John 9:25

"One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." - John 9:25

This is a great thing to say, my soul: on what foundation dost thou rest this knowledge? If the Lord Jesus hath opened thine eyes, then indeed thou canst not but discover thy former blindness; for during that state of nature thou literally couldst discern nothing. And if thy former blindness be discovered, then thy present sight hath brought thee acquainted with new objects. Pause over the review of both this morning. Tile blindness of nature to spiritual things is marked in scripture in strong characters. A poor blind sinner sees nothing of the light of life. The Sun of Righteousness is not risen upon him. He discerns nothing of the love of God in Christ. If he reads the scripture, the vail is upon his heart. If he hears of Jesus, he sees no beauty in him. Nothing is nearer to him than the Lord, and nothing further from his thoughts. To tell him of the sweetness of the word of God, is strange to him; for he tastes nothing of sweetness in it. To tell him of the loveliness of ordinances and the sabbaths; these are strange things in his esteem. My soul, if indeed thine eyes be opened, thou wilt know that thou wast once indeed blind, in the fullest sense of the word, to all these delightful views of sacred things, which now are thy supreme pleasure and thy joy. Say, then, what hast thou seen to justify this saying: "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see?" Hast thou seen the king in his beauty? Hast thou seen with the eye of faith the glories of Jesus? Yes, if so be all other objects are obscured. The sight of Jesus, as the Christ of God, hath darkened the glory and excellency of all beside, Jesus, as he is in himself, as he is in his offices, characters, relations; as he is to thee and thy happiness; is the one, the only one thing needful; and thou must count all things but dung and dross to win Christ. These, my soul, are blessed tokens that Jesus hath opened thine eyes, and brought thee out of darkness into his marvelous light. By and by thou shalt see him as he is, and dwell with him forever.

Deuteronomy 15:15

"And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee." - Deuteronomy 15:15

Say, my soul, canst thou ever forget the wormwood and the gall of that state of nature, from which the Lord thy God brought thee? Figure to thyself the most horrid state of captivity which the world ever knew; and what could the whole be, bounded, as it must be, by the short period of human life, compared to the everlasting vassalage of sin and Satan, in which thou didst lay when Jesus passed by and brought thee out? No galley-slave, chained to the oar, could equal thy misery, bound with the chain of sin. No duration of misery, bounded by time, equals that endless state of woe to which thou wast exposed. Thou weft a bondman to the power of sin, to the love of sin, to the desire of sin, to the punishment of sin; a bondman to the law of God, to the justice of God, to the displeasure of God, to the threatenings of God; a bondman to thine own guilty conscience; a bondman to thine own corrupt lusts, not one lust, but many, serving, as the apostle saith, "divers lusts and pleasures, hateful, and hating one another;" a bondman to Satan, a willing drudge, wearing his livery, delighted in his service, though full of sorrow, vexation, and disappointment, and his wages sure death; a bondman to the fear of many creatures among the inferior creation, many of whom had continual power to vex and distress thee; a bondman to the fear of death, hell, and a judgment to come! Was this thy state, .my soul, by nature and by practice? And hath one like the Son of Man brought thee out? Precious Jesus, what shall I say to thee, what shall I say for thee? What shall I render to the Lord for all the mercies he hath done to me, and for me? And dost thou say, Lord, that I may remember that bondage and thy redemption! Oh may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I forget thee, thou Author of all my joy, and all my happiness! Nay, if I do not remember thee, and prefer thy love more than wine. In life, in death, and to all eternity, may my soul hang upon thee, as the bee upon the flower; and let the fragrancy of thy name be as ointment poured forth.

John 14:9

"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?" - John 14:9

Pause, my soul, over this question of the Lord Jesus which he put to Philip - figure to thyself that the Lord saith the same to thee; and now see what answer thou wilt give him. It is a great question: and if thou art able to answer it with a - "Yea, Lord;" and from the blessed Spirit's teaching thou truly knowest Jesus to be what the scripture saith he is, and canst as truly, from the receiving that testimony which God hath given of his dear and ever- blessed Son, set to thy seal that God is true; then art thou truly happy, and mayest humbly take to thyself a portion in that blessedness which the Lord Jesus pronounced upon Peter, from the same grace manifested: "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Pause then, and inquire: dost thou know who Christ is? Art thou perfectly satisfied, my soul, of the oneness in nature, in essence, in glory, in will, in worship, in work, in design, in attributes, perfections, power, sovereignty; in short, in all and everything which constitutes the Godhead between the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit? Oh yes, my soul cries out, I do, through the teaching of my God, most firmly, heartily, and cordially believe, that Jesus is one with the Father over all, God blessed forever! Amen. Pause again, my soul, and say, dost thou as firmly and heartily believe that thy Jesus, who, in the divine nature, is one with the Father, is no less in the human nature, which he united to the Godhead for the purposes of salvation, one with thee, bone of thy bone, and flesh of thy flesh? Doth this make an equal article in thy creed? Oh yes, I am, through the same divine teaching, as fully and perfectly convinced that he who is and was, and ever will be, the uncreated Word, was made flesh, and thereby became the true Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature. Pause, once more, my soul, and say, dost thou believe that, by this union of God and man, Jesus became the true, the only, the blessed Mediator, the Christ of God, the Sent of God, the Sealed of God, the Anointed of God, the Lamb of God, the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, and the power of God for salvation to everyone that believeth? Bow down, my soul, with unceasing thanksgivings and praise to the Author and Giver of faith, for the stupendous discoveries he hath made to thee of himself, while thou criest out in transports of rejoicing - Lord, all this I believe; and am perfectly satisfied that thou art one with the Father, and art in the Father, and the Father in thee. And while thou thus givest in thy testimony of the Lord Jesus, wilt thou not, my soul, at the same time, under a conscious sense of the distinguishing mercy, cry out also with the astonished disciple - "Lord, how is it that thou hast thus manifested thyself unto me, and not unto the world."

