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that these may not separate me from God, nor continually. That grace the Lord will give. destroy thus my communion with him.
Sinner-seek him, call upon him while he is But, alas! there are idols of gold—objects that near. Believer, who hast acknowledged thy sins are more highly prized by my vain and earthly and to God-draw near and wait for this
until ungovernable affections, and which I can scarcely thy soul experience its true, and real, and sanctithink of, but they come, I fear, as if into compe- fying power. tition with God in my soul, and they turn me aside continually. When shall I hate them as idols—when shall I feel the actual guilt of cher
FIFTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. ishing them in my soul, and preferring them to
Doth not he see my ways, and count all my God as my God? Subdue, O Lord, my soul, into the love and obedience of thine own good
steps ?' Job xxxi. 4. and gracious will; for thou offerest thyself to me, YES, assuredly, this is the truth. Job felt this. to be my God in Christ Jesus, and that I may The Spirit of the Lord made him to see and to truly be thine.
feel it. The believer has, with Job, the witness I desire to hate the idolatry that is in my concerning it in his own soul. But it may be heart. I feel that there the evil root of bit- rebelled against, and the deceitfulness of sin causes terness is. God bestows upon me many precious it to be lost in the mind. There is nothing in mercies and gifts day by day—he continues me which sin may be more easily detected than this; by his goodness, in many endearing relations, whenever it begins to be cherished in the heart, and, 0, why turn these into idols —why imagine it rises up, as if a thick mist before the eyes of that in these objects my good and my true enjoy- the understanding, even although in some effectment consist? It is unbelief—it is the darkness ual measure it may have been spiritually enlightof sin—the evil of its very nature in my own ened—the soul's perceptions of the being of God, soul which causes this. Those objects, my pos- even his very existence, are hindered, obscured, sessions, my relations, my children, my friends,- darkened, and as sin proceeds in its secret workthey are thy good gifts, thou bountiful and mer- ings—God proportionally, then, is forgotten; and ciful Giver-the sin is mine, that turns them as then it is but one step to his divine authority if into idols of gold—which I think most pre- being acted against his claims upon the soulcious, and hesitate to turn from as idols, and to these now are no longer realized, and sin is then derive
my highest enjoyments from God. But committed. as idols-teach thou me to cast them from me The one holy, living, and true God is cognizto be crucified to the world, and to be devoted ant of every step of this sinful and guilty proin heart and spirit to thyself.
While this is secret, that the mind itself 0, let me not judge as if I had already attained scarcely perceives its own workings, and, indeed, -as if I had already apprehended that for which does not perceive them at all—God beholds all thou dost apprehend thy people—until I be enabled that is now going forward—and every step by day by day to sit very loosely to every created ob- which the soul is turned aside from following him, ject to hold them only as such, and not as my and from glorifying his name by a life of faith. portion—to esteem them as thy gifts, and thy pro- Now, let it never be forgotten, as proof of the perty committed to me as thy steward—to occupy work of grace in the soul, that it brings the soul whatsoever thou art pleased to bestow, as talents more habitually to realize the being and the perof thine own! O reveal to my soul of thy glo- fections of God, and to feel his omniscient eye rious majesty, that I may worship and serve thee upon itself in all circumstances, and in every place. in truth—and that other lords may not have Let every professed believer inquire and know, dominion over me. Reveal to me the holiness of whether this realizing power of faith is making thy character, that I may, in the exercise of advancement or progress in his own soul. Is filial fear and love, continually fear to offend thee, it felt by you, in your going out, and in your glorifying thee as the God of my salvation and coming in? Let not this matter remain in doubt health, who hast condescended to look down in or uncertainty. Prove it. Know yourselves mercy upon me a miserable, ruined, and guilty whether ye be in the faith. sinner, and to send thy well-beloved Son to seek It is only by this advancement in the knowand to save me. Let me not depart from thee. ledge of God, that he can be glorified by you. Reprove me in thy mercy, but not in thy wrath, The just shall live by faith; but if any man for my innumerable backslidings; and by thy draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in grace unite
my heart to love and fear thy name | him.'
