John 13:23

"Leaning on Jesus' bosom." - John 13:23

Methinks I would contemplate for a while the privilege of this highly- favoured disciple John. Surely to sit at the feet of Jesus, to look up at his face, to behold the Lamb of God, and to hear the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, what should I have thought of this but a happiness unspeakable and full of glory! But the beloved apostle leaned on Jesus's bosom. Oh, thou condescending Saviour! didst thou mean to manifest, by this endearing token, how dear and precious all thy redeemed ones are in thy esteem? But stop, my soul. If John lay on Jesus's breast, where was it Jesus himself lay, when he left all for thy salvation? The disciple whom Jesus loved lay upon Jesus's bosom; but he, whom the Father loved, lay in the bosom of the Father - nay, was embosomed there; was wrapt up in the very soul of the Father from eternity. Who shall undertake to speak of the most glorious state of the Son of God, before he condescended to come forth from the bosom of God for the salvation of his people? Who shall describe the blessedness of the Father and the Son in their mutual enjoyment of each other? Jesus, when he was in the bosom of the Father, had not emptied himself of his glory. Jesus had not been made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus had not put himself under the law. He was not then a man of sorrows. He was not then acquainted with grief. He had not then exposed his face to shame and spitting; neither to poverty, temptation, the bloody sweat, and the cross. And did Jesus go through all these, and more? Did Jesus leave the Father's bosom; and did the Father take this only-begotten, only-beloved Son from his bosom; that John might lean on Jesus's bosom, and all the redeemed, like him, one day, dwell with Jesus, and lean and rest in his embraces forever? Oh, for hearts to love both the FATHER and the SON, who have so loved us; that we may be ready to part with all, and forsake all, and die to all, that we may live in Jesus, and to Jesus, and rest in his bosom forever.

Isaiah 30:9

"He will be very gracious unto thee; at the voice of thy cry, when he shall hear it, he will answer thee." - Isaiah 30:9

Mark, my soul, what is here said; for every word in this sweet scripture tells. Thy God, thy Saviour, thy Jesus, knows thy voice, hears thy cry, and will assuredly answer. He will not only be gracious, but very gracious. He waits to be gracious; waits the most suited time, the best time, the praying time, the crying time; for he times his grace, his mercy, to thy need. And though thou knowest it not, yet so it is; when his time is near at hand, which is always the best time, he puts a cry in thine heart; so that the time of thy cry, and the time for the manifestation of his glory, shall come together. Is not this to be gracious; yea, very gracious? So that, while thou art looking after him, he is looking upon thee. And before thou callest upon him, he is coming forth to bless thee. Is not this very gracious? Now then, my soul, make a memorandum of this for any occasions which may hereafter occur. Put it down as a sure, unerring truth; thy Jesus will be very gracious unto thee. Never allow this promise to be called in question any more. Next, bring it constantly into use. Faith, well-grounded faith in Jesus, should always bring down general rules to particular cases and circumstances, as the soul's experience may require. Hence, when God saith he will be very gracious unto thee, it is the act of faith to answer - if God hath said it, so it shall certainly be. And therefore, as that gracious God, who giveth the promise, giveth also the grace of faith to depend upon the promise, the mercy is already done, and faith enters upon the enjoyment of it. God's faithfulness and truth become the believer's shield and buckler.

Psalm 17:15

"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." - Psalm 17:15

Is it refreshing to thee now, my soul, the least glimpse of Jesus's face; the smallest manifestation of the glories of his Person and of his work; and the very sound of his voice, in his word or ordinances? Think, then, what will be thy felicity in that morning of the eternal world, when, dropping thy vail of flesh, he whom thou seest now by faith only, will then appear as open to thee as to the church above in glory! Pause, my soul, over the vast thought! What will be thy first sight Of Jesus? What will be thy feelings, when, without any intervening medium, thou shalt see him face to face, and know even as thou art known? Precious Lamb of God! grant me grace to feel the blessedness of this first interview. Appearing, as I trust I shall, in thine own garments, and the robes of thy righteousness, and which thou hast not only provided for me, but put on, what will be the burstings forth of my heart, in the full view of the glories of thy Person, and the perfection Of thy righteousness! Surely, Lord, when I thus behold thy face in righteousness, I shall be so fully satisfied, that the rest after which my poor soul, through a whole life of grace, since thou weft pleased to quicken me, hath been pursuing, will pursue no more. My immortal faculties will seek no more - will need no more. In thee, the whole is attained. In thee, I shall eternally rest. Thou art the everlasting centre of all happiness, glory, and joy. I shall be so fully satisfied when I awake to this view, that here, in thee, I shall be at home. And what is more, it will be an everlasting duration, not only in happiness, but in likeness. And as the coldest iron, put into the fire, partakes of the properties of the fire, until it becomes altogether heated and fiery like it, so in thee, and with thee, thou blessed Jesus, cold as my soul now is, I shall be warmed with thy love; and from thee, and thy likeness imparted, become lovely from thy loveliness, and glorious from thy glory. Precious, precious Jesus! Is the hour near? Are thy chariot wheels approaching? Dost thou say, "Behold, I come quickly." Oh! for grace to answer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

