Isaiah 21:11

"Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" - Isaiah 21:11

While this solemn inquiry may be supposed to have peculiar reference, as addressed to the servants of the Lord, whom he hath set as watchmen upon the walls of Zion, may it not be made personally to every man's bosom also, as it refers to himself? And the repeating of it twice should seem to imply the importance and earnestness with which it should be followed up. My soul, what is the night with thee? Art thou watching in it more than they that watch for the morning: yea, I say, more than they which watch for the morning? How art thou exercising this watchfulness? Is all safe respecting thine everlasting welfare? Art thou watching the approaches of the enemy? Art thou watchful in prayer; watchful for the gracious moment of the Spirit's helping thee in prayer; watchful in guiding thee in the exercise of it; watchful of the Lord's gracious answers to prayer; and, like the prophet on the watch tower, having given in thy petition to the heavenly court, into the hands of thy High Priest and Intercessor, art thou waiting to see what the Lord will say unto thee? Lord, make me eminently watchful in these things. Go on, my soul, in this heart-searching inquiry. Art thou waiting and watching thy Lord's return? What of the night is it now? May not Jesus come at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning? Pause, my soul. Suppose his chariot wheels were at the door, wouldest thou arise with holy joy, crying out, It is the voice of my beloved, saying, "Behold I come quickly?" And wouldest thou answer, "Even so come, Lord Jesus?" Oh for grace to be of that happy number, of whom the Lord himself saith, "Blessed are those servants whom, at his coming, he shall find so doing."

2 Corinthians 12:9

"My grace is sufficient for thee." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

My soul, gather a rich cluster this morning of those precious fruits which hang upon the tree of life - even upon Jesus. Thou wilt find their taste more sweet and pleasant than all the branches of the vine. Consider the fullness in thy Lord. Such a fullness indeed, by virtue of the covenant engagements in Jehovah, is treasured up in Christ, that all the grace every individual of his seed could possibly want in time, and all the glory hereafter - all, all is lodged in him. What a thought is here! Consider also the freeness of this grace. Never, surely, did God give any gift more free than when he gave his Son. And as the apostle from hence justly reasons: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" When, my soul, thou hast feasted thyself upon the fullness and freeness of the fruits of Jesus's salvation, gather another rich portion for thyself with the hand of faith, in the suitableness and sufficiency there is in him for thee. Take the sweet words spoken here to Paul, but not limited to Paul, as if personally addressed to thyself. It is Jesus now speaks and saith this day, "My grace is sufficient for thee." This is as if he had said, all the grace I have is for my people; and I have not only enough for all, but for every one; and I have it for thee. I have the very portion which I knew each would want every day, and all the day, through the whole of their pilgrimage state: from everlasting I knew their need; and from everlasting I have laid every individual child's portion by, and do keep it for him to the moment required: and each shall find a suited sufficiency exactly answering to all their wants, and corresponding to all their necessities. Precious thought! Henceforth, my soul, cast all thy care upon Jesus; for thou now seest how he careth for thee. Morning by morning hear his voice, speaking personally to thyself," My grace is sufficient for thee."

Romans 12:5

"We, being many, are one body in Christ." - Romans 12:5

One of the most delightful of all thoughts, and which when fully enjoyed under the influence of the Holy Ghost, gives an unspeakable felicity in the heart, is that union and fellowship of Christ with his church. Ponder it, my soul, this morning. All the members of Christ's body are but one body. the apostle saith, in Christ; "and he is the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all." I would never, if possible, lose sight of this, because in the perfect conviction and assurance of it must be found all our security and joy. And the way by which this blessed truth, under divine teaching, will be kept alive in the soul, is this: I would behold myself, what I am by nature and practice in Adam, and connect with this view what I am by grace and faith in Christ. Now, as Adam was the common head of all his seed in nature, equally so is Christ the common head of all his seed in grace. Do I consider that, when Adam sinned in the garden, I as one of his children, and then, as scripture saith of Levi, in respect to his connection with Abraham, was in his loins, part of himself, and consequently implicated and involved in all the good or bad belonging to him? Then it will follow, that in Adam's sin I sinned, and in Adam's condemnation I was included. So then, as Adam did not transgress only for himself, but for all his seed, by nature, that should come from him; equally so when Christ fulfilled all righteousness, and when Christ expiated all sin by the sacrifice of himself, his seed were considered righteous in him; and his expiatory sacrifice, as the head of his people, must be, to all intents and purposes, the same as if they had been sacrificed with him. Cherish this thought, my soul, and never allow thyself to behold Christ as the Christ of God, in the capacity of a private or single person, but as the covenant Head, the Father's Chosen, the Sent, the Sealed, the Anointed of God, in whom all his members are one body in Christ. See that thou hast the Spirit of Christ, by which thou art proved to be one of his. And for the full enjoyment of all the blessings contained in this union and communion with thy glorious head, daily and hourly remind God thy Father of all his covenant promises made to Christ as the head of his church and people, in which the Lord hath said," I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."

Deuteronomy 32:11-12

"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead them." - Deuteronomy 32:11-12

Here learn a lesson, to form some faint idea how the Lord is unceasingly engaged in taking care of his people. If thy God condescends to represent it by such a similitude, is it not both thy privilege and thy duty to mark the several particulars of such grace and tenderness? The eagle not only possesseth in common with other creatures, the greatest affection for her young, but manifests a vast superiority over every other of the winged tribe in her management of her brood. She provides for them and protects them, as other birds of the air do; but in educating them, and the method by which she shelters them from danger, here is displayed such superior wisdom and power, as far exceeds whatever we meet with in other creatures. "She stirreth up her nest:" by which we may understand, she suffers not her young eagles to lay sleeping, but calls them forth to life and exercise. She" fluttereth over them," as if to show them how they are to use their wings, and fly. And when she taketh them from the nest, this is not done like other birds, who carry their young in their talons, and in their haste or flight may drop them - or when pursued, or fired at by an enemy, may have them killed and herself not hurt; but the eagle beareth her young on her wings, so that no arrow from beneath can touch the young, until it hath first pierced through the heart of the old bird. What a sweet thought do these views afford; and what a blessed instruction do they bring! My soul, do they not teach thee, since the similitude is the Lord's own, that he that hath stirred up the nest of thine old nature, in which thou wast born, because he would not suffer thee to sleep there forever in the unawakened state of sin, and hath brought thee out, and brought thee abroad, and taught thee how to fly up, in devout aspirations after him, is the Lord? Is it not he that fed thee and sustained thee from thy youth, even until now; taught thee, and hovered over thee, and caused thee to" mount up as upon the wings of eagles; to run and not be weary; to walk, and not faint?" Yes, yes, blessed Jesus, it is thou that hast indeed borne me, as thou hast said, upon eagles' wings, and brought me to thyself: so that I see, by this delightful comparison, that thou wilt not suffer any of thy little ones to perish; for "he that toucheth them, toucheth the apple of thine eye;" - nay, while on thy wings, he that destroyeth them, must first destroy thee. Oh Lord, give me grace rightly to enjoy and use such marvelous blessings. And since, to the wisdom and strength of the eagle, thou hast now added the tenderness and solicitude of the hen, do thou, Lord, gather me under thy wings, and nourish me with thy love and favour, that I may be thine forever, and live here by faith, as hereafter I hope to live with thee in glory.

