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contented, resting in ease and indolence may suffice, when doctrines are only received as notions in the head. Truths may be assented to in the judgment, as dry speculations, so as to engage the tongue, without warming and influencing the heart, and producing the fruits of holiness in the life. If sitting still and talking, or walking contrary to the hope of the gospel, be to imitate the apostle's blessed conduct, followers of him abound greatly everywhere. But the truth received in the love of it excites to activity.
Says the christian, "I press forwards," like a racer, who considers the mark before him, turns his back upon the place he set out from, and is solicitous so to run that he may obtain the prize. Jesus is the christian's mark, he presses towards him; he is solicitous to enjoy much of Christ below; he longs for full enjoyment of him above. This is our glorious high calling. What can be put in competition with it? the world, with all its sinful customs, vain pleasures, and carnal delights? No, we forsake these, and leave them behind
We fear being entangled with the objects of time and sense; preferring Jesus above all. Earthly things grow more and more mean and contemptible to us. The more we see our all in Jesus, and expect all from him, so much the more we press towards him. Hence, means of grace are prized, ordinances attended, Christ's word is precious, the prize glorious. Thou man of God, ever exercise a godly jealousy of being brought into bondage to the world or the flesh. Remember, how unloving, how dishonourable thou actest, when any object engages thy attention, and rivals thy Saviour. “So run that you may obtain,” 1 Cor. ix. 24.
JULY 26.-If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.--1 John ii. 15.
The voice of carnal reason cries, "God hath created passions within us, therefore gratify them.” At this bar, inconsistency is pronounced upon scripture. But the voice of inspiration proclaims, “ The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are not of the Father:" therefore crucify them. Let no disci. ple of Jesus think this a hard saying. Nay, but the soul can find no happiness, but in the love of God. If other objects attract our affections to seek happiness in them, as they stand in competition with, so they will keep us from the sense of, the love of God. Where the treasure is, there will the heart be. When the love of God lives in the heart, the love of the world dies. If the love of the world gains the affections, the love of the Father subsides. We can no more love two such contrary objects with a supreme love, than we can exist in time and eternity, in heaven and on earth at one and the same time; one will necessarily give place to the other, in experience and enjoyment. The gratifications of the flesh, vain indulgences of pleasing the eye, with whatever promotes the pride of nature; the riches, pleasures, honours of this perishing world, are all contrary to the love of God in the heart, which is the essence of all true holiness and real happiness. These things war against the soul. Alas! awful instances we see, of many professors being bewitched and insnared by the enchanting allurements of the world, to forsake Jesus, and the hope of the gospel. Melancholy complaint of St. Paul, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world," 2 Tim. iv. 10. Saints are delivered from this evil world. They are redeemed from a vain conversation by Jesus. They are forbidden by his Spirit to be conformed to the world. Oh! it is a blessed thing to die to the world before we die in it. The men of this world are declared enemies to God's children. It is our wisdom ever to be on our guard against them. Though it is our duty to behave with all kindness and courtesy, to do them all the good in our power; yet, let us beware they do us no harm. “ Can a man take fire in his bosom, and not be burnt ?" Prov. vi. 27. Close intimacy with carnal friends exposes to danger. Alluring smiles from them often wound deep, where open opposition could do no harm. What is all the gain of the world to the happy sense of God's love? He who buys a fine suit of clothes, though ever so cheap, infected with the plague, hath no great bargain. "The friendship of this world is enmity with God." James iv. 4.
JULY 27.-In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.--Isa. xxvi. 8.
Herein appears the wisdom and glory of our Lord. He hath ordained the way wherein his people should walk, as well as the end which they shall surely enjoy, salvation. Thus it is manifested, by perseverance in grace and holiness, that any sinner is effectually called, to the knowledge of Jesus, and salvation by him.
Though, in regeneration, the carnality and corruption of our nature are not destroyed, yet by the word and Spirit, souls are possessed with a desire after Jesus, and the sweet remembrance of his name is fixed in the heart. He is all their desire, and all their salvation. They know and feel themselves to be poor and lost. They are humbled in soul. Hope from every object but Christ is cut off. But yet, some cannot speak of such manifestations of joy and tokens of comfort which others tell of. Hence they distress and disquiet their minds, are ready to question whether they have any true knowledge of, love to, and interest in the Lord. But this is not right. For it is plain and evident, where there is a desire of soul to the name of Jesus, and a remembrance in the heart of his salvation, as our only hope ; this ariseth from a degree of knowledge and faith; and love also, in proportion, is drawn out after precious Christ. Such will be found waiting upon the Lord, for they see his grace.
There is something in the name of Jesus that is attracting; that in the nature of his work and salvation, which suits their desperate state, and which they love to hear of, and wait for. The secret power of the Spirit inclines the heart in the way of God's judgments, in the ordinances of his house, in private duties, secret meditation and reading, &c. Yea, though in distress and affliction, still they wait upon, yea, wait for the Lord, for more knowledge, stronger faith, greater love.
Therefore, those who lightly esteem, yea, speak contemptuously of such “good desires,” speak unadvisedly with their lips; they “make sad the heart of the righteous, whom the Lord would not have made sad.” Jesus doth not despise “the day of small things." He loves the weakest lamb in his flock; he delights in the small. est work of his own Spirit; he doth not despise the least desire of the soul toward him; his loving heart will not "break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, till he sends forth judgment unto victory," Matt. xii. 20.
JULY 28.-I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts; according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.-Haggai ii, 4, 5.
When the Lord calls his people to a great work, or grievous sufferings, he animates them with strong consolations. For, as their day is their strength shall be. This passage shines bright, as manifesting the most comforting views, and clearest discoveries, of covenant grace and love to saints of old, engaged in a very arduous work of Jehovah. “Whatever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we might have hope." Our hope, is established and strengthened through patience and comfort of the scriptures. And, as they encourage our hope, they also forbid our fears; as if salvation was precarious and uncertain, or the foundation of hope rested upon conditions we must fulfil to secure it. Blessed be God, faith hath a surer anchor-hold, even the word, covenant, and oath of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit. The knowledge of this, under all discouraging views of nature and sense, lifts the believer above himself; and makes him triumph in the everlasting, unchanging love, and sovereign grace, of the glorious Trinity. So God's children, in every age, feed upon one and the same bread of life, Jesus. He is the Logos, the Word, with whom the Father covenanted for sinners. According to this, his love was toward us even while in our natural state. Yea, the love of the Lord of hosts is the cause of our deliverance from it, and conversion to his blessed self: so, also, his Spirit remaineth with us. By his agency, our blind eyes are enlightened, to see the glory and suitableness of Jesus; our deaf ears opened, to hear his loving voice; an understanding heart is given us, to disclaim all other hope, choose Jesus, believe in, and love him, as our only precious Saviour. What blessed confidence is this! We are exhorted, “hold it fast.” “Fear ye not, saith the Lord, I am with you.” Fear and distrust are most unreasonable; pride and self-glorying most abominable; sin and 'disobedience most hateful; love, humility, and gratitude, most powerfully operate upon highly-favoured hearts. Hence, faith in a covenant God, and his loving declarations, ever excite the most generous expressions. “What shall I render unto the Lord, for all his benefits? Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living," Psal. cxvi. 8, 9, 12.