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JANUARY 13 David's Prayer :- Keep me as the apple of the
eye ; hide me under the shadow of thy wings.
Ps. xvii. 8. Divine Answer: He shall cover thee with His feath
ers, and under His wings shalt thou trust : His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.—Ps. xci. 4.
THERE is none, O Lord, that has more need continually to keep close to thee in prayer and faith; and at the same time none is more unable to do it than I, the least of all thy flock! Oh! that thou wouldst be graciously pleased to incline and enable me to this blessed work ! and grant that thy good Spirit, according to His own pleasure, may never suffer me to be faint and backward in the same; Whilst I truly rest my faith under the wings of thy grace, I am sure of defence, power and comfort; but as soon as I wander from thee, I am in danger of losing the comfortable sense of these privileges, and falling into various errors and perplexities. Guide me, O Lord, by thy counsel in this world, and at last receive me into glory! Amen (Ps. lxxiii. 24).
He that has made his refuge God
Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The kingdom of heaven appertains to those who repent; and the first mark of repentance is poverty of spirit; whence Jesus saith (Matt. v. 3), “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." John preached repentance; Jesus preaches it here, and so did His apostles afterward. This true repentance is necessary for all; and the beginning of it is to acknowledge ourselves poor miserable sinners, depraved by nature, and totally void of any righteousness or worth of our own-to confess our nakedness-to drop all the fig-leaves of vain excuses and false comforts—to lay open our poverty and wants before God-to accuse ourselves, and plead guilty of all our sins, but seek mercy from Christ. If we do this we are blessed, and the kingdom of heaven is ours. This poverty of spirit is both the first and last foundation laid in the heart; for the faithful are more and more grounded in poverty of spirit the nearer they approach to their consummation. “I dwell, saith He whose name is holy, with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and the heart of the contrite ones ” (Isa. lvii. 15).
Pure are the joys above the sky,
And all the region peace;
Can see or taste the bliss.
Pollution, sin, and shame;
JANUARY 3. But now, O Lord, thou art my Father: we are
the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the.. work of thy hand.—Isa. lxiv. 8; Dan. iv. 35.
BEING only clay in thy hands, O Lord, as I must not, so I would not, resist thy workings by any means; and I pray and hope thou wilt prepare and perfect me for a meet vessel of grace, in spite of a thousand hindrances. No work of thine comes ever short of its intended perfection; for who can stay thy hand ? It is thy own saying, “I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah xliii. 13.)
An artist delights in his own workmanship, and would not leave one single flaw or defect in it designedly (Phil. i. 6). Oh, then look upon me too, thou wise Creator! see how flesh and blood disorder my poor soul, and deliver me from all that may endanger my spiritual life! Knowing thou canst do no less than a human artist, who is ever ready, and exerts his skill to mend and perfect his work, I trust that thou wilt not always suffer these impediments to hinder and disgrace thy work. Nay, such is thy wisdom and power, that out of darkness thou canst bring light; out of sickness, health ; and though I am now destitute of strength and life, yet I believe thy work will be finished at last, and glorify the name of its maker (1 Pet. v. 10).
JANUARY 16. Abide in me.-John xv. 4. Lord, to whom shall
we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. --John vi. 68. It is good for me to draw near to God. I have put my trust in the Lord God. -Ps. lxxiii. 28.
To abide in Christ, who is our righteousness and strength, and not to be moved from Him, is the very life and power of Christianity. We do this when our thoughts are going out after Him, our hearts cleaving to Him, and our minds stayed upon Him. Now, to know Christ, and thus to abide in Him, as our righteousness, brings peace and joy; which joy in the Lord is certainly followed with strength to overcome sin and the world, which believers renounce the more readily, as they have found something better in Christ. May the Lord give me grace likewise immovably to abide in Him! May He strengthen me with might in the inner man,' even with the might of the Holy Spirit, that I may not only abide in Christ, but may abide with Him for evermore in the New Jerusalem which · is above.
Christ is my light, my life, my care,
My blessed hope, my heav'nly prize
My limbs, my bowels, or my eyes.
Tortures and racks may tear them off;
With their dear hold of Christ my love.
That loves thee with a flame so high,
Without the pity of thine eye ?
Have tied my heart so fast to thee,
That where thou art thy friepds must be,
JANUARY 17. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,
being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.-Gal. iii. 13, 14.
The spirit of sanctification is the gift of Christ. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ” (1 Peter i. 2). Consequently there is a great difference between moral actions done by our own strength, and true sanctification of the spirit. The latter cannot take place before the soul truly receives Christ, and abides in Him as its only propitiation, righteousness and peace; for He being first made to us of God our righteousness, will then be made our sanctification likewise (I Cor. i. 30); and the kingdom, work, and image of God, will go on best when we trust least to our own strength. Sanctification is now become a more easy task, since Christ lives and works in us, and we, in a child-like temper, live henceforth to Him who died
Let me always be as a little child—as a new-born babe, with a heart hungry for the sweet milk of the Word of God, without malice, without guile, without hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings (1 Pet. ii. 1, 2).
The law commands and makes us know
The law discovers guilt and sin,