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JANUARY 5. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.—2 Tim. iii. 12. The world hath hated them, because they are not of the world.John xvii. 14.
The children of God do not love and please the world, and are oftentimes greatly afflicted on account of abounding wickedness, and particularly the profanation of the Lord's name. Now, when you can love the world, and the world can love you, there must be much worldliness in you; for the world loves its own.
Many pretend to be Christians, but they will not endure persecution. Instead of this, they blame others for too much rashness, and not acting prudently enough to avoid the mockings and hatred of the world. Therefore, they propose to take wiser measures; and, in order to do more good, take great care not to be despised and ejected; but under this pretence of wisdom and prudence, very often lie concealed a dangerous love of the world and fear of man. Be thou nobler minded, live as a Christian indeed, and be not ashamed to bear the Cross of Christ. “The disciple is not above his Master." Has eternal love, wisdom and power, endured the contradiction and reproach of sinners ? Thou shouldst be wiser than Him indeed if thou couldst escape the reproach and hatred of the world,
May but His grace my soul renew,
God's furnace doth in Zion stand;
But Zion's God stands by,
With an observant eye.
JANUARY 6. All things are possible to him that believeth.
Mark ix. 23. Faith is the principal thing in the Christian religion. It is the spiritual eye, enlightening the mind, directing the feet, and cheering the heart. The whole turns upon it. As our faith is, so is our strength and fruitfulness in good works; but, at the same time, there is nothing more out of our own power than to believe, even after the work of grace has been actually wrought in our hearts; therefore nothing is more needful than to pray
for faith as long as we live. May the Lord give and increase it continually! Nothing can be stronger in the universe than the hand of Faith. By this we lay sure hold on our most glorious and Almighty Lord in heaven; and such an inviolable union is established between Christ and a believing soul, that none can separate the one from the other. All the powers of hell and sin avail nothing against it! Faith breaks through the greatest obstacles, removes mountains of difficulties, and has, as it were, a kind of omnipotence in it; “for this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John V. 4). Nay, it even wrestles with God and prevails (Gen. xxxii. 28). As straw cannot withstand the force of fire, so God, being a wall of fire around His people, the greatest power of our mighty enemies shall be consumed like the stubble. Oh ! then, look upon Him steadfastly, my soul, and believe in Him with a simple heart. Wondrous are His ways with His people, and past finding out; but, at last, all their sorrows and strife must come to a triumphant end.
Oh ! let us go from strength to strength,
From grace to greater grace!
Till we behold thy face !