1 Thessalonians 4:16

"With the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." - I Thess. iv. 16.

Before I drop into the arms of sleep, I would call upon my soul to ponder these words. I know not, each night, when retiring to rest, whether my next awakening may not be "with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." As what may be my state in this particular, and hath been the state of many (for the hour of a man's death is to all intents and purposes the day of judgment) becomes an infinitely momentous concern; how can I better close the day and the month together, than by a few moments' consideration of the solemn event? What is meant by "the voice of the archangel?" I do not recollect the name of the archangel being mentioned anywhere beside in scripture, except Jude 9. and here, as well as there, the person spoken of is but one. We have no authority to say, archangels; yea, it should seem, from what the apostle Jude hath said concerning the archangel, in calling him Michael (if compared with the vision of Daniel, chap. x. 21. and also with what is said in the book of the Revelations, chap xii. 7.) that it means the person of Christ. Jesus himself hath said, that "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and all that are in their graves shall come forth." John v. 25-28. At any rate, if the Holy Ghost speak but of one, and there be but the shadow of a probability that that one is Christ, it becomes very faulty to join others in the name, by making the word plural. With respect to "the trump of God," we may understand, that as the law was given with solemn splendour and glory on mount Sinai, so the consummation of all things will testify the divine presence. My soul, meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to the frequent consideration of them. And, by the lively actings of faith upon the person of thy Lord, contemplate thy personal interest in all the blessedness of this great day of God. If this "voice of the archangel," be indeed the voice of Jesus, and thou knowest now by grace thy oneness and union with him, shall not the very thought give thee holy joy? It is true, indeed, the day will be solemn, yea, profoundly solemn. But it is equally true, that it will be glorious to all the redeemed. And if the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to look up, and lift up their heads with holy joy, when their redemption drew nigh, shall we not suppose that it must be pleasing to the mind of our God and Saviour that we welcome and hail the fulfillment of it? Yea, must it not be pleasing to our God and Father, that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ to this day of eternal salvation? We find the apostles thus encouraging the faithful Paul tells Titus to be "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus ii. 13. Surely, if the hope be blessed, and the appearing of Jesus, as the Redeemer of his people, glorious; our souls should triumph in the expectation. Peter goes one step farther, and bids the church not only to be looking but hasting unto the coming of it; as souls well assured of their safety in Jesus; and therefore to cry out with holy faith, "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!" 2 Pet. iii. 12. What sayest thou, my soul, to these things? Are they blessed? Are thy hopes thus going forth in desires after Christ's coming? Oh! the blessedness of falling asleep each night, in the sleep of nature, in the perfect assurance of a oneness with Christ? And Oh! the blessedness of falling asleep in Jesus, when the Lord gives the signal for the sleep of death! All the intervening lapse of time, from death to this hour of the "voice of the archangel," is totally lost to the body, like the unconscious lapse of time to the labouring man of health, whose sleep each night is sweet. When the patriarchs, of their different ages, arise at "the trump of God," their bodies will be equally unconscious whether the sleep hath been for one night, or several thousand years. Think, my soul, of these solemn but precious things. Frequently meditate with holy joy and faith, upon this great day of God. Recollect that it is Jesus who comes to take thee home. And having long redeemed thee by his blood, he then will publicly acknowledge thee for his own, and present thee to the Father and himself, as a part of his glorious church, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but to be forever without blame before him in love."

1 Corinthians 5:8

"Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. " - I Cor. v. 8.

My soul, hast thou duly considered the unsuitableness of all leaven to mix up with the unleavened bread of the gospel of Jesus? Whatever sours, and gives a principle of taint to the mind, is indeed a leaven, carefully to be avoided. And "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump!" So that it was expressly enjoined, in the divine precept of the law, on the Passover, that "there should be no leaven found in their houses; the soul that did eat of it was to be cut off from the congregation." Exod. xii. 19. Sweet instruction, couched under the prohibition! With Jesus there is to be no mixture; nothing of creature leaven, of self-will, or self-righteousness to mingle. My soul, thou hast been at the gospel feast, and sat with Jesus at his table. Surely thou hast kept the feast then, as here enjoined, and allowed nothing of leaven, in the old nature or in the new, to be with thee. Oh! the blessedness of thus receiving Christ with "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth!" Oh! the felicity of receiving a broken Christ into a broken heart; preciously feeding upon his body broken, and his blood shed, as the sole, the only, the all-sufficient means of salvation by faith! Oh! Lamb of God! keep thy table sacred from all leaven, both in the persons approaching it, and the offerings made upon it. Let not the children's bread be received, or given to the leaven of hypocrisy and wickedness; but let all who meet around thy board be of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth! And do thou, Lord, come into thy house, to thy table, to thy people; and let each for himself hear, and joyfully accept the invitation of the kind Master: "Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved!

Revelation 22:17

"And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth, say, come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." - Rev. xxii. 17.

