John 11:56

"What, think ye that he will not come to the feast?" - John 11:56

Is this thy inquiry, my soul, when at any time thou art seeking Jesus in his word, in his ordinances, at his table? Will be not come? Will Jesus not be there? Think how, he hath dealt in times past. Did not Jesus rejoice when the hour arrived for coming into the world for salvation? Doth he not rejoice, when coming to the heart of the poor sinner for conversion? and will he not come with joy in all the renewed visits of his love? Besides, doth not Jesus know that it is a time of need to thee? And hath he not opened a way to the throne of grace, on purpose that his poor helpless children might come boldly to a throne of grace to obtain help, and find grace in every time of need? Oh then, mark it down as a sure thing, thy Jesus will be there. He spreads the feast, and he will be present, He waits to be gracious; waits to be kind to thee. Love is in his heart, and salvation in his hands. Hasten then to his house, to his table, to his bosom, to his heart; and say, with the church, "Come, my beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart, upon the mountains of Bether."

Ephesians 2:7

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2:7

Pause, my soul, and gather in all the powers of arithmetic, and try if thou art able to count what the exceeding riches of God's grace amount to. Think how great, how free, how sovereign, how inexhaustible, how everlasting! All that a poor sinner hath in time, all that we can enjoy to all eternity, all is of grace. And what a title hath thy God chosen to be known by among his people, when, to make himself known more fully in Jesus, he styles himself "the God of all grace!" All grace? Yes, all grace, and all sorts and degrees of grace: pardoning grace, renewing grace, quickening grace, strengthening grace, comforting grace; in short, all grace. And is all this treasured up in Jesus? Oh then, my soul, see that Jesus be thine, and all is thine. And mark this down as a sure unerring rule-as grace hath no source but in the Father's love, so the exalting that grace, in Jesus is the Father's design in salvation. The brightest pearl in the Redeemer's crown is that which shines with this inscription: "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. "Here, my soul, seek thy daily grace more earnestly than thy daily bread.

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Exodus 21:5-6

"If the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door posts; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him forever." - Exodus 21:5-6

How sweet is scripture explained by scripture! Jesus saith, when sacrifice and offering under the law were both unprofitable, "Mine ears hast thou opened;" or, as it might have been rendered, "Mine ears hast thou digged." Ps. xl. 6. And elsewhere, "The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious." Isa. l, 5. The apostle to the Hebrews decidedly explains this in reference to Christ, Heb. x. 5. And what was all this but to shew the voluntary service of Jesus to the office and work of the Redeemer. Was not Jesus, in all that high work, the servant of Jehovah? Though he was in the form of God, and with him it was no robbery to be equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. And for whom did he this? Was it not, in effect, saying, like the Jewish servant, which was typical of him, "I love my master, my father, in the work of redemption?" John xiv. 31. "I love my wife, my church, my spouse." Song iv. 10. "I love my children: behold I, and the children thou hast given me." Isa. viii. 18. "I will not go out free." Oh, precious Lord Jesus! well might the apostle say, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it!" Surely it was thy love, dearest Lord, to thy church, that moved thee to serve Jehovah, "as Israel served for a wife, and for a wife kept sheep." Hosea xii. 12. Oh for grace to love thee, and to serve thee forever!

2 Corinthians 6:10

"As having nothing, and yet possessing all things." - 2 Corinthians 6:10

My soul, hast thou learnt this holy science? There are three blessed lessons the Holy Ghost teacheth on this ground. As, first, the believer is thoroughly emptied of himself. Art thou thus taught of God? Hast thou been led to see, to feel, to know, to be convinced that, after all thine attainments, after all thy long standing in the school of Jesus, thou hast nothing, canst do nothing, art worse than nothing, and, literally, hast no more in thyself now to recommend thee to Jesus, than the first moment thou didst hear of his name? This is to have nothing; this is to be poor in spirit. Secondly , dost thou possess all things in Jesus? Yes, if so be thou art living out of thyself wholly upon him; and how is this known? Nothing more evident. When a sense of my emptiness endears to me his fullness; my poverty, his riches; my weakness, his strength; my sins, his righteousness; my guilt, his blood; I truly possess all things, as far as I improve what Jesus is to his people, and rest upon him and the blessed fruits of his salvation, as God the Father designed him, who hath made him wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to his people. And there is a third precious lesson the Holy Ghost teacheth to the poor that have nothing, and yet possess all things; namely, so to possess Jesus himself that he may not only make his poor ones rich in his riches, but be himself their treasure; so to supply them not only with what they need, but to be himself their fullness; not on to open to them light and life, but to be himself both their light and life; so to impart to them salvation as to shew them that he is himself their salvation; and, in short, so to give them present peace, and the assurance of everlasting happiness in his blood and righteousness, as to give them the perfect enjoyment that he is himself both their present and everlasting happiness and their portion forever. My soul, hast thou learnt, and art thou ever day more and more learning, these precious truths? Oh, then, look up to thy Jesus, and say with one of old, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth; but thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."

