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the strongest ties which bind us to existence, and thus inflicted still bleed, and may never be healed. continued us in the undisturbed possession of our What then is the use which we have made of Christian privileges and Christian hopes. But God's dispensations both of mercy and of judghas this gracious manifestation of his unmerited ment? Have they weakened our attachment to forbearance and long-suffering, made any thing like the world? Have they led us to meditate on a suitable impression on our minds and hearts? | the uncertainty of every earthly enjoyment, and Do we gratefully acknowledge that this is the prompted us to look to heaven as the only refuge Lord's doing, and that it is marvellous in our of the weary? Have they fixed our thoughts eyes?' 'Blessed are the people that know the joy- and our hopes more firmly on Him who hath ful sound. They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of the keys of hell and of death, who is the root and thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice the offspring of David, the bright and morning all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be star ?' Is he become our prophet, our priest, and exalted. This is the language of those whom our king? Are our affections his, and do we God has spared for good, and some that we delight ourselves in the prospect of soon beholding were in the number—are authorised to adopt it. him in his beauty? If these be not our feelings But how many are there who have never re- and our expectations, God has not only waited for flected as they ought, and how many more never us, but afflicted us in vain ; and finding no fruit at all, that the blessings which they have received of holiness in us, Jehovah no longer, as it respects were intended to accomplish higher purposes than us, full of compassion, and the justifier of the any which they have as yet been made to serve? ungodly, may at this very instant be saying to Such persons are living, and apparently happy, in his commissioned angel, “Cut it down ; why a very precarious and dangerous situation. They cumbereth it the ground? Remember therefore are lulled into a security which it is fearful even how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast to contemplate. They are slumbering in the and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I midst of a calm as deceitful as it may be tran- will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not sient. They are sleeping the sleep of death, and know what hour I will come upon thee.' may be roused from their dreams only to feel that the Lord, whom they are now provoking by their insensibility, is a consuming fire.' What meanest thou, O sleeper, arise, call upon thy God, if
THIRTIETH DAY.-MORNING. so be that God will think upon thee that thou perish not. Mercy is still within thy reach.
For the grace of God that bringeth salration hath The city of refuge, with its clear highway,
appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying and its expanded gates, is still before thee.
ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should lice The fountain opened for the house of David, and
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present the inhabitants of Jerusalem, is still flowing, bear
world, Titus ii. 11, 12. ing purity, health, and refreshment on its waters. When we consider that it was sin, that rendered But the stream which gushes from thy heart may the interference of the Son of God absolutely be soon stopped, “the silver cord loosed, the golden necessary for the deliverance of our souls from bowl broken, thy dust return to the earth as the power of the second death; that it was sin
, it was, and thy spirit unto God who gave it. which brought him from heaven, subjected him • Awake then, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall to persecution, nailed him to the cross, and exgive thee light. On us also whom the Lord may posed him, for our sakes, to the wrath of an have visited with his chastisements, He has offended God; when we contemplate these its called with a voice of “lamentation, mourning, dreadful effects on the only-begotten of the and woe. He has summoned the relatives on Father, are we not convinced, that as the objects whom we doated to their account, and the place of the Redeemer's purposes of love, we should which lately knew them knows them no more. deny ungodliness,' the cause of his sorrows, and His arrows transfixed our souls when we num-worldly lusts,' the polluting source of our spiribered our friends with the spirits of the departed. tual miseries, and, through the influences of the These were moments ever to be remembered, Spirit, ' live soberly, righteously, and godly in this when the last wish was expressed, the last in- present world ? We are taught by the law,
but junction laid upon us, the last look exchanged, how much more emphatically by the gospel • to the last pressure felt, the last quiver witnessed, do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly and the last sigh breathed into our bosom. Our with our God.' It will then, by the divine blesstrials have indeed been severe, and the woundsling, tend greatly to edification, to dwell for a little
on the duties which are here pointed out, as i habitually and fervently seek his favour, in the evidences of our faith, and thus showing that we retirement of our families. We should cultivate have been enabled to choose the good part, that closet devotion, when with no eye on us except shall not be taken away from us. What then is our God's, and no ear open to our petitions but to be done? The Christian must live soberly, his, we dwell on our personal state, and meditate righteously, and godly.'
