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profound experience had the aged monarch of less been communicating to him. How freIsrael, when he delivered this address to his quent is this, in the character of the young; youthful and promising son! He could tell, that this general regard shown to the duties of godliGod indeed had been his refuge and his strength, ness outwardly, in obedience to parental instruchis strong tower and his salvation. And accord- tion and example, while there is nothing decided ing to the preciousness which he had experienced appearing, to show that grace has truly turned to be in the ways of God, in the loving-kindness, the heart to God. A certain young man could say and mercy, and faithfulness of God toward him- to Christ, “all these things have I kept from my self, so does he now inculcate upon Solomon the youth up:' his deportment had so much amiable knowledge of God, as the one thing needful to and lovely in it, that it is even said, that · Jesus him.
beholding him, loved him;' (Mat. xix. 20, and There is real sublimity in this view of the Mark x. 21) but yet, when the heart was put to aged believer, testifying to inexperienced youth the test, it betrayed its ignorance of God and of the importance and value of faith in God. There Christ. The young man made choice of the is spiritual beauty in the spectacle of the aged world, and forsook Christ. Alas, how many a and experienced believer, in counselling youth, youth of hopeful promise follows the sad examgiving to the first and the great commandment of ple; the care of this world and the deceitfulness God's holy law the place of pre-eminence, which of riches, choke the word, and he becometh is given to it of God himself in that law. What unfruitful. The counsel of David to Solomon a signal proof have we here, that the effect of shows the godly jealousy of the pious parent grace is to conform the spirit of man to the law over the soul of the promising son. The fear of the Lord. How often does the royal Psal- of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' David mist testify his own delight in that law, and here longed to see this decidedly manifested in his son. he gives, as if his dying testimony, to its excel · Know thou the God of thy father,' goes to the lency and perfection.
heart, and intimates the necessity of heart-knowIt is very probable that the youthful prince ledge, of faith in God. Well did the venerable who is here counselled, had given every satisfac- king of Israel know, that this alone is the truly tory proof to his parent of a docile temper, of precious knowledge. Solomon was already, we an inquiring and vigorous mind; that he had been may believe, rendering outward homage to the devoting his mind and his time studiously and God of Israel; but until this saving-knowledge earnestly to all those mental pursuits, the know- came into the soul, he could not serve God with ledge of which became his station and prospects. a perfect heart, and with a willing mind. O, No doubt he was afterwards specially endowed no! the service of God is but weariness after all, with knowledge and understanding; but when however decently observed, till this saving knowwe hear it declared of him that he was wiser ledge possess the soul in effectual power. than all men;' that his “fame was in all nations There is a hardened legality of spirit, into which round about,' that he spake of trees, from the youthful habits are very apt to form themselves cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even to the hyssop when converting grace has not come, even when that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of preventing grace may still restrain from outward beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and denials of God. The godly parent, here, is, as of fishes,” (1 Kings iv. 31, 33) one is led to if fearful of this, warning his beloved son, that believe that he manifested from earliest youth the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth an earnest desire of knowledge, and an aptitude all the imaginations of the thoughts,' not to be to learn, while his ruder and more turbulent satisfied with formalities, or with dead works, brethren were given to lower or more unworthy but to know God, that the heart may be perfect pursuits. It is viewing his character in this light, and truly sincere in his service. He encourages which gives peculiar emphasis and impressiveness his beloved child by the promises of the grace and to the counsel now addressed to him by his aged goodness of God: “If thou seek him, he will be parent. However gratifying to parental affection found of thee. He will reveal himself to thee, might be those indications of future eminence, and thou shalt have the witness in thyself of how the godly parent remembered, and knew, and precious his grace is, how glorious his character, felt, that one thing is needful. Know thou the how excellent and exalted the privileges of his peoGod of thy father!
