« PreviousContinue »
righteousness, glory, and happiness, of every object short of Jesus. When the soul beholds the King in his glory, it pours contempt upon all things beside. All the transient objects of time and sense die in esteem, while the crucified Saviour is in view. He is our greatest gain, our chief glory. Far, infinitely beyond all the reasonings of vain philosophy, is the christian's sight by faith, to reconcile his mind to af. fictions, endue with patience under, and give victory over them. Thus Moses "endured, seeing Him who is invisible," Heb. xi. 27. Though the eye of nature hath not seen, nor the uncircumcised ear heard, nor can the carnal heart conceive the spiritual things of God's covenant, Jesus' incarnation, and the Spirit's revelation, yet the enlightened, heaven-born soul sees these things in open vision, by the eye of faith. To look at them is our chief delight and joy, to obtain clearer views of them our daily study, to converse and be more familiar with them our chief happiness, our heaven begun on earth. A strange mystery to his natural self, and to the carnal world, is the believing soul. To love and converse with an unseen Saviour, look to invisible objects, derive all happiness from things that are not seen; no marvel, that there is so great opposition from fallen nature and carnal reason against such a life.
Ever remember with humility and thankfulness, our dear Saviour saith,“ Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God,” Mark iv. 11. “These things are hid from the wise and prudent.” O disciple, whilst thou dost adore the Father's love, rejoice in the Son's grace, remember thou art wholly indebted for all this rich discovery to the Divine Spirit. Give him equal glory, Grieve not the Spirit who is the glorifier of Jesus, by looking to any other object for righteousness, peace, and happiness. Is Christ thy all ? Are the unseen things of his kingdom thy portion ? Be a chaste virgin to thy Lord. "Where thy treasure is, there let thy heart be also.” Happy for thee to find with Paul, “I die daily.” I am dying to the world, while living in it. I find and feel many pains and disorders in my frail body, as sure forebodings of hastening dissolution. I know perfectly that the day of the Lord is coming, that each breath I draw brings nearer this solemn advent. What then should I look to ? on what place my affections, but on things above, where Christ is? Col. iii. 1.
Nov. 14.—Perfect, as pertaining to the conscience.Heb. ix. 9.
Conscience, as an inward perception of divine truth, is not common to all men. When sin is charged upon it, it perceives guilt, feels misery, and is filled with wrath. It is the peculiar glory and excellency of the gospel, to bring relief to the conscience. We say, My mind to me a kingdom is; for we feel in our mind the kingdom of Jesus. More than outward show and shadow; even inward, substantial comforts we enjoy in Christ. What was that lord the better, for the miraculous plenty in Samaria, when for his unbelief Elisha told him, "Thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat of it ?” 2 Kings vii. 19. The truths of Jesus do not merely amuse our heads, and engage our tongues, but we feed on them in our consciences. Like the patriarchs, (Heb. xi. 13,) “we embrace them," as the very joy of our souls. The blood of Christ, through the eternal Spirit, sprinkles our hearts from an evil or guilty conscience, brings pardon and peace to our troubled conscience, cleansing to our defiled conscience, and " by the resurrection of Jesus, we have the answer of a good conscience toward God," 1 Pet. iii. 21. Herein we glory in being perfectionists. Nothing but this can make us "perfect, pertaining to our science." For the law maketh nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope does. Jesus is our hope. By him we draw nigh to God; have perfect atonement, and perfect cleansing from all our sins; perfect deliverance from all condemnation; are perfectly accepted and justified before God. We are married to him. His righteousness is our wedding.garment. We dare not look to any thing else for perfection; if we do we feel the smart of it; our conscience is defiled. That we may have and keep a good conscience, purged from dead works to serve the living God, we exercise our minds on Jesus, rejoice in and walk with him by faith. Conscience is the best friend, or the worst enemy. A sense of guilt makes it our worst enemy. Jesus makes it our best friend. To maintain peace and perfection of conscience, observe, 1. The moment the guilt of sin is felt, confess it to Jesus, and pray him to take it away. 2. Seek not that from the law of works, which can only be found in the gospel of grace, perfect salvation. 3. Look not for that in yourselves, which is only in Jesus, perfect righteousness. 4. Expect not that in this world, which can only be enjoyed in the next, perfect freedom from all sin. Jesus is our “Rock, his work is perfect,” Deut. xxxii. 4.