To the unconverted sinner, the soul still at ple, their perplexities, their frequent darkness, enmity with God, such a recognition of God pre- their experienced burden of guilt, and of indwellsents no attraction, nothing desirable. Nay, he ing sin; their feeling as if they were left almost would dread it, and does dread it, just because he to themselves, and as if God had forsaken them. is ignorant of the glory of God, and seeks not the Blessed and glorious God, how precious is thy teaching that is from above, to instruct him. grace, and thy faithfulness. Thy people forget
If you can follow your own desires, without thee; but thou forgettest not them. Thou watchthis recognition of God in your heart, you have est over them in thy love thou chastenest them truly cause to fear that you have not yet been for their good. But let me learn the true knowreconciled to God. He sees thy way and man- ledge of thee continually. O! vouchsafe the ner of life. He counts all thy steps. And if Teacher and the Comforter to come to me, and thy steps be taken without this recognition and to abide with my erring and wayward soul, that knowledge of God prevailing in thy mind, then I may be kept nigh to thee. Teach thou me, art thou not serving or glorifying God. How can thou blessed and gracious Spirit, to see my own he be served or glorified but in the exercise of ways in the light of the knowledge of the glory of such knowledge concerning himself? It cannot God—in the face of Jesus Christ—to know thy be. And when the soul is brought into this will, and to delight in doing it. In the exercise real spiritual and saving knowledge of God, hav- of this heavenly wisdom, may I be found counting this abiding and living sense of his presence—ing all my own steps, walking circumspectly, not not saying in words merely, but feeling and as fools do, but as the wise, made wise by thee, realizing: “Thou God seest me, then, at each and redeeming the time, because the days are step, it will inquire—it will be an inquiry of the evil. heart—what am I now doing-what step is this which I am about to take, which I propose to myself, or to which I am urged? Is it a step that will bring me nearer to God? Is it a step
FIFTEENTH DAY.-EVENING. by which his name will be glorified in and by Neither is there any creature that is not manime? Is it a step on the way to heaven, or one
fest in his sight : but all things are naked and that may lead me further astray from God, incurring his displeasure, and dishonouring his
opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have
to do,' Heb. iv. 13. glorious name?
It is but vanity and deceit to imagine concern- 'He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? ing ourselves, that we have taken God to be our Ho that formed the eye, shall he not see? He God, if we be found practically strangers to such that chastiseth the heathen, shall he not correct? a believing view of him, or to such communion He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not with him.
know? The Lord knoweth the thoughts of And again, if we have taken God to be our man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man God indeed, we can trust in him—that he can, whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him and will bless and sustain us in our ways. We out of thy law; that thou mayest give him rest can trust, that it is by abiding in his fear, by from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged keeping, so to speak, within sight of his holy for the wicked.' God is the Father of lights, and omniscience, we shall be preserved from falling, with him there is no darkness at all. 0! how and from all evil. He sees our ways, he count- vain, how worthless, many empty professions made eth all our steps; and can he bless us, in that by men of their believing in God! Is there wherein we sought not to be seen of him, in any thing pertaining to the very being of the that which we desired to conceal from God? Godhead, more consistent with reason itself
, one Nay, the believer will not seek to conceal his would say, to believe, than that he is omniways from the Lord, or if he be overtaken by scient? And yet, what is there, of which men sin, through its deceitfulness and power, to are practically so ignorant, so forgetful, so utforget the Lord, and to take his own way—God terly and entirely careless! Reason's power is will soon manifest to him, that his ways have boasted of—we call
, and we think ourselves to been seen, and all his steps counted. He will be, wise; but alas, truly the thoughts of men visit his own people with the rod—their sins with are vanity. Reason is powerless, to bring in chastisements. They procure these to themselves, the realizing of God's omniscience into the by their forgetting the Lord, as their God and heart. Redecmer. And hence, the sorrows of his peo- And how can we presume to say, that we
believe in God, when we walk from day to day, whatsoever they be, are not only seen, but and from hour to hour, without realizing or searched of God; with him there is no darkness feeling that his omnisciént eye is upon us.
