Philippians 1:23

"Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ." - Philippians 1:23

My soul, thou hast not, I hope, dismissed the solemn thoughts opened to thy view by the scripture of yesterday. Surely, since that last morning, thou hast had but too many renewed occasions to feel the truth of it. Sin is not only present with thee at all times, but in thee, and as inseparable from thy unrenewed part, as the shadow from the substance. Thou knowest this, thou feelest it, thou groanest under it; and the consciousness of it is, in itself, enough to make thee go humbly all thy days. All other afflictions are nothing to this affliction: this, like the ocean compared to rivers, surpasseth and swalloweth up all. It is indeed a soul-supporting thought, (and, blessed be God, thou feelest the sweetness of it,) that under all, and in all, Jesus is thy hope. And while sin is always present with thee, Jesus, thy Advocate and Propitiation, is present for thee with the Father. But though in Him, and his righteousness accepted and secure, yet the consideration how much thy daily short-comings and transgressions dishonour God, and deprive thee of comfort here, is matter sufficient to make thine eyes run down with water, and thine heart continually to mourn before the-mercy-seat. And will these things always be the same, whilst thou carriest about with thee this body of sin? Shall this perishing part of thine be always so unfavourable to the sweet and gracious desires of the soul? Shall I never, never truly and uninterruptedly enjoy Jesus until the body is dissolved, and the dust returns to the earth out of which that part of my nature was taken? Pause, my soul, and say - Hast thou not then a desire to depart, and to be with Christ! Is not the grave, in this view, not only made bearable, but even desirable-nay, even pleasant? What, shall I never be wholly free from sin, until that I am wholly freed from the body! Shall I never be secure of sweet enjoyment with Jesus in ordinances, in retirement, in prayer, in praise, until that I drop this body of sin? And wouldest thou not, my soul, gladly part with such a partner, near and dear as it is, if this partner, in its present state, so dreadfully robs thee of thy most precious enjoyments? It is true, death in itself is not desirable: but if only by dying thou canst enjoy Jesus; and if only by dying this body will lose its corruptions; if the grave hath a commission from thy Jesus to destroy that part only of thy body which is corrupt, and at the same time to act as a preserver of that part which Jesus at the last day will raise up to glory; if Jesus hath assured thee that, though worms destroy thy corrupt part, yet thine eyes, even thy bodily eyes, when raised up by Jesus a glorified body, shall see God; and if thy body, thus raised up and re-animated, shall then be not only wholly freed from all corruption, but equally disposed as the soul to praise thy God and Saviour forever and forever, and both soul and body unite as dear friends in this blessed service. Oh then, from henceforth never, my soul, look at death any more but as thy kind friend. It is to die to sin; but it is to live to Jesus. It is to be dead to all things but Jesus, that Jesus may be all things in life forever. Oh then, for this desire to depart and to be with Christ!

Romans 7:25

"So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." - Romans 7:25

Is this thy language, my soul? Hast thou learnt with Paul, with Job, with Isaiah, and all the faithful gone before, to loathe thyself in thine own sight? Dost thou groan, being burthened with a body of sin which drags down the soul? Pause over this view of human nature. In the first place - think, my soul, what humbling thoughts such a state of corruption ought to induce. Though the mind be regenerated, though with the mind the believer serves the law of God, delights in the law of God, loves the law, and would make it the subject of devout meditation all the day; yet such is the body of sin, the flesh with its affections, and appetites, and desires, that it draws away the attention, imperiously, puts in its claims, and rises up in rebellion continually. And are the souls of God's children thus exercised, thus afflicted, in the struggles between the different motions of grace and corruption from day to day? Yes, such is the state, such the uniform experience of God's people in all ages. Paul thus complains, though he had been so highly sanctified. Perhaps there never was a child of God brought into a closer and more intimate communion with God. He had been caught up to the third heaven, and heard unspeakable words. He had laboured more than all the apostles. He had been converted by a miracle from heaven, and by the immediate call of the Lord Jesus personally to him. But yet this highly favoured servant of the Lord, this blessed apostle, who was continually flying on the wings of zeal and love in the service of his Master, even he, with his flesh, he-tells us, served the law of sin: nay, he felt and discovered "a law of sin in his members, warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which was in his members;" and under a deep distress of soul he cried out - "Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!" Is it so, then, my soul, with thee also! Dost thou discover the same in thy experience? Dost thou feel the rebellions of sin rising up within thee? Dost thou detect thine heart, wandering even in the moment of solemn exercises; and, in short, thine own body, the worst and greatest enemy thou hast to contend with? Oh then, learn from hence, what humbling views oughtest thou to have of thyself, and to lay low in the dust in consequence thereof before God. When thou hast duly contemplated this state of fallen nature, let thy next improvement of this subject be to endear the Lord Jesus to thee, my soul, more and more; to fly out of thyself, to fly to Jesus, to take refuge in him and his great salvation; from even thyself, with all that body of sin and death, under which thou thus continually groanest; and to derive here from a daily and hourly conviction, yet more strong and unanswerably conclusive, that nothing but the blood of Jesus can cleanse, nothing but the righteousness of Jesus can save and justify a sinner. Say as Paul did, when from the bottom of his heart that soul-piercing question arose," Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Psalm 133:2

"The precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments." - Psalm 133:2

My soul, behold, in the anointing here set forth of the Jewish high priest, a type of His anointing who is a Priest forever, and a Priest upon his throne; and while looking at Aaron, say, as the Lord Jesus did upon another occasion concerning Solomon, "A greater than Aaron is here." It is sweet, very sweet, and very profitable, to behold the old church shadowing forth the new, and the law ministering to the gospel. Yes, blessed Jesus, I behold in Aaron, and in the precious ointment poured forth upon his head, thus running down to the skirts of his garments, the beautiful representation of that fullness of the Spirit, which was poured out upon thee without measure; that from thee the communication might glow down to the poorest, the humblest, the lowest of thy members, even to the very skirts of thy clothing. "It pleased the Father that in thee should all fullness dwell:" that of that fullness all thy people might receive, and grace for grace. And by virtue of our interest in thee, and union with thee, all thy people do richly partake of communion in all thy benefits, blessings, mercies. The sun shines not to itself, nor for itself, but to impart light and life to others: so dost thou, the Sun of Righteousness, shine forth in all thy glory, not for thyself, but to bless, and enliven, and give out of all thy grace and fullness, every suited blessing, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. My soul, bring home these precious truths to the conviction of experience. Was Jesus indeed anointed for his people? Was grace poured into his lips? Was he, like Aaron, so installed into the office of the priesthood, and the Holy Spirit so unmeasurably communicated to him, on purpose that all his little ones should partake of this unspeakable gift of God? Did God the Father say to Jesus, "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring?" Well then, my soul, hast thou partaken of the Holy Spirit? Hast thou communion with Jesus in all that concerns thy salvation? A child of God, a joint, heir with. Christ, and a soul begotten of the Holy Spirit, hath interest and communion in all that belongs to Jesus, as the Great Head and Mediator of his church; interested in his Person, interested in his work, interested in his righteousness, in his life, in his death, in his resurrection, in his everlasting priestly office, and in his everlasting glory. What sayeth my soul to these things? Go, my soul, go this morning, go in the strength of this interest, and look at a throne of grace, within the vail, whither thy forerunner is for thee entered; behold thy glorious Aaron, wearing the priestly vestments still, and having all grace, all fullness; waiting to be gracious, and to impart of that fullness to thy necessities; and having received gifts for men, yea, for thee, the most rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Lord, proportion thy mercies to my wants; and as the day is, so let the strength be.

