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What doest thou here, Elijah ?....1 Kings xix. 13.
The prophets, as well as the children of the Lord, are sometimes found where they ought not to be. Elijah, had' now taken up his residence in a cave in the wilderness. What work could he do for his master here? What glory could he bring to his name in a barren mountain? Here were no lambs of God's fack to bę gathered, no sheep of Christ's pasture to be fed, no torn sheep to be healed and nourished by his word and doctrine. It seems as though he thought all his work was at an end, his zeal quite worn out; and in a fit of fear, unbelief, and despondency, he retreated from public opposition to the dreary mansions of a mountainous cave for rest and quiet. But the Lord followed him, caused him to hear his voice, calls him to new work, endues him with fresh strength, and animates him with the pleasing assurance that he had seven thousand faithful servants yet in Israel. But poor Elijah thought he was left alone. · See the effect of judging according to appearances. Carnal reason is a bad judge in spiritual things. The wisdom of the flesh, ever determines contrary to the wisdom of God. Beware of your frames, O disciples. If on the mount, in the sunshine of comfort, be not vain and confident, with “I shall never fall.” If in the gloomy valley, where light and joy are obscured, be not cast down and dejected. “The Lord reigneth : rejoice in him.” Though clouds and darkness are round thy God and Saviour, yet.“ righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.".... Psalm xcvii. Above all, beware of thy conduct. Fly not to places of sinful vanities, and vain gratifications. These can never profit thy soul. Nay, if dark and uncomfortable, what canst thou expect but to be darker and more uncomfortable still? This is a farther remove from the Saviour's love and presence. What canst thou expect, but this cutting reproof, this keen interrogation, “thou man of God, what dost thou HERE?” . If Elijah was reproved, for being in a barren wilderness, how canst thou answer it to God thy loving Saviour, for being found on worse than barren ground; where the alluring baits of siņ; the poisonous weeds of satan grow in abundance, to beguile. and destroy unstable souls. O soul, hear the call of thy beloved Lord! “ Depart ye, depart ye, this is not your rest.” Know your glorious privilege, “Ye are the temple of the living God. God dwells in you, and walks in you.” Listen to his voice, speaking to
" Wherefore come out from among them, and be yo separate, saith the Lord, and I will receive you: and I will be a Father unto you, (ye shall enjoy the sweet knowledge of it) and ye. shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.".... '2 Cor. vi. 17, 18.
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which work se easily besct us....Heb. xii. 1.
CHRISTIAN thou art called to run a race: the eyes of innumerable spectators are upon thee; the powers of many enemies are against thee; but fear not. In the strength of Jesus, through the power of faith, thou shalt obtain the prize: even the salvation of thy soul. It is thy wisdom to know thy foes and to guard against them: to know thine own.vileness and weakness, and to look to thg friend for power. Thou hast a heavy burden which binders thy running with alacrity and delight: this, in the exercise of faith, thou must lay aside; therefore “put off the old man with his deeds." This through the Spirit is to be thy daily work. Every sin is a weight; as such is to be laid aside. «The body of sid" is a sore burden, therefore to be put off: but thou hast a besetting sin: thine own conscience best knows its name and nature: 'this thou art ealled to lay aside. In the nature of all men there is one sin, a master sin, the source and spring of every other sin, which even believers are not exempt from; but it is ready at all times easily. to "beset them. It is that monster of iniquity, · UNBELIEF. *Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.".... Heb. xi. 1. Here we see what glory is given to God, and what wonders were wrought by faith in that chapter. It is the nature of unbelief to deny the substance of what is hoped for, and to oppose the evidence of invisible realities. It tends to make faint hearts, weak knees, and feeble hands: it stops us in our race: it puts us to a 'stand; and we should give up all and give over all, unless Jesus prays for us, and we are endued with power from on high. But glory to our Jesus he does pray for us, therefore, our faith fails not; we are strengthened by the Spirit's might in the inner man to hold on.' Yet shame on thee, O soul, instead of laying aside this sin, how often dost thou treat it as a bosoin friend! How frequently consult it as a sweet counsellor! especially when its arguments are backed by its constant companion, CARNAL REASON. But being assured the matter of thy faith is the word of truth, the author and finisher of thy faith Jesus, thou art not called to answer every cavit from carnal reason, nor to silence unbelief by explaining the mysteries of grace and salvation; but to lay it aside; put it off as David did Saul's armour; put it away as men do childish things; cast it out as Abram did the bond-woman and her son....and so run with patience the race that is set before thee, every step looking unto Jesus.' By glimm'ring hopes and gloomy fears See the kind angels at the gates, ., We trace the sacred road;
Inviting us to come! Thro'dismal deeps and dang'rous snares There Jesus the forerunner waits, We make our way to God.
To welcome trav'lers home.
That I may know him....Phil. iii. 10.
« THERE are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four.... the fire which saith not, it is enough.”....Proy. XXX. 15, 16. So true is this of the fire of love when kindled in believing hearts. It burns with insatiable desire towards Jesus. Amazing! Had Paul so long known, loved, and preached a crucified, risen Jesus, and yet now desires to know him! Yes. Such is the nature of faith, that like riches to a miser, the more they increase, the more the desires of his heart increase after them. His wants are greater than his possessions. So the living members of precious Jesus see such inexhaustible treasures in him their living head, and such numerous wants in themselves, that their hearts are ever crying after, looking to, and longing for more of his presence, blessings and comforts in knowledge and experience. And, like a chaste virgin espoused to an affectionate lover, her desires will never be completely satisfied till she is brought into the nearest relation and closest embraces, when she takes up her abode, and enjoys the presence of the object of her love. Lovers of Jesus can never be satisfied with any other but him, nor will they be fully satisfied nor perfectly happy, till they are for ever present with their ever-loving Lord.