My soul, doth not the evening bell, which calleth to the ordinance, in all its melodious sounds, seem to express these gracious invitations? Wilt thou not attend? Private meditation is indeed sweet; but public ordinances are of more avail. "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob!" What a blessed sight is it to see the house of God well filled! What a refreshment to my poor weary sin-sick soul, to hear Jesus in his word saying, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary, and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And every part and portion of the service proclaims the gospel cry: - "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price." Isa. lv. 1. And do observe, my soul, how, in the close of scripture, the invitation is repeated; as if to leave the impression fresh and lasting upon every soul. Yea, the Spirit confirms it; "come," is the call of the Holy Ghost; "come," is the call of the whole church, the bride, the Lamb's wife; yea, every one that heard of the free, and full, and glorious salvation; the angels, the ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation, they join the pressing invitation, and cry, "come." And surely every thirsty soul will not cease to say the same, for whoever-the Lord the Spirit hath made "willing in the day of his power," may come in the day of his grace. And if Jesus, with his great salvation, be welcome to his heart, that heart is welcome to come to Jesus. My soul, with what a cloud of witnesses is the church of the living God encompassed; and how many and numerous are the invitations of grace! Wilt thou not then, in return, echo to the cry, and hasten thy Redeemer's coming, in the same earnest language? Come, Lord Jesus! to thy bride, the church, and be thou to all thy redeemed the water of life, and the fountain of life; until thou take home thy church, which is here below, to join thy church above, that they may unitedly dwell together, in the light of thy countenance for evermore!

Philippians 3:12

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." - Phil. iii. 12.

My soul! take the apostle for an example in thine evening's meditation. Here he freely and fully confesseth himself, after all his attainments in the life of grace, to be far short of what he longed to attain. And observe the aim of the apostle: all his pursuit, and all his desire was, like an arrow shot at a mark, to apprehend Christ, as Christ had first apprehended him: to grasp Jesus, as the Lord Jesus had held, and did hold him. Happy desire! happy pursuit! and blessed mark of grace! For let the Lord have given out to the soul ever so largely, there is more to give out, more to be received, more to be enjoyed. And the Holy Ghost, who is leading a child of God out of himself, more and more, to lead him more and more to the enjoyment of Jesus, is sweetly training that precious soul, and advancing him to the highest lessons in the school of grace. Paul felt this, when he cried out, "Not that I have already attained, either were already perfect." To be sure not: for if we thought we had enough of Christ, it would be more than half conviction that we had nothing at all. Now, my soul, learn from Paul, in what the life of God in the soul consists: to be always pursuing the person of Jesus, for the farther enjoyment of him; never sitting down satisfied with what is already attained; but" pressing (as the apostle did) towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus:" in short, to make Christ the sum, the substance, the all of every desire; and ever to keep in remembrance, that the more we receive, the more Jesus hath to impart; the more he gives out, the more he is glorified; and, like some rich spring, the oftener we receive from him, the more rich and full he flows: Oh the blessedness of such a state! What a heaven upon earth would it be, if closely followed! To be always living upon Jesus, coming to Jesus, thirsting after Jesus; and the more we receive out of him, and of him, to have the soul's desires after him the more increased by all we enjoy. Precious Lord! grant me this felicity, that, like Paul, I may say," Not as though I had already attained :" but all my longings are, so to apprehend and hold fast Christ Jesus, as Christ Jesus hath apprehended and doth hold me fast.

Exodus 28:30

"The Urim and the Thummim." - Exod. xxviii. 30.

There is somewhat very interesting in this account of "the Urim and the Thummim;" though in the present distance of time, we can at the best form nothing more than conjectures as to what it was. But through grace, and the teaching of the Holy Ghost, we can have clear views of what it meant. The general acceptations of the Hebrew words, are, lights and perfections. And as Aaron, as high priest, became a lively type of Christ, so, by bearing on his breast-plate "the Urim and the Thummim," there can be no difficulty in beholding Jesus represented as the light and perfection of his people. And as Aaron bare all the names of the people upon his breast, where "the Urim and Thummim" were worn; how delightful is it to see Jesus thus represented, as bearing all the persons of his redeemed, in his own light and perfection, when he goes in before the presence of God for us! Sweet and precious thought to the believer! And now the church cries out: "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm;" Song viii. 6. And so important did this appear to Moses, when dying, that he expressly prayed, that" the Thummim and the Urim might be with Jehovah's Holy One;" Deut. xxxiii. 8. Now here we have at once the application of the whole; for who is Jehovah's Holy One, but the Lord Jesus Christ? With him it eminently remained, and with him only. For during the captivity, it was lost with the temple, and was never again restored. But with Jesus, the continuance of it was everlasting, for he hath "an unchangeable priesthood, and is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever." Precious Lord Jesus! be thou "the Urim and the Thummim" to my soul; for thou art both the light and perfection of thy people, in grace here, and glory forever.

Isaiah 6:5

"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of clean lips." - Isa. vi. 5.