John 16:14

"He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." - John xvi. 14.

Some precious souls are at a loss to apprehend how the Holy Ghost makes application of Jesus and his benefits to his people. Hence they ask, how am I to know that the righteousness of Jesus, and the blood of Jesus, are applied to me. But be not thou, my soul, ignorant of so important a matter, on the clear apprehension of which thy daily comfort depends. Attend, my soul, to what thy Jesus saith in those precious words; and, under the blessed Spirit's teaching, the matter will appear abundantly plain. He shall glorify me, saith Jesus. And doth not the Holy Ghost do this in every believer's view, when he gives the soul to see that all that vast extent of redemption-blessings which the Father treasured up in his dear Son for poor sinners, flow immediately from Jesus? And observe, the Holy Ghost doth not at first shew the sinner that all result from the everlasting love, and grace, and purpose of God the Father; but he leads the sinner to view them, and receive them, as the blessed fruits and effects of Jesus mediation; and then opens more fully the glory of the Father in the original design of them, in this precious way, from everlasting. This is needed to glorify Jesus, and to glorify the Father in him. And how are these blessings applied? The scriptural answer is the best answer: - "He shall receive of mine," saith Jesus, "and shew it unto you." And doth not that almighty Teacher do all this most sweetly and effectually, when at any time he so holds up the Lord Jesus, in all the glories of his person, and in all the beauties of his finished work, as to incline the sinner's heart so to behold the Saviour as to believe in him, and firmly to rely upon him? Is not the righteousness of Jesus received, and his precious blood applied, when the soul is led to the hearty and cordial assurance that that righteousness is effectual to justify, and that blood to cleanse from all sin? Yes, precious Jesus! I praise thee for these blessings in thee. I adore thee, thou Holy Spirit, for thy divine teaching concerning them; and I glorify thee, thou Almighty Father, for thine abundant grace and mercy in the gift of thy dear Son.

Luke 24:32

"And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" - Luke xxiv. 32.

 Ought not the disciples of Jesus to do now, as the disciples of Jesus did then? What but of Jesus should we speak of by the way? Methinks the Lord's people, and especially when coming from the Lord's house, should be distinguished from the frothy conversation of mere carnal worshippers. I would, by talking of Jesus, invite him to mingle with us, and open to our understandings the scriptures. I would therefore sometimes ask one and another, when returning from the house or the table of the Lord, how went the matter with your soul to-day? I pray you tell me; was the King at court? Did he receive petitions? Did he answer prayers? Were you refreshed? were any healed? any comforted? any made joyful in his house of prayer? Surely we might hope, by such edifying inquiries, each would help his fellow. And he of whom it is said the Lord hearkened and heard, when of old the people of God were often talking one to another, would again draw nigh, and make the heart burn with the sweet manifestations of his love. But chiefly, blessed master! if I meet with none to ask whether they have seen the King in his beauty, give me to taste of the sweet savour of thy grace myself. Come to me, Lord, in the refreshing, strengthening, heartwarming, soul-rejoicing manifestations of thy presence; for thy love is better than wine, and the very crumb from under thy table is more delicious than the honey and the honeycomb.

1 Timothy 1:15

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." - 1 Tim. i, 15.

Hearken, my soul, to the proclamation from heaven! Is this the faithful saying of a faithful God? Surely, then, thou mayest well regard it, for it is for thy life. And if it be worthy of all acceptation, it must be eminently so of thine; for thou hast been a transgressor from the womb. But did Jesus indeed come to save sinners? Yes, so the proclamation runs. Sinners, enemies to God. Jesus, it is said, "received gifts for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them;" and with that tenderness which distinguished his character, he said himself, that he "came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Well, then, my soul, up on this warrant of the faithful word of a faithful God, wilt thou not so fully rely as to believe unto salvation? If any inquiries arise contrary to this belief, let this be thine answer: - Christ came to save sinners; that is enough for me; for I am one. God's salvation is said to be for enemies; that is my name by nature. Jesus received gifts for the rebellious; to this character I plead also guilty. If men or devils would endeavour to work unbelief in my heart, this is my answer: - Christ came to save sinners." Let those that never felt sin, and consequently know not the need of a Saviour, stay and argue the point as they may; my souls eternal welfare is concerned, and I will not lose a moment to close with the heavenly proposal. Lord Jesus, thou waitest to be gracious! The faithful saying of my God I accept on my bended knees. It is indeed worthy of all acceptation, and above all, of mine. Here while upon earth will I proclaim thy praise; and in heaven, the loudest of all voices must be mine, that Christ came to save Sinners, of whom I am chief."

