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love, justifying grace, scheme of salvation, and hope of eternal life, by Jesus only. As the Father gave their persons, so he imputed their sins to Jesus; he bore them away. God chargeth not trespasses to them; they are free from sin, as viewed by God, in Christ. To this truth the Spirit bears witness, through the faith of Jesus. So, believer, reckon of thyself. Though, in thyself considered, black as hell, polluted with guilt, defiled with sin; yet in Christ, "all fair without spot;" fully reconciled to God, and without trespasses before him. What a free access hast thou ever open to God ! what cause for triumph in him, and love to him! what assured hope of eternal enjoyment of him! O my soul, what reward shall I render to the Lord for all his mercies? Psalm cxvi. 12.
MAY 17.-When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him, [or chase him away.]—Isa. lix. 19.
When a poor sinner knows what human nature is, and sees his brethren and companions after the flesh "living without Christ and without God in the world;" making a mock at sin, and ridiculing his truths and ways; and finds his own heart touched with a holy, loving fear of the Lord : he is ready to cry out, Whence is this? He can only say, “Grace reigneth ; the Sun of righteousness hath risen upon me. So, Lord, it seemeth good in thy sight. I have not deserved this. Thou hast spoken in truth, and fulfilled in faithfulness. So thy word runs, so thy gospel is glorified, free as the sun, powerful as the wind.” Jehovah's shalls are his people's triumphs. Here are most absolute declarations for faith to fix upon, and plead, in any hour of Satan's attack.
For, so gure as we fear the Lord, the enemy will oppose us. For, if he dare plead with the Saviour, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful cap,
tive be delivered ?" Isa. xlix. 24, verily, he will follow after his once seized prey, and strive to regain his ran. somed captive; yea, he will challenge the sinner as his property. But, is it not strange that the loving, almighty Saviour suffers the enemy, like a surly dog, to snap and snarl at his dear children, and strive to tear their food out of their hands, and his peace and love out of their hearts? No: it cannot be otherwise in our present state; for we are clothed with an earthly, sensual, devil. ish nature, to which Satan has easy access.
Humble souls have little reason to complain, that they have not known so great a degree of wrath, nor have been terrified with such dreadful apprehensions of hell and damnation, as some others. Oh! rather love and praise Jesus, if thy soul is brought to choose him in faith, and follow him as thy Saviour and thy all, than wish to have the enemy let loose upon thy soul. But if this is the case, he shall not go beyond the length of his chain. His power is thy Father's permission. He may terrify with wrath, but it shall issue in love. Yea, though he should, like a powerful deluge, come in and distress with blasphemous injections, horrible thoughts, perplexing fears, and pronounce hell and destruction to be thy doom, even then thou art safe. The Saviour's power is thy shield. “The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard”-the Lamb on the cross. In the faith of this, "resist the devil and he will flee from you," James iv. 7.
MAY 18.-If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.Exod. xxxiii. 15.
Happy for us, if this were our address to the Lord, under every enterprise ! how many distresses and difficulties should we avoid! how much more peaceful and comfortable should we be, in our journey through life! It is a blessed thing to have an especial eye to God's presence, as well as to his providence. The Lord
permit his children to succeed in their schemes and undertakings, in the course of his providence, when he doth not accompany their souls with his favour and presence. Yea, believer, canst thou not see in many of thy ways, wherein thou hast been permitted to go, that they have proved the very means of losing the sweet sense of thy Lord's presence? Whatever outward profit or pleasure thou hast gained, verily thou must confess to have sustained an inward loss. How doth it behove every disciple of Jesus to "consider his ways!" It is our wisdom daily to reflect: What is the tendency of my present pursuit ? what is my chief aim ? what can I expect from the end of it ? am I going to gratify the flesh, in pleasing diversions, and carnal delights? Stop one moment. Consider. Canst thou expect the presence of thy God ? canst thou lift up thy believing heart, in prayer to Jesus, to accompany thee? Certainly, if it is not right to ask nor expect his spiritual presence to go with thy soul, surely, there it is unlawful for thee to go. If thou canst not pray in faith, canst thou go in faith? Oh! remember the love of thy Saviour, who died to redeem thee from this present evil world. Call to mind those joys and pleasures, which are experienced from a sweet sense of his love and presence. Think, how cutting to thy heart, how grieving to thy spirit, if under any vain indulgence thy Saviour should put this question, Disciple, lovest thou me more than these vanities? Better for Peter to have been in his Lord's presence with a cold body, than warming himself with the high priest's officers and servants; for there he was blown down by the breath of a damsel. Let his fall warn thee of thy danger.