Nov. 15.-My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.-Phil. iv. 19.
Paul, though an eminent saint, and a great apostle, was yet a man of like passions, a poor sinner, even as others. Yet with what amazing boldness and confi. dence he speaks of what his God shall do! Though he had never been admitted into the secret counsels of the glorious Trinity; yet the Holy Spirit had well instructed him in the covenant transactions of Jehovah. He well knew the nature of the everlasting covenant: that it was
ordered in all things” in infinite wisdom and eternal love; that all the graces and blessings contained in it are sure to all the heirs of promise. As soon might a God of truth prove false, a God of faithfulness be unjust, as any one of his promises in Jesus to his people fail.
Such is the security of the covenant ; such the confidence of faith. God the Father is the fountain, the Son the treasury, and the Spirit the dispenser of all grace. Believers' needs are God's concerns. They shall have a rich supply for all their wants. The value of their supplies is enhanced to the highest degree. Not only riches, but riches in glory; glorious riches. For they receive all from glory; and all comes to them through the glorified man, Jesus Christ. He is their “Friend who loveth at all times; their Brother who was born for adversity.” In the hour of our distresses, and time of our need, we too often forget that we have such a God and Saviour to trust in and call upon. Instead of looking to a throne of grace, alas! we pore over the dunghill of our corruptions. Here we are sure to find nothing but misery, poverty, and sin. Is there such an inexhaustible fund of riches in Christ? Is it for the poor and needy? Dishonourable thought of Jesus, ever to imagine he is an unconcerned spectator of our wants; or that he will withhold when we need !
Nay, but he “knows how to have compassion.” He is touched with a tender sympathy, a feeling sense of our infirmities, Heb. iv. 15. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your hearts before him: God is a refuge for us,” Psalm lxii. 8. And he adds, "Selah :" consider this well ; spread it before your minds : just as we put N. B. for Nota Bene, take special notice of this, it is of the greatest importance." Lord, help our unbelief.” Lord, quicken us to pray always, and not faint. Yea, also to praise thee, for thy declarations of love and promises of grace to us, poor sinners and needy creatures. "Pray without ceasing," 1 Thess. v. 17.
Nov. 16.—But rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.-Luke x. 20.
It is matter of great joy to faithful ministers, to see the gospel prosper in their hands, Satan dethroned, and Christ's kingdom set up in the hearts of sinners. Our Lord by no means discourages rejoicing on this account; but he would not have it terminate and centre in this only. For success may abate; a season may come, when they may take up this lamentation, “Lord, who hath believed our report ?” We see no more tokens of thy victorious grace. Therefore, lest their hands should hang down, their hearts grow dejected, and faint in their labours, he directs to this inexhaustible fountain of consolation and joy; "Your names are written in heaven.” Always rejoice in this. Remember you are always "unto God a sweet savour of Christ, as well in them that perish as in them that are saved,” 2 Cor. ii. 15.
This is also a sweet lesson to every christian. It is doubtless cause of great joy to find the power of sin and Satan subdued, corrupt lusts mortified, disorderly passions restrained, unruly appetites brought into subjection, and the meekness and power of Christ, to rule and govern the heart. For these spiritual blessings we are inexpressibly indebted to the Holy Spirit, through the faith of Jesus. Yet, " in this rejoice not,” (only and chiefly,) saith Jesus. He leads from the streams to the fountain ; from the effects to the cause. “Rather, rejoice because your names are written in heaven." In times of heaviness, through manifold temptations, frames may vary. In seasons of darkness, comforts may decline; nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his,” 2 Tim. ii. 19. But, can any one know that his name is written in the book of life? Doubtless. Else there is no meaning in our Lord's words. How can we rejoice for this, if we do not know it? Though we cannot read the book of life, yet we can the records of truth. These reveal it plainly, and assure us, we are the children of God, by faith in Christ," Gal. iii. 26. If we have this faith, this is an evidence of our adoption, and we may, we ought to rejoice. So Paul, speak