Zechariah 3:1-2

Zechariah 3:1-2

"And he shewed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, the Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" - Zech. iii. 1, 2.

Who shall say, how many such transactions as these are continually going on, for and against the people of God, in the court of heaven, while we upon earth are unconscious either of our misery or mercy? The Holy Ghost was graciously pleased to have this made known to the church. And John was again directed to tell the church, that a song in heaven was sung at the expulsion of the devil from heaven, because the accuser of the brethren was cast down. My soul, doth he that first tempts thee, then become thine accuser? Is he carrying on this practice day and night before God? And while Satan is thine accuser, is Jesus thine advocate? Oh precious, precious Lord! how little hath my poor ignorant and unthinking soul been meditating on thee, in this thy merciful, sweet, and gracious office. Oh glorious thought! Now I see a blessedness in that scripture which I have often read with indifference in times past; "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is (for God my Father hath set him forth so) the propitiation for our sins." Hail, holy, wonderful Counselor! condescend, thou mighty Pleader, still to take up my cause! Oh may I behold thee often in this high office! Oh may I often hear thee with the ear of faith, and my whole soul going forth in love towards thee, while thou art pointing to my poor soul, and saying, "Hath not God the Father chosen this brand plucked from the fire? Take away the filthy garments from him. I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee."

Romans 5:21

"That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." - Rom. v. 21.

Pause, my soul, and put forth thy fullest thoughts in the contemplation of those two united sources of thy felicity, marked in this verse: the Father's eternal purpose, in the reign of grace; and the everlasting efficacy and infinite value of thy Jesus's righteousness, to eternal life. None but God himself can know the fullness and extent of either. I am persuaded, that angels of light can never entertain adequate conceptions of either. The eternal purpose of God hath bounded the reign of sin; it is but unto death. But those purposes give a further extent to the redemption from death and sin, by Jesus; for the glory of Christ's person, and the worth of his salvation, possess in both a vast over plus, a redundancy of merit, which brings the redeemed into favour and acceptance in Jesus, and with such a title to everlasting felicity, as eternity itself can never exhaust- no, nor fully recompense nor pay. Oh for grace to contemplate the love of the Father, and of the Son, by this standard; and the love of God the Holy Ghost, through whose gracious influence we enjoy both. Lord, I would be lost, I would be swallowed up, day by day, in the unceasing meditation! Dearest, blessed, precious Jesus! give me to think of nothing else, to speak of nothing else; but by faith to possess in anticipation, the joys of thy redeemed, until I come, through thee, and in thee, to the everlasting enjoyment of them, in thy kingdom of glory.

Isaiah 19:20

"They shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a Saviour, and a great one, and he shall, deliver them." - Isa. xix. 20.

Mark, my soul, the sweet encouragement contained in these words. Here is a cry, and it is the cry of the soul; for it is directed unto the Lord. There is (as Elihu tells us) a cry of nature under oppression; but as this is not to God, it is evident that it never came from God; for he tells us, that none of them saith, "Where is God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night?" Job xxxv. 9. But when the Holy Ghost convinceth of sin, and puts a cry in the heart by reason of it, he convinceth also of the righteousness of Jesus. Hence the difference of those cries is as wide as the east is from the west. Mark, therefore, my soul, this distinguishing feature of grace, and see whether thy cries are praying cries, and not complaining ones. And now observe what follows. When poor sinners thus cry unto the Lord, "he shall send them a Saviour, and a great one." Who but God the Father, sent his Son to be the Saviour of poor lost sinners? Was not Jesus a Saviour indeed, and a great one! Who, but he, could deliver the sinner from destruction? And remark further, the absolute certainty of the promise; for it is said, "he shall deliver them." Yes, blessed Jesus, thy deliverance is sure, thy salvation certain. Thou hast said, thy "sheep shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of thine hand." Pause, now, my soul, over this sweet verse. Surely in its bosom is folded up the sum and substance of all the gospel. Here are all the Persons of the Godhead engaged for the salvation of every poor crying sinner. Here is God the Holy Ghost, agreeably to his blessed office, causing the sinner to feel the oppressions of sin, and putting a cry in his heart to the Lord, to be delivered from them. Here is God the Father, answering that cry in mercy, and sending his almighty Son to be the Saviour of the poor sinner. And here is Jesus the Saviour, and a great one, saving the poor sinner with an everlasting salvation. Shout then, my soul, and begin the song of salvation to God and the Lamb!

