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Jesus said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lèst ye
enter into temptation....Luke xxii. 46.,
* TAE dull, sleepy frames of disciples, though natural to them, are by no means commendable in them, nor are they to find excuses for them, as though this was a sleepy state of the churches, and so we were to lie down and take our rest. This is injurious to the honor of our dear master, brings discredit upon his cause and interest, is very uncomfortable, and exposes sleeping souls to many and great dangers: though love may excuse it, yet will Jesus sharply reprove for it.". Why sleep ye? wherefore do you indulge yourselves with sloth when you are called to activity? sleep is unreasonable when danger is near. Ye know, my beloved disciples, your adversary satan' is ever wakeful, watchful, busy in plotting and seeking to rob you of your shield of faith. Is this a time to be sluggish? 'to fold your hands and cry, a little more carnal ease and worldly pleasures, a little more spiritual slumber? Most inexcusable to he taking sleepy opiates of pleasure to indulge the flesh, and intoxicating draughts from the world to drown the Spirit. What meanest thou; O sleeper? "arise and call upon thy God. Say not "I am in an unsuitable frame, dull, and heavy.” Thou readest of no such replý from these drowsy disciples to their master.“ Wilt thou stay till thou art rich" before thou wilt be industrious?' He who calls to duty is Both able and willing to give strength in duty, and power to performi it. Take with you words and say, Jesus will give the Spirit to pray: Ever remember
, prayers move God, not 'as an orator moves his hearers, but as the cry of a beloved child moves an affectionate father; when we are out of the reach of danger, prayer will be need: less. But when will that be? not in this life ; not' till every enemy is destroyed; that will not be till death is swallowed up in life.
Now there is danger from temptation. Temptation cannot hurt us, but' entering into the temptation wilí. "Jesus' was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin; his temptations were all without him; they could not enter in to defile him; but they may ús: when the love of the world enters and prevails, the sense of the love of God is lost: when the lusts of the flesh get power, the con solations of the Spirit are not enjoyed; when ease and happiness are expected from any other object but Jesus, the precious Saviour is slighted and disesteemed': then our views of his love are eclipsed, and our souls miserably darkened. “The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.".... f Pet: iv. 7. How precious is our Saviour's love! He hates the sloth we're subject to, How tender his complaint !
But yet he loves the saint. VOL. I.
I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil....
Psalm cxix. 162.
The saints of God in all ages were taught by the same Spirit, looked for the same salvation, and were comforted by the same truths found in the word of the Lord; hence the word is so precious to them; it causes rejoicing of soul within them; thus it is of the written word of the Lord which makes known his everlasting, loving designs to sinners of mankind: this also is true of the essential, divine, and uncreated WORD, the Lord Jesus: he in person manifested God's thoughts of love, as words declare what is in the mind: Jesus lay in the bosom of the Father from eternity; he has revealed the Father's eternal love to us! O, he who findeth Jesus will rejoice indeed. With joy, says Philip, “we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write."....John i. 45. Hath a conqueror, who hath obtained a complete victory over, and is enriching himself with the spoils of a wealthy enemy, cause of rejoicing? how much more has the christian daily from the word of the Lord. Alas! the joy of the one is but momentary and uncertain; what he hath gained in war to-day, to-morrow he may be deprived of; but joy through the victory of Jesus, and the spoil the christian reaps from the word are durable and eternal: the victory of Jesus is the christian's spoil; here he beholds sin subdued, death conquered, satan vanquished, hell overcome, and a crown of eternal lif
and glory fully obtained, absolutely ensured, and which shall most certainly be enjoyed. In the written word of the Spirit are given unto us “exceeding great and precious promises.” In the essential word Jesus, "all the promises are in him, yea and amen, to the glory of God.” By the former we understand what is the hope of our calling, and what the riches of the glory of our inheritance in the saints." By the latter, union with Jesus, and faith in him, we obtain the happy assurance that all things are ours. 6 Whether ministers, the world, life, death, things present, or things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.".... I Cor. ii. 22, 23. And “nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus."....Rom. viii. 39.
Blessed be God for the word of his grace, the BIBLÉ; blessed be God for his unspeakable gift, Jesus. Here is thy treasure, 0 christian; where should thy heart be but in meditation and delight herein daily? For thou canst get spiritual joy from no object but victorious Jesus, set before thee in the gospel; and the clearer thou seest salvation by him, so will thy faith be stronger in him; this creates spiritual rejoicing of soul continually, How doth thy word my heart engage! When nature sinks and spirits droop.
How well employ my tongue ! Thy promises of grace
And there I write thy praise.
Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace....Rom. vi. 14.
Who are under the law? All who think they can fulfil it, seek to be made righteous by it, and expect salvation from it; all such áre under the dominion of sin and the curse of the law. Who are under grače? All who fly from the law as a ministration of condemnation, embrace the gospel as a ministration of righteousness, and éleave to Jesus and expect righteousness and salvation in him oNLY. Over such sin has no power to destroy; they are out of its territories, in another kingdom, under another king: Jesus rules in and over them; and he says of every one of them, sin shall not have dominion over you. O, what a heart-reviving promise is this! how delightful to hear our worst foe, our bitterest enemy shall not lord it over us! Art thou, O disciple, ready to cry out, Would to God sin had no being in me, then I should be completely happy! Remember what thy Saviour said to his mother, “Mine hour is not yet come.” ...John ii. 4. It is enough that thou are called to the marriage of the Lamb; the bridegroom keeps the best wine for the last; this is excellent wine on earth, sin' shall not have dominion over us; in glory, sin shall have no being in us.
