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And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to
awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.... Rom. xiii, 11.
It is an affecting case, but a real truth, that wise virgins are apt to slumber and sleep as well as the foolish. Through the pressures of a body of sin and death, and the opiates of worldly ease and self-indulgence, they sometimes fall into a drowsy state, and a sleepy frame of soul. Hence, they lose their former delight in religious duties and spiritual exercises. Their love to God and their brethren in Christ grows cold; their zeal for the glory of Jesus and his precious truths decline. The enemy takes great advantages against them, and would triumph in their entire destruction. But that can
never be, for the Lord prevents it. “He that keepeth Israel neither : slumbers nor sleeps.” Will the loving father suffer his dear children to sleep in their beds till devoured by raging flames? If we being evil, have such love for our children, how infinitely greater is the love of our heavenly Father? Therefore he alarms souls and awakens them to duty and watchfulness.
Thus Paul, his faithful watchman, lifts up his voice of warning, eries the hour, and reproves disciples as acting unbecoming. It being both unreasonable and unseasonable for them who know the time of day to indulge sloth and heaviness. It is high time to awake out of sleep. Come, christian, look around thee, look up. The Saviour reigns. It is broad day. See the sun shining. Nay. it is in its meridian. And thou art just got to thy journey's end. Just in sight of thy Father's house. Thy Lord is coming to meet thee. What! wilt thou sleep on and take thy rest? The Spirit speaks to thee in this word, “Now is thy salvation nearer than when thou first believed." The Lord is at hand. “Let thy moderation, in care after the things of this world, be known unto all men,” What art thou grasping so much of perishing things for? Thou canst not hold them long. Off hands, before death makes thee quit thy hold. Think what thou art spiritually born for, called to, and art just.going to take possession of. Verily, if thy soul is broad awake, thou seest things as they really are. TIME, with all its toys and pleasures, how short! ETERNITY, with all its rich glories and inestimable blessings, how long ! Jesus, with all his endearing amiableness, in his adorable person, precious offices, blessed promises, and glorious work and finished salvation for thee, as the best object of all thy hope, love, peace, and joy. For shame, sleep not when the delightful presence and heavenly fellowship of such a friend may be enjoyed. If thou hast lost the sense of this by sleep, Oresolve with the church, "I will give no sleep to mine eyes, until I find the Lord.”....Psalm cxxxii. 4, 5.
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be
strong....1 Cor. xvi. 13.
BELIEVERS in the Lord Jesus now partake of an everlasting salvation. No enemy can deprive them of the full enjoyment of it in glory; because they are kept by the mighty power of God." But we are daily to consider, it is “through faith,"... 1 Pet.i. 5. Do we believe in the atonement of Jesus' blood; do we rely on the perfection of his righteousness? Why so ? Because the word of the Lord is the warrant for our faith. Hence, O soul, the exhortations from the same word to duty are equally binding on thy belief and practice. The same Lord who has saved us from our enemies, calls us to watch against them. Jesus, who is gone to prepare a place for us in glory, directs us how to demean ourselves in the way to it. Shall the christian soldier neglect the command of the captain of his salvation, when the glory of God and the peace and comfort of his own soul are equally concerned ? Surely not.
Through watchfulness many evils are prevented, many blessingsenjoyed. When a christian is off his guard, or asleep when he should watch, how is he exposed to the attacks and temptations of the enemy! It is for our good that the Lord commands it as our duty. It is through his power that hereby the good soldier of Jesus. Christ is enabled to stand fast in the profession, power and comfort of faith. It was Paul's joy in the views of death, that he had “kept the faith,”....2 Tim. iv. 7. Would we enjoy the same comfort? Strive in the strength of the Lord to follow his example. Check the risings of unbelief. Oppose the workings of carnal reason.