My soul! thy last evening was deeply exercised on that glorious subject, the holiness of Jehovah. Let this evening's meditation call thee to what ought immediately to follow; thy unholiness and corruption. What a transition! And yet what more suited for meditation? The prophet Isaiah, who had been admitted to the view of a vision, like that which John the apostle saw in the after ages, beheld the glory of Christ, and heard those who cried, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts! and the effect was as is here related. His consternation was so great, concluding that he should be struck dead (agreeably to what holy men of old had conceived, that the sight of God would produce death), that he cried out, "Woe is me, I am undone." Pause, my soul! thou art also "a man of unclean lips!" How dost thou hope to see the face of God in glory? How art thou prepared for such an overwhelming sight? Convinced of thy uncleanness, and convinced also that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, neither can any evil dwell with him; how art thou looking for acceptance here by grace, and the everlasting acceptance and admittance of thy person hereafter in glory before God? Ponder the subject well, and consider, under this particular, as in every other, the blessedness of an union with Christ, and an interest in Christ. Here lie all thy hopes, all thy confidence, all thy security! Undone as thou art in thyself, and unclean as thy lips and thy whole nature are, by reason of sin, both from the original state in which thou wast conceived and born, and the actual transgressions which thou hast committed; yet looking up to the throne, in and through Jesus, thy Husband, thy Surety, thy Sponsor; here it is, my soul, and here alone, that thy confidence is well founded, and all thy hopes secure. And dost thou not feel a holy joy, a sweet indescribable delight, in contemplating the divine holiness; while contemplating, at the same time, thine own interest and right in the holiness of the Lord Jesus? Art thou not full of rapture in beholding the glory of God's holiness, for which, rather than an atom of it should be tarnished by the sinner, the Son of God assumed the nature of his people, and died on the cross, to make atonement? And art thou not comforted in the blessed view, that God's holiness hath received more glory, more honour, by the obedience and sacrifice of the Glory-man, Christ Jesus, than could have been given by the everlasting obedience of men and angels to all eternity? And say, moreover, dost thou not at times take delight in drawing nigh to the throne of grace, and offering thy poor feeble praises of" Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Hosts," when thou art approaching, and holding communion with God, in and through the holy Jesus, thy ‘Redeemer? Oh! thou dear Emmanuel, in whom alone, and by whom alone, all my hopes and confidences are founded, I fall down at thy feet, and as the prophet cried out, so do I desire unceasingly to exclaim, "I am a man of unclean lips!" But do thou cause the iniquity to be taken away, and my sin to be purged, by the live coal, from thee, who art our new testament altar, and I shall be clean; for thou art the Lord my righteousness.

Revelation 4:8

"And they rear not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." - Rev. iv. 8.

Make a solemn pause, my soul, over these words; and when thou hast found a fixedness of thought, that every faculty may be engaged in the contemplation, ponder well this divine perfection of Jehovah, the holiness of his nature, by which an eternal distinction is drawn between him and all his creatures. None but Jehovah can be essentially holy. Angels, who have never sinned, have indeed a holiness; but it is derived from Him, it exists not in themselves, and, in point of comparison, is but as the shadow to the substance; moreover, being in their nature mutable creatures, their holiness may be changed also: the fallen angels are proofs in point. But with Jehovah, holiness is in himself; the peculiar glory of his nature, and inseparable from his very existence. Pause over this view, for it is scriptural, and truly blessed. Go on to another observation. Thrice is the ascription of holiness given, in this sublime song of the blessed in heaven, as if to point out the personality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the Holy undivided Three," which bear record in heaven, for these three are one," I John v. 7. When these glorious truths are suitably impressed upon thee, pause once more, and consider with what distinguishing characters the holiness of Jehovah is set forth in the word of God. The heavenly host are said to rest not day and night in proclaiming their deep sense and adoration of Jehovah in this glorious attribute. Now here is somewhat for the mind to lean upon, in contemplating Jehovah's holiness. Jehovah is eternal also, and hath commanded the church to know him as the faithful God, Deut. vii. 9. But we never read that the host of worshippers thrice repeat his eternity, or his faithfulness, in their hymns, of adoration and praise. Moreover, Jehovah himself seems to have pointed out this divine attribute as among the distinguishing excellencies he will be known by; for he singles it out to swear by:" I have sworn once by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David," Ps. lxxxix. 35. Precious thought for the poor timid believer to keep always in view! For it is as if Jehovah had said, ‘I have pledged my holiness, as an attribute essential to my very nature, that what I have promised to David's Lord, even my dear Son, of the redemption of his seed, as sure as I am holy, I will most certainly perform.' Moreover, my soul, holiness is the glory .of Jehovah. Hence the song of the church:" Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods! who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness!" Exod. xv. 11. And hence Jehovah is said to be worshipped "in the beauties of holiness;" Ps. cx. 3. My soul! keep this also in remembrance. If the representation of an angel, or a man, were to be made, we should figure to ourselves the most beautiful countenance; and if Jehovah be represented to us, how is it done? Surely in the beauty of holiness; for God the Holy Ghost gives us "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ!" 2 Cor. iv. 6. Pause over these infinitely solemn meditations, and while thou art overawed (as, indeed, it is impossible but to be so) in the contemplation of distinguishing a perfection of the divine nature; and, moreover, as this view of God's holiness is so directly opposed to the unholiness of a poor fallen sinful creature, as thou art, look up for grace from the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and take relief in the sweet and consoling consideration, that to this glorious God thou art permitted, yea, commanded and encouraged, to draw near, in and through the holiness of thy Redeemer. Hail, blessed Jesus! upheld by the right arm of thy righteousness, and washed from all our sins in thy blood, all thy church may here draw nigh by faith, and send forth their feeble breathings in the same strain as the church in thy presence doth above, while in their hymns day and night, they shout aloud, "Holy! holy! holy! Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come!"

