Deuteronomy 34:5

"So Moses the servant of the Lord died. " - Deuteronomy 34:5

My soul! close the month, in contemplating the death of this highly- favoured servant of the Lord: and mark in him the sure event of all flesh: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." What a blessed account hath the Holy Ghost give of this man. "There arose not a prophet (we are told) like unto Moses, whom Jehovah knew face to face." But, as if to draw an everlasting line of distinction between him and his Master; between the highest prophet, and the Lord God of the prophets; the Holy Ghost was pleased, by the ministry of his servant the apostle, to state the vast distinction: "Moses verily was faithful (saith he) in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after: but Christ as a Son over his own house, whose house are we;" Heb. iii. 5, 6. Indeed all the great and distinguishing events in the life of Moses became more or less brilliant, as they set forth, in their typical representations, the person, work, or offices of the Lord Jesus Christ. Was Moses the Lord's minister to bring the people out of Egypt? and what was this but a representation of the Lord Jesus, bringing his people out of the Egypt of sin, death, and hell? If Moses led the people through the Red Sea, and opened a path through the mighty waters; what was this, but a type of the ever blessed Jesus, bringing his redeemed through the red sea of his blood, and opening a new and living way into the presence of God? If Moses kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood through faith, what was the great object of his faith looked at, but Christ, our Passover, and the blood of his sacrifice? Did he bring the people through the wilderness; and is not Jesus bringing all his people through? Did he feed them with manna, and give them water from the rock; and what did the manna prefigure, but Jesus, the bread of life; and what was the rock, but Christ, the water of life, in all ages of the church, to his people? In short, everything momentous in the church's history, wherein Moses ministered to the people, pointed, both in law and sacrifice, to Jesus, the Lamb of God, and his one all-sufficient sacrifice for the salvation of his redeemed. And even the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, over and above the event of death, common to all, had this peculiar signification annexed to it, that, as the great lawgiver to the people, it set forth the inefficacy of the law to bring into Canaan: this could only be accomplished by Christ, who "is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." Farewell, Moses! thou servant of the Lord! Thou, when thou had served thy generation, wast gathered to thy fathers, and, like all the patriarchs, didst see corruption: but Jesus saw no corruption; he ever liveth, and is the same "yesterday, and to­day, and forever." Hail, thou glorious Mediator of "a better covenant, established upon better promises!" Be thou the Alpha and Omega of thy word, thine ordinances, thy sanctuary, thy servants! To thee all ministered; from thee all come; in thee all centered; and to thine everlasting praise all terminate, in bringing glory to Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

John 11:3-4

"Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord! behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." - John xi. 3, 4.

My soul! ponder these words. It may be said now, as it was then, Lord, behold he whom thou lovest, yea, many our Lord Jesus loveth, are at this present hour sick! Who shall calculate the number? Who shall mark down the tears of the sorrowful of the Lord's people? But Jesus knows them all; yea, appoints all; and he it is, of whom it is said, "he putteth their tears into his bottle: are not these things noted in thy book?" These words suggest another sweet thought. The sorrowful sisters, in their message to the Lord Jesus, did not tell him that one whom they loved was sick, but one whom Jesus loved. There could be no doubt of their love to their brother: but their application to Jesus was on account of his love. My soul! do not overlook this. It is the most blessed and the most powerful of all arguments in prayer, when we come to a throne of grace for those that are near and dear to us, when we can and do tell the Lord, that they for whom we seek his mercy are the objects of his love. The observation of our Lord, on receiving the message, is most delightful. Sit down, this evening, and ponder it well. It is what ma), with safety be applied to every case, and every exercise of the Lord's people, in all their eventful pilgrimage through life, whether in one trial or another. This sickness, this sorrow, this temptation, be it what it may, "is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Now, my soul, bring it to the proof. Every rod of Jesus hath a voice, and speaks as well as corrects; and when at any time he exerciseth it, this is the invariable language: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." And when the voice is heard, and the soul is thereby brought to listen to the Redeemer, then the close of the dispensation proves that it is not indeed unto death, but for the divine glory. So that let the exercise be what it may, we then see Jesus in it. His wisdom sent it; his love is in it; and his strength will carry the believer through it; yea, so much of the Lord's presence will accompany every step we take during the dark hour, that, dark as things are around, there will be constant daylight in the soul. And so truly blessed are those dispensations, which, in their first view, carry a frowning aspect with them, that, when the sable covering is thus taken off by the hand of faith, on hearing Jesus's voice under all, they have been found to be tenfold more productive of the Redeemer's glory and the soul's happiness, than in the smoother providences, where such exercises have not been given. My soul! what saith thine own experience to this statement? Doth the Redeemer lay crosses in thy way? Are they marked with his inscription," Bring them unto me? Art thou visited with sickness, and doth Jesus perform the part of the tenderest nurse, and sit up by thee? Dost thou hear his well-known voice, saying," As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you?" Surely, then, thou wilt fully subscribe to the sweet words of Jesus, in his answer to the sorrowful sisters. Every exercise and every trial of the Lord's people, which he sweetens and sanctifies, "is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." For if it teach creature weakness, and Creator strength; if the believer is made sensible of his helplessness, and of Jesus's all-sufficiency; if renewed feelings add one testimony more, that there is nothing but sickness, sin, and sorrow, in us, and therefore in Jesus alone all our resources of health, and righteousness, and joy are found: these improvements will always give glory to God, and magnify the riches of his grace, that "the Son of God may be glorified thereby."

Acts 21:16

"An old disciple. - Acts 21:16

My soul! of what standing art thou in the church of Christ? If there be any thing of real rank and dignity in human life, to cause one man to differ from another, certainly that age, which consisteth not in a multitude of years, but in fellowship and long acquaintance with Jesus, must be most honourable. But in this, as in all other distinctions, the believer's dignity is the reverse of the world's. He that is highest in grace, is the lowest in humility. How beautiful and engaging to this point are the words of Christ: "Whosoever will be chief among you (saith that divine Teacher), let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Hence the simplicity and lowliness of the weaned child, Jesus, make the character and feature of those that are "greatest in the kingdom of heaven." And wherefore is this? Is it because of our spiritual attainments, or of our improvement in the divine life? Will our title to salvation be at length made out, from our having been such a time, or so long a season with Jesus? Is he "an old disciple," who hath been so many years an attendant on ordinances, sacraments, hearing sermons, and the like? Is this the plan of counting years in the school of Christ; and by so much, as we can number our attendance on the means of grace and improvements under them, as we fancy in ourselves the progress of our own holiness, do we estimate an old disciple? Not so, my soul, is the scripture calculation of age in the divine life. There we read, that" the child shall die a hundred years old, but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed," Isa. lxv. 20. What is it then to be" an old disciple?" Surely he is one that is eldest, in having learned, from the continued teachings of God the Holy Ghost, to think less of himself, and more and more of Jesus. He advanceth the farthest in this scriptural age, who is growing in grace, by growing in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His every day's experience brings him more acquainted with his own unworthiness, so as to endear the infinite merit of the Redeemer. He is truly "an old disciple," who is old in this science, of being more out of love with himself, and more in love with Jesus. For it is impossible, in this progress of the divine life, but to make advances in this exact proportion; and as the blessed Spirit exalts Christ to the view, and brings him home to the heart, by so much our self-confidence lessens; and the more glorious he appears, the more lowly we become in our own eyes. This is one rule to ascertain the real age of a disciple. And there is another like it: as those who have long lived in a family, best know its government, and find themselves more at home in it; so the oldest disciples in Jesus's household will best know how to improve a long and growing acquaintance with him, be coming to him for all they want, and making his glory the one great object of all their desire. And it will prove indeed that they are faithful to their Lord's interest, when they not only lay out everything for his praise, but receive everything that he lays out that it may be for his glory. My soul! what sayest thou to this statement of things, in respect of the real age of the believer in Jesus? Art thou" an old disciple" of thy Lord?