Proverbs 22:19

"That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee." - Proverbs 22:19

My soul, mark for thy morning meditation, what is here said. Observe, in the first place, the general knowledge the Lord hath given of his saving truth and mercies in Christ Jesus, and which becomes a sufficient warrant and authority for all the world to believe in Christ, and to accept of Christ, to the salvation of the soul. Christ in the word is the Father's authority for every sinner to believe the record God hath given of his Son; and the rejection of this command will be the condemning sin to everyone who despises this plan of salvation, because he hath heard and then turned his back upon this love of God in Christ Jesus the Lord. My soul, ponder over this view of the subject, and then turn to another sweet and distinguishing property of God's revelation which he makes by his blessed Spirit, in the particular apprehension of it. And this is done in every heart that is made willing in the day of God's power, when the same grace which reveals Christ in the word, reveals Christ also in the heart, the hope of glory. Here the verse of the morning is confirmed in what God saith, that in order to every child of God putting his trust in the Lord, he hath made known to thee, even to thee, this day. Observe, my soul, the personal application of the divine truth. God, by his Spirit, makes it known to thee. It comes like a letter sent down from heaven. Who is it for? Read the direction. It is for thee, my soul. Thus faith takes home the contents to the heart, and finding how exactly everything in Jesus and his salvation suits his own case and circumstances, he lives upon it, feeds upon it, takes it for his portion, trusts in God for the truth of it, and rejoiceth evermore. My soul, hast thou marked these distinct things? and dost thou know how to distinguish rightly between general proclamations of mercy, and special, personal enjoyments of it? Oh then, live up to the full enjoyment of God's rich mercy in Christ; accept Christ, and use Christ, daily, hourly, to the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit; as the redemption by Christ was intended; and bless God more and more for his unspeakable gift.

Genesis 32:24

"And there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." - Genesis 32:24

My soul, here is a lovely portion for the morning. For the morning, did I say? Yea, both for night and morning, and, indeed, until the everlasting morning break in upon thee, and all the shadows of the night flee away. For are not all the seed of Jacob like their father, wrestlers in the actings of faith, and the fervour of prayer, until they come off, like him, prevailing Israels? And who was this man which wrestled with the patriarch? Let scripture explain scripture, and give the answer. By his strength, said the prophet Hosea, chap. xii. 3, &c. "he had power with God; yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; even the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord is his memorial." Here then light is thrown upon the subject. He that is called a man in one scripture, is called an angel in this other. And that we might not overlook nor forget the identity of his person as the very man whose name was then secret, Judges xiii. 18. but hereafter to be made known, and himself appear openly, the prophet was commissioned to tell the church, that he that spoke with us, in the person of Jacob, our father, was the same that found Jacob in Bethel, even the Lord God of Hosts; for that was his memorial. Gen. xxviii. 10-19. And was it then He, whose name is Wonderful, which wrestled with Jacob? And when the poor patriarch was hard put to it, full of fears, doubts, and distresses, on account of his brother Esau, and was stirring up himself to take hold of God's strength, by way of strengthening himself against Esau, did he that came to strengthen him, first take hold of him, and seem to contend with him, until the breaking of the day? Oh then, my soul, here learn a sweet and precious lesson against the hour of the many contentions with the Esaus of thy warfare; for thou wrestlest not only against flesh and blood, but "against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." See, my soul, where thy strength is - even in Jesus. See what a blessed example of prevailing in prayer the Holy Ghost hath here set before thee. Look to this God-man with whom Jacob wrestled, and come off successful; and say with Job, "Will he plead against me with his great strength? no; but be will put strength in me." Job xxiii. 2-7. Fill thy mouth with arguments, as Job did. Tell Jesus of thy wants, tell him of his riches, tell him of thy guilt, tell him of his precious blood and righteousness, and tell him that thy misery, and weakness, and unworthiness, renders thee a suitable sinner for so gracious a Saviour to get glory by in saving. Go to him, my soul, with these strong, these unanswerable pleas. Jesus will love to hear, and to receive them. And while he wrestles with thee, do thou wrestle with him, all the night, in which thou art contending with thy sins within, and temptations without; with the errors of the infidel, and the crying sins of the profane. And do as Jacob did, wrestle, plead, supplicate, cry, and take hold of his strength, his blood, his righteousness, and God the Father's covenant promises in him; and never give over, nor let him go, until the day break, and he blesseth thee.

Psalm 32:7

"Thou art my hiding-place. - Psalm 32:7

Yes, dearest Jesus, thou art indeed my hiding, place. In every point of view, I desire grace so to behold thee. Surely, from everlasting, in thee, and thy person and righteousness, were all thy redeemed hid in the councils of peace and salvation. And is not every individual hid in thee also, Oh thou glorious head of thy church; while in a state of unrenewed nature, to be secured from death and the grave, and from the unpardonable sin; and as one of the apostles terms it, "preserved in Christ Jesus, and called." And when called, and quickened by grace, what, but from having our lives hid with Christ in God, could keep alive the incorruptible seed, or preserve unextinguished the immortal spark? Whence is it, my soul, that the smoking flax, which Satan and thine own remaining indwelling lusts strive to blow out, is not quenched; or the bruised reed, which appears so continually falling, is not broken - but because Jesus is thy security, through whom, and in whom thy languishing graces revive as the corn, and grow as the vine? Oh what springs of grace must there be forever flowing from Jesus, though hidden from mortal view! Surely, Lord, thou art my hiding place, and therefore, with thy leave, I will consider thee as a strong tower, into which the righteous runneth and is safe. Yes, both my person and life, both my safety and happiness, both my present peace and everlasting joy, all, all are in thee. Doth any then, ask thee, my soul, where dwellest thou? Tell them, in Jesus, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, even in Christ himself and his justifying righteousness; secret and hidden indeed from mere men of the world, but revealed from faith to faith to all his redeemed; and into which, tell them thou hast found shelter from the broken law of God, from the dreadful effects of sin, from death, from hell, and all the powers of darkness. And all these, and numberless other unknown blessings, because Christ is my hiding- place, who hath both preserved me from trouble, and hath compassed me about with songs of deliverance.

