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Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame....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 evangelical 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 the members of Jesus are blessed; blessed in him with all spiritual blessings; and they enjoy a sweet sense of blessedness in obeying him. “Behold I come,” saith Jesus the head. In the faith of this, enable me, Lord, to watch alway, saith every living member. We . know but in part; there are infinitely greater blessings to be found in Jesus, more of his knowledge, his love, his peace, of his image, greater conformity to, and likeness of him. For this we are called to watch, and wait, and pray continually, lest we lose the garments of truth, the clothing of humility, the adorning of the gospel, and sorrow overtake us, and shame cover us. So 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 be suffered to fall. Most true, Jesus both can and will keep all his members, by his power through faith unto salvation. But it is as true, thou wilt have sad evidence of thy interest in him, while his word is not thy rule of conduct. WATCH, saith he. - Comfort and peace of soul are enjoyed in the way of circumspection and 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 souls “who did run well for a season;” but Satan hath hindered. They have forsaken, the precious truths of Jesus, the world has enslaved them, and their conversation-garments are defiled with gross and abominable sins. Their minds appear destitute of faith, love, and holiness, and their shame is seen and manifest. A state, how deplorable ! how much to be dreaded! all from neglecting to watch. Serious thoughts are terrifying, self-examination they fly from, the view of death fills them with horror, an appearing, forsaken Jesus they 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 together, that they may 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.
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. 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 evidence of the faith of God’s elect; their intreaties to be delivered from them, shew the sanctified, holy disposition of their souls. Thus the Lord draws out into exercise the graces of his children. . 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 haste.” We must tarry the Lord's leisure, and be strong in hope. His time is best. It is, God's will we should tell him of our trials and temptations. After we have done this, “we have need of patience;” we must wait for the fulfilment of his promise. This is our duty. Paul prayed again and again, still the buffetings were continued; his mind was uneasy, his soul distressed, the enemy triumphing, the Lord making as though he heard not. Prayer and patience must go hand in hand. Murmurings are the offspring of unbelief. Fretfulness ariseth from pride. To lie humble at the feet of Jesus is our wisdom. Indulge no hard thoughts of the Saviour's will to make thee holy, or 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 harrassed by various temptations, poor souls are ready to think the war will end in their destruction; that Jesus will never give complete victory. But most assuredly he will. In due time we shall reap, if we faint not. Let it suffice, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” saith the triumphant head in glory, to each of his militant members on earth. Importunate praying, humble waiting, confident believing, comfortable hoping, are the very life and essence of a christian. And let his besetting temptations or conflicting trials be what they may, it is his blessed privilege to write with the pen of faith, “What shall separate from the love of Christ? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”....Rom. viii. 35, 37. Letime but hear my Saviour say, When I am weak, then am I strong, Strength shall be equal to thy day; Christ is my strength and Christ my song: .
Then I rejoice in deep distress, “Sufficient is my grâce,” he saith: Leaning on all-sufficient grace. This is enough for pray’r and faith. M.
Jesus said unto him, Ferily I say unto thee, To-day thou • shalt be with me in Paradise....Luke xxüi. 43.
· UNBELIEF, bow great its pover! how strong its influence! it would for ever blind the eses, and harden the heart against Jesus and his grace; bort he shall divide the spoil with the strong." The prophet's predictin is bere clearly fulfilled; the sovereignty of grace is fully displayed. Our Lord's own 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 bow to God's sovereignty. But this is a comfortable truth to self-abased souls: God's power is their bope. But doth our Lord bring sinners to glory without faith, repentance, and holiness? Doth he leave his people in their sins ad rebetsoos? No blessed be his name! Jesus is exalted to be a Prince and a Sariour: he gives repentance and remission of sins. * So be seres his people from their sins.” So he makes them bent in tis love by the secret power of the Spirit's invard operations who made these two companions in sin, these blasphemers di Jesus seser? Grace, sovereign, distinguishing, almighty grace, ác thuis vooderful worš; "and it is marvellous in our eyes.” How razas power! how swift its race! in one moment a railer against Jesas is changed to a believer in him; a proud rebel to an humble S zant; a self-justifying sinner to a Christ-exalting saint; in a mocneni conrerted, pardoned, sanctified, and made meet for glory.... today bell-deserving, to-day in Paradise. Thus this thief believed with his beart unto righteousness, and made confession with his marath unto salvation.
