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tion of it, to know, what its real state may be,
Ergutu Day.-Evening. with respect to God. But he who trieth the reins of the children of men, here gives us a test,
• Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found a true test, by which to make sure of the matter.
grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that We must judge ourselves by our fruits, not by
I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy what we feel, but by what we really do. We
sight, Exod. xxxiii. 13. cannot do any thing, even think a good thought, Moses had been called indeed to an arduous as in a spiritual and acceptable manner, without our well as a great undertaking. He had already being first brought to feel, to apprehend the experienced its difficulties. But he could also, , knowledge of God; but all our feeling is mere at the time here referred to, say, “Ilitherto hath deceitfulness, unless it have brought us also to do the Lord helped us.'—“The Lord giveth strength -to act, as seeing him, who is invisible.' unto his people. According to their day, so
Am I then, keeping the commandments of God? shall their strength be. It is a salutary exercise Is this my daily, my habitual effort? And are my to consider the walk, and the trials, and tho efforts springing from the real knowledge of God, hardships of those, who now through faith and prevailing in my soul, and that knowledge pro- patience inherit the promises.
When we conducing love to God, and this love drawing me sider, and realize in our mind's view the diffiinto filial obedience? That is the believer's state culties which Moses had to encounter and bear, —that is the practical character of real believers, we cannot but also realize, that his faith in God as set forth in the word of truth: “No man must have been peculiarly strong, realizing, knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither know- appropriating, and firm. Yet was it not the eth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to grace of God, that very grace, of which he now whomsoever the Son will reveal him.' (Matt. xi. so earnestly seeks increased manifestations, — 27.) It is then, through the knowledge of the was it not that divine grace which made him Lord Jesus, by the soul being brought to have what he was? And so also shall the same grace him manifested to it, that God becomes truly be made sufficient' for every one truly turned known. This truc knowledge of God, as he is to seek the Lord, and to walk before him in revealed by Christ, will bring the soul truly to newness of life. have love to God, dwelling in it, and rising more And although no believer, perhaps not one and more into power over it; and this love is in the church of Christ to its latest day, may known by its seeking actively to obey the will, be called to the like arduous undertaking, outthe commandments of God. Surely, then, we wardly, to which Moses was called; yet every have here a test by which we may judge our- one of them shall feel, whatever be their outselves. The believer's life cannot be a life of ward lot, that of themselves they are indeed inactivity or slothfulness; neither can it be one insufficient; and that by grace alone they can of idle and vain sentiment, or empty feelings; it be sustained, delivered, and comforted. They must be one of activity and of energy. The true shall have their own burden to bear, in the desire of obeying God's commandments, of keep- path of spiritual obedience, their own cross to ing them, will set the mind to watch over itself, take up, their own anxieties and fears to endure, and to watch the outward deeds and goings also; and to overcome. trying habitually whether these be in accordance And their own individual dependence upon the with the commandments of God. Now, is this grace of God must be realized by them, in their my habit? Is this my walk? Consider this, o experience, just as certainly as Moses, here, is seen my soul. Be not thou deceived !
realizing his need of more grace.! Blessed God, of glory, and of grace, thy service We see in the history of Moses a parallel to is perfect freedom. The obedience of thy com- what must occur with every soul whose face is set mandments is not from slavish fear, with those truly Zion-ward. How stiff-necked, rebellious, who know thee, but thy love, when they do know unbelieving, and earthly-minded, the multitude of thee in truth, is shed abroad in their hearts; and whom the care and guidance had been laid upon this makes their obedience, as it is their aim, also him! And when saving grace comes to the their delight. All those who know thee in truth, soul, and awakens it, it will experience, that have the witness within themselves of the truth even within itself, there are hosts and multitudes of the adorable Redeemer's testimony: ‘My yoke of evils truly unsubdued, rebellious, and disis casy, and my burden light.
obedient. Affections, passions, thoughts, imaginations, all of which are evil, and that continually. Were the believing, awakened soul, even in a desert, solitary, alone, surrounded by no evil my sins, and let thine own glory be so revealed communications' from without, its experience in my heart, the believing view of it so implanted would be,—the good that I would I do not: in my spirit, that it shall prevail to the subduing but the evil that I would not, that I do. But and the crucifying of my sinfulness, and to the more than this also comes upon it. The believer keeping of my soul “unspotted from the world. will have to say, with the prophet of old, “I am Let me feel, in that blessed revelation according a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst to thy grace, the greatness of that end to which of a people of unclean lips.
