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can the believing heart rest satisfied nor be truly happy without them. Its cry is, None but Christ. What are the smiles of the world, if Jesus frowns? What is life itself, without his presence and favour? His presence creates a paradise. Nearness to him is heaven on earth. His cross is our glory. His kisses, our comfort. “For thy love is better than wine." I have tasted both. I have felt the sweet effects of each. Experience has taught me, that as wine revives and cheers the heart, so doth love. I cannot live without love. I cannot be happy without a sense of it. I cannot be holy, serve cheerfully, obey perfectly, nor conquer sin powerfully, but while thy love, O loving Jesus, inspires, enlivens, and influences my sluggish heart. Oh, this love is a precious plant! It springs not in nature's garden. Its original is divine. It comes from God. . "For God is love," 1 John iv. 8. Those who have obeyed the Father's voice, Kiss the Son, (Psalm ii. 12,) know, that the love of Christ passeth knowledge, Eph. iii. 19.
DEC. 2.-I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. Jer. xxxi. 3.
Thus the Lord speaks to his church, as a collected body. What foundation for comfort, what cause of rejoicing is here! But, what doubts and scruples arise in our hearts, concerning God's love to us! Why is this? Because we judge of and determine the bounds of his love, from that scanty sense and feeling we find in ourselves, instead of abiding by the Lord's own gracious declarations in his word. How absurd, to judge of the dimensions of that glorious luminary the sun, by the little light and heat we partake of Shall we conclude, from winter's severe cold, or in midnight darkness, that light and heat cease to exist in the sun? We may as well “ measure the waters in the hollow of our hand, mete out the heaven with our span, weigh the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance," as truly estimate and judge of the infinite, boundless love of God to sinners in Christ, from our perception and sense of it. Is thy heart drawn to Christ for righteousness, atonement, life, and salvation ? This is not of the will of the flesh, but of the power of God; the effects of his loving-kindness to thee. For, saith Jesus, "No man can come unto me, except the Father draw him,” John vi. 44. As the rays of light lead to the source from whence they flow, so this stream of love, in time, instructs our souls in the most comfortable truth of God's everlasting love. Think not, because you experience repentance toward God, faith in Christ, are obedient to the gospel of holiness, therefore, for these graces, the Lord begins now to love you. Oh, no! for this is reversing God's method. His love is of an earlier date. In times of darkness and desertion, and under Satan's buffetings, when thou hast no light to see thy graces, no feeling of comfort in the exercise of them, this method of judging of God's love will be most distressing to thy poor soul. Oh, may the Spirit of truth help us to judge of God's love, according to his own word of grace! "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; and therefore, for this cause, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee," from darkness to light, from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of my dear Son. Glory sball crown what grace began. What motive so powerful, what doctrine so influential, to animate the soul with fervent love, and cheerful obedience, as daily reflection, and constant belief, of the everlasting, unchangeable love of God to us, in Jesus! Nothing shall separate us from this love, Rom. viii. 39.
Dec. 3.-As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.—1 Pet. ii. 2.
“What I cannot comprehend shall never be my belief,” is the weak language of a proud sceptic. " Where I cannot comprehend I silently adore;" what I cannot explain I humbly believe, because divine truths bear this impress, "The Lord hath spoken." This is the language of a humble, gracious heart. “ Marvellous are thy works, O Lord1 in wisdom hast thou made them all.” Glorious is thy grace; in love hast thou revealed it to the children of men. Here is our wisdom, to learn the mysteries of grace from the images of nature. From these we are taught sweet and precious instructions in grace. How kindly has the God of nature provided for the infant cry of the newborn babe! It soon discovers its wants; and as if sensible of the provision it has brought, and its right to it, it scarce breathes the air, but it hunts for the breast
, and its tender appetite is drawn out after milk. No less pleased and delighted, is the affectionate mother, to administer to its wants, relieve its sorrows, and nourish her new-born infant. 'Dwelleth such love in parents to their offspring ? Infinitely greater is the love of God to his babes in Christ. Dwelleth such a disposition in the babe of nature after milk? So also is this exemplified in every child of grace, in his love to and relish for the milk of God's word. Desire it, saith he, and grow thereby. Feed on it, and be strengthened. But the Spirit of wisdom cautions us to try the milk, to see that it be sincere milk; not any milk, but the pure, unmixed milk of God's word and truth. Jesus is the very essence and substance of it. If the nourishing doctrines of God's everlasting love, and election in Christ, pardon by his blood, clothing by his righteousness, and final salvation of all his dear people through him, are omitted by ministers, they administer skimmed milk, which has lost its strengthen
ing and nourishing qualities. Hence, it will not edify, and cause the soul to "grow strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.” When from the word of God its richest qualities are extracted, carnal reason is set up, human pride established, creature-righteousness exalted, hence, instead of “growing up unto Christ in all things," professors grow down into self-complacency and vain confidence. Oh, love the revealed word above all human teaching! Prize and attend upon the faithful ministers of Jesus, to be "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine," 1 Tim. iv. 6.
DEC. 4.-Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will get deliver us.--2 Cor. i. 10.
Divine confidence is founded upon revealed truth. It arises in the heart, in proportion to the discovery of free-grace promises, to sinners in Christ. Faith looks at nothing in nature, nor in the creature; it stands not upon human probability, or rational possibility; but faith, as the queen of graces, looks wholly to the King of glory; consults the word of his truth, relies on his promises and oath, and trusts the power of an omnipotent Lord.
Past experience of former deliverances sweetly encourage us to trust God for future. So the apostles reasoned, upon temporal deliverances from the persecuting powers of earth and hell, which were engaged against them. All hope and help from the right hand and left, were cut off. In themselves they had the sentence of death. They were like malefactors, in their own apprehension, doomed to certain execution. But God had delivered them in time past; he did deliver them at the present; hence their trust was excited for future deliverance. Just so they taught and gloried in a salvation equally extensive, through all the periods of time, past, present, and to come; which should certainly issue in everlasting glory.
O believer, here is a mode of reasoning for thy soul! Exercise thy faith on things past, present, and to come. Call to mind how God in time past delivered thy soul from thy great death in trespasses and sins. In how many dangers has he kept thee! From how many snares has he delivered thee! And art thou this present hour a saved sinner, living by faith on the Son of God? Oh, see thy Lord's past mercies! Oh, consider his present blessings! Hence, honour him with the faith of thy heart, the trust of thy soul, that he will get deliver from every enemy. Art thou harassed by temptations ? Remember, thy Lord knoweth how and when to deliver out of them, 2 Pet. ii. 9. Art thou groaning under a body of sin and death; crying, wretched that I am? Exult and triumph with, “Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus." Thus study daily to live in an habitual view of thy God and Saviour. Pray and wrestle for constant applications of his grace, daily feelings of his love, by the Spirit; that every lust of thy nature be subdued, Satan fly from the resistings of faith, victory be obtained over the world, holiness made delightful, and heaven longed for. Thus "work out thy own salvation with fear and trembling; for God worketh in thee,” Phil. ii. 12, 13.
DEC. 5.-Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.-John xvii. 17.
With what confidence and joy are we assured of our sanctification, both from Christ's prayer on earth and his intercession in glory! Man cannot sanctify himself: it is the work of the Holy Spirit. He effects it by his sovereign power. Earth and hell shall not prevent it. O special mercy! not to be left with many professors, like Pilate, to demand " What is truth ?" and then turn from it as offensive, and hate and oppose it. Yet, if there be but a great cry for good works and holiness, it is enough; no matter what principles they