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state of sinless perfection; nor is this heavenly blessing peculiar to Paul the apostle ; but to Paul, less than as the least of all saints, and chief of all sinners," as he owned himself to be. It has been enjoyed by sinners, through faith, in all ages; it is the common privilege of all christians. Well may we cry out in astonishment, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee," 2 Chron. vi. 18. Amazing condescension! “Lord, what is sinful, hell-deserving man, that thou shouldst visit him” with thy comforting presence? Delightful to think of! There is a sweet relation subsisting between the High and Lofty One and miserable sinners. In Jesus they both unite. The fulness of the Godhead and the misery and curse of our manhood state meet in him. From the Head, Jesus, the Spirit proceeds; and, like the oil on Aaron's head, descends to all the members. To their spirits he bears witness, agreeably to the word of their covenant relation, as adopted sons of God by faith in Christ. Let no believer be distressed or desuded by the deceiving of others, so as to expect an outward vision, manifestation, or revelation that may be seen, heard, or felt by the outward senses. No: the Spirit bears witness to our spirits, not to our senses.
Even as the law bears witness to the conscience, that we are sinners, and works wrath there; so the blessed Spirit bears witness to the mind, that we are the righteous children of God by faith in Jesus, that “he died for our sins, and rose again for our justification,” that in him we are chosen, beloved, accepted, justified, pardoned, and shall be glorified with him. For, saith Jesus, “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you," John xvi. 14.
See, O believer, the riches of covenant grace! Ad. mire and adore the wonderful love of the Trinity! Hast thou received the witness of the Spirit, in the word, through faith? Happy, highly favoured art thou. Or, art thou waiting and longing for the promise of the Father, the joyful assurance of the Spirit, that thou art his child ? It is sure: not for any good naturally found in thee; but because Jesus intercedes before the throne. Therefore plead, in the assurance of faith, this promise, “Your heavenly Father will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him," Luke xi. 13.
Ask in faith, nothing doubting," James i. 6.
JULY 30.–And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God.-Lev. xxvi. 44.
Can any child of God read his Father's awful threatenings in this chapter, and think light of sin? Can he count it a small thing to walk contrary to God's revealed mind and will? Indeed, one would think it impossible. Nor, can we hardly believe any one, who has known the true grace of God, could read this verse, and ever dare open his mouth, and shoot his arrows of bitter words, against the doctrines of everlasting, electing love, sovereign grace, and the certain salvation of every redeemed soul. But, alas, when the mouth of proud man is not held in by the bridle of humility, what awful, what horrid speeches will he dare to utter, even against the plain and express declarations of Jehovah himself! The rank weeds of natural notions are offensive to gracious souls. Pride, unbelief, and corrupt reason mutually strengthen each other in carnal hearts, in enmity and opposition to free-grace truths. But what is a bone of contention to such, is wholesome, comfortable food, to self-emptied and hum. ble souls, through the faith of Jesus.
To every self-abased soul, who has no hope but in the word of the Lord, no confidence but in the covenant love of Jesus our Mediator, the Lord our God speaks thus comfortably. “Though in the land,” yea, as thou often fearest, in the hand, and under the power of thine enemy, Oh, hear and rejoice! thy Lord saith, "I will not cast away, abhor, utterly destroy.” Though thou hast broken the covenant, yet God will not. It is firm as the mountains, unshaken as the rocks. God will visit for sin, chastise for provocations, correct for backsliding; all this is covenant love: but to cast away his children he will not; to abhor them he cannot; to destroy and punish them in hell is contrary to his truth, his justice, his promise, his oath, his covenant established in love, and ratified by the blood of Jesus, his Son, our Saviour. What tongue saith, Is it so? Come then, let us sin with a high hand. Poor soul, thy speech bewrayeth thee. The sound of grace has only reached thine ear; but where it is known and felt in the heart, it speaks otherwise. God's free, lov. ing, absolute declarations attract to love and obedience. The grace of God that brings salvation, teaches us to deny all ungodliness, &c., Tit. ii. 11.
JULY 31.-They shall put you out of the synagogues.—John xvi. 2.
So it must be in all ages. The scriptures cannot be broken. But what are the crimes of Christ's ministers, to deserve such usage? Is it for a life of intemperance and lewdness, of sin and folly, in frequenting playhouses, card-tables, routs, assemblies, horse-racing, &c. ? No: friends of the Lamb bave done with all such vain, paltry matter. Their hearts feed upon infinitely higher delights, and their time is too precious to be sacrificed upon
the altars of heathenish vanities. For these things they gain no censure, but keep their places in the syn. agogues, and their characters in the world as good, honest, orthodox preachers, and stand free from the charge of mopish, dreaming enthusiasts --chief priests themselves being judges. But they stand arraigned of
crimes of the highest nature, even of inverting the very order of things; "turning the world upside down;" “preaching one Jesus, who was hanged upon a tree," as the sinner's only hope and salvation, Acts x. 39; that hence glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to men is proclaimed; that the whole of salvation is of God's free grace and unmerited love. From this charge faithful ministers of Christ desire not to be acquitted. Love to their precious Master, his blessed truth, his dear people, inspires them with bold
It is the highest honour, the greatest glory Jesus puts upon them, when they suffer for this. saith our Lord, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think he doth God service.” Zeal for God is a pretence for persecution. But what is our Lord's reason? “These things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me.” But he observed, that on hearing these things sorrow filled their hearts. Sympathizing Lord ! he instantly gives them a promise of what? power to call fire from heaven to destroy their adversaries ? No, quite the reverse: of a blessed inward comforter, the Dove. He was to teach them to act with meekness, and in patience to possess their souls. See the Spirit's influence in the conduct of Peter and John, and their courage and constancy in their dear Master's cause.
Their very enemies, who commanded them not to preach in the name of Jesus, saw their boldness with wonder, and were silenced with their reasoning. Admire and imitate, O ye suffering servants of a once suffering Lord. How forcible are right words ! How prevailing is a meek spirit! They said, “ Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye." And they rejoiced" that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name," Acts v. 41.
AUGUST 1.--For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?–Mark viii. 36, 37.
Hast thou heard the voice of thy Beloved ? art thou a willing disciple of a despised Master? But does the flesh shrink from, murmur, and reason against, taking up the cross daily, “and suffering the loss of all things ?" Listen, O soul ! to the reasonings of Wisdom. Though the followers of the Lamb are counted fools and mad. men, yet their dear Master here teaches them such reasoning and argument, drawn from the nature and fitness of things, as will, in a dying hour, and at the judgment day, silence the tongue of every adversary. Ever use thy Master's weapon. Reason daily, O christian, upon thy spiritual gain, by the knowledge of Jesus. Study to look with contempt upon thy trifling worldly loss. What is all the wisdom of this world, but folly ? the righteousness of the whole world, but filthy rags ? the hopes of a fallen world, but miserable delusion ? the pleasures of a gay world, but vanity ? the riches of the world, but deceitfulness ? the honours of the world, but an empty sound? All these, though possessed and enjoyed, cannot profit the soul.
Nay, rather, like Job's friends, they often prove only miserable comforters, distressing the mind, but can never bring comfort to the soul. Though often set by the enemy before our eyes in the most conspicuous view, and advantageous light, as Satan tempted our Lord; yet is there any comparison between an eternal gain and a temporal loss ? Verily, one moment's communion with Jesus by faith, infinitely transcends a whole life of threescore years and ten, spent in all the glory and happiness this whole world can yield. Oh, this one word, “Thou fool, this night thy soul is required of thee!" is a death-stroke to all worldly enjoyments.