2 Kings 4:1

"The creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen." - 2 Kings 4:1

My soul, how doth this affect thee? Art thou in debt? By nature and by practice thou wast miserably so, unless the debt be cancelled. As a creature, and as a sinful creature, thou art in thyself forever insolvent. Thou hast nothing to pay, and art shut up in a total impossibility ever to pay. And how much owest thou unto my Lord? Alas, my soul, thou owest millions of debts to thy Almighty Creditor. The law thou hast broken; justice demands retribution; conscience condemns; Satan accuses; and the creditor is come to take not thy two sons only, but both thy two parts, soul and body, to the prison of death and hell, unless some almighty Surety hath stept in and paid the dreadful debt, that thou mayest be free. At death, and at judgment that follows, the everlasting release, or the everlasting imprisonment, will take place. And who knows whether the decision may not be to-morrow? nay, whether the same sentence as went forth to the rich man in the gospel, is not already gone forth concerning thee - "This night thy soul shall be required of thee!" Pause, my soul! Is it not high time to flee to the prophet, even the Prince of the prophets, the Lord Jesus, to tell him thy case, and to seek his deliverance? Hark, doth he say, as the prophet did to the poor woman, "What shall I do for thee? Tell me what hast thou in the house?" Is not Jesus with thee? Is not his fullness suited to thy emptiness? Hast thou him with thee in the house? Shut then the door; bring, bring, my soul, all thy empty vessels-Jesus will fill them all. Nor will his bounty stay until that all thy vessels be filled; nay, every vessel will fail, before that his grace fails. And when thou art full of Jesus, live on Jesus, and see that Jesus hath paid thy Almighty Creditor, and left enough for thee to live on forever. Oh the rapture and the joy, when the Almighty Creditor comes, at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning, to know the dreadful debt is paid, and to hear him say, "Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom."

Psalm 89:19

"I have exalted one chosen out of the people." - Psalm 89:19

My soul, wert thou refreshed on the past day with the precious meditation of the God of our fathers glorifying his Son Jesus? Suffer not, then, the blessed subject to pass away from thy thoughts this day, or any day, but look at the same delightful meditation proposed in the words which God spake to his Holy One in vision - "I have exalted one chosen out of the people." Yes, the Lord Jesus, as man and Mediator, was chosen in the infinite mind of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, from everlasting. And before that God went forth in the immediate acts of creation, when that vast mass of beings the Lord determined to call into existence arose in his own infinite mind at his command, this blessed one, this glorious, this distinguished, this precious individual which was to become one with the uncreated Word, in order to constitute the Wisdom-man, Mediator, was from everlasting chosen. This was the glorious act - this was the great appointment. Then Christ Jesus, our glorious Head, our Surety, Redeemer, Saviour, was then set up from everlasting! And my soul, hadst thou been present, had there been a possibility of such a thing, had the whole church been there, would not every heart, every soul of his redeemed, have shouted aloud in the contemplation of such a Saviour, and cried out, "He is the altogether lovely, the chiefest among ten thousand!" Precious Jesus, thou art indeed lovely in thyself, lovely in thy cross, lovely in thy crown, lovely in all thy gracious acts, victories, triumphs, grace, and mercy. Everything in thee is lovely; and thou communicatest loveliness to all thy people. Thou hast chosen our inheritance for us; reign and rule over us, and in us; for thou art "The Lord our righteousness."

Acts 3:13

"The God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus." - Acts 3:13

See, my soul, how every part and portion of scripture is directed to this one subject - to glorify the Lord Jesus. What is the very design of redemption but to glorify the Lord Jesus? What hath God constituted a church for, but to glorify the Lord Jesus? To what do all the precepts, promises, ordinances, sacrifices under the law, and institutions under the gospel, minister, but to this one end - to glorify the Lord Jesus? Talk they of promises? Why, all the promises of God are "in Christ Jesus, yea and amen, to the glory of God the. Father by us." Talk they of the law? "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." Talk they of commandments? "This is the commandment, that ye believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name." And how hath the God of our fathers glorified his Son Jesus, in giving him as a covenant to the people. Hath he not constituted him the glorious Head, the Mediator, the Husband, the Lord, the Prophet, the Priest, the King of his people? How hath he glorified him in his person, offices, characters, relations! How hath he carried him through all the parts of redemption, in his incarnation, ministry, miracles, obedience, life, death, resurrection, ascension; and in all his triumphs over sin and Satan, death, hell, and the grave. And having constituted him the universal and eternal Lord of all, commands that "every knee should bow before him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father ]" And is there anything left, by which the God of our fathers might manifest that he hath glorified his Son Jesus? Yes, there is one thing more, my soul, by which the wonderful grace is shewn; and that is, when the God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus in the heart of every poor sinner, who gives the glory of his salvation fully, heartily, completely to him, and puts the crown of redemption upon the head of Jesus. My soul, hast thou done this? Hast thou glorified Jesus in this way, the only way in which thou canst glorify him, and the Father in him? Then, if so, what a sweet thought is it, that the God of our fathers, and thou, a poor sinner, are both agreed in this one blessed work, to glorify Jesus. And here both meet in the only possible meeting-place for an holy God and unholy men to meet; and both are engaged in one and the same deed - to glorify Jesus! Oh thou Lamb of God, be thou eternally glorified in my salvation!

Revelation 22:3-4

"His servants shall serve him. And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads." - Revelation 22:3-4

Mark these characters, my soul. Jesus hath servants, and they are distinguished from the world. They "serve him." What is it to serve Christ? The prophet hath described. Free grace hath made them servants, in bringing them from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; and therefore he saith, in the Lord's name," My servants shah eat, but ye shall be hungry; my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; my servants shah rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed; my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart." How distinguishing these characters! God's servants have the table of Jesus to sit down to; the bread of life, the bread of God, the living bread, which is Jesus himself, to feed upon. They shall drink also; for he that is their living bread is their living water also - even the water of life, of which whosoever drinketh shall thirst no more; "but it shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." The servants of the Lord shall rejoice, and sing for joy of heart also. Yes, "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Neither is this all. The servants of the Lord shall "see his face." They do now, by faith in his word, in his ordinances, in his manifestations, visits, grace, providences. And, by and by, when this vail of covering, cast over all people, is totally taken down and removed at death, they shall have a glorious view of the King in his beauty by sight. Moreover, his name is said to be" in their foreheads." Yes, it is so; the image of Christ is impressed upon them, as" Holiness to the Lord" was engraven on the mitre of Aaron. "Beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." My soul, what sayest thou to these evidences? Are they thine? Canst thou take the comfort of them to thyself.