Hebrews 9:3

"And after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the holiest of all." - Hebrews 9:3

The veil of separation between the two tabernacles, no doubt, typified Christ's body, which, in the moment of his death, by an invisible hand, was torn in twain from the top to the bottom, thereby intimating that now all separation was removed, and true believers were permitted to enter, by the blood of Jesus, into the presence of God, he having obtained eternal redemption for them. The second or inner sanctuary, had several very interesting particulars, by way of distinction, belonging to it. The veil of separation, under the Jewish dispensation, intimated, that it was impossible for any to draw nigh to God, but by a mediator. When Jesus threw down the separation, and opened a new and living way by his blood, access was obtained to God in Christ; and Jesus, first for himself, and then for his people, led the way into the holy of holies. The veil of separation set forth how man was separated by sin; by the injury done to God's holiness, and by the natural enmity of his own heart. ‘But when Jesus came, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, restored that which he took not away, gave to God his glory, restored to man God's image, and took away the carnal mind, by making the heart of stone a heart of flesh; then it was, that the veil of separation was forever taken away, and the kingdom of heaven opened to all believers. My soul! what saith thine experience to these things? If the veil be removed, and thou art entered in, through Jesus, thy forerunner; then hast thou seen, and known, and felt, and enjoyed the glory of him, whom those things shadowed; and art rejoicing in him, as the Lord thy righteousness. And art thou entered within the veil? Art thou resting upon Jesus, having cast anchor within the veil? Surely, then, Jesus is precious: his love is precious, his grace is precious; yea, everything in him is precious. And then, by and by, all remaining clouds will be removed, and him whom thou seest now by faith, thou shalt see, face to face, and know, even as thou art known. Precious Lord Jesus! take away all remaining darkness, ignorance, unbelief, and whatever comes in the way of clear views of thee, and the enjoyment of thee; and let the covering which is cast over all people, and the blackness over all faces, be removed for the full enjoyment of thee, in grace here, and in glory to all eternity! Amen.

Hebrews 9:2

"For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew-bread; which is called the sanctuary." - Hebrews 9:2

It is blessed to see how Christ was set forth in everything, and by every way in the ordinances of God, during the first ages of the church. Surely they had the gospel preached to them in type and shadow, as we have now in sum and substance. My soul, take thine evening meditation among the furniture of the outer sanctuary, and see what emblems they afford of Christ. The tabernacle, which Moses made in the wilderness, contained, in the first apartment, the things here spoken of. The candlestick, if without a light, strikingly set forth the darkness of that dispensation; and if with a light (which seems the most probable, for the lamps were to be always burning) it shewed that the Lord himself, who walketh in the midst of the golden candlesticks, is the light of his people, and the glory of the temple. The next article noticed is the table, which was probably placed in such a direction, that the light of the candlestick might shine upon it; by which we may learn, that in going to the table of the Lord, we must be directed by his light; for none cometh to the Father but by him, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life." The table itself, which was of pure gold, became a most lively type of the ever-blessed Jesus. The infinite worth and glory of his person, and the eternal merit and efficacy of his blood and righteousness, may be supposed to be set forth, by golden representations, as the richest and most valuable treasure we are acquainted with. And when we add to these, that Jesus feeds, entertains, supports, nourisheth, and preserves his church and people, what could so well set forth the royal bounties of his grace, and the fullness and richness of his house, as that of a golden table, around which the poor, and the needy, the hungry, and the faint, might be received and feasted? But the first sanctuary had not only the candlestick to guide to the Lord, and the golden table to receive the followers of the Lord, but the shew-bread also, to supply them. This shew-bread was a beautiful and striking representation of him who is the bread of life. Twelve loaves, in allusion to the twelve tribes of Israel, were to be always standing upon it, to intimate the perpetual appearing of Jesus in the presence of God for his people. They were of the finest flour, mixed with frankincense; thereby shadowing the purity of his nature, and the fragrancy of his sacrifice before God. They were to be renewed every sabbath, to shew that Christ is not only exhibited in the gospel every day, and all the day, but to be renewed every sabbath, when his ministers bring forth to the people, out of his treasury, "things new and old." Those taken away when the new loaves were brought, were to be eaten by the priests alone, under this Jewish dispensation; and the same is observed under the new: for the Lord Jesus hath made all his people "kings and priests to God and the Father;" and if any that are not his, by his Spirit given to them, eat at his table, they make the table of the Lord contemptible. Are these some of the delightful subjects, typified by the furniture of the tabernacle in the first court? Dost thou behold, my soul, these things, and through the veil and covering, discover Jesus? Oh! then consider the vast, the infinite importance of redemption by his blood, whom God the Spirit thus set forth to the church by types and shadows; and see thy privilege, and the happiness to which thou art called, when in reading the old testament, "the veil is done away in Christ."

Ephesians 4:9-10

"Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." - Ephesians 4:9-10

 My soul! thy morning portion led thee to the contemplation of a risen and ascended Saviour; and by faith and love, I hope thou didst find thyself ascending with him, and art now still looking to him on the throne of the Majesty on high. And while thy thoughts are thus occupied in the most blessed of all subjects, listen to this word of God's grace, as of a voice behind thee, to remind thee, that he who is thus gone up, first came down! He that is now in heaven, first came down from heaven; he is only returned, as a rightful Lord, to his own kingdom. He hath, indeed, both by his Father's gift, and his own purchase, obtained a mediatorial crown, to add to his crown of the Godhead, which he had before in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost; but in his ascension, thou art not to lose sight of his descent, which preceded it, when he left the bosom of the Father, to tabernacle in our nature, for our redemption, in these lower parts of the earth. And let this sweet view of Jesus give thee an holy boldness and comfort, in looking to thy risen and exalted Saviour for those ascension gifts which he is gone up purposely to send down! I want, my soul (Oh! that the Holy Ghost would forever be giving it to me) to keep in constant remembrance who it is that thus "ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." I charge it upon thee, this evening, that thou never cease to ask this blessing from God the Spirit, that in his glorifying the Lord Jesus, he would keep it continually uppermost in thine heart, that it is Jesus who is thus exalted; Jesus thy Brother, thy Redeemer, thine Husband, thine Head. Surely, while thou bearest in remembrance, that" he is ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things," he would never let thee go empty, didst thou tell him that thou art part of himself! Could Jesus, as the head of his body, the church, suffer that body, or any of its poorest or least members, to go lean, and poor, and wretched, while he is gone up purposely to send down, and to fill all things? To use his own words, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church," Ephes. v. 29. Were these things left upon record as a testimony how Jesus nourisheth and cherisheth the church, and shall any poor member be without it? Precious Lord Jesus! henceforth I beseech thee, look on me, and give me, by thy sweet Spirit, to be always looking unto thee! I see, Lord, that thou, who art ascended, art the same that descended: this is enough for me; for, sure I am, thine heart is not changed, but thy love is the same. And if thy love brought thee down to save, thy love hath led thee up to bless: and what mercy can my soul want which thy fullness cannot supply? How can a poor member of thine below, long need, while "Jesus is ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill things?" Oh! for grace to come to thee, to look to thee, to depend upon thee, and to rest, with full assurance of faith, in that dependence, that Jesus, our risen, our ascended, our exalted, and full Saviour, will give to every one of his members, "grace, according to the measure of the fullness of Christ."