I am called by thee in thy glorious gospel. The relations in which the believer stands with Quicken me now to call upon thee, and preserve the world, become snares, and trials. The soul's my soul in the habitual attitude of waiting upon communion with God is interrupted by them. Im- thee as the God of my salvation, that I may pressions of divine objects are weakened. And, know thee in truth, that I may find grace in thy alas, the evil affections inherent in the heart itself sight, and that thy grace may reign in my soul, are awakened, called into unholy exercise, and felt through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus to be strengthened by that exercise; and the spirit- Christ. ual views of the soul darkened, and clouded: ini- Where this grace does reign, the fulfilment of quities, it must confess, do prevail against it. God's gracious promises in Christ will be found Though the soul may have to say, “Mine eyes needful, necessary, the one thing needful. Moses have seen the King, the Lord of hosts,'—though had the promise of an angel to go with him; it did expect, that more deep and abiding im- but he seeks to know this, to have the experience pressions should have been made, by what it had of it in full reality. Blessed be the name of spiritually seen, and felt, and learned, such ex- God—there is a greater promise-the angel of pectations are too frequently, grievously disap- the covenant-the Lord Jesus-to abide with pointed ;— the world from without, and evil bis people, and they abiding in him, shall not principles from within, have cast down the soul, faint or fail. He is the way. O my soul, and leave it in heaviness and in fear. But where know thou this way, and walk in him, and in grace reigns, where it has been given, it will communion with God through him. teach the soul, still to wait upon God, and that for more grace.
Now, O my soul, what hast thou, this very day, experienced and learned ? How have the
NINTH DAY.-MORNING. manifestations of bis own goodness and mercy - Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of and grace, which the Lord gave thee, in days
Has past, this day, drawn thee to himself?
Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me; not the world indeed prevailed,—has it not
for there is no saviour besides me,' IIos. xii. 4. been turning thee aside, -has it not been weak- How lamentable this history! How perverted ening thy spiritual life; and what hast thou and unworthy, and base, the returns made by drawn from its communications and pursuits, this people to God, for his multiplied works of but spiritual apathy, and insincerity of purposes loving-kindness, and almighty power, manifested toward God?
by him in the midst of them. They had set up Let me not remain for another hour, in this idols, in place of the living God; yea, they had mulbacksliding condition. O, let not my soul let tiplied their idols,-lying vanities, the works of go its view, or its hold of God, revealed in men's hands, and had refused to acknowledge Christ Jesus, as my God. Where is there a that God who had been their God from the land remedy to be found for these evils, but in of Egypt, and who had made it so clear in the God himself, and in his abounding grace? midst of them, that he alone is God indeed, and that Let me draw near to his throne of grace now, besides him there is no Saviour. It is sorrowful and let me seek in the same spirit as animated to think, that through the multiplying of sins the soul of Moses,—Lord, show me now thy and transgressions, on the part of those who way, that I may know thee. Let thy grace so were so highly favoured of God, sins of the come to me, that I shall not lose sight of thee, deepest dye, sins the most expressly forbidden, in my daily conversation and walk. 0, make under sanctions so solemn, and so clearly of thou that grace sufficient for me, and in my soul. divine and eternal authority, he should have in Vouchsafe to me, altogether unworthy as I am this manner to expostulate with his backsliding, of the least of thy mercies ---yet through the rebellious, and unthankful people. And here, blood of atonement shed for remission, take away in those wonderful, long-suffering expostulations,
how adorable is the mercy of our God! Truly | ness and in faithfulness warned and admonished his mercies are over all his other works, in wonder and in excellency; if we think at all of the How has my mind, notwithstanding, been excreature's demerit and worthlessness, and of God's ercised? divine and eternal glory in his own uncreated Here, God says, as on many other occasions, being.