Acts 13:23

"God, according to his promise, hath raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus." - Acts 13:23

Mark, my soul, the blessedness of these words. Jesus is not only Israel's Saviour, and hath fully answered, in every point, to that glorious character, but here we are led to discover his credentials. This is faith's warrant. I believe in Jesus. Why? He brings with him the name, the authority, the commission of God the Father. Jesus is the appointment, the ordinance, the method Jehovah hath sent forth for salvation. Sweet thought! So that, added to all that I behold in the Lord Jesus, adapted to my case and circumstances, [ here see that Jesus as the Father's gift, the Father's sent, the Father's anointed, full of grace and truth. Jesus is therefore the great promise of the bible; for in him are folded up and contained all the promises. And I see also, that God our Father was, and is, the great Promiser. And I see that God not only gave this rich Saviour to poor sinners, but, according to his promise, raised him up also from the dead, when he had made his soul an offering for sin, to bless them: for it is said, "that he was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification." My soul, pause over this blessed account, and look for thine own interest in it. If God hath raised up to Israel this Saviour, what knowest thou of him? Has thou felt thy need of a Saviour? Dost thou accept the Father's Saviour? Is Jesus thy Saviour? Art thou come to him for salvation? Now God the Father hath raised him up, doth he appear to thee in all his beauties, fullness, suitableness, and complete salvation?

Colossians 4:14

"The beloved physician." - Colossians 4:14

My soul, catch a thought of what the apostle hero speaks of the servants to think of the master! If Luke the physician was beloved, how much more so ought Jesus to be by thee in this sweet character. The Son of God came, as the great physician of the soul, to heal all that were diseased, to bind up the broken heart, to give sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. My soul, dost thou know Jesus in this tender and affectionate office? Hath he examined thy case, made thee sensible of thy disease; and art thou, through his mercy, restored to health? Though, through shame and fear at the first, you would never have made known your case to him, had he not first, of his own free accord, called upon you, yet hath he done so? Have you heard him ask the tender question, "Wilt thou be made whole?" And have you rejoiced to come under his care? Do you know what it is to have his blood applied to heal the wounds of sin, his righteousness to cover them, his grace to refresh under them, and his name as ointment poured forth, to make a fragrancy from all uncleanness? Moreover, hath Jesus shewn to thee the freeness of his remedies, without payment, without money, and without price? And doth he do all this, and a thousand affectionate offices beside, which belong to the physician, calling himself by that endearing name, Jehovah Rhophi, I am the Lord that healeth thee? No longer let it be said, then, "Is there no balm in Gilead; no physician there?" But tell to every poor sin-sick soul, Jesus is the beloved physician, who visits the poor and the needy, and heals all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people, he hath healed me.

John 6:24

"Seeking for Jesus." - John 6:24

This, my soul, should be thy constant employment, wherever thou art, however engaged; in going in, or out; at rising up, or lying down; whether in public or private, in the church or market-place; the closet, the family, the garden, the field, the house: the question ever arising in the heart should be - where is Jesus? Blessed Spirit! thou glorifier of my Lord, wilt thou constantly excite this seeking for Jesus in my heart? Wilt thou, Lord, give me every moment a sense of need, then a view of his fullness, suitableness, readiness to impart; then bring Him, whom my soul loveth, and me together; and then open a communication in leading me forth in desire, and giving me faith to receive from the infinite fullness of my Lord, and grace for grace? Lord Jesus! I would desire grace to seek thee, as for hidden treasure. I would seek thee, and thee only, O my God! I would separate myself from all other things. It is Jesus, my soul chooseth, my soul needs. I would trust in nothing beside. No duties, no works; neither prayers nor repentance; no, nor faith itself, considered as an act of my soul, shall be my comfort, but Jesus alone I would make my centre; and every thought, and every affection, and every desire, like so many streams meeting in one, should all pour themselves, as rivers, into the ocean of thy bosom! And the nearer, as a stream that draws near the sea is propelled to fall into it, so the more forcible and vehement let my soul be in desires after thee, as my soul draweth nearer the hour of seeing thee. Oh Lamb of God, give me to be seeking after thee through life, pressing after thee from one ordinance to another; and when ordinances cease, and all outward comforts fail, then, Lord, may I gather up (as the dying patriarch did his feet in the bed) all my strength, and pour my whole soul into thine arms, crying out, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord?"

2 Kings 6:16

2 Kings 6:16

"Fear not; for they that be with us, are more than they that be with them." - 2 Kings vi. 16.

My soul, never lose sight of this which was shewn to the prophet's servant in his fright. Though thou seest not, with bodily eyes, the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire in thy defense; yet with thy spiritual eyes, thou mayest see, infinitely beyond all this, as surrounding thee at all times and in all places, God thy Father, with all his divine attributes and perfections, all engaged, all made over, all pledged in covenant engagements, in Jesus, for thy defense, protection, comfort, security, and guiding thee in all things. There is more in that one assurance than in a thousand worlds, "I will be thy God" - and all in Jesus, yea and amen. Then, moreover, thou hast God thy Redeemer with thee, with all his fullness, all his grace, all his love-his whole heart, his whole soul thine. And thou hast God the Holy Ghost, with all his influences, gifts, teachings, quickenings, consolations, strengthenings. All these are with thee; to say nothing of angels, which are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them which are heirs of salvation. Surely God's attributes, Jesus's graces, the Holy Ghost's comforts, being all thine own, and always with thee; let what armies of men, or legions of evil spirits assault thee - unbelief, or fear, or doubt, or misgiving; let nothing drive out the recollections nor remove thy confidence. "Fear not, for they that be with thee are more than all that can be against thee." Hallelujah. Amen.

Hebrews 6:19-20

"Within the vail, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus." - Hebrews 6:19-20

Pause over these words, my soul, this morning. Is the vail removed? Was the vail rent in twain, from the top to the bottom, in the hour that Christ died? And did Jesus, as thy High Priest, with all his blood, then enter into ‘the place not made with hands, having obtained eternal redemption for us? Did he enter too as thy forerunner? Pause over this thought - it is a sweet one. Is Jesus still there? Nay, my soul, look in and see. He calls thee to look unto him - nay, to follow him, "having boldness to enter into the holiest by his blood, in the new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh." And what canst thou see there? Within the vail of the Jewish temple there was the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, and the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat. But within that vail, whither our forerunner is entered, look up, my soul, and see Jesus with the golden censer of his own merits and blood; and not the symbols of the covenant only, but he himself, the whole of the covenant, God the Father hath given him for the people; not merely manna, but himself the living bread, the bread of God, of which whosoever eateth shall live forever; not the rod of Aaron, but the rod of his power, to make poor sinners willing in the day of his power; not the cherubims of glory, but himself the mercy-seat, the propitiatory, the sacrifice, high priest, and ail in all. Look up, my soul; look in, my soul; go in, my soul, after him, by faith, and contemplate him as thy forerunner; and while all thy faculties, in grace and faith, are going forth in the most lively exercise, hear him say, and let his words sink deeper and deeper in thine unceasing remembrance: "I only go to prepare for you a place: I will Come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Hail thou glorious Forerunner, who art made an high priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec.