John 6:37-40

"All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." - John vi. 37 - 40.

My soul, commit this blessed portion to thy memory; yea, beg of God the Holy Ghost to commit, and write all the gracious things contained in it, on the inner tablets of thine heart! It is in itself a gospel, yea, a fur gospel. Methinks, I would have it proclaimed on the house-tops, and published, day by day, in every place of public concourse throughout the earth, until the saving truths were every one of them known, and felt, and enjoyed, by every poor awakened and needy sinner. Mark, my soul, the several contents of what thy God and Saviour hath here said: take the whole with thee to thy bed, this night, and drop asleep, in faith of the whole, in the arms of Jesus; and if the Lord bring thee to the light of the succeeding morning, let those sweet and gracious words, which proceeded out of Jesus's mouth, salute thee with the first dawn of the morning, arise with thee, and go about with thee, in thy remembrance, until the whole be fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven. Now mark their immense blessings, according to the order in which they stand: "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me." All; not one, or two, or ten, or a million only, but all. And observe wherefore? They are the Father's gift to Jesus, and therefore they must come. He saith elsewhere, "that I should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given me," John xvii. 2. Hence, therefore, there is a blessed provision, a blessed security, that they shall come; for they are the Father's gift to Christ, as well as the purchase of Christ's blood; and the promise is absolute in the charter of grace;" Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power," Ps. cx. 3. And, to give every possible encouragement to the poor coming sinner, whom God the Holy Ghost is leading by the hand to all- precious Jesus, however unconscious that poor soul is of the gracious influence under which he is coming, Jesus adds, "And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." Observe the tenderness of our Lord's words. He had said, all shall come: but Jesus well knew the most humble are the most timid, and the most apt to be discouraged; and therefore he makes each one's case to be expressed by the word him: "him that cometh." As if Jesus had said, ‘Let that poor creature, who is most afraid, by reason of a conscious sense of his transgressions, take comfort: if he cometh, let him know, that" I will in no wise cast him out."‘ And to confirm it still more, Jesus adds, ‘For this is the very purpose for which I came down from heaven; not only because it was my full purpose to seek and save that which was lost, but it is the will of my Father also, who sent me.' And, as if to impress this grand truth upon every poor sinner's heart, he repeats the gracious words: "And this is the will of him that sent me." He saith it twice, that there might be no mistake. And yet farther: if a poor sinner should say, ‘ But how am I to come, and in what am I to come; what are the qualifications for coming?' "This," saith the all-gracious Redeemer, "this is the will of my Father, the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, shall have everlasting life." And what is it to see the Son, but so to behold him by the eye of faith, as to believe in him to the salvation of the soul; to see him as the Christ, the Sent, the Sealed, the Anointed of God; the one, and only one ordinance of heaven, for the redemption of poor sinners; whose blood cleanseth from all sin, and whose righteousness freely and fully justifieth every believing sinner? Pause, my soul, and well ponder these precious, saving truths; and then take comfort in the blessed assurance, that thou hast all these testimonies in thine own experience, from having long since come to Christ, and long found the certainty of these promises. Lie down, my soul, this night, yea, lie down, my body, this, and every night, until the last night, even the night of death shall come; for thou sleepest in Jesus by faith, and his words are thy security: "Of all my Father hath given me, I should lose nothing; I will raise him up at the last day."

2 Kings 6:32

"Look when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?" - 2 Kings vi. 32.

It is blessed to watch every dispensation of the Lord's providence, as well as his grace; for Jesus is in all. So that when messengers of heaviness come, and with sad tidings, as in this instance of the prophet, if we shut to the door as they enter, and suffer them to open their commission, we shall hear the sound of their master's feet behind them, confirming every one. There are no events which can happen to a child of God, but they ought to be thus dealt with. They are like letters personally directed, and speak, in their whole contents, the causes for which the king's post hath brought them; and they cannot be mistaken, if they are well read, and pondered over; for they point to the individual, as the prophet's servant to Jehu. "To which of all us, (said Jehu) is this errand?" The answer was," To thee, O captain!" 2 Kings ix. 5. Now, my soul, learn hence how to receive all the messengers of thy Lord. Shut the door upon them, and detain them, until thou hast well studied, and perfectly understood their commission. Oh! my Lord Jesus ] in all thine afflicting providences, cause me to hear my master's feet following every one. "I know, Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in very faithfulness causeth me to be troubled." I know, Lord, also, that they are graciously commissioned, and the issue must be blessed. And I know, Lord, that even during their exercise, however sharp, they will be sweetly sanctified, if, through thy blessing upon them, they cause my poor heart to cleave the closer to thee. So long then, dear Lord, as thou causest me to entertain right conceptions of these soul exercises, let me never shrink from shutting the door, that I may the more earnestly meditate upon thy messages; and if I see Christ in every one, and blessings in every one, sure I am, the issue of no one will ever be doubtful. I shah then learn the same precious lesson that Job did, and through thy grace, like him, make it practical: and bless a taking God, as well as a giving God: for, let the Lord take what else he may from me, never, never will he take Christ from me; and while I have him, in him I shah possess all things. Oh! for grace so to receive all the sable messengers of my Lord, as to hear my master's feet behind them. Sure I am, that when their black covering is removed, I shall behold a fullness of blessings which they have brought with them under their garments. Like the angel to Peter in the prison, they may smite roughly on the side; but the very stroke will cause the chains to fall from my hands, and open the prison doors, to give liberty and joy. Acts. xii. 7.

