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future hopes. A tried friend is a sure friend. To for. get past mercies is ungrateful. To bury God's former dealings with our souls in oblivion, is dishonourable to him. Not to consider Jesus as our only hope, and live upon him day by day in the exercise of faith, is to live below our privilege. Never arraign his love, when he suffers thine enemies to put on a dreadful form, and to attack thee with violence. This is to draw thy faith into exercise, that thy soul may have larger experience of his love and deliverance. For he saith, "Be not afraid nor dismayed, for the battle is not yours, but God's,” 2 Chron. xx. 15.
FEB, 26.-Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked.—Rev. xvi. 15.
Vain confidence begets spiritual sloth. Licentious principles harden the heart in sin, deafen the ear to the calls of grace, and cause the tongue to pronounce evan. gelical excitements to love and obedience, legal. But the faith of Jesus enlivens to duty, and inspires the soul with godly jealousy and holy watchfulness. So his members are blessed-blessed in him with all spiritual blessings; and enjoy a sweet sense of blessedness in obeying him. “Behold I come,” saith Jesus the Head. In the faith of this, Lord, enable me to watch alway, prays his people. We know but in part. There are infinitely greater blessings to be found in Jesus, more of his knowledge, love, peace, joy, and greater conformity to him. For these we are called to watch, wait, and pray continually, lest we lose the garments of truth, the clothing of humility, the adorning of the gospel, and sorrow overtake, and shame cover us. We are also to watch against the desperate wickedness of our nature, the devices of Satan, and the deceits of an ensnaring world. None fully know the dangers to which they are exposed, and how dreadfully they may
fall. Most true, Jesus both can and will keep all his members, by his power, through faith unto salvation. But it is as true, they will have sad evidence of interest in him, while his word is not their rule of conduct. Therefore, “ Watch," saith he.
Comfort and peace of soul are enjoyed in the way of watchfulness, while, with care and diligence, we study to approve ourselves as God's children, “by a holy walk and godly conversation.” Awful instances are frequent and visible, of many, who did run well for a season; but Satan hath hindered. They have forsaken Christ's precious truths, the world has enslaved them, and their conversation-garments are defiled with abominable sins. Their minds appear destitute of faith, love, and holiness; and their shame is seen. A state, how deplorable! how much to be dreaded ! all from neglecting to watch. Serious thoughts are terrifying; selfexamination they fly; the view of death fills them with horror; an appearing, forsaken Jesus, is their dread. But he will come. Every eye must see him. Though, as a thief, suddenly, yet to his faithful ones not dreadfully, to rob and destroy them; but to gather them, to be ever with him. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming," 1 John ii. 28.
FEB. 27.-For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.—2 Cor. xii. 8.
Our Saviour represents God's own elect as crying day and night to him, Luke xviii. 7. For sore temptations, soul-burdens, Satan's buffetings, are peculiarly felt by them. Their crying under them is a proof of spiritual life; their crying to the Lord only is an evi. dence of the faith of God's elect; their entreaties to be delivered from them show the sanctified nature and holy disposition of their souls. Thus the Lord draws out the graces of his children into exercise. His eyes are ever upon them, his ears open to their prayers, and his almighty power and grace sufficient to deliver them. But," he that believeth, must not make baste." We must tarry the Lord's leisure, and be strong in hope. His time is best. It is his will we should tell him of our trials and temptations. After we have done this, “we have need of patience," to wait the fulfilment of his promise. This is our duty.
Paul prayed again and again; still the buffetings were continued; his mind was harassed, his soul distressed, the enemy triumphed, the Lord seemed as though he heard not. Prayer and patience must go hand in hand. Murmurings are the offspring of unbelief. Fretfulness arises from pride. To lie humble at the feet of Jesus is our wisdom. Never indulge one hard thought of our Saviour's will to make thee holy, or his power to make thee happy; though sin and Satan, like unwelcome visitors, daily intrude, appear in various shapes, attack from different quarters, and seem in some sort, to gain upon thee in thought, word, or action. When inwardly discomposed by unholy tempers, and outwardly harassed by various temptations, poor souls are too ready to think the war will end in their destruction; that Jesus will never give complete victory. But he most assuredly will. In due time we shall reap, if we faint not. Let it suffice, that the triumphant Head in glory says to each of his militant members on earth, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." This was the precious, humbling, joyful lesson Christ taught Paul; and which he will also make all his dear members learn. Importunate praying, humble waiting, coufident believing, comfortable hoping, are of the very life and essence of a christian. And let our besetting temptations and conflicting trials be what they may, it is our blessed privilege to write with the pen of faith, “Who, or what, shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Nay, in all things we are more than
conquerors through him that loved us,” Rom. viii. 35, 37.
FEB. 28.- Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke xxiii. 43.
Unbelief, how great its power! how strong its influence! It would for ever blind all our eyes, and harden all our hearts against Jesus and his grace; but "he shall divide the spoil with the strong." The prophet's prediction is here clearly fulfilled, the sovereignty of grace fully displayed. Our Lord's doctrine is truly verified in these two thieves: “One shall be taken, the other left," Matt. xxiv. 40. Pride is the companion of unbelief. This keeps men in obstinacy; they will not see, they will not believe, they will not bow to God's sovereignty. But doth our Lord bring sinners to glory without faith, repentance, and holiness? Doth he leave his people in their sins and rebellions ? No; blessed be his name, Jesus is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour: he gives repentance and remission of sins. So he saves “his people from their sins.” So he makes them happy in his love, by the secret power of the Spirit's inward operations. Who made these two companions in sin, these blasphemers of Jesus, to differ? Grace, sovereign, distinguishing, almighty grace did this wonderful work, “and it is marvellous in our eyes." How rapid its power! how swift its course! In one mo. ment a railer against Jesus is changed to a believer in him; a proud rebel, to an humble suppliant; a selfjustifying sinner, to a Christ-exalting saint; in a moment converted, pardoned, sanctified, and made meet for glory; to-day hell-deserving, to day in paradise. Thus the thief believed with his heart unto righteousness, and made confession with his mouth unto salva
What hath grace done! what is it not able to effect !
Sweetest encouragement to the vilest of sinners, to look to Jesus; strongest assurance for the weakest be. lievers, to abide in him. “Lord Jesus, remember me,” proceeds from grace in the heart of his members.
Thou shalt be with me in paradise," is the gracious answer from the tongue of the head. It was the grace of our Lord Jesus that saved this thief, this highway. man, and translated him from a gallows on earth to a crown in glory. The most amiable character, the most upright person hath nothing else to look to, or trust in, but the cross of Christ alone for salvation. This is all our glorying. By the death of Jesus we are saved. Touched by the cross, we live. The Spirit, which enables the soul to believe on Jesus, conforms it to him, makes it meet for the heavenly inheritance, Col. i. 12.
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FEB. 29. LEAP YEAR.—One born out of due time. -1 Cor. xv. 8.
God's children want no other, they can have no better proof of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of their Jesus, than what the scriptures afford. They say with their Master, “Thy word is truth," John xvii. 17. They wish to have no other ideas of God, of Christ, and of themselves, than what the scriptures impress on their minds. They are fully satisfied of their hope of salvation, by Jesus only. This is the reasoning of their faith, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater," 1 John v. 9. God has borne witness to his Son Jesus, in every type, ceremony, and prophecy of the Old Testament, and by such signs, miracles, and even by his voice from heaven in the New, as are incontestable. And beside all these, the Spirit of God bears the inward testimony of faith that our Jesus is risen. For we find our hearts attracted to him, our affections set on him, and we enjoy sweet fellowship with him. This is of distinguishing grace. “One shall be taken and another left.” This