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draw me into the tainted current—to allure me would I;—let them not carry me away from thee, into their temples, to lead me into the paths or from soul-refreshing communion with thee. wherein destroyers go? Alas, I am as they are. Be ye separate, saith the Lord. They cannot In me, that is in my flesh, verily there dwelleth sympathize with me- they may deride me-yea, no good thing. If grace have been given me I may be had in derision—but keep thou me if my soul have indeed been turned to the Lord from idols.—Draw me, that I may be denied to
- how feeble am I-how prone to frustrate self, to worldliness, to vanity, the world crucified
of heart from idol worship—to keep myself from these, and weak, erring, frail and feeble as I am, and that I be not polluted, that I grieve not thy prone to wander_0 keep thou me by thy grace, Spirit, that I bring not shame on thy name and from idols. Let thy grace prevail, and by it, I thy cause.
shall keep myself from idols, thou art the God And what does the world pursue? What of salvation to bestow this grace.
O my soul, would my earthly affections, my evil passions cleave thou to the Lord. “Strengthen, O God, urge me to seek? How vain its treasures!— that which thou hast wrought for us.' In thy What is a man profited, should he gain the whole strength let my confidence be, and I shall be world, and lose his own soul? What will those strengthened in thee. treasures avail, whether wealth, or luxury, or honour, when this life's consummation shall have drawn near? Do I seek my happiness even in the friendships and associations of this world, and
SEVENTEENTH DAY.—MORNING. of its society. I thank thee, who hast given me Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy friends, and who hast put the spirit of kindness "Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy into their hearts—I would acknowledge these
face to shine ; and we shall be saved, Psal.
lxxx. 19. blessings as thy gifts and mercies, and I am less than the least of them all. But O, raise thou 'I am the Lord thy God.' "Thou shalt have no my views above those which centre upon the other gods before me.' This is not a mere anworld, and above those ties that would bind me nouncement of a speculative truth. It is not to earth, and that would separate me in prac- merely the issuing of a commandment. It is a mertice and habit from thee as my God in covenant. ciful and a gracious offer; yea, and it is a most graWith thee let my soul have true communion, to cious promise, and a most bountiful promise. The keep me from idols.
Lord God is revealed from heaven. He was so to Where is the earthly friend who will warn me the children of Israel in the wilderness, and by all as thou dost? Where is the worldly companion the works of wonder which he had wrought on who will faithfully tell me, when he sees me occu- their behalf, having brought them “out of the land pied with the world, and forgetting God? Ah, no; of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' —it is not with the world that such counsels are to It was God, thus revealed to them, who was be found. They that are after the flesh do mind now offering himself, if we may so speak, to be the things of the flesh. He that is of the earth God, and was calling them into his worship and is earthy, and speaketh of the earth. The world their service. loveth its own.' Iam drawn and allured by my own But this is the gracious law of his eterna earthliness. Let me not blame the world for my kingdom, that his people should be blessed in short-comings, my backslidings, my too sadly fre- him, by being brought nigh to him, to have him quent idolatries—let me blame myself, my own the true, the only living and true God, as their earthliness. Lord, I cannot carry them that are God, and that in him they should have all bless of the world to thee-else thou knowest, gladly ing, and eternal glory.
And now, O Lord God, thou art revealed | strangers, and after them have I gone. Thy from heaven, in the person of thy beloved Son, divine and eternal authority I have not felt, I have in thine eternal and unspeakable love, opening not retained the living sense of it upon my spirit up, through the rent vail of his flesh, the way within me: mine, indeed, is a most deceitful heart. of access to thyself, for guilty and perishing The divine claims of thy love, the divine person sinners, and the way in which thou comest of thy beloved Son, who is Gud over all, and to them, and dwellest with them, and in them. blessed for ever-who gave himself for sinners, The way is perfected, yea, it has been perfected who calleth me by his word and Spirit, who callfrom eternity in thy covenant that could not, and eth me, yea by his own sufferings, by the blood that cannot be broken; but now it is also per- of his covenant, to thee as God and my God, to fected in its revelation, and this thy most gracious have all blessings in thy favour-him, alas, how offer, and invitation, and command, and promise have I disregarded, how have I practically disbrought to the very door of my heart. Thanks owned as my Lord! His love, I have deep cause be unto God for his unspeakable gift.'