Resist sted fastly in the faith the subtle devices of satan. This is your duty and wisdom. So shall we quit ourselves like men of valour and courage : like victorious saints of old, “ who overcame every enemy through the blood of the Lamb.” Droop not, O believer, thy strength is the Lord's omnipotence. Lift up thy head with boldness, thine enemies are vanquished by thy conquering Jesus. Be strong. Look off thyself. Look to the strong for strength. Look unto Jesus continually. Rely only on the power of his might hourly. His arm is not shortened. The reliance of faith engages his
of faith obtains victory. There is an open and effectual door by which thou shalt enter into glory ; but thou must fight thy way through. Consider daily this is our motto, “More than conquerors through Jesus who hath loved us."....Rom. viii. 37.
Dear Lord, my thankful heart receives I am my love's, and he is mine, (join;
Blessed: are the pure in heart, for they shall see God....
Matt. v. 8.
Every institution of purification under the law referred to Jesus, the purifier' of his people. Old-Testament saints received inward purity of heart from the same fountain, Jesus; and through the same means, faith in him. Without this inward purity of heart; “without holiness, no man ever did or ever shall see the Lord.” When Jesus comes to his temple, even the hearts of his people, he “sits as a refiner and purifier.” Sinners are the objects of his love. Sın is the accursed thing his soul hates. From this he purifies them. In purity and holiness his soul delights: with this he blesses his disciples. He then pronounces them blessed. He tells them wherein their happiness consists: blessed are you, whose hearts are pure: blessed are your eyes, for they shall see God.
“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one" of fallen Adam's race....Job. xiv. 4. Such power belongs to God only. Man contributes nothing hereto. But man, every believing, reges nerate man, is the blessed subject of purity and holiness of heart. He has no hand in purifying his heart. No glory is due to him. But holy, blessed effects Aow froin it, to God his Saviour's glory, to his present felicity, and to his eternal comfort and joy. To thy shame disciple, thou knowest, being a child of an apostate, sinful parent, naturally only sin was the delight of thine heart. It is thy present blessedness to be a child of the holy God, a member of the holy Jesus, a subject of the holy Spirit's new creating influence, and a partaker of holy faith.
Hence it is natural to thy holy, new-born heart, to love holiness, as agreeable to the perfections of thy God and Saviour, and as it is suitable to thy present state of blessedness in Christ Jesus. Whence those sighs and sorrows at finding the Canaanites still in the land? Whence those groans and prayers because sin dwelleth in the flesh? Whence those importunate cries and longing requests to Jesus for total victory and perfect freedom from this troublesome inmate? Whence that holy joy and sweet complacency in bringing forth “ the fruits of holiness?” These are indubitable evidences that thou art united to a holy Jesus, that thy heart is purified by faith, that thou hast a heart cleansed from all sin by Christ's blood. A new heart and right Spirit are put within thee. Thou dost see God in Christ Now as thy covenant-God. Thou hast received covenant blessings from him. Rejoice in him. Shortly, thou shalt see him and enjoy him to all eternity in his kingdom and glory. Bless'd are the men of broken heart, Bless'd are the pure, whose hearts are Who mourn for sin with inward smart: From the defiling pow'rs of sin; (clean, The blood of Christ divinely flows, With endless pleasure they shall see, A healing balm for all their woes. A God of spotless purity.
Righteousness delivereth from death....Prov. xi. 4.
When a poor sinner is brought to judge of himself according to the word of truth, then is he truly wise. When he sees the exceeding sinfulness of sin, he is humbled before the Lord. When he considers “ the wages of sin is death,” he fears and trembles. But when he is enabled to believe he is righteous in the sight of God, then he is truly happy. His soul rejoiceth, because his eyes have seen the salvation of God; and he hath found a righteousness that delivers from death. It is never well with the soul; but when in simplicity and godly sincerity, it forms its judgment of sin and righteousness from the word of the Lord. For carnal reason and fleshly wisdom pervert and draw it aside from the truth as it is in Jesus. Sin is a transgression of the law, which is holy, just, and good. “ Death has passed upon all men.” Verily then I am a cursed sinner, and have need to cry daily, “God be merciful to me!" Lord, deliver my soul from death! What is righteousness, but a perfect obedience to the law of God? I have no righteousness in myself. I have sinned. A sinner righteous in himself is a contradiction in terms.