Job 31:32

"The stranger did not lodge in the street; but I opened my doors to the traveler." - Job 31:32

Though Job was thus hospitable, yet we know that angels would have lodged in the street, if Lot had not taken them in. Nay, the Lord of angels, when he came a stranger upon earth, had not where to lay his head. He came indeed "unto his own, but his own received him not." My soul, pause! Hast thou done better by thy Lord? Nay, thou hast not. And though thou knowest the precept the apostle had it in commission to tell the church, "not to be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby," as in the instance of the patriarch, and others, "some have entertained angels unawares;" yet, my soul, how long did the Lord of life and glory stand without, knocking at the door of thine heart, by the ministry of his word and ordinances, saying - open to me; yea, and would have stood to this hour, had he not, by his own sovereign grace, put in his hand by the hole of the door, and opened to himself. Oh thou blissful stranger, didst thou indeed come from a far country, on this gracious, blessed errand, to seek and save that which was lost; and didst thou find every heart resolutely shut against thee? Didst thou, blessed Jesus, when travelling in the greatness of thy strength, open to thyself an entrance into the souls of thy people, by the sweet and constraining influences of thy Holy Spirit? Do thou, then, Almighty Lord, throw open the street doors of my heart for thy constant reception! Make them like the gates of that blessed city which are never shut day nor night. And cause my soul, like the prophet on the watch-tower, or Abraham in the tent door, to be always on the lookout for my Lord's approach, that I may invite thee; yea, constrain thee to come in, and abide with me, and to make thyself known unto me, by the heart-burning discourses of thy word, and in breaking of bread and of prayer. Yes, yes, thou glorious Traveler! who art perpetually on the visits of thy love, I do know thee, I do sometimes catch a sweet glimpse of thee, and trace the footsteps of thy grace, in thy word, in thy ordinances, and in the various ways by which thy presence is discoverable. Indeed, indeed, thou heavenly Stranger, thou shalt not lodge in the street; but I will take thee home to my house, to my heart and soul; and thou shalt sup with me, and I with thee, according to thine own most gracious promise, and I will cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

Revelation 1:13

"One like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." - Revelation 1:13

My soul, thou art going this morning to the throne of grace, art thou not? Pause then, and behold Jesus as John saw him, for the church's joy, in his priestly vestments; for remember he is still a priest upon his throne, and by the oath of Jehovah, abideth a priest forever. Nay, my soul, be not afraid, draw nigh; hark, surely he calls. Methinks he speaks to thee' Behold me! behold me! See, I am thine intercessor. For this cause I wear these priestly garments; and as the high priest of old represented me, I appear in them down to the foot, and the golden girdle round and beneath the breast. What is thy cause? What blessings and praises hast thou to offer for past grace? And what supplications for present and future favours? Behold my vesture dipped in blood. Think of the everlasting efficacy of my righteousness: and for whom should I make intercession but for transgressors?' Fall down, my soul, with holy reverence and godly fear. Jesus will do by thee as he did by John. He will lay his right hand upon thee, and say, "Fear not." Oh precious, precious Lord, thou art, indeed, he that was dead, and now livest for evermore. Arid thou livest to see the fruits of thy great salvation faithfully and fully applied to every one of thy redeemed. Thy priesthood is forever. Thy intercession unceasing. I do behold thee, Lord, by faith, even now standing with the blood of the covenant in thine hand, and presenting me, even me, poor, wretched, worthless me, as one of the purchase of this blood. Do I not hear thy voice in those soul-reviving words, "Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me? Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with where I am?" Oh glorious, gracious, Almighty High Priest[ thou art, indeed, "a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec." Oh ye trembling souls! ye who have any cause this day to bring before the court of heaven, look unto Jesus, look within the veil, see Jesus there; look steadily, though humbly, and behold his hands, his side; Zion is still engraven on his palms. Nay, do we not see, may we not read our very names, as the high priest bore the names of Israel on his breast, while his hands are lifted up to bless! Yes, Jesus takes up our cause, bears our persons, and all our concerns. And how shall either fail, while he "is able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession."

Revelation 17:14

"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." - Revelation 17:14

What an awful thing must sin, in its own nature be, which hath introduced such evil into the whole creation of God, in its consequences. One might have hoped, however, that the meek and gentle Lamb of God would have been exempt from the daring rebellion, and that sin would not have bid defiance and waged war against the peaceable, and holy, and harmless Jesus! But so far is this from being the case, that, in all probability, war first broke out in heaven against the person of God's dear Son, as man's glorious Head and Mediator, even before the deadly malignity manifested itself against God and his Christ upon earth, in tempting the first man and his wife in the garden of Eden, to rebel against God. Pause, my soul, over this scripture. Who are they here described that make war with the Lamb? Nay, rather, who are they not? All the powers of darkness, all the varieties of the earth, all the inhabitants of hell, all that are under the influence of that evil spirit, which now worketh in the children of disobedience. Under this dreadful banner of open rebellion against heaven, every man by nature is enlisted; and until an act of sovereign grace and power is past, that he that is Lord of lords, and King of kings, overcomes and brings them under his blessed dominion, all ranks and orders of men are found. My soul, are the weapons of sin fallen out of thine hands? Art thou brought under the conquest of Christ's grace? Hast thou bent the knee of willing homage to the Lamb, who hath bought thee with his blood, and made thee his by his grace? Read thy character, if so, in these sweet words: "And they that are with the Lamb are called, and chosen, and faithful." Art thou called with an holy calling? Art thou chosen, and fully convinced of this, that had not Jesus first chosen thee, thou wouldest never have chosen him? Art thou faithful, in seeking and desiring no other salvation, convinced that there is salvation in no other? Take with thee, then, my soul, these precious marks of thy high calling and fellowship, and see that thou follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.

Psalm 92:12

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree." - Psalm 92:12

It forms a beautiful illustration, which the Holy Ghost condescends to give of a true believer's state, as it stands before God, in the allusion not unfrequently made in scripture to that of the palm-tree. The direct tendency of the palm-tree is upward: it lifts its head, in defiance of all impediments, towards the clouds. Now a true believer in Jesus is always looking upward, and directing all his pursuits after Jesus. His person, blood and righteousness are the objects of his desire. And as the palm-tree is said to flourish the more when trodden upon and attempted to be crushed; so the believer most oppressed for Jesus's sake, will flourish in the graces of the Spirit more abundantly. How fruitful also is the palm-tree: and how much the people of God bring forth fruit in their old age, when, after long experience, they have found that in Jesus alone their fruit is found. How much the palm-tree likes sunny places! How precious the Sun of Righteousness is to his people! And as the branches of palm-trees are worn in tokens of victory, so the church above are beheld with palms in their hands: and the church below carry the palm of rejoicing, when, from the atoning blood and righteousness of Jesus, they are made more than conquerors through him that loved them. My soul, art thou flourishing like the palm-tree? Yes; if so be thou art planted in Jesus, and watered from the streams of that river which maketh glad the city of God. Yes, if directing all thy views, all thy hopes, all thy desires to Jesus, thou art living in him, acting faith upon him, making him the alpha and omega of hope here, and happiness hereafter. Blessed Sun of Righteousness, shine with such warm, life-giving, fruit-imparting beams of thy rich grace upon my soul, that I may flourish indeed under thy divine influence, and shew that" the Lord, who is my rock, is upright, and that there is no unrighteousness in him."