0! at all. how much less can we be said to have received Sinner and saint are seen and searched, by him as our God in the way of acceptance, to be the omniscient eye of Jehovah. Sin in its most united to him in the bonds of faith and of love, if secret guise is seen by him, in its remotest workso be, that we thus walk, even as if God did not ings, as well as in its most overt acts. The lurkbehold us; if we desire not that he should behold, ing idol that is seated in the secrecy of the that he should search and try us, but rather, that soul, his omniscient eye is fastened upon it. O! we should withhold from his knowledge the for light in my soul, to be habitually alive to this thoughts of our heart, the words of our mouth, most solemn truth, this first principle of the true and the works of our hands.
and real knowledge of God. O! my soul, examine thyself, and be admonished And he is called, 'the God with whom we have of thy own actual condition with God. Be not to do. And is it not with him I have to do, in all satisfied with the empty profession of the world, things? Is he not my omniscient Judge, the righteas if that were faith. What I find here recorded ous Judge, who judgeth righteously according to concerning God, is a truth to be realized, and his omniscience—not according to the outward apexperienced in the minds of his people. And do I pearance. He is the God who made us—who susnot find the true people of God recording their tains us; and who graciously calls sinners, to be unto living experience of it, as the psalmist does: “0 himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. to abhor that which is evil, to cleave to that which Thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine up- is good. In present business, whatsoever it be, rising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. if I realize that I have to do with the world, in Thou compassest my path, and my lying down, its relations, and dealings, and interests, and cares and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is -infinitely more have I to do with God. Let not a word in my tongue but, lo! O Lord, thou my soul learn this, let it be ever found under the knowest it altogether.' The psalmist experienced living power of this blessed knowledge. I have the difficulty of this attainment to flesh and blood, to do with him now, for grace, saving graceits contrarity to the power and the habits of through his beloved Son. He offers freely this natural understanding. Yet he sought the grace to my individual soul—and 0! if I turn power, which alone can raise the soul to this away from him, what must the end be? How just spiritual attainment that grace, which through the condemnation! I shall have to do with God the merits and intercession of the adorable Sa- in judgment—when every secret of every heart viour, is purchased for blinded, apostate, rebelli- shall be revealed. And when shall that judgous sinners, and which the blessed Spirit bestows; ment be, with respect to my individual soulthis precious enlightening of the eyes of the when it shall enter the eternal world, and stand understanding, this bringing nigh of the soul to unclothed of this mortality at the judgment-seat God. How earnestly the psalmist pants for this! of Christ? The day or the hour knoweth no "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek man'—the when, the where, or the how—this thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth most awful message shall come, the irresistible for thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no mandate of him with whom now I have to do, water is ; to see thy power and thy glory, so as and who then shall pronounce the irrevocable I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Ah, how sentence, and my soul receive its unchangeable, soon are effaced, by the empty vanities of the eternal portion. world, the impressions thou receivedst in the sanc- Lord, this very day now past, what is my tuary of God, the views there bestowed upon the evidence that I have received of thy saving soul; yea, when it even rejoiced in that light! grace? Has not my stupid, earthly heart gone And is not this the great source of actual trans- astray from thee—has it not forgotten thee? gression, as if the license which sin takes to itself Sin has separated the soul from God, from his in the earthly mind, this sad forgetting of God, knowledge, and then from his fear and love. But this sad practical, prevailing unbelief? Not more thy precious grace, 0 thou God of salvation, brings is it the happiness and the glory of saints in back the soul to thyself, to walk before thee in heaven, that they see God as he is, than it is the newness of life. This is the object of thy marvelsafety and the peace of the believer in this wil-lous love in Christ Jesus—so to redeem the soul. derness, that he should see the king in his beauty, O! in me, is grace working this blessed effect? Is and the land that is afar off. All creatures thy Spirit dwelling with me, and teaching me truly to know thee? Do I desire to know thee, and health, who in his own everlasting love has been to realize habitually thine omniscience? Sin must pleased so to visit his people, and so to ordain for be prevailing, where this is not desired? Blessed them salvation, and honour, and glory. God, blessed Saviour, blessed Spirit, Teacher and The Lord hath redeemed his people! The Lord Comforter, thou seest me—all things are naked Jesus has given himself for them, to raise them and open unto thine eye. Thou knowest my up: 'He remembered them in their low estate; need of grace—to enlighten and quicken my soul. for his mercy endureth for ever.' The exclusive, Even so, come, in thy love and power—and the sole business of the temple, is the service of enable me to walk in the light of the Lord. God; and the place it is, where his glory is
revealed, seen, beheld, and his name adored. Have I been thus apprehended? Have the
buyers and sellers been yet expelled? Am I SIXTEENTH DAY.-MORNING.
