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friends, O beloved, drink! yea, drink abundantly," Song v. 1. This fountain is ever free, full, and inex. haustible. Why, Oh, why then are we not always joyful? Why do we ever complain for want of comfort ? This well is ever open; this fountain ever near. Why do we so much neglect, so often forsake this fountain of living waters ? Where is our faith? Why is that precious grace given us, but for use and exercise ? so shall we the more glorify the God of all consolation: be refreshed in our spirits and made fruitful in our lives; and our thirst after the perishing comforts of time and sense allayed. For, saith Jesus, " Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst," John iv. 14.
APRIL 7.-Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ. Gal. ii. 16.
"We therefore do make this definition of a christian, that he is not one who is without sin, but one to whom God imputeth not sin, through faith in Christ. Here we must be nothing at all, but only receive the treasure, which is Christ, and apprehend him in our hearts by faith, though we feel ourselves to be ever so full of sin. Thus God will glorify his Son, and be glorified in us through him." Thus speaketh Luther. Having the same spirit of faith, we thus speak, make the same confession, rejoice in the same hope, are justified by the same Jesus, comforted by the same truth, sanctified by the same Spirit, are heirs of the same promises, and entitled to the same kingdom. And ever remember, all is of free grace.
Here the most dignified apostle, as well as the most obscure sinner, are upon a level. There is no difference. Both have the same evils to be delivered from, the same objects to be saved by; both believe in one Jesus, to the same blessed end, to enjoy peace and pardon from God the Father. In the knowledge of this consists all our comfort; and for this, as poor needy sinners, we are constantly to cleave to Jesus from hour to hour. Have we believed, many years since, that we might be justified? True, once justified, and ever so: never after condemned, as viewed in Jesus in the sight of God. For “who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" Rom. viii. 33, 34. But how is it now in our consciences? Faith is a rooted grace; it cannot be lost. Love is its inseparable companion; sweet peace is its blessed fruit. But, “Do ye now believe?" said Jesus. Have you the love of God now in you? doth the sense of peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, now abide in the heart? If not, intervening clouds from the world, sin, Satan, or the law, intercept the light of God's countenance, and the sunshine of his love. What then? must we live and die without hope? No; blessed be God, he rests in his love: it is ever the
Jesus ever lives and prays; gospel-grace is still proclaimed to the wretched. Come, as at the beginning, to Jesus, owning sin, grieving for folly; and believe in him, that you may be justified in your consciences, and have a fresh sense of pardon and peace. You can find nothing but sin and misery, while you stay away from Christ. "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee, for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee," Psalm ix. 10.
APRIL 8.—Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.—Psalm xxxvii. 5.
We are too apt to forget where we are, what we are called to, and whither we are going. When we take a survey of the present state of men and things, judge according to appearances, to nature and sense, and see one event happen alike to all, we are ready to ask, what
advantage then hath the christian ? or what profit is there to new-born believing souls? Much every way. For unto them, chiefly, are committed the lively oracles of God. The Bible is an epistle of love. The tender affections of our loving Father, the living and dying compassions of our elder brother Jesus, breathe in every page. Here we see the various conflicts and trials our former brethren in the flesh were exercised with ; how they were supported under and carried through all, safe to glory; and this, by the very same grace and power which are still our happy portion. They, being dead, yet speak to us; to animate and encourage our hearts, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. We see in them, the inexplicable mysteries of providence unveiled; and how, out of the weakness of nature, they were made strong in grace.
It is the glory of believers to take their views, and form their judgment from God's truths; to oppose nature, sense, and feeling; to stand still, and wait for the salvation of God; to omit no appointed means, but to be diligent in the ways of God, patiently submitting every issue to his wisdom and goodness. This is the obedience of faith, it is attended with the patience of hope, and the issue is always determined in love. It is impossible it should be otherwise. For it is the immutable decree of heaven: "all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to his purpose," Rom. viii. 28.
Committing our way to God unburdens the mind; trusting our all to him makes the heart quite easy; relying on him, to bring our concerns to pass, makes the spirit joyful. But when carnal reason is suffered to make its report, then, with Jacob, we cry, “ All these things are against us." Hence, fainting and drooping come from fear, fear from doubting, doubting from unbelief, and unbelief chiefly prevails through ignorance and inattention to God's word of grace, covenant love, precious promises, and solemn oath in Christ. Committing and trusting is thy work: to bring to pass, the Lord's. Beware of committing thy ways into his hand by prayer, and again taking them into thine own by diffidence. "I will trust, and not be afraid," Isa. xii. 2.
APRIL 9.--Thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear.-Rom. xi. 20.
So we are called upon, by the spirit of prophecy, “Behold, [give the most earnest attention, let this truth sink deep into your heart] his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him," Habak. ii. 4. Standing by faith, and living
by faith, are ever opposed to pride, vain-confidence, self-righteousness, and a high conceit of our own abilities and attainments. True faith in Jesus sinks the soul in humility, works by real love to God, is accompanied with a child-like fear of offend. ing him, and excites to a godly jealousy over our own souls, lest we fall; fall into sin, fall away from the hope of the gospel, fall away from the precious privileges of Jesus, and the comforting sense of his love. Without this, what is profession, but an empty name; talking ever so highly, but a mere sound of words; pretension to the greatest things, but a vain shadow, while the substance is not enjoyed? But our standing, living, walking, persevering, all is by faith. For faith receives and puts on Christ as our only righteousness and hope; and his omnipotence is engaged to be for us, against all that oppose us.
It is the glorying of all such, that they are "delivered out of the hands of their enemies, that they might serve God in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life," Luke i. 74, 75, and it is added, “without fear.” But, are we to cast off all kind of fear of God? No, verily: no more than faith in him, love to him, and hope of enjoying him. Most of all ought we to dread such a state, the Lord himself being judge. “Know therefore, and see, that it is an evil and bitter thing, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts," Jer. ii. 19. Glory to Jesus, by his grace the bands of legal bondage are broken asunder; the cords of slavish fear, of wrath and hell, are cast from us; yet faith and fear go hand in hand. And this is the blessedness of everlasting love and new.covenant grace, " I, saith Jehovah, will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from
me.” So shall they fear me for ever for their good, Jer. xxxii. 40. This is the precious fear the apostle exhorts to, which is ever to be cherished in the heart, and attended to in our daily walk. A fear of departing from the Lord tends to keep the soul close to him. Fear of offending causes watchfulness. Hope in a sin-pardoning God produceth fear. A sense of pardon increaseth it. There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared,” Psal. cxxx. 4. “Happy is the man who feareth alway: but he who hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief," Prov. xxviii. 14.
APRIL 10.-Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.--Psalm cxix. 49.
It is not natural to us to hope in God's word. This the power of God causeth us to do. Where there is true knowledge of Jesus, the essential Word, there will be a real esteem for the scriptures, the written word of Jehovah. The same Spirit, that dwelt in Jesus, dictated the truths concerning him ; and the same Spirit testifies of Jesus, in the hearts of his children. By the word, we are favoured with clear ideas, just conceptions, and encouraging views of the truths of grace and salvation. Hence, we have the firmest foundation, the strongest confidence, and fullest assurance to build our faith and hope upon. Hence, also, we are emboldened to draw nigh to a throne of grace, to plead our cause,