Song of Solomon 5:10

"My beloved is white and ruddy." - Song of Solomon 5:10

Pause, my soul, and contemplate thy Redeemer this morning under this engaging description of his person. It opens a delightful subject for meditation, in several points of view. Jesus is white and ruddy, if considered in his human nature only, He might be said to be white, in reference to the immaculate holiness of his body, underived as it was from a sinful stock like ours. He was born of the Virgin Mary by the miraculous conception of the Holy Ghost, and therefore emphatically called, that HOLY THING: agreeably to all which, his whole life was without sin or shadow of imperfection. "Such an High Priest become us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." Hence Jesus was truly white, as the Lamb of God, without blemish, and without spot. And was he not ruddy also, in his bloody sufferings, when his head was crowned with thorns, and his side pierced on the cross? Was he not ruddy in the garden, when his agony was so great as to force blood through all the pores of his sacred body, which fell in great drops on the ground. Behold, my soul, thy beloved in both these views, and say, - Is he not white and ruddy? But do not stop here. Look at him again, and contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Christ of God, in his two natures, divine and human, and say in the union of both - Is he not white and ruddy? What can set forth the glories of the Godhead to our apprehension more lovely than the purity of whiteness, which, as in the mount of transfiguration, became a brightness too dazzling for mortal sight to behold? And what can represent the human nature more strikingly than the ruddiness of the countenance? Adam, the first mall, takes his very name from hence; for Adam, or Adamah, signifies red earth. And such, then, was Jesus. And is he then, my soul, white and ruddy to thy view? And is he also thy beloved? Oh then, let him be thy morning, noon-day, evening, midnight meditation; and let him be sweet to thee, as he is to his church and people - the beloved who is white and ruddy?

Proverbs 31:6-7

"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." - Proverbs 31:6-7

What is the strong drink of the gospel but the covenant love, faithfulness, and grace of Jehovah? And what is the wine of the gospel but the love of Jesus, which the church saith is better than wine? Tell a poor sinner that is ready to perish, of God the Father's everlasting love towards his people, who were all by nature sinners ready to perish, when God passed by and bid them live; tell them that such was God's love that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; tell them of Jesus, his Godhead, his Manhood - both natures united in one person, forming one Christ; tell them, that faith in his blood will save the soul; that God the Father hath respect only to the person and worth of his dear Son; and that for his sake, and his sake alone, the greatest saint, and the greatest sinner, if believers, are alike saved. This is strong drink; and a poor perishing sinner needs the cordial. Neither will the heavy in heart be any more sad, that thus is made to drink of the wine of the gospel. My soul, hast thou tasted of this strong drink? Oh then, take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord! Drink of this cup which Jesus puts into thine hand, and in his riches forget thy poverty, and in his free, and full, and finished redemption remember thine own misery no more. Live only to Jesus, and let him be thy strong drink, thy wine, and thy cordial forever.

John 5:25

"The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." - John 5:25

What a promise is here, and what an encouragement for every dead sinner to hope, and for every living saint, who is interested for dead sinners, not to despair? Observe, my soul, the extensiveness of the mercy: it is the dead. Why, all are dead in trespasses and sins. Is there not hope then for all? "And they that hear shall live." Why, then, every sinner should ask his heart-do I hear? But, my soul, mark how this is done. It is by the voice of the Son of God. Yes; there is salvation in no other. He saith himself, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die." But, my soul, while taking comfort from this blessed passage, as it concerns poor dead sinners, ask thine own heart whether thou hast been the happy partaker of it thyself. Hast thou heard the voice of the Son of God? Yes; if so be thou livest in him, and upon him, and walkest with him. Jesus's voice is a quickening voice, a life-giving voice, a soul-feeding, soul-strengthening, heart-warming, heartbreaking, heart-melting voice. What sayest thou, my soul, to these examinations? Oh if Jesus's voice hath been ever heard by thee, thou wilt be desiring the renewal of it from day to day, and thou wilt be saying, in the earnest language of the church: "let me hear thy voice, let me see thy countenance; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely."

Song of Solomon 1:5

I am black, but comely." - Song of Solomon 1:5

See, my soul, whether thine experience corresponds to that of the church. Hast thou learnt from God the Spirit what thou art in thyself? Art thou truly sensible of the many sins and corruptions which lurk under fair appearances;  and that, from carrying about with thee a body of sin and death, as the apostle said he did, in thee, that is, in thy flesh, dwelleth no good thing? Dost thou appear not only black in thine own view, but art thou despised for Christ's sake, and counted the offscouring of all things in the view of the world? Pause, my soul. Now look at the bright side. Art thou comely in Christ's righteousness, which he hath put upon thee? Comely in the sweet sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost dwelling in thee? Comely in the eyes of God the Father, from being accepted in Jesus the Beloved? Comely in church communion and fellowship, walking in the fear of God, and under the comforts of the Holy Ghost? What sayest thou, my soul, to these sweet but soul-searching testimonies? If thou canst now take up the language of the church: "I am black, but comely;" lowly in thine own eyes, self-loathing, self- despising, self-abhorring; but in Jesus rejoicing, and in his salvation triumphing all the day; think, my soul, what will it be when the King, in whose comeliness thou art comely, shall take thee home, as a bride adorned for her husband, and thou shalt then be found, "not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing," but shalt be everlastingly holy, and without blame before him in love.

Deuteronomy 33:16

"The good will of him that dwelt in the bush. " - Deuteronomy 33:16

And who is this, my soul; who indeed can it be but Jesus? Surely he is the glorious person. It was good will, in the highest possible instance of it, that prompted his infinite mind, from everlasting, to love his people, to engage for them in suretyship engagements, and to stand up and come forth, at the call of God the Father, as the head of his body the church. It was a continuation of the same good will which prompted him, in the fullness of time, to assume our nature for the purposes of fulfilling those engagements. Then it was, indeed, he dwelt in the bush; for what is our nature, at the best, but a poor dry bramble bush, fit for burning? But yet, by Christ in it, so sustained, and so preserved, that though the bush burns with fire, even the fiery lusts of our corruptions, and the fiery darts of the wicked, and all the fiery opposition of the world, it shall not be consumed. Precious Jesus! what good will hast thou shewn, dost thou shew, and everlastingly wilt shew, to our poor nature, since thou hast been in it, and art now, indeed, the dweller in it. And did Moses, when dying, thus connect the first views of thy love, when from the burning bash thou didst make thyself known to him, as God tabernacling in our flesh, for the purpose of salvation, with his last views as he was closing his eyes to this world, and looking up to thee as God-man Mediator, and thus pray for thy good will to the church? Oh then, let my every-day meditation do the same. Lord Jesus, I would seek thee and thy good will beyond all the riches of the earth, and all the enjoyments of the world. Lord, I would never forget that it was thy good will which brought thee down from heaven; thy good will which prompted thee to die, to rise again, for poor sinners; thy good will which makes thee wash them from all their sins in thy blood; all the visits of thy grace here, all the glories of redemption hereafter; all are the purchase and the result of thy good will. Precious Lord, do thou, day by day, grant me renewed tokens of thy good will; and let those visits be so gracious, so sweet, and so continual, that I may think of nothing else, speak of nothing else, but the good will of my dweller in the bush. I would pray for grace to spend all the moments of my life here in receiving from thee grace and love, and bringing to thee love and praise, until thou shalt take me home to live at the fountain of thy good will, and the whole happiness of eternity consists in the praises of God and the Lamb, and in enjoying" the good will of him that dwelt in the bush."

