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felt sense of past misery, and dread of future danger. And he found the blessing of that covenant promise. O believer, may it be the exercise of thy faith, daily to live upon it, daily to plead it before thy Saviour! “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace," Rom. vi. 14. Why shall not sin lord it over the conscience of a believer ? Truly because the grace of Jesus reigns for him, and in him. And he saith, “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jer. xxxii. 40. O soul! ever cherish this blessed fear. For, "happy is the man who feareth alway: but he who hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief," Prov. xxviii. 14.
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FEB. 4.-If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth.—John xiv. 15, &c. · He would be a traitor and a rebel, who should dare set up his standard, demand allegiance from the king's subjects, and require obedience to his commands, who had no right to the crown. So Jesus, if he were not King of kings and Lord of lords, the living and true God; but only a mere man, a prophet mighty in word and in deed, a very good man, who taught the best morals, and set a good example, as some proud, vain, ignorant creatures pretend ; verily, if this were all, we christians could see no goodness in him. But he would be a bold usurper against the one eternal Jehovah, striving to alienate the affections of the heart and the obedience of the life from God, whom we are commanded to love and serve only. Therefore, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” saith Jehovah the mighty God, in the wonderful man, Christ Jesus. Disciples know his voice. In love, he hath done all things for our salvation. From love, he requires all duty from
us. Obedience without love is slavery: love without obedience is dissimulation. In keeping his commandments there is great reward, enjoyed in present peace, expected in future hope; both are the fruits of free grace and unmerited love, and secured by precious promises.
While others might hear of Jesus, and talk of the miracles he wrought in the days of his flesh ; yet those disciples only, who were obedient to his call, and followed him, saw his glory, and enjoyed the comforts of his presence. So the closer disciples walk with Jesus in love and obedience, they enjoy more of the comforts of faith. And besides the gift of faith, as an evidence, they shall also receive the comforting witness of their being the children of God, even from the Spirit of truth another Comforter, who shall abide with them for ever, as a seal, earnest, and pledge of their future glory. So Jesus prays; so the Father bestows; so the Spirit applies and comforts. Glory be to the ever blessed Three, who thus agree in one, and bear witness on earth of salvation, to the comfort and joy of poor sinners. Love to Jesus is the spring of obedience. Keeping his commandments, is the way in which, though not for which, the Spirit assures and comforts our hearts. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder,” Matt. xix. 6. “If any man have not the
FEB. 5.-Turn, O ye backsliding children; for I am married to you, saith the Lord.—Jer. iii. 14.
When a child departs from an indulgent father, or a wife forsakes an affectionate husband, they, in effect, say, they have other objects with whom they are more delighted, and from whom they expect greater happi. ness. O backsliding soull is such thy conduct towards the best of Fathers, and the most affectionate Bridegroom? Thy present practice loudly speaks thus, "I have other lovers, and after them I will go." Monstrous ingratitude! a child of special grace, and yet fly from thy most loving Father! a spouse of the most affectionate Bridegroom, and yet be unchaste to thy rightful Husband! Shocking carriage! Yet, hear and wonder, hear and love, love and be ashamed, be ashamed and return. For, marvellous grace! though thou hast broken thy marriage contract, and forfeited the privileges of children, yet the relation continues, “I am married to you,” (children still, notwithstanding all their unkind carriage,) " saith the Lord." Amazing love! instead of, “I will pursue with vengeance, overtake with destruction,” it is, “I entreat with love, expostulate with kindness, invite with affection.” Who, Oh, who against such love, such kindness, such affection, is proof? Lord, what a wretch is a backslider from thee! and yet, thou lovest such freely, and wilt heal them graciously! Hos. xiv. 4. .
Who are thy present lovers? Remember, the rivals of thy Lord are thy greatest foes, and seek thy present misery and eternal destruction. Dost thou "live after the flesh ?” have Satan's wiles and the snares of the world, prevailed over thee? The world, the flesh, and the devil! poor soul! canst thou be happy in their friendship and embraces ? Oh, no! thou art got into bad, yea the worst company. What leanness of soul is brought upon thee!Thy love to Jesus is grown cold, thy faith in him weak, zeal for him and his truth is abated, the way of sin and folly pleaseth; sweet in. tercourse in private prayer, communion with thy God in public ordinances is gone, thou neglectest duty, art grown shy of thy Father and his children. But still, thy Father calls, thy husband woos thee, again and again, to turn, to return. Love, the bond of relation, never alters on God's part, notwithstanding base backsliding and monstrous ingratitude on thine. Special grace will make love-calls effectual. Such shall one day call to mind "the love of their espousals;" be ashamed for all they have done, and say, “I will go and
return unto my first Husband, for then it was better with me than now," Hos. ii. 7.
FEB. 6.—Cometh this blessedness 'then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also ? Rom. iv. 9.
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,” Col. ii. 8. Why this caution from the voice of inspiration? Our daily danger makes it expedient, “lest any man beguile you of your reward. Beware of men. Call no man Rabbi;" lest any man judge against your privileges, impair your comforts, or distress your mind.
Here is every blessing to make poor sinners happy. Righteousness imputed without works; iniquities forgiven without merit, and sins covered without deserts ; sin not imputed. This trinity of blessings flows from the unity of free grace. Such blessedness cometh, free as the air, unmerited as the light, comforting as the sun, possessed by the unworthy, enjoyed by the illdeserving, sure to all the redeemed, the inestimably rich privileges of every believer in Jesus. O precious faith in a precious Saviour!
Here, the wise God and vain man differ in judg. ment. Legal hearts are ever thinking of obtaining righteousness by works, and pardon upon conditions: but God imputes righteousness without works, even the best robe. None but untoward children find fault with their father's gifts. None but proud children object to their father's clothing. For thy righteousness even if perfect, O soul, is at best but the righteousness of a creature; but Jesus' righteousness is the righteousness of the God-man, alike infinite in value with his precious blood, by which our sins are atoned. They are not imputed to us, because laid upon Jesus.
God pardons them, in justice to him. Christ hath performed every condition for us. Faith takes its views and forms its judgments from revealed truths. So it evidences its divine original. Thus it gives all glory to God; while the sense of pardon, and the knowledge of justification, are applied to the soul by the Spirit, who comforts the soul in belief of the truth. And thus, a living, vital union is preserved, between Jesus and his members, through faith. From a joyful sense of pardon, and the Lord's not imputing sin, love is increased, holiness incited, the sinner humbled, Jesus exalted, free grace gloried in, hope encouraged, slavish fears ejected, and the heavenly inheritance longed for, as a free gift by Jesus. Thus all is of God, all is of grace, all cometh freely. Even eternal life is the free gift of God, by Jesus Christ who saith, “Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom;" Luke xii. 32.
FEB. 7.—God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.--2 Cor. iv. 6.
This is a glorious confession of faith, worthy to be written in letters of gold, set with the most precious jewels, and ever to be worn, as the believer's ornament and glory. For here is the rich display of sovereign grace and the glory of almighty power, in producing light in the heart of sinners, who are, by nature, not only in the dark, but even darkness itself. The knowledge of Jesus is commanded by the same Omnipotent Agent, who called forth light in the beginning, upon this dark, terraqueous globe. Light gladdens the whole creation of nature: and this spiritual light causeth joy in the whole soul; for it gives the knowledge of God's glory. In what respect? that God is glorious in majesty ? On, this strikes us with horror! Glorious in power? That