Hebrews 9:16-17

"For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." - Hebrews 9:16-17

Behold, my soul, how graciously the Holy Ghost hath here represented the necessity of Jesus's death, in order that the testament, or will, he left behind him, might have the intended effect; and all the benefits and blessings he bequeathed in it to his people, might be fully paid and made over to them for their present peace and everlasting happiness. Now, my soul, mark down, for this day's special meditation, the many precious things here contained. Observe how very accommodating the Holy Ghost is to explain to thee divine things, by the similitude of human transactions. As a man makes his will, so Jesus made his. As what a man gives is altogether a free and voluntary act, so Jesus was not constrained by what he gave in his blessed will; but the whole was the result of his own free, gracious, and everlasting love. And as a man must die before his will can be put in force, so Jesus must, and did die, that his testament and will might have the full effect also. But there is one sweet point more to be taken into this account, in which, my soul, thy Jesus hath infinitely surpassed all men in this article of their wills. When a man dies he appoints by will an executor, to whom he must trust the management of all his effects after his decease; and should his executor prove unfaithful, his best designs for those he loved, when living, may all fail of the end when he is dead. Now here lies the sweetness of Jesus's will: - he not only made the will, but he himself will see it fully executed; for as he died once, in order that by his death his will might be confirmed, so he ever liveth to see the whole of his blessed gifts and legacies paid. Precious, precious Jesus! how sure then is thy will, and the certainty of every tittle of it being fulfilled. Now, my soul, there are two grand things which concern thee to inquire concerning the will of the Lord Jesus. The first is, whether thou hast any interest in it? And the second is, what the Lord Jesus hath left behind him? Recollect, my soul, that in this instance, as in the former, when men make their wills, it is to dispose of their effects to their relations, their friends, their families. Jesus also hath his relations, his friends, his family. Yes, thou dear Lord, thou condescendest to call thy people thy spouse, thy brethren, thy children, thy jewels, thy redeemed. My soul, dost thou claim relationship to Jesus? Canst thou prove, or hast thou proved his will? Is Jesus thine husband? Hath he betrothed thee to himself? Again - hast thou the marks of a child in God's family? Art thou born again? Again - if you are his, then hast thou his Spirit: "for he. that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." If you are a child of God, and a joint-heir with Christ, then art thou under his divine leadings; "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." If thou hast these marks of relationship, thou mayest safely look for his gifts. Surely Jesus hath remembered in his legacies his spouse, his children. And Oh, what an inventory wilt thou find, my soul, under the second inquiry, when thou hast fully proved the first. Oh, what legacies, what gifts, what an inheritance, art thou entitled to by the will of Jesus! All temporal blessings, all spiritual blessings, all eternal blessings! Pardon, mercy, peace, in the blood of his cross; the sweet enjoyment of all providences in this life, and the sure possession of everlasting happiness in that which is to come, Oh, how true was it, my God and Saviour, when thou didst say, "I will cause them that love me to inherit substance."

Leviticus 15:9

"The trumpet of the jubilee." Leviticus 15:9

My soul, pause over the subject of the jubilee trumpet; for surely much of gospel was proclaimed by it. It should seem that there were four distinct and special sounds of the trumpet in the camp of Israel. The trumpet of memorials, so called, (Levit. xxiii. 24.) was blown on the occasion of the new moon, calling the people to the joyful assembly, Psalm lxxxi. 3. There was also the fast trumpet of which the prophet speaks, Joel ii. 1. Besides these, the war trumpet gave a certain sound to prepare to battle, 1 Cot. xiv. 8. And this of the jubilee, which differed from all. And although the jubilee trumpet was never heard but once in fifty years, yet so sweet and so distinguishing was the sound, that no poor captive among the servants in the camp of Israel, was at a moment's loss to understand its gracious meaning. Say, my soul, is not the gospel sound, when first heard by the ear of faith, precisely the same? When pardon was first proclaimed to thee by the blood of Christ, and the day of his atonement so manifested to thy spiritual senses, that the captivity of sin and Satan lost their power upon thee, was not this indeed the jubilee trumpet, and the acceptable year of the Lord? Hast thou heard this joyful sound? Hath the Son of God made thee free? Hath Jesus caused thee to return to thy long-lost, long forfeited inheritance? And wilt thou never forget the unspeakable mercy? Hail, thou Almighty Deliverer, thou Redeemer of thy captives! I had sold my possession, sold myself for naught; and thou hast redeemed it for me again without money. I had sold it, indeed, but could not alienate it forever, because the right of redemption was with thee. Yes, blessed Jesus, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. Thou art the next of kin, the nearest of all relations, and the dearest of all brothers. And thou hast redeemed both soul and body, both lands and inheritance by thy blood; and so redeemed the whole, as never more to be lost again, or forfeited forever. And now, Lord, thy jubilee trumpet sounds; and the proclamation of the everlasting gospel is heard in our land, to give liberty to the captive, sight to the blind, to bring the prisoners out of the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. Oh, cause me to know the joyful sound, and daily to walk in the light of thy countenance. Cause me, by the sweet influences of thy Spirit, to live in the constant expectation of the year of the everlasting jubilee, when the trumpet of the archangel shall finally sound, and all thy redeemed shall then return to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; when they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Hallelujah.

Song Of Solomon 4:2

"Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honey-comb." - Song Of Solomon 4:2

While Jesus is so precious to his people, that they seek him in everything that is lovely, and indeed can discover nothing to be lovely until they have found Jesus in it, what an endearment is it to the soul of a believer, when he discovers Jesus looking upon him, eyeing him, and even commending Jesus's own graces, which he hath imparted to the soul, brought out into exercises again by the influences of his own Holy Spirit. My soul, canst thou really be led to believe that Jesus is speaking to his church, to his fair one, his spouse, to every individual soul of his redeemed and regenerated ones, in those sweet words of the song? Doth Jesus, the Son of God, call thee his spouse; and doth he say, thy lips drop as the honey-comb? Pause, my soul, and ponder over these gracious words of thy God. By thy lips, no doubt, Jesus means thy words; of which Solomon saith - "pleasant words are as an honey-comb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones. "Prov. xvi. 24. Do thy lips drop in prayer, in praise, in conversation, in Christian fellowship, in ordinances, and in all the ordinary intercourse of life? Is Jesus thy one theme; his name, his love, his grace, his work, his salvation; what he hath done, what he hath wrought; how he hath loved, how he hath lived, how he hath died, how he now lives again to appear in the presence of God for his people; and to give out of his fulness, his mercies, his treasures: in visits, in manifestations, and the ten thousand numberless, nameless, ways by which he proves himself to be Jesus? Do thy lips, my soul, drop in these topics when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, when thou risest up, and when thou goest in before the presence of God, in the public worship of the temple, or the private closet, where no eye seeth thee but him that seeth in secret? And doth thy Jesus really mark these things? Doth he condescend to notice his poor creature, and to esteem these droppings as the sweetness of the honey? Precious God, precious Jesus! what a love is here. O for grace, for love, for life, for every suited gift of my God and Saviour, that my lips, from the abundance of the heart, may drop indeed as the honey-comb - sweetly, freely, not by constraint, except the constraint of thy love; but constantly, unceasingly, forever, as the drops of the honey-comb which follow one another; that prayer may follow praise, and praise succeed to prayer; and that there may be a succession in magnifying and adoring the riches of grace; that the name of Jesus may be always in my mouth; and from that one blessed source, that Jesus lives in my heart, and rules, and reigns, and is formed there the hope of glory.

Luke 1:72

"The mercy promised." - Luke i.72.

"The mercy promised!" Why, God graciously promised many mercies, and most faithfully and fully performed them. Yes! everything out of hell may well be called a mercy. Every child of Adam beareth about with him, day by day, tokens of God's mercy. The air we breathe, the garments we put on, the food we eat; all the comforts, conveniences, enjoyments of life; these are all mercies. But none of these are what the sweet portion of the morning points at. It is here a particular, a Special, one specific mercy. And who can this mean, my soul, but Jesus, thy Jesus? - He is, indeed, "the mercy promised," the first mercy, the first promise; the first, best, and comprehensive gift of God in the bible. He is indeed the mercy of mercies, the first born, the sum and substance of every other. He is essential to make all other mercies really and truly mercies; for without him, they ultimately prove injurious. He is essential to put a sweetness, to give a relish, a value, an importance, to every other. Where Jesus is, there is mercy; where Jesus is not, what can profit? My soul, hast thou Considered this? - Dost thou know it? Is Jesus thine? Is this mercy promised, really, truly given to thee? Hast thou taken him home to thine house, to thine heart? Pause, if it be so, how dost thou value him, know him, use him, live to him, walk with him, hope in him, rejoice in him, and make him thine all? Hast thou received him as a free mercy, an undeserved mercy? Hast thou accepted him as so seasonable a mercy, that, without him, thou wouldest have been undone forever? Is he now so truly satisfying to thee in all thy desires, for time and for eternity, that thou canst bid adieu to every enjoyment, if needful; and, looking up to Jesus, canst truly say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee?" Oh my soul, if this be thy portion, then hast thou a Benjamin's portion indeed! God thy Father hath given thee indeed the mercy promised; and Jesus is, and will be, thy mercy, and the mercy of all mercies, to all eternity. Amen.

