Page images

The fear of man bringeth a snare. Prov. xxix. 25. Be not conformed to this world. Rom. xii. 2. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John ii. 15.

How many people swell with pride and vanity, for such things as they would not know how to value at all, but that they are admired in the world. How fearful are many of having their houses poorly furnished, or themselves meanly clothed, for this only reason, lest the world should make no account of them, and place them amongst low and mean people. How often would a man have yielded to the haughtiness and ill-nature of others, and shewn a submissive temper, but that he dares not pass for such a poor-spirited man in the opinion of the world! How many wish to be real Christians, and would practise Christian temperance and sobriety, were it not for the censure the world passes upon such a life! Others have frequent intentions of living up to the rules of Christianity, from which they are frighted by considering what the world would say of them. Thus does the impression which we have received from living in the world enslave our minds, that we dare not attempt to be eminent in the sight of God and holy angels, for fear of being little in the eyes of the world. Reader, how is it with thee? Art thou still hanging between God and the world? Consider for a moment; what can the world give thee in exchange for the favour of God? What can it help thee in sickness, death, and judgment? Reflect seriously on this with prayer unto God, and the snares of the world will be broken.

Lord, save me from the fear of man,

Which surely brings a snare;

And make me hear their scoffs and jests
With unconcerned ear.

At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth. Dan. ix. 23. Continuing instant in prayer. Rom. xii. 12.

ОH comfortable and encouraging thought! that in the same moment the supplication ascended, the gracious answer descended. When we pray with simplicity and earnestness of soul, the return of grace and love meets our request before it hath ascended half way to heaven: and when the Lord is going to bless us, he pours out a spirit of prayer, and raises a desire for that particular blessing he is going to communicate. Therefore, when we are enabled to pray earnestly we may be sure that blessings are coming, and that we shall certainly receive in due time a seasonable and visible help. Then let us only go on, and put, as it were, one weight of prayers after another upon the scales of the sanctuary. But it is well to be observed, that we must also be watchful, and not act contrary to the intent of our prayers, which might provoke the Lord to delay his help. But when he tarries long, it is not his intention to give us a denial, but rather make us more desirous and earnest, that he may bestow the more upon us afterwards; for this delay he will certainly well recompense, and grant us abundantly above all that we could ask or think.

[merged small][ocr errors]

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat. Gen. iii. 9. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, &c. James i. 15.

THUS one sin always begets another; by the eyes it rushes into the heart; from the heart it proceeds into the mouth, hands and feet; from us it is transferred upon others, and thus we go on sinning, and falling deeper and deeper. Therefore, we must set a strict guard over our eyes and ears; be very cautious, and resist the least beginnings of sin, not making light of any; for the least spark of worldly lust being entertained and cherished, we eat of the forbidden tree, standing every way before us, and thereby a great fire may be kindled. But having always our eyes fixed, and all our conversation upon the presence of God in CHRIST, so as to walk continually in the light, and directly to quell the least inward motions of evil, they will never break forth into gross outward sins, but we shall daily grow in grace. May the Lord enable me to practise this good lesson, and may he himself watch continually over my heart, eyes, lips, and all other senses and thoughts.

With my whole heart I seek thy face,
O let me never stray

From thy commands, O God of grace,
Nor tread the sinner's way.

Thy word I hide within my heart,
To keep my conscience clean,
And be an everlasting guard
From every rising sin.

The preaching of the cross is to us, which are saved, the power of God. 1 Cor. i. 18.

O THAT I might always feed upon the cross, and experience its power, till I had obtained a complete victory! Whosoever was bit by a fiery serpent, and looked upon the brazen serpent, lived. Num. xxi. 9. Thus always to look upon CHRIST crucified is the one thing needful, from which all other blessings flow. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." John iii. 14, 15, 17. O may the eyes of my faith be fixed immoveably on thee, my crucified Saviour! for as long as I live I shall feel the biting of the old serpent, and therefore I have need to look unto thee continually; and thou, gracious Lord, afford me cure, day by day, with entire healing at last!

So did the Hebrew prophet raise
The brazen serpent high;
The wounded felt immediate ease,
The camp forbore to die.

Look upward in the dying hour,

And live, the prophet cries;
But Christ performs a nobler cure
When faith lifts up her eyes.

High on the cross the Saviour hung,
High in the heavens he reigns;
Here sinners, by th' old serpent stung,
Look and forget their pains.

When God's own Son is lifted up,
A dying world revives;
The Jew beholds his glorious hope,
Th' expiring Gentile lives.

The law is not made for a righteous man, to condemn him. 1 Tim. i. 9. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. Rom. xiii. 3. See also Gal. iii. 16, to end. THE righteous man being dead to the law by the death of CHRIST, and living to God in righteousness, the law can condemn him no more than a dead man, or one that liveth in heaven already, nay CHRIST himself; for it condemns only the sin, but he is in CHRIST, without sin; for the sin being abolished, the wrath and curse of the law is also removed, and grace and blessing restored in its place. CHRIST has taken all his sins upon himself, and imparted his own perfect obedience to the law to him; therefore in CHRIST he has fully satisfied all the demands of the law, and is entirely free from its dreadful curse in his conscience; the blood of CHRIST cleanseth us from all sins, and consequently from an evil conscience. Heb. ix. 9, 14; and x. 22. Being sprinkled with his blood, and graciously covered with his golden robes, the Lord is perfectly pleased, and finds no more fault with us. The atoning blood makes intercession for us with God, crying continually, "Abba, abba; mercy, mercy; peace, peace;" and obtains grace, pardon, life and salvation.

Blood has a voice to pierce the skies;
Revenge! the blood of Abel cries;
But the dear stream when Christ was slain,
Speaks peace as loud from every vein.
Pardon and peace from God on high;
Behold, he lays his vengeance by;
And rebels, that deserve his sword,
Become the fav'rites of the Lord.

« PreviousContinue »