John 4:29

"Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" - John iv. 29.

Those are sweet and blessed views of the Lord Jesus, which he himself gives, when, by letting the poor sinner see himself, how wretched he is, and at the same time how glorious the Lord is, and how exactly suited to his wants and necessities, he makes the soul cry out, as this woman of Samaria did," Is not this the Christ?" For who but Christ can read the heart, and tell all that passeth there? And as she found it, so all taught of Jesus find the same, that every true discovery of Christ must end in condemning ourselves, and exalting the Redeemer. My soul! there are numberless instructions to be gathered from this scripture, and the history connected with it. Sit down, this evening, in the coolness of the shade, and look at a few of them. The Lord the Holy Ghost will open them to thy meditation. Jesus, we are told, "must needs go through Samaria." Yes; there was this poor sinner to be convinced of sin, and to be brought acquainted with her Saviour. Hence the opportunity soon offered; and Jesus as soon accomplished the purpose of his going thither. The Lord opened her heart to her own view, and gave her to see the vileness within. He opened, at the same time, her heart to the knowledge of himself, gave her to see his salvation; and the effects were as might have been expected: she hastened to the city, to tell other poor sinners, who also stood in need of a Saviour, that she had found "him of whom Moses and the prophets did write." Come, said she "see a man, which told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?" My soul! hast thou so learned Christ? Hast thou "met with the Lord God of the Hebrews," and learned from him self-humbling thoughts, and a true conviction of sin? Hath he taught thee who he is, and what need thou hast of him? Hast thou seen him to be indeed the Christ of God; the man, whose name is Wonderful; who, in his divine nature, is "one with the Father over all, God blessed forever;" and in his human nature, "the man, whose name is the Branch;" and by the union of both natures, the one glorious and true Messiah, "the Lord our righteousness?" And hath such a conviction of the infinite importance of knowing Christ been wrought thereby upon thy mind, that thou hast taken every method of recommending him to others? Surely, my soul, no truly regenerated sinner, who hath known, and seen, and felt that the Lord is gracious, but must be anxious that others should know, and see, and feel it also. And, therefore, like this poor woman, thou wilt be taking every proper opportunity of calling upon all, as far as thy sphere of usefulness can extend, to come and enjoy the same blessings, which the Lord hath imparted to thee. Precious Lord! I would not only invite every poor needy sinner to come to thee, but I would desire to accompany them. I would not say," Go to Jesus," as if I needed thee no more myself; but I would say, "Come to him," let us go together, for "he will shew us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." And Oh! that multitudes may come, and find to their soul's joy, as the Samaritans did, on the invitation of this poor woman, and be enabled to say, as they said, "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."

Ephesians 3:8

"Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given." - Ephes. iii. 8.

My soul, hear what the great apostle to the gentiles speaks of himself. He calls himself "less than the least;" a thing almost impossible in itself; but he doth it with a view to magnify the riches, the exceeding great riches of grace. And in the same moment that he views himself so low and abject, he is lost in amazement at beholding the exalted office to which he was called. So that Paul cries out, "Unto me," a poor, sinful, unworthy creature of the earth, "to me was this grace given!" My soul, leave for a moment the view of the apostle, and make the subject personal, by looking to a renewed instance of that grace, most freely given, in a case as far surpassing Paul in the greatness and undeservedness of it, as the imagination can conceive. Perhaps every sinner feels the same; this at least is certain, all may well feel the same. But the subject is not properly improved, either in the apostle's instance, or any other, unless there be connected with it the one great object of the whole, the promotion of the Redeemer's glory. This was and is the first and ultimate design for which grace was given. "This people," saith Jehovah, speaking of the redeemed in Christ, "have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise." Isa. xliii. 21. And how do they shew forth the Lord's praise, but by the gifts of the Lord's grace? When Jesus calleth a poor sinner, and manifests himself to him, this is the display of his grace; for it is on such more especially, that he maketh his grace to shine. It would have been no grace had we merited his favour. But because we merit nothing, yea, are justly entitled to punishment, and yet God gives mercy, grace, and favour; this is what illustrates the exceeding riches of his grace, and demonstrates God's love to be indeed the love of God which passeth knowledge, because it differs altogether from creature love. And what tends yet more to display the riches of grace, that the glory of God in Christ, in following up the blessed plan of redemption, may be great indeed, the crown of Jesus, as Mediator, depends upon bringing to glory the objects of his love, on whom he hath made that grace to shine. And who shall calculate the rich revenue of love, adoration, and praise, in glory, which Jesus will have, and be forever receiving, from the millions of redeemed souls gathered from sin and Satan, by the alone sovereignty of his grace? My soul, it is truly blessed thus to contemplate the person and work of Jesus, and the sweet effects of his grace. And what an addition to the subject is it, to say, with the apostle, each poor sinner for himself, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given!"

