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in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.—Psalm xlii. 11.
We are not to expect the sunshine of joy all through this vale of tears. Comfortable frames and joyful feelings, though sweet and delightful, are not always most profitable. Were we ever on the mount of joy we should forget we are strangers and pilgrims on earth, be for building tabernacles of rest in a polluted place, and cry out, with the highly-favoured disciples, "It is good for us to be here ;" but they knew not what they said, Luke ix. 33. It is the glory of a christian, to live by faith on Jesus, to judge of his love from the word of truth, more than by sense and feeling; yea, under dejection and disquiet of soul, to hope and trust in God, to check and rebuke one's self, for doubts and diffidence is the real exercise of faith. Faith supports the soul, and lifts it above the views of carnal reason, and the suggestions of sense. The believer is steadily to abide by the word of truth, though in heaviness for a season; being persuaded, that shortly he shall rejoice in, and praise God even for this gloomy dispensation; concluding from the word of God's grace and faithful. ness, Jehovah Jesus " is the health of my countenance, and my God." This is the very joy of faith. Such was the sweet experience of David, recorded in the 42d and 43d Psalms, for our instruction.
Disciple, it is well for thee to learn wisdom hereby. Thy frames may vary; the foundation of God's love standeth sure, his promises cannot fail; the word of truth, yea, the oath of Jehovah, are engaged for the strong consolation of all, “who have fled to Jesus for refuge,” Heb. vi. 18. Thou mayest meet with many things, from within and without, to cast down, distress, and disquiet thee; but thou art called to look to Jesus, not to stagger at the promises through unbelief; but like the father of the faithful, “against hope to believe in hope;" not to consider thine own corrupt nature, its lustings to evil, its enmity to grace, so as to give up thy hope. There is ever cause of humility, but no reason for casting away thy confidence in Jesus, in and under the worst frames. Though thou sinkest to hell, in the view of thy deserts, yet, through the righteousness of Jesus, salvation is procured for the helldeserving. Encourage thy soul to hope in him, so shalt thou glorify him. “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord,” Psalm xxxiv. 1, 2.
FEB. 23.—We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.1 John iii. 2.
Why should the Lord, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy, lay an embargo on our fully gratifying our. selves in the use of them? Why are we called to daily mortification and self-denial, as to sensual objects? Verily, it is all in love to our souls, that Jesus and spiritual objects may be more enjoyed; for experience proves the life of sense to be opposite to the life of faith. The more pleasure, comfort, and happiness we enjoy in the things of this life, this tends the more to make us love the world, and loth to leave it; and so our affections to Jesus cool, our desires after his appearing abate in their fervour, and we lose our longings after the unclouded sight of him in glory. Hence St. Paul reproves christians of old: “Are ye not carnal, and walk as men ?" 1 Cor. iii. 3. How justly applicable is this interrogation to us also! Reflect on this soulreviving truth, Yet a little while and Jesus shall appear. So sure as he was once upon earth, in our nature, he will appear again in the same human body, exalted and glorified. And can we know and believe this, as an undoubted truth, live upon it in expectation, without finding a deadness to this present world, and all its enjoyments? Here we feel sin in our flesh, pains in our bodies, afflictions our companions, wander. ings and deadness in duties, trials and temptations of various sorts, and innumerable evils of every kind abound in this short life. But, at the appearing of Jesus all will be at an end; for we shall be like him. Our vile bodies shall be fashioned like to his glorious body; our souls shall be perfectly conformed to his image. Then in soul and body we shall eternally enjoy him. And are we the subjects of such a hope? Let us live like ourselves; as members of Jesus our Head. Let us be ever pressing after him, living upon his fulness, and longing for his appearing. Most blessed sight! most desirable fruition! we shall see our Jesus as he is. Once the despised Nazarene, once the devoted victim to curse and wrath; but now the Lord of life and glory; bestowing immortality and eternal life upon all his dearly purchased, blood-bought members. Oh, were our hearts more with Christ on the cross, and more with him on his throne by faith, how would sin be subdued, and the world overcome, Satan conquered, and our happy hearts triumphing in love! for, we are more than conquerors over all, through Jesus who hath loved us,” Rom. viii. 37.