• Thou shalt know no God but me.' Not only Alas, the people of Israel are not, in all this that we should not give the homage and serwickedness, singular. How clear the word he vice to other objects, due to himself alone; but has sent to us! How marvellous are his works, that we should not seek to know any object how adorable and unspeakable his grace in Christ so as that it might draw the heart from God Jesus; and how wonderful his condescension and himself, or from the supreme reverence due to his love in drawing near as God the Spirit to an him. And yet the heart inquires after objects individual soul;—dealing with it, and causing the to set up as idols there. The very dispensations light of the knowledge of his own glory to arise of the kind providence of God, by which he was as the day-star, in the individual heart. And yet sustaining even our temporal lot, and securing amongst those who have been so highly privil- our privileges, and multiplying our comforts, we eged, how true it is, that many of them walk, have, alas, abused, as so many ways of departing even contrary to all this! Have we followed from God, and have set up the mercies which he the light which he gave us, the truth which he bestowed, as idols on which we lavished our has made us to feel to be the truth indeed? hearts affections, and by which, the love which Have we not been guilty, with Ephraim, of we thought we had to God, waxed cold indeed. setting up idols in our heart, of giving to created It is of his mercies that we are not consumed, objects the homage in heart and affections that because his compassions fail not. was due only to God! How prone to this is the And what are these objects which have so turned evil heart of unbelief; and how have we yielded us aside, which we have so sinfully set up as idols ourselves to its dictates, and to the dishonouring to ourselves, and as objects of esteem and regard, of God and the ever blessed Redeemer! We more than God in Christ. Are they not said that we should never forsake the Lord; that vanity? What can they profit us? What can verily he was God, and our God: but, О how they do to the soul? In themselves they are unfaithful the conduct, how inconsistent the per- vanity. To the soul they are snares—they can sonal walk! The word of God has been follow- be, and they will be, if followed, the means of its ing us, addressing us, God revealing himself by everlasting destruction, alienating the soul here it to the soul; and yet in the face of all this, we from God, and preventing its preparation for the have been forgetting him, and giving to the kingdom of God in heaven. creature the glory and the service due to the An idol, indeed, is nothing-in any spiritual Creator alone. The kind and merciful dealings sense. And how cruel the self-delusion pracof his providence have ever been following us, tised, of esteeming it, as if it could do me good, yea, God going before us in them, sustaining, as if its possession could benefit my immortal protecting, delivering us, and doing us good, soul. o! how glorious is God as a Saviourfrom day to day unweariedly, both when we yet the Saviour, to forgive such iniquity, and transknew him not, and by his dealings in word, and gression, and sin! The riches of his grace are providence and grace, so overruling our lot, as indeed unsearchable, when he is yet ready to to cause us to see somewhat of his own glory, and forgive, and still waiting to command the blessof our need of his own sovereign mercy and grace ing upon me a sinner, of such aggravated guilt. in Christ Jesus.
The soul must be turned from idols to serve the He hath indeed shown to us, and can we living God. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned. deny it, that which is good,'—the riches of My soul, draw near to God–O be humbled under his grace in Christ, his willingness, not that we his mighty hand, confessing thy sins. And may should perish, but that we should remember that grace in its sovereign abundance, so quicken him, and turn to him, and that he should and strengthen me, that I shall forsake all things, bless us with all spiritual blessings in hea- and truly follow the Lamb, whithersoever he venly places in Christ.
