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spring from. Nay, under pretence for these, truth is trampled under foot. But not so prayed nor taught Jesus ; nor are his members thus sanctified. Jesus is essentially the truth. We are sanctified to God, no other way than in him, and by the faith of him. “We are chosen from the beginning, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;" (John viii. 32 ;) free from your natural deceitful hopes and vain confidences; not left to deny the foundation. truths of God's word, his everlasting, electing love of sinners in Christ, of the atonement by his precious blood, justification by the imputation of his righteousness, the certain perseverance, and sure glorification of all his believing members. Thus our judgments are sanctified in truth, in opposition to the false notions of self-righteousness and sinless perfection. These proceed from ignorance, blindness to God's law, and leave its professors under a fatal error. Nor are we left to dream of universal redemption, which detracts from the glory of God by ascribing salvation to free-will; nor to reject the sovereign agency of the Holy Spirit, which reduces the gospel of grace to a covenant of works. Glory to our Lord, not only are we sanctified, as to a right judgment in all things; but our affections are also sanctified, to love the truth, and cleave to it; seeing all our hopes centre in it, and all our comforts flow from it. And it is the delight and joy of our souls, to live in conformity to the truth. Jesus bath our hearts. Fellowship with him is our heaven upon earth. What is contrary to that is hateful to us. Sin is our burden: holiness, most pleasant. To fancy ourselves perfectly freed from all sin, is a mark not of a soul sanctified through the truth, but deceived by lies. But daily to feel a holy striving against sin, fervent desires after holiness, abiding in the truth as it is in Jesus, is a full proof of the “sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience," 1 Pet. i. 2.
Dec. 6.—By the grace of God I am what I am.1 Cor. xv. 10.
It would be one great means of preventing our com, plaints and murmurings, if our hearts were more in meditation
and what we deserve.
Such was the conduct of the once persecuting, but afterwards Jesus-exalting Paul. The same grace, that reached his heart, bas continued to run through the many revolving periods down to this day, and effects the same blessed work on poor sinners now. Thou, therefore, O disciple of Jesus, hast the same cause as Paul had, daily to sing of rich, free, sovereign, distinguishing grace, the eternal love, free favour, and unmerited good-will of God to thy soul, in Christ Jesus.
Grace shines with resplendent lustre in the person of Jesus. Grace operates with sovereign, irresistible power in the hearts of his members. Hence, it triumphs over all the resisting powers, rebellious motives, carnal workings, and perverse obstinacy of proud nature. Publicans and harlots are often raised, and beautified by grace, while self-righteous pharisees are left buried in the ruins of nature. Hell-deserving soul! what hast thou to boast of? wherein canst thou glory? Art thou converted to Jesus ? Verily, of this thou hast greatest cause of glory and triumph. But ever know the cause. Study daily to give all the glory where only it is due, even to the free favour of thy God. Wilt thou ever open thy mouth as to thy obedience, thy fulfilling terms and conditions, by which thou hast obtained the prize ? Ever know, Jesus hath done all this. Hence grace freely flowed to thee. In the height of thy rebellion, in the depth of thy de. struction, the voice of eternal love spoke to thy soul. The power of almighty grace challenged thee as its blood-bought purchase; seized thee as its lawful captive; and snatched thee as a brand from the fire of destruction.
Owondrous love! Should not amazement strike thy heart, and the fire of love and gratitude ever burn in thy soul? What shall we say to these things ? Truly grace, that dwelt in God's heart from eternity, hath sovereignly reached thy heart in time. Therefore art thou turned to Jesus by repentance, and hast remission of sins through faith in his blood. This is given by the exalted Prince of grace and peace to thine heart. Hast thou love to holiness, and hatred to sin? This is contrary to nature, and is given through the grace of the Spirit. “By the grace of God I am what I am,” is the confession of saints on earth. By the grace of God I am where I am, is the triumphant song of saints in heaven. For “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound," Rom. v. 20.
DEC. 7.—Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net.-Luke v. 5.
