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the power of the grace of Jesus in us; shall teach us the use of our spiritual weapons, deaden our affections to earth, quicken our longings for glory, endear Jesus more to our hearts, so as with ardency to cry out, Oh that I may be found in him! How glorious the privileges ! how animating the prospect of all such new-named souls! they are interested in all new-covenant blessings. New wine of gospel peace and love is put into such new bottles. A new song, “Salvation to the Lamb that was slain," inspires their tongue. Such are lovingly called, by the word of their Father, and powerfully enabled, by the Spirit of his grace, to serve and glorify him, “not in the oldness of the letter," but in newness of the spirit, in “righteousness and true holiness before him all the days of their life.” Happy new-year to such new-named souls ! every revolving year on earth brings them nearer their Father's house, their Saviour's kingdom in glory. Thus, " if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new," 2 Cor. v. 17.
JAN. 2.-Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.—John i. 29.
Nothing can make poor sinners truly happy, but that which taketh away the cause of all misery, sin, This is effected. The Lamb of God hath taken away all sin, by his sacrifice for us. When, by the eye of faith, we behold this Lamb, then all sin is taken away out of our conscience. When a soul thinks, “Sin has condemned me before God; the law accuses me daily; it works wrath in my conscience continually; and I am often ready to cry out, O wretched that I am! who shall deliver me?" then thanks be to God for a precious Redeemer. The Lamb, which God provided, hath done it for ever. All our iniquities were laid upon him. “He bare in his own body on the tree," the sin, the whole of sin, every sin of all that shall believe in him, to the end of the world. By the sacrifice of himself he put all away, out of the sight of God, as one puts away an offensive thing. He bore it away into a land of forgetfulness, as a thing that is hurtful. So then, saith God the Father, to all his children in Christ, Your sins and your iniquities I will remember no more, Jer. xxxi. 34.
But one is often ready to say, How can this be true? For I daily see I am a sinner; the remembrance of sin is before me, in my thoughts: though, for a season, time may efface sin from my memory, yet it recurs afresh upon my conscience. It may, it will do so, O soul; and nothing can effectually take it away but this, "Behold the Lamb of God.” He taketh sin away now, this present moment, every moment: at what time soever thou beholdest Jesus by the eye of faith, all the sin which troubles thee thou wilt see laid on him, and he taketh it away from thee. Oh how sweet to have no more conscience of sin!
Continually to behold this Lamb of God, is life to our souls and death to our sins. Sin cannot terrify with its guilt, sin cannot prevail in its power, while the heart is looking to this Lamb of God, for he says, “Look unto me, and be saved.” Astonishing mystery! but this is God's truth. Thus to behold, is to be happy. Thus to look, is to be holy. May this, O my soul, be thy daily employ below, till thou beholdest the Lamb in the midst of the throne above. Thanks to the gracious Father, for the gift of this precious Lamb. Thanks to this holy Lamb, for bearing and taking away sin. And thanks to the loving Spirit, for showing this Lamb to poor sinners, and to me. "God forbid I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Gal. vi. 14.
JAN. 3.-Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.—1 John v. 21.
Idolatry is founded in ignorance of Jesus, the true God, and eternal life. None are spiritual worshippers of God, but believers in Jesus. There are many idols in the world, suited to the pride and lusts of our corrupt nature. These we are cautioned against. But, in reading this very exhortation, the idol of free-will is ready to present itself: as though disciples, by their own power, were to keep themselves. This notion opposes the Spirit and power of Jesus, and springs from that grand idol, pride. Pride introduces the idol of selfrighteousness. This blinds the eye to the glory of the righteousness of Christ, freely imputed by God, through faith. Thus this trinity of idols, free-will, pride, and self-righteousness, are in unity with each other. By the simple faith of Jesus, we are daily to guard our hearts against all their specious pretensions.