1 Corinthians 1:30

"Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." - 1 Corinthians 1:30

What a sweet subject for my morning meditation is here! Who is it, my soul, is made of God to thee these precious things but Jesus? And mark how they are made so. I am a poor ignorant creature, grossly ignorant by reason of the fall. I knew not my lost estate, much less the way of recovery. Here Jesus became to me wisdom. By his illuminating the darkness of my mind, he led me to see my ruin and my misery. But this would never have brought me out of it; for though I saw my lost estate, yet still I had no consciousness by what means I could be recovered. Here again Jesus came to my aid, and taught me, that as I needed righteousness, he would be my righteousness, and undertake for me to God. But even after this was done, I felt my soul still the subject of sin; and how to subdue a single sin I knew not. Here Jesus came again, and gave me to see, that as he was wisdom to cure my ignorance, and righteousness to answer for my guilt, so he would be my sanctification also; purging, as well as pardoning and renewing, by his Spirit, my poor nature, when he had removed the guilt of it. Still I sighed for complete deliverance, and to make my happiness sure; and therefore Jesus came again, that by his full redemption from all the evils of the fall, I might be made free; and therefore he became the whole together - "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." And to stamp and seal the whole with the impression of God my Father, all that Jesus did, he did by God's gracious appointment; for he was made of God to me all these, that all my glorying might be in the Lord. See to it, my soul, then, that this be all thy glory.

2 Corinthians 8:15

"He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack." - 2 Corinthians 8:15

My soul! here is a delightful morsel for thee to feed upon this morning. Thou art come out to gather thy daily food, as Israel did in the wilderness. Faith had no hoards. Thou wantest Jesus now as much as thou didst yesterday. Well then, look at what is here said of Israel. They went out to gather - what? Why, in the morning bread - God's gift. Such is Jesus, the bread of God, the bread of life. And as Israel would have been satisfied with nothing short of this, so neither be thou. And as Israel was never disappointed, so neither wilt thou, if thou seek it in faith, as Israel did. And observe, "they that gathered most had nothing over;" so "he that gathered least had no lack." Yea, my soul, no follower of Jesus can have too much of Jesus; nothing more than he wants - nothing to spare. So the poorest child of God, that hath the least of Jesus, can never want. The very touch of his garment, the very crumb from his table, is his, and is precious. Dearest Lord, give me a large portion, even a Benjamin's portion. But even a look of thy love is heaven to my soul.

Jeremiah 11:11

"Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. " - Jeremiah 11:11

Pause, my soul, over these words! Was it ever known that any nation changed their dunghill gods for others? Such regard had they for whatever ignorance had set up, that the veneration never after ceased. But Israel, above every other nation of the earth, manifested folly, and even exceeded the most senseless and stupid of men. My soul! dost thou not in Israel's folly behold thy own? Was there ever one, when the Lord first called thee, less deserving? A transgressor, as the Lord knew thee, from the womb! And yet this did not prevent the Lord from calling thee. He loved thee because he would love thee; gave thee his Christ, - gave thee his Holy Spirit - gave thee the name, the privilege, the adoption of a son. What returns hast thou made? How often since hath thy backslidings, thy coldness, thy departures, been like Israel? What vanity, what pursuit, what unprofitable employment, hath not at times been preferred to thy God? Oh how do I see my daily, hourly, continual need of thee, thou that art the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof! Keep me, Lord, near thyself; for without thee I am nothing.

2 Corinthians 3:17

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." - 2 Corinthians 3:17

What liberty, my soul! art thou brought into by thine adoption into the family of God in Christ? Not from the assaults of sin; for thou still carriest about with thee a body of sin, under which thou groanest. Not from the temptations of Satan; for he is still leveling at thee many a fiery dart. Not from outward troubles; for the world thou art still in, thou findest it a wilderness state. Not from inward fears; for thine unbelief begets many. Not from the chastisement of thy wise and kind Father: for then many a sweet visit of his love, under the rod, would be unknown. Not from death; for the stroke of it thou must one day feel - though, blessed be Jesus, he hath taken out the sting in his blood and righteousness. What liberty then is it, my soul, thou enjoyest? What hath the Spirit of the Lord, as a spirit of revelation, discovering to thee the glory of Jesus, and thy interest in him, brought thee into? Oh, who shall write down the vast, the extensive account of thy freedom? Say, my soul, hath not the sight of God's glory in Christ freed thee from the curse of the law, - from the guilt of the law, - from the dominion of sin, - from the power of Satan, - from the evil of unbelief in thine own heart, - from the terrors of justice, - from the alarms of conscience, from the second death? Say, my soul, doth not the sight of Jesus dying for thee, rising for thee, pleading for thee, enlarge thine heart, and lose thy bonds, and shake off all thy fetters and all thy fears? Doth not Jesus in the throne give thee liberty to come to him, to call upon him, to unbosom thyself unto him, to tell him all thy wants, all thy necessities, and to lean upon his kind arm in every hour of need? Shout, my soul! and echo to the apostle's words, - "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty:" liberty to approach, liberty to plead, liberty to pray, liberty to praise and to adore the whole persons of the Godhead, for having opened the prison-doors, and given thee freedom in Christ Jesus!