Jeremiah 18:2

"Arise, and go down to the potter's house; and there I will cause thee to hear my words." - Jeremiah 18:2

Yes, Lord, with the first of the morning will I arise, and go down at thy command, where, by the secret and silent whispers of thy divine teaching, I may gather suitable instructions for interpreting all thy dispensations, both in providence and grace, towards me. Mark, my soul, the vessel marred in the hand of the potter. Alas, how hath our nature been marred since it came out of the hand of our Almighty Potter! Will the potter cast his vessel away? No, he will new make it. Oh thou glorious Lord! methinks I hear thy words in this, for thou hast not thrown us away, but hast new made us, and more blessedly made us in Christ Jesus. My soul, art thou indeed thus new made, a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use? Attend then to thy proper character, and never lose sight of it. Refer every act of mercy and favour in thy original creation, in thy new creation, when marred by sin, and in all the appointments and dispensations, both in nature, providence and grace, in which thou art placed, to the sovereign will and pleasure of Jehovah, thine Almighty Potter. All the different forms, and the different ends, for which the whole is appointed, result from his sovereignty, in which the richest display of wisdom and of love is shewn. "Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?" Much less in any of the dispensations, either in providence or grace, shall any say, why dost thou use me thus? Precious Jesus, it is enough to be new made in thee; to be new formed in thy blessed likeness; to be taken into thy service; and to be made a meet vessel for the master's use in thy family. Thy church is as a great and well-furnished house, where there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth. And if my Lord condescend to look on me, to use me, nay, to bring me into his house and family, that I may be always under his own gracious eye; how humble so ever the place or lowly the station, to belong to Jesus is the supreme honour of all his saints. My soul, make frequent visits to the potter's house, and never fail to go down there whenever any temptation from the enemy, or thine own heart, causeth thee to forget thy creatureship, and the wonders of a marred creature, being new made in Christ Jesus.

John 15:5

"Without me ye can do nothing." - John 15:5

Dearest Jesus, I know this in theory, from thy gracious teachings, as well as I know that I am by nature a sinner; but I am forever failing in this knowledge, when I come to put it into practice. Teach me, Lord, how to preserve the constant remembrance of it upon my mind, that I may never go forth to the holy warfare to subdue a single foe but in thy strength, and never make mention of anything but thy righteousness, and thine only. Be convinced, my soul, every day, more and more, of this most precious truth, and behold it proved from all the circumstances around thee. See and remark the total inability either of God's judgments or God's mercies to induce the least alteration upon the heart of man, without his grace. Behold the prosperous sinner bathing in a full river of blessings, himself in health, his circumstances flourishing, his children like olive-branches round his table, wealth pouring in upon him from every quarter; and yet he lives without God, and without Christ in the world; and as he lives, so he dies, in the vanity of his mind. See him amidst distinguishing preservations, in battles by sea or land, still preserved, while floating carcasses, or opened graves, are all around him: do these things bring his heart to God? Not in the least. The sum total of his character may be comprised in a few words; "neither God is not in all his thoughts." Look at him in the opposite side of the representation; let such an one be visited with chastisements, in his own person sickness, in his family misery, in his substance want; in short, in all that concerns him, a life of sorrow, care, anxiety, disappointment, ruin. Perhaps to all these, a body long the dwelling-place of some loathsome disease, under which he groans, and at length dies, and dies the same unawakened sinner as he had lived. And suppose these accumulated evils had been distinguished also with some more peculiar maladies, in perils in the sea, in perils in the war, in perils among men; nay, let him be maimed in his limbs, let him be rotting in a prison, let him be worn out with misery from evil upon evil, tike waves of the sea following each other; yet still he continues the hardened, unsubdued sinner under all, and as unconscious of God's rods as the prosperous sinner before described is of God's blessings. Are these things so, my soul, and hast thou seen them? Yes, in numberless instances. Oh then, learn, that without Jesus thou canst do nothing. Outward circumstances, unaccompanied with inward grace, leave men just where they found them; and plain it is, that grace alone can change the heart. Lord Jesus, let these loud and crying truths, day by day lead my soul to thee! Be thou all in ‘all, my hope, my guide, my strength, my portion; for "without thee I can do nothing."

Song of Solomon 2:15

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." - Song of Solomon 2:15

My soul, mark the sweetness and tenderness of this precept. Foxes no doubt resemble, in this scripture, the subtle, less open, less discovered sins and corruptions which lurk in us, like these cunning creatures, under a covering, and perhaps sometimes under a fair covering. Moreover, they may mean also false but fair teachers. "Oh Israel," said the Lord, "thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts;" crafty, designing, malignant, and filthy. And in proportion as they put on a more fair and specious appearance, the more are they to be dreaded. Satan never more artfully, nor perhaps more effectually deceives, than when he is transformed into an angel of light. Moreover, the precept is enforced by that important consideration, that vines, by which no doubt are meant believers, have tender grapes. What more tender than a weak conscience? And what more liable to be wounded than the tender principles of young beginners in a life of grace? My soul, look up to Jesus, the Lord of the vineyard, for grace to be on the lookout against these destructive enemies to thy welfare. And, conscious that all thy vigilance, without his watchful eye over thee, would never protect thee from foes so shrewd and artful, beg of Jesus himself to take these foxes for thee, and destroy them before thine eyes. Lord, I would say, keep me from every enemy which doth evil in thy sanctuary, and preserve alive, in flourishing circumstances, all those tender graces of thy Spirit bestowed upon me, that I may bring forth fruit to the praise of thy holy name, and may flourish and spread abroad as the cedar in Lebanon."

John 14:2-3

"I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." - John 14:2-3

How shall I ever sufficiently enter into an apprehension of the love of Jesus? Much less, how shall I ever sufficiently love thee, and adore thee, thou unequalled pattern of excelling love, blessed, precious Jesus? Was it not enough to have given such palpable evidences of thy love in dying for poor sinners; but must thou tell them also before thy departure the cause for which thou art gone away, and to give them an assurance, at the same time, that thou wouldest come again, and take them home with thee to glory? Oh help me, Lord, to love thee, to live to thee, to be always on the lookout for thee, and to rejoice with a joy unspeakable in the promise of thy coming. And, my soul, while thou art taking all the sweetness of those precious words of thy Jesus to thyself, in the prospect of his shortly coming to take thee to himself, let them also have their full comfort under any bereaving providences of thy friends. Wouldest thou regret if an earthly king had conceived such a love to any friend of thine, that he had sent for him to advance him to some high dignity, to make him his favorite, and to load him with honours? Considered as to earthly accommodations, would this advancement of some near and dear friend of thine be distressing to thee, because thou wert to see him no more? Nay, would not the generosity of the prince be highly extolled by thee; and more especially if the messengers which came to fetch thy friend, brought with them a promise, that, ere long, a royal guard would be sent to take thee also, to live with thy friend forever, in the king's palace, and under the king's eye, both enjoying the royal favour? But what would all this fading, dying, perishing, and uncertain grandeur be, to that which Jesus promiseth in these blessed words of the morning? And hath Jesus taken any of thine home to his glory? Are they now at the fountain head of blessedness, and art thou weeping over their breathless remains? Raise up, my soul, thy thoughts from earth to heaven. Hear the voice that speaks, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." Keep up the constant expectation of thine own call. Walk as on the borders of the invisible world. And above all, so watch the daily, hourly, visits of Jesus, by his grace, and enjoy the sweet communion and fellowship in spirit, by which he now speaks to his people, and they to him, that when Jesus draws back the curtain of thy bed at death, and appears to thy ravished view in all his glory, thou mayest leave the trembling body, and run to his embraces, crying out, "My Lord, and my God."