Luke 18:7-8

"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." - Luke 18:7-8

My soul, mark for thy encouragement, in all thine approaches to a throne of grace, what Jesus here speaks, and never lose sight of it. Remember how well acquainted he, who came out of the bosom of the Father, mast be with the Father's mind and will towards his people, over and above the gracious exercise of his priestly office in their behalf. Now, my soul, do mark down distinctly what blessed things are here promised. First - God's people are said in it to be his elect, his chosen, his jewels. "This people," saith God, "I have formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise." Secondly - God's people are a praying people; "they cry day and night to him;" they are unceasing in their applications; and they wrestle, like their father Jacob in prayer: "Lord, I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Give me Jesus, and in him I shall have all things. He will subdue this corruption; he will soften this affliction; he will conquer Satan, and with him, all his temptations. Thirdly - God's people will and must be exercised. There will be sometimes long silence at the throne. The enemy will endeavour to improve this to strengthen his temptation; he will suggest, ‘God hath forgotten thee; he will return no more; he hath cast thee off.' Lastly - mark what Jesus saith; "Shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" Yes, yes, he will, I tell you, saith one who could not be mistaken; "he will avenge them, and that speedily." When the hour of deliverance comes, it shall come so sudden, so sweet, so unexpected, that all their long waiting shall be forgotten; and it shall seem as if that promise of answering before they called was in it. And he will not only bless them, but avenge them of their foes. And whence all this, my soul, but because he is the Father of mercies, and God of all consolation. His people are his chosen, the gift of his love, the purchase of Jesus's blood, the conquests of his Holy Spirit. Lord, cause me ever to keep those precious things in remembrance, and to hang on, and hold out, and never, never to give over pleading in Jesus, until I hear that precious voice, "Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt."

Leviticus 2:13

"And every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thy offering thou shalt offer salt." - Leviticus 2:13

Ponder over these words, my soul, and looking up for grace, and the divine teachings, see whether Jesus is not sweetly typified here. Was not Jesus the whole sum and substance of every offering under the law? The Holy Ghost taught the church this, when he said, "the law was a shadow of good things to come, but the body is of Christ." And did not the church, by faith, behold him as the salt which seasoned and made savoury the whole? Moreover, as all the sacrifices were wholly directed to typify him who knew no sin, but became sin for his people; the seasoning the sacrifice with salt, which was also a type of Christ's purity and sinlessness, became a sweet representation, to denote that a sinner, when he came with his offering, came by faith; to intimate that he looked for acceptance in the Lord as his sacrifice, and for preservation in the salt of his grace, in Christ Jesus. And who then, among believers now, would ever approach without an eye to Jesus, and the seasoning with this salt all his poor offerings. Lord, grant that the salt of the covenant of my God may never be lacking; for where Jesus is not, there can be no acceptance. Lord, let me have this salt in myself, and may every renewed presentation of myself be there salted. Then shall I be as the salt of the earth, amidst not only the putrefaction of the world, but the corruptions of my own heart. Lord, say to us, and impart the blessing of thyself in saying it, "Have salt in yourselves;" and then shall we have peace with thee, and with one another.

Habakkuk 3:19

"To the chief singer on my stringed instruments." - Habakkuk 3:19

My soul, take down thine harp from the willow; and now the night is past, let the first of the morn find thee going forth, in the matin of praise, to the chief singer on all the instruments of his grace, which he hath strung thine heart to use to his glory. And who is this chief singer, but Jesus? Doth not the prophet say, "The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk in mine high places?" Surely he that is the Lord God of my salvation, is the chief singer, and chief musician of my song. And he that will be my portion, my everlasting portion in the upper world, will be my strength and song in this. Surely David would not have directed, as he hath, in such numberless places, his psalms to a singer among men, in the temple service, when the whole scope of the psalm itself treats of the Lord, and of his Christ. The root of the word singer, or musician itself, means the end. And" Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Come then, my soul, strike up this morning this hymn of praise. God the Holy Ghost is exciting thee. It is he which points to Jesus. He shews the king in his beauty, and bids thee behold his suitableness, transcendent excellencies, grace, love, favour, glory. Carry, then, all thy concerns to this chief musician. Put forth all thy strength to praise him, that while Jesus is attentive to the hallelujahs of heaven, he may hear thy feeble note, amidst all the songs which are offered him, giving glory to his great name, from the uttermost parts of the earth. Follow the prophet's example, and let the goings forth of thy warmest desires be to the chief singer on thy stringed instruments: - The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and in my song will I praise him."

Hebrews 11:4

"By faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." - Hebrews 11:4

The Holy Ghost hath here marked down, by his servant the apostle, in the very first offerings which we read of in the bible, the vast importance of faith; by which it most decidedly proves, that it is faith which gives efficacy to all the offerings of his creatures. Faith in what? Nay - there can be but one view of faith throughout the word of God; namely, faith in the promised seed to bruise the serpent's head. This was the first promise which came in upon the fall. Every offering, therefore, offered unto God, unless it had an eye to this, became offensive. Cain did not offer the first-fruits of the ground with an eye of faith in Christ - hence, he was the first deist the world ever knew. Abel, by faith, offered the firstlings of his flock with an eye to Jesus - and hence the testimony that God respected his offering. What a striking evidence is here, ray soul, of the vast and infinite importance of faith. Cain made an offering to God, and by so doing, he did, as the deists now do, acknowledge God to be his Creator; but not looking to him as a Redeemer, and thereby intimating that he needed none, both his person and his offering were rejected. Meditate on this, my soul, and learn by grace to mix faith in all that concerns thy soul. Oh keep an eye on Jesus, convinced that "there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." And if, through the gracious teachings of the Spirit, in taking of the things of Jesus, and shewing them unto thee, thou art able daily to apprehend by faith, and bring him (as the bee doth from the flower) his person, his work, his character, his relations, his grace, and righteousness, as the sent, and sealed, and anointed, of the Father, full of grace and truth; by thus living upon him, and living to him, and making him what he is to all his people, the Alpha and Omega of thy salvation; faith in him will give a sweet leaven to all thy poor prayers, and praises, and offerings, and thou wilt find favour with God, to the praise of the glory of his grace, who maketh thee accepted in the Beloved.