Genesis 2:20

"But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." - Gen. ii. 20.

 My soul, mark what is here said, for sure it is a sweet scripture. Amidst all the works of God, "there was not one that could be found an help meet for man." The inferior creatures could indeed minister to his bodily comfort, but not to his soul. Eve herself, with all her loveliness, must have failed in this particular. Both the woman and her husband alike needed this help to the soul. How refreshing is the thought, and what a lovely view doth it give us of God's grace and mercy, that in the seed of the woman an help, in the fullest sense of the word, was found both for time and eternity. Jesus in our nature needed the church for his partner: and the church needed Jesus, and he was, and is, the very Adam of whom our first father in nature, was but the shadow, and Christ the substance. Yes, blessed Jesus! in thee we trace this wondrous gift of God. Pause then, my soul, and add this thought to the vast account: The same love which fitted thee with an help meet in a Saviour, hath fitted thee, and will continue to fit thee, with the supply of all thy need. It were to be wished, that every child of God would never lose sight of this certain truth-that he must have the fittest station in life, the fittest frame of mind and of body, the fittest yoke-fellow, the fittest circumstances; in short, the fittest mercies and the fittest trials; because everything is made subservient to the divine glory in Jesus. Sweet thought! "He that spared not his own Son, will with him also freely give us all things."

Esther 6:6

"What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?" - Esther vi. 6.

Nay, my soul, ask thine own heart what shall be done to the God-man whom Jehovah the King of kings, delighteth to honour? Oh, for the view of what John saw, and to, hear what John heard, when he beheld the heaven opened, and heard the innumerable multitude chanting salvation to God and the Lamb! Lord, I would say, "let every knee bow before him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." And Oh, most gracious Father! dost thou take delight that Jesus should be honoured? Is it thine honour when Jesus is honoured; thy glory when Jesus is glorified? Oh, what wonderful encouragement is this to the faith and belief of a poor sinner! that I not only praise my adorable Redeemer when I come to him for all things, and trust him for all things; but when also my poverty and emptiness afford occasion to him to get glory by me, in giving to me all things, and blessing me in all things. And these exercises of grace are acceptable to God my Father, as they are honourable to God the Son. And this is the only way, and a blessed way it is indeed, by which a poor sinner can give glory to the Father, in believing the record which he hath given of his Son. Here then, my soul, do thou daily be found in honouring the glory-man, the God-man, Christ Jesus, whom God the Father delighteth to honour.

Isaiah 65:8

"As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not, for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all." - Isa. lv. 8.

 It is blessed to trace our mercies to the fountain head, and to find them all folded up from everlasting in Jesus. What was it that preserved our whole nature when blasted and withered by the fall? Was it not because Jesus, the promised seed, was in it? And what is it that preserves every individual among the children of God during the dark season of their unregeneracy, but the same precious cause? He that looks on (and who is this but Christ himself?) amidst all our perishing circumstances, by his powerful and all- prevailing intercession, commands the destroyer not to touch his people; for though in themselves loathsome, yet in Jesus they are fair and lovely. My soul, learn hence thy security. The whole cause for which thou wert preserved until called, and, when called, preserved through grace unto glory, both in conversion and in every after-act of God's dealings with thee, all refers itself into this one source. Destroy it not, there is a blessing in thee, though not from thee: Jesus is in thee, as the new wine is found in the cluster!

John 10:17

"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again." - John x. 17.

Mark, my soul, the precious cause which thy Jesus here assigns for the love of his Father. God the Father not only loves God the Son, as God, one with him in nature and in all divine perfections; but he loves him peculiarly because he voluntarily undertook and accomplished by his death the salvation of his people. Now then, my soul, make these two sweet improvements from what Jesus hath here said. First, think what must have been, and now is, the love of thy God and Father to thee and every poor sinner, when he truly love, his dear Son because he became the Saviour of poor sinners. And, secondly, think what love Jesus hath shewn to poor sinners in thus manifesting his mercy in such a way, and how dear they must be to the heart of Jesus, which have made him dear in the sight of God. My soul, never lose sight of this argument, when thou goest to the mercy-seat. Tell thy God and Father thou art come to ask mercies in his name, and for his righteousness' sake, whom the Father loveth on this very account. And Oh, how very dear should Jesus be to thee for his blood and righteousness, who is dear to the Father for the same cause!

