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justly deserved wrath. For unbelief shuts up every avenue of the soul against the light, truth, peace, and love of the word of God. But, O amazing love! lie in the dust, O my soul ! adore the power of our all-conquering Saviour. The gracious Spirit makes gracious words effectual. Hence, faith esteems every portion of the gospel as the food, life, and joy of the soul. By the Spirit's agency the word begets faith ; and then works effectually in believing hearts.
They speak unadvisedly, who call the word of God a dead letter. Indeed, Paul saith, “the letter killeth." But this can never prove God's word to be dead. That which is dead itself cannot kill. We should distinguish between the letter of the law, which killeth all flesh, and the gospel of grace, that worketh life and salvation in all who believe. When we read the word of God, we should never consider it distinct from the essential and personal word Jesus. He is emphatically styled "The Word of God," Rev. xix. 13. He who executed all the purposes of the word of truth, works effectually in the hearts of the children of faith. Hence, the once despised and lightly esteemed Nazarene is known, believed in, and loved, as most precious, the chief among ten thousand; yea, as altogether lovely. God's precious promises in him, once wholly disregarded, are now richly prized. They are beheld as sweetly ranged, and profusely scattered through every page of the lively oracles. The Spirit's holy gifts and sanctifying graces, are pleaded as God's blessed charter of free grace. All his sovereign edicts, and absolute declarations of grace and salvation, instead of being proudly cavilled against, are bowed down to with humility. In the word of our King, there is power. Sin and Satan are dethroned in the heart, and Jesus rules and reigns in the soul. Thus the word of God is quick and powerful. Thus it works effectually to salvation. Faith cometh by hearing the word of God, Rom. x. 17.
Nov. 25.--For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.-Phil. i. 21.
O happy soul, who can thus say with Paul, “In life, in death, Christ is my gain." Verily, if thou believest in Christ, thou mayest. Thou hast the same right and reason he bad. Paul was a sinner, even as thou art; but Christ was all his gain. So he is to all who believe in him. Come, christian, let us state our loss and gain, and see the sum total to-day. In self-righteousness before God, peace with, love to, hope in, power to please, enjoyment of God, the life of our souls, yea, our souls are all lost. We are all a lump of sin; bankrupt sinners; insolvent debtors to law and justice; and deserve the prison of hell. Awful loss !
What is our gain? Inestimable riches ! nothing less than precious Christ, and a precious salvation. Is his dear name enrolled in our hearts ? Can we read Jesus there ? then we have perfect righteousness, full acceptance, free access, love from, peace with, hope of enjoying, yea, present fellowship with God. We are his children in Christ. All that he has is ours. His every attribute is engaged for us. His Spirit is ours, to make us holy and happy, and lead us to eternal felicity—but, “I am put to a stand in my reckoning; though Christ is my gain, yet I have not lost my burden. Sin is still alive in me.” Stop not, O soul. Reckon on. Though we have sin, and feel sin raging and rebelling, yet, in Christ, we have gained a sacrifice for it, and redemption from it. He hath put away all sin from us, and all wrath due to us, from the justice of God. So it stands upon record in the court of heaven. The Holy Ghost is witness of it to us on earth. Record this in the court of conscience. Faith can show a discharge from the guilt of sin and the curse of the law; therefore reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. Dead indeed! how emphatic! yes, as much dead to sin as a corpse under ground; and as much alive to God in Christ, as though we had never sinned, nor have any sin
in us. “For," O precious words! “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death,” Rom. viii. 2. Thus, in Christ, we gain a perfect victory over sin and the law. But sin will destroy our mortal bodies: let it. This is all it can do. It can't hurt our immortal souls. For, thanks be to God, we have victory over death. Christ is our gain in death. We shall lose nothing by it but sin and sorrow; we shall gain eternal glory. "We shall be ever with the Lord.” “I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,” Phil. iii. 8.