Solomon 3:3

"Saw ye him whom my soul loveth." - Solomon 3:3

Is Jesus still the object of my soul's warmest affection; the subject of all my thoughts, all my discourse, all my inquiry? Oh, yes, my soul; whom else, in heaven or in earth, wilt thou seek after but him? Tell me, ye ministers of Jesus, ye watchmen upon the walls of Zion - "Saw ye him Whom my soul loveth?" Ye followers of the Lamb, can ye shew me where Jesus feedeth his flock at noon? Or rather, ye in the upper regions, where the Son of God manifesteth himself in the full glories of his Person; "ye spirits of just men made perfect," ye who have known, while sojourning here below, what feeling of the soul that is, which, in the absence of Jesus, is longing for his appearance. Ye angels of light also - ye who see him without an intervening medium - tell him, I beseech you, how my soul panteth for his visits: tell him, that a poor pensioner, well known to my Lord, is waiting this morning alms: nay, tell him that I am sick of love, longing for a renewed view of his person, - his pardoning love, - the renewals of his grace. Jesus knoweth it all before you tell him, and he will send his gifts and mercies - nay, he will come himself; for he hath assured me of this. He hath said, "If a man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him." Behold my soul, thy Jesus is come! I hear his well-known voice: he saith, "I am come into my garden." Now will I hold him, and not let him go, and pray him not to be as a wayfaring man that turneth in to tarry for a night, but abide with me until the breaking of the everlasting day.

Job 10:2

"I will say unto God, do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me." - Job 10:2

My soul, art thou at any time exercised with any trying dispensations? Doth thy God, thy Jesus, seem to hide his face from thee? Are his providences afflicting? Art thou brought under bereaving visitations? Is thy earthly tabernacle shaken by sickness? Are the pins of it loosening? Are thy worldly circumstances pinching? Is prayer restrained? Oh, refer thy state, my soul, be it what it may, to Jesus. Tell thy Lord, that of all things, thy greatest dread and fear is, lest thou shouldest be mistaken concerning his love to thee. Say, as Job did, "Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me." There is an Achan in the heart. Thy Jesus doth not withdraw for nothing. Love is in his lips. Salvation fills the whole soul of Jesus. Fly to him, then, my soul! Say to him, Lord, make me what thou wouldest have me to be. Oh! for a word, a whisper of Jesus. I cannot live without it. I dare not let thee go, except thou bless me. Not all the past enjoyments, experiences, manifestations, will do me good, until thou again shine in upon my soul. Oh! come then, Lord Jesus! I fly to thee as my God, my Saviour, my portion, my all! "Never, surely wilt thou say to the praying seed of Jacob," Seek ye my face in vain!

Ephesians 3:1

"The prisoner of Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 3:1

My soul! art thou a prisoner of Jesus Christ? See to it, if so, that, like the apostle, thou art bound with Jesu's chains for "the hope of Israel." They are golden chains. When Paul and Silas were fast bound in the prison, the consciousness of this made them sing for joy. Men have their prisons, and God hath his. But here lies the vast difference: no bars or grates, among the closest prisons of men, can shut God out from comforting his prisoners; and, on the contrary, nothing can come in to afflict Jesu's prisoners, when he keeps them by the sovereignty of his grace, and love, and power. Blessed Lord! look upon thy poor prisoner; and come in, dear Lord, with thy wonderful condescension, and do as thou hast said: sup with him, and cause him to sup with thee.

Jeremiah 32:40

"And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." - Jer. xxxii. 40.

Precious consideration to a poor exercised soul, that a covenant God in Christ, hath not only engaged for himself, but undertaken for his people also. God will not, and his people shall not. My soul, take a short view of the foundation of this precious, precious promise. It is God's everlasting love, everlasting grace, everlasting covenant. And remember, the Author of it is not changeable as thou art: "with Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Moreover, it is purchased by the blood, sealed in the blood, and made eternally firm and sure in the blood and righteousness of Christ; the everlasting efficacy of which is as eternal as the Author of it. Neither is this all. There is an union with the person of thy Jesus. The head without a body would be incomplete; and, united to his Person, the believer is interested in all his graces, fullness, suitableness, all-sufficiency: so that this preserves grace from perishing, because it is an everlasting spring. And Jesus lives to see it all complete. His intercession answers every want, and supplies every necessity. Neither is this all; for God the Holy Ghost sets to his seal, in the heart, that God is true. His quickening, convincing, converting, manifesting grace in the soul, in taking of the things of Jesus, and shewing to the heart, becomes an earnest and pledge in assurance; and all tending to confirm, that God will not, and his redeemed ones, shall not turn away, but his covenant remain everlasting.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8

"Knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

My soul, is this thy real language? Pause, while thou art at home in the body, how dark and dim, how few and short, are all the glimpses thou hast by faith of Jesus. What from the workings of corruption, the claims of the body, the concerns of the world, and the numberless, nameless, obstructions which surround thee, how little dost thou know of Jesus J And wouldest thou desire for ever to live at this distance? Think what the first view only of Jesus will be, when thou art once absent from the body, and present with the Lord! - What holy transports will break in upon the soul, when all the lines of love meet in one centre, to manifest the Lord Jesus to thy view in his redeeming fullness! If here below a single hour's enjoyment of thy Jesus, through the medium of his word or ordinances, be so precious that no felicity on earth are equal; what must a whole eternity be, in the full uninterrupted vision of God and the Lamb! If, through the influences of thy blessed Spirit, dearest Jesus, the tear of joy, and love, and praise, will fall in the contemplation of thy person and work; surely all the flood gates of the soul will open, when I see thee as thou art, and come to dwell with thee forever. Oh! for grace, then, to long for that blessed hour, when, absent from the body, I shall be present with the Lord; - "when I shall be-hold thy face in righteousness, and shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."