And yet, have we goeth. not to confess acts and habits of a practical idolatry? He has not visited us according to our sins. His long-suffering has been greatly extended towards us. He hath frequently in kind
cannot profit; objects which in their very nature “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God, existence, no enduring quality in them at all
are positively nothing; which have no spiritual Psal. xiv. 1.
and wishing now its own separation from God, Tais shows to what an evil extent, to what a and that there were no God to interfere with its rebellious and degenerate condition sin reduces own maddened pursuit of such empty and vain the soul, that creature of God which once bore objects. his own image! There is much that is very
But this is a wish. It is said in the heart. awful to contemplate in this fact, in any soul of It is not even an imagination; it is not a mere man being brought to such a condition as to say thought. It is a wish of the degraded and this. It is said in the heart. This clearly signi- foolish soul. It is not an exercise of the underfies that it is a wish the wish of the individual standing. No! If the wretched, infatuated soul, here represented, that there were no God! We read permitted itself to exercise its understanding on in the scriptures of angels that sinned. We read the subject, it could not but perceive truly that that there was war in heaven. And the angels there is a God. Yea, and this wish is in who rebelled were cast forth from the kingdom opposition to the understanding and the conof glory, and reserved they are in chains of dark- science. It is the not wishing to retain the ness to the judgment of the great day. They knowledge of God. The voice of reason is perhad said in their heart what is here expressed. verted. It is rebelled against. It is put to They wished that there were no God to rule silence. How like a fool is this conduct! It does over them, and that they themselves should be render man a fool in the most true sense of that exalted even to the place of God.
expression. He may not be a fool in the world's This is the very nature, the essence, and the estimation. Far from it. He is active and eager, real being of sin in the soul. It is the sin which intelligent, shrewd, keen-sighted; perhaps signally we inherit by nature, through original apostacy. successful and prosperous in this world's pursuits. We carry it with us in our own hearts. And He is obtaining from the men of the world the by every exercise which sin has, which is given tribute of their admiration, for his success, and to it, this, the being of it in the soul, is actu- his expertness in this world's business. Perhaps ally strengthened, and the sinner becomes more he is the object of envy to many a neighbour of foolish, more audacious, more rebellious in prac- the like worldly heart with himself. tice, the longer that sin is cherished and in- But the wisdom of this world is foolishness with dulged.
God; and with respect to God, how clear it is that When, contrary to the admonition of con- such wisdom is foolishness indeed!
Can a wish science, to the declarations and warnings of the of the heart make God cease to be!
Can such divine word, the mind sets up to itself idols, wishes affect the eternal Being, the supreme lying vanities; to which it renders the homage, eternal perfections of the one living and true God? and service, and affections due to God alone, Can the united wishes of all his creatures, should it becomes more and more hostile to the claims they all be thus rendered rebellious against him, of God upon itself. It cannot now bear that once affect the eternal throne of the omnipotent God should demand any service, any real ser- Jehovah! The word of his power, the breathing vice of the heart from it. It is giving the of that almighty power, could, in one moment, whole of this to the idols, which it has set up, annihilate their united and contemptible union, and thinks it an interference that God, and not and cast them down, wretched apostates from these idols, should demand its services and its God, into eternal torments. But yet this “fool affections. The sinner becomes 'mad upon his proceeds to act as if even his wish had had effect idols; and here is the madness—here the height upon God himself—he proceeds to act as if there of foolishness—wishing that there were no God. were no God, and as if God had no right to How fearful is this condition! An immortal soul, demand any homage, or service of the heart, ou dependent upon God, and by his divine goodness of the life, from him at all! sustained; yea, by his divine goodness and grace And is not this the very picture brought ou called, and invited, to be made a partaker of the to our view by the adorable Saviour, in the favour and of the kingdom of God throughout description he gives of the rich man in the goseternity, spurning those gracious offers, those pel, whose lands brought forth abundantly, and eternally precious and glorious privileges, which who said to his soul to take now its ease, in the have been purchased for it by Jesus Christ, and multitude of its possessions, in the wretched preferring, What? Vanities, lying vanities, which gratification of his own polluted and degraded
appetites. And what was the issue? “Thou fool, site. Can there be any such folly as this ; this night shall thy soul be required of thee? there be any greater crime! And can there be
O how dreadful that state in which the mind insensibility compared with that of the soul which is, when it becomes as if the interest of the soul is in this fallen and wretched condition, remainthat there were no God! And yet, what are ing dead to the sense of it, and unappalled by its the elements that are by nature prevailing in guilt or its danger! Many indeed have been the my individual soul? Are they not such as will devices by which the enemy of God and of men, soon bring me to this condition, if they have not has taught men to dishonour God. How many brought me already? What have I obtained from kinds of idolatry are there with which the world my pursuit of the world, but this spirit of aliena- is filled, and has been filled ever since sin entered, tion from God—the strengthening of it in my own alienating the soul, and causing it to forsake God, very heart?