ple, compared to which all the glory of thy earthly We cannot question, but Solomon had been kingdom is but vanity and a shadow; and it will giving a becoming attention to the instruc- be to thee but a snare and sure destruction, withtions of piety which the father had doubt-I out that faith in God which purifieth the heart, and overcometh the world. He warns the son the power of evil, a world that lieth in the wicked of his love, that God reigns over all, that he one! indeed is the King of kings, and the Lord of Let the habitation of youth be sanctified lords; that as he raiseth up, so he can cast down. and consecrated to God. Let his claims there • If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for be made known, and urged upon the youthever. How awful the consequences which are ful and tender mind. o, let parents seek the here threatened! How solemn the warning; and grace by which God may be indeed known of how impressively felt by the gracious parental themselves, that they may be witnesses for him mind. This end to the soul, the contemplation to their children's hearts. It shall not be in vain, of it to those whom we love, if we be under whatever be the present discouragements. And grace, must surely awaken our deepest anxieties do not these discouragements arise by neglect of on their behalf.
duty, by opportunities lost, by time, example, We may indeed well estimate our own con- and precept sacrificed to the world, or lost by dition, by the interest we feel in the spirit- conformity to it? O for the believing heart, the ual and eternal welfare of those especially with spiritual mind, the realizing view of God in whom God has brought us into near and Christ through faith, that there may be faithfulclose relationship; and most of all, those whom ness to him wrought in all our relations and God solemnly commits to our care. Here is a offices. My soul, know thou the God of thy specimen and example, then, of the believing father. That will give thee strength for duty, parent's solicitude, and of his earnest, anxious wisdom profitable to direct, and counsel in every counsel. 0, how solemn, how precious a trust time of need. is the parent's, how great its responsibilities! An inspired apostle says, concerning those who were his children in the faith, My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be
Sixth Day.-EVENING. formed in you!' (Gal. iv. 19.) And surely when grace reigns in parental affection, this must be "Thou hast arouched the Lord this day to be thy peculiarly experienced with respect to those
God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his whom God has given, to bring up for him. We
statutes, and his commandments, and his judgsee this anxiety realized in the aged king of Israel.
ments, and to hearken unto his voice,' Deut.
xxvi. 17. He was delivering over into the hand of his son, indeed a royal and splendid worldly inheritance. The works which God had wrought for Israel He had great and many promises from God were great and marvellous indeed; and solemn respecting this his son. The son himself was were the services in which they acknowledged promising, dutiful, and meek. But all was as his goodness, and promised and vowed to serve nothing to the godly parent, without his son truly and obey him. knowing the Lord. He urges him to seek this But let me here ponder, and think, and confaith in God, from God himself, and presses this sider, the works which God hath wrought for upon his conscience and heart by the most solemn his New Testament church, within which I have and urgent considerations. It is grace in the been born, in which I was early dedicated to heart that will give authority and power to God, and in which now I have my professed parental counsel. It breathes a boly unction and standing, as believing in God. What were all fervour into the very language employed. The the wonders and the miracles done in Egypt, in parent indeed cannot give grace; but grace will give the Red sea, in the wilderness, in Jordan, and earnestness, and authority, and influence to the among the nations opposing Israel, great and parent; and why do so many parental counsels marvellous as they were, compared with the fail? Is it not because of their languor and great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the coldness, the little elevation or steadiness of aim flesh? This is the bond of the Christian church, with which they are given.
the foundation on which it stands, its meaning, Parents require a double portion of grace. its life, its glory—the Lord Jesus Christ, EmTheir duty is arduous. But the believing manuel-God with us! Lord Jesus, have I parents' privileges are high; the promises given known thee indeed? Have I this day avouched them are great and precious. What the thee to be God and the Saviour—my Lord, my scene upon which youth is entering, without the God, and Redeemer? I have prayed, was it to saving knowledge of God in their souls, but a thee? I have read of thy blessed word; did I field of blood, where immortal souls perish under search for thee in it? I have called upon thy
name, in presence of my fellow-beings; and was grace, his truth, his person, his offices, his doit in truth?