consecrated to this holy service? Is it my delight
and my purpose to render it? Have I experi· And what agreement hath the temple of God with enced the constraining power of divine love, thus
idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; drawing my soul to God, thus casting forth the as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and other lords that have had dominion over me? walk in them; and I will be their God, and But here is the relation in which his redeemed they shall be my people, 2 Cor. vi. 16.
people stand to God, as their God. Ye are the Tue thought indeed is very awful, that an indi- temple of the living God. And can this relation vidual of the human race, soul and body, should indeed be formed, without the soul experiencing be the temple of the living God! Yet so it is, the drawing power, of which the blessed Saviour with every individual believer. God takes posses- speaks? Surely it cannot. He is lifted up from sion of the believer to himself. In that day of power, the earth; but am I drawn to him? No man when his Spirit comes to the soul, he calls the soul cometh unto the Father but by him. In the and body to this high and glorious privilege, this days of his flesh, he came into the temple on exalted, this holy station, this wonderful rank. earth, and what majesty must there have been, The Lord God claims but his own creature, and even then, in the divine Saviour's presence,
when 0, how graciously does he make, yea, and enforce his bitter enemies could not, dared not oppose him! the claim,—for the creature's own everlasting And so is it still, when he is manifested to the and perfect happiness. Thine they were,' says soul—there is submission, there is godly fear, the blessed Redeemer, of his chosen disciples, there is love awakened_his enemies flee before and of every one of his people who shall ever be him—the temple is consecrated by his gathered unto him, and thou gavest them me.' it becomes a temple, dedicated to the service and O, what a scene does this temple present, when glory of the Father by him the Beloved. There he comes!—'a den of thieves!' Every affection, is a surrendering of ourselves to God for this every power of the mind, every act of body and glorious end, to which the believing view of mind together robbing God of the glory due to Christ constrains the soul. his name, and giving his praise to idols! Every There is in this a reality, a full reality of exaffection that rules in the heart has been till then, perience, of desire, of purpose. So was it with an excluding God from his own place, from his own apostle, when it pleased God to reveal Christ in temple, and turning the soul into a scene in which him; immediately, he informs us, that he conferred he is continually dishonoured and denied, and not with flesh and blood. And again he says, “The rebelled against, and causing the body to be in all love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus its acts and doings an instrument of unrighteousness judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: to disobey and dishonour the God who formed and that he died for all, that they which live should it, and who has placed in union with it the pre- not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto cious, immortal soul.
