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demnation. Hence, we are ever prone to pass judgment, at the bar of pride and carnal reason, upon the truths of God, because they are against us. Oh, what is there in such stout-hearted rebels, who are far from righteousness, to invite down the blessed Spirit to enlighten our minds? It is by his special mercy we see the spirituality and extent of God's holy law; though in it we saw nothing, but Justice with a drawn sword, and Mercy with a veiled face; yet it cuts off all glorying in the flesh, stops the mouth of pride and arrogance, and leaves the poor sinner under a sense of guilt, and subjects him to the judgment of God. To such, the sound of mercy, how welcome! the proclamation of grace, how joyful! the name of Jesus, how precious! the way of salvation by him, how acceptable! How willingly do such desire to be eternally indebted to free grace! how dead do such become to former legal hopes! Expectation from their fulfilling terms and conditions is cut off, grace freely given; mercy richly bestowed through Jesus, becomes the subject of all their hope, and of all their glorying. Now it is not, What have I done? how have I behaved? but, What hath Jesus done? what a glorious salvation hath he wrought! “I, a poor sinner, stript of all, now bow to the sovereignty of God, adore his electing love, admire his salvation, sit humbly at Christ's feet, dwell on the wonders of his love and sufferings on Calvary's mount, thankfully receive the testimony of him from the Spirit; and give the ever-gracious Three all the glory of what I am in time, and hope to be in eternity." When the soul is become guilty in its own sight, the mouth is stopped, every self-righteous plea silenced, and the sinner is quite out of conceit with himself.
Thus, the law is good if a man use it lawfully. But if the Lamb's wife seeks to the law, as a woman to her husband, to get comfort and life by obedience to it, verily, this is not continuing a chaste virgin to Jesus. We shall then cease to bring forth fruit unto God; but like Israel of old, be "an empty vine, who bringeth forth fruit unto himself,” Hosea x. 1. We shall grow delighted with ourselves, and imagine we have something within us to talk of, and glory in, instead of Christ's work for us. But, saith he, Thou shalt “never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done,” Ezek. xvi. 63.
MAY 3.-Jesus said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.-John xi. 4.
It frequently happens, that intervening occurrences seem to contradict the truths of God. Therefore, if we judge from sight and appearance, we shall be often deceived. God's word alone is the rule of faith. What he has declared shall certainly come to pass, however repugnant it may seem to carnal reason.
Thus our Saviour declares of Lazarus, “This sickness is not unto death ;" yet he afterward told his disciples plainly, "Lazarus is dead;" and Jesus found him in the grave where he had been laid four days. But he, who had power over death and the grave, knew his own intention of raising him, both for his Father's glory as well as glorifying himself. This was the great end of his coming into the world. Therefore in the life and by the death of Jesus, glory redounds "to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to men.
Did Jesus love Lazarus? did his compassionate eyes drop a tear of affection over his friend's grave? Oh, what an innumerable company of poor sinners did his loving eyes behold, who, like Lazarus, were not only to all appearances past hope, but actually “dead in trespasses and sins!" but he says of them also, “This sickness is not unto death." Eternal death shall not have the dominion over them; but he would get glory to God, and glorify himself, in quickening and raising all God's chosen, all his dearly beloved members.
On the death of Lazarus, “ Jesus wept: he groaned within himself;" and he cried to his Father. How must the heart of Lazarus be inflamed with love to his dear Lord, for giving him a second life! O believer! the raising thy soul from a death of sin to a life of righteousness, cost thy Saviour not only a sigh, a tear, a groan, a prayer; but agonies, sweat of blood, tortures beyond thought, sufferings beyond expression. His immaculate heart's blood he freely poured forth for our sins, to procure the life and to obtain the salvation of our souls. Canst thou think of this love, without reflecting on thy misery? O hard heart! O cruel unbelief! How little affected with such love, as none but a God could show! Is this thy pain and sick. ness? Come then, that the Son of God may be yet more glorified in thee, bring thy hard heart to the feet of Jesus, and confess thy unbelief to him, with this humble cry, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief," Mark ix. 24. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, [at all times, and under all circumstances,] that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," 1 Tim. i. 15.
