Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

rate plant, with the corrupt notions of those who deny God's covenant love and faithfulness; and dare teach, " that one may be a child of God to-day, and a child of the devil to-morrow; that souls redeemed by the blood of Jesus, may, after all, burn in hell.” Shocking! it is our daily duty, our greatest wisdom, ever to be on our guard against and avoid all such doctrines. They are contrary to the precious declarations of our loving Lord; and tend to weaken our faith in and hope of perfect salvation by Jesus. But a false show of humility works very deceitfully upon men. Hence we are prone to look into ourselves, to find some inherent worth, some personal goodness, as the cause why the Lord should deal thus bountifully with us.

Alas! pride is at the bottom of this. Hereby our eyes are diverted from the alone object of faith, Jesus, and turned to self. Then, no marvel unbelief prevails, and we lose sight of God's free grace, rich love, and inestimably precious promises. Soul, know thyself. Though an object of mercy, a subject of grace, and an heir of promise; yet not one single drop of mercy, or of grace, nor one word of promise, is made to thy person, but only as thou standest in, and art related to, thy precious Saviour, according to covenant love. Therefore, God's covenant of peace shall not, cannot fail. Sooner shall the hills and mountains be removed; yea, heaven and earth shall pass away, but thy Lord's love and kindness shall never depart from thee. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Here, to doubt is to dishonour the God of truth. Here, stedfastly to believe is to glorify the God of love. ““He sent redemption unto his people; he hath commanded his covenant for ever," Psalm cxi. 9.

JAN. 6.—Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.Eph. v. 15, 16.

Light and life are communicated from Jesus to his members, not merely to fill their heads with gospel

truths, as matters of speculation, or to make them fluent talkers about religion; but chiefly to affect their hearts, renew their minds, and cause them to be close, consistent walkers with Jesus. Without this we only seem to be religious; and deceive our hearts, while our religion is vain; for we cannot stand approved in the sight of God, before men, nor to our own consciences. “The wise man's eyes are in his head;" he looks around him, and sees the evil of sin, the vanity of this present world; that its gay pleasures, alluring pastimes, bewitching diversions, are the gilded bait of the god of this world, whereby he insnares unwary fools, to kill their precious time, and to blind and destroy their immortal souls. The wise man looks above him, directs his eye of faith to his Saviour as his example; to have his Spirit for his guide, to be kept by his power, to have his steps directed by his grace, that his word may be the rule of his life, and that his walk and conversation may please his Lord, and adorn his gospel. Without this constant circumspection, we betray the greatest folly, and make sad work for future grief and repentance. Lord, keep us from this!

Time is the gift of God. It is too precious a jewel to be, worse than idly, lavished away upon vanity. It is the wisdom of the wise, to improve time to the noblest and best of purposes, in acquiring more knowledge of spiritual and eternal things. It is the foolishness of folly, for God's wise virgins, at any time, so to debase themselves, as to sacrifice their precious moments upon heathenish altars, devoted to vain delights and sinful pleasures. We dare not, we cannot comply with these things, consistently with faith in Jesus, love to God, and a good conscience in the Holy Ghost.

The days are evil. Iniquity abounds. The love of many waxeth cold. Heresies prevail. The way of holiness is awfully neglected. But the Lord's arm is not shortened, that he cannot save. He can keep us close to himself, in the most perilous times. Constant watchfulness, and earnest prayer, are our daily duty. “Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," Heb. x. 24, 25.

Jan. 7.—Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.—Psalm lxxxix. 15.

The psalmist alludes to the jubilee trumpet, which was sounded throughout the land on the great day of atonement. This was an ordinance of the Lord, Lev. xxv. 9. It was a joyful sound of liberty to God's people. A true type and just emblem this, of the blowing the great trumpet, and the sound of the everlasting gospel, restoring life, liberty, and salvation to perishing, captive souls. Has the gospel thus proved the power of God to the salvation of our souls ? Surely, then, we must esteem it as the most joyful sound that ever saluted our ears! Joyful, that it is not clogged with any terms and conditions: joyful that it is not, as some call it, a milder law, proposing mercy on easier performances than the legal yoke. No; such notions are subversive of the very nature of the gospel, they only humour self-confidence, and elate the pride of sinners.