on the wonders he hath done;' we confess our 1. We are to live soberly. The term here used individual sins, and implore him not to cast us by the apostle is very comprehensive in its nature, away from his presence; we acknowledge the and denotes self-government, in the most extensive surpassing value of gospel privileges, and with meaning of the word—strict watchfulness exer- Jacob's faith and perseverance, wrestle till we cised over the affections, and keeping the heart have power with God, and will not let him go with all diligence, since out of it are the issues of except he bless us. These are the public and life. “Shall we allow any sensible object to enslave private exercises of the Christian. Thus we see us by its attractions, and to lay up in store for us, the necessity and the means of holiness. And to those agonizing reflections, which will infallibly convince the world that we are as far removed destroy our repose! If we forfeit the approba- from enthusiasm, as the workings of a sound tion of our consciences, and of God, who is greater mind are from the raving of insanity, we should than our consciences, where shall we look for live godly,' by displaying the effects which the tranquillity? Not to ourselves, for our inward purifying and ennobling influences of the gospel peace is gone; not to the external world, which produce, on our whole walk and conversation. is beautiful only to the good man, and not to the The believer knows, that it is only through his heavens, where is the throne of him who has being justified by the Saviour's righteousness, that said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.'
he can be made an heir, according to the hope 2. We must live righteously, by performing of eternal life. But he knows at the same time, the duties which, as the followers of Christ, we that they who have believed in God, will be owe to our brethren, and these duties may be careful to maintain good works.' He places no included in justice and charity. We must be just, reliance on his conduct, as the procuring cause of by forbearing to injure our neighbours, in their his salvation; but he is persuaded, that Christian property, and in their character; in judging with conduct will assuredly follow Christian principles, rigid impartiality on any subject of controversy and that if he do not • live soberly, righteously, between man and man, and in discharging regu- and godly, in this present world, he is not warlarly, conscientiously, and kindly, the important ranted to look for that blessed hope which cheers duties of domestic life. We must be charitable, the people of God amidst all their trials and by assisting the poor in their temporal necessities, sorrows,' or to expect with the joy of the Reby giving advice to the young, and endeavouring deemer's chosen ones, “the glorious appearing of to establish religious principles in their minds, the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who as the motives and the guides of conduct; by died for us, that whether we sleep or wake, we administering comfort to the distressed, and con- should live together with him.' Here is the solation to the afflicted, and by loving our ene- faith and the patience of the saints. Blessed are mies, blessing them that curse us; doing good they who do his commandments, that they may to them that hate us, and praying for them that have a right,' through Jesus, “to the tree of life; despitefully use and persecute us, that we may and may enter in through the gates into the city.' be really the children of our Father who is in Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus. heaven.'
3. We are to live godly, by devoting the hearts which the Spirit has sanctified, and the affections which he has made to aspire to things above, to
THIRTIETH Day.--EVENING. the love and service of him who has by his own arm brought salvation. United to him by faith,
· This is a faithful saying, and these things I will and having received of his fulness, we should
that thou affirm constantly, that they which hade delight in the contemplation of his excellencies,
believed in God might be careful to maintain and have no object of pursuit equal to the attain
good works: these things are good and proment of still greater conformity to his likeness.
fitable unto men’ Titus iii.8. We should regularly wait on God in his courts, In the various epistles which Paul wrote for the and entreat him to cause his face to shine upon edification of the saints, whom he strongly and us, and to be gracious unto us. We should affectionately terms the body of Christ, he insists, with all that ardour which belonged to his brethren, whatsoever things are true; whatsoever character, on the necessity of their receiving the things are honest; whatsoever things are just ; doctrines which he taught by special commission whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things from heaven, in their fulness and power, as are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report; setting before them the only foundation of the if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, sinner’s pardon, hope, and safety. But not one think on these things. Here we have the of his inspired letters does he close without re- morals of the bible condensed, and presented to us peated, and the most urgent exhortations, “to be in all their combined excellence, by one who was steadfast and immovable, always abounding in caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable the work of the Lord.'