2 Timothy 1:9

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began." - 2 Timothy 1:9

Mark, my soul, all the precious things, if thou hast power or time to do so, which are contained in this blessed scripture. Eternity itself will not be sufficient to allow space to enumerate them; neither will thy ripened faculties, even when full-blown and full-fruited, be found sufficient to enter into the complete apprehension of them all. Who is it that is here said to have saved ns, and called us with an holy calling, but the holy, glorious, undivided Jehovah, existing in a threefold character of Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? For all have concurred in that blessed work; and all, in the essence of the One Jehovah, must have the joint praise and the joint glory to all eternity. Well, then, put thy salvation down to this glorious account: it is God who hath saved and called thee. Next, mark the order here set forth. Thou art said to be saved before thou art said to be called. Mark that! salvation precedes our knowledge of it. The covenant engagements of the Almighty Covenanters took place from everlasting. For so saith the apostle concerning the hopes of happiness founded on salvation: "In hope," saith he, "of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Next, my soul, take notice of the call itself. It is an holy call: for we are called to the fellowship and communion of Jesus Christ. "And as he who hath called us is holy, so are we called to be holy, in all manner of conversation and godliness." See to it, my soul, that thy fellowship and communion is in the holiness and sin-atoning blood of Jesus. Lastly, never, my soul, lose sight of the cause of these unspeakable mercies - no, not for a moment. "We are saved and called, not according to our works, but according to his purpose." Hence, what is God's gift, cannot be man's merit; and what resulted from infinite love, from all eternity, cannot flow from creature love in time. Blessed purpose, and blessed grace: and thrice-blessed, being given to us in God's dear Son, even Christ Jesus, before the world began!

Leviticus 6:12-13

"And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it: it shall not be put out. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar: it shall never go out." - Leviticus 6:12-13

Pause, my soul! behold the precept in one verse, and the promise in the other. The Israelites was not to put out this altar fire; and Jehovah promised that it should never go out. Neither did it, through all the Jewish church, until Christ came. And if it be true that it actually did expire (as it is said it did) the very year Christ died, what is this hut a confirmation of the grand truth of God concerning the putting away of sin by the blood of Christ? For is not fire an emblem, through all the scriptures, of Jehovah's displeasure against sin? Is not God said to be a consuming fire? And by its burning, and that miraculously preserved under all the Jewish dispensation, is it not meant to manifest Jehovah's perpetual wrath, burning like fire against sin? And as the fire was never extinguished upon the altar, notwithstanding the numerous sacrifices offered, can anything more decidedly prove the inefficacy of sacrifices under the law, how expensive so ever they were, to take away sin? And is the fire now gone out? Hath God himself indeed put it out! Then hath he accepted that one offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, who came to put away sin, and hath for ever put it away by the sacrifice of himself. Hail, thou great, thou glorious, thou everlasting Redeemer! Thou art indeed both the High Priest and the altar, both the Sacrifice and the 6acrificer, whose one offering hath both put out the fire of divine wrath, and caused the holy flame of love and peace to burn in its stead, which hath kindled in every heart of thy people. Yes, yes, thou Lamb of God, it is thou which hast delivered us from the wrath to come! Thou hast made our peace in the blood of thy cross. Thou hast quenched, by thy blood the just fire of divine indignation against sin. Thou hast quenched no less all the fiery darts of Satan. Thou hast subdued the flaming enmity of our hearts, with all their fiery lusts and burning affections. What shall I say to thee, what shall I say of thee, what shall I proclaim concerning thee, Oh thou, the Lord our righteousness? Lord, help me to begin the song, and never suffer sin or Satan - nay, death itself, for a moment, to make an interruption in the heavenly note; but let thy name fill my whole soul, and vibrate on my dying lips, that I may open my eyes in eternity, while the words still hang there: "To him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and the Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

2 Timothy 4:8

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." - 2 Timothy 4:8

Pause, my soul, over this blessed verse, and mark the very weighty things contained in it. Many a soul is for deferring the thoughts of this great day of God, and conclude, that the justification of the sinner cannot be known until the day of judgment. But, my soul, see to it, that thou art for bringing the firm and unshaken belief of it into immediate possession and enjoyment now; for surely Jesus hath effectually and fully provided for it. "Whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." See to it then, my soul, that thou dost not suffer thyself to live a day, no, not an hour, in a state of uncertainty upon a point of such infinite consequence, in which the pardon of thy sins, and the justification of thy person before God, is so highly concerned. If Jesus be thy Surety, his righteousness and blood must be thy full justification before God, and his salvation as much now as it will ever be. Pause then, and ask thine heart, dost thou love his appearing? Suppose the trump of God was this moment to sound, wouldest thou love his appearing? No doubt the moment would be solemn, but would it not be glorious? Is Jesus thine; his righteousness thine; his blood thy ransom? Wouldest thou love his appearing if these things were sure? And what makes them not sure? Art thou looking to any other righteousness? Hast thou not disclaimed all other saviours? Ask thyself again; dost thou love his appearing, in the season of ordinances, providences, retirements; in his word, in the visits of his grace; at his table, his house of prayer, among his churches, his people? Dost thou love his appearing in the conversion of every poor sinner; and doth the same make thee to rejoice over the recovery of such as angels do, when one repents? My soul, let these things be among thy daily meditations concerning Jesus; for then will thy meditation of him be sweet. And by thus making the justification of thy person in the blood and righteousness of Jesus thy daily comfort, thou wilt be prepared to love his appearing, in death, and finally at judgment; that when the Master comes, and calleth for thee, thou mayest arise with holy joy, and mount up to meet the Lord in the air, and receive that crown of Jesus's righteousness which fadeth not away.

