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eth things that be not as though they were," speaketh, by the Spirit of his church. By the pen of the royal prophet, the Lord describes the beauty and glory of all his members. They are viewed by God the Father, from all eternity, in Christ Jesus the heavenly Bridegroom. They are beloved and chosen in him; saved in the Lord Jesus with an everlasting salvation, Isa. xlv. 17. They are made all glorious within ; without, they are most richly clothed.
What the church is viewed from eternity, that each member is destined to, and shall be made in time. For the establishment of our faith, and comfort of hope, here is a sweet, a near, and dear relation spoken of, and which ever subsists; the church is the King of glory's daughter," the Lamb's wife,” (Rev. xxi. 9) according to the immutable law of love, which, like the laws of the Medes and the Persians, changeth not. Therefore, she shall possess her portion, and enjoy her dowry, which is designed for her. Though in herself black and deformed, yet is she most gloriously arrayed, with the perfect comeliness which Jesus puts upon her, Ezek. xvi. 14. But she knows not of, nor can glory in this outward clothing, till she is all glorious within. When the blessed Spirit hath quickened, enlightened, and possessed the soul of the rich graces of faith and love, then in a holy triumph of heavenly joy and ecstacy she cries out, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels,” &c., Isa. lxi. 10.
Thus, the righteousness, the perfect righteousness of Jesus is our clothing; like gold for its value and purity; like wrought gold, being the work of the life of Jesus, to an exact conformity of the perfect law. Our inward glory lies in the graces of the Holy Spirit, in the hidden man of the heart. By the former, we have a title to glory; by the latter, we have evidence of
interest in and meetness for it. Thus faith's views are struck from the royal signet of God's word. Woe to licentious tongues, who would deprive the church of her inward glory and holiness. Woe to those sacrilegious hands of Pharisees, who would strip the church of her glorious robe of imputed righteousness. "For, saith the Lord, I will be the glory in the midst of her. He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye,” Zech. ii. 5, 8.
MARCH 13.-Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. - Heb. iv. 7.
No marvel, that Satan, to distress sinners, and cause them to despair of God's mercies in Christ Jesus, urges this, "Your day of grace is past, the time of your visitation is ended.” Hence, many poor souls have been driven to their wits' end. And have not some preachers also, who have increased such persons' fears, by speaking in a most unscriptural manner on this point? But such are the effects of human systems and free-will notions, with their offers of Christ, and proffers of grace. I heard one declare; “This is the last offer; if it be not now accepted, eternal damnation will be the inevitable doom." Does thus preaching hell and damnation make converts to Jesus ? From such harsh, unwarrantable declarations, these unscriptural conclusions have been drawn by sensible sinners, “that they have withstood the offers of mercy; their day of grace is for ever ended ; and there is no place for repentance, though they seek it carefully with tears.” Most satanic falsehood!
Most injurious thoughts of a God of love! most dishonourable thoughts of precious Jesus! Never was any sensible sinner so willing to be saved from wrath, as Jesus was to suffer wrath for sinners. Never was any weary, heavy-ladea sinner so willing to come to Jesus, as he is to receive him. “The Lord is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," 2 Pet. iii. 9. Therefore he limiteth a certain day, the day of gospel light and salvation, the day of glad tidings to poor sinners. In the day of his power his people are made willing to trust to Jesus' blood and righteousness; come to his feet; claim him as their King, and submit to his laws and government. His voice of grace is first heard in his word ; when that is believed in the heart, his voice of love is heard in the soul. While the gospel is proclaimed, God's heart and arms are open to the chiefest and vilest sinners out of hell. His word assures, "the elect have obtained, and the rest were blinded.” But who blinds them? Not the God of love. No: "the god of this world blinds the eyes of those that believe not." Who hardens them? Not a God of grace; " but they are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." If any sinner's heart is soft and yielding to Jesus' love and salvation," it is the Lord's doing, and is marvellous in our eyes.” How long hath he waited to be gracious to thee! Reflect on thy past conduct with shame, thy present state with gratitude; look forward with hope; “walk worthy of the Lord,” Col. i. 10.