John 17:23

John 17:23

"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." - John 17:23

Think, my soul, to what a transcendant honour, to what a state of unspeakable happiness, the truly regenerated believer in Jesus is begotten. Who shall declare it; what heart shall fully conceive it? Mark, my soul, how graciously thy Redeemer hath pointed it out, in those sweet words. Observe the foundation of the whole, in that glorious mystery of union between the Father and the Son. This is at the bottom of all our mercies, and becomes the source and spring of every other. "Thou in me," saith Jesus; not only as One in the nature and essence of the Godhead, in a sameness of nature, of design, of will, of perfections, and in all the attributes which constitute the distinguishing properties of Jehovah; but peculiarly as Mediator, the head of the church and people, in communicating all the fullness of the Godhead to dwell bodily in Jesus, as the Glory-man, the God-man, the Anointed of God. Thus, being one with Christ, and dwelling in Christ, in such a way and manner as the Godhead never did, and never can, dwell in any other. And as Jesus is thus One with the Father in the essence of the Godhead, and the Father in him, dwelling in him, and being in him, in all the work of redemption, as Mediator - so is Jesus one in the nature of the manhood, with all his mystical members. "I in them," saith Christ," as thou art in me. "Jesus is the Head of his body, the church, and he is their fullness; and they members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Hence result the blessed effects which his redeemed all derive from him," that they may be made perfect in one. "Sweet and precious thought! in Jesus they are made perfect. From him they derive perfection. As one with him, they are counted, and beheld perfect before God; and by him they will be found so to all eternity. And what particularly endears this lovely view of the believer's perfection in Christ Jesus, is this; that every individual member of Jesus's mystical body, is all alike equally interested in this perfection in Jesus. For as it is from the same Spirit dwelling in them all, that they are quickened to this spiritual life in Christ Jesus, and are all of them made living members, and united to Jesus, their one glorious head; so there must be an equally near and dear union to Jesus, and to one another. Delightful consideration! as the apostle-reasons upon another consideration - "The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor the foot say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body. "In Jesus they are all one; neither can any touch the least of his people, no more than the apple of his eye, without touching him. Is it so, my soul? And art thou one with Jesus, one with the glorious Head, one with the precious members? Hast thou communion in all that concerns Christ; communion and interest in his Person; communion in his righteousness; communion in his lice, in his death, in his resurrection, in his church, in his people, in his ordinances, in all that concerns Jesus? Oh then, rest assured that thou shalt have an everlasting communion, and nothing shall separate thee from Jesus - neither in time nor to all eternity. Go down, my body, go down to the grave with this perfect confidence - "That if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal body, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."

Hebrews 9:12

"By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." - Hebrews 9:12

Ponder, my soul, these solemn expressions concerning thy Jesus. Mark, in them, their vast contents. Jesus, as a prophet, hath revealed his salvation: as a priest, he alone hath procured it, and offered it up to God and the Father; and as a King, he ever lives and reigns to see its efficacy fully accomplished in all his redeemed, being made partakers of it. Behold in this, his priestly office, both as an high priest and as the sacrifice, what he hath wrought, and what he bath accomplished - even eternal redemption. Mark, my soul, the several volumes of mercy comprised in it. First - Of man's revolt from God. Secondly - The deadly breach by reason thereof. Thirdly - The proclamation from heaven, of God's determined purpose to take vengeance of sin. Fourthly - Man's total inability to appease the divine wrath, either by doing or suffering. Fifthly - Divine grace, in the love of the Father, permitting a substitute, competent to do this great act of salvation for men; and appointing and constituting no less a person than his dear Son to the accomplishment of it. Sixthly - Jesus, the Son of God, voluntarily giving himself an offering and a sacrifice for sin, and by that one offering of himself, once offered forever, perfecting them that are sanctified. Seventhly - Having thus accomplished the purpose of salvation upon earth, Jesus now, by his own blood, entered into the holy place, to make the whole effectual by the exercise of his priestly office in heaven. And, lastly, to add no more - God accepting and confirming his perfect approbation of the whole, and now proclaiming peace on earth, good­will towards men. Ponder over these grand, these glorious, these momentous subjects, my soul, this day. Take them about with thee wheresoever thou goest; fold them in thy bosom; write them on the tablets of thine heart; let them arise with thee, and lay down with thee. And, in all thine approaches to the mercy-seat behold Him, and let him never be lost to the view of the eye of faith, by whom the whole is wrought, and of whom this sweet scripture speaks; who, "by his own blood entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

Jeremiah 2:2

"Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown." - Jeremiah 2:2

Pause, my soul, over this condescending token of God's love to Israel; and see whether it doth not hold forth to thee a blessed portion for thy encouragement. Israel had been most undeserving; but yet the Lord would put Israel in remembrance, by assuring his people that he remembered their love when God first formed Israel into a people. When he led them into the wilderness, and married Israel, they sung the praise of Jehovah in their love- songs, on the day of their espousals. ‘Now,' saith the Lord, - ‘I remember thee in these things; for these were tokens of affection when thou wentest after me in following the pillar of cloud through the desert; in trusting to a harvest, though as yet the land was not sown.' And may I, blessed Lord, sweetly interpret this precious portion with application to myself, as though my God so spake to me of the day of my espousals? Doth my God and Saviour remember me in the first awakenings of his grace, when, at the first mention of his name, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadab? Well, then, may my soul remember thee, Oh thou God of my salvation! The savour of thy past love and past experiences gives now, at this moment, new delight to my soul, and awakens new desires of communion with my God. The very recollection of what I then was, and how thou calledst me, and made my time a time of love; and how thou passedst by, and didst bid me live, and didst cleanse me, and take me home, and betrothedst me to thyself, and made me thine forever; the very thoughts refresh my soul now; and these former experiences drive away present distresses and despondency. How is it, my soul, with thee now? Art thou less in frame - less in love? Hast thou not the same earnest liking to Jesus now, as then? Is the strength of thy love, and desires, and delights, abated? Look at this blessed scripture. Hear what God saith to Israel, in a time of Israel's coldness. See how God's love was not changed, though Israel's was so abated. Art thou, my soul, conscious of the same? Art thou lamenting it; desiring, waiting for some renewed token of thy Jesus's love? Is his name, his person, his righteousness still precious? Dost thou wait but for the whispers of his grace? See, here it is - I remember, though thou hast forgotten the day of thine espousals. Oh the wonderful condescension of the Son of God! Behold, my soul, how, in this very way, he is preparing thine heart for the renewings of his love, and his sweet manifestations towards thee. Oh cry out with the church of old, under similar circumstances, "Draw me; we will run after thee." Unless thou drawest, Lord, the distance will remain; but the desire of being drawn, shews the earnestness for union. Lord, I beseech thee, do this; bring me near to thyself, to thine everlasting embraces; then shall I run, nay, even flee to my beloved, and will hang upon thee as the vessel hangeth on the nail, and dwell, and remain with thee forever.

1 John 1:3

"Truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." - I John i. 3.

Precious, blessed consideration! Art thou, my soul, at this time in the full enjoyment of it? Pause over the inquiry. Sometimes, for the want of this search of soul, and the neglect of it, deadness, or at least leanness, creeps in. Say then, my soul, how art thou dealing with thy God? and how is thy God dealing with thee? When were his latest manifestations? When did he take thee to his banqueting-house; or when didst thou sit under his shadow? Hast thou very lately heard his voice, saying, "Fear not, I am thy salvation?" The discovery of these things are among the sweetest exercises which flow from the indwelling Spirit. Go on further in the inquiry - how art thou dealing with thy God? When hadst thou fellowship and communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ? What petitions hast thou now awaiting for answers from the heavenly court? What grateful acknowledgments have lately gone up for mercies received? How is thine acquaintance there advancing? How art thou growing in grace, and in the knowledge of thy Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? If these things are neglected by thee, will not a strangeness between thy God and thee come on; such as is induced by earthly friendships, when absence and time, where there is no correspondence kept up, wears out remembrance? My soul, rouse up, and consider the vast importance of keeping up constant intercourse with thy God and Saviour. Precious Jesus! do thou keep the flame of love alive; manifest to my soul the certainty and reality of my union with thee, thou sweet Saviour, by causing this blessed communion to be constant, unceasing, and full of divine communications. Let thy Spirit call forth in me the exercise of the graces he hath planted; and do thou come forth in refreshing manifestations of love; so that, while prayers go up, blessings may come down; and while thou art graciously saying, "Seek ye my face," my heart may say unto thee, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek." Oh, the blessedness of such a life to break the power of sin; to revive and strengthen the spirits; to open and to enlarge to my view the discoveries of thy Person, thy glory, thy riches, thy suitableness, thine all-sufficiency. If, dearest Jesus, thou wilt mercifully keep this fellowship, this partnership, alive in my soul, how will my poor soul be living upon thee, and with thee; and how shall I be exchanging with thee all my leanness, poverty, wretchedness, and weakness, for thy fullness, riches, righteousness, and strength? Come, then, Lord Jesus, and "until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart, upon the mountains of Bether."