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Psalm 12:1

"Help, Lord! for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men." - Psalm 12:1

My soul, art thou sometimes distressed in the recollection of the languishing state of Zion - are faithful men, faithful ministers, taken away from the evil to come! And dost thou sometimes, at a mercy-seat, feel thyself drawn out in fervent prayer, that the Lord would fill up the vacancies he is making by death, and raise up pastors after his own heart, and believers who love Zion, to supply their place? Take comfort, my soul; thy Jesus loves Zion; and she is still engraven on the palms of his hands, and her walls are continually before him. Jesus must have a church in the earth as long as the sun and moon endure. Remember, the reins of government are in Jesus' hands; and however the enemies of Zion, like wild horses, would ride over the children of Zion, Jesus puts his bridle in their jaws, and will turn them back by the way they came. Remember, also, that the care of the church is with Jesus. He saith himself concerning it, "I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." Blessed Jesus, I would say then, Zion is, and must be safe. Die who may, Jesus lives; and to his church he saith," Because I live, ye shall live also." Here then is enough for me, for the church, and for every child of God. My seed, saith Jesus, shall serve him. Hallelujah.

Acts 11:23

"With purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord." - Acts 11:23

My soul, art thou cleaving to thy Jesus? It is a grand thing so to do; and it must be from continued supplies of grace in Jesus, if thou art really doing it. A few points will shew. Is Jesus thy all? Is he uppermost in all things? Faith hath for its one object, Jesus. Let a true believer be wheresoever he may - at home, or abroad; alone, or in company; the closet, or the church, it is all the same, if he really, truly, cleaves to the Lord with purpose of heart; there is a looking unto Jesus for all thinks, and in all things. Again; if I cleave to the Lord, I shall do no one thing but in his strength, and deliberately desire nothing but for his glory. The graces of the Holy Spirit, implanted in the souls of the faithful, are fed and kept alive, and brought forth into exercise by the communications of Jesus. My joy then is in Jesus; not in myself, not in what I feel. These feelings of mine may languish, but while I cleave to the Lord, my spiritual joy will always be the same. "From me," saith that sweet Lord, "from me is thy fruit found." Once more - if I cleave unto Jesus, shall I not find an increasing love for him, an increasing desire for him, and an increasing communion with him, from increasing knowledge of him, and of his love and preciousness? To be sure I shall. Well then, my soul, art thou indeed cleaving to him? Think how precious Jesus was, when first thou wast brought so savingly acquainted with him as to see thy need of him, and his suitableness and disposition to save thee. Dost thou think of these blessings less now? Oh no! You love him more because you know your need of him more, and therefore cleave to him the closer. Lastly, to add no more, doth my soul truly cleave to Jesus? Why then, I am loosening more and more from everything beside. If Jesus hath my whole heart, then is the world and all creature idols thrown down. One Lord Jesus Christ is portion enough for a whole ransomed church of God to live upon to all eternity. In him there is portion enough for me. Oh! then, precious Lamb of God, be thou my portion; for in thee I have all things.

Matthew 28:20

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." - Matthew 28:20

What an encouraging declaration is this of our Jesus, to prompt the faithful to meet together on the Lord's day; or in short, any day, at all times, and all places. Observe, my soul, how sweet the Lord speaks; ‘There am I in the midst of my people; not by my word only, not as represented in ordinances, not by the ministry of my servants, but I myself spiritually. The calls, the motions of grace felt in the heart, the tender tokens, the manifestations of my suitableness, fullness, and all-sufficiency; these are all truly mine, which, by the influences of my Spirit, I communicate among you.' Oh, precious, condescending Lord, now we see what it is that constitutes a true gospel church - even thy presence. Thou art the beauty and glory of it; and from thee alone all power and efficacy is derived. Thy churches are, indeed, as thou hast taught, the golden candlesticks; and thy ministers are as stars in thy right hand. But the candlesticks have no light, until thou, by thy presence, enlighten them; neither do thy servants, the ministers, hold forth the light of thy word profitably, until thou openest the heart, as thou didst poor Lydia's, to receive the things delivered, to the salvation of the soul. Ye ministers of my God! draw all your comfort and encouragement, amidst all the difficulties you meet with, both from within and without, in your: sacred service, from this sweet assurance of Jesus. Whenever you go up to the assemblies of God's people, hear the footsteps of your Master behind you. And ye, who pant after sweet fellowship and communion with Jesus, seek it by the footsteps of the flock, beside the shepherd's tents, where Jesus feeds his sheep. Who would be absent from that blessed place where Jesus comes to bless? And Oh, what encouragement to the faithful to bring with them their unawakened friends and relations to the assemblies which Jesus honours with his presence. Surely he who wrought salvation in our hearts, can work the same in theirs. No wonder, when such mercies Jesus brings with him to his people, that the heart of David fainted to go up to the house of the Lord, that he might see the power and glory of Jesus, as he had seen it in the sanctuary.

