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Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee
now? I will lay down my life for thy sake....John xiii. 37.
PETER seems now in a special frame indeed: all is warmth of love and sunshine of joy. Ecstacies carry us out of ourselves; we forget what we are, where we are, what we are exposed to, and what may soon befal us. Like Peter on the mount, we are apt to speak without due consideration : we know not what we say: the fire of passion exceeds the bounds of solid judgment. “Why cannot I follow thee now? Let the way be strewed with ever so many difficulties, let never so many dangers oppose, nothing is able to dismay or dishearten me: I have just now, such fervent love to thee, that I could face death in the most frightful form, and lay down my life with the greatest pleasure for thy sake.” Doubtless Peter now thought himself perfect and free from all sin. What thinkest, O soul, is Peter's language becoming him or not? Is it not a noble and generous declaration? Art thou ready to say, I wish I could boldly say so too? Ah, soul! whatever thou mayest think of these high flown expressions, our Lord soon took poor Peter down. Do not be discouraged at hearing professors speak great swelling words: I was once, when a person said, “this world is nothing to me: it is quite under my feet: I have so much love that I care no more about the world than if I was not in it.” Lord, thought I, what a wretch am I! Not fit to be thy disciple. But, alas ! in a little time, the world atiracted that same person (I fear) from Jesus, un
Beware of self-confidence; live low, lie low, think low, speak low of thyself, let thy frames be what they may. Now hear our Lord's reply to Peter: “ wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake?” I do not question thy sincerity, but I do thy strength: I pity thy vain confidence: I am concerned for thy self-sufficiency: poor vain man, thou hast turned thine eye from my love to thine own, thou trustest in the glow of thine affections, thy confidence is in thy fine frames and warm feelings, instead of my love to thee and my power to uphold thee: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, (instead of laying down thy life for me) the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice.” What shall we say to this? Verily, every inan at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Consider, this.... Psalm xxxix. 5. And ever remember the unchangeable love of Christ to such poor, vain, changeable creatures. Well may he say, “I am the LORD, I change not, therefore ye are not consumed.".... Mal. iii. 6.
der its power.
Now warm with love our souls are bold, Love follows us thro' all our ways, For Christ we count all things but loss: Melts down and breaks our stubborn Anon, alas, our hearts grow cold, The love of Jesus ne'er decays, [hearts, We shrink and flee from ev'ry cross.
But saves us from all hellish arts. M.
Worthy is the Lamb.... Rev. v. 12.
This the song, this the glory of angels and redeemed sinners in heaven. To know, believe in, love and follow this Lamb, constitutes our heaven upon earth. Sin is our hell: but this Lamb of God taketh away our sin; then heaven is in our souls. O, that ever we should be ashamed of this Lamb, who is heaven's wonder and heaven's glory! Is not this thought of being ashamed of God's Lamb, like a dagger to one's heart? Lamb of God have mercy upon us ! Why is our dear Saviour called a LAMB? Ist. Because of his immaculate purity; he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, without a spot of sin or stain of impurity. 2d. He was meek and inoffensive like a lamb. A lamb has no weapon of hostility : it never hurts any one: it cannot defend itself against assaults: it becomes an easy prey: all this Christ was in his life. Therefore, 3d. Like a lamb he was taken and slain: he was the very paschal Lamb, to take away our sin by his blood. 4th. A slain lamb is precious for food and useful for clothing: so is Jesus: his flesh is meat indeed; his blood is drink indeed; his righteousness is the clothing of our souls: we live by feeding on his flesh and blood; we are justified in his righteousness; our sins are washed away in his precious blood; our souls are perfect before God, in his glorious righteousness. Can you say from your inmost soul, WORTHY IS THE LAMB! Then. you have got the grace of heaven in your hearts. Proclaim it ALOUD, as they do in glory, with your lips; and shew it forth in your life: study to walk worthy of the lamb; look at your sins ; humble yourself before the LAMB; honor him by believing that he has atoned for them and took them ale away from before God, by his blood. Look at yourself as a sinner, whose nature is black as hell and deformedi as a devil; glorify the Lane for redeeming you to God by his blood; presenting you before God in his righteousness, and making your one with God, by his grace ; look constantly on yourself as a saved: sinner by the LAMB; have nothing to do with any other name under heaven for salvation from sin, death and hell. Of all the faith of your heart, the love of your soul, and glory of your life, WORTHY IS THE LAM B.... And, o let it be the daily joy and rejoicing of your spirit, that you, a vile sinner, shall soon join the redeemed around his throne, incessantly and eternally to shout his praise who hath. washed us from our sins in his own blood.