We are all naturally deceived by such human, antievangelical systems. Hence we grow vain in our imaginations, and our foolish hearts are darkened to the freeness and glory of the gospel. But when the Sun of righteousness arises upon the heart, these mists of ignorance and error are scattered. Then we truly know the gospel to be nothing but good news, glad tidings, a joyful sound indeed ; a free declaration of what the infinitely blessed and eternally glorious Trinity has planned, and what the adorable God-man has effected, for the salvation of the lost and guilty. It is one joyful, consistent, harmonious sound of free grace, undeserved

he law, eam yokee of the pride human

love, and unmerited mercy; free from any jarring discords of wrath and terror. It proclaims, not pardon to-day, and condemnation to-morrow to believers ; now peace with God, anon war against us; now happiness in the heaven of his love, by and by a hell of misery from his anger and hatred; once justified by his grace, and after all left to perish to eternity in our sins. God's blessed people reject such debasing notions, knowing they are contrary to the truth, and destructive of the joy of the gospel, damp their love, deaden their affections to a God of love, cool their zeal for his glory and service, and stop their progress in true holiness. But by love of the truth, they solace themselves with the joyful sound, are enabled to walk in the light of God's countenance, in the comforts of his love, and in the joys of Jesus's salvation. Such are blessed now in the knowledge of God's truth; they shall be blessed in the enjoyment of God's eternal glory, John X. 28.

JAN. 8.—Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.—Psalm lxiii. 3.

Forsake all, and possess all. Give up all, and enjoy all. This is the doctrine of Jesus, and the experience of faith. So we overcome the world, by preferring the love of Christ to every thing beside. Most blessed enthusiasm I really tasting that the Lord is gracious, truly feeling the comforts of his love, actually partaking of fellowship with Jesus, communion of the Holy Spirit, freely conversing with the Father of all consolationsOh how transporting to the spirit; how ravishing to the soul! With what holy indifference does the enraptured heart look down upon the objects of sense! The gilded toys of time, that so attract the view; the glittering vanities of life, that so enslave earthly minds; the empty shadows of sense, that so bewitch the heart; yea, life itself, with all its comforts, what are all, compared to one moment's enjoyment of the loving-kindness of

the Lord? In competition, as shadow to substance; in worth, as the dust of the earth to the gold of Ophir. Sense is but short-lived fancy. Faith is reality and substance. For it brings love, the kindness of love, yea, the God of loving-kindness himself into the sinner's heart. This changeth a fallen son of Adam, into a glorious saint in Christ: a miserable sinner, into a comfortable, holy, humble praiser of our covenant Lord. · Thus it is when the soul hath found God in Christ, who is its life, its glory, its treasure, its heaven, its all. But this knowledge consists, not only in ecstasy of soul, and rapturous sensations; but faith is an habitual principle, love is an active grace, hope has a purifying efficacy. Not only are the lips opened in praise, the tongue loosed to speak of the glory of Jesus, but the life, the practice, the conversation will also be savoured with the grace of truth, as an evidence that we know his love, and have been with Jesus. So we prove, that he has taught us wisdom, not to prefer heaven to earth in word only, but in conduct also. Therefore, having received all from him freely, in love and by grace, we desire to do what he has commanded, to avoid what he has forbidden. The fruits of righteousness are by him, to the glory of God the Father; therefore we pray to be filled with them. The works of the flesh, the works of darkness, we desire to mortify, and have no fellowship with ; because contrary to love, aud the enjoyment of it. “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 16.

heighth the practice, theoak of this opened has

JAN. 9.-Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.--1 Tim. iv. 8.

While under the law, we naturally think, for so much work so much wages ; God will be faithful to his word of promise, if we perform those terms and conditions

der the law, woed will be faith and co

« VorigeDoorgaan »