MAY 4.-Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. Jer. xlv. 5.
The glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs, all the members of the church of Christ in all ages, were called to deny and mortify self. In this there is no difference. All are equally subjects of the same corrupt nature; are men of like passions, and are therefore in danger of self-seeking, and of their affections being attracted from Jesus, to the alluring objects of this present evil world. Here is a very short chapter, of the prophet Baruch's conduct. On reading this, we may truly look within, around us, and cry, “Lord, what is man?” and with astonishment may add, “that thou art mindful of him."
Yea; what is every Baruch, that is, " blessed man,” who bends the knee to Jesus, and is renewed in the spirit of his mind? Alas! he is still of the earth, earthy, prone to cleave to the dust, ready to seek great things for himself from the objects of time and sense. One would have thought, just at a time when the prophet had been reading the dreadful roll, full of mourning, lamentation, and woe, which were shortly to come upon the kingdom, that this would have entirely curbed every carnal desire after selfish views and earthly glory. But no; the lusts of the flesh can only be mortified by the power of the Spirit. Jeremiah is sent with a loving warning and tender prohibition to Baruch: "Is this a time for self-seeking, instead of thy Master's glory? What! aspire after worldly hon. our and dignity in a time of threatened ruin? BC wise; know thy station; act in character."
Here, O christian, see the picture of thy own corrupt nature. Know thyself. Consider, thou also art in the body. Remember, “in thy flesh dwelleth no good thing." Though under threatened ruin and destruction, yet it will lust after such things as are agreeable to its carnal state. Never say with Hazael, “ Am I a dog, that I should act thus and thus ?”. Beware of the deceitful reasonings of the flesh. It has ever plausible pleas to urge for its gratification. Self-seeking is one of the lusts of the flesh. All views that arise from self, centre in self, and tend to please self, are contrary to fellowship in Jesus. If self is indulged, it will prove like a pampered steed, to run away with thy spirit from thy Beloved. What will it profit thee, if thou couldst gain the whole world, and lose, if not thy soul, yet sweet peace with God, comfortable communion with Jesus, and joyful fellowship of the Holy Ghost ? “Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” Matt. vi. 24.
MAY 5.-Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me.—John xiv. 1.
Jesus comforted the heart of a sorrowful widow by restoring her dead son to life again. Could he not also, by the power of his Spirit, console the hearts of his dear disciples, without preaching outward rules and directions to them ? Yes, but he will be heard as our Prophet. Those disciples only, who obey the word of his doctrine, shall enjoy the consolations of his love. Troubles are the common lot of God's dearest children; 'many are the afflictions of the righteous.” They feel, and groan under, heart troubles, inward disquietudes, which carnal men are amazed to hear of, are utterly free from, and hug themselves that they are not troubled about.
Ah, this inward insensibility is a bad sign! But disciples' troubles are Jesus' concern. He has a remedy against them. He will give comfort under them. Believing in an absolute God will not do this. For the glory of his majesty, the greatness of his power, the perfection of his justice, &c., appear in dread array against us. We dare not think of God out of Christ, knowing ourselves to be poor sinners. Therefore says Jesus, "Believe also in me." Believe my humanity : that I became man for your sakes; died for your salvation; and rose again, in your nature, to pray for you. Remember the covenant that is established between the Father and me, on your account. When your poor hearts are troubled, with finding you are still but profitable servants ;" you see much cause for sorrow, mourn and complain, that there are so many things amiss in you; that you do not believe so perfectly, love so comfortably, obey so cheerfully as you wish; yet, ever remember, I am your Mediator before the throne: you stand not in the Father's love for your works' sake; but he loves you, and is well pleased with you, for my sake. Distress not your poor hearts. Sorrow not as without hope; but believe in me, and be comforted. You have no sin but what my blood atoned for; you