Song of Solomon 2:9

"My beloved standeth behind our wall. He looketh, forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice" - Song ii. 9.

It might be truly said, that it was behind the wall of our nature the Lord Jesus stood, when, by taking a body of flesh, he veiled the glories of his Godhead, during the days of his humanity. And may it not be as truly said, that it is still, as from behind a wall, all the gracious discoveries he now makes of himself are manifested to his people? For what from the dullness of our perception, the unbelief, and the sins and infirmities of our nature, the most we see of our Jesus is but as through a glass darkly. But yet, my soul, how sweet are even these visits of his love, when we can get still but a glimpse of the King in his beauty, through the windows of ordinances, or the lattices of his blessed word. Oh, precious Jesus! let thy visits be frequent, increasingly lovely, and increasingly glorious, that the souls of thy people may increasingly delight in thee! Methinks I would lay about the doors, and windows, and courts of thy house, and be sending in a wish, and the fervent prayer of a poor beggar who is living on thy bounty, that thou wouldest come forth to my view and bless me with thy presence, until that all intervening mediums of wall and windows are thrown down, and Jesus manifests himself to my longing eyes in all his glory.

2 Chronicles 39:36

"And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done suddenly." - 2 Chronicles 39:36

Sweet thought, ever to keep in view, that it is the Lord that prepares the heart, and gives answers to the tongue. And Oh! how sudden, how unexpected, how unlooked-for, sometimes, are the visits of his grace! "Or ever I was aware (saith the church) my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadab." Is my heart cold, my, mind barren, my frame lifeless? Do thou, then, dearest Lord, make me to rejoice, in warming my frozen affection, making fruitful my poor estate, and putting new life into my soul. All I want is a frame of mind best suited to thy glory. And what is that? Truly, that when I have nothing, feel nothing, can do nothing, am worse than nothing, that then, even then, I may be rich in thee amidst all my own bankruptcy. This, dear Lord, is what I covet. And if thou withholdest all frames which might melt, or warm, or rejoice my own feelings; yet if my soul still hangs upon thee notwithstanding all, as the vessel upon the nail, my God and Jesus will be my rock, that feels nothing of the ebbings and flowings of the sea around, whatever be the tide of my fluctuating affections.

Psalm 116:6

"I was brought low, and he helped me." - Psalm 116:6

It is blessed sometimes that the streams of creature comforts should be dry, in order to compel us to go to the fountain head. When the fig-tree doth not blossom and the field yields no meat, then a covenant God is precious to fly to. My soul, say, was not that assault of Satan sanctified, when it brought Jesus thereby to thy rescue? Was not that cross sweetly timed, when it tended to wean thee from the world? And wouldest thou have been without that sickness, when Jesus sat up by thee, soothed thee in thy languor, and made all thy bed in thy sickness? Well was it for me that I was brought low, or I should never have known, in a thousand instances, the help of my God. Oh then, my soul, like Paul, learn to glory in thy infirmities, that the power of Jesus may rest upon thee.

1 Kings 10:6-7

"And she said to the king, it was a true report that I heard in mine own land, of thy acts, and of thy wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not the words until I Came and mine eyes had seen it: and beheld, the half was not told me! " - 1 Kings 10:6-7

If the queen of the South was so astonished in the view of Solomon's wisdom, what ought to be thy surprise, my soul, in the contemplation of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! When thou didst first hear of Jesus, and when constrained by necessity to come to him, a poor blind ignorant sinner, how little didst thou conceive either of thyself or him. He told thee indeed, all that was in thine heart, and made thy very spirit, like hers, to faint within thee, when he shewed thee thy, sin and his Salvation. Surely then, and often since, even now, hast thou been constrained to say, as she did, the half was not told thee by others, of what sweet discoveries he hath made to thee of himself. Think then, my soul, what holy surprise and joy will burst in upon thee in the day when, at the fountain­head of glory in his courts above, he will unfold all his beauty, love, and wisdom; when thou shalt see him as he is, and know even as thou art known!

John 1:38

"Master! where dwellest thou?" - John 1:38.

Is this the earnest inquiry of my soul? Hear then the answer: "Thus saith the high and lofty One, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Pause, my soul. Are these qualities produced by grace in thine heart? Jesus, Master, make me what thou wouldest have me to be; and then come, Lord, agreeably to thy promises. Thou hast said, my Father will come, and I will come, and make our abode with him. And thou hast said, the Holy Ghost shall come and abide with us forever. What, my soul, shall I indeed have such glorious personages for my companions? Behold, Lord, the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee! Oh for grace and a sanctity of thought corresponding to such mercies, since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, which dwelleth in us!