minion! Ponder, my soul, and reflect what it is How solemn are the services of godliness, in thou hast been doing. Have I been seeking God, their very form and aspect, from the most secret the living God, and his salvation? Each one to the most public, and open, and sacred; the must give account of himself to God. creature approaching the Creator, and professing But there are ordinances of God, appointed by to hold communion with God! How awful the him for the solemn purpose of his own believing expression, "God is not mocked, not to be people to approach him in them, and to make promocked! How express his declarations of divine fession before him, in presence of heaven and earth, and holy displeasure at unbelieving approaches of God, of angels, of men, of devils; that we take made to him! How wise, how needful the coun- him in Christ to be our covenant God; the salvasel of David to Solomon, “ Know thou the God tion which he has so graciously provided, that we of thy father! God revealed, known in Christ, do gratefully and unreservedly accept; that we is the true object of all Christian worship. What surrender ourselves in soul, and body, and spirit, has drawn and urged thee, O my soul, to draw to his service and glory; that we renounce the near to God!
Has it been the faith of Christ, world and its vanities; that we take the whole the knowledge of thee, as revealed in him ? or, counsel of God as our rule and our law; that we has it been the desire of such knowledge, the are constrained by the knowledge and faith of feeling and burden of an evil heart of unbelief, Christ, by love to him, thus to surrender ourand seeking deliverance from it, and the light of selves to his service, and that we accept him, yea, the knowledge of his glory to shine into my soul, that we have chosen him as our all and in all; and to make me obedient to himself in love ? and that God, in him, is now our God, and to his
There are ordinances and means of grace, in voice that we shall hearken. which God commands and invites sinners to And is God to be mocked? Has the soul seek his salvation ; and in the use of which been brought truly into this service? Shall he promises to bestow it. In waiting upon God accept bodily exercise for the service of the these, we avouch the Lord to be our God, we heart? How vain, how impious the thought! are professing solemnly our desire to walk in Can the mind conceive of dishonour done to God, his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his com- of Christ Jesus the Lord of glory being more dismandments, and his judgments, and to hearken honoured, in any possible manner, than by such to his voice. What sincerity is there in many avowals, such professions, such solemn vows and of these solemn approaches to God? Alas, how engagements, and the heart uninfluenced by his much insincerity! Is it the sole desire of God's knowledge, the soul unmoved by his love! Is salvation that draws multitudes to the house of he, indeed, the omniscient Jehovah, beholding this, God on his day? Is it this desire that urges to in the individual soul: these solemn, these most the performance of private, perhaps of secret, solemn professions made, and in the heart his grace formal duties? God knoweth the heart, he and salvation despised and rejected, and must he searches the soul's inmost purposes and thoughts. not frown in righteous and holy displeasure on How large the professions made of seeking the the unbelieving worshipper? Great is his forLord in these means ! Were they all in sincerity bearance, marvellous is his long-suffering; but and in truth, we were indeed a blessed people, and the awful day of retribution is nigh at hand. so avouching God to be our God, he would avouch The believing soul receives the Lord Jesus. us as his people-his divine blessings would be What a glorious privilege! Lord, how precious poured down upon us from heaven-holiness to is thy grace, that grace, in which thou hast said, the Lord would be inscribed upon us, and iniquity “Deliver from going down to the pit, I have found would hide her head ashamed. But can we a ransom!' Thou hast given thy beloved Son for believe that such a desire has obtained a place in sinners, and shall we refuse to give ourselves to the hearts of thousands, and thousands who pro- him? God forbid. Let all others forsake thee; fessedly worship, and avouch the Lord to be their yet will not I. God? By their fruits ye shall know them. And Such, indeed, is the true believer’s