Colossians 1:18

"And he is the head of the body, the church." - Colossians 1:18

Sweet view of Jesus! Ponder well the subject, my soul, and behold thy Lord in this endearing character, and thine own personal union with him. Jesus is indeed, in every point of view, "the head of his body, the church." He is so by the Father's own appointment, as our glorious Surety: in which character he stood up at the call of God the Father, from everlasting; for when, at that call, he put himself in our stead, in our law-room and place, he undertook, as the church's representative, to do all, and to suffer all for her; and what he did and suffered, they, as his body, might truly be said to do and suffer in him. Sweet thought! When Jesus obeyed the whole law, then was Jesus their law-fulfiller. When he suffered the death of the cross, they in him were crucified. When he arose from the dead, in that resurrection they partook of the triumph, and, as members of his body, arose with him. And when he ascended up on high, and sat down on the seat of the Conqueror, they ascended virtually by their union with him, and may be said" to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." But, my soul! glorious as are these views of Jesus, thine husband and thine head, yet are they not all. He is the head of his body, the church, by his assumption of our nature. There is an union also of soul, a oneness, a connection as close and intimate as the natural head of the body with its several members; for as the head of the body is the source of life, which gives energy and action to all the parts of the body, so Christ is to his church and people" the fullness of him that filleth all in all." Here is another sweet thought! When Jesus took thy nature, my soul, in his sinless portion of it, he partook of all that could be said to constitute human nature. "Forasmuch (saith the apostle) as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same," Heb. ii. 14. hence he must have a tenderness, an affection, a fellow-feeling (if I may be allowed so to say) for his own nature, in the several members of his body, the church. This is the very argument the Holy Ghost, by the apostle, urgeth with poor exercised believers, to convince them of their safety and assured comfort in him: "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we arc, yet without sin," Heb. iv. 15. And as this becomes a source of never-failing comfort, to support the several members of Christ's body with consolation under all their exercises, (for what can any part feel which the head shall be unconscious of,  and not participate in?) so doth it equally afford delight in the recollection, that all the wants of the body must be known and felt by the glorious head, and be by him supplied. Sweet thought again to the believer! Jesus hath a fullness corresponding to all our necessities. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. And of this fullness do we all receive, and grace for grace." Look up, my soul, and contemplate the infinite, inexhaustible, unsearchable riches of thy Christ! All awakening, justifying, sanctifying grace; all life, strength, nourishment, support, are poured upon the members of the church, from this glorious head: and what sums up the account, and endears it to the heart, is, that these blessings are everlasting, unchangeable, and eternal. He hath said, "Because I live, ye shall live also!" Pause, my soul! And is this Jesus thine? Is he indeed thine head? Art thou a member of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones? - Witness for me, ye angels of light! I renounce all other lords, all other alliances, all other husbands! It is to Jesus alone that I bend the knee of love, adoration, and obedience; for he is my Lord God, and I am his forever.

Judges 13:5

"A Nazarite unto God from the womb." - Judges 13:5

And what, in the language of scripture, was a Nazarite unto God? Certainly what the very term implies; one dedicated to God, set apart, and sanctified. Both the person and character are largely descried, Numb. vi. 1 - 21. And was Samson such? It cannot be doubted, notwithstanding the many strange particularities in his life, which were departures from sanctity of character. But in that part of Samson's life wherein the Nazarite was strongly marked, he was eminently proved to be one; and it is in this feature of the illustrious Danite, that we behold him as a striking type of the Lord Jesus Christ. My soul! as it hath pleased the Holy Ghost to give the church so circumstantial an account of Samson, do thou ponder the subject well, and remark (what was evidently the only design for which it was given) how gracious the Lord the Spirit was, thus to set forth, in type, Jesus of Nazareth, so many ages before his incarnation. Was Samson a Nazarite unto God from the womb? Such was Jesus, who was so named by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And what was the object for which Samson was separated from his birth as a Nazarite to God? We are told that it was to deliver his brethren out of the hands of their enemies, Judges xiii. 5. The same was declared of Jesus: he shall be called Jesus; for "he shah save his people from their sins, Matt. i. 21. Was holiness unto the Lord the distinguishing feature of the Nazarite? How suitably did it set forth the Lord Jesus, "who sanctified himself for his people," John xvii. 19. The very devil himself saluted Christ with his name, when he said," Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." Mark i. 24. And so very important was it considered by the Holy Ghost, that the church's Lord and Saviour should be known by this name of" the Nazarite unto God from the womb," that it is remarkable how many persons have given their testimony, and some of them plainly without design, to this one character of our Lord. The angel at the annunciation; the devil, as before remarked; the Jews in contempt, John xviii. 5; the Roman governor in his inscription on the cross, John xix. 19; the angels at the sepulchre, Mark xvi. 6; the apostles glorifying in this name after his ascension, Acts ii. 22; and Jesus himself, from heaven, at the conversion of Paul, Acts xxii. 8. Precious Nazarite to God! holy Lord Jesus! thou art indeed the true, the only one; for of thee, and by thee, can it be said, "Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire," Lament. iv. 7. Help me, Lord, by thy grace, to keep thee ever in remembrance. And while the cry of the infidel is still heard, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Oh! may my soul hear thy sweet voice, by faith: "the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name!" Isa. xlix. 1. Lord, thus it is fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophets:" He shall be called a Nazarene," Matt. ii. 23.

Revelation 8:1

"There was silence in heaven about the space of ball an hour." - Revelation 8:1

This is a very striking scripture, and records as striking an event, when took place on the opening of the seventh seal - silence in heaven; not a suspension or interruption to the happiness of the place, but the silent adoration of God and the Lamb. This must be the sense of the passage, if by heaven we are to understand the place where dwell "the spirits of just men made perfect." But as it is more than probable that it refers to the events of the kingdom of Christ upon earth, which are here spoken of under prophetical representations, the silence may rather be supposed to mean, that the church of God, both in heaven and on earth, are waiting in solemn expectation of what events the sounding of the seventh trumpet will bring forth. But there are some sweet instructions to be taken from what is here .said, of silence in heaven by the space of half an hour, which in the silence of an evening meditation, it may be highly profitable to attend to. If in heaven such solemn pauses are made, doth it not strike the mind, how very becoming such must be upon earth? Surely it is a sweet frame of the spirit, to ponder in silence over the many solemn things which connect themselves with the very existence of man, in a dying state, and in dying circumstances like the present; more especially, in the solemn seasons of devotion, when we draw nigh to a throne of grace, in and through the ever blessed Jesus, a holy silence in the first approaches, seems highly suitable to await divine visitations. What a lovely view doth the Holy Ghost give of David, 2 Sam. vii. 18. "Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord!" And elsewhere he saith, "truly my soul waiteth upon God :" in the margin of the bible it is, "Truly, my soul is silent before God," Ps. lxii. 1. The prophets were commissioned to enforce this by way of command: "The Lord (saith one of whom) is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him," Habak. ii. 20. And another saith," Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy habitation," Zech. ii. 13. And the Lord himself, having pointed out the blessedness of waiting upon him, accompanied with a promise that his people who did so, should renew their strength, immediately' sends forth this precept: "Keep silence before me, O islands, and let the people renew their strength; let them come near; then let them speak," Isa. xli. 1. My soul! learn hence, the beauty of holiness, and the blessedness of waiting in silence before the Lord. For then, when the Holy Ghost comes in the refreshing influences of his grace, and commands the north wind and the south wind to blow, sweet will be the manifestations of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit, until," while the heart is musing, the holy fire from off the altar will be kindled," and the soul will go forth in all the exercises of faith, love, joy, humility, and desire upon the person, work, and offices of Jesus!

Isaiah 42:16

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. " - Isaiah 42:16

Never, surely, was there a promise of a covenant God in Christ more strikingly fulfilled as to what is said in the former port of this verse, than in thine instance, my soul. By nature and by practice, thou wert so totally blind to any apprehension of divine things, that not a right thought hadst thou ever conceived of God and Christ, when the Lord first manifested his grace to thy heart! No being in the universe was so near to me as God, but none so little known or understood. No heart was nearer to me than my own, but to all its errors and deceitfulness I remained the most perfect stranger! In the works of providence, as well as of grace, I had no consciousness whatever of any guide, nor even of needing a guide. Self-willed, wayward, and full of confidence, I was hastening on with the multitude, intent but upon one thing, "in making provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Pause, my soul, and look back! When I take a review of what is past, and trace' the hand of the Lord, all the way leading me as have come on! am lost in astonishment in the contemplation of his mercies, and my undeservings. What a huge volume might be written of both, and in the margin to note down how they have kept pace together. My soul! If thou wert to read them by chapters only, what endless ones would they form under the several sections of the Lord's love, his care,, his wisdom, his methods, and his grace, in the freeness and distinguishing nature of that grace; and as I read the Lord's mercies, to note, at the same time, my rebellions! Oh! what a subject would the whole form, in proof of this gracious promise, in facing the wisdom, power, and love of God, in awakening, regenerating, converting, and confirming grace! Surely, Lord, thou hast indeed brought a poor blind creature, such as I am, in a way that I knew not, and led me in paths that! never should have known; and still, Lord, thou art graciously performing the same, in making darkness light, and crooked things straight. And shall I not, from the latter part of this sweet promise, derive a strength of faith, from all that is past, to trust thee for all that is to come? Hath the Lord been gracious when in a state of total blindness, to bring me by a way I knew not; and now, when he hath mercifully opened mine eyes to see his glory, and to love his name, will he not lead me still? Had he mercy upon me, when I asked it not, neither knew that I needed it: and will he refuse me that mercy now, when I so earnestly seek it, and know that without his grace and mercy in Jesus, I shall perish forever? Precious Lord! give me faith to believe, to trust, and to depend! Thou, who hast done such great things for me already, whereof I rejoice, wilt never leave me, nor forsake me, O Lord God of my salvation!