Leviticus 25:25

"If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold." - Leviticus 25:25

How poor was I and wretched before I knew Jesus! I had not only sold, as far as I had power to sell, some of my possession, but all. Indeed, dear Lord, I could not sell thee, nor my oneness and union with thee; for that was not saleable, since Christ had from everlasting betrothed me to himself forever. But in the Adam nature in which I was born, I was utterly insolvent, helpless, and ruined: one like the Son of man redeemed me. But what a double blessedness was it to my soul, when I discovered that this Redeemer was so very dear of kin to me, that he was my brother. Hail, thou precious, precious Jesus! thou art indeed, a "brother born for adversity." Yes, blessed Jesus! thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; and all thy Father's children shall bow down to thee. My soul, see to it that thou make the most of this relationship. Never, Oh never, will thy brother suffer his poor indigent relation to want any more, after that he hath thus redeemed both thyself and thy possession. Now do I see why it was that the church so passionately longed for Jesus under this tender character. "Oh! (said she) that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother; when I should find thee without I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised."

Revelation 22:16

“I am the bright and morning Star.”—Rev. xxii. 16.

How oft, in some dark wintry morning, like the present, have I beheld the morning star shining with loveliness, when all the other lights of heaven were put out! But how little did I think of thee, thou precious light and life of men! Thou art indeed the bright and morning Star in the firmament of thy church, in thy word, and in the souls of thy redeemed. Henceforth, dearest Jesus, let the morning visit of this sweet planet to our darkened earth remind me of thee, amidst all the gross darkness by which in nature we are surrounded. Sure pledge of day as this beneficial star is, yet not more sure than thou in the day- dawn and day-star of prophecy, which ministered to thy coming; and in the twilight of grace upon the soul, the forerunner of a glorious day. Be thou my morning song, my noontide joy, my evening meditation, and midnight light. Through all the wintry seasons of my pilgrimage, shine forth, sweet Jesus, upon my soul. Oh! ye sons of sloth, ye children of darkness, and of night, rouse from your beds of drowsiness, before the sleep of death seal up your eyes in everlasting darkness. Jesus, the Morning Star, now shines; and are long, Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, will appear, no more to go down, and all the sons of God will shout for joy.

Song of Solomon 6:2

“My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.”—Song vi. 2.

Wonderful condescension! Jesus, the beloved of all his people, is indeed come down into his garden, the church; for he loves the sacred walks of a spot so near and so dear to him, which is at once the gift of his Father, and the purchase of his own most precious blood. Moreover, he hath gathered it out of the world’s wide wilderness and separated it as a sacred enclosure by his distinguishing grace. Surely then he will visit it. Yes, here he constantly walks; here he comes to observe the souls of his people as trees of his own right-hand planting. He is said to feed here; for the graces of his Spirit, which he calls forth into exercise, are more fragrant to him than all the spices of the east. And all the beauty and whiteness of the lily is not to be compared to the glory, loveliness, and sweet-smelling savour of the righteousness of Jesus, in which he beholds the souls of his redeemed as clad. And Oh! here Jesus is gathering them to himself in all the different degrees of their growth, from the first moment of planting them in his garden, until he transplants them into the paradise of God. Art thou, my soul, in this garden of Jesus? Art thou rejoicing under his gracious hand? Are the dews of his ordinances, in this enclosure of thy Lord, dropping upon thee!

Exodus 34:7

“That will by no means clear the guilty,”—Exod. xxxiv. 7.

Pause, my soul, over these solemn words! Will not Jehovah clear the guilty? And art thou not guilty? How then wilt thou come before God, either now or hereafter? Hearken, my soul, to what thy God hath also said; “deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.” Oh! soul-reviving, soul-comforting words! yes, Jesus became my surety, took my guilt, and bought me out of the hands of law and justice. God hath not therefore cleared the guilty, without taking ample satisfaction on the person of the sinner’s surety. Hence now the double claim of justice and grace demands the sinner’s pardon. Here then, my soul, rest thy present and thine everlasting plea. Keep up a daily and hourly remembrance of it at the mercy seat. While Jesus lives, and lives there as thine advocate, never doubt thy acceptance in the beloved: guilty as thou art in thyself, yet spotless in him. The same God which made thy Jesus to be sin for thee, who knew no sin, makes thee the righteousness of God in him.