Galatians 3:13

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." - Galatians 3:13

Pause, my soul, and contemplate the unspeakable mercies contained in those precious words. However little thou hast regarded them, yet they contain in their bosom the whole blessings of the gospel. It is to Jesus in this one glorious act of his faith, should the sinner be continually looking. There, the believer should say, there hangs my hope, my joy, my confidence. "Christ hath redeemed me from the curse of the law, being made a curse for me." Now, my soul, observe how Jesus accomplished this great mercy for thee. Whatever Christ redeemed the sinner from, he became that for him. In the act of redemption, by substituting himself in the sinner's place and room, he redeemed him from that place and room, by standing there himself. Hence, as the sinner stood before God, accursed by reason of sin; so Christ, by taking the sinner's sin upon himself, and standing in his stead to answer for it, was made a curse also. If, therefore, Christ will come under the law for sinners, that law will have as much to demand of him, as of sinners. If Jesus, from his boundless love and mercy, will take the sinner's curse upon himself, the law will speak as harsh to him as the sinner that is under the curse: and not only speak, but exact from him all that could be demanded from the sinner. Pause, my soul! And did Jesus, thy Jesus, thus stand; thus be considered, and was he made a curse for thee? Did he really, truly, suffer the cursed sinner's punishment, "and die, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners to God?" Look to it then, my soul; he hath bought thee out, paid the full ransom, and taken away both sin and the curse of sin, by the sacrifice of himself. Shout, my soul, shout salvation to God and the Lamb! Say, as Paul, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."

Genesis 7:16

"And the Lord shut him in." - Genesis 7:16

It was a sweet invitation to the patriarch Noah, when the Lord called him to the ark. Jehovah did not say, go thou into the ark; but, "Come." So saith Jesus to his people: "Come with me, from Lebanon, my spouse; with me, from Lebanon." Yes, precious Jesus, to be with thee is heaven; for thou thyself art the heaven of the soul. But observe further, my soul: when Noah had entered the ark, what kept him there? "The Lord shut him in." Yes, neither bolts nor bars were his security; but God himself, in his covenant engagements, kept him. The patriarch could no more get out, than the unbelieving carnal throng (who perhaps hung about the ark when they saw the flood arise, and felt its power) could get in. Precious Jesus! and what is it keeps thy people now? Is it not thyself? Are not thy redeemed eternally secure in thee, and thy blood and righteousness, as Noah in the ark? Yes, thou who hast the key of all things;" thou openest, and none shutteth; thou shuttest, and none openeth." In thee my soul is kept secure; for the Lord Jehovah hath shut me in: and I shall ride out all the storms, and floods, of sin and Satan; and, Noah-like, rise above the fountains of the greatest deeps, being shut in in the ark Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 16:4

"Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler." - Isaiah 16:4

"When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." Moab was the sworn foe of Israel, but yet Moab shall be overruled to shelter and feed Israel. The world, like Moab, dislikes God's people: but as God's people must sojourn in the world, until the time comes for God to take them home, they shall be taken care of. "Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab;" house them as travellers in an inn. See that they have a lodging. Let their bread be given, and their water sure. "They are poor; but they are my poor," saith our God. "They are outcasts; but they are mine outcasts." Oh! precious Jesus, I see thou wilt still own thy people. And wherefore is it, dearest Lord? Not for their worth, not for their deservings, not for their adherence to thee; but because thou hast loved them; because the Father hath given them to thee, and thou hast purchased their persons, redeemed them, and washed them, and made them thine. Grant, dearest Lord, that though we are constrained to dwell with Mesech, and to have our habitation among the tents of Kedar; though we "are made as the filth of the earth, and the offscouring of all things," yet never, never may we forget our relationship to thee. Though outcasts, yet Jesus's outcasts. Be thou, Lord, our hiding-place, our covert, in the midst of Moab; and so shall we be free from every spoiler; thou wilt be to us all we need - "rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."

1 Peter 2:7

"Unto you, therefore, which believe, he is precious." - 1 Peter 2:7

My soul, art thou anxious to know whether thou art a true believer in Jesus? Try it, then, by this mark, which the Holy Ghost hath given by his servant the apostle. Do you believe in Jesus for life and salvation? Yes, truly; if so be he is precious. Look at him, then. Is Jesus precious in his person, precious in his work, precious in his offices, precious in his relations, precious in his whole character? Do you know him, so as to love him, to live to him, to rejoice in him, and to cast your whole soul upon him, for life and salvation? Do you accept him as the Father's gift, the Sent, the Sealed, the Anointed, the Christ, of the Father? Is he so precious, that there is nothing in him but what you love - nothing that you would part with? His cross is dear, as well as his crown! Afflictions with Jesus, sweeter than prosperity without him! Pause over these questions. Recollect that there is nothing out of Jesus that can be truly satisfying. Thy dearest earthly friend, however sweet, hath yet some tinge, some alloy of what is not sweet. But there is no mixture in thy Jesus; all is pure, and lovely, and transcendently glorious. He is, as one of old described him, a sea of sweetness, without a single drop of gall. And now, my soul, what sayest thou concerning Jesus? Is he precious to thee under all these, and a thousand more distinguishing excellences? Say, if Jesus were to be bought, wouldest thou not sell all thou hast to buy? Were he to be sold, wouldest thou not rather lose thy life than part with him? Surely, then, he must be precious to thee: and, as such, thou art a believer; for the apostle has commanded us to say, that "unto them which believe he is precious." Take comfort then, my soul: he that is precious now, will be so forever. Yes, precious Lord, there is none in heaven or earth I desire besides thee!