Hebrews 9:4

"The golden censer." - Hebrews 9:4

It is blessed, my soul! to behold the numberless types and shadows of "good things to come," which the church of old contained; and it is blessed to see them all fulfilled in Christ, the substance. Jesus, thy Jesus, in his glorious high priestly office, is at once the censer, the incense, the high priest, and offering, and is now unceasingly engaged in carrying on the glorious purposes of his redemption "by appearing in the presence of God for us." He is the "mighty angel" spoken of, Rev. viii. 3. For upon the "golden censer" of his own merit and righteousness, and by the efficacy of his own glorious person, are all presentations made. "No man cometh to the Father but by him." Coming by him, and in him, and through him, all thy poor offerings come up "for a memorial before God." And what is the much incense here spoken of, but the merits of that finished salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, which hath indeed a fullness, yea, a redundancy of fullness, infinitely more precious and costly than ever can be compensated in blessings bestowed thereby upon his people, in time, and to all eternity. This was beautifully represented in the Jewish church. The incense was composed of sweet spices, which made a fragrant smell through the whole temple. And what was the offering of Christ, but "an offering and sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour?" And if the incense in the Jewish temple was always burning, what was this but a representation of the everlasting priesthood of Christ, "whoever liveth to make intercession for his people?" And as the incense was burning within in the temple, while all the people were at prayers without, what a lively representation was this of our High Priest in heaven, in this great office of a priest upon his throne, to offer upon the golden altar of his divine nature, the prayers of his redeemed upon earth, to give acceptance to their persons and their offerings, by the much incense of his own merits and blood? My soul, look up this evening, look up both night and morning, and, with the eye of faith, behold this almighty Angel of the new covenant thus appearing in the presence of God for thee; into his almighty hands do thou commit and commend thine all; neither thy person nor thy poor offerings can find acceptance but in him, the beloved. He is thine altar, thy priest, thy sacrifice, thine incense, thine all; by virtue of whom, God the Father hath respect to his everlasting covenant, and dispenseth grace in this life, and glory in that which is to come. Hail! thou glorious, gracious, great High Priest of a better covenant, founded upon better promises than that by Aaron! Oh! for faith to apprehend thee, to exercise faith upon thy person, work, and righteousness, and every day, and all the day, both night and morning, to come to God by thee, perfectly assured that all that do come, thou wilt in no wise cast out.

Galatians 4:23-24

"But he who was of the bond-woman, was born after the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise; which things are an allegory." - Galatians 4:23-24

My soul! as thou readest this scripture, do not forget to bless the great Author of it, even God the Holy Ghost, for having condescended to teach the church the sacred truths contained in it. Never would it have entered into the heart of man, untaught of God, to have conceived that the births of Ishmael and Isaac had such divine purposes connected with their history. We might have read forever the account given of it in the book of Genesis, without once forming a thought of the spiritual tendency of the subject, had not the Holy Ghost, by his servant the apostle, told the church that it was an allegory. But, blessed with such gracious teaching, see to it, my soul, this evening, what a delightful subject it leads to. "These (saith the apostle) are the two covenants;" meaning the mother of Ishmael, and the mother of Isaac. The "bond-woman," represents the covenant of works; and the "freewoman," the covenant of grace. So that all who seek justification by their own good deeds of the law, are of the children of the bond-woman. All who are looking for salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, without the works of the law, are of the children of the free. As the son of the bond-woman was born before the son of the free, so our state of nature in this sense, is before grace. And hence believers, when renewed, are said to be born again. Yet, as the promise concerning the son of the free-woman, was before the birth of the son of the bond-woman, so the promise of the gospel was before the law; and the covenant of grace came in before the covenant of works. And as the son of the bond-woman mocked the son of the free, so is it now; they that are born after the flesh do forever persecute them that are born after the Spirit. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? - "Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond­woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman." The law can make nothing perfect; justification can never be obtained by the deeds of the law, and therefore it is rejected. Pause now, my soul, over this sweet allegory, explained as it is by the Holy Ghost himself, and ask to which family thou belongest? To both thou canst not, for that is impossible. Whosoever seeketh justification by the deeds of the law, denies the merit and efficacy of Christ's blood and righteousness. "For if righteousness come by the law, then is Christ dead in vain." Oh! for grace to discover, and faith to enjoy, the same blessed assurance as the apostle did, when summing up the whole conclusion of this scriptural allegory; "So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond­woman, but of the free."

2 Samuel 6:17

" Is this thy kindness to thy friend?" - 2 Samuel 6:17

My soul, borrow the words of Absalom to Hushai, and make application of them this morning to thyself, as if Jesus, the best of all friends, were thus reasoning with thee. In how many ways hath Jesus manifested his love to thee. Think of his unparalleled love in the various ways by which he hath shewn it. He engaged as thy Surety before that thou knewest any need of one. He took thy nature to fulfill all those engagements. He loved thee so as to die for thee. He loved thee so as to shed his blood for thee. He loved thee so as to wash thee from thy sins in his blood. He loveth thee now, so as to appear in the presence of God for thee. He loveth thee so as to be continually supplying thee with all grace, to visit thee, to smile upon thee, to sanctify to thee all his appointments for thy good; and will never give over until he hath brought thee where he is, to behold his glory, and to partake of it. And hast thou not recompensed this love, this mercy, in a thousand, and ten thousand instances, with ingratitude, with indifference, with forgetfulness, with disobedience? "Is this thy kindness to thy friend?" Precious Jesus! I do remember my faults this day. Oh gracious Lord! grant me from henceforth to live wholly to thee; to be continually eyeing thee, walking with thee, cleaving to thee, hanging upon thee, and to remember thee and thy love more than wine. Yes, thou dearest Redeemer! I would pray for grace to set thee always before me, to record in my heart thy mercies, and to set up in my heart thy person, to follow thee whithersoever thou goest, to watch the steps of Jesus, to pursue thee in all the haunts of thy paths, at thy table, at thine ordinances, in thy words in thine house of prayer, in thy providences, in thy promises: everywhere, and in all things, where Jesus is, there may my soul be; that, having nothing to give my Lord to recompense his bounty, I may at least by his grace follow him, to bless him, and to manifest that all I am, and all I have, is his. My soul, see to it, that this is at least thy kindness to thy friend.

Psalm 103:15

"The flower of the field." - Psalm 103:15

Do I not behold Jesus here pre-eminently set forth above his fellows? Yes, dear Lord, thy people, planted by thy hand, do indeed flourish as a flower of the field; but never any like thee. Indeed all their loveliness, fragrancy, value, all are only so, as derived from thee. Never did God our Father plant so lovely a flower, so sweet, so fragrant a flower in the field of his garden, in the heavenly paradise, or the earthly Eden, as when he planted thee. Sweet plant of renown! aid my meditations this morning to contemplate thee under this interesting view, as the flower of the field. And first, let me behold thee as truly the flower of the field, because thou art altogether of God's right hand planting, and not of man's. The flower of the field hath no father but God, and no mother but the virgin earth. Precious Jesus! thou wert conceived in thy human nature wholly by the overshadowing of God the Spirit, when thou condescendest, for our salvation, to be born of the virgin's womb. And let me look at thee, Oh Lord, under another beautiful illustration of thy nature, as the flower of the field, when I consider the humbleness and lowliness in which thou didst appear. Was there ever a sweet flower of the field more hid, more obscured, and when brought forward to view, less regarded, than Jesus, of whom it was truly said, "He was despised and rejected of men; without form or comeliness, and having no beauty that we should desire him?" And is there not another thought which ariseth to the mind in the contemplation of Jesus as the flower of the field? Yes, methinks I behold in the exposure of the flower of the field to the merciless treading of the foot of the passenger, and to the plucking up or destroying by wild beasts, a striking representation of Jesus, who, in the days of his flesh, was encompassed by beasts of prey, and trodden down of men. Alas, how many even now in the present hour despise thy person, live regardless of thy righteousness, have trodden underfoot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. But, precious Jesus! give me to behold thee as the sweet flower of the field, open to the view of every traveler, and shedding the richness of thy fragrancy, under all the influences of thy Spirit, both in the north wind, and the south wind of thy power. Ye travellers to Zion, come, see this lovely flower in the open field of his word, his church, his ordinances. Behold the freeness of his bloom, his beauty, and odour. He sheds his influences, not in a garden enclosed that ye cannot approach, but in the open field. Here he stands, as the plant of renown, which God hath raised up. Oh come to him as the balm of Gilead, and the Physician there, that the hurt of the daughter of his people may be healed.