to fear, has not been winning me into thy service, When I consider, Almighty and most gracious and has not been stablishing my soul in the new God, thy doings, thy grace, the counsels and the life, which is by faith on his name. works of thy love, the high and holy estate to I would come unto thee. It is my heart's which thy love in Jesus Christ is now offering to defections before thee, I would confess as my burraise me up, to be thine, and that thou shouldst be den, and the source of my darkness, my sin and my my God, and my soul and body thy temple, and iniquity in thy holy sight. The world knoweth that I should dwell with thee for ever, I am it not. My very professions of thee before the overwhelmed with shame, and confusion of face, world have been accompanied with much sin of because of my unbelief, my ingratitude, my the soul; impurity in thine eyes, holy Father, rebellion against thee—my unfaithfulness in thy impurity of motives, of principles, of actings, uncovenant, my innumerable backslidings, and my detected by the keenest eye of human observawrath-deserving idolatries.
tion, thou hast seen and known in my soul. Blessed God, thou hast been offering to me thine Turn us again, O Lord of hosts. Turn thou own Almighty grace, to turn me unto thyself. I me, and I shall be turned. I feel, that at every have felt my need to be turned to thee; verily other moment, I have unspeakable need to address to lords have had dominion over me; and hast thou thee this prayer. not made me to see their vanity, and the guilt of There is here a spirit of hope and dependence my doing service to them that are not gods—that upon God expressed, as well as the need of his rob thee of the glory due to thee, and that have divine power experienced. And, O Lord, shine in them no reality, no good, no power to bless, thou, by the light of the knowledge of thy glory, but indeed power to deceive and to destroy the into my soul—that this hope in thee may be soul, by separating it from thyself.
kindled, and that it may be exercised in my truly Thine everlasting and glorious gospel is pro- coming unto thee. Thou hast been known of all claimed to me. The word is nigh unto me, even thy people in every age, as the Lord, the Lord in my mouth. I have solemnly professed to be- God, merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, lieve and to receive it-yea, have I not tasted and transgression, and sin. We have an advocate and felt of its truth and its power; but alas, how with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and have I turned aside, how have I forsaken thee he is the propitiation for our sins. How distressas my God, times and ways without number! In ing the thought, that we should despise that parmy very professions, in my most solemn, and in doning mercy and grace of thine, by not cleaving my most secret approaches to thee also, even to him with full purpose. O cause thou thy face then, hast thou not seen in me the evil forth-goings to shine ; let my soul be so filled with the light of sin, the wretched baseness of an earthly mind, of thy knowledge as God revealed in Christ Jesus, as if truly betraying thee to thy face, and pro- that I may indeed be saved, that the indwelling voking thee to anger against me! I have not power of sin may be rebuked and crucified in my been humbled because of this. I have not acknow- soul, by that blessed and glorious light, that God ledged to thee my transgressions as I ought to have in Christ may indeed be my God, and that I may done. I have cause to tremble before thee—and walk in communion of love with him, who loved were not my heart harder than the nether mill- his people, and gave himself for them. The stone, it could not but be melted into shame and bonds to draw, are in thine own eternal lovecontrition before thee! I have been led aside by the power to subdue thine enemies, in thine arm the power of a present evil world. I have loved of Almighty strength. All dominion in heaven and on earth is given into his hands who was dead | every real believer, that God is good and graand is alive again, and who liveth for evermore. cious, and therefore that he teaches sinners in the May I behold thee, blessed Jesus, by the revela- way. In themselves they have but darkness, their tion of faith, that I may indeed be kept from the unbelief makes them to doubt, and to be in uncerpower of evil—that God may be my God, in tainty, and in fear. But light ariseth to them. thee the Mediator, by union with thee. Let this The ministration of the Spirit is glorious ; and it be proven, as the condition and state of my soul, comes to the soul, in a way that it knew not, in my being saved from the power of those mani- and which the blessed experience of it alone can fold iniquities that prevail against me.
reveal. This is from God in the channel of his I would render thanks unto thee for the throne everlasting covenant, through the mediation and of thy grace being rendered accessible, and for intercession of him who is indeed the light of the the Spirit of grace and of supplications which thou world. hast promised to pour forth. May it be my por- Darkness may be experienced, and yet not tion to be visited with that Spirit, and under that this confidence in the Lord. Thou wilt show guidance, waiting upon thee, though with groan- me the path of life. It is here we are weak, ings that cannot be uttered, let my waiting eyes prone to faint and fail. Alas, we seek the light be toward the hills from which cometh my aid - in ourselves, instead of looking to him the Father and according to the multitude of thy tender of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift mercies, lead me, and guide me, and so strengthen cometh down. And yet, blessed God, while thou me, that I
may have no other gods before thee, givest me thine own word of truth, how dark and but be thine, and thou mine, as my everlasting empty it is to my needy soul, till thy Spirit shine portion.
upon it, and with it, into my heart! O! let me be rebuked for the sin of my presumption, in trusting to my own understanding, and in not
seeking thy guidance, in not looking to thee, and SEVENTEENTH DAY.-EVENING. not trusting in thee; in not seeking from thee * Thou wilt shew me the path of life ; in thy pre- guide me, and to show me the path of life. I am
thine own light with thy truth, to lead and to sence is fulness of joy ; at thy right hand there
prone to trust in creature helps, in means, in are pleasures for evermore,' Psal. xvi. 11.