Proverbs 18:24

"A friend that sticketh closer than a brother." - Proverbs 18:24

And who is this, my soul; indeed, who can it be, but Jesus? None among the fallen race of Adam could ever redeem his brother; or, if he could, would have done it, at the expense of his own soul. But Jesus did all this, and more, when our cause was desperate, and gave himself a ransom for his redeemed. Oh for grace to mark the features of his love. It began in eternity, it runs through all time, and continues everlasting. As Jesus is himself, so is he in his love; the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. And how hath he shewn it? First, by engaging as our Surety; then paying all our debts; fulfilling the whole law; purchasing our persons; undertaking for our duty; nay, even to the conquering the stubbornness of our nature, and making us willing to be saved in the day of his power! And what is it now? Having accomplished redemption for us by his blood, he is gone to take possession of a kingdom in our name. There he still manifests "the friend that sticketh closer than a brother;" for he takes up all our causes, pleads our suits, and makes every case his own. And by and by he will come to take us to himself, that where he is, there we may be also. In the meantime he supplies all our wants, and this with a freeness, fullness, suitableness, and all-sufficiency, that knows no bounds, to manifest the unalterable friendship which he bears us. He visits us continually, sympathizes with us in all our afflictions, and increases with his tender love the enjoyment of all our comforts; and all this, and a thousand other nameless, numberless tokens, Jesus is continually shewing, as proves that his whole heart and soul is our's. So that he is a faithful, loving, constant, powerful, kind, everlasting, unchanging Friend, that sticketh closer than a brother. My soul, what wilt thou say to such a Friend? How wilt thou love him? Oh precious Lord, when! think of thy love and my ingratitude - but Lord, it is thine to love, thine to pity, thine to pardon. Lord, give me grace to appropriate thee to myself; and while thou art still saying to me, and to thy church," I have called you friends," - may I say, "This is my Friend, and this is my Beloved, O daughters of Jerusalem!"

Song of Solomon 8:6

"Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame." - Song of Solomon 8:6

My soul, is this the language of thine heart to Jesus? Yes, it is. Can any desire to be nearer Christ than thee? Can any long more to be worn as a signet upon his arm, and to lay nearer his heart than thee? And can any desire more than thou dost, to be sealed with his Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption? Surely, my soul, thou longest earnestly for these precious things, that that arm of Jesus, on which thou wouldest be set as a seal, may be ever clasping thee; and that heart of thy Redeemer's upon which thou art engraven, as the high priest bore the names of the people of Israel, may be always folding thee, and hearing both thy person and thy wants before the throne, and thus unceasing fellowship may abound with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And canst thou not say, as the church did to Jesus, "For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave?" For as death conquers all, and the grave admits of no rival, so thy love to Jesus, which he hath planted in thine heart hath conquered thee; and no rival, no partner, can divide the throne of thine heart with Jesus? Everything in thee concerning Jesus, is as though on fire; and all the flames of thine affection burn with this language," Whom have I in heaven but thee; and there, is none upon earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth; thou art the strength of my heart, and thou art my portion forever." But pause, my soul, is there not somewhat, in those precious words of the morning, in which Jesus may be supposed to say the same to thee? Surely, my soul, if thou forest him, it is because he first loved thee! And if the real cry of thine heart is to be set as a seal upon his heart, and upon his arm, depend upon it, it is because he hath been beforehand with thee in both. Precious Redeemer! and dost thou indeed bid me set thee in my heart, and on my arm? Lord Jesus, I would wear thee in my heart. I would never, never suffer thee to depart from my arms. I would feel thee inward, manifest thee by every outward testimony; and as seals upon the arm and upon the breast are in sight, so would I set thee always before me, and tell the whole earth whose I am, and whom I love; that whither thou goest I would go, and where thou dwellest I would dwell: for I am no longer my own, but am bought with a price; therefore I would glorify God in my body, and in my spirit, which are his.

Zechariah 1:16

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies." - Zechariah 1:16

My soul, think what a sad state that land, that church, that family, that heart is in, where God withdraws but for a moment! This will be one way of rightly appreciating his presence. What a mercy, what an unspeakable mercy is it when God returns! For until he returns in grace, there will be no return to him in a way of seeking mercy. Pause, my soul, over the thought. Though a child of God loseth not the interest and favour of God in his covenant, because what unworthiness so ever, as in ourselves, we must appear in before God, yet in Christ there is an everlasting worthiness, in which his people are accepted and beloved: yet if the Lord suspends his gracious influences on the soul; if Jesus speaks neither by Urim nor Thummim; if the Holy Ghost, though at home in the heart, manifests not himself to the heart; what shall the soul do? Ordinances are nothing if the God of ordinances be not in them. To look inward, the soul finds no peace. To look upward, there can be no comfort. For if the Lord commands the clouds to poor no rain upon his inheritance, their heaven is as brass, and their earth as iron. Hast thou, my soul, experienced trying seasons; and, though convinced of an interest in Jesus, hast thou languished after the sweet and blessed visits of his grace? Listen then to this precious scripture," I am returned, saith the Lord unto Jerusalem with mercies." Welcome, Lord, to my soul, to my heart! Thy presence is better than life itself. And the mercies thou hast brought with thee, in pardoning, quickening, renewing, reviving, comforting, strengthening me, will put more joy in my heart than thousands of gold and silver. There will be no barren ordinances, no barren hearts, no barren land, where our God comes. Thou hast said," I will be as the dew unto Israel." Oh what a revival in my poor heart; what a revival will thy presence make in my family; what a revival in thy churches; what a revival in this dear land of our nativity! Oh come, Lord Jesus, come in our midst; and let us hear thee say," I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies." "Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken, neither shall thy land anymore be termed desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married."

Psalm 107:7

"And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation." - Psalm 107:7

My soul, what are thy daily exercises concerning the way the Lord thy God is leading thee through a wilderness dispensation? Art thou convinced that it is the right way? What if it be a thorny way, a tempted way, frequently a dark way; yet art thou satisfied that it is the right way, because it is thorny, tempted, dark, and with numberless other exercises. This is the plan to judge by. And though, my soul, I trust thou hast grace enough given thee to see and know, in thy cool hours of thought, that whatever thy God appoints must be right, and his holy will must be done; yet there is an exercise of grace which goes much beyond these views of the subject, and which a believer is enabled to bring into practice, when he not only submits to a painful dispensation, but rejoiceth in it, because it is the right way. When he saith, I am afflicted; but afflictions are useful. I am in dark and trying circumstances; but these also are useful. I am buffeted by Satan; but this also I find to be right, because Christ is the more endeared thereby, and his strength is perfected in my weakness. My God is bringing me by a right way, to a city of habitation. Of this I am sure. And every step leading to the final attainment, is already marked by infinite wisdom, and provided for by infinite love; and Jesus himself is with me through all the pilgrimage. Hence then, I conclude, that if at any time I am at a loss to see my way, to find comfort in my way, or if I am obstructed in my way, still it is the right way, because Jesus himself is the way, and his unerring wisdom is in the appointment. Oh for grace in lively exercise, to be as satisfied now of all the dispensations concerning the church and people, as when of old, in the wilderness! The Lord is leading forth by a right way, to bring to a city of habitation, whose builder and maker is God.

