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glory, or cast a veil over his finished salvation, by his life of obedience and blood of atonement.
“Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice,” Phil. iv. 4: but rejoice with trembling; for the Lord our God is a holy God. Fear his frown. Dread his displeasure. Stand in awe of his majesty daily. Righteousness, peace, and joy of the soul are from him: therefore thy heart should be ever towards him, thine eye looking up to him, thine affections placed on him, thy hands working those things which are well-pleasing in his sight, and thy feet running the way of his commandments with delight. But who is sufficient for these things? From daily experience we are constrained to confess, “When I would do good, evil is present with me." This is humbling, but not discouraging. Thy Master knows thy compound state; the desire to good is from him, the evil from thyself. Inspired Paul is upon a level with the weakest believer, alike naturally prone to evil and destitute of inherent power; but yet, saith he, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me,” Phil. iv. 13. This is the daily exercise of faith, to oppose Christ's righteousness to the feelings of sin, the sanctification of the Spirit to every lust, the strength of Jehovah to the weakness of nature. For this is our joy and triumph, "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory," Isa. xlv. 25.
FEB. 2.-Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.-1 Pet. ii. 11.
The soul of every disciple of Jesus is most dearly beloved by the holy Trinity. It is a precious jewel in the eyes of the loving Father, the redeeming Son, and the sanctifying Spirit; who all unite to make it happy. But it hath a world of enemies. Yea, it is at present in the closest and nearest relation to one of its
greatest foes, the flesh; the lusts or desires of which, are at continual war against the peace, comfort, and welfare of the soul. Therefore, O christian, thy best Friend sounds an alarm of love, gives thee a dehortation of kindness: "Abstain from fleshly lusts." He knows what great hurt compliance with, and indulgence in, them will do thee; thou wilt surely smart, and be sorely grieved for it. Destroy thee they shall not; but distress thee, like the prevailings of a bitter enemy, they surely will. Consider, beloved christians, we are strangers and pilgrims, sojourning in a strange land, and passing through a foreign country; our clothing is Christ and his righteousness; our food, Christ and his fulness; our staff, Christ and his promises; our rule, Christ's word; our guide, his Spirit; the place whither we are bound, is heaven, a better country, our Father's house, the inheritance of our friends and brethren.
Settle this in your minds. Meditate daily on your calling, your hope, your heaven, where your treasure is. Where should your affections and delight be? Not on earth, this is not your rest, it is polluted; not in the flesh, this is to be denied, its motions abstained from, its lusts and affections crucified daily. Know the flesh as thine enemy, treat it as such, keep it under; in it“ dwells no good thing;" its lustings and desires cannot but be evil continually: they will never cease to oppose the Spirit, the life and liberty of the soul; they are ever at war against that peace, consolation, and joy, which are in Christ. Daily victory is joyful triumph. Therefore ever follow this advice, “Put on the whole armour of God," Eph. vi. 11. Feeling foes within, and being at war against them, is a sure evidence of the life of the soul, and of being a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Consider, how the soul and the flesh, the life of the soul and the lusts of the flesh, are here opposed, and set at variance against each other. Therefore "fight the good fight of faith," 1 Tim. vi. 12.
FEB. 3. Who can understand his errors ? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.—Psalm xix. 12, 13.
As faith gives a holy boldness at the throne of grace, so the regenerate soul is open and ingenuous in confession of sin. When sin is dethroned in the heart, its errors are its burden; the most secret faults bow it in humility before the Lamb. To his precious blood the believer has recourse for cleansing; he finds daily need of it. He cannot understand all his errors. Many secret faults cleave unto him. He is sensible, that even these must be washed away, lest they defile his conscience, and spread a cloud over his mind. It is the peculiar wisdom of disciples, not only to observe the bud, blossom, and fruit of sin; but also to consider the evil root, the polluted nature from which it springs. Here is the exercise of watchfulness. This calls for their daily prayer, to be kept by the power of God.
Happy souls! who, under a sense of peace, through the blood of Jesus, are daily praying to be kept by the grace of the Spirit. Such truly know themselves, see their danger of falling, will not, dare not palliate the odious nature of sin, nor lessen its hateful deformity. They will not give a softer name to sin than it deserves, lest they depreciate the infinite value of Jesus' precious blood, which was shed to atone its guilt. Far will they be from flattering themselves into a deceitful notion, that they are perfect, and have no sin in them. The Spirit of truth delivers them from such errors; he teaches them, as poor sinners, to look to the Saviour, and beseech him to keep back the headstrong passions, the unruly lusts, and evil concupiscences, which dwell in their sinful natures. Alas! the most exalted saint, the most established believer, if left to himself, how soon might the blackest crimes, the most presumptuous sins, get dominion over him! David had woful experience of this, for a season. He
from a heart
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.
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 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 Špirit 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 Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” Rom. viii. 9.
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