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Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be
diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.... 2 Pet. iii. 14.
It is a most grand delusion to imagine that the doctrines of grace tend to lull the soul asleep in supine indolence, or slothful stupidity. The believer hath not so learned Christ. Though he is saved by grace freely, yet he is called to "labour diligently." By faith he looks forward, to the fulfilment of awful predictions and precious promises. Hence we are excited to daily diligence, in the performance of duties, the use of means, and the exercise of graces. Do we look for the burning of the earth, the elements, and all sublunary things ? do we expect to be inhabitants of new heavens, and a new earth? do we wait, and sometimes long for the coming of the Lamb, our loving master and precious Saviour? and shall we indulge carnal ease and spiritual sloth? shall we not fear to be found of Jesus in such a state? Most true, Jesus hath made
for by the blood of his cross.” But shall we not be diligent, to maintain a lively sense of this sweet peace in our hearts? shall we not labour after purity of heart? And how is this to be expected, but by stu. diously avoiding those things, which tend to draw the heart, and alienate the affections from Jesus? If we lose sight of the Lamb, we lose the sense of peace. If we look at things which are seen, this begets love to them, and increases anxious solicitude for them. And, alas! then they only pierce us through with many sorrows. And most of all, when we are in our right minds, do not our sorrows increase, if we decrease in spiritual diligence, and grow in worldlymindedness?
Christian, though thou knowest it is God that giveth thee power to get wealth, and his providence is engaged to preserve thy body; yet, this doth not cause thee to abate thy diligence in thy worldly concerns; nor doth it make thee careless to preserve thy body from harms and administer to it such things as are for its health. Most happy is it for thee, thus daily to watch over, and care for, the peace and purity of thy soul. Jesus is thy peace: by living on him, peace is enjoyed. He is thy Saviour: by looking to him, thou shalt be kept free from filthy spots. Thus by maintaining fellowship with Christ....walking with Christ....keeping up a free intercourse with Christ; peace of mind, and purity of heart are preserved. In this way, verily, thou shalt be blameless. And be assured, “the diligent soul shall be made fat.".... Prov. xiii. 4. My thoughts surmount these lower There I behold with sweet delight
I look within the veil; [skies, The blessed Three in One, There springs of endless pleasure rise, And strong affections fix my sight The waters never fail.
On God's incarnate Son. VOL. I.
And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it,
and rent and told Jesus...Matt. xiv. 12.
Thus was extinguished that burning and shining light, John Baptist. It is very staggering to the eye of sense, and the judgment of carnal reason, that the “ Lord, whose eyes are over the righteous, should yet suffer his faithful ministers, and dearest children, to fall a' sacrifice to the rage and malice of cruel, and unreasonable meno This puzzled the royal prophet David; this was an exercise to patient Job; and it has put disciples to the stand in all ages. We are ready to cry out, “Where is the God of Elijah!" When it comes nearer home, and we ourselves are the subjects of insults and injuries, from the power and malice of enemies to Jesus and his truths; this is a trial of faith. If this exercise is continued, if the enemy triumphs, and God our friend appears not, as our deliverer, how does Satan, who has stirred up fightings without, industriously aim to inject fears within ; with, “where is now thy God?" "Why dost thou vainly imagine thyself a child of God, while thy Father leaves thee to this cruel treatment? If thou wast in his favor, thou wouldest surely find his protection. The want of his care proves thou hast po part in his love,'
Now thou art called, O christian, to fight and resist Satan stedfastly. in the faith. Judge not of thy Father's love by present dispensations. Strengthen thyself in thy God. Consult his word. Wait on him. Take up the deceitful, unclean body of sense, and carnal reason, bury it, and go and tell thy Saviour. He is thy wisdom, thy counsellor; and a perfect match for thy subtlest adversary. It is very alleviating to a distressed mind, to pour its complaints into the sympathizing breast of a faithful friend. What is the cause of thy sorrows, make the subject of thy free converse with thy Saviour. If thou art smitten on earth, tell him who feels for thee in heaven. Here is thy comfort, he always hears, ever loves, and can instantly deliver. But if he does not; rest assured, love delays for thy profit. Afflictions are blessings in disguise. We do not, so heartily, think of our home above, while richly furnished with earthly comforts below. Our Lord strips us of them, to turn our thoughts homeward. But, we shall surely find, * as tribulation abounds, consolation shall much more abound.” Our Lord advises, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."....Psalm 1. 15. Prize it as your greatest blessedness, to live near the Lord, and maintain humble converse with him: pour out your complaints, and shew him your trouble.... Psalm cxlii. 2. Lord, we adore thy vast designs, When thou array'st thine awful face, Th’ obscure abyss of providence ! In angry frowns withoat a smile : Too deep to sound with mortal lines, We, thro’thy clouds, believe thy grace, Too dark to view with feeble sense. Secure of thy compassion still.