O for an heart to love and praise More of thy comförts shed abroad, The Lamb who dy'd for sin,
O God, the Holy Ghost; Who loves and keeps us all our days, That we may love our dying Lord, And sanctifies within.
And.crucify each lust.
Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in
mities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.... 2 Cor. xii. 9.
Tuoveu Paul is not now in the third heavens, yet he is not con: tent to speak any language below the superlative degree, MOST GLADLY. O, says he, “I have had the richest experience of my own weakness and impotence that ever I had in my life : I should be most glad every day to be thus emptied and laid low at the feet of Christ, that the all-sufficiency of his grace and the power of his strength might be made perfect in me. What does he mean by infirmities? All that weakness, feebleness and inability which hę found in his nature to withstand sin and satan, to bear up under his crosses, trials and distresses, to run the way of God's commandments, to fight the good fight of faith, &c. I will rather glory in these. What means he? I will glory, rejoice and be glad, that self is laid low, my proud nature debased, my self-exalting views brought down, and that I be entirely emptied of all self-sufficiency. I will RATHER glory in this, than in any thing else. Why so ? “ That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” When full of the pride of nature and self-sufficiency, the soul sees not the need of Christ's grace, A full stomach loaths the honey-comb. When strong in nature's power, the strength of Christ is not sought after: but when satan buffets, infirmities prevail, nature fails and sinks, hope and help from self forsake us, then the Saviour is sought to; the soul goes right humbly to the Lord. The sinner's extremity is the Lord's opportunity. When Peter begins to sink, self-confidence forsakes hini, and he eries, Lord save or I perish : then Christ exerts his power and saves him. When satan thinks to buffet Paul out of his faith and hope in the Lord, he only buffets him out of his self-exaltings and self-confidence: he drives him to the throne of grace : he besought the Lord again and again; the Lord delivers not, but only tells him, my grace is sufficient for thee: Paul felt the power of Christ resting upon him. Learn hence, () soul, not to be distressed at thy infirmities, a sense of thy weakness and emptiness : glory in them, that Christ may be glorified by thee, in causing his power to rest upon thee; for, mind that precious word of his, let thy weak and infirm spirit hang upon it from day to day ; " He giveth power to the faint : and to them who have no might he increaseth strength.".... Isaiah xl. 29. Tho' weak to stand, and prone to fall, When weak and faint we find our heart, Yer we, alas, are full of pride! Still will we glory in thy pow'r: O Saviour dear, on thee we call, Thy strength’ning grace shall ne'er de Humble and keep us near thy side.
part, From thine in their distressing hour. M.