Nov. 26.—Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see him.-Rev. i. 7. : With what ardour of heart may every believer cry out, Blessed - be God, every hour brings nearer the solemn advent, the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus ! “O christians, now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed." Come, thou once despised Nazarene, thou once crucified Saviour. He shall come. He will come quickly, and be seen in his human form. Shall we not see those wounds and scars in his body, the tokens of his inestimable love to, and perfect victory of his cross for, us poor sinners ? How joyful in the exercise of faith, the fervour of love, the expectation of hope, is this contemplation! This quells the fears of nature, mortifies its lusts, subdues its corruption. To this end we are born again of the Spirit, that we should enjoy the visions of faith, see Jesus, live by faith on him, have fellowship with him, in the sufferings of his cross, and long for his appearing in glory. Then shall we share with him in the glories of his kingdom. “He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe." Believe steadfastly; hope constantly; obey cheerfully.
Whence then our dejection of mind, our fear of
death, our unwillingness to be absent from the body that we may be present with the Lord ?” Truly, all this ariseth from the mystery of iniquity, which worketh
But here is our wisdom, to oppose the mystery of faith to that. Never venture to think of your own dying, without considering the death of Jesus. Look not at your own sins, without looking at the blood of Jesus. Think not a moment of his appearing as a Judge, without remembering him as our precious Saviour. Dwell not on the glory and majesty of his eternal power and Godhead, without reflecting on his humble form, his manhood state. Conceive not of him as a King and Lawgiver, without considering him as a Priest to atone for our sin, an Advocate to plead our cause, and our Forerunner entered into the heavens for
For so shall we daily prove, that we are more than conquerors over every foe, that opposeth the holiness and comfort of our souls, through Jesus, who loved us.
Behold, he cometh !" O joyful day! most desirable sight! Then our sorrows, our fears shall for ever cease, Then our eyes shall see our dearest Friend ; and our foes, that we this day find and feel, we shall see no more for ever.
" To them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation." Lift up your heads with joy, for your redemption draweth nigh, Luke xxi. 28.
Nov. 27.—Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.-Psalm lxxiii. 24.
That is a precious caution, “ Judge not according to the appearance,” John vii. 24. St. Paul reproves saints, “Do ye look on things after the outward appearance ?” 2 Cor. x. 7. Through this, saints in all ages have puzzled their minds, distressed their souls; and have been tempted to hard thoughts of their God. They have not "judged righteous judgment," in respect to carnal men, and the dispensations of God's providence to them.
So we see Job greatly exercised, Job xxi. 7, and Asaph, in the above Psalm. But, after the cloud of carnal reasoning and unbelief passed over their minds, the sun of glory and truth shone again with splendor upon them: then faith puts forth its lively exercises, and sweet appropriations of God. “O my God and Saviour, I see thy ways to man are just! Righteous art thou, O Lord. Thou art my God, I will love thee. Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel," &c. As the Lord is often said to make a covenant with his people, when only renewing his old covenant of grace and love in Christ Jesus ; so faith frequently makes a fresh choice of, claim to, and glory in, the Lord Jesus. “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure," saith the Lord, Isa. xlvi. 10. Amen, saith the believing heart. By thy word and Spirit guide me continually. I cannot guide myself. Jesus, be thou my guide, my companion, and my familiar friend.
Blessed christian! though in Paul's case, (Acts xxvii. 20,) when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, when no small tempest is upon thee, and all hope of being saved seems taken away; yet Jesus is at the helm. Thy vessel shall ride out every storm. He will guide thee safe to the haven of glory. Some seem so wholly taken up with prying into the secret purposes and inscrutable depths of God's decrees, that they take no heed to their steps; but, like the philosopher, who was so intent in observing the starry heavens, that, being careless of his walk, he fell into a ditch. Not God's secret purposes, but his revealed truths, are the objects of our faith ; "his word is a light to our feet.” By that he counsels and directs us. His gracious Spirit leads and guides us in the paths of peace and holiness. Regenerate souls love God's word, the way of holiness, and long for glory. In this, the children of God are manifest. God will most certainly receive all such to glory. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” Rom. viii. 14.