Isaiah 33:17

"Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty." - Isaiah 33:17

Who, my soul, but Jesus could be intended by this sweet promise? And who is beautiful and lovely in thine eyes but him? There was no beauty in him while thou wert in a state of unrenewed nature, that thou shouldest desire him; neither can any man truly love him, until that a soul is made light in the Lord. Is Jesus then lovely to thee? Hast thou seen him? Dost thou now know him, love him, behold him, as altogether fair, and the chiefest among ten thousand? Then, surely, this promise hath been, and is continually fulfilled in thy experience. Hast thou so seen him, as to be in love with him, and to have all thine affections drawn forth towards him? Dost thou, my soul, so behold him as to admire him, and love him above all; and so to love him, as never to be satisfied without him? Moreover - hast thou seen this King in his beauty, in his fullness, riches, and suitableness to thee as a Saviour? Surely, blessed Jesus, there are not only glorious, precious excellencies in thee, and thine own divine person, which command the love and affection of every beholder, as thou art in thyself; but there is a beauty indeed in thee, considered as thou art held forth by our God and Father, in all thy suitableness to thy people. In thy beauty, blessed Lord, there is to be seen a fullness of grace, and truth, and righteousness, exactly corresponding to the wants of poor sinners-thy blood, to cleanse, thy grace to comfort, thy fullness to supply; in thee there is everything we can want-life, light, joy, pardon, mercy, peace, happiness here, glory hereafter. And do I not see thee, thou King, in thy beauty indeed, when I behold thee as coming with all these for my supply? So that, under the enjoyment of the whole, I feel constrained to cry out, with one of old," I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my strength and my song; and he is become my salvation. "Neither is this all; for in beholding the King in his beauty, I behold him also in his love. Yes, blessed Lord, thou art indeed most beautiful and lovely; for thou hast so loved poor sinners, as to give thyself for them; and the conscious sense that our love to thee did not first begin, but thine to us was the first cause for exciting ours, and the shedding forth that love in our hearts, by thy blessed Spirit, first prompted our minds to look unto thee, makes thee lovely indeed. And now, Lord, every day's view of thee increaseth that love, and brings home thy beauty more and more. The more frequent thou condescendest to visit my poor soul, the more beautiful dost thou appear. Every renewed manifestation, every view, every glimpse of Jesus, must tend to make my God and King more gracious and lovely to my soul, and add fresh fervour to my love. Come then, thou blessed, holy, lovely one, and ravish my spiritual senses with thy beauty, that I may daily get out of love with everything of created excellency, and my whole soul be filled only with the love of Jesus; until, from seeing thee here below, through the medium of ordinances and grace, I come to look upon thee, and live forever in thy presence, in the full beams of thy glory in thy throne above.

Job 23:3-4

"Oh that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me." - Job 23:3-4

My soul, are these thy breathings? Dost thou really long, and, like David, even pant, to come before the throne of grace? Art thou at a loss how to come, how to draw nigh? Wouldest thou fill thy mouth with arguments, and have thy cause so ordered as to be sure not to fail? Look to Jesus! Seek from him the leadings of the Spirit; and while thine eye is steadily fixed on thy great High Priest within the vail, still wearing a vesture dipped in blood, see to it that thy one great plea is, for a perfect and complete justification before God and thy Father, upon the sole footing of righteousness. Yes, my soul, plead earnestly, heartily, steadily; and, like Jacob, wrestling with God, upon the sole footing of righteousness: Wouldest thou fear on this ground? Yes, thou wouldest have cause enough to fear and tremble, if thy plea was with the least reference to any righteousness of thine. But, my soul, remember it is Jesus's righteousness, and his only, with which, like Job, thy mouth must be filled with arguments. This is the strength thy God and Father will put in thee: and it is a strength of Jehovah's founded in his justice. As a poor guilty sinner, thou couldest have nothing to plead but free grace and rich mercy. But when thou comest in Jesus, thy Surety's righteousness, thou mayest appeal, and art expected so to do, to God's holiness and his justice also. Oh, how sweet the assurance, how unanswerable the plea, how secure the event! Jesus hath fulfilled the law - Jesus hath paid the penalty of justice; and God hath promised to pardon and bless his seed, his redeemed in him. Hence, the apostle Paul, in the contemplation of death and judgment, while looking at his everlasting security in Jesus, cries out, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing. "Behold then, my soul, thy vast privilege; and when, like Job, thou art desiring to approach a throne of grace now, or looking forward to a throne of judgment hereafter- never, never for a moment forget that this is the way, and the only way, (for a blessed sure way it is,) maintaining communion with God in Christ. Thy God, thy Father, will not plead against a righteousness of his own appointing; but he will put Jesus, his strength, in thee. Hallelujah!

Genesis 48:2

"And Israel strenghened himself, and sat up on the bed." - Genesis 48:2

This was an interesting moment in the life, or rather the death, of the patriarch, and may serve, my soul, to shew what ought to be the conduct of the believer in his last expiring hours. The imagination can hardly conceive any situation equally momentous, in every point of view, both as it concerns a faithful God, a man's own heart, and the church the dying saint is going to leave behind. What can form a more lovely sight than a dying saint, sitting up in the bed, (if the Lord permits the opportunity) and recounting, as Jacob did, the gracious dealings of the Lord, all the way along the path of pilgrimage - "The God which fed me," said Jacob," all my life long unto this day: the angel (and who was this but Jesus?) which redeemed me from all evil. "Pause, my soul. Anticipate such a day. Figure to thyself thy friends around thee, and thou thyself strengthened, just to sit up in the bed, to take an everlasting farewell. What hast thou to relate? What hast thou treasured up of God's dealings with thee, to sweeten death in the recital, to bless God in the just acknowledgment, and to leave behind thee a testimony to others of the truth, as it is in Jesus? My soul, what canst thou speak of? What canst thou tell of thy God, thy Jesus? Hast thou known enough of him to commit thyself into his Almighty hands, with an assurance of salvation? Pause! Didst thou not in the act of faith, long since, venture thyself upon Jesus for the whole of thy everlasting welfare? Didst thou not from a perfect conviction of thy need of Jesus, and from as perfect a conviction of the power and grace of Jesus to save thee - didst thou not make a full and complete surrender of thyself, and with the most perfect approbation of this blessed plan of God's mercy in Christ, to be saved wholly by him, and wholly in his own way, and wholly to his own glory? And as such, art thou now afraid, or art thou now shrinking back, when come within sight almost of Jesus's arms to receive thee? Oh, no! blessed be God, this last act of committing thy soul is not as great an act of faith as the first was; for since that time thou hast had thousands of evidences, and thousands of tokens in love and faithfulness, that thy God is true. Sit up then, my soul, and do as the dying patriarch did; recount to all around thee thy confidence in the Son of God, who "hath loved thee, and given himself for thee." Cry out, as he did, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord." And as this will be the last opportunity of speaking a word for God, testify of his faithfulness, and encourage all that behold you to be seeking after an interest in Jesus, from seeing how sweetly you close a life of faith before you begin a life of glory, in blessing God, though with dying lips, that the last notes which you utter here below, may be only the momentary interruption to the same subject in the first of your everlasting song - "To him that hath loved you, and washed you, from your sins in his blood."

1 Peter 1:6

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." - I Pet. i, 6.

My soul! it is too difficult a task to flesh and blood, but it is among the most blessed triumphs of grace, to glory in tribulation, that the power of Jesus may rest upon the soul. Pause over the subject, and see whether in the little exercises of thy life, such things are among thine experiences. A soul must be truly taught of God the Father; truly acquainted with Jesus, and living near to him; and truly receiving the sweet and constant influences of the Holy Ghost; when, in the absence of the streams of all creature comforts, he is solacing himself at the fountain-head; and, amidst also the fiery darts of temptations! But, my soul, if this be thy happy portion, thou must have acquired it in the school of grace. There are some precious marks by which thou wilt ascertain these things. As, first - I must see that the manifold temptations, be they of what kind or number they may, are in the permissions of Jesus must trace the footsteps of Jesus in them, the hand Jesus directing me through them, the voice of Jesus must hear in them; and, in short, his sacred Person regulating and ordering all the several parts of them. If I see his love, his wisdom, his grace, his goodwill, in all the appointment; whatever heaviness the temptations themselves induce, there will still be cause left for joy - yea, for great joy. Moreover, it will be an additional alleviation to soften their pressure, if through the whole of their exercise, the soul be enabled to keep in view, that God's glory, and my soul's happiness, will be the sure issue of them. If I can realize Jesus's presence, as I pass through them, and interpret, with an application to myself that blessed promise, in which the Lord saith, "I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end;" these mercies mingled with the trial, will sweeten, and almost take away all its bitter. And, lastly, to add no more - If, my soul, the Holy Ghost should lead out thine whole heart upon the Person of Jesus during the conflict, and by making thee sensible of thy weakness, to take shelter in him, and to lean altogether upon his strength; so that thou art able to believe and to depend upon the fulfilment of his promise, when, to the eye of sense, there doth not seem a way by which that promise may be fulfilled; these are foundations for rejoicing, and of great rejoicing too; because they are all out of thyself, and centered in Him, with whom there is no possibility of change. These are, like the Michtams of David, precious, golden things. For this is to live upon Jesus, to rejoice in Jesus, and to find in him a suited strength for every need. Blessed will be these exercises, my soul, if thou art enabled thus to act under manifold temptations.