words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Here then we have the rule by which the min. And to what condition of life do they apply? ister of the gospel should be directed in declaring The possession and practice of them dignify the the will of his Master; and by the same rule meanest station in the world's estimation, and ought every disciple of Jesus to be guided in his without them the highest is contemptible, let the estimate and appreciation of what has been re-world and the world's slaves say what they will. vealed. On no subject has greater misconception They have a charm to the unrenewed in the spir arisen, or more unwarranted phraseology been of their minds themselves, and even to the most employed, than on the topic of faith and works. indifferent respecting the truth of the gospel and There is much danger in extremes in every the worth of their own souls. For though they see department of speculation, and to where has not the foundation on which these graces rest, and such evil appeared in a more striking light than feel not the influences which they diffuse in the in the case before us. Some have dwelt so ex- believer's heart, they sometimes, in a serious hour, clusively on faith, as to render works unnecessary. regret that they have not taken them home While others have, by their bold and unauthor- to their hearts, been warmed by their flame, and ised statements, led the unreflecting to believe encouraged by their presence on their way to that works are the only ground on which we can heaven. Thus, even in the opinion of those who expect to obtain eternal life. But the man who are practically unacquainted with it, is the morhas sought for information, and found it in God's ality of the bible clearly and triumphantly vindiinfallible records, has not so learned Christ. He cated. How much more strongly then can they knows that both faith and works are equally bear testimony to its excellence who have traced without desert in procuring the sinner's deliver it to its source, the putting on of the new man, ance, and that the merit on which he must rely which after God is created in righteousness and absolutely and confidingly, is that which belongs true holiness? They know that before they were to the righteousness of the Saviour, imputed to brought out of their natural state, they had the him freely, and clothed in which alone he stands lowest and most inadequate views of duty; that perfect and complete in all the will of God. they spoke and acted as if the supreme Being Faith is the hand which the Spirit enables us to would be quite satisfied with the measure of put forth, and strengthens in the putting forth, obedience which it suited their convenience or to lay hold on this righteousness, and works are their caprice to yield to him, and though they upthe evidence which the same Spirit enables us hesitatingly asserted that morality was everything, also to give of our being put in possession of this yet with an inconsistency, we cannot call it righteousness, transferred to us by the Redeemer, strange in their circumstances, but certainly most • who was made sin for us, though he knew no palpable, they imagined and maintained that sin, that we might be made the righteousness of the Lord would be pleased with such fragments God in him. While therefore, we look unto of it as they chose to practise, and reward them Jesus, and to him exclusively, for redemption, for their work's sake. · and feel that we are no longer our own, but But when the grace of God that bringeth salbought with a price of infinite value, even with vation appeared to them personally, and they his precious blood, we must never forget that the were drawn to contemplate and desire it, then their inference inevitably deducible from this astonish- aims were enlarged. They saw the commanding transaction is, that we should glorify God ment to be exceeding broad. They had a lively in our bodies and in our spirits, which are God's.' and increasing conviction of the obligations by Christian morality then is as intimately connected which they were bound to its observance. Their with Christian faith as light with the sun, and obedience was no longer restricted to certain internal peace with “a conscience void of offence duties of comparatively easy performance, to the towards God and towards men. Finally, I exclusion of others of equal, if not higher impor
tance. They are persuaded that there is no duty | power and mercy produced, were actually such which has God for its object, enjoined in the as became a people so highly distinguished. gospel, paramount to another. Ile is to be loved We know the transient impression which the and obeyed, with all the heart, and soul, and doings of the Lord Almighty made on the strength, and mind; and all this from the new object of his undeserved and unwearied care. principle implanted in us. And where this prin-They sinned yet more against him, by provokciple is in active operation, and grace is fully ing the Most High in the wilderness,' and though recognised as the beginning, the middle, and the their dependence on him, and their helplessness end, then are our labours more abundant, our in themselves, were so evident, and God's goodhumility more conspicuous, our prayers more ness so astonishing, yet ‘for all this they sinned frequent, our watchfulness more exercised, our still, and believed not for his wondrous works.' progress more marked, our being with Jesus more But as an exercise most useful to ourselves, we taken knowledge of, and greater diligence given should inquire at our own consciences, and entreat to make our calling and election sure. May our them to say what effects these extraordinary life be thus bid with Christ in God, that when operations of God ought to have produced? If Christ who is our life shall appear, wo also may in answer to this question, we can reply, Warm appear with him in glory.'
undivided love, believing, unlimited, undeviating obedience, then have we evidence as satisfactory, as it is cheering, that we bear no resemblance to
the Israelites, that we have formed a right estiTHIRTY-FIRST DAY.-MORNING. mate of the blessings wherewith the Lord has · And they sinned yet more against him, by pro- which we receive at the hand of our heavenly
crowned us, and that every additional mercy toking the Most High in the wilderness," Psal. Father, will be an additional reason for our being Ixxviii. 17.
still more strongly persuaded, that “he is a sun · He found them in a desert land, and in the and shield, that he will give grace and glory, waste howling wilderness; he led them about: he and will withhold no good thing from us.' if, instructed them; he kept them as the apple of through the indwelling of his Spirit, we continue his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, flut- to walk uprightly. But if we do not see the tereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her guilt of the Israelites in its true light, and feel wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, that, to act as they did, is the extreme of ingratiso the Lord alone did lead them, and there was tude, and a heightening of their punishment in no strange God with them.' This exquisite des proportion to their sin, then we may rest assured, cription of the sacred historian, and inspired leader that whatever may be the judgment which in of the chosen people, was, in all its beautiful ten- words we pass on their perverseness, we are in derness, literally applicable to the Lord's dealings no better a condition than they, and must have with them. They were correctly informed, recorded against us, in the book of God's rememrespecting the history of their nation, from the brance, the fearful fact, that we also sinned yet period when Abraham, their venerated ancestor more and more, by provoking the Most High in was called by God from his father's house, and the wilderness. rescued from the idolatrous slavery which then We have divine authority for believing that shed its deadly and cheerless influences over the God will take into account, not only the sins of ancient world. From the time when the son of which we are guilty, but the circumstances in Terah left Uz of the Chaldees, and commenced which they are committed, and the aggravations his wanderings in the distant land, promised as a with which they are accompanied. This is God's sure possession,' to his descendants, till his mode of procedure, and let it be ours, when we posterity heard the voice of the Eternal from enter on the duty of self-examination, and sit as Sinai, his magnificent tribunal, the Lord alone judges on our iniquities. We should carefully call had been their God, their guide, and their avenger. to mind the means of knowledge with which we Well authenticated, long past events concurred | are so abundantly favoured, and the many mercies with their own experience, to convince their temporal and spiritual, with which we are blessed. understandings of the obligations which lay upon We have the word of God in a language which we them, to worship and serve him who rode for all understand, and therefore cannot honestly their help in the heavens, and whose excellence plead ignorance of his will. We have the is in the sky.' We need not inquire whether ordinances of religion established, and regularly the effects which these manifestations of divine dispensed among us, and a peculiar Llessing promised to the conscientious and devout observance will have mercy, and I will have compassion on of them. We have a throne of grace, to which whom I will have compassion. So then it is not we may come boldly, and find grace to help us in of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but every time of need.