Genesis 22:12

"Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." - Genesis 22:12

My soul, ponder these words. By whom were they spoken? It is said by the angel of the Lord; probably the messenger of the covenant; he, who in the fullness of time, was to make known, face to face, to all Abraham's seed, the whole revelation of Jehovah concerning redemption. It was a critical moment in Abraham's life, and a trying moment to his faith. It is said, "Now I know." Did not the Lord know before? Oh yes; but he that gave Abraham the faith, now afforded an opportunity for the exercise of it. My soul, how blessed is it to remark, that the largest gifts of grace are dispensed, when there is the largest occasion for them. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." And, my soul, do not forget to remark also, that our Isaacs, our children, our earthly comforts, are most likely to be continued to us, when the Lord gives grace and faith to be most ready at his holy will to part with them. When I can say, Lord, all that thou hast given me is thine; and if thou art pleased to take all, or any part back again, still it is thine own - not mine, but lent. Oh, for grace, like Abraham, to bless a taking God, as well as a giving God, and to withhold nothing from him. Pause, my soul, one moment longer over this precious portion. Is there nothing more to be gathered from it? Look again; read it over once more. Pass beyond Abraham, and contemplate the God of Abraham, and see if thou canst not discover the infinite, unequalled, astonishing love of God the Father typified in this solemn transaction; and while we behold Abraham, at the call of God, giving up his son, his only son; may we not behold God, uncalled, unsought, and without any one cause but his own free everlasting love, giving up his only begotten Son, as a sacrifice for the redemption of his people? The patriarch gave up his son but in intention; but God in reality. And, my soul, what oughtest thou now to say to God in the view of this transaction? Methinks I find authority, from these sweet words, to make a paraphrase upon them, and to make application of them, for all and every circumstance with which I may be exercised; and, looking up to God my Father in Christ Jesus, I would say, ‘Now, O Lord and Father, I know thou dost love a poor, sinful, unworthy worm as I am, seeing thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from me.'

John 15:1

"My Father is the husbandman." - John 15:1

Blessed truth, and blessed assurance, to the true followers of Jesus. Yes, Almighty Father! I would pray for thy continual teaching, to behold thee as the husbandman of thy vineyard, the church, in which thou hast raised up the Plant of Renown, the Man whose name is the Branch, the true Vine, in whom, and upon whom, and through whom, all thy redeemed, taken from the olive- tree that is wild by nature, are grafted, and bring forth fruit unto God. Yes, Almighty Father! I would desire grace to behold thee, and while I behold, to love, to praise, to adore thee, that from everlasting thou hast graciously been the husbandman of thy church. It was in thee, and from thee, as the contriver and appointer of all that concerned redemption, we trace the fountain and source of all that grace, mercy, peace, and favour here, with all the unknown treasures of glory hereafter, which thou hast placed in his most blessed hands, who is the Lord our righteousness. In every renewed view of Jesus, as the true Vine, which thou hast planted; and in every renewed communication from his fullness, nourishment, and life-imparting influences; may it be my happy portion, Oh Lord, to eye thee, as the husbandman, while I feel and know my union in Jesus as the Vine. And do thou, most gracious God and Father, condescend to act the part of the kind husbandman still. Let thine eyes be upon me for good, as the husbandman visits his vineyard. Water, Lord, with the heavenly dew of thy word and Spirit, the dry and languishing plantation. Oh that the Lord may give showers of blessing, and that he may be to me as the latter, and as the former rain, upon the barrenness of my heart. Preserve me, Lord, from the wild boar of the wood, even Satan, that he may never tread me down. Weed out, Lord, the briers and thorns, even the corruptions of my own heart, which would twine themselves with the tender branches. And lop off, Oh Lord, all the superfluous shoots, even the world's enticements, which might prevent fruitfulness in Jesus. In all things, blessed God and Father, be thou the kind, the tender, the wise husbandman, in doing for me what thou seest to be needful, however painful to flesh and blood the pruning dispensations and wintry providences may be found. Do thou purge, as Jesus hath said, every branch that beareth fruit, that it may bring forth more fruit; and by thy gracious Spirit so cause me to abide in Christ, and that Christ may abide in me, that thou, my God and Father, mayest be glorified in my bearing much fruit, to the praise of thy grace, wherein thou hast made me accepted in the beloved.

Psalm 89:16

"In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted." - Psalm 89:16

See, my soul, what a blessed cause is again before thee to begin the month, and to carry it on through every day, and all the day, and in every part of the day, for joy in the name and righteousness of Jesus. And mark it with peculiar emphasis, that it is Jesus, as Jesus, the Christ of God, and his righteousness as the righteousness of God, in which all thy rejoicing is, and not in the finest frames, or spiritual exercises of thine own. A daily sense of a need of Christ, and as constant a sense of acting faith upon Christ; these form the foundation of every true believer's joy, and make the savour of Christ's name like ointment poured forth; And whence is it, my soul, that all the redeemed are said to rejoice in the name of the Lord all the day, but because the Lord hath saved them and redeemed them for his name's sake? And whence is it said, that in his righteousness they shall be exalted, but because from their union with Christ, as their spiritual head, they are accepted in his righteousness, and are made the righteousness of God in him? Here's an exaltation indeed, enough to make the heart of the most sorrowful glad, let outward circumstances be what they may; when inward joy and peace in believing give such a blessedness to the believer's view of the name of Jesus. See to it then, my soul, that all thy fresh springs of joy are in him. Be very jealous over thyself, in the happiest moments of thy comfort, that Christ's name, and his righteousness and salvation, lie at the bottom of thy joy. Where is Jesus? I would ask my heart, when I am most at ease and happy. Is he in this happiness? And is this happiness enjoyed, and enjoyed purely, because Christ is in it? Trace this, my soul, through all the parts of salvation, and through all thy paths in grace, and see whether thou art bottoming every hope and every mercy, both for time and eternity, in the name and righteousness of Jesus only: for, depend upon it, as Jehovah hath said, in the pardoning and blotting out the transgressions of his people," I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my name's sake;" so it is to the everlasting praise of his name, that all the glory of salvation is, and must be ascribed. Nevertheless, he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.