Ruth 3:18

"The man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day." - Ruth 3:18

Behold! my soul, in this scripture history, some sweet features by which the disposition of Jesus's love, and the earnestness in his heart to relieve poor sinners, is strikingly set forth. When a poor sinner is made acquainted with the Lord Jesus, hath heard of his grace, goes forth to glean in his fields; at the ordinances of his house, and under the ministration of his word, lays down at his feet, and prays to be covered with the skirt of his mantle; Jesus not only takes notice of that poor seeking sinner, but gives the poor creature to know, by some sweet and secret whispers of his Holy Spirit, that he is not unacquainted with all that is in his heart. And when such have lain long, and earnestly sought, even through the whole night of doubt and fear, until the morning of grace breaks in upon the soul, yet may they be assured, the God- man, Christ Jesus, will not rest until that he hath finished the thing. It is one of the most blessed truths of the gospel, (and do thou, my soul, see to it, that it is written in thy best and strongest remembrance to have recourse to, as may be needed, upon every occasion,) that a seeking sinner is not more earnest to see Jesus, and enjoy him, than Jesus is to reveal himself to that seeking sinner, and form himself in the sinner's heart, the hope of glory. For Jesus will not, cannot cease his love to poor sinners, until the object for which he came to seek and to save them is fully answered. And it is a thought, my soul, enough to warm thy coldest moments, that all the hallelujahs of heaven cannot call off thy Jesus's attention from the necessities of even the poorest of his little ones here upon earth. In every individual instance, and in every case, Jesus will not rest until that he hath finished the thing, as well in the hearts of his people, as in the world, when he finished the work the Father gave him to do. Yes! Jesus will not rest until the last redeemed soul is brought home to glory. Precious consideration, how ought it to endear yet more the preciousness of the Redeemer!

2 Samuel 7:18-19

"Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD. And he said, Who am I, O LORD GOD! and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And is this the manner of man, O LORD GOD?" - 2 Samuel 7:18-19

The language of David, under the overwhelming views he had of divine goodness, as it concerned himself, is suited to the case of every child of God, as he may trace that goodness in his own history. Surely, every awakened soul may cry out, under the same impression, - "Who am I, O Lord God! and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? "My soul! ponder over the sweet subject, as it concerns thyself. Behold what manner of love the love of God is from the manner of man. View it in each Person of the Godhead. What is the highest possible conception any man can have of the love of God our Father to us? Was it not, when, as an evidence of the love he had to our nature, he put a robe of that nature, in its pure and holy state, upon the Person of his dear Son, when he gave him a body in all points such as ours, sin only excepted, that he might not only in that body perfect salvation both by his obedience and death, but also, that he might be our everlasting Mediator for drawing nigh to the Godhead, first in grace, and then in glory? Tell me, my soul, what method, in all the stores of Omnipotency, could God thy Father have adopted to convince thee of his love, as in this sweet method of his wisdom. God intimates, by this tender process, that he loveth the human nature which he hath created. And though, to answer the wise measures of his plan of redemption, he hath not as yet taken all the persons of his redeemed up to his heavenly court, yet he will have their glorious Head, their representative there, that he may behold Him, and accept the whole church in Him, and love them, and bless them in Him, now, and forever. Oh! my soul, if this view of thy Father's love was but always uppermost in thine heart, what a ground of encouragement would it forever give thee, to come to thy God and Father in him, and his mediation; who, while he is one in the divine nature, is one also with thee in the human, on purpose to bid thee come. And as for thee, thou blessed Jesus, thy love and thy delights were always with thy people. From everlasting, thy tendencies of favour have been towards them; thine whole heart is ours. All thy grace, in being set up as the covenant-head for us, and all the after-actings of the same grace in time; all that thou didst then, and all that thou art doing now, - all, all testify the love of our Jesus. And may I not say to thee, thou dear Redeemer, as David did, "Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? "Yes, it is: but it is of the Glory-man, of the God-man, Christ Jesus. And no less, thou Holy Spirit, whose great work is love and consolation; what a thought is it too warm my soul into the most awakened contemplation and delight in the view of thy love, that though thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, yet dost thou make the very bodies of the redeemed thy temples, for thine indwelling residence. My soul, do as David did: go in before the Divine Presence; fall down and adore in the solemn thought - "Who am I, O Lord God! and what is my Father's house?"

John 17:19

"And for their sakes I sanctify myself." - John 17:19

Let thy morning thoughts, my soul, be directed to this sweet view of thy Saviour. Behold thy Jesus presenting himself as the surety of his people before God and the Father. Having now received the call and authority of God the Father, and being fitted with a body suited to the service of a Redeemer, here see him entering upon the vast work; and in those blessed words, declaring the cause of it - "I sanctify myself." Did Jesus mean that he made himself more holy for the purpose? No, surely: for that was impossible. But by Jesus sanctifying himself, must be understood (as the Nazarite from the womb, consecrated, set apart, dedicated to the service to which the Father had called him), a voluntary offering-an holy unblemished sacrifice. And observe for whom: "for their sakes;" not for himself; for he needed it not. The priests under the law made their offerings, first for themselves, and then for the people. "But such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; and who needed not daily, as those high priests, so to offer. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the Son is consecrated for evermore. "My soul, pause over this view of thy Jesus; and when thou hast duly pondered it, go to the mercy-seat, under the Spirit's leadings and influences, and there, by faith, behold thy Jesus, in his vesture dipped in blood, there sanctified, and there appearing in the presence of God for thee. There plead the dedication of Jesus; for it is of the Father's own appointment. There tell thy God and Father, (for it is the Father's glory, when a poor sinner glorifies his dear Son in him) that He, that Holy One, whom the Father consecrated, and with an oath confirmed in his high priestly office forever, appeareth there for thee. Tell God that thy High Priest's holiness and sacrifice was altogether holy, pure, without a spot; and both his Person, and his nature, and offering, clean as God's own righteous law. Tell, my soul, tell thy God and Father these sacred, solemn truths. And while thou art thus coming to the mercy-seat, under the leadings of the Spirit, and wholly in the name and office-work of thy God and Saviour, look unto Jesus, and call to mind those sweet words, for whose sake that Holy One sanctified himself; and then drop a petition more before thou comest from the heavenly court: beg, and pray, and wrestle with the bountiful Lord for suited strength and grace, that as, for thy sake, among the other poor sinners of his redemption-love, Jesus sanctified himself, so thou mayest be able to be separated from everything but Jesus; and as thy happiness was Christ's end, so his glory may be thy first and greatest object. Yes, dearest Jesus, methinks I hear thee say, - Thou shalt be for me, and not for another: so will I be for thee. Oh! thou condescending, loving God, "make me thine; that whether I live, I may live unto the Lord; or whether I die, I may die unto the Lord; so that living or dying, I may be thine."

Matthew 14:31

"Oh! thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt." - Matthew 14:31

My soul, how sweet is it to eye Jesus in all things, and to be humbled in the recollection of his compassions to thy unaccountable instances of unbelief, after the many, nay, continued and daffy experiences, which thou hast had of his love and faithfulness. And doth thy Jesus speak to thee this day, in those expostulating words, "Oh! thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" What answer wilt thou return? Is there anything in thy life to justify, or even to apologize for doubting? Look back - behold thy God and Father's grace, and mercy, and love; - a Saviour so rich, so compassionate, so answering all wants, in spirituals, temporals, and eternals; - a blessed Spirit, so condescending to teach, to lead, and by his influences to be continually with thee! Surely, a life like thine, crowded with mercies, blessings upon blessings, and one miracle of grace followed by another - wherefore shouldest thou doubt? What shall I say to thee, Oh! thou that art the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof? Lord, give me to believe, and help thou mine unbelief. I beseech thee, my God and Saviour, give me henceforth faith to trust thee when I cannot trace thee: give me to hang upon thee, when the ground of all sensible comforts seems sinking under my feet. I would cling to the faithfulness of my God in Christ, and throw my poor arms around thee, thou blessed Jesus, when all things appear the most dark and discouraging. And thus, day by day, living a life of faith and whole dependence upon thy glorious Person and thy glorious work, pressing after more sensible communion with thee, and more imparted strength and grace from thee, until at length, when thou shalt call me home from a life of faith to a life of sight - then, precious Jesus, would I say to thee, with my dying-breath, ‘Oh! present me, washed in thy blood, and clothed in thy righteousness, among the whole body of thy glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that I may be without blame before thee in love.'