At the right hand of the of God that showeth mercy.' He had chosen majesty on high we have an Advocate with the the seed of Abraham to be a people unto himself, Father, whose ear is ever open to the voice of our that he might manifest in them the sovereignty supplications. He marks the sorrow, which a sense of his counsels, and the freeness of his love. He of our unworthiness, and the recollection of our called them in their great progenitor, and the transgressions, awaken within us. He listens to covenant into which he entered with the our prayers for pardon, and for omnipotent strength father of the faithful, not only in his own name, to be made perfect in weakness. •Father, for- but in the name of his posterity, was to continue give them,' is the request of our great Intercessor. for ever. The breach of it on their part might, His blood was shed, his mediation prevails, and and would, and did for a time deprive them of we receive an answer of peace.
the blessings, temporal and spiritual, included in Let us meditate also on the long-suffering the solemn transaction, but he did not cast them goodness of God,' often provoked, and yet wait off for ever. • He will not alter the thing that ing,' as patiently as ever to be gracious, because is gone out of his lips. This pledge of divine he delighiteth in mercy.' He has borne with the faithfulness has been, and is the security of the sins of our youth, and with the iniquities of our Jews. They are, notwithstanding, of their outmaturer years. He has hitherto watched over, cast and deserted condition, still beloved for their and provided for us in the wilderness,' though father's sake. They are preserved amidst all like the sons of Jacob, we have often turned their wanderings and oppressions as a distinct back and tempted God, and limited the Holy community; and God will yet · remember them, One of Israel.' Let us fear then, lest he should the kindness of their youth, the love of their • be weary with repenting, and make a way to espousals when they went after him in the his anger,
and spare not our souls from death, wilderness, in a land that was not sown.' Israel but give over our life to the destroyer, and assign shall then be what he once was, “holiness unto us our portion in the regions of outer darkness, the Lord, and the first-fruits of his increase. All where he hath forgotten to be gracious, and where that devour him shall offend: evil shall come there is no place of repentance, though we should upon them, saith the Lord.' And in precisely seek it carefully with tears.' • Who can under- the same manner will God act towards all in stand bis errors? Cleanse thou me from secret every age who are in the blessed state of 63 faults. Keep back thy servant also from pre- chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar sumptuous sins: let them not have dominion over people," elected for the very purpose of showing me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent forth the praises of Him who hath called us out from the great transgression. Let the words of of darkness into his marvellous light. The exmy mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be perience of every believer supplies him with peracceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and petually recurring proofs of this eternal and soulmy Redeemer.'
satisfying truth. Who of us, really entitled to the name of Christians, are there that have not had abundant reason to regard him as faithful
who hath promised, and who also hath done it? Thirty-First Day.—EVENING.
Who of us are there who have not heard the voice · For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye word, and our very sins themselves, testifying that
of our consciences, and the declarations of God's sons of Jacob are not consumed,' Mal. iii. 6.
our backslidings are multiplied, that our provoGod is the self-existent Jehovah, the ‘Am that I cations are numberless, and that our continued Am,'and therefore 'without variableness or shadow privileges are to be accounted for only on the of turning. He is equally unchangeable in his ground that the Lord whom we have offended is ungoodness and in his severity. His purpose shall changeable, and that his electing 'mercy endureth stand, and he will do all his pleasure. His for ever? Had his purposes depended on our decrees originated with himself and are coeval conduct, the Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof with eternity. “Jehovah is his name for ever, in time of trouble,' because a time of forgetfulness and this is his memorial to all generations.' of God, would have been “as a stranger in the · For he saith not only to Moses,' but he said it land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth'not from everlasting, "I will have mercy on whom I aside to tarry'even for a night. He would