Psalm 40:17

"I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me." - Psalm 40:17

Precious consideration, my soul! Under all thine exercises, the Lord, thy Lord, thy Jesus, thinketh upon thee. Wherefore should I faint, then, under any burden? Surely I may say, as Hagar did at the well, "Thou, God, seest me." Surely I may give my God, my Saviour, this name, as she did; for she said, "Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?" Yes, however unconscious my poor heart is of the blessed truth, yet a very blessed truth it is, while! am looking after Jesus, he is beforehand, thinking and looking upon me. Precious Lamb of God! I will remember my poverty no more: that is, I will remember it no more, but as it is made the means in thy hand to make me sensible of my need and thy fullness. Art thou thinking upon me? Do I hear thy gracious voice, saying to me, "I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end?" Oh then, herein I will rejoice! Poor and needy as I am, let me be more poor, more needy, so but I see my fullness in Jesus. He is thinking of me, providing for me, blessing me. I would not be full for the world, or fancy myself so; for what room should I then have for Jesus? What it will be in heaven, I know not, in the fullness of happiness that is there, though that fullness can only be in and from Jesus; but here below, a full state, or a supposed full state, would be a wretched state. No, let me be poor and needy, empty and in want, wretched and helpless in myself; for then I am sure my Jesus will be most precious. Mark it down, then, my soul, this day, and wear it about thine heart as a pleasing consideration - when thou feelest thy need and poverty most, the Lord thy Jesus thinketh upon thee.

Mark 5:18-19

"And he that had been possessed with the devil, prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit, Jesus suffered him not; but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee." - Mark 5:18-19

Mark this, my soul, and especially when at any time thy Jesus is so graciously revealing himself to thee, in a way of love, that thou art longing to be absent from the body, that thou mayest be "present with the Lord:" think then, of what Jesus said to this poor man. The thought of being made instrumental in the hand of the Lord in calling sinners to Jesus, made holy Paul willing to wait in a sinful world, and put off his own happiness. Precious frame of mind! Paul knew also, that if the Lord housed his children from the lion's den, and from the mountains of leopards, as soon as he had brought them to the knowledge of himself, then, in this case, Jesus would have no church in the wilderness. The holy seed would not be found amidst the tares of the earth. Blessed Lord! give grace to every exercised child of thine to think of this; that when, under the various trials with which thy wisdom and love see fit to try their graces, they long to be home with thee, and are sending forth the. cry of the soul for dismission, they may hear thy voice speaking, as to this poor man, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee." But pause, my soul - is this thy case? Hath Jesus done great things for thee, and art thou proclaiming it abroad to call others to partake? Suppose one from the throng was to ask thee, "What is thy Beloved, more than another beloved?" what would be thy answer? Wouldest thou say, how he hath blest thee in health, or wealth, or worldly success, or prosperity; in friends, and relations, and the like? And are these all the things, or the chief of them, that thou couldest speak of? If so, what are these more than carnal men can, and do speak of? The infidel, the Turk, the pagan, can boast as much! But if thou canst say, ‘Oh! "come hither and hearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul!" I was once darkness, and am now light in the Lord. I was once in Satan's chains, and Jesus hath set me free. I was once, like this poor man, under the possession of sin and Satan; but now I sit down at the feet of Jesus, to hear the gracious words which proceed out of his mouth. Here, my soul, this is indeed to tell thy friends how great things the Lord hath done for thee. Oh! for grace thus to proclaim his adorable name while on earth, until Jesus comes to take me home to himself, there to sound his praise before the whole redeemed church of God forever!

Isaiah 62:3

" Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. " - Isaiah 62:3

It is very easy to conceive how the Lord of Hosts in the day of salvation becomes for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty unto his people, as a prophet hath said, Isa. xxviii. 5. But that the church, and every individual redeemed of the church, shall be the Lord's crown and diadem. Oh, the wonders of grace! Pause, my soul, over the sweet scripture, and take to thyself the blessedness of it. What a variety of images and similitudes thy God hath made use of to manifest how highly he prizeth his redeemed. "Yea, he loveth the people," said one of old; "all his saints are in thy hand." He calleth them jewels, precious stones, his treasure, his chosen, his inheritance, his portion, his crown, his diadem. And what a thought is it for thee, my soul, to meditate upon, that though in thyself thou art nothing, yet considered in Jesus, thou art all this, and more; polished, made comely and glorious, from the comeliness put upon thee and the glory of Jesus. See then, my soul, the vast mercy in Jesus. A worthless worm made dear to God! How infinitely precious and dear should God in Christ be to thee. Let this encourage thee, then, at all times to come to him. Thou art giving glory to thy God, when thou. comest to him, to give out of his fullness to thee. Jesus wanteth needy creatures to be glorified upon, by giving out of his abundance to their necessities; and the more he gives, the more is he glorified. Mark that also, for thy greater encouragement to come to him. The more thou art blessed in his fullness, the more blessed he is in imparting it; so that while thou art his crown of glory, he is glorified in thy redemption. And while thou crownest Jesus's head, in ascribing all the glory of thy salvation unto him, he condescends to make thee a crown of glory in his hand, as a token that thou art his, both by purchase of his blood, the gift of his Father, and the conquest of his grace. Hallelujah.

Galatians 5:25

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." - Galatians 5:25

My soul, take this sweet scripture for thy motto, not only this day, but every day; for every day's walk should be the same with Jesus, by the Spirit. And surely, my soul, if Jesus really, truly, dwells in thee, he will manifest that he is at home, by ruling in thee. It is blessed, and gracious, and edifying, when out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and like the spouse, the lips drop as the honey-comb, sweetly of Jesus. But the life of Jesus in the soul, consisteth not in talking only of Jesus, but walking in him, and walking with him. But, my soul, how wilt thou accomplish these things, carrying about with thee as thou dost daily, a body of sin and death? There is but one plan, and that a simple plan, mortifying, indeed, to the pride of human nature, but giving glory to Jesus. Art thou truly content to be mortified, so that Jesus be glorified? If so, this is the only way the apostle hath marked. They, and they only that live in the Spirit, will walk in the Spirit. The same grace which teacheth thee of Jesus, must give to thee power in Jesus. As long as Jesus is in view, looked to, and lived upon, all the blessed effects of the grace from Jesus will follow, as sure as the rays of light diffuse their brightness when the sun is risen. If, my soul, thou goest forth in a firm dependence upon Jesus's strength, that strength will be assuredly perfected in thy weakness; but if Jesus be lost sight of, and a fancied strength in thyself supply the place, this defect in faith will bring forth a defect in practice. My soul, learn to exercise an holy jealousy over thyself; for after Jesus is once truly known, all thy danger begins at this place; so that the great secret is, to live out of self, upon his fullness; to do nothing but in his strength; to propose nothing but for his glory; and in every step you take in the whole walk of life, to make Jesus everything, and depend upon him in everything; and this is the way to find both security and comfort. Dear Lord, do thou enable a poor worm thus to live, by living in thee; and then, sure I am I shall be happy, by walking in thee.

Ezekiel 9:2

"And one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side." - Ezekiel 9:2

Pause, my soul, over this scripture. Who could this one man be, but Jesus, thy Mediator. Did not his garment of linen mark his righteousness, and the inkhorn to write down his people, his pierced side? Hath he not written in the book of life the names of all his redeemed, that none of them may be lost when he cometh to make up his jewels? And was it not with an eye to this the soldier pierced his side when by his death he had obtained eternal redemption for them, that he might with his precious blood mark his people, as a shepherd doth his sheep? Yes, thou dear Redeemer! surely I behold thee sweetly set forth in this scripture. Surely the Holy Ghost, who all along delighted to set thee forth under various similitudes before the old church, hath graciously represented thee here. Methinks I behold thee now coming forth in the white garment of thy spotless righteousness, with thy pierced side, to mark all thine, before the destroying angels go forth to the everlasting destruction of unawakened, unregenerated sinners. Methinks I hear thy blessed, gracious, compassionate voice, in the same tender tone of words as thou once didst utter to thy servant John: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. And I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God: and I will write upon him my new name." Oh Lamb of God, fulfill these blessed promises in my soul! Mark me as thine, unto the day of redemption. Seal me as a signet in thine image, and give me that new name which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Then, amidst burning worlds, my soul will stand secure, being justified in thy righteousness, and sprinkled with thy blood; and I shall hear, with holy joy, that glorious, but awful voice, "come not near any man upon whom is the mark."