of is not the displeasure of God recorded against heart. But what need of grace to sustain it, those whose “fear toward him is taught by the and to carry it forth into exercise. The whole precept of men?' Surely it is of the Lord's counsel and will of God are before thee, all mercy that we are not consumed. What dishon- brought nigh to thee, his ways, his statutes, his ouring of the Saviour in the professedly solemn commandments, his judgments—the word is nigh assembly! what despisings, what rejectings of his to thee. But where is the heart to receive it? Has not the Lord Jesus all dominion and power? | counsels of this great enemy of God and men are Blessed be his glorious name, he is exalted far thus defeated, by the stratagems which he above all principalities and powers; he can sub- employed in assailing the great Captain of our due all things to himself; and I would cleave to salvation. The believer in Christ is warned and him as the Lord my righteousness, the Lord my admonished, and made to cleave the closer to him strength, that he may be with me; my Surety, who hath overcome the evil one, for strength to my Stronghold, the Uplifter of my head. resist the temptations, which, as he presented
May the divine Spirit dwell with me in my soul, to the living Head, so will he also present to all testifying of him, and causing me to hear his voice, the members of Christ's mystical body. The and may my heart be sound in his statutes by father of lies uttered falsehood in saying that he the all-sufficient operation there of his quickening had power to give all the kingdoms of this world and his sanctifying grace. “In me, that is, in to Christ, or on the conditions proposed. They my flesh, dwelletli no good thing.' That is the belong to Christ himself, he it is who created experience of his believing people. But in him them, and it is the providence of God, in him, is their sufficiency and their strength. That that rules and governs them all. Satan is called people he has created for himself, and they shall the prince of this world, not because he has the show forth his praise. This must be their service, moral or providential government of the world in as it is, indeed, their high and their blessed privi- his power, but because he rules in the hearts of lege. Let this be their soul's occupation, and care, those who are of the world, and under its power; and delight. His grace is abundant, and he giveth and because, having overcome man, he has power liberally, not upbraiding. Blessed are they who over their fallen and ruined souls, to present to wait upon him. His commandments are not them worldly objects in alluring and attractive grievous, but joyous to those who know him in colours, causing sinful affections in the heart to truth. In communion of faith with him, they close with such worldly objects as the ultimate and renew their strength from day to day. In their the highest good which the unbelieving mind perstraits he is nigh to them, and in all their tri- ceives, or takes knowledge of. bulations his comforts delight their souls. He is How solemn, and how humiliating and fearful their merciful and their faithful High Priest who the reflection, that while we hold in our own hath passed into the heavens, and is there making individual mind the world, or worldly objects, as intercession for them; and sending them strength those on which our affections are most set, it is and deliverance, and they shall not faint. The this prince of the world that rules over us, and knowledge of God in Christ is the life of the soul that we are his subjects, his captives, his slaves! here—the life of faith, which has its fruits unto And yet this is the state of every individual holiness, and the end everlasting life with God in soul not savingly acquainted with God in Jesus his kingdom.
Christ. Let this blessed light prevail in my soul more There can be no greater delusion than to and more; let me be found waiting on the blessed imagine ourselves worshippers of the Lord, as God, for its increase and power, that my walk our God, if the knowledge of him, as he is may be worthy of thy high vocation wherewith revealed in Christ, has not been the means of thou callest me, and that thy name be not dis- drawing our souls into that worship of God honoured by my conformity to the world, by which we render to him. Believers have the my denying thee, whom I have vowed to serve experience of this in their own hearts. The and to follow.
world and its objects have natural ascendancy over them. The divine excellencies of Jehovah's being and character are not discerned by them,
until, by his abounding and sovereign grace SEVENTII Day.-MORNING.
toward them, they are convinced by the Spirit of
truth of their own sin and misery, and enlightened • Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him to behold the character of God, shining forth in only shalt thou seroe,' Matt. iv. 10.
the counsels of redemption, and in his divine perThe artifices of Satan in tempting the Saviour son, who was God manifest in the flesh, and who are peculiarly instructive, as showing to us, froin came to seek and save that which was lost. our great enemy's knowledge of the hearts of men, It is true, the mind may have indistinct and dim the sins that do most easily beset us; or rather, perceptions of the being of God, in its natural which, by the corruption of our nature, are most and fallen estate. The testimony of revelation deeply rooted and stablished in our souls. The I may impress this upon the natural understanding.