duties, in ordinances, even in thy servants proHow slow to learn is the human heart, in all that claiming thy truth, and not in thyself, as my God belongs to the character of God, and to the marvel- in covenant, from whom alone cometh the true lous grace that is with him, whereby sinners are light. I would confess to thee, this my sin, my saved! I will take away the stony heart out of natural proneness to it continually. It is thy their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.' showing, which will bring the path of life truly As the God of salvation, we behold him fulfilling before me, and which alone has power to guide this promise to his people, and they, receiving me to it, and to stablish me in it. this gracious accomplishment of the promise, are And O! how glorious, how soul-satisfying that seen following after him, receiving him as their path is, when shown by the Spirit of God, by his God, and putting their trust in him, to perfect own word to the soul—the path and the way of all that concerneth them. How largely do we God coming to seek and to save that which was see this trust and confidence exercised and ex- lost! The Lord Jesus—he is the way–he hath pressed by the psalmist! “Thou wilt show me opened, perfected, and consecrated for ever, the the path of life.' He had experienced his own path of return to the sinner from death to life, slowness to learn, his proneness to forget, nay, even life for evermore. I feel, I acknowledge his incapacity, as of himself, to take knowledge of before thee, that the knowledge of him in my this glorious path, the path of life. Thou wilt soul, is indeed the path of life. I acknowledge show me! Here is filial confidence in God. The to thee, my proneness to lose that which thou psalmist addresses him as his own God. The givest of this light and knowledge concerning hope that maketh not ashamed is here—it is him. in lively exercise. He had experienced dark- I would trust in thee I would renounce ness in his own mind; but he trusted in the Lord, renewedly now, before thee, my sinful confidences, that by his Spirit with the word of truth, this and cast myself upon thee for thy Spirit's guidpath should be shown him. “Unto the upright ance to my soul, to reveal thy Son in me, and in the there ariseth light in the darkness.' 'Light is knowledge of him, I shall have safety and peace. sown for the upright. It is the experience of other means may give natural light and know
ledge, but with those merely, I have the witness, EIGHTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. the sore witness in my soul, that I cannot glorify
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, thee as God, and my God. I am wearied and vexed with my deceitful heart,
or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is my abuse of privileges bestowed by thee. I would
in the water under the earth: thou shalt not come unto thec for thy precious healing, and enlightening, and quickening power—the eye-salve,
bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for
I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting by which I may truly sec. It is cheering and comforting to behold the experience of thy blessed
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children people. Under the burden of their toils and their
unto the third and fourth generation of them conflicts, their wanderings and their errors, when
that hate me ; and showing mercy unto thouthou causest thy face to shine upon them, they
sands of them that love me, and keep my comknow the path of life; yea, and they understand
mandments,' Exod. xx. 4–6. the path of duty also—they then trust in thee, The Lord uttered his voice from mount Sinai, with increase of filial confidence, and even in the and gave laws and ordinances to Israel. Some midst of experienced darkness, still they are of these being ceremonial were intended for the enabled to stay themselves upon thee as their Israelites exclusively, and to be of temporary God.
endurance, others were designed for mankind This warfare with darkness, with sin, with generally, and to be of universal and perpetual the power of darkness, sball soon have an end
obligation; of this description are the ten comthe time is drawing on, when though now we see mandments, which were written by the finger of as through a glass darkly, we shall see face to face, God, and are recorded in the twentieth chapter and that which is imperfect shall be done away. of Exodus. Whoever reflects on these statutes, There is joy even now, when thou causest thy must be persuaded that they are at once worthy light to shine into the soul and soon the shadows of God to inculcate, and man to observe. They shall flee away—and when this mortal shall have are founded on the divine nature and character, put on immortality, there shall be darkness no and they are fitted to promote the prosperity and more—all will be light; we shall know, even as we happiness of mankind. are known. In thy presence there is fulness of joy; The first commandment respects the object of at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. worship, the second the form of worship which O my soul, look forward. Behold now the path the Almighty claims; the first maintains the of life--it is opened up to thee by him who can stability and glory of Jehovah's throne, the second not fail, and who maketh thy life, thine eternal preserves the purity of the ark in which he life sure: Father, I will, that they also whom dwells and the temple in which he is worshipped. thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that It sets itself against the very semblance of idolathey may behold my glory, which thou hast given try in the worship of God, and hereby inculcates me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the service that is suitable to his perfections, and the world. I would commit my spirit into thy becoming his great name. The language of the hands, to be taught by thy Spirit, blessed God, Eternal is so unambiguous and authoritative in that receiving thee daily as my God, bringing sal- regard to idol worship; and there is in it what vation, I may walk in thy light, and as it be- is evidently so dishonouring to God, as well as cometh the children of the light and of the day, debasing to man, that one can scarcely account glorifying thee, in my spirit and in my body for its being countenanced or practised by rational which are thine, waiting for thy salvation, and beings. And yet the very issuing of the precept kept by thy power through faith, expecting the bespeaks the tendency of the human mind to it, glory that is to be revealed at thy coming. while the history of the world records its univer