In whatever we engage, success gives pleasure, but disappointment causes dejection. The passing over of a black cloud is often followed by the brighter shining of the sun. Naturalists observe, it is always darkest just before break of day. So here, these poor fishermen had toiled through a tedious night of disappointment; not one fish came to net, yet, at Christ's word, they let it down. Behold the event! The greatest success they ever met with succeeded their fruitless toil ; their nets were too weak to hold the miraculous draught of fishes they had taken. Oh, how adorable is Jesus' power and Godhead ! Live daily on him.
The occupation of a fisherman is not unlike the christian's vocation. It is his employ, to fish in the wide and deep ocean of God's eternal love and grace, revealed in his word of truth. What he taketh here he lives upon day by day. It is sometimes his lot, to toil through a dark night of disappointment, and
take nothing which may refresh bis spirit and rejoice his soul. Here" patience must have its perfect work.” Not one nor many nights' bad success makes the fisherman quit his trade and forsake his calling. So the christian has need of patience, that after he has done the will of God, he might receive the fulfilment of the promises. These are blessed encouragements for him, ever to fish in the great and wide sea of God's covenant love and faithfulness. In his word are blessings innu. merable. Ever remember," he that believeth shall not make haste :" that is, be in hurry and confusion, as one in surprise and fear, in time of trouble. Though God's mercies are not styled swift, yet they are called "sure mercies," Isa. lv. 3. Where the grace of faith is in the front, perseverance will be in the centre, and glory in the rear. The soul thirsting after comfort shall, in God's time, be refreshed with the plentiful showers of heavenly consolation. Some souls have been so filled herewith, even like these disciples' nets, which brake with the great draught of fishes, that they have cried out, “Lord, stay thine hand; my brittle vessel can hold no more." Live upon the word of God's truth, and thou shalt be sure to enjoy the comforts of God's faithfulness. Whatever fails, his word is sure, his promises certain, his covenant immutable, his oath irreversible. Consolation, yea, strong consolation from God awaits every soul who has fled to Jesus for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before him, Heb. vi. 18.
DEC. 8.-Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.Psalm xxxvii. 24.
The absolute declarations and promises of scripture are ever to be considered as having relation to and dependence upon the covenant of grace in Christ. Hence, whatever is asserted concerning the salvation of lost sinners, is an exhibition of the grace of the covenant.
Men who see not the nature of this covenant, ordered in all things and sure, make the promises of the gospel a mere rope of sand. Not seeing salvation established upon God's sure foundation of immutable love and faithfulness, they make it depend on human wisdom, power, and goodness. Poor comfort to sensible souls. Pride for a time may keep up the vain hopes of the self-righteous and self-deluded. How long ? Till they are tried as by fire. The just man's standing is of God's power. His falls are from his own frailty. That he is raised from his falls, is by the sovereign love and covenant faithfulness of his God. But is not God able to keep us from falling? Doubtless his power is almighty. He can take all sin out of us; and not suffer temptation from Satan, the world, and the flesh ever to attack us. Yea, he can instantly change us into angelic purity. But this is not his will. He sees it is most for his glory that we should be just what we are, or it would be otherwise. Believe his truths. Live on his promises. Rely on his power from day to day. All things are in being for the elect's sake. All things "work together for their good,” Rom. viii. 28. Satan may tempt souls, as he did Christ, to cast themselves down to prove God's power. Carnal hearts may say, “Let us do evil that good may come.” Each show what spirit they are of. Saints express the disposition of their souls by other language. Gracious works proceed from gracious hearts, influenced by divine truth and everlasting love. Saints' falls are suffered to humble them for sin, wean them from pride, self-righteousness, and self-sufficiency; to deaden them to the love of the world, endear Jesus more to them; to teach them the usefulness of ordinances; to exercise their graces, purge out their dross, enable them to succour others, with assurance of that comfort and protection they have found from our Saviour. So he displays the wisdom, power, and faithfulness of a covenant God. Thus he makes souls meet for glory, and causes them to long for the heavenly inheritance. Saints may fall,