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And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the con
spirators with Absalom. · And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, tarn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness....2 Sam. xv. 31.
Clouds gathered very fast and grew very black at this time over the head of king David. His own beloved son had drawn the sword of rebellion.... his subjects flocked in great numbers; and to heighten the king's distress, his own counsellor joined the conspiracy. But under all this David shewed himself to be a man' after God's own heart. His soul looks through every discouragement. He knew the throne of grace to be ever open and accessible, therefore the very tidings that brought sorrow to his heart, he instantly makes the subject of his prayer. Happy conduct!- when before carnal reason is suffered to plead, the prayer of faith is presented. Too, too oft do disciples, upon hearing disagreeable tidings, consult flesh and blood before they apply to their ever-loving and faithful friend Jehovah: This ought not so to be. According to David's faith and prayer so the Lord answered him. The counsel which he had reason to dread from Ahithophel, was defeated by the Lord, and turned to his own destruction. Thus “ the Lord only is our refuge and strength; a very present help in every time of trouble."....Psalm xlvi. 1.
Knowest thou not, disciple, there is treason and rebellion found with thee against David's Lord, even Jesus, thy king? Not greater reason had David to fear, and to pray against Ahithophel's counsel, than thou hast daily. As his name signifies brother of ruin or folly, it reminds one of the flesh, a brother or partaker of the ruin of sin with the soul; and also that its wisdom is ever with us, is ever counselling and conspiring against the peace and safety, the love and holiness, the joy and happiness of the soul in Christ Jesus. It not only counsels against, but lusts contrary to the Spirit continually. May this be our daily prayer in the spirit and in faith, “O Lord, turn the counsel of the flesh into foolishness, confound its pride, destroy its lusts, subdue its passions, suffer us not to confer with flesh and blood, let us not sow to the flesh; but enable us to confer with thee by faith. May our conversation be in heaven! So strengthen us to put off the old man with his deeds, until we put off the body, to be "sown in dishonor, and to be raised in glory."....1 Cor. xv. 43.
Arise, my soul, my joyful pow'rs, Christ rais'd me from the deeps of sin, And triumph in my God;
The gates of gaping hell, Awake, my voice, and loud proclaim And fixt my standing more secure His glorious grace abroad.
Than 'twas before I fell.
Take heed to yourselves ; if thy brother trespass against
thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.... Luke xvii. 3, 4,
Mind this loving word. “Do thyself no harm.". The least degree of malice, hatred or revenge, is contrary to the genius of the gospel....inconsistent with the character of a disciple of the meek and lowly Jesus. But, our master knows what is in man: that his members are composed of flesh, as well as spirit ; and therefore liable to offend, one against another, so as to hurt and injure each other, in the peace of their minds, and fellowship of their spirits. So also, they cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of, by the adversaries, who are glad at every advantage, to cry out, “O these are your saints! see how full of wrath thy are; how they bite and devour each other.” Therefore, “take heed to yourselves," saith the head to his members. Watch against this evil. Offences will come. I teach you how to behave. Suppose thy brother trespass against thee, pity his weakness: pray for him by name, to thy Father, and his Father. Beware of angry resentment. If he aggravates his offence, by frequent repetition, thou shalt in no wise hate thy brother; but, as oft as he offends, if he as often “turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” But, are we not to forgive him until, and ụnless, he do turn and say, I repent? In one sense we ought; perhaps, not in another. We must not, at our peril, entertain anger, or let the sun go down on our wrath; but in our hearts freely and fully forgive an offending brother. But, what if he remains stubborn, and persists in a spirit of bitterness? Even then, we are to forgive him in our hearts, and be desirous of embracing him, in love..