FEB. 24.—Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart.--2 Chron. xxxii. 26.
So will you too, if you know your own heart. Outward, gross, abominable sins, self-righteous Pharisees cry out against; but to mourn over and be humbled
for heart sins, spiritual pride, &c., is peculiar to gracious : souls only. We read of two things in the word, the most opposite to each other: hear, and adore! The high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, "humbleth him. self” to visit man, Psalm cxiii. 6. Hear, and be astonished! Man opposeth and exalteth himself against God, 2 Thess. ii. 4. Pride proceeds out of the heart, saith Jesus, Mark vii. 22. This makes us murmur against the God of providence, fretful under his dispensations, forgetful of his benefits, unthankful for his mercies, oppose the sovereign God of grace, aim to snatch the crown of glory from the everlasting God of love, and place it upon the head of that guilty creature of a day, man. Pride swells the haughty mind with indignation against the truths of Jehovah. That salvation is wholly by free grace, unmerited love, unconditional election of God the Father by Christ, is contrary to the proud thoughts of man; therefore man is against this. For, this leaves him nothing whereof to glory in himself, that he has done, or can do, to fulfil terms and conditions, gain an interest in salvation, or procure a title to glory.
Here, God alone is glorified, Christ exalted, grace reigns, and truth is established: while the poor sinner's mouth is stopped, his honour laid in the dust, and in self-abasement, he humbles himself for the pride of his heart. So grace triumphs over all the ruin of the fall. Thus it affects sinners, when it reacheth the heart. All boasting is excluded. “O righteous Father! thy will be done,” in sovereign grace and electing love. Thou hast a right to do what thou wilt with thine own. Grace, mercy, faith, repentance, hope, peace, love, holiness, heaven, all is thy free gift by Jesus. None hath any claim on thee; guilt has forfeited all. But to the wretched and helpless thou hast made thyself a debtor by free promise, and sovereign proclamation in Christ. Do I see this? Is my heart soft and yielding, to submit to salvation by grace only? Why is it thus with me, while others are blinded to the truth, and their hearts hardened against it? The work is thine; all the glory is due to thee alone; for “even so, righteous Father, it seemed good in thy sight.” Such are the sentiments of humble souls; to such he “giveth more grace," James iv. 6.
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FEB. 25.-The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.—1 Sam. xvii. 37.
Faith, by ancient writers, has been styled “the queen of graces." As such, she displays her dignity, by disdaining to consult any power below the King of saints. When, in reason and reflection, she calls up past experiences, it is to give all the glory to her sovereign Lord. Thus David confesses faith in his King. What were the gigantic size, the formidable appearance, and the baughty threatenings of his Philistine antagonist? To his eye of faith, all mean and contemptible; for he saw Him that was invisible. He fixed his confidence on the power of Omnipotence. He considered not himself, “but was strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." He relied on the truth of his Lord: “To him that believeth all things are possible,” Mark ix. 23. He had seen the Lord's power, in delivering him from the fierceness of a lion, and from the strength of a bear; and therefore says, not with a perhaps, or a peradventure, but absolutely in full confidence of faith, “The Lord hath delivered, and he will deliver.” And, "according to his faith, so it was.”
Now “whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning," Rom. xv. 4. Here is a lesson of instruction for disciples of Jesus to learn the doctrine of self-despair. Thine enemies are fierce as lions, strong as bears, potent and formidable as Goliath of Gath. To know thou hast neither might nor strength, and to despair of victory from thyself, is truest wisdom. This humbling lesson proud nature is averse to; but it is profitable to the spirit. By faith we glory in the Lord, and in him only. Can I look back to past experience of his grace and power? Can I call to mind, that in such danger the Lord appeared as my deliverer? at such a time, I sweetly experienced his power, and triumphed over my enemies; therefore I will trust in the Lord, and not be afraid. Past experiences encourage