« PreviousContinue »
and do fall into many things that hurt and bruise them. This is their shame: it causes sorrow and grief, and excites watchfulness. But fall into hell they cannot, they shall not, because they are upheld by the arm of Omnipotence; who says, “I give unto them eternal life," John x. 28.
DEC. 9.—If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.Matt. xxvii. 42.
Our blessed Lord was not only crucified between two thieves, but was also surrounded on the cross, and mock and derided by the very worst sort of thieves, the chief priests, scribes, and elders. These professing ministers of Jehovah did their utmost to rob the Prince of life and Lord of glory of that honour which is ever due unto him, of being our Saviour; and, like thieves and robbers, they would
enter his kingdom some other way. Verily, he is the King of all his spiritual Israel. Every subject of his love will bow to the sovereignty of his grace, kiss the sceptre of his love, glory only in his despised cross, and rejoice that Jesus rules in and reigns over him. Most true, this
of salvation is contrary to the wisdom of the flesh, the reasonings of corrupt nature, and the pride of boasted free-will. These, by how much the more they are assisted by human learning, are so much the more strengthened and fortified against this self-denying truth, salvation by free grace, through the cross of a despised Jesus. “Their wisdom and their knowledge bad perverted them,” (says Isaiah, xlvii. 10,) or they would not have said, "Let him now come and we will believe." Poor, proud creatures! free-will is ever the same. Where it reigns, it always exalts the creature, and opposes the sovereignty of God. It prescribes methods of conviction. It refuses submission to those of infinite wisdom. Through a life of thirty years, Jesus had afforded them
the fullest conviction to their senses, and they believed not on him; neither would their hearts have been persuaded though he had come down from the cross; yea, though he actually did rise again from the dead, stili they resisted the fullest evidence; therefore they remained inexcusable.
Outward miracles and wonders may surprise the senses, but cannot work saving faith in the heart. Pride ever reigns in unregenerate hearts, and nothing but sovereign grace can subdue it. Even in hell the notion of free-will prevails. “Nay, but (said the rich man) if one went to them from the dead, they will repent,” Luke xvi. 30. Humble souls are thankful for the gift of precious faith in a precious Christ. They know it is not of themselves that they believe. Therefore they adore and love "the Author and Finisher of faith," and own it is given of distinguishing love and sovereign grace. Thus all glorying in the flesh is cut off. By faith we glory in the truth, and rejoice in Jesus only. It is not of him who willeth,” Rom. ix. 16.
DEC. 10.-To them that are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called ; mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.-Jude
We often meet with poor, trembling souls, just enlightened by the Spirit to see their misery, feel their wretchedness, and flee to Christ for hope; yet they are greatly distressed with fear, lest they should not be sanctified, but perish in their sins. But that is impossible. They do not as yet see the glorious order of the covenant, nor consider the certain security of all who are effectually called to the knowledge of Christ. For this is in consequence of their being sanctified, separated, or set apart by God the Father, as the objects of his everlasting love. For God loves them as his jewels,
and is careful to preserve them. He well knew, and clearly foresaw, the miserable effects sin would bring on them; therefore he chose them in Christ Jesus. He committed them into his hands. They are preserved safe and secure—not from falling into sin; for they are in themselves sinners; by nature, "children of wrath even as others;" and, to their after-shame and sorrow, many of them run dreadful lengths in sin, before their conversion. Some, like Saul, are mad against Jesus, the way of salvation by him, and holiness by his Spirit. But still, God bears with their manners. His long-suffering is their salvation. He is not willing that any one of them should perish. He calls all of them to repentance; and to know Christ's preciousness, in whom they are preserved.