sal prevalence. It is well known that idolatry has, in all ages, prevailed in heathen countries, and that not merely among savage and rude tribes, but amongst people the most civilized and refined, verifying the truth of the apostle's declaration, Rom. i. 21—23, 'Because that when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and changed the glory of the incorruptible God was the case with the Jews, make parent's sins into an image made like to corruptible man, and their own, the judgment falls more heavily upon to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping them. All the righteous blood that was shed things.' The Egyptians were notoriously addicted from Abel downwards, our Lord says, came upon to all sorts of idolatry—and hence it is that the the men of his generation, Matt. xxiii. 35. And Israelites, though taught of God, though a dis- to this hour the Jews are, in the righteous tinct, and separated, and chosen people, by com- administration of God, experiencing the curse and mingling with the inhabitants of Egypt, became suffering for the sins of their fathers, who put familiarized with their corruptions, and acquired the Lord of glory to death. that deep-rooted propensity to this condemned But while Jehovah threatens, he also promises. and irrational practice.
Whatever temporal judgments may be inflicted This commandment consists of two parts: 1. on children on account of their parents' sins, if The precept. 2. The sanction or enforcement of improved they shall redound to their spiritual it.
advantage, and end in their everlasting happiness. God knows the perversity of the human heart, And then if parents eschew evil, if they do love and therefore in issuing this injunction he has God, and keep his commandments, the mercy of guarded against all misconception. The language God, even to thousands of generations, shall follow of the precept is so very particular and minute, their children. A good man leaves an inheritance that nothing but a determined unwillingness not to his children, and the influence of his piety is to be taught, would lead men to misinterpret it, felt, and the favour of that God whom he worand so authoritative is it, that nothing but a shipped as his God, and the God of his seed, is determined opposition to the authority of God experienced to a distant period, even to latest would lead them to evade and set it aside. generations. God has not forgotten the faith of
Thou shalt not make. Thou shalt not invent Abraham, nor the covenant with the father of or imitate the invention, thou shalt not make, or believers. There is a most striking illustration cause to be made-thou shalt in no way what- of the promise that is made to repentant Israel ever be accessary to the corrupting of divine wor- in Ezek. xxxvii. 25: “They shall dwell in the ship by any resemblance, image, or device that land which I have given unto Jacob my servant, would tend to lower the Creator, or degrade the wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall homage that is due to God.
dwell therein, even they and their children, and There is a gradation in the language that is their children's children for ever.' employed. Thou shalt not thyself make such In meditating on this precept of the law, let us images for worship—thou shalt not bow down to lay to heart, and be deeply humbled on account them though made by others, however tempted of the fearful depravity of man in his natural or solicited so to do, nay, thou shalt not pay
them state. When left to himself, and unaided by any kind of respect, much less worship them, or divine light and grace, he acts in opposition to offer sacrifices unto them.
the plainest dictates of reason and conscience; and We have next the sanction, or enforcement of even with God's word in his hand, he, in spite of the precept. In this sanction Jehovah addresses all the divine threatenings and promises, sets himboth men's fears and their hopes, and thereby self in opposition to the positive will of God, and plainly manifests his abhorrence of this sin. As it that too in the very homage which he pretends is a violation of that covenant relation that God to offer to him. O how debased, how sinful, how held with the people of Israel, it is not wonder- miserable a being is man in a state of nature! ful that he guards this commandment with the In meditating on this precept of the law, let strongest and most fearful sanctions. Not merely us always bear in mind the spiritual import of is the existing generation of idolaters threatened the commandment. Ever let us remember that with personal destruction, but by their sin they all formality and hypocrisy in worship are proinvolve their posterity in their crime, and of hibited—that it is ours to conceive of God accordnecessity in their punishment. A fearful con- ing to the revelation he has given of himself—to sideration this to any parent who feels for his realize his presence by faith, not by fancy—to offspring
tremble at the thought of low and carnal concepThough God will not punish children with tions of him—to fall before him with the most eternal destruction for the iniquities of those who profound reverence of his awful majesty, and gave them birth, yet the history of his providence the most fervent gratitude for his divine merey proves that temporal distresses are often the in Christ Jesus - to worship him who is a spirit effects of parent's sins. And when children, as in spirit and in truth.