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Dec. 11.–Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.-Luke xii. 32.
When sinners are converted, they become little in their own eyes, and see but few, comparatively, who follow the Lamb. Their former friends turn enemies. Their former hopes are cut off. They know their own strength is perfect weakness; and they feel the burden of a body of sin and death. Hence, they are often exercised with anxious cares and distressing fears. Their Saviour knows this; therefore speaks to them in love, forbids their fears, and administers the most reviving consolation,
Ye children, consider your dignity as adopted sons of God. Call to mind your honourable state; heirs of a kingdom, heirs of God the King of kings, and jointheirs with Jesus Christ your elder Brother; though, at present, ye are in a state of exile. The world knows you not. Your kindred after the flesh despise you. Carnal professors revile and persecute you. Satan is enraged to tempt and accuse you. Yea, and your worst foes are most nearly allied to you, the flesh, with its corruptions and lusts, sin and unbelief. Yet, saith the Head in glory, to his conflicting members on earth, "Fear not.” Why? what consideration can dispel the anxious fears, and alleviate the distressing doubts of drooping disciples ? Verily, the good pleasure of their Father; the eternal purposes of his grace; the immutable designs of his love. A kingdom is prepared for you. Earth, with all its power; sin, with all its malignity; hell, with all its rage and malice, shall never deprive you of your Father's patrimony. O disciple, how does this heighten the mercy, and secure the inheritance! It is a free gift, by Jesus Christ. Poor soul! thou art fearing about thy interest in and title to the kingdom of glory. Verily, thou canst find nothing in thyself to give thee the least right to it. But, thy Saviour plainly assures thee, it is of “thy Father's good pleasure." What power can avert that? Hast thou a heart to seek the kingdom? dost thou believe in and follow the Lamb? dost thou see somewhat in Jesus
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which attracts thy affections? is the desire of thy soul after him, and to the remembrance of his name? Then, hath the glory of this kingdom shined upon thine heart, by the Spirit. No marvel sin is thy grief and burden, while Jesus is the delight and hope of thy soul, May it suffice, to quiet and still thy mind, that the Father's gift is sure. And so is the way also; it is by Jesus. And “through much tribulation thou (and all the heirs) must enter into the kingdom," Acts xiv. 22.
DEC. 12.—Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; thou hast the dew of thy youth.Psalm cx. 3.
When sovereign grace reaches the heart, it casts out that son of the bond-woman, natural free-will. This had long usurped the throne, and subjected the poor sinner to nothing but pride and evil. Yet, all the while, he vainly boasted of his liberty ; though a servile slave to the worst of drudgery. Free indeed to do evil; but to do good without power. The natural will of every sinner is as averse to turn to Jesus as the will of the devil. But, because of the free-will offering of Jesus, his members are made willing by the Spirit, to come to him, as their only hope. To him they bring free-will offerings, with holy worship. Thus Jehovah the Father speaks to the Son of his love, and gives a glorious display of the effects of everlasting election and covenant love, under the energy of the Divine Spirit. See, believer, behold and adore, the equal love of the glorious Trinity. Is thy will toward Jesus? is the language of thy heart, None but Jesus, all other saviours I disclaim ? Verily, where this will is given by the Spirit, in a day of his power, the affections are attracted to Jesus in the beauties of holiness. Dost thou not choose the sceptre of his love, to rule over thee, as well as the atonement of his blood, to obtain
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thy pardon? These are inseparable. Let no soul deceive himself. Every believer is washed in the blood of Jesus, and made a priest unto God. As the high priest under the law "put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and Thummim;" (Exod. xxviii. 30;) so every anointed one is endued with light and perfection. The light of the knowledge of Jesus, and the perfection of grace which dwells in him, is communicated to his members. Hence, in the exercise of faith, their souls obey willingly, serve cheerfully, and delight in Jesus continually. All is of grace: conceived in the womb of the morning of eternity, its rich profusion freely poured forth in time, like the pearly dew upon the vegetable creation, producing verdure, refreshment, and fruits. So, disciple, all thy mercies come from above. Freely thou hast received an understanding to know, a will to choose, and affections to cleave unto Jesus. “Render therefore unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's ;" take all the shame of thy sinful free-will, and nature state to thyself, and be humbled; "but unto God the things that are God's." Even thyself, and all that thou art, devote to him. By his grace “I am what I am," 1 Cor. xv. 10.