It is related of Satan, who had taken possession, and greatly terrified and distressed the soul of a christian, that on his being asked, how he dared to enter into a child of God, he replied, "I found her on my own ground, at the play-house; therefore I challenge her as my servant.” Whether the story be true or not, the moral is good. Christians have no business on the devil's ground. “Be thou an example of believers," 1 Tim. iv. 12.
MAY 19,—Behold the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.—Isa. xl. 10.
What was foretold in prophecy, is fulfilled in the faith and experience of saints. Here are two notes of attention. “Behold;" it highly concerns us. Take special notice. When the Lord God, our Immanuel Jesus, came to his temple, he found that beautiful building in sad disorder; his spiritual worship lost; and "his house of prayer turned into a den of thieves. Behold, with a strong hand, and out-stretched arm, with no weapon but an insignificant scourge of small cords, he drove the multitude from the temple. Amaz. ing miracle! The meek Lamb is also “The Lion of the tribe of Judah.” So he came not only with a strong hand, but against the strong, as some render it. So, behold, he comes to take possession of the temple, of his people's hearts. This temple he finds in most woeful plight. All the powers of earth and hell are engaged against him. “The strong man armed keeps possession.” But precious, powerful Jesus casts out Satan, enters by his love, and rules by his Spirit, where Satan reigned. But he comes not by power only, but by grace also; behold, he brings his reward with him. The distressed soul he pardons. The naked soul he clothes with the robe of his righteousness; the hungry soul he feeds with good things; he giveth such his flesh to eat, and his blood to drink. Then, how do their hearts pant after Jesus! how do they hunger and thirst after righteousness, and cry and pray, “Lord, increase our faith, that we may eat as thy friends, drink larger draughts as thy beloved, and be more abundantly satisfied with thy love!"
Thus, our Lord Christ rewards his people with the fruits of his own toils, and the blessings of his own fin. ished work and salvation; even with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. But, "O Jesus,” cries the poor sinner, “What a vile, sinful, carnal, earthly. minded wretch am I still, by nature!" Fear not, saith Jesus, thou art called to look unto me. Behold, “my work is before me." Have I vanquished the powers of death and hell for thee, and can I not conquer sin in thee, and subdue thy flesh under thee? Was his blood the price of thy soul, and the atonement of thy sins? Then must thou wait in faith, for the total destruction of thy last enemies, sin and death, at his second coming. Then in the triumph of thy soul, thou shalt joyfully proclaim the perfect victory of Jesus, and say, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," &c. Rev. v. 12.
MAY 20.-My son, give me thine heart.—Prov. xxiii. 26.
Many are the competitors for the heart of man. Though our dear Father and best Friend lovingly calls for the free-will offering of this precious jewel, yet we are foolishly inclined to give it to our worst enemies. This pleasing world, with all its gay scenes of happiness and joy, attracts our affections, enchants our minds, and bewitches our senses ; so that we love it dearly, devote our hearts to it cheerfully, and greatly dread the very thoughts of leaving it.
“Thou shalt have no other God before me," saith Jehovah. We own the duty, and decry the wickedness of worshipping an idol; though, all the while, we are serving the god of this world: he blinds our eyes, and we see it not. The grace of God, though sovereign in its operations, yet acts not by force and compulsion, as upon mere machines, destroying the will, and dragging men to heaven by the hair of the head, as some in contempt please to assert. No; the service of our