W : hath grace done? what is it not able to effect? Sweetest acouragement to the rilest of sinners, to look to Jesus: strongest asserance for the weakest believers to abide in him. “Lord Jesns, retender me,“ proceeds from grace in the heart of his members..
Thou shalt be vith me in Paradise,” is the gracious answer from the tungtre of the head. It was the grace of our Lord Jesus that sured this thief, this highwayman, and translated him from a gallows on earth to a wwwn in glory. The most amiable character, the most upright person hath nothing else to look to, to hope for, or trust in, but the cross of Christ alone for salvation. This is all our glorying, Br the death of Jesus we live. The same Spirit that enables the sul to believe on Jesus, conforms it to Jesus in likeness and love, and sanctities it through the faith of Jesus, and makes it “ meet for the heavenly inheritance with the saints in glory."....Col. i. 12. :
That he should give eternal life lo as many as thou hast
given him....John xvii. 2.
• DEISM, or a rejection of God's revealed truth, is natural to us all. Hence some have said, “The religion of nature is the religion of Satan;' for it affects a spirit of pride and independence of Godoy and rebellion against his will. Why does a Deist reject the way of salvation by Jesus? Truly, because it is contrary to his natural notions: he cannot reconcile it to the attributes and perfections of Deity. Upon the very same footing many professors abhor, with the utmost indignation, the scripture-doctrines of God's everlasting love, unconditional election of sinners, and the final perseverance of his saints to eternal life, by Jesus. Now, both Deists and Pharisees proceed upon the same principles; carnal reason, pride, and self-righteousness, reign in their hearts, and blind their eyes. · But it is the believer's mercy to see the truth: his humility to submit to it; and his duty to contend for it in love. Thus our elder brother Jesus ever acted, and thus he prays in submission to the will of his Father, and our Father. Though he had power over all flesh, yet only to those “the many, whom the Father had given him, was he to give eternal life.” They were given to him as his charge, to redeem, sanctify, and save: they were given to him as the reward of all his toils and sufferings: they are the precious jewels which compose his mediatorial crown: not one of them can be lost. This is impossible. Hence he glories of them, “Behold, I, and the children whom the Lord hath given me.”...Isa. viii. 18. Hence they are distinguished by special grace; they possess the gift of precious faith, “ called the faith of God's elect,”.... Tit. i. 1....it being peculiar to them only. By this they enjoy the sense of the Father's electing love, the knowledge of the Son's redemption, and the comforting witnesss of the Holy Ghost.
One of the most excellent of all human compositions; full of truth and sweetness, and well worthy the constant study of every christian, is the 17th Article of the church of England.... Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ, out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honor: wherefore they which be endned with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due scason. They, through grace, obey the calling; they be justified freely; made sons of God by adoption ; made like the image of Jesus Christ, they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy they attain ever lasting felicity.' «Hold fast the form of sound words."....2 Tim. i. 13.
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.... Luke xxiii. 43.
UNBELIEF, how great its power! how strong its influence : it would for ever blind the eyes, and harden the heart 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 is fully displayed. Our Lord's own 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 bow to God's sovereignty. But this is a comfortable truth to self-abased souls: God's power is their hope. 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 race! in one moment a railer against Jesus is changed to a believer in him; a proud rebel to an humble suppliant; a self-justifying 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 this thief believed with his heart unto righteousness, and made confession with his mouth unto salvation, o 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 believers 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 highwayman, 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, to hope for, or trust in, but the cross of Christ alone for salvation. This is all our glorying, By the death of Jesus we live. The same Spirit that enables the soul to believe on Jesus, conforms it to Jesus in likeness and love, and sanctifies it through the faith of Jesus, and makes it “meet for the heavenly inheritance with the saints in glory.”....Col. i. 12.