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Revelation 7:17

"The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them." - Revelation 7:17

My soul thou hast not forgotten what thou wert so lately engaged in, a day or two since, at the call of God the Holy Ghost, to behold the Lamb of God. And art thou not still looking at him, gazing upon him, feasting thine eyes, thine heart, all thy affections, upon him, and following him, in the sweet contemplation, from his cross to his crown. Come then, my soul, harp again and again upon this blessed string; for sure it is most blessed. And remember, my soul, as thou lookest, thy Jesus is in the midst of the throne - that is, the very centre of it. "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." For what is the Lamb of God, but God revealing himself in him, to thee, my soul, and all his people? And remember also, that the throne, in the midst of which thy Jesus is, in scripture, is called" the throne of God and the Lamb," on purpose to shew thee that it is one and the same. And what is that throne, my soul, but a throne of grace - a mercy-seat, a place for the poor and the needy to approach, "to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need?" Flee to it, my soul; haste! stay not; and remember, as Jesus is in the midst of it, it is accessible every way, and all around. The poor timid believer, that fears to go in front, may, like the woman in the gospel, who came behind, touch but Jesus' garment: efficacy from the Lamb is in every direction. If Jesus was not there, it might be alarming to approach; but, remember the Lamb is there - and he is tile Lamb of God. Sweet encouraging thought! Come then, my soul, look to the Lamb. See, by faith, how he feeds the church which is above. And will he not feed the church below? Oh, yes. "His flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed." He is the heavenly pelican, that feeds his young with his blood. And Oh, what spiritual food, what divine food, what suitable food, what soul-satisfying, soul. ravishing, soul-strengthening food! Precious Lamb of God! everything in thee is food. Feed my hungry soul, Oh thou that art in the midst of the throne, and send me not empty away.

Romans 8:33:34

"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." - Romans 8:33:34

See, my soul, what a blessed security thou hast. Here is God justifying; Christ dying; the Holy Ghost raising the sinner's surety from the grave, as an evidence that the debt of sin is cancelled; and Jesus ever living to see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied in the redemption of his people. What, then, shall rob thee of thy comfort, while thou art triumphing in thy Jesus? Sin shall not; for Jesus hath put it away by the sacrifice of himself. The law cannot; for thy Jesus hath answered all its just demands. Divine justice cannot; for God himself justifieth. Death and hell cannot; for Jesus hath conquered both. In short, all that stood in thy way, the Son of God hath removed. And wilt thou not, my soul, triumph in the great salvation of thy Jesus? Surely the poor debtor may walk as boldly before the prison door, as the king in his palace, when his debts are paid. No bailiff can touch him; no mittimus again confine him. "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." Triumph then, my soul, in the liberty wherewith thy Jesus hath made thee free; only be sure that all thy triumphs are in him. Let him have all the glory, who hath wrought the whole redemption. Make thy Jesus all; for he hath done all for thee; and then sweetly repose thyself upon the person and work of thy beloved, Let the adversary accuse, or opposition arise from without or within, yet, saith an apostle, here is the answer: - "God justifieth; for Christ died." Oh, how precious it is, after all the storms, and winds, and boisterous tossings, of law and conscience, to enter into that harbour, which is, Jesus. "We which have believed," saith the apostle, "do enter into rest." He is indeed the rest, wherewith he causeth the weary to rest; and he is the refreshing.

John 1:36

"Behold the Lamb of God!" - John 1:36

Who is it calls upon thee, my soul, to this most gratifying and enriching of all employments? Is it not God the Holy Ghost, by the ministry of his servant John? And doth not God thy Father do the same by the ministry of his servant Isaiah, when be bids thee behold him in whom his soul delighteth? And is not Jesus himself calling, again and again, in the ministry of his word and ordinances upon thy poor forgetful heart, when he saith, "Behold me! behold me! look unto me, and be ye saved!" And wilt thou not obey the sweet and gracious calls, on which all thy present peace and everlasting happiness depend? Precious, precious Jesus! Yes, my Lord! I would, methinks, so look unto thee, and so behold thee, until my whole heart, and all its affections, followed my eyes, and left not a thought behind for a single object besides thee. I would eye thee, thou dear Redeemer, as the Lamb of God; both where thou once wast, and where thou now art, and follow thee whithersoever thou goest. I would behold thee, as the Lamb of God, set up in the decrees of eternity, from everlasting; for thou art "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." I would behold thee, set forth in all the representations of thy redeeming blood, in the innumerable sacrifices of the law, and in the lamb of the morning, and the lamb of the evening, through the intermediate ages, to thy coming. I would behold thee, Oh thou unequalled pattern of excelling meekness! when, in the days of thy flesh, thou walkedst through the streets of Jerusalem; and when, as a lamb, thou wast led to the slaughter. I would eye thee, Oh thou Lamb of God, until my eye-strings could hold no longer, when as the Lamb of God, and my soul's surety, thou didst hang upon the tree, putting away sin, and satisfying divine justice by, the sacrifice of thyself. And never would I take off my eyes from thy cross, until called by thee to behold thee as a Lamb in the midst of the throne, where thou art feeding thy church above, and dispensing blessings to all thy church below. Yes, yes, blessed triumphant Lamb of God, thou art the Lamb still. Change of place hath made no change in thy nature, or thy love, or the efficacy of thy redemption. Thou still appearest as a Lamb that hath been slain. And still thou bearest on thy glorified body, the marks of my redemption. Shall I not behold thee, then, dearest Jesus? Shall I not unceasingly behold thee, thus called upon by the Father, Son, and Spirit, and thus finding everything that can satisfy my most unbounded desires for time and for eternity? Help me, blessed Jesus, so to look, and so to live upon thee; and Oh, do thou behold me, and bid me live, and make me thine forever."