Ther-said these men, We shall not find any occasion against
this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God....Dan. vi. 5.
Happy Daniel, to have such a testimony of thy conduct from the mouth of thine implacable enemies. These men could alledge nothing against this servant of God, in regard to his outward life and conversation; for he was a good subject, a quiet neighbour, just and honest in his dealings. Though in an eminent station, yet with what contempt and scorn do they seem to speak of him! This Daniel, this over-righteous fellow, who pretends to be mere, religious than all the rest of his neighbours. As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and ever will be, “He that is born after the Aesh, will persecute him that is born after the Spirit.”.....Gal. iv. 29. What then? our enemies no sooner assault us, with their tongues, but our God takes our part. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy ase ye. For the Spirit of glory, and of God resteth upon you.”.... 1 Pet. iv. 14.
But, let every disciple sce to it, that he suffers as a christian. Take heed, that thy life and conduct be, as becometh the gospel. It is a great blessing so to behave, that carnal men can find no just occasion, against our moral conduct. This they are judges of. Their eyes are upon us. They watch over us for evil. This ought to make us very circumspect. Our religion they abhor. For this, every follower of the Lamb is sure to be hated, for his master's sake. “Woe be unto us, when all men speak, well of us,” saith our master.... Luke vi. 26. They seek enough against us; as to our faith, hope, and life. And some would as surely cast us into a den of lions, as they did Daniel, were it practicable, and permitted. Yet, they could not deprive him of the love, presence and protection of the Son of God. These make every place a heaven of delight and joy. And when hated of all men for his sąke, he pronounces us blessed, bids us rejoice, and hath left us an example, patiently to follow his steps.
Christ's dying prayer, for his very murderers, was; “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Ignorance of the truth, is the cause of hatred and malice against his servants. Hast not thou a heart to pity, and a tongue to pray for thy enemies? Here we may indulge sweet revenge. These weapons we may always use. And how knowest thou, but the most furious persecutor, like Paul, may be a chosen vessel, of God the Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus....and ere to-morrow's sun, the grace of the Holy Spirit may make him an humble penitent? “who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou, that thou didst not receive?" ....1 Cor. iv. 7.' 0 happy souls who love your God, : Go on rejoicing ev'ry day, And whom the world despise, Eternal life's your prize.
For Christ is entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us....Heb. ix. 24.
How highly was Zacharias honored! He heard the gospel of salvation from the mouth of an angel; Who said, “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God, and am sent unto thee, to shew thee these glad tidings." But we see the awful effects of unbelief. Though thus beloved, and honored of God, yet he was struck dumb for a season....Luke i. 20. Though God most dearly loves his people in Christy.yet, he sees their sins, and with fatherly affection chastises for them. Do we not see somewhat of our own case here? For, as faith inspires the heart and tongue with boldness, so unbelief strikes us dumbur We cannot speak a word, nor offer a plea for our poor souls, if faith - Iose sight of Jesus. But he never forgets us. Our souls are never neglected by him. The Lamb is in the midst of the throne FOR US. In our nature, in the same human body, which was hanged on the tree, with five pierced wounds in his hands, his feet; and precious side, he appears in the presence of God. There, like some victorious'conqueror, who has gloriously delivered his country, from the cruelty and rage of a merciless enemy, he glories in the scars he received in the field of battle.
