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he requires of us. Such are the notions of a legal spirit; they are the result of pride; they swell with a vain conceit of doing something, to make God a debtor to our works; they are founded in ignorance, both of ourselves, and of the word of God's rich grace and free promises; not one of which is made, absolutely, in respect to us, or to any thing we either believe or do; but only as we are in Christ Jesus, members of him, our blessed Head; for all the promises of God are in Christ Jesus yea and amen, unto the glory of God, 2 Cor. i. 20.
Every believer in Christ is a holy, godly soul; he is exhorted to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. He has all cause for daily comfort and joy. He is fully assured of bis interest in that blessed catalogue of mercies, “ministers, the world, life, death, things present, or things to come, all are yours.” Why? wherefore has he property herein ? “Because ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's,” (1 Cor. iii. 22, 23,) there. fore he shall want nothing; he shall enjoy every thing he can will, or desire, as a godly person ; for true godliness is profitable, to bring the will into cheerful acquiescence with the will of God, and to enable the soul to say, “Thy will be done." All the blessings of providence, all the riches of grace, all the glories of eternity are secured by Jehovah's promise to the godly in Christ.
Through the faith of Jesus, godly souls are profitable to their fellow-sinners, and fellow-members in him; their good conversation, their holy walk, the Lord owns and blesses, to win others to the knowledge and love of God, to a hatred of sin, to renounce the vanities of the world, and quit the slavery of Satan.
O Christian, remember thy calling, be careful of thy walk, watchful over thy conduct; see to it, lest Jesus be wounded in the house of his friends. Pray earnestly and study daily, that thy profiting in godliness may appear to all, to the glory of him "who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Are you ambitious ? are you covetous ? do you love gain ?
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are you earnestly desirous to enjoy it? Hear, believe, and rejoice. “Godliness with contentment is great gain!" 1 Tim. vi. 6.
JAN. 10.-To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephes. i. 6.
When Jacob was about to meet his offended brother Esau, he was greatly afraid and distressed. He sends a present to appease his wrath, before he durst venture into his presence. “Peradventure he will accept of me," says he, Gen. xxxii. 20. Now, his hope was not founded on the affections of his brother, but upon the favour which his present should procure. He was influenced not by love, but fear and terror; hence his expectation arose only to a peradventure. So it is natural for sinners to conceive of and act to an offended God. Instead of believing his gospel of free grace, and confiding in his messages of rich mercy in Christ, we are prone to think of sending presents, of doing something to pacify God's wrath, and conciliate his love to us. Some terms of accommodation, some conditions of peace, we naturally think, and we hear many contend for, must be fulfilled by us. This notion keeps the soul always in suspense. It may flatter it with a Peradventure God will accept me; but there is not the least ground for hope of acceptance upon such a human system. It springs from the corrupt reasonings of man, is founded in the pride of nature, which ever rejects the faith of the gospel. · Happy for us, to "hear what God the Lord will speak; for he will speak peace to his people, and to his saints,” (Psalm lxxxv. 8,) not because of their prayers, tears, repentance, faith, or obedience; but, for an infi. nitely higher cause than all these, even because he loved them, and hath made them accepted in his beloved Son Jesus. Here are no legal ifs and peradven
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tures, but the certainty and assurance of free love and · unmerited favour. This is the most blessed, steadfast anchor-hold of faith. Its language is not, "What shall I do to be accepted ?" but, “How shall I please my God, who hath made me accepted in the Beloved ?" In this way only God secures all the praise and glory of his own grace to himself. The belief of this expands the heart with love, fires the soul with gratitude, excites to praise, and influences to all true holiness. Hell may terrify with horror, the law work wrath in the conscience, a sight of sin cause us to tremble before God; but grace, the free unmerited favour of God in Christ Jesus, that alone changes rebels to saints, subdues sin, mortifies lusts, triumphs over all the curse and ruin of the fall, and raises its happy subjects to the exalted heights of salvation and glory. Happy those, who know and believe grace reigns through the righteousness of Christ unto eternal life, Rom. v. 21.