Hebrews 6:12

"Followers of them, who through faith and patience, inherit the promises." - Hebrews 6:12

How gracious is the Holy Ghost, in not only holding forth to the people of Jesus the blessedness and certainty of the promises, but opening to our view multitudes, who are now in glory, in the full enjoyment of them. My soul, dost thou ask how they lived, when upon earth, in the full prospect, before that they were called upon to enter heaven for the full participation of them? Hear what the blessed Spirit saith concerning it in this sweet scripture. "It was through faith and patience." Now observe how these blessed principles manifested themselves. Another part of scripture explains - "they all died in faith, not having received the promises; but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them." Now this is the whole sum and substance of the believer's life: he sees them afar off, as Abraham did the day of Christ - as David, who had the same enjoyment in a believing view, with which his whole soul was satisfied: for he saith, "it was all his salvation, and all his desire; "a covenant which he rested upon, "as ordered in all things, and sure." Pause, my soul, over this, and ask within, are your views thus firmly founded? What, though the day of Christ's second coming be far off, or nigh, doth thy faith realize the blessed things belonging to it as certain, and as sure as God is truth. Pause, and see that such is thy faith - then go on. The faithful, who row inherit the promises, end which the Holy Ghost bids thee to follow, not only saw with the eye of faith, the things of Jesus afar off, but "were persuaded of them;" that is, were as perfectly satisfied of their existence and reality, as if they were already in actual possession. Pause here again, and say, is this thy faith? Are you perfectly persuaded "that God was, in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?" Are you convinced that it is God's design, God's plan, God's grace, God's love, God's mercy, in all that concerns Jesus? Art thou convinced that God's glory is concerned in the glory of Jesus, and that every poor sinner gives glory to God in believing the record that God hath given of His Son? Dost thou, my soul, believe heartily, cordially, fully, joyfully, believe these precious things; nay, that in fact, it is the only possible way a poor sinner can give glory to God, in looking, up to him as God, in giving him the credit of God, and taking his word as God concerning his dear Son Jesus Christ? Dost thou, my soul, set thy seal to these things? Then art thou "persuaded of the truths of God, "as the patriarchs were "who saw them afar off." Once more - the faithful, whom the Holy Ghost calls upon thee to follow, embraced them also, as well as were persuaded of them. They clasped, by faith, Jesus in their arms, as really and as truly as Simeon did in substance. Their love to Jesus, and their interest in Jesus, their acquaintance by faith with Jesus, were matters of certainty, reality, delight; and their whole souls were, day by day, so familiarized in the unceasing meditation, that they walked by faith with Jesus while here below, as now, by sight, they are with him above in glory. Pause, my soul! Is this thy faith? Then, surely, Jesus is precious, and thou art indeed "the follower of them-who now, through faith and patience, inherit the promises." And ere long, like them, thou shalt see him whom thy soul loveth, and dwell with him forever!

Matthew 8:2-3

And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord! if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." - Matthew 8:2-3

Behold, my soul, in the instance of this leper, thine own circumstances. What he was in body, such wert thou in soul. As his leprosy made him loathsome and offensive before men, so thy polluted soul made thee odious in the sight of God! He would not have sought a cure, had he not been conscious of his need of it. Neither wouldest thou ever have looked to Jesus, had he not convinced thee of thy helplessness and misery without him. Moreover, he would not, though convinced how much he needed healing, have sought that mercy from Jesus, had he not been made sensible of Jesus's ability to the cure. Neither wouldest thou ever have come to Jesus, hadst thou not been taught who Jesus is, and how fully competent to deliver thee. The poor leper did not doubt whether Jesus was able: though he rather feared that ability might not be exercised towards him. His prayer was, not if thou art able, but, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Now here, my soul, I hope, thy faith, through grace, exceeds the Jewish leper. Surely thou both knowest Jesus's power and Jesus's disposition to save thee. Unworthy and undeserving as thou art, yet his grace is not restrained by thy undeservings, no more than it was first constrained by thy merit. His love, his own love, his free love, is the sole rule of his mercy towards his children, and not their claims, for they have none, but in his free grace and the Father's everlasting mercy. Cherish these thoughts, my soul, at all times, for they are most sweet and precious. But are these all the blessed things which arise out of the view of the poor leper's case? Oh, no; the most delightful part still remains in the contemplation of Jesus's mercy to the poor petitioner, and the very gracious manner the Son of God manifested in the bestowing of it. He not only healed him, and did it immediately, but with that tenderness which distinguished his character and his love to poor sinners. Jesus put forth his hand and touched him; touched a leper! even so, precious Lord, deal by me. Though polluted and unclean, yet condescend to put forth, thine hand and touch me also. Put forth thy blessed Spirit. Come, Lord, and dwell in me, abide in me, and rule and reign over me. Be thou my God, my Jesus, my Holy One, and make me thine forever.

Isaiah 51:13

"And hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy; and where is the fury of the oppressor?" - Isaiah 51:13

Pause, my soul, over those sweet expostulating words of thy God. Wherefore should the fear of man bring a snare? How much needless anxiety should I spare myself, could I but live, amidst all my changeable days and changeable circumstances, upon my unchangeable God. Now, mark what thy God saith of thy unreasonable and ill-grounded fears - "Where is the fury of the oppressor?" Can he take from thee thy Jesus? No! Shouldest thou lose all thy earthly comforts, Jesus ever liveth, and Jesus is thine. Can he afflict thee, if God saith no? That is impossible. Neither men nor devils can oppress without his permission. And sure enough thou art, thy God and Saviour will never allow anything to thy hurt; for all things must work for good. And canst thou lessen the oppressor's fury by anxious fears? Certainly not. Thou mayest, my soul, harass thyself and waste thy spirits, but never lessen the fury of the enemy thereby. And wherefore, then, shouldest thou crowd the uncertain evils, and the maybe's of tomorrow, in the circumstances of this day's warfare, when, by only waiting for the morrow, and casting all thy care upon Jesus, who careth for thee, his faithfulness is engaged to be thy shield and buckler? Peace then, my soul, thou shalt be carried through this oppression, as sure as thou hast been through every former; for Jesus is still Jesus, thy God, and will be thy guide even unto death.

Ephesians 2:13

"But now in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ." - Ephesians 2:13

Of all the vast alterations made upon our nature by grace, that which is from death to life seems to be the greatest. I do not think the change would be as great, if Jesus were to make a child of God, after his conversion, at once an archangel, as when, by his blessed Spirit he quickens the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, and brings him into grace. My soul, contemplate the sweet thought this morning, that it may lead thee, with thy hymn of praise, to all precious Jesus! First then, my soul, think where you then stood, before this vast act of grace had quickened you. You stood on the very confines of hell - unawakened, unregenerate, uncalled, without God, and without Christ. Supposing the Lord had not saved you; supposing a sickness unto death had, by his command, taken you; supposing that any one cause had been commissioned to sign your death-warrant while in this state; where must have been your portion? And yet consider, my soul; how many nights and days did you live in this unconscious, unconcerned state? Oh! who, in this view of the thought, can look back without having the eye brimful of tears, and the heart bursting with love and thankfulness! Go on, my soul, and contemplate the subject in another point of view; and pause in the pleasing thought, "where you now stand." You are now, saith the apostle," made nigh by the blood of Christ." You that was an enemy to God by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh, through death, to present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable, in his sight. And now, my soul, if death should come, it is but the messenger to glory. Precious, blessed thought! And Oh, how much more precious, blessed Jesus, the Author of it! Advance, my soul, one step more in this sweet subject, and pleasingly consider, where you soon shall be. Paul answereth; "So shall we be ever with the Lord." "Ever with the Lord!" Who can write down the full amount of this blessedness? "Ever with the Lord!" Here we are, in Jesus, interested in all that belongs to Jesus; but there, we shall be also with Jesus. Here we see him but as through a glass darkly; but there, face to face. Here, even the views we have of him by faith, are but glimpses only - short and rare, compared to our desires; but there, we shall see him in reality, in substance, and unceasingly, the precious, glorious, God-man Christ Jesus. Here, our sins, though pardoned, yet dim our view, by reason of their effects; there, we shall forever have lost them, and see, and know, even as we are known. And have these blessed changes taken place in my soul; and all by thee, thou gracious, precious, Holy One of Israel? Oh for grace to love thee, to live to thee, to be looking out for thee, dearest Jesus, that I may be counting every parting breath, every beating pulse, as one the less, to bring me nearer and nearer to Jesus, who is my everlasting home, and will ere long, be my never-ceasing portion and happiness in eternity. - Hallelujah!