So, also, every outward object suited to our corrupt nature, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; these naturally call for the attention of our minds, tend to attract the affections of our hearts, and promise us pleasure, happiness, and joy. But if these are sought unto, coveted, and enjoyed, they also become idols; they rival Jesus, they rob our hearts of the consolation of the Saviour's love, and him of the glory due to his name, which it is ever the indispensable duty of all his beloved disciples, to give unto him only. Shall we then say of our own righteousness, or our sins, Ye are our glory? Shall we at all hope in the one? shall we ever seek happiness from the other? Verily, if so, our hearts are not right with God; our souls are not sincere and upright with Jesus. Can we at any time halt between two opinions in our conduct, Jesus and self, God and the world? Oh, where then is our faith in Jesus, our love to God? Has not God mani. fested love enough to us, in the gift of his beloved Son? Has not Jesus done enough, suffered enough, to attract every affection, and to engage our whole hearts in love to himself? Has not the Holy Spirit so clearly and fully revealed the love of the Father, and the salvation of the Son, as to make us happy? We must confess this. Surely then conscious shame, holy blushing, godly sorrow, should fill our hearts, if we act not as chaste virgins to our heavenly Bridegroom. While we cry in the fervency of prayer to the Divine Spirit for power, we shall, in the fervour of love, and in the resolution of faith, say, with Ephraim, Get ye hence: “what have I to do any more with idols ?" Hos. xiv. 8.
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JAN. 4.-I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.—Psalm lxxi. 16.
Wise travellers provide things needful for their journey, and guard against such as lie in wait, by the way, to rob them. Our gracious God calls not his dear children to forsake their native country, to travel to the heavenly city, without furnishing them with a rich supply of all things necessary for their comfort, and also strength to protect them from the power of every enemy. No soldier of his goeth a warfare at his own charge. Christ being both their righteousness and strength, they can want nothing—neither riches nor power. Hence, they go on from day to day, glorying in him, as their richest treasure, and trusting in him, as their almighty strength; and this is their constant song in the house of their pilgrimage, and all through their journey: “Surely, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength,” Isa. xlv. 24. Jesus's righteousness inspires the soul with boldness before God. Jesus's strength obtains victory over every enemy. This is the triumph of faith. So believers walk safely and comfortably. Children of grace are not called to be idle speculatists in doctrines; but to a life of activity, to holy walking with Jesus, constant hearing of his love, cheerful obedience to his will, diligent search of the scriptures, steadfast resistance of Satan, striving daily against sin, and praying always with all prayer and supplication. . Well may one ask, “But who is sufficient for these things ?" As to natural power and inherent strength, we must all sit down in despair. But faith leads, from self, to Jesus. I can do all things, through Christ strengthening me; so will I go on against my enemies; thus I shall be enabled to walk in the path of every duty. But after I have done all, still my Saviour bids me confess the truth, that I am an unprofitable servant, But is not this discouraging to the soul? No; for it works not to obtain righteousness. It is already clothed with that, and, in the views of faith, rejoices in it; abjures all other, and will make mention of Jesus's righteousness, and his only, for acceptance with God, perfect justification before him, from every condemnation of the law, and accusation of Satan. True, doubts and fears may arise, distressing thoughts deject; but happily are we conducted, joyful shall be our experience, while the righteousness of Christ is beheld by faith, as our only hope, our only joy, our only crown of rejoicing. For, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 21.
JAN. 5.-For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.Isa. liv. 10.
The absolute promises of our gracious Lord are the foundation of faith, the encouragement of hope, the excitement of love, the source of comfort, and the spring of true holiness. Why then are not the children of faith always joyful in hope, ever comfortable in love, and constantly happy in the way of holiness? Truly, because an enemy hath sown the tares of unbelief in our nature. This evil root of bitterness continually springs up and troubles us. It bears the most base, dishonourable fruits, respecting our God; and is most hurtful and poisonous to our souls. Little reason have we to dung and water, so as to strengthen this degene