But the knowledge of him, even now, creates a paradise of peace, a heaven of love and holiness in the soul. Hence there is a godly jealousy in espoused souls, lest other objects should steal upon their affections. If at any time their eyes have been turned from their Lord, there is a holy shame ; they blush at their folly, and cry, O that I may
know him who rests for ever alike in his constant love to me a poor sinner. In this consists the life and joy of the heart, to know that Jesus hath made peace for us by the blood of his cross; that he hath wrought out a robe of righteousness by the obedience of his life to adorn us ; that he ever lives to pray for us. Yea daily, constantly to know him, as dwelling in my heart by faith, eyer present with me to the joy of my mind, and to the peace of my conscience. And truly, beloved, if thou art not thus kept knowing Jesus, looking to Jesus, feeding upon him continually in thy heart by faith, thou wilt know and feel other things, which will creep in and sadly distress thy mind. The voice of the law will be heard in thy conscience, backed by satan's injections, and thou wilt find anguish of spirit and bitterness of soul. But by sweetly abiding in the knowledge of Jesus, by faith, thou shalt manfully stand thy ground, and courageously conquer and triumph. “ So shall grace and peace be multiplied through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.... 2 Pet. i. 2. VOL. I.
Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that which
he allorveth....Rom. xiv. 22.
THERE are many things of a civil, moral and religious nature, which are in themselves indifferent. Yet, as to compliance or noncompliance with them, they are far from being matters of indifference to the mind of a believer. As he has an inward consciousness of his outward behaviour, so he finds within himself a sentence of condemnation when he acts contrary to the dictates of bis own knowledge and conscience. It may be the disciple of Jesus often hads some things of a doubtful nature, wherein he doth not see the word of God to be express and clear in determining. The upright soul, the tender conscience knows not how to act; is afraid of doing wrong: he asks advice of ministers and christian brethren, but they cannot fully satisfy his scruples and set his mind at liberty, how he ought to demean himself.
Here the apostles give a full and peremptory-answer. The heart of every believer is purified from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus, and instructed in the knowledge of the truth by his word and Spirit. Hence there is an inward perception of what tends to wound and condemn it. Happy art thou, disciple, if thou dost not wilfully. allow thyself in any thing for which thy conscience condemns thee. Never allow thyself in any outward practice, which is attended with inward condemnation. Is it of a trifling and indifferent nature in itself? pretend not to plead for it. Canst thou be content to make thy conscience thine enemy, to incur its censure, and to impair thy peace, for a TRIFLE? Whatever thou takest in hand remember the end, and thou shalt not do amiss. This advice is excellent ; it is thy wisdom to follow it; it is thy privilege to plead for power at a throne of grace. Consider daily thy calling; it is to live in, sweet fellowship with Jesus, to enjoy peace in thy conscience, and holiness and happiness in life. Whatever is contrary to this, will mako thee unhappy. As a son of the most high God, and a servant of the precious Jesus, thou art called not to please thy flesh, not to do thy own will, not to gratify thy own lusts, yea not to destroy thy own peace, but to glorify thy God and Saviour, in doing his will. It is most plain and evident from the apostles'exhortations, that if believers! walk and practice are not consistent with the truth, they may most certainly deprive themselves of the sweet sense and comfortable en: joyment of the peace and love of God. Consider deeply, weigh attentively the force and meaning of these words, “KEEP your, selves in the love of God."...Jude xxi. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”....Col. iii. 15.
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,
through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth....2 Thess. ii. 13.
We live in a day when pride reigns, the creature is exalted, the Holy Ghost resisted, and truth-is trampled under foot. The doctrine of God's distinguishing grace and electing love in Christ Jesus, is now, as it ever: was, to men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth, a bone of contention. They have railing accusations, great swelling words to utter against it;; their mouths are not stopped, because they see not themselves guilty before God....Rom. iii. 19. Saith Paul of such, “ They are under a strong delusion, they have pleasure in unrighteousness." They are left to sport themselves with their own vain proud delusions. Then he adds, “but we are bound to give thanks for God's election of you brethren, beloved of the Lord.” - True ministers of Jesus join with blessed apostles, in giving praise to God the Father for his love to poor sinners in Christ Jesus. They know God's love existed before time began.
The doctrine of election is not a mere speculation, nor can it tend to licentiousness; but it is of the essence of vital godliness, and is attended with the most holy and blessed effects, where received into the heart in the love of it. For the same Lord, who purposed to bring many sons to glory, hath also ordained the means,
6 sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." How could Paul know these professors were beloved and elected? Truly the effects proved the cause. They saw the fruits of electing love spring forth under the energy of the blessed Spirit. They were brought to. believe in, love and cleave to the sanctifying influence it had upon their hearts and lives.
“ Behold mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth,” said the Father of all consolations to his church, conce
cerning Jesus.... Isa. xlii. 1. He is the blessed object in whom we are chosen, who has finished our salvation, and to whom we are to look by faith. Yet, О believer, trace the streams of thy mercy to the fountain head; see thy obligations equally to the Father's love, the Son's redemption, and the Spirit's operations. Thụs all salvation is of God; thou hast nothing whereof to glory; all cause for deepest humility; the greatest reason for rejoicing day by day. What heights of love art thou called to ! What inflamed affections should possess thy heart! "Only let thy conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ."....Phil. i. 27.