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FEB. 11.—But Jesus answered her not a word.Matt. xv. 23.
What! not a word from the compassionate Saviour, who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities? is he deaf to the cries, and dumb to the entreaties of a dis. tressed, sorrowful heart? No: love in the heart has always an ear open to complaints, a tongue ready to speak comfort, and a kind hand to relieve. But love afflicts, to bring his children to him, and make them call upon him: he forbears to answer, that they may be the more importunate. God's delays prove faith's vigour, make love cling closer, prayer more fervent, and patience shine brighter. So the graces of God's children are drawn forth into lively exercise, and are made manifest that they are wrought by God. Perseyerance obtains the blessing in due time. Jesus honours and applauds the grace of his beloved members with, O man, O woman, great is thy faith!
Christ well knew what work he had wrought in this poor humble supplicant's heart, whereby she knew Jesus to be Lord and God; therefore he proved her, and tried her, that her faith might shine brighter to his glory, and her soul's comfort. As she possessed the same faith, so she discovers the same resolution as Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him," Job xiii. 15. And, with Jacob, she would wrestle; and her
bless me," Gen. xxxii. 26. But the silence of Jesus was very disheartening. When he spake, it was quite discouraging. Though she worshipped him, and sighed out, "Lord, help me;" yet Jesus seems rather to repulse than comfort her. But true faith ever sinks the soul low in humility, while it clings close to the most high God. The soul owns its hateful vileness, and utter un. worthiness, and fixes all its plea upon free-grace mercy, all its hopes upon Jesus only. Thus Christ empties whom he delights to fill. He makes us see and confess ourselves to be dogs, fit only to feed under the table; though he loves us as children, and all that he hath is ours, by free gift, precious promise, and rich grace. Thou poor, fearing, doubting soul, who hast long been seeking, waiting, and praying for comfort by a word or look from Jesus, take courage hence. Ever trust in Him who saith, “I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul,” Jer. xxxi. 25. For, mark the fate of this believing, importunate, waiting woman. “Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt," was the answer, replete with all comfort and joy. “The Lord is a God of judgment; blessed are all they who wait for him," Isa. xxx. 18.
FEB. 12.-And experience worketh hope.-Rom. v. 4.
We are ever to consider the gospel as a proclamation of grace to stout-hearted rebels ; a declaration of mercy to the profligate and abandoned; glad tidings of salvation to lost, desperate, hopeless sinners. Though it finds every soul destitute of any one encouraging symptom, yet it brings all hope and every encouragement with it. When the gospel becomes “the power of God to salvation” to any sinner, through believing, it works a mighty change in his state and practice. In the sweet experience, proof, or the trial of it, the soul is comforted. Hope concerning his state is confirmed. Experience worketh hope of one's own interest in and salvation by Jesus. It works not by legal terrors and dreadful horrors, as was the case with Judas; nor by working up the animal passions to a flash of joy, as the stony-ground hearers were affected by the word. But it powerfully enlightens the soul, to see the evil of sin, and the infinite preciousness of the Lord Jesus, so as to loathe and detest the former, and cleave to and trust alone in the latter. Hence, Jesus becomes the tried stone, the sure foundation of the soul. Upon his finished work all hope in time and for eternity is laid. All other foundations are rejected, as sandy; all other hopes, as vain. Faith in God's word, relying on his promises in Christ, begets resignation to his will, and patience under his dispensations; being assured, that To all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," Rom. viii. 28.
We first experience God's power, in effectual calling, and then his love, in keeping us close to himself and obedient to his will. So we enjoy peace from him, and our hearts are cheerfully devoted to him. But how oft doth the believing soul find coolness of affection, heaviness of heart, and dejection of mind! Doth not this destroy his hope? No: even this experience, sad as it seems, worketħ hope. Hereby pride and self-confidence are slain, sin embittered, the soul humbled at the feet of Jesus, with, “Thou, even thou alone art my hope; I dare not trust in any other; my soul shall make her boast of thee, and thee only. "
We have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves : and the more we live apon and trust in the Lord, so shall we experience hope spring up, love flourish, and holiness abound. Praised be the Lord our God, who is the God of hope, and who fills us "with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,” Rom. xv. 13.
ide feet of are not there, and death in the more me hope
FEB. 13.—Having on the breastplate of righteousness. -Eph. vi. 14.