Luke 15:10

"I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." - Luke 15:10

What a precious information is this which the Son of God hath given of heaven's joy over every individual instance of the recovery of our poor fallen nature! Surely if angels of light thus participate in the triumphs of our Jesus; well may sinners rejoice over sinners, whenever a single one is awakened from darkness to light, and converted from the power of sin and Satan unto God. Think, ye ministers of my God, what motives arise out of this thought to stir up your most earnest exertions in labouring in the word and doctrine! Ought it not to be the first and most importunate petition at the mercy-seat whenever entering upon your labours, that, by the Lord's blessing upon you, new causes might arise to call forth this joy in heaven? Nay, ought it not to be the fervent prayer and hope of faith, at the close of those labours, and especially every Lord's day, that some souls may have been awakened, and angels may have rejoiced through your instrumentality? Can there be a prayer more interesting upon earth, than when the servant of Jesus saith, ‘Lord, crown my labours this day with success?' And can there be a subject to call forth more animated praise than when at the close of a Sabbath, you look up and say, ‘Lord, have angels rejoiced this day over the conversion of any poor sinner in this congregation?' And no less, ye parents and guardians of the rising generation, should the same hope prompt you to wrestle in prayer with God for the sanctification of your household. Go on, and hope that answers are coming down to your earnest requests. Perhaps the next joy in heaven may be over one for whom you have now prayed! Precious Jesus, it is enough. I bless thee, Lord, for this, among a thousand other proofs of thy care over us, that the salvation of poor sinners adds new joy to the felicity of heaven, and that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Psalm 119:136

"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." - Psalm 119:136

Who is there of whom this may be said? Jesus, and Jesus only. He wept indeed over his beloved Jerusalem, for he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And the love he had to his redeemed, induced a bloody sweat through all the pores of his sacred body. But of every other may it not be said, "All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Did we truly love Zion, would not rivers of tears run down at the present languishing state of Zion? Did we feel the full sense of distinguishing grace, would not every heart mourn over the ruins of our common nature? Think, my soul, what a mass of sin ascends as a cloud before the view of the Lord every day from a single heart of the desperately wicked transgressor? Think what an accumulation in a town, a province, an empire, the world! Might not rivers of waters run down at the contemplation? And worse, if possible! Think of that higher source of sorrow, in that the only possible remedy for this evil is slighted, and Christ, which is God's one gracious ordinance for the recovery of our ruined nature, is so little esteemed among men. Oh how might the people of God be supposed to have their very souls melted in the contemplation! This, this is indeed the condemnation; this is the soul- destroying sin; "that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." Oh for grace to mourn over a Christ-despising generation! Oh for the "Deliverer to arise out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

Job 1:19

"And I only am escaped alone to tell thee." - Job 1:19

My soul, is there nothing in this account which the messenger to Job gave concerning himself which suits thy case and circumstances? Nay, mayest thou not in a great variety of ways, both in providence and grace, adopt similar language, in which thou art escaped alone to tell? Pause! look back to thy boyish days. Nay, look further back, even to the birth, and to the womb; for had not the Lord carried thee from thence, surely from the womb wouldest thou have died and given up the ghost. And what was thy childhood, but years of perils and dangers, in which multitudes dropped all around thee, so that thou mightest say, while contemplating them, "and I only am escaped alone to tell thee?" And where are numbers with whom the stages of thy youth, and years at school were spent? Where are they? May it not here again be said, "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee?" Go on, and trace the wonderful history in the eventful path of riper years: through what sicknesses, pains and deaths hast thou passed; and mayest thou not, my soul, here again cry out," And I only am escaped alone to tell?" Oh the wonders of distinguishing love, even in common providences, towards his people, before that the highly favoured objects have any consciousness how that love is watching over them, and whereby they are preserved to the day of their calling! Who shall count the sum of distinguishing mercy, in preserving and upholding providences, during the whole of an unconverted state! My soul, hadst thou died in any one of these perilous seasons, and how very near sometimes hath death seemed, the language of Job's messenger would not then have been thine as it is now; "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee." Pause once more. Art thou now, my soul, indeed escaped to tell of converting grace? Canst thou now look round, and amidst the dying and the dead in trespasses and sins, unawakened, unconcerned, unregenerated; canst thou indeed say, "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee!" Oh then, my soul, proclaim with earnestness the glorious truth. Invite all, as far as thy sphere of information can reach, as if thou, and thou alone, weft escaped to tell of the wonders of redeeming love; and let thy daily language be: "Oh come hither, and hearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul."

Jeremiah 28:16

"This year thou shalt die. " - Jeremiah 28:16

I have often thought this passage, pronounced on the lying prophet, a most suitable sermon for a birthday portion, to be sounded in the ears of the sinner: and if qualified with the possibility and probability which arise out of our dying circumstances, it might, when commissioned by the Lord, have a blessed effect. My soul, take it for the meditation of thy birth-day. It may be fulfilled this year; it must be fulfilled some year; it cannot be a very distant year; and there is a birth-day when it shall be passed upon thee in the year. And why not the present? Pause, my soul, and meditate upon it, as if this were the very year. And what though carnal men celebrate the anniversary of their birth-day, as best suited to their carnal minds, let thine be wholly spiritual. If indeed a man came into the world laughing, there might be a suitable correspondence in commemorating the annual return of such a birth with laughing. But if cries first indicated the birth of a poor helpless creature, born to want, and the subject of sin and misery; can rioting and folly be the proper celebration of such an event? And is there no joy suitable on the return of a man's birthday? Oh yes, there is, and ought to be, real heal-felt joy with every child of God. When a man begins to count birth-days in grace, every return calls for holy joy in the Holy Ghost. Not for that he was born an intelligent immortal creature only, but for that he was made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Not for that he came into the world in a state of nature only, but that he was brought also into a state of grace. Not for that he was of the stock and lineage of Adam only, but of the seed of Christ. Here is an alliance royal, holy, heavenly, divine! My soul, how many moons or years in the new life canst thou mark down? Let this be the arithmetic in thy calculation. And if, like the herald of the morning, the voice should say, "This year thou shalt die:" Oh how sweet to answer, Lord, my times are in thine hands! Can they be in a wiser, or more tender, or more loving hand than Jesus's? Precious Lord, wean me from everything here below, that I may be living nearer with thee, and in thee, and to thee; that as the last year of my pilgrimage lessens to the month, and the month to the week, and the week to the day, nay to the very hour and moment of my departure from a body of sin and death, the last expiring words on my trembling lips may be of Jesus; and thine, Oh Lord, come home with power and sweetness to my soul, like thine to him upon the cross: "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Mark 5:17

