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But “knowing men after the flesh," proves a snare to the soul. Many have suffered loss hereby. While they have conferred with flesh and blood, listened to the wisdom of carnal men, and consulted the judgment of the wise of this world, how have their minds been drawn from the simplicity that is in Christ! The wisdom of
of the flesh is abomination in his sight. The Spirit of inspiration teaches us this profitable lesson, to glory only in Christ as our wisdom and righteousness. This sweet mystery of faith makes us dead to the life, the lusts, and the glory of the flesh; yea, gives us victory over the proud reasonings of the flesh. So we live in a spiritual kingdom, glory in our spiritual Saviour, are delighted with spiritual companions, and made comfortable by spiritual gifts and graces.
While a Pharisee, Paul gloried in carnal privileges, and the attainments of the flesh: but “Behold he prayeth," Acts ix. 11. He now prayed to Jesus, He knew him to be the Lord his God. He sought all his salvation from him, and from him only. Not as a mere man, in mortal flesh; but as Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature. Blessed proof of a new-born soul, when it soars to Jesus, and is dissatisfied with all the objects of nature, time, and sense, and incessantly cries, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him," Phil. iii. 8, 9.
FEB. 19—He that acknowledgeth the Son, hath the Father also.--1 John ii. 23.
If so, we cannot pay too much homage, nor ascribe too great glory to Jesus, as some object. Did Christ receive from God the Father honour and glory, by his voice from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved
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Son, in whom I am well pleased !” 2 Pet. i. 17. Is it the Father's will, “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father ?” Doth Christ say, “He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that sent him ?” John v. 23. May we not then boldly say, with Paul, on another occasion, “ As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this glorying" in Jesus, as my Lord, my God? Yea, we will acknowledge him in his lowest form and meanest appearance; as the babe wrapped in swaddlingclothes, lying in a manger, a destitute, outcast infant, obscure and mean in his birth and parentage, working at a common, ordinary employ, without form and comeliness, despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs, mocked, derided, laughed to scorn, crowned with thorns in derision, condemned and crucified as an accursed wretch unworthy to live in heaven or on earth, adjudged fit only to die in company with thieves and highwaymen on a gibbet: wholly to trust in this man, this God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Root and Offspring of David, this is the faith of God's elect." This is the acknowledgment of the truth which is after godliness. This is the only “hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began,” Tit. i. 2. This is "repentance to the acknowledging of the truth," 2 Tim. ii. 25. Thus are simple, believing hearts "comforted, being knit together in love, unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Col. ii. 2, 3.
In this rich mine of truth and consolation we are daily to dig for all wisdom, holiness, and happiness. In this acknowledgment of the Son thus saving us in his humble state, we have the Father's rich love and precious promises ; and the Holy Spirit's power, influence, and witness. For he bears witness to, and takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us, John xvi. 15. And thus we are made meet to be partakers of the heavenly inheritance. Be ever "giving thanks,” Col. i. 12.
FEB. 20.—That I may win Christ.-Phil. iii. 8.
No sooner had good king Hezekiah established his throne in righteousness, restored religion in his kingdom, set his whole heart to serve the Lord, and his God prospered him; but an invading Sennacherib enters his territories and encamps against his fenced cities, 2 Chron. xxxii. 1. Scripture and experience daily preach to God's children, “This is not your rest:" you are in a militant state. Though Jesus hath taken possession of your soul, and cast out the strong man armed, think not of folding your arms, and saying, I shall see war no more; for your adversary has many after-wars to wage. He will not only encamp against your fenced cities, and attack your out-works, but also attempt to force your very heart and mind. Beware of these sug. gestions of our destroying foe: “Come, you are now an excellent christian; you have a tongue to speak for Jesus; you do not live and act like the rest of the careless, sinful world; you have made great advances in holiness; now you have somewhat whereof to glory in yourself before God.” Jesus, Master, save us in this hour of Satan's attack! When in such a storm, better to cast overboard all the heavy lading of self-confidence, to right the ship. For, "a haughty spirit goeth before a fall,” Prov. xvi. 18.
Let us ever remember, Jesus is all our gain, and all our glory. We are still poor sinners. By renouncing all, and cleaving to him, we enjoy all in him. No fruits are produced, no comforts experienced, but by abiding in him. What! possess Jesus, and yet want to win him? Yes: for there is much more knowledge of, peace from, love to, joy in, and conformity to precious Jesus, to be gained and experienced, than any of us have
ficious wa time, till thcharms in on terms an this we
yet attained. Hearts enamoured with Christ, like avaricious gamesters, never, never think they have enough of him in time, till they have gained the full enjoyment of all his matchless charms in glory. They renounce all for his sake. Wherefore ? on terms and conditions to barter for an interest in Christ ? No; this we have already, by free gift of rich grace; therefore, gracious, loving hearts detest such base, undervaluing thoughts of their infinitely precious Saviour. Shall the dross and dung of our doings and performances be put in competition with his most glorious excellency, who is our greatest prize, our noblest portion, our richest treasure? Oh, no! but by pressing on to know Christ, we win and gain more blessed enjoyment of him. This will ever be the language of faith, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee," or what is there on earth I desire in comparison of thee? Psalm lxxiii. 25.
FEB. 21.-Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.-Luke xiii. 24.
Thou feeble-minded disciple, weak in faith, thy Saviour speaks not thus to discourage thee from seeking salvation by him only ; for he also says, “Every one that seeketh findeth.” But rather, he hereby animates and encourages thy soul to strive against every enemy that opposeth thy entering his kingdom by the strait gate, even by his one atonement, and one righteousness, only. He designs also to show, that men may not only seek, but strive, yea strive as in an agony, « to enter in, but shall not be able." Why? because they expect to enter the kingdom by some other gate than Jesus. But, says the apostle, “No man is crowned, except he strive lawfully," 2 Tim. ii. 5. Earnestness, zeal, activity, avail nothing, while Jesus is not the only object; his blood, the only plea for pardon; his righteousness, the only hope for ac
ceptance and justification. But this, in the eyes of selfrighteous professors, makes the gate appear too strait indeed. Hence they seek to enter by ways more pleasing to their pride, and more agreeable to the corrupt lusts of their nature. So that striving is not so much opposed to seeking, as the strait gate, Jesus, is to every other method of salvation by man's devising. There is an awful denunciation against such, Isa. xlv. 9. “Woe be to him that striveth with his Maker." Shall potsherds of the earth dare contend against the sovereignty of God's wisdom, power, and grace ? This is the strife of the Pharisee. And, in opposition to the sloth and licentiousness of the antinomian, says our Lord to all his disciples, Strive, against every enemy, to enter my kingdom by me.
So surely as there is a devil in hell, there will be false teachers on earth. So long as thou art in the body, thou wilt be beset with corrupt lusts, carnal reason, the workings of pride, unbelief, and self-righteousness. Now all these unite, to oppose thy faith, and contend against thy hope; but thy Master, who calleth thee to arms, bids thee to “be of good courage, and strive for the mastery.” In his strength, thou art sure to conquer, and win the prize. Press forward, “striving against sin," Heb. xii. 4; "striving for the faith of the gospel,” Phil. i. 27; striving “fervently in prayers,” Col. iv. 12; "striving according to his working, who worketh mightily in us.” Thus, we see, salvation cometh, not by free-will power, nor to antinomian sloth ; but is sure to all who are quickened by the Spirit, strive in faith, and give all diligence of hope, to enter the kingdom, and be saved, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts xv. 11.
FEB. 22.—Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou