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shall all my servants be." Oh, who can say how infinitely precious Jesus is to the saints above! This we must die to know. Though now, we know but in part, and see but in part; yet from what we do see and know by faith, we can say, “he is precious indeed."
However distressing our circumstances, yet he is Immanuel, God with us. Are we sick of sin ? He is our Physician. Is sin our burden? He is our Deliverer. Doth the law accuse and condemn us? He is the Lord our righteousness. Do lust and corruption rebel? He is our sanctification. Do the world, sin, and Satan, threaten our destruction? He is Jesus, our salvation; our all in all.
MARCH 5.-Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling.--2 Tim. i. 9.
Such as are our natural notions of sin and danger, such is our judgment of salvation and deliverance. In our natural state, we see only the fruits of sin in outward actions; but consider not the corrupt, cursed root from whence they spring. Hence, dead sinners think it no great matter to be saved; especially, if they have some specious show of sobriety, morality and religion. Happy souls, who have escaped this dangerous rock of pride and self-deceit! for when the scales of ignorance fall from the eyes, and the veil of unbelief is taken off the heart; when the true light shineth in the mind, and the purity and spirituality of God's holy law is made manifest in the conscience; then the sinner sees his state truly desperate. Sin appears exceedingly sinful; justly deserved hell and wrath are most dreadful. And, most deplorable of all, he finds he must utterly sink into despair and perish, for anything he is able to do to save his soul. "God be merciful to me a sinner!" is the cry of his heart. “In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book; and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity," Isa. xxix. 18. The book of God's
eternal counsel shall be disclosed, his purpose and decree of salvation shall be made known, by his revealed truth to the heart; the joyful sound of salvation by Jesus shall be heard in the soul, and the poor sinner shall see Christ's finished work as his only hope. Love presided in the counsel. Grace shall reign to salvation. The gospel trumpet sounds reconciliation to ungodly sinners, salvation for lost souls. Their good works produced it not; their sins, however numerous and great, shall not deprive them of it. We are first saved, then called to know it, and glorify God for it.
When called with an effectual call to Jesus, we enjoy hope in God, and comfort from him. Effects prove their cause. A bold assurance, that “I am elected, I know my sins are pardoned,” is not of the essence of gospel faith, or that which applies the comforts of gospel salvation to the soul; but election to salvation is made manifest by “a holy calling.” Paul not only confidently asserts he was an apostle; but “truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you,” 2 Cor. xii. 12. And verily, disciple, if thou art saved in God's purpose from eternity, redeemed by Jesus in time, effectual vocation is the consequence; whereby thou art called to enjoy a holy Saviour, by a holy faith ; art a partaker of a holy nature, and wilt show thy faith by thy works, James ii. 18.
MARCH 6.-Striving against sin.--Heb. xii. 4.
“What poor, low, legal work is this !” say some. “We are happy in Christ without such a strife.” “We are perfect, fully born again, perfectly sanctified, and freed from the being of all sin; therefore our strife is at an end,” say others. Alas! honest, upright christians are ever in danger; on the right hand, of licentiousness; on the left hand, of pride; and also, from a deceitful 'heart within. O christian, what with the white devil of pride, and the black devil of lust, thou art ever liable to be seduced from the truth. What a
mercy to have a true touchstone to try men and doctrines by! The experience of christians of old, as recorded by the Spirit of truth, affords us quite different sentiments of the influence of gospel grace. The regenerate soul being
restored to the life and love of God, by the faith of Jesus, ever, while it is imprisoned in the body, is surrounded within and without with foes of every kind. These, like mighty combatants, strive and fight against its rest, holiness, and comfort. Here the christian, under the influence of the Spirit, cannot, will not dare be passive, to suffer sin, in its tyrannizing nature, to lord it over him. But he will be active, fighting, striving, wrestling against his bosom inmate, his worst foe, indwelling sin. It reflects a dishonour both upon the Author and the grace of faith, to suppose it leaves the soul in a state of indolence, or melancholy sitting still; or, that it can be satisfied with carnal gratifications, and the sensual delights of a perishing world. No: being alive to God, possessing the faith of Jesus, we shall strive for the mastery, and be temperate in all things. Our very sighs and groans, sense of weariness and heaviness, evidence our conflicts and struggles. Our cry to Jesus for strength proves our wisdom, and forebodes our victory. Our patient enduring, submissive waiting, steady persevering, and constant striving, till deliverance, perfect deliverance is granted, show, that “we have the mind of Christ,” the life of Christ, the Spirit of Christ; that we are his beloved brethren, and shall soon be for ever with him.
Now the Lord's promise is, “I will drive out your foes by little and little.” In a very, very short time, (O christian, lift up thy head with joy, thy redemption draweth nigh,) the joyful sound of perfect victory shall be proclaimed, “and the enemies you this day see, feel, and groan under, strive and fight against, you shall see them no more for ever.” Till that glorious day arrives, hear and obey your dear Lord, "Abide in me; for without me ye can do nothing," John xy. 4, 5.
MARCH 7.—My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.-Psalm v. 3.
In the Lord we all live, move, and have our being; it is therefore the indispensable duty of all to call upon the name of the Lord. But what is a duty from nature and reason, is a rich privilege, an inestimable blessing, to the children of grace. The pouring out of the
grace and supplication, is one of those spiritual blessings, wherewith we are blessed in Christ Jesus. In the exercise of this, saints, in all ages, have experienced sweet fellowship with God, and have been indulged with those mercies they asked of him. “This is the confidence that we have in Jesus, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us," 1 John v. 14.
Prayer seems to have been the first employ of David's heart. He began the day with it. So soon as his eyes were favoured with the morning light, he directed them up unto the Lord. After his tongue had been locked in silent sleep, the first sound of his voice breathed an address to his God. Why is this holy man's practice recorded ? Doubtless for our instruction; to remind us that it is sweet to begin the day with God. Better to go from a throne of grace into the business of life, than after worldly concerns have intruded on our minds. W isest to seek and serve our best Friend first. But, is not this an affecting truth, though a throne of grace is ever accessible, though believers are always acceptable thereto in Christ, though we have the greatest encouragements to draw nigh to God, though we have so many strong corruptions, powerful lusts, and sinful passions, ever ready to break out, yet, that we should be so often beset with backwardness to prayer? May we not justly charge most of our slips and miscarriages, sins and failings, and breakings-forth of our unholy tempers, to the neglect of this duty? How ought we to begin each
day with seeking the power of the Spirit, to enable us to mortify sin, and live unto God! We complain of deadness and barrenness of soul; who can enliven and make us fruitful, but our dear Lord, whom we neglect to cry unto? If thine outward walk is a reproach, if the peace of thy mind is ruffled and disturbed, through want of peace and power from Jesus, does not thy closet testify against thee, as too much neglected? May not this accusation be justly charged upon us; "Ye have not, because ye ask not?” James iv. 2. But our Beloved invites. His command is for our blessing: "Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full, John xvi. 24.
MARCH 8.—But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.-Eph. iv. 20, 21.
Jesus, the great Prophet of his church, speaks to the hearts of his members. This is his superior excellence to all other prophets, for they can only speak to the ear. To hear a preached gospel is our constant duty. But all our profit and happiness arise from hearing the Saviour's voice to our souls. Under the outward ministry, inwardly to listen to the teachings of his Lord, should be every christian's concern. Many cry, Oh, what an excellent preacher! what a charming sermon! But why? Didst thou hear Jesus speak? did he teach? hast thou heard somewhat from him? Thou knowest, disciple, though a Paul plants, though an Apollos waters, yet, it is the Saviour's presence and power that give the increase of faith, love, peace, joy in the heart, and holiness in the life.
So the Saviour is pleased to teach. Thus disciples love to learn. Then it is well with the soul; for it refuseth to act and walk after the course of this present evil world; for he says, the Saviour hath taught me better. Why does he take pains to teach me the love