When Jesus wept over dead Lazarus; see how he loved him, said the Jews. But when poor sinners think of our dear Lord's wounds, crucifixion, agonies and death, O what infinitely greater reason havė we to say, See how he loved us! see how he still loves us. Not withstanding all our base, unloving behaviour to him, still, O soulaffecting truth! still, he appears before God, FOR US; he presents his once mangled body; he pleads his once bleeding wounds in our behalf, as the atoning sacrifice for our sins; for our salvation. Thus glorified Jesus, now appears in the presence of God, for us; as our idear Mediator, loving Lord, and precious Saviour, our affectionate advocate, and powerful intercessor. But saith the adversary, " This is a cunningly devised fable.” What profit is this to me? saith carnal reason, backed with unbelief. But, the Spirit of truth bears witness to this; first, in type and figure under the law; and, now in reality and substance in the gospel. To this very end, that at any time, when sin burdens the conscience; sorrow bows down the heart, doubts arise in the mind, and fears oppress the spirit, the poor sinner may, with confidence, thus consider Jesus: look unto him; and call upon him : and find this to be the food of his faith, and the support of his souls for if God (Jesus) be FOR US, who can be against us?".... Rom. viii. 31. Lift up your eyes to th' heav'nly seat, Petitions now, and praise may rise, Where our Redeemer stays;
And saints their off'rings bring; Kind intercessor, there he sits, The priest with his own sacrifice And loves, and pleads, and prays.
Presents them to the King.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name
JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.... Matt. i. 21.
O PRECIOUS birth! precious son! precious name! The Holy Ghost brings consolation to the hearts of poor sinners, from the belief of the manhood of JESUS. To this end the comforter bears so particular testimony by the word of the conception and birth of Christ This is our happiness; at all times to consider the Saviour as “ Emanuel, God with us:" our brother: “flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone." As Elihu says of himself, “Behold I am, according to thy wish, in God's stead. Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither'shall my hand be heavy upon thee.".... Job xxxiii. 6,7. Thus to conceive of Jesus, is a sweet mystery, joyfully known to believing hearts. • The Holy Ghost brings joy to our souls, by the NAME of Jesus. This name is above every name to us: it is “ as precious dintment poured forth:” it diffuseth the sweet odour of the Father's everlasting love, issuing in our eternal salvation. In the name of Jesus the whole gospel lies hid. The Spirit also comforts our hearts. By the WORK of Christ, he shall save. Here is not an if, a perhaps, or peradventure; but a positive declaration, what he absolutely shall do. He shall save sinners: from the curse of the law, by being made à eurse for them: from the wrath of God due to them, by suffering in their stead: from the punishment their sins deserve, by the atonement of his precious blood : from the guilt of sin in their conscience, by the sprinkling of his blood through faith : from the love and power of sin in their hearts; by the grace of his Spirit, regenerating and renewing them in the spirit of their minds. So that they are as perfectly saved In Jesus from sin, as though they had never fallen into sin. And all this by Jesus: by no strength, power or ability of theirs.
Who does Jesus thus save? “ His people:". ALL his people, of every kindred, nation, tribe and tongue, even “all that the Father hath given him.”....John xvii. 9. Who are partakers of this precious salvation? Every poor siner who believes in Jesus. It is free for A L'L who come to him. ALL who do come to him, and trust in him, find he is their Jesus, their salvation. O believer, here is the nature, the name, the work of thy precious Jesus to look to and live "upon from day to day. It is thy mercy that salvation is his work, and he hath finished it. It is thy comfort to believe this daily. It is thy duty to give Jesus all the glory. The more light thou receivest from the word of Jesus and the Spirit of truth, so much the more wilt thon see of thine own vile sinful nature, and abhor thyself. How long? even until thou receivest the end of thy faith, the salvation of thy soul. Then wilt thou eternally glory only in the infinite perfection of the salvation of Jesus.