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And thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. Matt. i. 21.
SIN is the deadliest foe we have; it cast our first parents out of Paradise; it defaced God's image in man; it brought pain, sickness, and death into the world, and a spiritual death into the soul; it causes a distance from God, and a dislike to his holy ways; it exposes body and soul to the last judgment of a holy God, and will sink every unpardoned offender into everlasting destruction. How is this deadly foe to be conquered? Reader, Be careful in this matter, and seek after a remedy that will be lasting and efficacious. Duties, prayers, tears, sacrifices, morality, and partial reformations, avail nothing in this case; all below Christ Jesus will prove physicians of no value. Jesus is the only Saviour; his blood is the only atonement for sin; this sprinkled upon the heart by the Spirit, and apprehended by faith, removes the guilt and curse of sin, and speaks pardon and peace; his grace breaks the power of sin and makes us hate it; thus is holiness secured in the heart and walk, as well as peace in the conscience. His people are all that believe in him, and depend upon him for pardon, peace, and everlasting salvation. In that happy number, reader, may thou and I be found! may we be enabled to look to him, to receive him as our Lord Jesus, able and willing to save to the very uttermost! And may we walk as the redeemed of the Lord, in righteousness and true holiness all the days of our life. Amen.
He died to bear the guilt of men,
Pour out your heart before God. Ps. lxii. 8.
WHAT a different view does this lively text give of praying, when opposed to the usual expression of saying our prayers; saying what our books or our parents teach us. To pour out our hearts is like emptying a vessel of all its contents, so that nothing remains; and, oh! what a pleasing, awful, important thing must this be? whatever is in my heart, my guilt or fears, my sins or sorrows, my cares and crosses, my wants, my dangers, my weaknesses, temptations, darkness, and ignorance, my doubts and anxieties respecting both body and soul, myself and others, the church and the world; every thought that arises, relating either to past, present or future, I have leave to empty myself of, to pour out by drops or in a copious stream, till not one burden remains; and this before God, who is a prayer-hearing God. He can send a Hannah away no longer sad; can say, "Son or daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." No wonder then that real prayer is so much unknown, or is such a cordial when it is made before him who is a refuge for us. Away then for ever with the prayer of the formalist; may I learn fervency of devotion from my heavenly Master, who in his agony prayed till drops of blood fell down! To a suffering Jesus I look for pardon and cleansing; O let me be accepted in the Beloved, and purged daily from my defilements, and so become a vessel to honour, sanctified for the Master's use for ever. Amen.
O let my earnest pray'r and cry
By the grace of God I am what I am. 1 Cor. xv. 10. Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God. As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. 1 Pet. i. 23, and ii. 2. WHAT made the wonderful difference between Saul the Pharisee and Paul the Christian? Grace. What made him trample upon his former legal righteousness, and desire to be found in the righteousness of CHRIST? Grace, enlightening grace. Wherein consists the difference between the mere moralist and the real Christian? There may be a moral conduct where there is no grace, no principle of saving divine faith; there may be the fear of the Lord, taught by the precept of men, and not by the Spirit of God. One may attend the ordinances of religion; have a regard to outward decency; may have a name to live while dead; be high in profession, and at the same time a stranger to the power of godliness. Have I this principle, called Grace, in my soul? Have I been born of the incorruptible seed? Have I tasted that the Lord is gracious? Then shall I desire the sincere milk of the word; and thence will draw comfort and nourishment for my soul. Redeeming love shall be my delightful subject; it will sweeten everything in the service of Jesus, will constrain to extensive usefulness in my track of life; the grace of God in Christ Jesus will enlarge my views, keep me humble in heart, and give the praise where alone it is due. Through the sincere milk of the word may I grow daily, and be nourished up to eternal life! Whate'er I am, I am by grace; And unto God be all the praise ! Grace turns the water into wine, And makes the human heart divine.
We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. 2 Cor. v. 10.
AND are there scoffers, who madly question the coming of the Lord? The hour hastens, when infidelity shall doubt no more. 1 Thes. iv. 16. How will sinners fade away, when, visible to all, the Judge shall appear on his great white throne. Before him shall stand the whole race of men, small and great; and by the testimony of God and their own consciences it shall be fully proved and openly declared, what they have been, and what they have done. Then sentence, most righteous, irrevocable, and big with eternity, shall be pronounced. On the wicked, everlasting punishment; on the righteous, life eternal! Ŏ think, what destruction is hanging over your heads, ye obstinate transgressors; for "behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him; they also which pierced him, and all the wicked kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Now is the accepted time-the day of salvation;" now embrace him, as your offered, your all-sufficient Saviour; so shall you be for ever delivered from him, as your angry Judge. If this you neglect, how shall you abide the day of his coming in flaming fire? Lift up thy head, my soul, none else is Judge but CHRIST! Will he, who bore my sins, plead against me in judgment? No; I know in whom I have believed; and that he is able to keep that good thing, my soul, which I have committed to him, against that day.
An awful day is drawing near,
When Christ will judge the quick and dead!
We being many, are one body in Christ; and every one members one of another. Rom. xii. 5. But now are they many members, yet but one body. And now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 1 Cor. xii. 20, 27. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity?
O THE blessed communion of saints; one member has the benefit of all the other members' gifts, prayers, and ministrations. One prays for all, and all pray for one. What one has, the other enjoys also. It may be truly said of them, All is yours. There is no envy, no haughtiness, no strife or harm among real saints; for why should I envy that which is my own? Why should I despise that which serves for my necessary assistance?—and why should I strive against and hurt him, whose hurt is my own? Is there any strife between the members of our natural body? By no means; they all serve, help, and assist one another; and if one be injured and suffers, all the rest run to its relief, and are neither tired nor angry, if the healing does not follow immediately. O Lord, unite us all in hearty fellowship and tender feelings for each other; and stop all open and subtile divisions which are fermented by lofty spirits, who always boast of mighty things, and to be wise above the rest. Suffer not a self-conceited and a party spirit, which is the spirit of the world, to influence the members of thy body; but bless and grace them all with true humilty; then we shall live in a solid union and uninterrupted harmony.
O glorious portion of the saints!