Exodus 30:15

"The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls." - Exodus 30:15.

Pause, my soul, over this sweet scripture, and mark the graciousness of thy God and Father in the blessed truth conveyed in it. What, were all the souls of the redeemed charged equally alike in the account of God? Did God thy Father rate them thus? And did Jesus, thy precious Jesus, purchase all his redeemed with an equal price, when he bought them with his blood? If this be so, my soul, it must follow, that thou, a poor unworthy creature as thou art, overlooked as thou art by the great ones of the earth, and too frequently overlooked in thyself how precious every redeemed soul must be in Jesus's sight, cost as much to Jesus as the soul of Peter, or of Paul, or of any of the patriarchs, apostles, or prophets. Oh, think of this; write it down in the tablets of thy remembrance. Will not this tend to endear Jesus yet more to thee, and bring home thy Father's love in the strongest affection? Add one thought more to this precious relation. If to Jesus thy redemption cost as much as any one of the redeemed in glory, think, my soul, after such a purchase, such a price, will he lose his property? will he forego what cost him so dear, and suffer one pearl of his mediatorial crown to be wanting? Add another sweet thought, my soul, to this delightful meditation. If, amidst the various inequalities of life, some poor and some rich, yet whatever difference was allowed, or even expected in other offerings, according to the abilities of God's people; yet here, as a representation of the offering of the soul in Jesus' purchase, no one distinction was to be made. Is it not plain that the redemption by Jesus is in him, and him only; and "his righteousness is unto all, and upon all, that believe; for there is no difference." Dearest Lord may my soul never lose sight of this blessed equality. Here thou art, indeed, no respecter of persons.

Galatians 3:19

"In the hand of a Mediator." - Galatians 3:19

The hand of a Mediator was the great blessing every, enlightened son of Adam, from the fall, sighed after, and looked for, in every approach to God. Hence the first transgressor, for the want of it, bid himself from the presence of God, amidst the trees of the garden. Hence Israel cried out to Moses, "Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." And Job longed for a day's man, that is, a Mediator, that might lay his hand upon both parties. See then, my soul, thy privileges; for thou hast a Mediator, and a glorious one indeed, in whose almighty hand all thy concerns are eternally secured. "Ye are come," saith the apostle; he doth not say, ye are coming. but, ye are come, to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling." Oh then, in all thy approaches, have an eye to Jesus. Put all thine affairs into this glorious, Mediator's hand. Remember, he wears thy nature, pleads thy cause, takes up all thy concerns, and ever liveth to make intercession for sinners; and therefore, cast all thy care upon him, for he careth for thee. And look to this one grand thing that all thy confidence, and all thy joy, ariseth wholly from Jesus' person and righteousness; not from any supposed graces, tears, repentance - nor even from faith itself, if viewed as an act of thine. Cast aside, as filthy rags, all that is thine; and never, no not for a moment, look at anything as a procuring cause; but let Jesus have all thy confidence, all the glory, and thou wilt have all the comfort. Though Satan accuse, though conscience pleads guilty, God's broken law pronounceth condemnation, and justice demands the penalty, Jesus hath answered all, and is on the throne to see the issue. Oh, the blessedness of having all in the bands of a Mediator!

Lamentations 1:16

"The Comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me." - Lamentations 1:16

Whence is it, my soul, that those distressing thoughts arise? Pause, and inquire. Is the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, indeed withdrawn, when Jesus, thy Jesus, sweetly and graciously promised that he should abide forever? This cannot be. Is the righteousness of Jesus less; or hath his blood to atone and cleanse, lost its efficacy? Oh no! Jesus' righteousness, and Jesus' all-atoning propitiation, like the almighty Author of both, must be eternally and everlastingly the same; "yesterday, and to-day, and forever." Hath God thy Father forgotten to be gracious? Oh no! God thy Father proclaimed from heaven that he is well pleased for his dear Son's righteousness' sake; and never, never, shall a word gone out of the Lord's mouth be altered. From whence then, my soul, is thy leanness, thy fears, and despondency? Canst thou not discover? Oh yes! It is all in thyself, and thy unbelieving frame; thou art looking to thyself, and not to all-precious Jesus! Thou wantest to feel some new frame of thy own; some melting of heart, or the like; and if thou couldest be gratified in this, then thou wouldest go to Jesus with confidence, and then plead as thou thinkest, Jesus' name, and blood, and righteousness for acceptance. And doth the want of these feelings keep thee back? Oh, fie! my soul, is this thy love, thy kindness to thy friend? Can anything be more plain, than that thou art making a part saviour of thy feelings, and not a whole Saviour of thy Jesus? No wonder thou criest out, "the Comforter is far from me;" for the Holy Ghost will teach thee, that all comfort is only in Jesus. And mark this, my soul, for all future occasions. - If thou wilt seek comfort in anything out of Jesus, though it be in the sweetest frames, as thou mayest think of thine, Jesus, in mercy and love, will put thy comforts out of thy reach. Oh then, come to Jesus, poor and needy, with or without frames. Make him all, and in all; and be will be thy joy, thy comfort, and thy portion forever!