John 2:10

“Thou hast kept the good wine until now.”—John ii. 10.

The good wine of the gospel must be Jesus himself, for He, and He alone, trod the wine-press of his Father’s wrath, when the Lord bruised him and put him to grief. This is the wine which, in scripture, is said to cheer both God and men; for when God’s justice took the full draught of it for the sins of the redeemed, the Lord declared himself well pleased. And when the poor sinner, by sovereign grace, is first made to drink of the blood of the Lamb, he feels constrained to say, the Lord had kept the good wine until now; for never before had his soul been so satisfied. Oh, precious Jesus’ how sweet is the thought! Thy first miracle converted water into wine. Moses’ ministry, under thy commission, was first manifested in turning water into blood. Yes, dear Lord! when once thy grace hath wrought upon the heart of a sinner, thou makest his most common mercies, like water, to become richer than wine. Whereas the law, which is the ministration of death, as long as the poor sinner continues under its power, makes all its enjoyments to partake of the curse. 0 for continued manifestations of thy glory, dearest Lord! Give me to drink of thy best wine, my beloved, which goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that sleep to speak.

Matthew 13:46

“One pearl of great price.”—Matt. xiii. 46.

Great indeed, and but one! for salvation is in no other; neither is there any other name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. My soul, hast thou considered Jesus in this precious point of view? Hast thou beheld him both in his divine and human nature, how unspeakably glorious in himself, and how enriching to the souls of his people? Art thou a spiritual merchantman, seeking goodly pearls? And is Jesus the one, the only one, costly, precious, and so infinitely desirable in thine eye, that thou art willing to sell all, that thou wouldest part with millions of worlds, rather, than lose Christ? Hast thou found him in the field of his scripture, and dost thou ask how shall I buy? Listen to his own most gracious words: counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” Yes, thou generous Lord! I am come to buy of thee without money and without price. For well I know, through thy teaching, that neither the obedience of men or angels can purchase the least title to thee, but thine own precious merits and thine atoning blood. Arid now, Lord, possessing thee, I possess all things; and will give up all beside, and part with all, and forget all, since Jesus is mine, and I am his, in time and to all eternity.

Hebrews 2:16

“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels.”—Heb. ii. 16.

Contemplate, my soul, the peculiar sweetness of that grace which was in thy Jesus, when, for the accomplishment of thy salvation, he passed by the nature of angels to take upon him thy nature. There were but two sorts of transgressors in the creation of God; angels and men. But angels are left in everlasting chains, under darkness, to the judgment of the great day. And fallen, sinful, rebellious man, finds the grace of redemption. Had Jesus taken their nature, would not this have been nearer to his own? Would not their services have been vastly superior to ours? Would not the redemption of beings so much higher in rank and intellect, have opened a far larger revenue of praise to our adorable Redeemer? Pause over these thoughts, my soul, and then consider therefrom how our Jesus, in his unequalled condescension, hath thereby the more endeared himself to thy love. And learn hence, that if Jesus needs not the service of angels, how is it possible that man can be profitable to God! And the simple act of faith of a poor fellow sinner, in believing the record that God hath given of his dear Son, gives more honour to God than all the services of men or angels forever. Mark this down as a blessed truth; Jehovah is more glorified by thy faith and trust in him, than by all thy works. Lord, give me this faith, that I may cleave to thee, hang upon thee, follow thee, and never give overlooking unto thee, until mine eye-strings break and my heart-strings fail and then as now, be thou “the strength of mine heart, and my portion forever!”

Song of Solomon 7:10

“I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me.”—Song vii. 10.

Yes, dearest Jesus! I am truly thine, by every tie which can make me thine. I am thine by the gift of GOD the FATHER; by thine own betrothing me to thyself; by the HOLY GHOST anointing me in thee, and making me one with thee, and in thee, before the world. And I am thine in the recovery of the church from Adam’s fall and transgression by the sacrifice of thyself: for thou hast bought me with thy blood, and made me thereby the conquest of thine HOLY SPIRIT. And now through thy divine teaching I can and do discover, that from everlasting thy desire was towards thy redeemed ones, and even when dead in trespasses and sins, it was thy desire to quicken them into life, and bring them to thyself. And even now, notwithstanding all my backwardness to thee, thou restest in thy love, and thou art calling me by thy grace, and seeking continual fellowship in ordinances, and by thy word and providences; all which prove that thy desire is towards me. And as to the everlasting enjoyment of all thy church above, thy prayer to thy Father manifested thy desire, when thou saidst, “Father, I will that they whom thou, hast given me be with me to behold, my glory!” Are these then the desires of my God and Saviour, my Husband, my Brother, my Friend? And shall my heart be thus cold towards thee? Oh for the reviving influences of thy Spirit, that I May cry out with, the church, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine.”