Psalm 57:7

"My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise." - Psalm 57-7.

My soul! here is a delightful subject proposed for thine evening meditation, in the fixedness of the heart. The only possible way of really "singing and giving praise to the Lord" with the heart, is when the Lord hath fixed thine heart to the service. Many rush to ordinances, as the unthinking horse rusheth to the battle: not so, my soul, be thy practice. See to it, that He who alone can give a fixedness to the heart, hath fixed thine; for then, when the view of a God in Christ is brought home by the Holy Ghost to thy warmest and most devout affections, then, and not before, will there be a going forth of those affections, awakened and led by the same Almighty Spirit, upon the glorious person of thy Lord, and faith will be in lively exercise, in a way of praise, and love, and obedience, and joy. Then thou wilt sing and give praise "with the spirit, and with the understanding also." Sit down now, in the coolness of this sweet summer evening, and wait upon thy Jesus in silence and in meditation before him, until the Lord hath given thee this fixedness of affection on his person and righteousness; and then thou wilt find a fitness for devotion, and a fitness in devotion, from the sweet influences of God the Holy Ghost. Oh! how blessed is it to retire from every eye but his, who seeth in secret; and to remember, that while thine eye is looking upon Him, he is ever looking upon thee! Such a thought as this begins to give a fixedness to the heart; for the whole current and stream of the affections are directed, and therefore pour in to this one channel; so that, like a river not divided, nothing of it runs another way. And when the full tide of thine affections is thus tending to the person of Jesus, shall not such a fixedness of thought make thee cry out, as David, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise?" It is this state of the heart, which makes all the difference between the gracious and the carnal. Both may use closet duties; both may read, yea, study the word; yea, become proficients in the outer understanding of the word; the meditation may furnish the head, but not feed the heart: but it is the gracious soul that enjoys. It is a solemn consideration, how many are employed from year to year, in spiritual things, whose hearts all the while remain carnal. But where there is a fixedness of the heart, by the Spirit of the living God, upon the person, offices, and character of the Lord Jesus Christ, the meditation doth not settle for the mere discharge of a duty, but for the joy of the soul. Oh how I love thy law!" is then the language of the fixed heart; "it is my meditation all the day." My soul, dost thou know these things by heartfelt testimony? Doth God the Holy Ghost shine in upon thee with his light, to give thee sweet views, engaging views, soul-arresting views of Jesus? Are thine eyes, I mean the whole affections of thy soul, fixing themselves on Jesus, as a longing woman fixeth upon the one object of her desire, which nothing beside can satisfy? Oh! it is blessed to have this fixedness of mind at all times upon the person of Jesus. For this is to enter into the heart, and to shut to the door, (as Christ expresseth it) by shutting out all thoughts besides, and then looking in every direction for Jesus, and finding him in all, and upon all. His word, his grace, his secret whispers, his communications, are like so many rich cabinets of jewels, which the soul turns over, and finds Jesus in every one. Oh! thou dear Lord Jesus! grant me this happy frame of mind, that I may say, with David, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise!"

1 Peter 1:2

"Elect, according to fore-knowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." - I Pet. i. 2.

Of all blessings, surely this is the highest, and the best, which holds forth to a poor sinner the assurance of redemption, as the united result of the love, grace, and mercy of all the persons in the Godhead. My soul, pause over the glorious truth, and sweetly mark the testimony of each cooperating and acting together in the great work of salvation. Behold thy God and Father setting apart, from all eternity, the chosen vessels of mercy, foreknowing and fore- appointing every event, in his own counsel, purpose, and will. What a blessed thought, in the mind of the redeemed, is this, to live upon, to cherish, and keep alive in the soul, from day to day, to call up the unceasing fruits of adoration, love, duty, and praise, in grace here, and in glory to all eternity. Go on, my soul, to the contemplation of the second chapter in his holy volume of grace and mercy; and mark what the apostle hath here said of "the sanctification of the Spirit." So that the blessed hand of the Holy Ghost is as much engaged in this beneficent act of redemption, in the existence of every individual, as the foreknowledge and appointment of God the Father, or of the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Yea, all the glory of redemption, in the grace provided by the Father, and the merits of the Son's blood and righteousness, depend, for the personal enjoyment of it, in the case of each believer, upon the Holy Ghost's revelation of it in the soul. Oh! it is blessed to see, to feel, to know, and to enjoy those gracious communications of God's Christ in the soul, which God the Holy Ghost awakens, and excites, and brings home to the mind. And no less, as the meritorious cause of all, (the third chapter in this wonderful volume) do thou contemplate, my soul, the two united branches of thy redemption; the obedience, and atonement in the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. How comprehensive, yet how full and satisfactory! It is Jesus, as God's righteous servant, who, by his perfect obedience hath justified his people. And it is the death of the cross which hath fully atoned for their transgression; "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." Behold then, my soul, in these three glorious chapters of redemption how all the great charter of grace is summed up and contained. Take it with thee as thine evening portion; let it lie down with thee, and arise with thee; and carry it about with thee, for thine unceasing meditation during the whole of thy day of grace, until grace is swallowed up in eternal glory!

