "he gave himself for us." He hath redeemed us from all iniquity. He hath purified us to himself, as a peculiar people," zealous of good works." By faith we are persuaded Jesus loves us, delights in us, grants us peculiar familiarity with himself, bestows peculiar blessings on us, and hath made peculiar provision for us, both in time and eternity. Hence, we are inspired with a peculiar zeal for good works; a zeal according to godliness. We love God our Saviour, therefore we delight to serve, and study to glorify him, in our souls and bodies. Our sinful lusts and passions are contrary to him; therefore, by grace, we daily strive and pray to mortify them. To do good to the souls and bodies of all men, especially those that are of the household of faith, is well-pleasing to our Lord; therefore, it is the joy of our hearts to abound in these things. Here true zeal centres : that we do good from a good principle, love to God; from a good motive, Jesus commands it; with a good aim, that his glory, the honour and interest of his cause, may be advanced in the world by us. This zeal stabs the pride of self-seeking and vain-glorying. For our best works, our chief good, is to glorify our God and Saviour. Godly souls blush, and are grieved to the very heart, when a thought
arises, of doing any good work to procure God's favour,
to glorify ourselves. But we have not so learned Christ, as to oppose God's free-grace truths, dishonour the God of love, degrade the glory of our precious Saviour ; for we give all the glory to him, as having done all for us. We see salvation finished by him, and glory secured to us in him ; therefore, in love, we desire to be wholly devoted to him, and to do those things that may glo. rify him only, who hath bought us with his blood, 1 Cor. vi. 20.
Nov. 29.—Giving thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.--Col. i. 12. · Too many of God's dear children seem to abound more in complaining of what they find and feel in themselves, than in praising God for what he hath done for and in them. Why is this? they do not live enough in their own kingdom, consider their privileges, nor dwell upon the rich love of God their Fa. ther to them, the free grace of Jesus for them, and the work of the Comforter in them. But, from a sense of their corruptions, the devices of Satan, legality that is in them, they cannot think themselves made meet for God's kingdom ; therefore, they do not praise God for it. Say, 0 ye children of the Most High, is this right? What! because you find sin abound in you, will you not give praise, that grace doth much more abound to you, and in you also ? Consider, God the Father hath made us meet. Whom? Us, vile sinners. How? by taking away the being of all sin in us? No; no more than by taking out of the body. If we never have meetness for glory till all sin is perfectly destroyed in us, we shall never begin the work of praise till we get to glory. But praise is a present work, for what God
hath already done in us. 1. God hath delivered us from the power of darkness. The prince of darkness no more blinds our eyes to the evil of sin, the curse of the law, the glory of God, the face of Jesus, and the preciousness of his salvation. 2. For God “hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” We are out of the kingdom of nature, sin, pride, and unbelief. We live under the spiritual reign of Jesus. 3. Therefore, we possess the graces of this kingdom : faith in and love to the King of saints, and " to all the saints," who confess the Son of God, and salvation by him only. Is sin our burden ? Christ our life of holiness? Is holiness the desire of our souls ? we have light, life, faith, love, holiness; then God hath made us meet for his glory. Nay, we do enjoy him now. We have fellowship with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are now to give him thanks. We shall never have any other meetness for heaven on earth; though greater degrees of comfort may be experi. enced. O my soul, art thou no longer in the darkness of sin ; Satan's slave; under the curse of the law; blinded by pride to the charms of Jesus; tied and bound by the chains of unbelief ; an enemy to God's grace, his truth, and his people? “O Lord, my God, I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things," &c., Isa. xxv. 1.
Nov. 30.-I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. . --Psalm xxvii. 13.
In times of sore distress and affliction, whether in soul or body, saints are taught many sweet lessons. Chastenings from the Lord are all in love. By them our God teaches the soul to profit. “No chastening for the present is joyous, but grievous." In the dark night of suffering, christians sigh out many a doleful strain. Sometimes, according to all appearances, from nature,