I said in my haste, all men are liars....Psalm. cxvi. 11,
We are prone to be too hasty in our censures of others, while the greatest fault lies at our own door. David here brands all men with being liars, when he himself was the greatest liar of all, if we take the words in this sense. Here, he even charges Samuel the prephet of the Lord with a lie; for he had anointed him to be king and assured him of the kingdom: but he spoke in haste, without due thought and deliberation, unadvisedly, under temptation, when he was off his guard, and fled from the rage of Saul : though some think David rather speaks the bold language of confident faith. I said in my Flight, that notwithstanding all the fury of Saul and all the suggestions of my enemies to the contrary, “Let God be true, but every man a liar.".... Rom. iii. 4. The Lord will surely preserve me: I shall certainly be king. David was the subject both of faith and unbelief; of a hasty spirit, which exalteth folly, as well as of a meek spirit, which in the eyes of the Lord is of great price. Times of temptation sometimes draw froin the lips hasty speeches, which wound the heart and cause it to mourn. O believer, though thou hast cause to be ashamed of thy unbelief and hasty folly, yet be not ashamed to confess it: to commit a fault, and strive to extenuate it, proceeds from pride and unbelief. Settle it well in thine heart, what thy present state is : consider dạily the number and force of thine enemies; their name is legion, for they are many. Never forget the total sinfulness of thy own nature. All this will make thee humble and watchful over thyself. Know and remember also, the love and faithfulness of thy God and Saviour: he who has redeemed thee to God, by his own blood, will save thee from thy sinful self and from the power of all thine enemies : say of all who dare contradict this, they are liars. Though weak in thyself, be strong in thy Lord; though sinful in thyself, rejoice that thou art righteous in him. Let the faith of this inspire thy heart with boldness before the throne of God; there go constantly as a poor, helpless, needy sinner, viewing thyself perfectly righteous in Christ and perfectly accepted of God in his beloved Son. Give God the glory of his truth; pronounce all liars who dare oppose it: give no credit to the suggestions of thy own mind, contrary to the full and free declarations of thy Lord's love and grace. Remember, the convictions of sin by the Spirit of truth are to bring thee to comfort in Christ : the accusations for sin, by the lying spirit, are to distress thy heart and drive thee from Christ, who is THE TRUTH....John xiv. 6. Forgive, my Lord, each hasty word, I foolish am, and self abhorr’d, Against thy truth and grace,
O, shew thy smiling face. M.
These are the words I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me.... Luke xxiv. 44.
CHRIST's work was to fulfil all scripture; it is ours to believe that the scriptures are all fulfilled in Christ: hence we are filled with all joy and peace in believing... Rom. xv. 13. We complain of the weakness of faith: we neglect the means by which it is strengthened. Faith comes by hearing the word of God; by it faith is strengthened. That which comes not from the word, and is not supported by the word, is not faith, but phantom: it will soon evaporate. Our Saviour was now risen; his work was finished; he appeals to the understanding of his disciples; he refers them to what he had spoken to them before he died for them. Understanding the word in the heart, is like the stomach receiving and digesting food for the whole body; all parts of it are nourished from it. O, let the word of Christ dwell richly in you: treasure it up in your memories : exercise your understanding upon it; digest it in your heart: so you will surely be nourished, edified and comforted by it: your faith will grow exceedingly. In what? Why in what Christ hath fulfilled for you. Are you ready to say, how do I know that he hath fulfilled all things for me? This is stumbling at the threshold instead of entering in at the door: this is questioning instead of believing. Our Lord gives one general answer to this : " According to your faith, be it unto you.”.... Matt. ix. 29. Believe Christ's words; believe his work :- so shall you enjoy the comforts of his love and salvation ; and be animated to obey his will. See, 1st. O) christian, you have not followed a cunningly devised fable: your faith in Christ is agreeable to what is written in the law, in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning him. 2d. Hence rejoice. Is the law fulfilled for you by Christ? Then are you righteous in the sight of God, even as Christ is righteous. Study the purity and perfection of the law of God: fall down in humility as a condemned sinner by it: glory in Jesus, as your law-fulfiller, in whom you have everlasting righteousness. 5d. Study the prophets and the Psalms; you will always find somewhat concerning Jesus in them. Know, all that concerns him, is your highest concern upon earth : the more knowledge you get of him, and the niore faith in him, so much the more will you love him and answer the end of your new creation in him, even to glorify him in your holy life and obedient walk: “This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."....1 Thess. v. 18.