John 1:29-37

"I shall behold man no more, with the inhabitants of the world." - Isa. xxxviii. 11.

My soul, though thou art, I trust, prepared for thy great change, and in an habitual state for death, whenever the Lord shall come to take thee home; yet there is also an actual state of being on the lookout for it, so that it is proper at times to go down to the grave in imagination, before thou art carried thither in reality; that by earthing thyself, thou mayest consider what will be the immediate consequences of death in those things which are now most about thee, and with which thou art necessarily much occupied. "Thou wilt behold man no more, with the inhabitants of the world:" would it not be proper, therefore, to wean thyself from too great an acquaintance with them now, that the separation may be the less felt? Thou wilt be called upon to enter upon a state altogether new, and a path thou hast never before trodden; and would it not be wise to send forth enquiries concerning them, such as scripture gives the clearest answer to, and study the best way to make preparation in Jesus for thy change? What a blessed example hath the apostle Paul left upon record of his conduct in this particular; "I protest," said he to the Corinthian church, speaking on this subject, "by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily," 1 Cor. xv. 31. Such were both the habitual and actual frames of Paul's mind, that he was every day, and all the day, waiting and looking for his Master's call. The fact was, he knew the certainty of the ground on which he stood; he had no farther questions to ask concerning his safety in Christ; and therefore, he rather wished to bring the hour on, than to put it off. His whole heart, his whole affections, centered in Christ; and as such, though to live was Christ, yet to die was gain. My soul, what sayest thou to this blessed frame? Oh! for the same earnestness, and from the same cause; that whether this night, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning, when the Lord comes, though thou wilt behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world, yet thou wilt behold the face of God in glory; and when thou awakest after his likeness, thou wilt be satisfied with it.

Jeremiah 8:7

"Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming: but my people know not the judgment of the Lord." - Jer. viii. 7.

When the Lord would expostulate with his people, what methods he graciously adopts! There are no creatures in nature so dull, so senseless, and stupid, as God's people are, by reason of the fall. Every animal hath an instinct, prompting to self-preservation. Arc they exposed to danger? how speedily do they endeavour to remove! Are they apprehensive of a storm? they flee to some covering to hide them! The birds of passage, when the first symptoms of winter appear, gather together, to depart to a warmer climate. But man, poor blind improvident man, no winter of death can admonish him; no approach of the departing day of life can prevail, to induce him to flee from the wrath to come. My soul! look round on human life, and mark this, by way of admiring, more and more, distinguishing grace, which enabled thee to estimate thy privileges, and discern that sovereign bountiful mercy, which maketh thee to differ from another. "What hast thou, which thou didst not receive?" But, dearest Lord, is it not to copy after that gracious feeling of thine, which thou hadst in the days of thy flesh, when thou hadst compassion on the multitude, in beholding them famishing, and wast moved in pity towards them; when we behold the great mass of thoughtless sinners, whose concern for self-preservation doth not come up to that of the brute which perisheth? In common life, all are interested, and earnest in the pursuit of the different objects of the world: the traveler is full of thought, in his way home, to see that his path be right; the marl-net would not run contrary to the direction of the compass; the man of trade never acts in opposition to the gain of that trade; neither does the man of pleasure lose sight of what will most likely promote that pleasure. But thy people, blessed Jesus, are everlastingly pursuing what they have proved a thousand times to be vain and unsatisfying; yet they pursue it again, and do not learn "to know the judgment of the Lord." Blessed Lord! undertake for me: pity, compassionate, direct, guide, keep me! Oh! for grace to learn, and rightly to value the things of salvation! And, convinced that Christ is all and in all, may I never seek from the creature what only can be found in the Creator! And having discovered the vanity of everything out of Christ, may I, where Christ is not, from henceforth learn, with the church to say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee: my flesh and my heart faileth: but thou art the strength of my heart and my portion forever!"

Psalm 2:6-7

"Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree." - Ps. ii. 6, 7.

Here is a subject, my soul, opened for thy meditation, which neither the evening nor day of thy whole life, no, nor eternity itself, will ever be long enough to exhaust. Some of the outlines may be gathered here below, when God the Holy Ghost condescends to teach; but the subject itself will, no doubt, be among the glorious employments of heaven. It should seem, that the divine speakers here are God the Father and God the Son. We find similar instances in the word of God: see Isa. vi. and xlix. John xii. 27, 28. And the beloved apostle was led into an apprehension of the same subject, for the church's instruction, in that vision he saw, Rev. v. 1-9. In this vision, Jesus is represented as taking the book, and opening it, and declaring the contents of it. Hence, therefore, when God the Father saith, as in this Psalm, "I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion;" Jesus, as King, declares the decree of the council of peace, which was between them both, for the salvation of his church and people. And what was the decree, but the decree from all eternity; namely, that Jehovah would give a church to his dear Son, and his dear Son to the church: that Jesus should take the name of his people, and their nature; become their glorious Head and Representative; redeem them from the ruins of the fall, and make them altogether glorious and lovely, from his comeliness that he would put upon them? Upon Christ's thus undertaking the salvation of his people, "the decree went forth," that all power should be his, as Mediator, in heaven and in earth. It began from everlasting: for from everlasting, by this decree, Jesus was set up as the glorious Head and Mediator before all worlds. The same power became his in time; and the same power is his to all eternity. Hence, therefore, Jesus is no sooner seated on his throne, on his holy hill of Zion, but he sends forth the decree; and God the Father confirms the whole, in giving him "the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession." Hail then, thou sovereign Lord! thou almighty King, upon thy holy hill of Zion! Gladly do I acknowledge thee to be my King and my God; for by Jehovah's appointment, by thy conquest of my heart, and by the voluntary surrender of myself since thou hast brought me under the power of thy grace, am I thine, and no longer my own. Oh! for grace so to acknowledge thee, so to obey thee, so to love thee, that while the Lord Jehovah hath set thee upon thy throne, his grace also may give thee the throne of my heart! And while all thine enemies must bow before thee, may all thy friends and followers rejoice in thy service! Even so, Amen.