When Saul had armed David with his armour, to go against Goliath, the Philistine giant, his heart smote him, lest he should confide in it, and so be drawn from simply trusting to the power of his God only; therefore he said, “I cannot go with these; I have not proved them. And David put them off him," 1 Sam. xvii. 39. A faithful heart is jealous of the Saviour's glory. Though the believer is made righteous, and loves, and walks in the paths of righteousness, yet he will glory
in nothing before God, nor trust in any righteousness to shield him from the face of the enemy, but the perfect, spotless righteousness of his dear Saviour. He puts off all others, by the faith of Christ, as contrary to his judgment and his hope. As he sees the purity and extent of the divine law, that it is quick and powerful, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; knowing his own righteousness to be defective, and that in many things we all offend; therefore, he could just as soon trust in a honey-comb for a breastplate, as the moth-eaten garment of his own best works.
Why do Satan, sin, and the law so often wound our breasts, and grieve our hearts ? Because we are not careful to guard with our breastplate of Jesus' righteousness. It should ever be the joy and rejoicing of our souls, to consider Jesus' work, as man and Me diator. Did he shed his blood ? did he die a cursed death? did he, in his holy life, "put on righteousness as a breastplate ?" Isa. lix. 17. Faith triumphs in his death, as the one atonement for sin. Faith glories in his life, as the one righteousness for justification. So the once guilty soul is cleansed, so the once naked soul is clothed and adorned; and thus is it ever glorious in the sight of God, in this best robe of its elder Brother, Jesus. So also is the once defenceless soul armed against every attack of sin, Satan, the law, and death. This breastplate is more than proof against all. While pride and self-righteousness go hand in hand, and unite in objections against the imputed righteousness of our Immanuel, humble, self-emptied souls glory and triumph that their salvation is according to the laws of strict justice and perfect righteousness. Possessing righteousness in Jesus, we draw nigh to a throne of grace with boldness now, and shall lift up our heads with joy, before a righteous judgment, in the great and tremendous day. For “righteousness delivereth from death,” Prov. X. 2. Though sin hath reigned unto death [in us,] yet grace reigns unto eternal life (for us,] through the righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord, Rom. v. 21.
FEB. 14.—But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.—Rom. iii. 21.
“Vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt,” Job xi. 12. Proud man would be righteous in himself, though conceived in iniquity, brought forth in sin, and no goodness in him. This pride accompanies him all his days; yea, it forsakes not new-born souls. Our natural notions ever are, that we are to do something to make ourselves righteous. So the judgment of the flesh ever opposeth the truth of the Spirit. Carnal reason ever runs counter to spiritual faith. But it is the glory of believing hearts, to take their views of righteousness from revealed truth. This, to the ineffable joy and unspeakable comfort of poor sinners, manifests a righteousness for their garment, which they toiled not for, neither did they spin. And what shall we say of it? Truly, Solomon in all his glory, yea, angels in all their brightest perfection, are not arrayed like those who are clothed with the righteousness of the God-man Christ Jesus. Oh, for stronger faith in this, that we may bring forth more of the fruits of righteousness in our lives, to the praise and glory of God!
Poor, weak, doubting believer, why takest thou thought for raiment ? hath not God clothed thee? “O thou of little faith !” thou hopest, thou dost trust in Jesus' blood alone, for the pardon of thy sins, but art distressed in seeing thyself a poor sinner. Thou knowest thou art not righteous in thyself, and often fearest thou shalt never attain righteousness, but perish at last for want of it. Verily thy face is towards Sinai's mount, instead of Calvary's'; to Moses, instead of Christ; to thy life of obedience, instead of his life of righteousness; to the law, which requires all, instead of the gospel, which freely gives all. Soldier of Christ, face about to thy Captain.
So sure as thou hast the faith of Jesus in thine heart,