But may we not justly suspend declaring our forgiveness to him, until he turn and say, I repent? Herein have we not God's word, and method, as our example? Though God loves his people in Christ, and for his sake pardons their sins; yet, until they actually turn to him, and repent, he doth not manifest his pardon, and love to them. But let us ever remeniber, as God's thoughts of love are towards us, before we turn to him: so our thoughts of love should be to our offending brethren, ere they turn to us. Doth the Lord Jesus require us to forgive every repeated offence, even until seventy times seven, four hundred and ninety? surely then, he will magnify his love, and display his mercy, in pardoning the innumerable offences, of all who turn to him. “Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”....Eph. iv. 32. Great is God's love, and large his grace, Then let us to our brethren shew, •Through the redemption of his Son: The loving spirit we partake, • He turns our feet from sinful ways, All their offences to forego, . And pardons what our hands have And love them freely for Christ's sakea "done.'
And I said, This is my infirmity....Psalm lxxvii. 10.
While in the body, we are in such an imperfect state, as to be liable to various exercises of mind, through in-dwelling corruptions, and the suggestions of Satan. Saints in all ages have experienced fluctuating frames. Like mariners on a tempestuous sea, at one time, they seem to mount up to heaven, in comfort and joy; at another, they sink down, in apprehension, to the depths of hell; then, like persons at their wit's end, they express themselves, in a very unreasonable manner. Doubt and uncertainty take place of knowledge and Eruth: unbelief seems to prevail against faith; and they are ready to call all in question: not only, past sweet experiences of God's love to their souls, but the very existence of God's promises, faithfulness, and truth. And they write with the pen of inspiration (though not of the Spirit of truth, but of a lying spirit) many false and bitter things against themselves. “Woe is me, I am undone,” saith Isaiah. * Woe is mé," saith Jeremiah. “Without were fightings, within were fears," say the apostles. “I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul," saith David. And in this psalm, hope seems to be, as it were, giving up the ghost, and with languid, faint accents Breathes « Will the Lord cast off for ever? will he be favorable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he, in anger, shut up his tender mercies?” So that you see, O tossed, tempted, tried believer, this is the way saints in all ages have gone to glory. Thou hasti thy lot with them now; soon thou also shalt be where they are. But O what a gloomy prospect, what soul-distressing views, must that póór sinnér have, who lives upon his frames, whose hope springs from his own faithfulness, or trusts to the exercise of his own grace, instead of the God of all grace, the blessed Jesus, " who is the same * yesterday, to-day, and for ever!" How comforting! how heart teviving to know that the Lord, “who sent rédemption unto his people, will ever be mindful of his covenant, which standeth fast for ever!”.... Psalm cxi. 5. Therefore the Holy Spirit stands engaged, in covenant-contract, to execute his office; as the comforter. When he is pleased to revive the soul with the views of Jesus, his glorious work, and finished salvation, Satan sculks away, like a mean, abashed liar: the believer returns to his right mind, takes shame to himself, and says, That I should ever doubt of thy love, call in question thy truth, and suspect thy faithfulness: O my God, this is my infirmity! Hence from my soul sad thoughts bé Till sov'réign grace with shining rays
and leave me to my joys; (gone, Dispelld my gloomy fears. My tongue shall triumph in my God; In vain the tempter frights my soul,
Christ pleads his righteous cause. And breaks my peace again ; Darkness and doubt had veil'd my mind, One glimpse, dear Saviour, of thy face
And drown'd my eyes in tears, Revives my joys again.
Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick...John xi. 3.
To have Jesus continually live in our thoughts, should be our daily study. To keep a sweet intercourse open, between Christ and the soul, should be our constant exercise. To be watchful against every bold intruder, that would interrupt our communion with the Saviour, is our greatest wisdom. Thus, through the Spirit's aid, a holy freedom and humble familiarity is maintained with Christ, and pur hearts. Why should we not be aiming thus to anticipate heaven? For, Jesus never intermits in his love to us, care over us, and presence with us. Through such a happy conduct, we shall enjoy an abiding sense of this. Then, when sin assaults, Satan attacks, temptations beset, afflictions surround, sickness overtakes, sorrow bows down, death threatens, or whatever may be our state, how comforting when the twin sisters of faith and hope, like the two sisters of Lazarus, carry our case to the master, with “ Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick?" Short, but very expressive. Not like the nobleman's importunate prayer,
- « Sir, come down, ere my son die;" but a simple message. They knew the love and power of Jesus. They doubted not his speed. It is enough to lay our case Þefore the Lord. It is best entirely to submit to his will, and patiently wait his time. “ He that believeth shall not make haste.".... Isa. xxviii. 16.