John 20:27

"Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing." - John 20:27

Was Jesus willing to have his wounds searched, than his unbelieving disciple should go unconvinced? Look, then, my soul, at Jesus, and he will grant thee a suitable testimony, to hush all thy remaining doubts, if so be after such manifestations of grace as he hath shewn thee, there be a single doubt left behind. Doth not Jesus, in effect, say, in every renewed ordinance, reach hither thy finger, thrust in thine hand, and the precious blood thou needest shall flow; for the fountain for sin, for uncleanness, for unbelief, and, in short, for every necessity of my people, is still open. Is not this the language of all? Doth unbelief doubt the reality of the thing itself, like Thomas? Doth unbelief tempt the soul to doubt the particular efficacy of it to special cases, such as a man's own? Doth unbelief suggest the circumstances hopeless from delay, from past neglect, from present unworthiness? In answer to all, Jesus speaks, "reach hither thy finger;" and if a touch will not satisfy thee, thrust thy hand deeply into my side. Here is enough to silence all fears: why are those wounds still open? Wherefore did I appear to my servant John as a lamb that had been slain, but to convince, by so palpable a testimony, that I am the same yesterday, to-day, and forever? Oh for grace to return the grateful answer to Jesus, "my Lord, and my God!" My soul, now thou art commanded, this do. Put forth thine hand, and leave every other consequence with Jesus. While Jesus thus gives himself to thee, my soul, do thou make a complete surrender of thyself to him; for this is the very exercise of faith that Jesus is come after, and therefore let him not go away until he hath taken thine whole affections with him, as thy Lord and thy God.

2 Samuel 16:11-12

"Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction; and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day." - 2 Samuel 16:11-12

My soul, see here a believer in his best frame. To be sure, it is not always thus with a child of God; but it were to be devoutly desired always thus to be. But while we admire the faith, let us yet more admire and adore him, and his grace and mercy who gives it. Oh what a blessed state it is to eye the hand of the Lord in everything. When Shimei thus cursed David, he passeth by the instrument, and recognizeth the hand of the Lord in the appointment. "Let him alone, for the Lord hath bidden him." Sin is at the bottom. The Lord doth not correct for nought. How unjust so ever on the part of man, it is both just and right on the part of God. And observe, moreover, the comfort he takes to himself out of it. If my God bid my enemy distress me, is it not that my Almighty Friend may more sweetly comfort me? There is not only a maybe, but a certainty there shall be, in God's requiting evil with good to his people My soul, never overlook this in any, and in all of thine exercises. Behold his hand in it, be it what it may, and then thou wilt never faint under any burden. Jesus not only looks on, but he it is that permits, that appoint. Oh he is tender even in rebukes. By those means he makes his children more like himself; and moreover, it is his gracious plan to extract pleasure from pain, and by impoverishing the soul in self, and in creature love, to turn curses into blessings, and convert loss into gain. Doth the enemy curse you? Doth he come out against you? Oh then depend upon it, Jesus is going to confer some special blessing upon you. Thou art to be advanced to great honour, to be made more conformable to his blessed image. Jesus is hereby giving you not only to believe in him, but to suffer for his sake. Precious Lord! grant me then this grace which thy servant David was enabled to exercise; and when the Shimeis of the day come forth to curse, let them curse, so thou do but bless. And Oh for sweet influences from thee, dearest Lord! "that I may know thee and the power of thy resurrection, and the fellowship of thy sufferings, being made conformable unto thy death."

Mark 10:46

"By the high-way side begging." - Mark 10:46

My soul, learn a lesson from the beggar this morning. And Oh thou blessed friend of beggars, do thou sweetly make the view gracious to my soul. What was it led this poor man to the high-way side to seek alms? Surely his poverty, wretchedness, and a sense of want. And art thou come forth, my soul, from the same cause, and on the same errand? I presume this poor creature came forth empty; for had he been full he would never have come. And art thou so, my soul! for otherwise it is certain, they that are full in themselves never seek Jesus. But amidst his want and poverty, had this poor beggar hopes that the passersby would commiserate his case and relieve him? Yes, no doubt: though some might overlook and disregard him, all would not. But, my soul, thy case far exceeds his. Though all disregard, Jesus will not: and thou art sure he will pass by, and not only behold thy misery, but give thee needed relief. Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me! Behold, I am come out this morning as poor, as wretched, as empty, and as needy, as though I never before had heard of thy dear name, or been living upon thy fullness. But thou knowest that I cannot live upon the alms of yesterday, no more than my body can keep in health from the food received in the many days that are past, without a new supply, Lord, I know that I am thine, and that thou art mine. I therefore come to thee for a suited supply; and surely, thou wilt not send me empty away. Indeed, Lord, I rejoice that I feel my poverty; for I am thereby, as an empty vessel, better suited for receiving of thy fullness. Give in, blessed Jesus, to my poor hungry soul, and then I shall find cause to rejoice that my emptiness and beggary constrained me to seek thee; and that my need afforded an opportunity for the display of thy grace. Yes, yes, blessed Lord, I am not only content to be poor and to be needy, but to be nothing, to be worse than nothing, so that if thereby my blessed Jesus gets glory in the manifestation of his love and the giving out of his riches, "I will glory even in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." A beggar still I wish to be, and to lay at thy gate, if but to glimpse at thy face, and to receive one token from thy fair hand. Indeed, indeed, then am I most full, when most empty, to be filled with Jesus.

Luke 10:33

"A certain Samaritan." - Luke 10:33

Look, my soul, beyond the letter of the parable, and see if thou canst not instantly discover who it is that is here meant. Mark how he is described: "A certain Samaritan." Not any indifferent undetermined one among the whole mass of men called Samaritans, but an identical certain one: and who but Jesus answers to this character? "Said we not well, (said the Jews) that thou art a Samaritan?" Yes, truly, thus far ye said right; for our Jesus is the true Samaritan, that came a blissful stranger from his blessed abode, to deliver us from our lost estate, for his mercy endureth forever. And, my soul, observe how exactly corresponding to all that is said of this certain Samaritan in the parable, thy Jesus proves to have been. Our nature, universally speaking, was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when it fell among thieves, and when it was left more than half dead by the great enemy of souls; for we had all miserably departed from the Lord, when Jesus came from heaven to the Jericho of this world, to "seek and save that which was lost." And what could the priest or Levite do by law or sacrifice, to help our ruined nature? But when Jesus came and bound up the wounds which sin and Satan had made, by pouring in the balsam of his own precious blood, then he proved himself to be this certain Samaritan; for none but Jesus could have done this, since there is salvation in no other; "neither is there any other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." And what is it now, but the same gracious mercy carrying on the same blessed purpose in completing the perfect recovery of our nature. It is Jesus, Samaritan-like, which hath brought us to the inn of his church, hath appointed his servants and angels, who are ministering spirits, to minister in all divine things to the heirs of salvation. He hath commissioned the whole train of ordinances, and providences, and promises, to minister to our good. His holy word, his Holy Spirit, are unceasingly engaged to the same blessed end. And what crowns all, and makes our state and circumstances most safe and blessed indeed, is, that Jesus hath commanded all the remaining costs and expenses of our cure to be put down to his account. He saith himself to me, a poor worthless sinner as I am, and to every individual of his redeemed, "Whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay." And is it so, my soul? Is not the blessing too great to be bestowed, and thou too worthless to receive it? Oh no! for it is Jesus who promiseth: that is enough. Hail, then, thou certain Samaritan, thou Almighty Traveler through our miserable world! Since the first day that thou didst pass by, and didst behold me in my blood, cast out to perish, and didst bid me live, how hath my soul hailed thee, and now and unceasingly will hail thee, as my life, my hope, my joy, my portion forever!