Be assured, O christian, thine enemies are all conquered, though sense and experience afford thee daily proof they are not all dead. Never think of laying down thine arms, folding thine hands, and setting up thy rest here; thou art still in the camp; the enemy lies im wait to take all advantage; but here is thy victory, though sin is an enemy; whose life is commensurate with the life of thy flesh; though so nearly allied to thee that it is part of thyself; yet, being one with Jesus, thou hast a spiritual and eternal life, and the power of omnipotence is engaged to preserve and keep thee; therefore sin shall not maintain its usurpation, nor hold dominion over thy soul; its empire is dethroned, the kingdom of Jesus is set up in thy heart, Christ dwells there by faith, thy heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience by his blood; he who hath conquered for thee will also conquer in thee.
Take heed of a state of independence on him, and vain confidence in thyself; think not the root and being of sin are destroyed, and thyself in a sinless state; for then thou hast no need of Jesus, faith in him, hope on him, nor prayer to him. O, if satan thus rocks any poor sinner asleep, it is in the cradle of delusion, while he sings a sweet siren's song: be ever active and vigilant to oppose and conquer thy inbred foe. Daily attend this wholesome advice, “ Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof."....ver. 12.
Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent te may be accepted of him....2 Cor. v. 9.
. “ In all labour there is profit.".... Prov. xiv. 23. The belief of this maketh the heart diligent, lively, and active. When Nehemiah was stirred up to build the wall of Jerusalem amidst the scoffs and opposition of enemies on every side, yet, in prayer, 'watching, and working, he and his brethren wrought with one hand, a guard in the other, and this confidence of faith in their hearts, “ Our God shall fight for us.".... Neh. iv. 20. Thus animated they laboured till the work was finished.
Thus the beloved brethren of Jesus are called to be '“ stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord;" being confident that the Lord fights for them, and “knowing assuredly that their labour is not in vain in the Lord.” The labour of love is pleasant, it is profitable to the believing heart; the work of faith is delightful to the soul while it exercises the patience of hope. Most reviving consideration! we serve not a hard task-master; we labour, not for a rigorous, severe Lord; 'we obey not from base, mercenary principles. No; every command of Jesus is in love; every work we do in his name is from love to spiritual good as well as to his glory: we have the fullest assurance that we are accepted in the beloved.” We
e are not left to doubt of the way of acceptance, nor to do any thing to procure it; the truth, as it is in Jesus, forbids all this; but knowing our persons are accepted in Jesus, this is the most enlivening, powerful motive not only to do, but also to abound in those things with which God is well pleased; to study to please God in our walk and way, cheerfully to lay out ourselves in his service, unreservedly to give up ourselves' wholly to the Lord: O, this is the sweet exerercise of faith and love. Shall we pretend to believe that Jesus is our Saviour and that we are accepted in him, and yet not labour and strive that our works may please him? Not study and endeavour, as assisted by his Spirit; to avoid those things that are contrary to his nature and commands? Alas! this is “hail, master;" only like Judas to give a kiss of hypocrisy, while faith in him and love to him are wanting
Thou disciple of Jesus, from that moment thou didst enter into the rest of Jesus by faith, thou art called to labour, that thy works may please God, and be accepted of him; and when the heart is whole with its Saviour and simply looking to him, need one forbid such a soul to refrain from the vain pastimes and sinful gratifications of a carnal world? No; he saith these things do not please my Lord, they cannot be acceptable to him, they shall not ensnare me, I ca
cannot displease my Saviour. " We love him because he first loved us.”.
”.... 1 John iv. 19.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee,
und I will proclaim the nume of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercyon whom I will shero mercy....Exod. xxxiii. 19.
CARNAL reason, pride, and unbelief, like a threefold cord, binds the soul under legal bondage ; each of these mutually strengthens the other, and all combine to oppose the sovereign goodness and grace of our Lord. Instead of believing in, so as to be comforted by. free-grace declarations from our God, how apt are we to consult flesh and blood! How prone to reject them, because we cannot reconcile them to our carnal reason! here is the grand source of that damning sin, unbelief. Marvel not, believer, though the pride of thy flesh rises and rebels against distinguishing grace and discriminating love. This, though sweet to the experience of faith, is bitter to the stomach of rebellious nature : but here is thy mercy; grace, which is sovereign in its nature, iş saving in its operations; all must be re. solved into this humbling acknowledgment, “I, a poor sinner, who could neither will nor run the way of salvation; the Lord wills to shew me his goodness, to proclaim his name, to bestow his grace, and comfort me with his mercy in Christ Jesus, to the salvation of my precious soul."
Thus the Lord speaks in love ; let all his children hear in faith, ejoice, and be humbled. Where, O soul, canst thou fix thy foot, but thou standest upon the ground of free grace? Hast thou faith? It is of grace. Dost thou find pardon of sin and consolation of heart in Christ Jesus? It is of grace. Dost thou “love God? It is because he has first loved thee.” Dost thou hate sin as contrary to God's glory and thy soul's peace? What astonishing grace is this Consider it on thy knees ; reflect on it with meltings of soul. Why shouldst thou be singled out by the power of the word, marked by the grace of the Spirit for salvation, when many hundreds perish everlastingly? Why are thine eyes opened amidst a throng of blind sinners? Why art thou watered, like Gideon's fleece, while others are dry? Was thy nature better, thy desires holier? What condi
tions hadst thou performed to procure this? Grace has taught thy • soul otherwise than so to think; all must be resolved into this soul
humbling, God-exalting truth, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” Here is an inexhaustible source of comfort; this a never-failing motive to love and obedience, that grace God owes to no one sinner on earth, he has freely given to thee; it is thy privilege to rejoice in it, thy duty to confess it, and to lie in the dust and be humble. “If by grace, it is no more of works.”..., Rom. xi. 6.