him who died for them, and rose again.' Has Think, O my soul, upon this awful, sublime this come to be a reality with me? Without subject, and solemnly ponder it! Do not let this, how can I think, that I am yet raised to the go the thought, as if it were but a vain ima- high and holy estate and privilege here set forth? gination. Seize, O my soul, the glorious and And surely the thought is overwhelming, that in everlasting reality that is here; and thou blessed the temple of the living God sacrifice should be Spirit of truth, and grace, and power, bring offered to idols, in his own very presence—where thou me into full view of the reality; and he dwells! enable me to adore and praise the God of my To what objects are my energies of mind
and body directed? Think of this, my soul, reflection of that everlasting love, which dwells now, while it is yet called to-day! Do we in its divine fulness with God! This apostle had not sacrifice to idols, when the great end is for- nearness, peculiar nearness through the Spirit to gotten, and when meaner and lower ends are the Saviour. It was there, that his soul was pursued as our ultimate object and aim? Meaner! moulded into this heavenly element. It was —to make comparison is scarcely lawful. How there that he caught the language of heaven; and utterly, how utterly unworthy the beggarly ele- it was thence that he carried forth to address the ments of this world, however laudable in the church, those words of tenderness and of love, sight of men the pursuit, when they cast forth on which he so delights to dwell. He was changed the remembrance of God from the soul, and bind into the same image which he beheld so clearly, it to the service of earth, yea, of lusts and plea- from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. sures, which have as their author and origin, sin, Blessed apostle, peaceful and happy wast thou, and the very author of sin himself !
even in thy desolate banishment-even then didst This temple, if indeed consecrated to the Lord, thou lean indeed on thy Saviour's bosom, by the he purifies more and more -he cleanseth, he power of faith. But 0, adorable fountain of builds it up spiritually to be the habitation of God, love, and truth, and grace—the God of mercy, through the Spirit. It is by the presence of Christ of tenderness, and compassion, thus addressing the Redeemer there, that this is effected—he dwell thy children as God the Spirit, through thy sering in the heart by faith. Then the hope of his vant, so blest, hinself, in thy love. calling prevails, and whoso hath this hope in him, If we have been drawn, and turned to God, purifieth himself even as he is pure. The coven- these accents of love will fall upon our hearts, ant is manifested to them, in its fulness, in its as dew upon the tender grass, to invigorate it, to perfection, in its everlasting bonds, made strong make it spring and grow. “Little children!'in him who is its living head. God is become the appellation is tenderness itself. The Rethe God in covenant of those in whom the Son deemer is watching over them with more than a is thus revealed, and in whose souls he dwells by parent's care. He sees their feebleness, he knows faith, and they are his redeemed people. O my their weakness, he remembers that they are dust. soul, expect not the comforts, the joys of the He beholds their inexperience, the foolishness divine life, till thou hast been brought so to that is yet bound up in their hearts—he pities, accept the Saviour; that must go before thine he loves, and he delights to succour them—he abiding in him. And, except ye abide in me, carries the lambs in his bosom. Surely to be and I in you,' the Saviour himself declares, 'ye interested in this love is the high privilege of the can do nothing. Why is my soul so far off, so soul—to be without an interest in it is deepest earthly, so darkened? Grace, divine power, is misery. offered, is promised! Let me draw near, let me And here let me learn, the cause of the never depart, let my soul now, wait upon God, warning, the ground of the faithful and tender ind not let him go, until he have blessed me, admonition. Here there is intimated, the strong revealing his Son in me, and bringing my soul tendency of the foolish heart to idols. O will und body to be a temple where his glory shall be not the love of God persuade me, to give myself revealed, and where he shall ever be served, with wholly to him!-to be devoted to his service, and the sacrifices of thanksgiving, in the obedience to his glory's cause. Those whom the beloved of love.
apostle was here immediately addressing, were surrounded with heathen examples of idolatry; and that idolatry continually accompanied, indeed
its abominable service consisting of, sinful indulSIXTEENTH DAY.-EVENING.
gences, sensual gratifications, inordinate pleasures, · Little children, keep yourselves from idols,' 1
and enticing allurements.
Think, o believer, what is the scene of thine John v. 21.
own habitation and converse. What beholdest How full and overflowing is the love of the thou in the world around thee? Is it the love of Spirit! We admire the beloved disciple, who God prevailing, and purifying, and drawing the leaned on the Saviour's bosom. Our very hearts souls of men to him, to be his temples ? Ah, no! seek to be knit to him, in the fulness of his tender Is not the world itself the great idol to which affection, and his very endearing character. But homage is paid, and service rendered—the souls of O, how prone are we to forget, that all his love- men bowing down to it, their very bodies its abject liness of character and of utterance, is but the slaves! And is there no principle in my soul, to