John 11:25-26

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" - John 11:25-26

Pause my soul, over those divine, those glorious, those soul-quickening, soul-reviving words of thy Almighty Redeemer! What man, what prophet, what servant of the Lord, what angel but he that is the angel of the covenant, one with the Father, over all, God, blessed forever, could assume such a language, and prove that assumption as Jesus did, both by his own resurrection and that of Lazarus? And mark, my soul, the many precious things contained in this sweet scripture. Observe the blessing itself, even resurrection and life. Observe the source, the author, the fountain of it. Jesus, thy Jesus. Observe for whom this stupendous mercy is designed, and to whom conveyed; namely, the dead in trespasses and sins, and for the dying languishing frames of believers. And lastly, observe how absolute the thing itself is; they shall live. Oh precious words of a most precious Saviour! And may I not say to thee, my soul, as Jesus did to Mary, after proclaiming himself under this glorious distinction of character; "Believest thou this?" Canst thou answer as she did, "Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world?" This is a blessed confession to witness before God. For if I believe that Jesus be indeed the Christ of God, every other difficulty is removed to the firm belief that, as the Father hath life in himself, even so hath the Son life in himself, and whom he will he quickeneth. Witness then for me, every looker on, angels and men, that my soul heartily, cordially, fully subscribes to the same precious truth, and in the same language as Mary. Yea, Lord, I would say to every word of thine concerning thy sovereignty, grace, and love, as thou hast said it, so I accept it; in the very words of thine I take it, and cry out, yea, Lord, even so be it unto me according to thy word. And now, my soul, under all remaining seasons of deadness, coldness, backslidings, wanderings, and the like, never henceforth forget, from whom all revivals can only come. Never look within for them; for there is no power of resurrection in thyself. "Can these dry bones live?" Yes, if Jesus quickens. And is Jesus less able to quicken thee than thy connection with Adam to have killed thee? Oh how plain is it, that the very wants of the soul correspond to the very fullness of Jesus to answer them. And therefore, when the Lord Jesus saith, "I am the resurrection and the life," he comes to seek employment in this glorious character, to quicken the dead and revive the living. Oh Lord, give me to hear thy blessed voice this day, and my soul shall live, and live to praise thee.

Hosea 14:7

"They shall revive as the corn." - Hosea 14:7

Sweet promise to comfort a soul like mine, under so many and such frequent languishing graces! How often hath it appeared to my view as if the gracious seed had perished! It was small, indeed, in its first beginning, like the grain of mustard seed; and no sooner had it appeared, than I perceived it almost choked with the tares of corruption, unbelief, and Satan's rubbish. I was soon led to suspect God's work upon my soul. Surely, I said, this is not grace. Presently I could see no more of it. I was ignorant that by thus dying to self, the Holy Ghost was opening to my view the only living in Jesus. In a moment unlooked for, it revived as the corn. Ah, from whence is the source? Not from self, not from labours, not from exertions: can dead roots live? The Holy Ghost taught me this must be Jesus. Your life, he said, is hid with Christ in God. Here are the springs of grace: here, from hence, flow the streams of that river which make glad the city of God. Here then is faith's view of God's glory in Christ. Here is the promise. "They shall revive as the corn." And thus it is fulfilled. "In me," saith that precious Redeemer, "is thy fruit found." Mark this down, my soul. Both root and fruit are in one and the same, even Jesus. Spiritual attainments are in Jesus, not in the greenest buddings or fairest blossoms of our own labours. Live then, my soul, wholly upon Jesus, and then thou wilt revive as the corn. Suppose it trodden down; suppose the tares of the wicked rise to oppose it, yet if Jesus be the root, and the springs of grace in him flow, as they cannot but flow, to keep alive all the branches in him, there shall be, there must be at last, a glorious harvest. Oh what a volume doth the soul sometimes read at once in that short promise," Because I live, ye shall live also." Hail, hail, thou glorious root out of a dry ground; thou wilt send forth the golden ears for thine own garner. Thou wilt weed out everything that annoys. Thou wilt water, and by the sweet influences of thy blood, thy word, and Spirit, thou wilt shine upon the standing corn. And when, by all thy gracious husbandry, for the whole work and glory is thine, thou hast caused the plentiful crop to hang down their heads in all the humbleness of self- abasement, as the token of ripeness; thou wilt command thine angel to put in the sickle of death, and take home every stalk and every grain of the precious seed to thy garner in heaven.

Genesis 45:4

"And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt." - Genesis 45:4

What an interview was this, in the first manifestation the governor of Egypt made of himself to his brethren! We are told that he wept aloud. His bowels yearned over them. He had long smothered in his own bosom those he now manifests himself to every poor sinner, whom, by his grace, he makes partaker in the first resurrection on whom the second death hath no power? I am Jesus, your brother, saith that adored Lord; but he doth not add, whom ye sold for worse than a slave. There is no upbraiding, nothing of our baseness and sins. And yet we have all not only sold him, but by our transgressions crucified him. What a beautiful feature this is in the Redeemer; and how much even the love of Joseph falls short of Jesus! And what endears it still more, is the peculiar attention the Redeemer manifesteth upon the occasion. If there be one of his brethren more distressed and discouraged by reason of sin than another, to him Jesus directs his manifestation more immediately. Witness the case of Peter after his fall. Jesus will have the account of his resurrection not only communicated to all, but Peter is mentioned by name. "Go, tell his disciples, and Peter." As if knowing the apostle might fear that. having denied Jesus, he might justly be denied by him No, saith Jesus, let Peter be particularly told the joyful news, to make his heart glad. And dost thou, dearest Lord, speak to my soul? Dost thou say to me, I am your brother? Art thou not ashamed to call such sinners brethren? Oh thou unequalled pattern of unexampled love! add one mercy more to the vast. account, and let a portion of it kindle a flame of love in my soul. I have, indeed, sold them for a slave; nailed thee, by my sins, to the cross, and put thee to an open shame. But since thou hast redeemed me by thy blood, and bought the pardon of my sins so dear; and now, by thy triumph over death, art become the first-born among many brethren, and exalted as a Prince and a Saviour to give blessings infinitely superior to those Joseph was exalted to bestow on his brethren; behold, Lord, to thee do I come: manifest thyself still the forgiving brother, and supply all thy wants. Yes, blessed Jesus! thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; and all thy Father's children shall fall down before thee.

John 14:10

"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" - John 14:10

My soul, thou wilt never sufficiently contemplate this blessed oneness between the Father and the Son, in the great work and glory of redemption. Pause this morning, and observe for the confirmation of thy faith, that as Jesus is one with the Father in all the essence and attributes of the Godhead, so God the Father is one with Jesus. in all the offices of redemption. God was in Christ's human nature; for he is said to have been "God manifest in the flesh." God was in every name of Christ, every work of Christ, every word of Christ, every office of Christ, every attribute of Christ. And hence, in seeing Christ, we truly see God; in all his grace, mercy, love, salvation, and every blessing connected with our present, future, eternal happiness. And what a sweet thought is that, my soul, for thee to dwell upon; that as the Father is in Jesus, and in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, so, in consequence, there is a fullness of grace and a fullness of glory in Jesus to give out a supply here of the one, and hereafter of the other, to satisfy the most capacious desires of the souls of his redeemed to all eternity. For the human nature being personally united to the God-head in the person of the Lord Jesus, there must be this fullness everlastingly dwelling. There may be, and for certain purposes sometimes there are, great gifts and graces of the Spirit poured out upon the Lord's servants; but never could the Godhead be found in any but Jesus. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself." Pause once more, my soul, and ask thyself, hast thou Christ? Then hast thou God the Father in him. Where Christ is, God the Father is; and where Christ is not, there God is not. See then, my soul, that? this is the standard to ascertain the reality of thy case as it appears before God. Hast thou Jesus for thy portion? Then the Father is in him. Dost thou love Jesus? Then must thou love the Father in him. Dost thou seek Jesus? Then art thou seeking the Father in him. Oh for grace to discover our true interest in all the Father's covenant engagements, and promises, from this very source: that this everlasting oneness between the Father and Son infallibly secures to his people all the blessings of redemption, for in seeing the Son, we literally and truly see the Father, and glorify the Father in Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 22

"The hind of the morning." - Ps. xxii. in the title.

