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“Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," Heb. x. 24, 25.
JAN. 7.—Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.—Psalm lxxxix. 15.
The psalmist alludes to the jubilee trumpet, which was sounded throughout the land on the great day of atonement. This was an ordinance of the Lord, Lev. xxv. 9. It was a joyful sound of liberty to God's people. A true type and just emblem this, of the blowing the great trumpet, and the sound of the everlasting gospel, restoring life, liberty, and salvation to perishing, captive souls. Has the gospel thus proved the power of God to the salvation of our souls? Surely, then, we must esteem it as the most joyful sound that ever saluted our ears! Joyful, that it is not clogged with any terms and conditions: joyful that it is not, as some call it, a milder law, proposing mercy on easier performances than the legal yoke. No; such notions are subversive of the very nature of the gospel, they only humour self-confidence, and elate the pride of sinners.
We are all naturally deceived by such human, antievangelical systems. Hence we grow vain in our imaginations, and our foolish hearts are darkened to the freeness and glory of the gospel. But when the Sun of righteousness arises upon the heart, these mists of ignorance and error are scattered. Then we truly know the gospel to be nothing but good news, glad tidings, a joyful sound indeed ; a free declaration of what the infinitely blessed and eternally glorious Trinity has planned, and what the adorable God-man has effected, for the salvation of the lost and guilty. It is one joyful, consistent, harmonious sound of free grace, undeserved love, and unmerited mercy; free from any jarring discords of wrath and terror. It proclaims, not pardon to-day, and condemnation to-morrow to believers; now peace
with God, anon war against us; now happiness in the heaven of his love, by and by a hell of misery from his anger and hatred; once justified by his grace, and after all left to perish to eternity in our sins. God's blessed people reject such debasing notions, knowing they are contrary to the truth, and destructive of the joy of the gospel, damp their love, deaden their affections to a God of love, cool their zeal for his glory and service, and stop their progress in true holiness. But by love of the truth, they solace themselves with the joyful sound, are enabled to walk in the light of God's countenance, in the comforts of his love, and in the joys of Jesus's salvation. Such are blessed now in the knowledge of God's truth; they shall be blessed in the enjoyment of God's eternal glory, John X. 28.
JAN. 8.—Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.—Psalm lxiii. 3.
Forsake all, and possess all. Give up all, and enjoy all. This is the doctrine of Jesus, and the experience of faith. So we overcome the world, by preferring the love of Christ to every thing beside. Most blessed enthusiasm ! really tasting that the Lord is gracious, truly feeling the comforts of his love, actually partaking of fellowship with Jesus, communion of the Holy Spirit, freely conversing with the Father of all consolationsOh how transporting to the spirit; how ravishing to the soul! With what holy indifference does the enraptured heart look down upon the objects of sense! The gilded toys of time, that so attract the view; the glittering vanities of life, that so enslave earthly minds; the empty shadows of sense, that so bewitch the heart; yea, life itself, with all its comforts, what are all, compared to one moment's enjoyment of the loving-kindness of
the Lord ? In competition, as shadow to substance; in worth, as the dust of the earth to the gold of Ophir. Sense is but short-lived fancy. Faith is reality and substance. For it brings love, the kindness of love, yea, the God of loving-kindness himself into the sinner's heart. This changeth a fallen son of Adam, into a glorious saint in Christ: a miserable sinner, into a comfortable, holy, humble praiser of our covenant Lord.
Thus it is when the soul hath found God in Christ, who is its life, its glory, its treasure, its heaven, its all. But this knowledge consists, not only in ecstasy of soul, and rapturous sensations ; but faith is an habitual principle, love is an active grace, hope has a purifying efficacy. Not only are the lips opened in praise, the tongue loosed to speak of the glory of Jesus, but the life, the practice, the conversation will also be savoured with the grace of truth, as an evidence that we know his love, and have been with Jesus. So we prove, that he has taught us wisdom, not to prefer heaven to earth in word only, but in conduct also. Therefore, having received all from him freely, in love and by grace, we desire to do what he has commanded, to avoid what he has forbidden. The fruits of righteousness are by him, to the glory of God the Father; therefore we pray to be filled with them. The works of the flesh, the works of darkness, we desire to mortify, and have no fellowship with ; because contrary to love, aud the enjoyment of it. " We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 16.
JAN. 9.-Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.--1 Tim. iv. 8.
While under the law, we naturally think, for so much work so much wages ; God will be faithful to his word of promise, if we perform those terms and conditions he requires of us. Such are the notions of a legal spirit; they are the result of pride; they swell with a vain conceit of doing something, to make God a debtor to our works; they are founded in ignorance, both of ourselves, and of the word of God's rich grace and free promises ; not one of which is made, absolutely, in respect to us, or to any thing we either believe or do; but only as we are in Christ Jesus, members of him, our blessed Head; for all the promises of God are in Christ Jesus
yea and amen, unto the glory of God, 2 Cor. i. 20. Every believer in Christ is a holy, godly soul; he is exhorted to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. He has all cause for daily comfort and joy. He is fully assured of his interest in that blessed catalogue of mercies, “ministers, the world, life, death, things present, or things to come, all are yours.” Why? wherefore has he property herein ? “Because ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's,” (1 Cor. iii. 22, 23,) there. fore he shall want nothing; he shall enjoy every thing he can will, or desire, as a godly person ; for true godliness is profitable, to bring the will into cheerful acquiescence with the will of God, and to enable the soul to say, “Thy will be done." All the blessings of providence, all the riches of grace, all the glories of eternity are secured by Jehovah's promise to the godly in Christ.
Through the faith of Jesus, godly souls are profitable to their fellow-sinners, and fellow-members in him; their good conversation, their holy walk, the Lord owns and blesses, to win others to the knowledge and love of God, to a hatred of sin, to renounce the vanities of the world, and quit the slavery of Satan.
O Christian, remember thy calling, be careful of thy walk, watchful over thy conduct; see to it, lest Jesus be wounded in the house of his friends. Pray earnestly and study daily, that thy profiting in godliness may appear to all, to the glory of him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Are you ambitious ? are you covetous ? do you love gain ?
are you earnestly desirous to enjoy it? Hear, believe, and rejoice. "Godliness with contentment is great gain!” 1 Tim. vi. 6.
JAN. 10.-To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephes. i. 6.
When Jacob was about to meet his offended brother Esau, he was greatly afraid and distressed. He sends a present to appease his wrath, before he durst venture into his presence. “Peradventure he will accept of me," says he, Gen. xxxii. 20. Now, his hope was not founded on the affections of his brother, but upon the favour which his present should procure. He was influenced not by love, but fear and terror; hence his expectation arose only to a peradventure. So it is natural for sinners to conceive of and act to an offended God. Instead of believing his gospel of free grace, and confiding in his messages of rich mercy in Christ, we are prone to think of sending presents, of doing something to pacify God's wrath, and conciliate his love to
Some terms of accommodation, some conditions of peace, we naturally think, and we hear many contend for, must be fulfilled by us. This notion keeps the soul always in suspense. It may flatter it with a Peradventure God will accept me; but there is not the least ground for hope of acceptance upon such a human system. It springs from the corrupt reasonings of man, is founded in the pride of nature, which ever rejects the faith of the gospel.
Happy for us, to “hear what God the Lord will speak; for he will speak peace to his people, and to his saints," (Psalm lxxxv. 8, not because of their
prayers, tears, repentance, faith, or obedience; but, for an infi. nitely higher cause than all these, even because he loved them, and hath made them accepted in his beloved Son Jesus. Here are no legal ifs and peradven