Disciple, canst not thou look back on thy past life, and see thy many, many narrow escapes from death? How many dangers hast thou been delivered from! yea, when only one hair's breadth seemed between thee and eternity. Oh, hadst thou died in thy unregenerate state of sin and unbelief, how couldst thou have escaped the damnation of hell? But impossible this! Thou wast preserved in Jesus Christ, therefore every snare of death has been broken. Thou wast immortal, till the Spirit called thee. Think of this, and be humbled. Reflect on the love of thy God; rejoice, and give him all the glory. Thou hast not only been preserved from death and hell, but art called to life and salvation by Jesus. His life is thy righteousness, his blood thy redemption, his intercession thy salvation. And what awaits thee now ? Mercy from God the Father, peace in Christ Jesus, love from the blessed Spirit. May this be multiplied upon thee day by day! and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full," John xvi. 24.
"Ask, DEC. 11.-Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.—Luke xii. 32.
When sinners are converted, they become little in their own eyes, and see but few, comparatively, who follow the Lamb. Their former friends turn enemies. Their former hopes are cut off. They know their own strength is perfect weakness; and they feel the burden of a body of sin and death. Hence, they are often exercised with anxious cares and distressing fears. Their Saviour knows this; therefore speaks to them in love, forbids their fears, and administers the most reviving consolation.
Ye children, consider your dignity as adopted sons of God. Call to mind your honourable state; heirs of a kingdom, heirs of God the King of kings, and jointheirs with Jesus Christ your elder Brother; though, at present, ye are in a state of exile. The world knows you not. Your kindred after the flesh despise you. Carnal professors revile and persecute you. Satan is enraged to tempt and accuse you. Yea, and your worst foes are most nearly allied to you, the flesh, with its corruptions and lusts, sin and unbelief. Yet, saith the Head in glory, to his conflicting members on earth, " Fear not.” Why? what consideration can dispel the anxious fears, and alleviate the distressing doubts of drooping disciples ? Verily, the good pleasure of their Father; the eternal purposes of his grace; the im. mutable designs of his love. A kingdom is prepared for you. Earth, with all its power; sin, with all its malignity; hell, with all its rage and malice, shall never deprive you of your Father's patrimony. 'O disciple, how does this heighten the mercy, and secure the inheritance! It is a free gift, by Jesus Christ. Poor soul! thou art fearing about thy interest in and title to the kingdom of glory. Verily, thou canst find nothing in thyself to give thee the least right to it. But, thy Saviour plainly assures thee, it is of “thy Father's good pleasure.' What power can avert that? Hast thou a heart to seek the kingdom? dost thou believe in and follow the Lamb? dost thou see somewhat in Jesus which attracts thy affections ? is the desire of thy soul after him, and to the remembrance of his name? Then, hath the glory of this kingdom shined upon thine heart, by the Spirit. No marvel sin is thy grief and burden, while Jesus is the delight and hope of thy soul, May it suffice, to quiet and still thy mind, that the Father's gift is sure. And so is the way also; it is by Jesus. And “through much tribulation thou (and all the heirs) must enter into the kingdom,” Acts xiv. 22.
Dec. 12.—Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; thou hast the dew of thy youth.Psalm cx. 3.
When sovereign grace reaches the heart, it casts out that son of the bond-woman, natural free-will. This had long usurped the throne, and subjected the poor sinner to nothing but pride and evil. Yet, all the while, he vainly boasted of his liberty ; though a servile slave to the worst of drudgery. Free indeed to do evil; but to do good without power. The natural will of every sinner is as averse to turn to Jesus as the will of the devil. But, because of the free-will offering of Jesus, his members are made willing by the Spirit, to come to him, as their only hope. To him they bring free-will offerings, with holy worship. Thus Jehovah the Father speaks to the Son of his love, and gives a glorious display of the effects of everlasting election and covenant love, under the energy of the Divine Spirit. See, believer, behold and adore, the equal love of the glorious Trinity. Is thy will toward Jesus? is the language of thy heart, None but Jesus, all other saviours I disclaim ? Verily, where this will is given by the Spirit, in a day of his power, the affections are attracted to Jesus in the beauties of holiness. Dost thou not choose the sceptre of his love, to rule over thee, as well as the atonement of his blood, to obtain