JAN. 11.-Jesus said, Ye know not what ye ask.Mark x. 38.
Strange! what! James and John, two disciples of a despised and rejected Master, who had not where to lay his head, yet dreaming of earthly pomp, and worldly grandeur, and petitioning for the highest pitch of worldly glory? Yes, nothing less than the right hand of pre-eminence, and the left hand of power, would suit them. Human nature, how earthly, carnal, and selfish! How low are we fallen! yet how lofty in pride! What are the best of men, when left to their own spirits ? Truly, we know not what to pray for as we ought. Jesus, Master, instruct us what we are called to. Teach us what to pray for. Let thy word, "My kingdom is not of this world,” be ever uppermost in our minds!
Poor Baruch could not be honoured of God, and commissioned to read the roll to the princes of Judah,
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· but he thinks, Now I am somebody; I have got in the
way to earthly honour and preferment. But his brother, Jeremiah, is sent to him, with this question and reproof, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not,” Jer. xlv. 5. How many distresses were brought upon the children of Israel, by the mixed multitude that went with them! So the swarms of corrupt lusts, earthly affections, and carnal desires, which are found with us, are ever opposing the glory of Jesus, and exciting us to seek that happiness in nature and sense, which can only be found in the spiritual reign of Jesus in the heart.
But so kind and gracious is our dear Saviour that he crosses our wills, and denies our request, when contrary to our spiritual interest. Thus in love he answers our prayers: he withholds what we ask; he gives us what he knows is best for us. If disciples ask what it is unfit for them to receive, or unlawful to beg, shall we complain of God's love, if he denies ? Granting is not always the effect of love. If so, Paul had been less loved than Satan. Satan asked but once concerning Job, and his request was granted. Paul besought the Lord thrice, that the messenger of Satan might depart, yet was denied in that. Yea, blessed Jesus thrice prayed his Father, that the cup might pass from him, but that could not be. The Lord delights in the prosperity of his people; therefore withholds no good thing from them. Not our judgment, but his wisdom must determine this. We pray to be in the height of comfort, and on the pinnacle of joy. But love answers by keeping us in the safe vale of humility and selfabasement. Lord, what proud, aspiring creatures are we! enable us to obey thee. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God," 1 Pet. v. 6.
JAN. 12. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.-Habak. iii. 19.
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“The righteous are bold as a lion,” Prov. xxviii. 1. The words of wisdom are not like the pithy sayings of the heathen, which merely describe states to which men never arrive, and things which they never enjoy; but they assure us, such and such has been, and still is, the knowledge and experience of God's saints. So chil. dren of wisdom are taught their privileges, and their souls are drawn out in prayer and diligence, that they also may partake of the fulness of the blessings described. From whence do the righteous derive their boldness and courage? See how boldly that young stripling David advances to the mighty giant Goliath; though with but an insignificant weapon in his hand, yet he was assured of success. For the faith of Omnipotence was in his heart, and these soul-encouraging words in his mouth, “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts," 1 Sam. xvii. 45.
Faith receives all its courage and strength from its author, Jesus. It is armed with Omnipotence; therefore he saith, "All things are possible to him who believeth," Mark ix. 23. So Paul, “I can do all things." Why? because he was a great apostle? No: prophets and apostles are all of one mind, even with the weak. est believer: "It is Christ who strengthens me.” “The Lord God is my strength.” Are our hearts weak and low, ready to faint and sink? are our graces upon the decline? are our enemies strong, and our troubles increased? To whom should we fly, but to our almighty God and Saviour Jesus? For this very end he makes the feet of his dear members like hinds' feet, swift to run from danger, and to fly to him for safety; and also "to run the way of his commandments with great delight."
It is the happy privilege of such souls, to walk with composure and comfort, upon the high places of safety and security, above the reach of their implacable foes. Sweet are those seasons, when we mount up with wings as eagles, soar aloft in the exercise of faith, dwell high in the contemplation of love, converse much with Jesus