"And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts." - Mark 5:17

And was this Jesus whom they desired to depart? Yes: and what had the Redeemer done to merit this treatment? He had dispossessed the evil spirit from the mind of a poor creature, and caused the whole country to be freed from the fury of one whom no chains could bind: was this the cause? Yes. And is it possible that so divine an act could have had such an effect upon the minds of a whole body of people? What, would these Gadarenes rather have the devil ranging among them, in the person of this poor creature, than the Son of God in the kindness of our nature? Pause, my soul: is it not the same now? Do not men still prefer the raging uncontrolled lusts of their own hearts, the dominion of Satan, and the customs, pursuits, and follies, of the world; to the grace, mercy, and sweet dominion of Jesus? Do they not indeed, if not in words, say, "Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways?" Pause again, my soul. Was there not a time when the same was thy case? Indeed there was. And is not every one so by nature? And what but an act of grace, like the miracle Jesus wrought on this poor man, can bring any one out of it? Art thou, my soul, brought out of it? Yes, if so be, like him, thou art now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in thy right mind. Surely, Lord, thou hast wrought this blessed change upon me! Could I desire thee to depart out of our coasts? Nay, is it not the daily, hourly desire of my heart, that thou wouldest be with me, dwell in me, reign and rule in me, and be my portion, my God, my Saviour, and make me thine forever? Sweet testimony, in the midst of all my wanderings, coldness, undeservings! Cherish it, my soul! Jesus will not depart from thee. That love which brought him down from heaven to save a world, led him over the lake of Genesareth to save one poor sinner. And he who came in love unsent for, departed not until he was sent away. Oh ye poor blind, deluded, Gadarenes! Oh my poor, equally blind and deluded countrymen and fellow-sinners, who know not, nor desire to know Christ Jesus! Who are ye that thus reject the Lord of life and glory, and desire him to depart out of your coasts?

John 4:10

"If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." - John 4:10

Amidst a thousand precious things concerning Jesus, there are two views of him which are peculiarly so, and which those words of his to the woman of Samaria bring home to the heart in the plainest and most blessed manner. The one is, who, and what, Christ is in himself; and the other is, the Father's authority in him, so as to give faith in him a divine warrant to act by, when a poor sinner comes to make use of Christ. It is our ignorance in those two grand points concerning salvation, which is the sad cause of all our miseries and the little enjoyment even gracious souls, for the most part, have in Jesus. Now, my soul, do thou meditate upon both these things this morning, and from these sweet words of thy Saviour see if thou dost not prove what he so graciously saith to be true. First, consider who, and what Jesus is, as he is in himself. Let thy faith have for its object of meditation, the Person, and the work of God thy Saviour. In all he wrought, in all he did, in all he accomplished, it was as the Surety of his people. And in all the fullness, by virtue of it, which is treasured up in him; it is not for himself, for he cannot need it, but it is for his people. So that a poor sinner is as much suited to Jesus for him to give out of his fullness, as Jesus is suited for a poor sinner to supply his emptiness. And therefore, if we did but thus know him, and thus come to him, we should find that he is as earnest to receive every poor sinner, and to give out of his fullness, as that poor sinner can be to come and take. Now, my soul, when thou hast duly pondered over this, look at Jesus in the other point of view also as the gift of God. Here thou hast a warrant, an authority; nay, a command, to come to Jesus, and to make use of him, for every want which poverty, ignorance, and sin have occasioned in the circumstances of our fallen nature. Christ is the one blessed ordinance of heaven; Christ is the one, and the only one, appointed way, for a poor sinner's acceptance with God. And therefore, did a poor sinner always keep in view that Christ is the gift of God; and that God is honoured, when that poor sinner honours his dear Son, by believing the record God hath given of him; would not this make every poor sinner happy, in thus glorifying God? And therefore, my soul, look to it, that this is thy daily exercise; for then thy thirst for Jesus will not be supplied, as from a pool, which depends upon dry or wet seasons; but Jesus himself will give thee living water: nay, Jesus will himself be that everlasting living spring in thee, which springeth up into everlasting life.

Colossians 1:17

"And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." - Colossians 1:17

How doth the apostle mean that Jesus is before all things? Not as God only, for then the observation would have been needless; and not as man only, for then how could all things consist by him? What is it then, my soul? Is it not as Mediator, both God and man? And was not Christ thus set up from everlasting? Not openly revealed indeed, neither openly manifested in a body of flesh, until the fullness of time; but secretly, and in the divine counsels. What a blessed thought for the redeemed to exercise their rapturous meditations upon! And is it not this which the apostle hath said;" He is the image of the invisible God?" The image! Yes, that representation of what is in itself invisible; that identical image concerning which Jehovah when calling Adam into existence, said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." So then Adam was the first man indeed openly, but not so secretly; for it is plain that Adam was made after this likeness which was set up from everlasting. Hence this union of natures, subsisting in one person, formed the one glorious Mediator, who is, and was, before all things, and by whom all things consist. Here is the foundation then of the church, and that from everlasting: without this, the church, and indeed all things beside, had wanted foundation. For there is nothing created that can stand out of God; and there was nothing created that could stand in God, by a personal union, but him. What a glorious thought! Cherish it, my soul! Never lose sight of it. In Christ the Mediator, all things consist. The church is preserved, redeemed, sanctified, glorified: and how are all his redeemed ones personally and individually secured, but by the same? By him all things consist. Hence their consisting is in him; they are living in him, feeding on him, made righteous in his righteousness, and hereafter will be glorified in his glory. My soul, think what a world of mysteries thou art in; think what an unspeakable life, is a life of grace here; think what a world of glory in Jesus hereafter. Now see if thou canst better enter into an apprehension of those divine words of Jesus: "Because I live, ye shall live also." And again: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."

Matthew 15:23

"But he answered her not a word." - Matthew 15:23

Mark, my soul, this feature in thy Redeemer's conduct towards the poor woman that so long and so earnestly entreated him - "Jesus answered her not a word." And yet, from the close of the subject, nothing can be more evident, than that the Lord had determined, not only to grant her petition, but to throw the reins of government, concerning herself, into her hands so completely, that it should be as she would. Learn then from hence how to interpret silence at the throne upon every occasion of thine. In every dark providence, under every dispensation of grace, never forget that Jesus's love is the same. What though he answereth not a word; yet his whole heart is towards his redeemed. Whatever frowns there may be in outward things, there can be none in what concerns the real happiness of his people. Jesus may try, as in the instance of this poor woman, the graces he gives. Faith may be hard put to it, and silence at the throne may make temptation and exercises of every kind more sharp and painful. But Jesus is the same, his love the same, the merits and efficacy of his blood and righteousness the same. These speak for thee, my soul, when they may not speak to thee. That is a precious thought; never forget it. And remember, moreover, covenant mercies are not suspended upon our deserts. The free grace of God in Christ depends not upon the will or the worth of man; according to the beautiful account by the prophet of the rain or dew of heaven, which waiteth not for man, neither tarrieth for the sons of men. Henceforth, therefore, my soul, do thou learn to wait at the mercy-seat as cheerful, and with as lively actings of faith, when Jesus answereth not a word, as when thy petitions are all complied with. "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint," saith one that could not be mistaken. Oh for grace and faith to take God at his word, and like Job to say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."