DEC. 13.—Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.—1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.
Oh, how dear is every believer to God the Father, God the Saviour, and God the Spirit, the Comforter! Each divine person claims proprietorship in them: the Father by election; the Son by redemption ; the Holy Spirit by inhabitation. How should this, O soul, call forth love, excite gratitude, inflame with affection, and quicken thee to glorify thy Lord! Consider, daily thou art not thy own, but a ransomed captive of Jesus. Reflect on the price he paid for thy redemption. Thou art bought with blood; blood divine; blood. spilt on the accursed tree, in direful agony and shameful death, was the price of thy purchase. So thy Saviour bought thee at the hands of justice, and paid the utmost farthing of thy debt to law. He redeemed thee from the power of Satan, and snatched thee as a brand from the jaws of death and hell. And canst thou ever think thy redeeming Lord will leave the purchase of his blood to be the prey of the devil ? After he hath bought thee at such an inestimable price, will he not claim thee as his own, and bring thee safe to glory? Oh, beware of indulging unbelief! Listen not to the suggestions of Satan, nor the voice of false teachers. Fly every thought which impeaches thy Lord's love, wisdom, or power. Consider, thou art thy Lord's freeman, as a chaste virgin thou art espoused to Jesus. In faith thou hast plighted thy troth ; hast voluntarily given thyself, hand and heart, to be thy Lord's. What then is thy duty ? what infinite obligations art thou under to forsake all other lovers, and cleave to thy Lord alone, with full purpose of heart! Dost thou believe thy vile body shall shortly be sown in the silent grave? and that it shall as certainly be raised a glorious body like unto thy Saviour's? How much doth it concern thee to devote that body to his service and glory on earth, which shall reign with Jesus in heaven! Is thy body the temple of the Holy Ghost ? canst thou reflect on its dignity, and debase and pollute it with filthy lusts? God forbid ! Doth thy spirit enjoy sweet fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus? doth the Spirit itself bear witness with thy spirit, that thou art a child of God? Where is thy love to the truth as it is in Jesus? where thy zeal for his cause and interest ? Remember whose thou art. Be concerned to live up to thy privilege and dignity. Be earnest in prayer, for power to obey the obligations which infinite and eternal love hath laid thee under. “Glorify thy Lord in thy body and in thy spirit which are his." “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God ?" 1 Cor. iii. 16.
Dec. 14.-And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.—Rom. xiii. 11.
It is an affecting but a real truth, that wise virgins are apt to slumber and sleep, as well as the foolish. Through the pressures of a body of sin and death, and the opiates of worldly ease and self-indulgence, they sometimes fall into a drowsy state, and a sleepy frame of soul. Hence, they lose their former delight in religious duties and spiritual exercises. Their love to God and their brethren grows cold ; their zeal for Christ's glory and his precious truth declines. The enemy takes great advantages against them, and would triumph in their entire destruction. But that can never be, for the Lord prevents it. “He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” Will the loving father suffer his dear children to sleep in their beds, till devoured by raging flames? If we, being evil, have such love for our children, how infinitely greater is our heavenly Father's love! Therefore he alarms and awakens souls to duty and watchfulness.
Thus Paul, his faithful watchman, lifts up his voice of warning, cries the hour, and reproves disciples as acting unbecomingly. It being both unreasonable and unseasonable, for those who know the time of day, to indulge sloth and heaviness. It is high time to awake out of sleep. Come, christian, look about thee, look up. The Saviour reigns. It is broad day. See the sun shining; nay, just in its meridian. Thou art near thy journey's end, in sight of thy Father's house. Thy Lord is coming to meet thee. What! wilt thou sleep on and take thy rest? The Spirit says to thee, "Now is thy salvation nearer than when thou didst first be, lieve." The Lord is at hand. “Let thy moderation, in care for the things of this life, be known unto all men." Why grasping so much of perishing things ? Thou canst not hold them long. Off hands, before death makes thee quit thy hold. Think what thou art