MARCH 14.-And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.—Psalm xxxix. 7.
What a blessing is inward composure of mind! How delightful an exercise is waiting upon the Lord! What a profitable privilege is prayer! How happy that soul, whose hope is in God! These are all sweet attendants upon, and promoted by the grace of faith in Christ Jesus. While that grows strong in the soul, we are lively and comfortable. Hence the disciples' petition, "Lord, increase our faith," is daily needful. Then it is well with the soul, when enabled to make this solemn appeal to its Saviour, "Thou, Lord, knowest what I long for, what I wait for, even the spiritual blessings of thy kingdom; to be more inwardly transformed into thine image, more perfectly obedient to thy will, and to obtain a more complete victory over my worst foes, sin, Satan, and the world."
Verily, the heavenly-instructed soul knows, that all this is of God by Jesus Christ; and, that the contrary to all this is from the lusts that dwell in him and evils that surround him; therefore God alone is his hope. His hope is not in his graces, his feelings, his frames, his comforts, but in the God of all grace; not in the streams, but in the fountain; not in what he has received, but in the infinite fulness which is treasured up in Jesus for the needy. Hope of salvation in Jesus is our helmet. Faith guards the heart. Hope fortifies the head. Hence, the christian lifts up his head in the day of battle, and in the hour of temptation. His head being thus armed, he dreads not divine wrath, Satan's terrors, the law's threatenings.
Thou man of God, consult not thy carnal reason; consider not thy body, which is dead, because of sin; but know, that thy spirit is life, because of righteousness. Though the law is weak through the flesh, yet grace reigns; and, through gospel grace, thou hast great and precious promises to encourage thee to hope confidently, and the omnipotent power of the Spirit to work in thee, to make thee go on cheerfully; while Jesus is the stay of thine heart, to uphold and strengthen thee. Fear not: only believe; greater is Jesus than all thine enemies. “Stronger is he who is for us, than all that are against us.” Verily thou shalt not be disappointed of thy hope, seeing it is in the Lord. Where Jesus is the object of faith, and the anchor of hope is cast within the veil, that soul shall safely and comfortably weather out' every storm, and assuredly obtain the haven of eternal rest. By faith we possess the promises. Hope expects the perfect fulfilment of them. In waiting, we renew our strength, Isa. xl. 31.
MARCH 15.-Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also that shall believe on me through their word. -John xvii. 20.
What a rich fund of comfort is here for every be. liever in the Lamb! His loving heart was not contracted, nor his eyes of compassion confined, to the little flock now with him; but he looked forward in love, his bowels of tender mercy yearned over, and his innocent tongue pleaded in behalf of all the tender lambs of his flock, through all succeeding ages, in every period of time. Yea, ere they had a being in the world, or faith in their hearts, they had an interest in Jesus' prayers; for they were given to him by the Father. Methinks one hears some poor doubting member of Jesus, saying, “Ah, if I was but sure my worthless name was written in the Lamb's book of life, if I could but know his heart of love was toward poor sinful me, that I was included in the happy catalogue of those Jesus prayed for, Oh, how happy, how joyful should I þe!" Here, thy Lord has answered thy request. Read it for the joy of thy heart, and the establishment of thy soul in faith and love. Hast thou heard the apostolic truth, Salvation by Jesus Christ? is it glad tidings to thy heart? Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour of the lost and guilty-as the only hope for thy, otherwise, hopeless soul? If so, verily thou hast as much reason to conclude Jesus prayed for thee, as though thy name was written at full length in this very petition. Jesus prays for all who shall believe on him through the apostle's word.
The whole of salvation is sure to all believers, even the weakest of all, from the covenant, from Jesus, from the Spirit, and from the oath and promises of God. Though there is a sea of corruption and sin in thy nature, a world of temptations around thee, legions of devils in battle-array against thy poor soul; yet, as thou hast the faith of God's elect in thine heart, be it ever so weak, thou art possessed of a precious jewel, which