But here is our mercy; as by man sin entered into the world, and death as the curse of sin: so by man came righteousness; and as a blessing of it, deliverance from death. Where can we turn our eyes? to whom can we look for this righteousness, this blessing this deliverance? To the man, Mediator, surety, and representative of his people, JESUS, ONLY. He is emphatically styled “the righteous,".... 1 Johnii. 1. This is the comfortable testimony the Spirit of truth bears of Jesus, “ He was made to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we (who have no righteousness in ourselves) might be made the righteousness of God IN HIM."....2 Cor. v. 21. So the righteous Jehovah, who loveth righteousness, and whose countenance beholds the thing that is just, is well pleased with the members of Jesus: for they are clothed with his righteousness. The Lord laid their sins upon Jesus. The Lord imputes the righteousness of Jesus to them without any works of theirs. So he delivers them from deserved death; so he justifies them in righteousness unto eternal life: every believer is as perfectly righteous in Christ as if he had never sinned. Here is thy happiness, O believer! it is thy joyful privilege thus to judge of thyself. To live in this view of thyself is agreeable to the truth of God's word: it is witnessed to thy soul by the comforter, through faith. This makes the soul joyful in truth. This animates to all holy obedience in love. This gives confidence in prayer, comfort in life, deliverance from death, and boldness at the awful bar of judgment. Thus“
Thus “grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.".... Rom v. 21.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which ye are
called in one body; and be ye thankful....Col. iii. 15.
Every exhortation in the word of grace implies a contrary disposition in the fallen nature of saints. Because thou hast turbulency and disorder in thy flesh, therefore art thou, believer, called upon by the word, to oppose it in the grace of the Spirit. Here is thy daily exercise. We shall surely meet with many things from within and without, which are contrary to the peace of our minds, and the comfort of our hearts. Thou, O man of God, art to flee these things: watch against them; pray for victory over them. Thou hast, the most powerful excitements hereto. Jesus hath made peace by, the blood of his cross. Every disciple is called to the knowledge and enjoyment of it through faith. Called to be of that one body whereof Jesus is the head. Hence the hand-writing of the law of accusation is cancelled in the mind; sin is dethroned in the heart; the, clamours of conscience silenced; and sweet peace with God in wardly felt. Dost thou, soul, possess this happy state? What then shall be the umpire? What the determining rule of thy conduct ? Live by the word of truth on the prince of peace; so shall thy outward actions be governed right.
PEACE with God is the fruit of everlasting love. Its root was planted in the eternal counsel; it blossoms and bears fruit in the life and death of Jesus; and poor sinners reap the sweet, heartfelt: sense of it by faith. Nothing can destroy this heavenly plant; but many things may cause it to droop and wither in sense and experi
Let the peace of God rule. Hence it is plain thou art exposed to many things which may prevent its ruling ; those are to be guarded against. While the peace of God rears its head, and rules in the heart, its natural influence is to follow peace with all men. Yea, the peaceful soul embraces every member of the prince of peace in the open arms of faith and love. And canst thou barter the enjoyment of this rich gem of thy Redeemer's crown, for the gratifications of unbridled passion, unchristian resentment, undue revenge against thy brother? Hath thy Lord dealt so with thee? Has this been the rule of the meek Lamb's conduct?. Thou knowest otherwise. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.” Yes: avenge thygelf on the enemy of thy peace. 0. disciple, thy pride is the cause of anger and passion. Here fix all thy indignation. Against this be fired with a holy, resentment. A sense of anger will hinder thy prayers. . Resentment will shut up thy spirit against gratitude and thankfulness to thy God. O, offer up this sweet sacrifice continually from thy heart. Beware lest the smoke of pride and corruptions cloud thy mind, and darken thy soul. Be humble. Humility is the ground of gratitude. :“Remember thy calling, and study to walk worthy of it."....Ephcs. iv. 1.