Isaiah 43:10

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." - Isaiah 43:10

Doth God indeed appeal to the souls of his people for the truth of his covenant love! Oh the gracious condescension! It is sweet, it is blessed, and a testimony enough to make the heart of every child of God that possesseth it to leap for joy, when the Spirit witnesseth to our spirits that we are the children of God. But it is still carrying on that blessedness with increasing delight, when the people of God themselves become witnesses of covenant love and faithfulness; and, from numberless experiences in themselves, can, and do set to their seals that God is true. See then, my soul, this morning, whether thou art one of thy God's witnesses, and thy Redeemer, as the servant of Jehovah, witnesseth for thee, and by his sweet influences in thee, all that thine heart can wish concerning the word of his grace, and thy fellowship and communion with him. Run over a few leading points in which thou canst, and dost bear witness for thy God. Did he not remember thee in thy low estate, when he passed by, and bid thee live? Did he not convince thee of sin, and put a cry in thine heart of salvation? Did not God the Holy Ghost convincingly prove to thee, both the infinite glories and perfections of Jesus, and by his gracious leadings constrain thee to a love towards him, dependence upon him, and a perfect approbation of having him for thy Saviour? Did not Jesus so graciously visit thee, shew thee his love, his tenderness, his power, his suitableness, his all-sufficiency, as to warm all thy frozen affections into a warmth for him and attachment to him. And did not thy God and Father, again and again, manifest to thee his covenant love, in. accepting thee in Jesus, blessing thee with all spiritual blessings in him, hearing and answering prayer, and proving by all these tokens that he is thy God, and that thou art one of his people? And art thou, my soul day by day looking up for salvation only in Jesus, and renouncing all other saviours? Dost thou know all these precious things, my soul, and a thousand more of the like nature, in which thou art bearing daily testimony to the word of his grace? Then surely thou art one of those to whom Jehovah appeals in the blessed scripture of the morning. Think then, my soul, what an honour thou art called to! What a privilege is thine! See to it, my soul, that thou witness for Jesus, whom God hath given for a witness to the people. And while Jesus takes up thy cause before the throne in heaven, do thou plead his cause, and be valiant for his truth here upon earth. And do ye, angels of light, and ye spirits of just men made perfect, witness for me that this Lord is my God.

Proverbs 13:12

"Hope deferred, maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12

Surely, my Lord and Saviour is the sum and substance of this sweet verse! For art thou not the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof? And if thou deferrest giving to my soul renewed views of thy pardoning love, or withholdest the renewed visits and manifestations of thy grace, will not my soul languish and my whole heart be sick? Can I, dear Lord, continue for a moment in health of soul without thee? And art thou not my desire, when thou art the desire of all nations? And when thou comest to my soul in all thy freeness, fullness, suitableness, and all-sufficiency, art thou not the very tree of life in the paradise of God? Precious, precious Jesus! give me to sit down under thy shadow with great delight, for surely thy fruit is sweet to my taste. Do not defer thy blessed visit to my soul this morning, for thou knowest, Lord, that though, through thy grace, that sickness of sin which is unto death, thou hast already cured by the application of thy blood and righteousness; yet there is a sickness not unto death, and which my soul will pine and languish under, unless thou renewest me from day to day. Oh, blessed Jesus, I want every moment fresh manifestations, renewed discoveries of thy presence, grace, and favour. I want to know thee more, to love thee more, to live to thee more; and the deferring these precious mercies maketh my heart sick. Come then, thou blessed Lord, with all thy fullness; my desires are to thee, and to the remembrance of thy name. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; and now, with the first dawn of day, would I seek thee early. And surely, when thou comest, as I know thou wilt come, thou wilt be in deed and in truth the tree of life. Methinks my soul is now opened by thee for thy reception; and therefore, Lord, do thou now make such rich discoveries of thy person, glory, grace, and love, as may fill every portion of my heart; nay, Lord, I pray to feel such goings forth of my poor soul, in waiting for thy coming, that, like the queen of Sheba, overpowered in the view of the riches and wisdom of Solomon, my views of thy condescending grace, and a sense of my unworthiness to be so blessed of my God, may melt my whole soul before thee; and, like her, there may be no more spirit in me from such ravishing enjoyments of thy presence.

Romans 8:37

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us." - Romans 8:37

"More than conquerors? mark that, my soul. Conquerors all the soldiers of Jesus must be, for in his strength they fight, and he has himself subdued all our foes, even death, the last enemy, and Satan, whom the God of peace will bruise under our feet shortly. So that victory is sure. For we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the sword of the Spirit, and by the shield of faith, whereby we subdue all the fiery darts of the wicked. But though conquerors, how are we more than conquerors? Yes, through him that loved us, believers absolutely conquer him that is himself unconquerable. For, by union with Jesus, we may be said to have power with God, and to prevail. I will not let thee go," said the praying Jacob, "except thou bless me." A blessing he came for, and a blessing he would have. So all the praying seed of Jacob have power through the blood and righteousness of Jesus, in like manner. Hence Jesus saith to his church: "Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me." Sweet and precious thought, my soul, never lose sight of it. Through him that loved thee, and gave himself for thee, thou art more than conqueror: nay, thy present victories are more than the victories of the church in heaven. For they have now no more conflicts with tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword; but, by him that loved us, we arise above the midst of them now, and while troubled on every side, we are not distressed; while perplexed, are not in despair. The love of Jesus is seen in these very exercises, and that in very love, and very faithfulness, the Lord causeth us to be afflicted. Hence, through him we conquer them; nay, we are more than conquerors. We love him that sends the affliction, because we discover his love in it; and as without that affliction, the love of our Jesus in sending it would in that instance not have been known, therefore here we have a blessed victory the church above cannot know. Precious Jesus! to thy love, however, and thy grace, be all the praise and all the glory; for under thy banner of love alone it is that we are more than conquerors.

Deuteronomy 22:11

"Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together." - Deuteronomy 22:11

Though the true believer, who like the king's daughter is all glorious within, cannot but know, that as meat commendeth us not to God, so neither doth the necessary dress, which, since the fall, is become suited to cover our sinful bodies, make a part of our holy faith; yet it is highly proper, that persons professing godliness should use great plainness of apparel. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, we are told, is of great price in the sight of God. But who should have thought that such a precept as this of Moses had a gospel signification! And yet as Christ was preached under types and figure through the whole law, we may reasonably suppose that not a single command was then given but what had an eye to him and his great salvation. But if we find the Lord so strict respecting the outward dress of the body, what may we conclude the Lord would enjoin respecting the inward clothing of the soul? If woolen and linen were offensive to be worn together, surely, we cannot appear before God in the motley dress of Jesus's righteousness and our own. The fine linen, scripture saith, is the righteousness of saints. With this, which Jesus puts on his people, nothing of our own woolen garments must be worn. The righteousness of a creature, had we any, which in fact we have none, cannot be suited to mix with the righteousness of the Creator. And no man that is wise for salvation, would put the old piece of our corrupt and worn out nature upon the new garment of the renewed nature in Christ Jesus. When therefore the Lord saith, "thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts;" my heart replies, no, Lord! let me be clothed with the robe of thy righteousness, and the garment of thy salvation; then shall I be found suited for the marriage supper, when the King comes in to see his guests at his table.