Genesis 27:1

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”—Gen. xvii. 1.

Our old bibles, in their margin, have retained the original El Shaddai, which we now read God Almighty, and marked it also God A11-sufficient, meaning that Jehovah in covenant with Jesus, as the head of his people, is all- sufficient in himself, and all-sufficient for all their need in time and to eternity. He is God All-sufficient, or of many paps, many breasts of consolation, (as some derive the word) for his faithful ones to suck at and draw from, in an endless supply. Here then, my soul, take this sweet title of thy covenant God and Father in Christ Jesus for thy daily meditation, both at the opening, and through all the periods of the coming year. And as even at old age the Lord still opened to Abraham this precious source for his comfort, so look up in Jesus and behold it as thine. And Oh, my soul! do thou walk before him in the perfect righteousness of God thy Saviour, and thus daily keep up fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 63:4

“The year of my redeemed is come.” Isa. lxiii. 4.

Yes! from everlasting the precise period of redemption was determined, and the appointed time of the vision could not tarry. Every intermediate event ministered to this one glorious area-redemption by Jesus. The church was in Egypt four hundred and thirty years, and in Babylon seventy. But we are told in the former instance, ‘the self-same night’ the Lord brought, them forth with their armies; and the latter did not out stay the hour of their promised deliverance. So when the fullness of time was come, the Son of God came for the redemption of his people. And observe how graciously Jesus speaks of them; he calls them his redeemed. They were so in the covenant from everlasting; and when the time arrives for calling them by his grace, he claims them as the gift of his Father, and the purchase of his blood. My soul, is this thy jubilee year? Art thou living as the redeemed of the Lord? If so, plead with thy Redeemer for the holy renewed visits of his love to thee, and for the year of redemption to all his unawakened.

Luke 13:8-9

“Lord! let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”—Luke xiii. 8, 9.

Do I not behold the Lord Jesus here represented in his glorious office of our High Priest and Intercessor? And is it thus that he so mercifully pleads for the awakened and unprofitable among his people? Pause, my soul! Was it not from the effects of his intercession, that the world itself was spared from instant destruction, when Adam first break through the fence of God’s law? Is it not now by the same rich grace that thousands are spared from year to year in Christ Jesus, before that they are called to the knowledge of Christ Jesus? Nay my soul! pause once more, over the view of this wonderful subject, and ask thyself was it not from the same almighty interposition that thou was kept from going down to the pit during the long, long period of thy unregeneracy, while thou wert wholly unconscious of it? And was it from thy gracious intercession, blessed Jesus, that I then lived, that I am now spared, and, after all my barrenness, that another year of grace is opening before me? Oh, precious, Precious Jesus! suffer me to be no longer unfruitful in thy garden! Do, Lord, as thou hast said. Dig about me, and pour upon me all the sweet influences of thy Holy Spirit, which, like the rain, and the sun, and the dew of heaven, may cause me to bring forth fruit unto God. And, Lord, if so unworthy a creature may drop a petition at thy mercy seat for others, let the coming year be productive of the same blessings to all thy redeemed; even to my poor unawakened relations among them; and to thousands of those who are yet in nature’s darkness. Oh that this may be to them the acceptable year of the Lord!

Hebrews 8:8

“Jesus Christ; the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.”—Heb. viii. 8.

Precious truth to open the year with, and to keep constantly in view amidst all the fluctuating and changeable circumstances arising both within and without, and all around! My soul, meditate upon it: fold it up in thy bosom to have recourse to as may be required. Contemplate thy Redeemer as he is here described. He is Jesus, thy Jesus; a Saviour, for he shall save his people from their sins. He is Christ also; God thy Father’s Christ, and thy Christ: the Anointed, the Sent, the Sealed of Jehovah. He is the same in his glorious Person, the same in his great salvation:—“Yesterday;” looking back to everlasting: “To-day;” equally so through all the periods of time: “Forever;” looking forward to the eternity to come. And, blessed thought, he is the same in his love, in the efficacy of his redemption; his blood to cleanse, his righteousness to justify, his fulness to supply grace here and glory hereafter. And what sums up the precious thought; amidst all thy variableness, thy frames, thy fears, doubts, and unbelievings, he abideth faithful. He is, he will be, he must be Jesus. Hallelujah!y