Is there a poor sinner on earth, who believes in Jesus, that can doubt of his love? Hath he not given the strongest assurances of it? Infinitely stronger, than if he had sent an angel, to testify of his love to us. For he came himself; he more than told us how he loved us; his sorrows, his sufferings, his agonies and death, most loudly proclaim it; for our sins he bled, for our sins he suffered; yea for that most base sin, that sin of all sins, the greatest of sins, unbelief. Thịs, even this, Jesus bore himself, in his own body on the tree. Even this he died to atone for, as well as all others. Art thou often sick, and fearest this master-sin will prove the death of thy soul, as it does now the life of thy comforts? Is this the grief of thine heart, and the cause of thy woe? Jesus is the alone physician, he only can
For he is not only the author, but finisher of our faith.”... Heb. xii. 2. Though, like the sisters of Lazarus, we cannot plead our strong love to Jesus, yet in the belief of his word, we may ever plead his strong love to us. “ Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” Heal thy servant. “ Lord, I believe, help thou my
unbelief." Ask, is Christ's blessed command. It shall be given, is his precious promise....Luke xi. 9.
How many are thy thoughts of love? When I'm afflicted, poor and low,
Thy mercies, Lord, how great! And light and peace depart, We have not hours, nor words enough, My Jesus sees my heavy woe, Their numbers to repeat.
And bears me on his heart.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to
approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts : We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, eren of thy holy temple....Psalm lxv. 4. ,
Mr. Bunyan, in his Pilgrim's Progress, observes, “ Christiana's heart was so enamoured, by the affecting sight of Christ's cross, by faith, that she wished all her carnal friends, to partake; in what she saw, and felt. But she was reminded, that faith's views are of special grace." They are streams which flow from the river of God's electing love. Every man whom the Lord chooseth, “is blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ.” This is evidenced by spiritual life. Seeing all grace, love, and happiness center in Jehorah, he delights to draw nigh to him, because confident of access, by a new and living way consecrated through the flesh of Jesus. Here is no fiery law, no flaming sword, to terrify and affright the believer, in his approach to God. But the Lord himself causes him, to approach his presence. Love, not only invites, but sweetly constrains him to come, as a child to its loving parent. 66 The Father draws to the Son, and the Son reveals the Father,” by the Holy Spirit, as a God of love to poor sinners. Without this, no soul can, or will, ever come unto God....John vi. 44. See thy special mercy. Adore that sovereign grace, which reigns over all thy pride, and stubbornness. And do I thus approach my Lord? O what infinite treasures of grace are secured by covenant-love and promise! Not a sudden fit of pleasure, or transient delight in the ways of God, do such experience; but they shall “DWELL," their residence shall be near the Lord in spirit, and they shall be satisfied from Jesus. All the glory and magnificence of the temple was only typical of Jesus, who exceeds in glory. All the glory and goodness of the Lord is treasured up in, and communicated from him, as man and Mediator to poor sinners. Come then as a needy beggar to receive.
O the super-abounding goodness of the Lord, to cause poor, headstrong, high-minded rebels to approach him, and be satisfied with him! Most joyful claim of faith, “ The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.”....Lam. iii. 24. A glimpse of Christ's glory and goodness sickens the soul to every other object. A lively faith, engages the affections towards him; love is very jealous, and excites watchfulness against what may disturb its happiness, or destroy its comfort. “ I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”.... Psalm xiii. 6.
We chuse our God and then we're But how came we the Lord to chuse,
And in his courts we dwell : [blest, Who are for sin accurst? Lo, here we find perpetual rest,
This myst'ry we will soon disclose, And of his goodness telli
Because, God chose us first. M.