the fountain of living waters! But among all Blessed be the God of salvation-for ever these, none is more besetting in our times, and in blessed be his name, that he has ordained sal- our nation, than the making of gold our hope, vation from this fearful state! And how unspeak- and saying to the fine gold, Thou art my confiably great is my need of the Almighty Saviour, dence. who has put himself in the place of sinners to What avails it, that the light of the gloriovercome the wicked one, to deliver souls from ous gospel hath chased away from amongst us, this cruel and destroying bondage. May that as a people and nation, those idols of wood and Saviour be made precious to my soul, according stone to which many of the nations of earth still to my soul's need of his divine grace, and of yield their blinded homage; if the soul bas set up his almighty strength—of his perfect righteous other idols in their room, which draw forth the ness, that the guilt of my iniquity may be affections into their service, and alienate the washed away, and that in him, through union heart from the God who is by the gospel revealed with him, I may become a new creature indeed, to us? and may be delivered from a present evil world. Truly the god of this world still blindeth My soul, wait thou upon the Lord: verily, thou the eyes of them who believe not, to cause them art God, the God of my health, and I will to make gold their hope. The acquiring of riches praise thee.
is the pursuit of our nation, of our day especially —the spirit of covetousness is awake, and active, and powerful. Where do we not meet it; and
where can we look to find exemption from the Tenth Day.-MORNING.
foul infection manifested, even in those who pro* If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the and immortality have been brought to light?
fess the gospel of the grace of God, by which life fine gold, Thou art my confidence,' Job xxxi. 24. is not the mammon of unrighteousness receiving How innumerable the forms assumed by the the homage and worship due to the living God; deadly evil of sin, in its exercise, in its actings in when in pursuit of it the counsels of God are the hearts and minds, in the doings of sinful men! forsaken, his ordinances despised, his day proThey do not wish to retain God in their know- faned, his worship neglected in the closet, at the ledge; and the being of sin in the soul, the very family altar, and in his sanctuary? nature of which is to oppose the will of God, to And are there not many indeed who do all this, set up its own inventions in direct contrariety to and are not ashamed: who glory in their shamethe will of God, leads them forth, each in his own and if only they prosper in their search for gold, way, to despise and dishonour God. We read making it their confidence, exalt themselves, and of times, when, in the face of all that God had by the most public course of their practical life are revealed concerning himself, men set up idols of saying, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey wood and stone, the work of their own hands, him? • Labour not for the meat which perisheth, and worshipped these as if they were gods. And but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting who were the guiltiest in all this? The very life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: persons, the very nation to whom God had given for him hath God the Father sealed. This is the the clearest and the most merciful manifestations blessed Saviour's counsel, and he hath given himof himself. The natural mind must have some- self to be the food of the immortal, the guilty, thing which it prefers to the true God, as an and ruined souls of men. Alas, how despised object of its real esteem and regard; because, alas, and neglected—the great salvation, the adorable the love of God is not there, but its very oppo- Redeemer himself!