Haggai 2:19

"From this day will I bless thee." - Haggai 2:19

My soul, what day is the memorable day to thee from whence commenced thy blessings? No doubt from everlasting the Lord hath blessed his people in Jesus. But the commencement of thy personal enjoyment of those blessings, was at the time the Lord graciously laid the foundation of his spiritual temple in thee; the blessed, the gracious, the auspicious, the happy day, when the Lord made thee willing in the day of his power? Oh! blessed day, never, never to be forgotten! A day of light; when the light of Jesus first broke in upon me. A day of life; when the Lord Jesus quickened my poor soul, which before was laying dead in trespasses and sins. A day of love; when his love first was made known to my soul, who so loved me as to give his dear and ever-blessed Son for me: and his love was sweetly manifested, who so loved me as to give himself for me. A day of the beginning of victory, over death and hell, and the grave. A day of liberty; when the Lord Jesus opened my prison doors and brought me out. A day of wonder, love and praise; when my eyes first saw the King in his beauty, and my whole soul was overpowered in the contemplation of the grace, the glory, the beauty, the loveliness, the suitableness, the all-sufficiency of his glorious Person and glorious work. A day, Oh what dear name shall I term it to be? A day of grace, a jubilee, a salvation day! the day of my espousals to Jesus, and of the gladness of my Redeemer's heart! And, my soul, did thy God, did thy Jesus say, that from that day he would bless thee? And hath he not done it? Oh, yes, yes; beyond all conception of blessing. He hath blessed thee in thy basket and thy store. All the blessings, even in temporal mercies, which were all forfeited in Adam, are now sweetly restored, and blessed, and sanctified, in Jesus: nay, even thy very crosses have the-curse taken out of them by thy Jesus; and thy very tears have the spiced wine of the pomegranate. And as to spiritual blessings, God thy Father hath blessed thee with all in his dear Son. Thy Father hath made over himself, in Jesus, with all his love and favour. And Jesus is thine, with all his fullness, sweetness, all-sufficiency. And God the Spirit, with all his gracious influences and comforts. And the present enjoyment of these unspeakable mercies becomes the sure earnest of blessings which are eternal. Jesus himself hath declared, that it is the Father's own gracious will that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him; and therefore eternal life must be the sure portion of all his redeemed. "He that believeth in the Son hath indeed everlasting life; and Jesus will raise him up at the last day." Pause, my soul, and view the vast heritage to which thou art begotten from the day of thy new birth in Jesus, Oh! most gracious Father, let me never lose sight of those sweet words, nor the feeling sense of my interest in them, in which thou hast said, "From this day will I bless thee."

Revelation 7:16

"They shall hunger no more." - Revelation 7:16

My soul! contemplate for a moment, before thou enterest upon the concerns of time and sense, in the claims of the world, the blessed state of the redeemed above. They are at the fountain-head of happiness, in their station, in their service, in their society, in their provision, in their everlasting exemption from all want, and above all, in the presence of God and the Lamb. "They shall hunger no more." Sweet thought! Let me this day anticipate as many of the blessed properties of it as my present state in Jesus will admit. If Jesus be my home, my residence, my dwelling-place, will not the hungerings of my soul find supply? Yes, surely. A life of faith on the Son of God, is a satisfying life, under all the changes of the world around. Finding Jesus, I find sustenance in him, and therefore do not hunger for ought besides him. "Thou art my hiding-place," said one of old; and my soul finds occasion to adopt the same language. And He that is' my hiding-place, is also my food and my nourishment. In Jesus there is both food and a fence; there is fruit, as well as a shadow; and the fullness of Jesus needs vent in the wants of his people, for the pouring forth of his all-sufficiency. My soul, cherish this thought to the full. If thy hunger be really for Jesus, and him only, then will thy hunger be abundantly supplied in his communication. As long as I look at my wants, without an eye to Jesus, I shall be miserable. But if I consider those wants and that emptiness purposely appointed for the pouring out of his fullness, they will appear as made for the cause of happiness. Jesus keeps up the hungering, that he may have the blessedness OF supplying them; he keeps his children empty that he may fill them, and that his fullness may be in request among them. So far, therefore, is my hungering from becoming a source of sorrow, it furnisheth out a source of holy joy. I should never be straitened in myself, when I am not straitened in Jesus. Nay, it would be a sad token of distance from Jesus if a sense of want was lessened. While, on the other hand, the best proof' I can have of nearness to Jesus, and living upon him, is, when my enjoyment of Jesus discovers new and increasing wants, and excites an holy hungering for his supplying them. By and by I shall get home, and then at the fountain head of rapture and delight, all hungering and wants will be done away, in the full and everlasting enjoyment of God and the Lamb!

1 Samuel 22:2

"And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became a captain over them." -
1 Samuel 22:2

My soul, was not this thy case when thou first sought after Jesus? Thou wert, indeed, in debt under an heavy load of insolvency. Distress and discontent sadly marked thy whole frame. Unconscious where to go, or to whom to seek, and no man cared for thy soul. Oh! what a precious thought it was, and which none but God the Holy Ghost could have put into thine heart - Go unto Jesus! And when I came, and thou didst graciously condescend to be my captain, from that hour how hath my soul been revived! My insolvency thou hast taken away; for thou hast more than paid the whole demands of the law; for thou hast magnified it, and made it honourable. My distress under the apprehension of divine justice thou hast removed; for God's justice, by thee, is not only satisfied, but glorified. My discontent can have no further cause for exercise, since thou hast so graciously provided for all my wants, in grace here, and glory hereafter. Hail, thou great and glorious Captain of my salvation! In thee I see that Leader and Commander which Jehovah, thy Father, promised to give to the people. Thou art indeed, blessed Jesus, truly commissioned by thy Father to this very purpose, that every one that is in soul distress, by reason of sin, and debtors to the broken law of God, may come unto thee, and take thee for their Captain. And truly, Lord, thy little army, like David's, is composed of none originally but distressed souls. None would take thee for his Captain, whose spiritual circumstances are not desperate. None but the man whose heart hath felt distress, by reason of sin, and is sinking under the heavy load of guilt, will come under thy banner. Oh! the condescension of Jesus to receive such, and be gracious unto them. Oh! that I had the power of persuasion, I would say to every poor sinner, every insolvent debtor, everyone who feels and knows the plague of his heart - would to God you were with the Captain of my salvation, he would recover you from all your sorrow. Go to him, my brother, as I have done; he will take away your distress by taking away your sin. He will liberate you from all your debt by paying it himself. He will banish all discontent from the mind, in giving you peace with God by his blood. Yes, blessed, Almighty Captain! thou art indeed over thy people, as well as Captain to thy people. By the sword of thy Spirit, which is the word of God, thou workest conviction in our hearts; thou makest all thine enemies fall under thee; thou leadest thy people on to victory, and makest them more than conquerors through thy grace supporting them. Lord, put on the military garments of salvation on my soul, and the whole armour of God, that under thy banner I may be found in life, in death, and for evermore!

Judges 8:4

"Faint, yet pursuing." - Judges 8:4

Surely what is said here concerning the little army of Gideon, suits my case exactly. I know that in Jesus the victory is certain; but I know also, that I shall have battlings all the way. From the moment that the Lord called me out of darkness into his marvelous light, my whole life hath been but a state of warfare; and! feel what Paul felt, and groan as he groaned, under a body of sin and death; "as sorrowful, yet rejoicing; as dying, but behold I live; as chastened, and not killed." Truly I am faint, under the many heavy assaults 1 have sustained; and yet, through grace, pursuing as if I had met with no difficulty. Yes, blessed Jesus; I know that there can be no truce in this war; and looking unto thee, I pray to be found faithful unto death, that no man may take my crown. But, dearest Lord! thou seest my day of small things; thou beholdest how faint I am. Thou seest also, how the enemy assaults me! and- how the world and the flesh combat against me. While without are rightings, within will be fears. Yet, dearest, blessed Lord, "in the Lord I have strength;" and how sweet is the thought, that though I have nothing, though I am nothing, yet thou hast said, "in me is thy help." Thou hast said, "the righteous shall hold on his way; and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger." The worm Jacob thou hast promised shall thresh the mountains. Write these blessed things, my soul, upon the living tablets of thine heart, or rather beg of God the Holy Ghost, the remembrancer of thy Jesus, to stamp them there for thee. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them which have no might, he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary; and the young men shall utterly fail. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings, as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Psalm 137:4