Luke 22:27

"I am among you as he that serveth." - Luke 22:27

Surely there is a blessedness in these words that affords substance to feed upon. My soul, read them again and again; pause over them, pray over them, and look up to him that thus so humbly, graciously, and lovingly, expressed himself. Art thou, blessed Jesus, among thy people as he that serveth? I know, Lord, that thou didst condescend to become the servant of Jehovah, though thou weft Lord of all, when for the salvation of poor sinners thou didst undertake to veil thy Godhead, and in our nature to become our surety. And I know, Lord, also, that thou didst, in a very memorable moment, and at a time when as the evangelist had it to relate to the church, thou knewest that the Father had given all things into thine hands, thou didst condescend to wash thy disciples feet. But art thou still among thy people as one that serveth? Be astonished, O heavens, and wonder, O earth! All power is thine in heaven and in earth. And is Jesus among his people, among his redeemed ones, his exercised ones, as he that serveth? Pause again, my soul - meditate upon the blessed gracious words. Was there not a circumstance of trial, when Christ was upon earth, but what he felt in his human nature, when fulfilling all righteousness? Then will it follow, that there cannot be a circumstance of trial which his members now feel, but what he knows; nay, what he appoints. And if he appoints it, is he not looking on; nay, measuring out suited strength, suited grace, as the circumstances shall require? And if all this be in Jesus, now and every minute event both his ordering, supporting under, carrying through, crowning in all, is he not, though Lord of all, servant of all; and doth he not now say to every poor disciple in the present moment, as fully as he did to them in the garden with him, "I am among you as he that serveth?" My Lord and my God, would I cry out, under the same conscious shame of my dreadful unbelief, as Thomas did under his Yes, Lord, thou art still ministering, still serving! And though I lose sight of thee in a thousand and ten thousand instances, where nothing but thy imparted strength could carry me through; yet plain and most evident it is, that in all the blessings of thy finished redemption, thou thyself art giving out, and serving up, grace to thy people. Thou didst first purchase all blessings with thy blood; and now thou ever livest to see them administered by thy Spirit. Precious Jesus, thou art ever with me. By and by I shall be with thee, I shall see thee as thou art, and shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.

1 Timothy 1:5

"Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." - 1 Timothy 1:5

See, my soul, what Jesus hath secured for thee by his gracious undertaking and accomplishment, and which his servant was commissioned to tell the church, was the very end of the commandment; namely, charity, or love. And this law of love is given thee, that thou mightest manifest whose thou art, and to whom thou dost belong; not as a rule of acceptance, for then that would be to make thy love a covenant of works; but as a sweet testimony of thy affection in the hand of Jesus. It is a law of love indeed, because the cords of love, by which thou art drawn, prove it to be so. Thy obedience is not from slavish fear, for then this would be bondage; but the love of Christ constrains thee. Thy love to him makes thee long to be like him. Thy love to him makes his commandments not grievous but gracious. Thy love to him makes ordinances precious, because Jesus is the whole of them. And thy love to him makes all that belongs to him dear, and in which Jesus requires thy proofs of affection; not in thy strength, as the poor Israelites were demanded to make brick without straw, but by living in thee, and working in thee, both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Here, my soul, thou truly findest strength and grace equal to thy day. The end of every commandment, as well as the beginning, is love; for it begins in Jesus, is carried on in Jesus, and ends in Jesus, and he is all love. And in him, and by him, the conscience, the heart, faith, all are kept pure, undefiled, and unfeigned, because love in Jesus is at the bottom; like the chariot of Solomon, paved with love. Oh thou glorious pattern of all holiness, make me like thyself!

Hosea 3:3

"And thou shalt not be for another man; so will I also be for thee." - Hosea 3:3

My soul, was not God the Holy Ghost representing, by the similitude of his servant the prophet's marriage with an adulteress, the astonishing marriage of Jesus with our nature, and his personal-union with every individual of his church and people? Look at this scripture, and see how sweetly it points to Jesus. The prophet was commanded to love this woman beloved of her friend, and yet an adulteress. He was to buy her also to himself: and he was to charge her to abide with him, and not to play the harlot any more, saying unto her: "And thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also be for thee." Precious Jesus, do I not behold thee in all this? Can anything more strikingly shadow forth thy grace, thy mercy, thy love, to thy people? Was not our whole nature estranged from thee, when thou camest down from heaven to seek and save that which was lost? Were not all in a state of daring adultery, when thou hadst from everlasting betrothed thyself to us, in standing up our glorious Husband and Surety? And how striking the expression: "Then said the Lord unto me, go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend!" Surely at the command of God thy Father, and not uncalled, unsent, unauthorized, didst thou come. Our nature was indeed yet beloved of thee, our best and dearest friend, though in a state of spiritual adultery, and wholly gone away from thee. Yes, blessed Jesus! in defiance of all our multiplied transgressions, it might be truly said, we were yet beloved adversity: for thou went then, as now, unchangeable in thy love, the same Jesus yesterday, to-day, and forever. And surely, Lord, in another feature the prophet shadowed thee forth; for as he purchased the harlot, so thou, Lord, before we became thine, didst purchase us by thy blood. And dost thou now say to me this day: "Abide with me, and thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also be for thee?" Oh condescending God! Oh precious, lovely, all loving Saviour! Lord, make me thine; yea, altogether thine! Let my whole soul, and body, and spirit be all thine, both by the conquests of thy grace, as they are justly thine, and by the purchase of thy blood, that never, never more, I may depart from thee, but with the same full consent as the church of old, I may exult in this blessed assurance, "My beloved is mine, and I am his."

Song of Solomon 1:3

"Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth." - Song of Solomon 1:3

Why, my Lord, is thy name so truly blessed, but because thou hast so endeared it to thy redeemed, by every tie which can gain the affections. Didst thou, even before I had being, enter into suretyship engagements for me, that thou wouldest redeem me when fallen, that thou wouldest take my nature, live for me, die for me, become a sacrifice for me, shed thy blood for me, wash me in thy blood, clothe me with thy righteousness, justify me before God and thy Father, become my Advocate, High Priest, Intercessor, betroth me to thyself here in grace, and everlastingly unite me to thyself in glory hereafter? Didst thou do all this, and art thou still doing it, making my cause thine own, and following me with love, and grace, and mercy, every day, and all day, and wilt never thou leave me nor forsake me? And must not thy name be as ointment poured forth? Can there be a savour as sweet, as fragrant, as full of odour, as the name of Jesus? Precious ointments, it is true, have a smell in them very grateful; but what savour can be like that which to the spiritual senses manifests Jesus in his person, love, grace, and mercy; in whom there is everything desirable, and nothing but what is lovely; all beauty, power, wisdom, strength, an assemblage of graces more full of odour than all the spices of the east? Precious Lord Jesus, let thy name be written in my heart, and let everything but Jesus be forever obliterated there, that nothing may arise from thence, but what speaks of thee; that through life and in death, the first and the last, and all that drops from my lips, even in the separation of soul and body, Jesus may form in the close of grace here, and in the first opening of glory to follow, the one only blessed precious name, as ointment poured forth.