The dying patriarch Jacob, under the influence of the prophetic spirit, pointed to the seed of Naphtali as a hind let loose. But it is the church which points to Jesus as the hind of the morning; for he is, indeed, the loving hind, and the pleasant roe. It is sweet and profitable to observe in what a variety of methods the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to give sketches of Jesus. My soul, look at Jesus for thy present meditation as the hind of the morning. Was he not, from the very morning of eternity, marked under this lovely character? Did not the church speak of him, and desire his appearance, under this same character, when she begged of him, that until the shadows of Jewish ordinances were passed away, and the day of gospel light should break in upon her, that her beloved would be like a young hart, or the roe, upon the mountains of Bether? And was not Jesus, indeed, when he did appear, truly as the hind which the dogs that compassed him about, and the assembly of the wicked inclosed? Did he not say, in those unequalled moments of suffering," Save me from the lion's mouth, for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorn?" Yes, precious Jesus, thou art, indeed, the hind of the morning! In the morning of our salvation, thou camest over the hills and mountains of our sinful nature, with the swiftness of the hind, and the loveliness and gentleness of the roe, to expose thyself to the serpent, and the whole host of foes, for the deliverance of thy people. And, having trod upon the lion, and the adder, and the young lion, and the dragon, trampled under thy feet by thy death, thou "didst overcome death, and him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and hast delivered them, who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage." And now, precious Lord! thou art, as the hind slain, the food of the souls of thy redeemed by faith, until faith itself is done away in sight, and hope swallowed up in absolute fruition. Oh let the language of my heart daily, hourly, correspond to the church of old; and, during the shadows of ordinances, and all the dark clouds of unbelief and temptations with which I am here exercised, let me still, by faith, behold thee as the hind of the morning fleeing swiftly to my assistance, hearing and answering my prayers, leaping over all the mountains of distance which sin and unworthiness would throw up between thee and my soul, opposing all my enemies, and beating them under my feet that would keep me from thee; until that day, that glorious everlasting day which will have no night, shall break in upon my soul, and thou wilt then appear, to my unceasing, uninterrupted joy, the hind, indeed, of the morning. "Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like unto a roe, or to a young hart, upon the mountains of spices."

Luke 8:35

"Sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind." - Luke viii. 35.

Look at this man, my soul, and see whether thou canst find any resemblance to thyself. Before that he heard the voice of Jesus, he was under the possession of the evil spirit. It is said of him, that he wore no clothes. He dwelt in no house, but abode among the tombs. He was cutting himself with stones. No man could tame him, neither fetters nor chains bind him. Poor miserable creature! And yet, my soul, was not this a true emblem of thy state; and indeed, of every man's state by nature? Had not Satan full possession of thine heart and affections, my soul, before that thou becamest savingly acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ? Did he not lead thee in the pursuit and gratification of thy lusts and pleasure at his will? Thou mightest truly be said to wear no clothes; for so far from having on the garment of Jesus's righteousness, in those days of thine unregeneracy, thou wert naked to thy shame, in the filth of nature. Thou didst not dwell in the house of God, nor even delight to go thither. And, as this poor creature abode among the dead, so didst thou live and abide with characters like thyself, dead in trespasses and sins. And as this miserable man was wounding himself with stones, so wert thou; for thy daily commission of sin was giving wounds to thy soul, infinitely more alarming than the wounds he gave his body. And could no chains or fetters be found strong enough to bind him? So neither did all the solemn commands and threatening judgments of God's holy law act with the least restraint upon thine ungoverned passions. Pause, my soul, over the representation, and acknowledge how just and striking the similarity. Then ask thyself, art thou now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in thy right mind? Yes! if so be like this poor man, thou hast heard the voice of Jesus, and felt the power of his grace in thine heart. If one like the Son of God hath set thee free, brought thee to his fold, opened thine ear to discipline, and thine heart, to grace, then art thou free indeed. What sayest thou, my soul, to these things? Is there this change, this blessed change, from dead works to serve the living and true God? Oh then, will not the language of thine heart be like Jesus, and his church of old? "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."

Genesis 24:58

"And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go." - Genesis 24:58

See, my soul, with what readiness Rebekah determined to accompany the servant of Abraham to Isaac. And wilt thou not arise and go forth at the invitation of the servants of Jesus, who sends them to call thee to his arms? Hath he not, by the sweet constraining influences of his Holy Spirit, as well as by the outward ministry of his blessed word, made thee willing in the day of his power? Did the servant of Abraham give an earnest of his master's affection in putting the bracelets upon Rebekah's hands, and the ear-rings, and the gold? But what was this to the love-tokens which Jesus himself hath given thee, when he set thee as a seal upon his heart, and as a seal upon his arm, and when all the waters of divine wrath his holy soul had poured upon him for thy sins, and all the floods of corruption, which like a deluge, had overspread thy whole nature, could not quench his love, nor drown it. And if it be demanded, then, from thine own mouth this day, "Wilt thou go with this man," this Godman, this Glory-man, this Jesus? Wilt thou not instantly cry out, "I will go?" Yes! thou altogether lovely Lord, thou chiefest and fairest among ten thousand, I will go with thee. I would forget mine own people .and my father's house. For my father's house is an house of bondage. I was born in sin, and shapen in iniquity. A child of wrath, even as others, and by nature dead in trespasses and sins. It is thou, blessed Jesus, who hast delivered me from the wrath to come. It is thou who hast quickened me by thy Holy Spirit to a new and spiritual life. It is thou who hast sent thy servants to call me to thyself, and hast betrothed me to thyself forever. And is there any that yet asketh me, "wilt thou go with this man? My whole soul would outrun the question, and, like the apostle, I would answer, "to whom else shall I go?" Witness for me, ye servants of my Lord; ye angels, and ministers of light. I have none in heaven, neither in earth, but him. Yes, thou dearest Redeemer! I will go with thee, follow thee, live with thee, hang upon thee, die with thee, nor even death itself shall part thee and me. Oh let those precious words of thine, concerning thy church, be sweetly, felt in my soul. "I will say, it is my people: "and my whole soul will make her responses to the gracious sound, and say," the Lord is my God."

Matthew 1:21

"Thou shalt call his name Jesus." - Matthew 1:21

This is one more of the Redeemer's names, which is as ointment poured forth. As if the Holy Ghost had been graciously consulting the everlasting comfort and happiness of his people, and therefore commanded the church to know their Lord, by so many different and endearing appellations. As if he had said, are you kept back from approaching him through fear? Oh no; - go to him, for he is Emanuel. So great, as God, that he is able to save; so tender and near, as man, that he is more ready to bestow mercy than you are to ask it. Are you kept back for want of righteousness? Be not so, for he is the Lord our righteousness, and what you need he hath for you. Or, are you depressed by reason of sin? Let not this discourage you, for his name is purposely Jesus, because he, and he alone," shall save his people from their sins. "My soul, what knowest thou practically and personally of this most blessed name of thy Saviour? It is one thing to have heard of him as Jesus, and another to know him to be Jesus, There are multitudes who rest satisfied with the name. The Jews knew him, saw him, conversed with him; but they knew him not as a Saviour. Nay more than this, many have had, and still have, an historical knowledge and belief that Jesus is a Saviour, but yet no apprehension or concern for an interest in him. Thus Balaam, whose eyes were so far opened, but his heart never affected, as to have visions concerning Christ. But what an awful account did this impious creature give of himself! "I shall see him, (said he) but not now; I shall behold, him, but not nigh." - Numb, xxiv. 17. What an awful state! O my soul, bless thy God, thy Jesus, that thy knowledge is not of the head only, but of the heart. Thou hast not simply heard of Jesus, but received him as Jesus, to the salvation of thy soul. Thou hast seen God in Christ; the Father's name, the Father's authority in him. Thou hast come to him in that name, and by that authority, as a poor sinner, and found Jesus precious. And is not Jesus precious to thee? Is not the very name of Jesus most precious? As one of old expressed it, so hast thou found it, that in this one name of thy Lord, the whole of the gospel is folded up; it is the light, the food, the medicine, the very jubilee of the soul. Yes, thou blessed, holy, gracious Lord! Yes, thy name is indeed Jesus, for thou art, thou wilt be Jesus. "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee, for thou shalt save thy people from their sins."