"How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" - Psalm 137:4

Methinks, my soul, this strange land is the very place to sing the Lord's song in, though the carnal around understand it not. Shall I hang my harp upon the willow, when Jesus is my song, and when he himself hath given me so much cause to sing? Begin, my soul, thy song of redemption: learn it, and let it be sung upon earth; for sure enough thou wilt have it to sing in heaven. Art thou at a loss what to sing? Oh, no. Sing of the Father's mercy in sending a Saviour. Sing of Jesus's love, in not only coming, but dying for thee! Are the redeemed above now singing, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain?" Join in the chorus, and tell that dear Redeemer in the loudest notes, that he was slain, and hath redeemed thee to God by his blood. Strike up thy harp anew to the glories of redeeming grace, in that he not only died for thee, but hath quickened thee to a new and spiritual life. Add a note more to the Lord's song, and tell the Redeemer in thy song of praise, that he hath not only died for thee, and quickened thee, but he hath loved thee, and washed thee from thy sins in his own blood. Go on in thy song, my soul, for it is the Lord's song. Sing not only of redeeming love, but marvelous grace; for both-are connected. He that redeemed thee, hath all grace for thee. He hath adopted thee into his family; hath made thee an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ. He hath undertaken for thee in all troubles, under all difficulties, to be with thee at all times and all places, until he brings thee home to behold his glory, that where he is, there thou mayest be forever. And are not these causes enough to keep thy harp always strung - always in tune? And wilt thou not sing this song all the way through, and make it the subject of thy continual praise and love, in the house of thy pilgrimage? Moreover, the several properties of the song are, in themselves, matter for keeping it alive every day, and all the day. Think, my soul, how free was this love of God to thee. Surely if a man deserved hell, and found heaven, shall he not sing? If I expected displeasure, and received love - if I was brought low, and one like the Son of Man helped me, shall I not say, as one of old did - "He brought me out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay; he hath put a new song into my mouth, even thanksgiving to our God?" If I think of the greatness of the mercy, of the riches of the mercy, of the sweetness of the mercy, of the all-sufficiency of the mercy, of the sureness and firmness, and everlasting nature and efficacy of the mercy - can I refrain to sing? No, blessed, blessed Jesus! I will sing and not be afraid; "for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song, and he is become my salvation." I will sing now, I will sing for evermore. In this strange land, in this barren land, in this distant land from my Father's house, I will sing, and Jesus shall be my song. He shall be the Alpha and the Omega of my hymn; and until I come to sing in the louder and sweeter notes of heaven, among the hallelujahs of the blessed, upon the new harp and new stringed chords of my renewed soul, will I sing of Jesus and his blood, Jesus and his righteousness, Jesus and his complete salvation. And when the last song upon my trembling lips, with Jesus's name in full, shall be uttered; as the sound dies away, when death seals up the power of utterance; my departing soul shall catch the parting breath, and, as it enters the presence of the court above, the first notes of my everlasting song will go on with the same blessed note, "to him that hath loved me, and washed me from my sins in his own blood!"

Ephesians 3:18-19

"That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." - Ephesians 3:18-19

Did Paul pray that the church might be thus blessed? So should all faithful pastors. And there is enough in Jesus to call up the everlasting contemplation of his people. All the dimensions of divine glory are in Jesus. Who, indeed, shall describe the extent of that love which passeth knowledge? But, my soul, pause over the account. What is the breadth of it? Jesus's death reaches in efficacy to all his seed - all his children: to thee, my soul; for thou art the seed of Jesus. And though that death took place at Jerusalem near two thousand years since, yet the efficacy of his blood, as from an high altar, as effectually washes away sin now, as in the moment it was shed. Remember, Jesus still wears the vesture dipped in blood. Remember, Jesus still appears as the Lamb slain before God. Indeed, indeed, Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. So that, in breadth, it is broader than the sea, taking in all the seed of Jesus, through all ages, all dispensations, all the various orders of his people. Neither is the length of it less proportioned. Who shall circumscribe the Father's love, which is from everlasting to everlasting? Who shall limit Jesus's grace? Is he not made of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption? Is he not all this, in every office, every character, every relation? "Jesus Christ; the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever!" And what is the depth of this love, but reaching down to hell, to lift up our poor fallen nature. And what is the height, but Jesus in our nature, exalted far above all principalities, and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come! Precious God of my salvation! Oh, give me to see, to know, to entertain, and cherish, more enlarged views of this love; which hath no bottom, no bounds, no shore; but, like its Almighty Author, is from everlasting to everlasting. Shall I ever despond? Shall I ever doubt any more, when this Jesus looks upon me, loves me, washes me in his blood, feeds me, clothes me, and hath promised to bring me to glory? Oh, for faith "to comprehend, with all saints, this love of God which passeth knowledge."

2 Corinthians 8:12

"For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." - 2 Corinthians 8:12

Sweet thought this to comfort the soul under small attainments," If there be first a willing mind." Surely, Lord, thou hast given me this; for thou hast made me willing in the day of thy power. I feel as such, my soul going forth in desires after thee, as my chief and only good; though, alas! how continually do I fall short of the enjoyment of thee. I can truly say, "whom is there in heaven, or upon earth, that I desire in comparison of thee?" When thou art present, I am at once in heaven; it makes a very heaven in my soul: thou art the God of my exceeding joy. When thou art absent my soul pines after thee? And truly, "I count all things but dung and dross to win thee;" for whatever gifts thou hast graciously bestowed upon me, in the kindness of friends, in the affections and charities of life, yet all these are secondary considerations with my soul. They are more or less lovely, as I see thy gracious hand in them; but all are nothing to my Lord. Is not this, dearest Jesus, a willing mind? Is it not made so in the day of thy power? But in the midst of this, though I feel this rooted desire in me after thee, yet how often is my heart wandering from thee. Though there is at the bottom of my heart a constant longing for thy presence, and the sweet visits of thy love; yet through the mass of unbelief, and the remains of in-dwelling corruption in my nature, which are keeping down the soul; how doth the day pass, and how often doth the enemy tempt me to question my interest in thee. Dearest Jesus! undertake for me. I do cry out, "When wilt thou come to me," though I am thus kept back from coming to thee? When wilt thou manifest thyself to my soul, and come over all these mountains of sin and unbelief, and fill me with a joy unspeakable and full of glory? And doth Jesus indeed accept from the willing mind, he hath himself given, according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not? - Doth my Redeemer behold, amidst the rubbish, the spark of grace he himself hath kindled? Will he despise the day of small things? No, he will not. It was said of thee, that" thou shouldest not break the bruised reed, neither quench the smoking flax." Mine, indeed, is no more. But yet Jesus will bear up the one, and kindle the other, until he send forth judgment unto victory. Peace, then, my soul! weak as thou art in thyself, yet art thou strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Isaiah 4:6

"And his name shall be called Wonderful." - Isaiah 4:6

In the opening of the last month, the fragrancy of Jesus's name, as Emanuel, gave a sweet savour to my soul. May He, whose name is as ointment poured forth, give a new refreshment to my spiritual senses this morning, in this name also as Wonderful; for surely everything in him, and concerning him, of whom the prophet speaks, is eminently so. But who shall speak of thy wonders, dearest Lord! the wonders of thy Godhead, the wonders of thy manhood, the wonders of both natures united and centered in one Person? - Who shall talk of the wonders of thy work, the wonders of thine offices, characters, relations; thy miraculous birth, thy wonderful death, resurrection, ascension? - Who shall follow thee, thou risen and exalted Saviour, at the right hand of power, and tell of the exercise of thine everlasting priesthood? Who shall speak of the wonders of thy righteousness, the wonders of thy sin-atoning blood? What angel shall be found competent to proclaim the wonders of the Father's love, in giving thee for poor sinners? What archangel to write down the wonders of thy love, in undertaking and accomplishing redemption? And who but God the Spirit can manifest both in the height, and depth, and breadth, and length, of a love that passeth knowledge? Is there, my soul, a wonder yet, that, as it concerns thee, and thine interest in him, whose name is wonderful, is still more marvelous to thy view? Yes, Oh thou wonderful Lord, for sure all wonders seem lost in the contemplation compared to that, that Jesus should look on me in my lost, ruined, and undone estate; for his mercy endureth forever. Well might Jesus say, "Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me, are for signs and wonders!" Isa. viii. 18. Well might the Lord, concerning Jesus and his people, declare them to be as men wondered at. Zech. iii. 8. And blessed Lord, the more love thou hast shewn to thy people, the more are they the world's wonder and their own. Precious Lord, continue to surprise my soul with the tokens of thy love. All the tendencies of thy grace, all the manifestations of thy favour, thy visits, thy love-tokens, thy pardons, thy renewings, thy morning-call, thy mid-day feedings, thy noon, thy evening, thy midnight grace - all, all are among thy wonderful ways of salvation; and all testify to my soul, that thy name, as well as thy work, is, and must be, wonderful.