But under such impressions, where there is (Matt. vi. 24.) Love not the world, neither nothing more, there is no real worshipping of the things that are in the world. If any man God. He is to the sinner's soul rather an object love the world, the love of the Father is not in of dread, and aversion, and terror, in hearing of him,' (1 John ii. 15.) Now, when th: blessed him. There may be fear, slavish fear, compelling revelation of God is brought nigh to us, the perthe sinner unwillingly and reluctantly into bodily fections of God manifested by it, testified of to acts of homage; but that is not the true worship our mind, challenging our reverence, and most or service of the Lord God.
humble submission to him as the Lord of heaven There is no truth, after all, more perceptible and earth, the God with whom we have to do, to human reason, than that there must be a in his holiness and justice, in his eternal supreme Creator of all beings and of all things. sovereignty and dominion; why does not the heart But who he really is, what are his perfections, tremble before him, and why is not the creature and character, and will, this is altogether, to drawn to acknowledge the divine and Almighty the human mind, darkened and estranged from Creator? It is because the world has power God by sin, the subject on which the foolishness over the soul, and the prince of this world suband the corruption of the mind becomes most jects the soul to its objects; preventing it even manifest. It were a subject more of curiosity from considering God, or the testimony brought than profit, to inquire how far the immediate so nigh concerning him. agency of Satan is concerned in those ideas of And when the goodness, and mercy, and love the supreme Being, which are embodied into of God to sinners in Jesus Christ are testified to the various forms of idol-worship, and heathen your mind, how is it that you are not drawn superstitions, with which the world is so filled. to God in gratitude, and love, and willing subThat it is employed is a matter clearly revealed mission? It is because this world is loved by
But that this agency is peculiarly exer- you more—its objects and its occupations, its cised in blinding the minds, and in hardening pursuits, and its pleasures, and cares, so possess the hearts of many, of multitudes, who have the heart, that there is no room there for been favoured with the light of a revelation from thoughts of God, or for the considering of his heaven, is most expressly declared. “If our gos- claims upon you. Now, the sinful mind may pel be lid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom seek to disguise these parts of its own actual the god of this world hath blinded the minds of history from itself; and to clothe them over with them who believe not, lest the light of the glori- palliations of its own devising; but this state of ous gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, heart is a state of real, and the worst kind of should shine unto them,' (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.) What idolatry. You give to the creature the respect, a fearful scene presents itself to the mind, when the esteem, the place in your heart and affections, we think of all the earnestness, the anxieties, the due alone to the Lord God. Instead of serving care, the diligence, and strivings, with which the him, and him only, you serve the world with objects of this world are pursued; and then, the your spirit and body. This is rebellion against cold and lifeless acknowledgments of God, that God, it is guilt to the soul, and the soul's conare made even by many of those who profess to tinuance in this state ensures its everlasting ruin. know the Lord God, the God of the bible-God How contrary to the voice of nature itself is this revealed in Jesus Christ.
state—to the nature of things, to the supremacy of Consider whether this God has really become the great and eternal Creator, that he should be so to thee the real object of thy worship. Is it despised; and to the nature of the immortal spirit toward him that thy mind and spirit, thy thoughts of man, that it should devote itself to things and affections, find the readiest out-going; and is which perish with the using—which cannot profit it in the contemplation of him thy heart findeth the soul, and forsake the true source of all blessits highest enjoyment? If not, art thou then the ing and happiness! But such are the bonds in true worshipper of the Lord thy God? What which sin and Satan have bound us down, prosare the objects to which thy heart and affections trating the soul to the service of vanity, and are chiefly surrendered ? It must be either to the making the mind its own destroyer. objects of this world, or to God. And what The grace of God bringeth salvation. God is more express than the declaration of the Lord revealed in Christ reconciling sinners to himself, Jesus: “No man can serve two masters: for and delivering them from this bondage and guilt. cither he will hate the one, and love the other; Blessed be he who came in the name of the Lord or else he will hold to the one, and despise the to save us! The enemy did indeed cast us down other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,' | from our excellency. But He hath overcome the