Galatians 2:20

"Who loved me, and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

See, my soul, how Paul is forever using Jesus, and feasting forever upon him. Oh! seek grace to do the same. He saith, Jesus loved him; Jesus, the Son of God, loved Paul. Now love from any object is valuable, but from the first, and best, and greatest of all Beings, what invaluable love is this? And who did Christ love? "Why me," saith Paul: "who was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious." And how do you know, Paul, that Jesus loved you? " He gave himself for me," saith Paul. "Gave himself?" Yes, himself. Not his gifts only, not his grace, not his mercies, though all creation is his. And whatever he gave must have been an undeserved mercy; for I merited hell, when he bestowed upon me heaven. But even heaven, with all its glories, is nothing, saith Paul, to what Jesus gave me; for he gave "himself for me." Oh! my soul, wilt thou not look up, wilt thou not be encouraged to hope, to believe, to hang upon Jesus, for the same. Oh! for faith to believe. Precious Jesus! thou author and finisher of faith, grant me this mercy! And while I read these sweet words concerning thee, who loved and who gave thyself for poor lost sinners-Oh! like Paul, and with the same assurance of faith, cause me to add - me, me: Jesus "loved me, and gave himself for me."

Luke 7:44

"Seest thou this woman?" - Luke 7:44.

My soul, look at this woman at the feet of Jesus; for thy Jesus bids thee look, and gather instruction from the view, as well as the Pharisee. Behold how she wept, how she washed the feet of Jesus, and anointed them with ointment. These were sweet tokens of her love and adoration. But were these the causes for which she obtained forgivings? Oh, no. Read what the Lord said to her: "Thy faith hath saved thee." Learn, then, my, soul, in what salvation lies. Love may bring ointment to Jesus. Sorrow for sin, when grace is in the heart, will cause tears to fall. But faith brings nothing, for it hath nothing: it casts itself wholly upon Jesus. Amidst all its guilt, and fears, and tears, it is Jesus only to whom faith looks; it is Jesus upon whom alone it depends. It hath nothing to do with self; neither our own feelings, nor the exercise of our graces. These are blessed evidences of the work of the Lord upon the heart; but they are not, salvation. It is Jesus, all precious, all glorious, all suitable Jesus! He is the One blessed object of faith's joy and hope, and pursuit and desire. And, depend upon it, thy God and Father in Christ Jesus, is more pleased, more honoured, by this simple act of faith upon Jesus glorious person and righteousness, than by all the tears in the world; when those tears lead us to place a stress upon the effects of faith, instead of hanging wholly upon the cause, in the glorious object, Jesus. Pause, my soul, over this nice but proper distinction; and this will be to find comfort always in Jesus, "Seest thou this woman?"

Matthew 1:23

"And they shall call his name Emanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us." - Matthew 1:23

My soul, hast thou never remarked what a peculiar beauty and sweetness there is in every name by which thy God and Saviour is made known to thee in his holy word? Surely, if nothing more had been intended by it, than to identify and prove his sacred person, one name would have answered this purpose: evidently, therefore, somewhat of great importance is designed from his many names. And depend upon it, my soul, so much loveliness is there in every individual name of thy Jesus; and at one time or other, in thy walk of faith, so very much wilt thou need every one, and find the preciousness of every one, that thou wouldest not part with one of thy Redeemer's names - no, not for the world. This of Emanuel, by which thou art commanded to call him, is a sweet one to endear him to thee. Had he not been Emanuel, he could not have been Jesus, for none but God can save a sinner: and therefore he is called Emanuel, which signifies, "God with us." Hence, therefore, he is God. Put this down as a glorious truth in thy esteem. God in our nature: God tabernacling in our flesh. God in us; and God in our hearts, the hope of glory. It is the Godhead of thy Jesus which gives efficacy and value to every act of redemption. As God, his righteousness is the righteousness of God to justify thee. Mark that! his sacrifice to atone - his blood to cleanse - his grace to bless. All these blessed acts of thy Jesus derive efficacy to answer all their glorious purposes, because they are the acts of God. And remark, my soul, yet further, that all that yet remains to be fulfilled, in what he hath in now pleading thy promised concerning salvation, in now pleading thy cause, and hereafter taking thee to glory; these cannot fail - because he who hath promised is Emanuel. Go on, my soul, one step further, and remember that He, whom thou art to call Emanuel, is also God in thy nature. Hence he is so very near and dear, in all tender alliances, as to be bone of thy bone, and flesh of thy flesh. My soul, never, never lose sight of this most sweet and precious name of thy Jesus. Call him as thou art commanded, call his name Emanuel.