Hebrews 9:4

"Aaron's rod that budded." - Heb. ix. 4.

One view more of the tabernacle, and the articles of furniture therein contained, may be rendered profitable, under the Spirit's teaching: and therefore, my soul, look at that standing miracle, which was preserved there, of the rod of Aaron. The history of it is related in the book of Numbers, chap. xvii. It was the method, which the Lord was graciously pleased to appoint, for the determining on whom his choice rested for the priesthood. To this end, a rod was taken from every tribe, and laid up before the Lord in the tabernacle; the Lord having declared, that whichsoever of the tribes had the rod to blossom, should be the man. The rod of Aaron, on the morrow, had buds, and blossoms, and fruits. But in all these, Christ, in his everlasting priesthood, was typified. To behold a dry stick bring forth buds, and become green and flourishing, was miraculous, and only to be referred into the sore-reign power and will of God. But, my soul, when we see Jesus, as the branch out of the root of Jesse, we behold him, as the prophet, ages before his incarnation, described him, growing up before Jehovah in his tabernacle, as the rod laid up before him, "a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground." Isa. iiii. 2. And as the rod of Aaron had in one and the same moment the whole product of the season in buds, and blossoms, and fruits; so in the everlasting priesthood of Christ are suited graces for the several ages of his church, and the several wants of all his people. Precious Jesus! may my soul unceasingly look unto thee, as my faithful, everlasting, and unchangeable High Priest! And do thou, Lord," send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies!" Full sure I am, O Lord, that everything in me, and from me, like the rods of the different tribes of Israel, will remain dry, and neither give forth bud nor blossom. To thee, and the rod of thy strength, therefore, will I look, that thou mayest give life and grace to my poor soul, to bring forth fruit unto God, by grace here, and glory forever,

Hebrews 9:4

"The golden pot that had manna." - Heb. ix. 4.

There is somewhat very blessed in the account given concerning the furniture of the second tabernacle. Some few evenings since, my soul, a glance was taken of the candlestick, the table and shew-bread; in the first tabernacle. Perhaps the Lord the Holy Ghost will open to thy meditation some edifying considerations in the view of the contents of the second. The golden pot, which preserved the manna pure, that in itself was soon subject to corruption, was unquestionably a beautiful emblem of the divine nature of Jesus, imparting durableness and dignity to his human nature. We are told concerning the manna, that if the Israelites kept it, though but for a day (except when miraculously preserved pure on the sabbath-day, to remind them of that ordinance) it bred worms, and stank; Exod. xvi. 20. But in this golden pot, an omer full of manna put therein, was laid up before the Lord as a memorial, and preserved pure. Precious Lord Jesus! do I not learn from hence, that it is thou, and thou alone, who givest life, and purity, and sweetness to our poor persons and offerings? Everything in us, and groin us, must, like ourselves, be corrupt, and is indeed part of ourselves, and subject to putrefaction: but in thee, and by thee, as the manna was preserved in the golden pot, we are preserved, made clean and holy, in thy holiness and purity. And surely, Lord, I learn, moreover, from this part of the furniture in the second tabernacle, that as thou art entered into the holy place, there to appear in the presence of God for us; so, by this emblem of the golden pot, is set forth the sweet communion and fellowship, which thy people now are privileged to enjoy, in thee, and from thee, and with thee! Yea, Lord, thou art still the bread of God, the living bread, which that manna represented: and still dost thou feed thy church above, and lead them to fountains of living waters. And surely, Lord, thou wilt no less feed thy church below, which yet remains in this dry and barren wilderness, where no water is. I hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, and I feel delight: "To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the hidden manna." Rev. ii. 17.

Zephaniah 3:17

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty. He will save. He will rejoice over thee with joy. He will rest in his love. He will joy over thee with singing." - Zeph. iii. 17.

My soul! look at this old testament promise, through the medium of the new testament dispensation, and behold what a cluster of rich blessings it contains; and which, like all the other promises of the bible, is "yea and amen in Christ Jesus!" And observe how it opens. The Lord thy God, that is, Jehovah in his threefold character of person, in rich covenant engagements, is "in the midst of thee;" hath set up his throne in Zion, and lives, and reigns, and governs in the hearts of his redeemed. So said Jesus, and so that dear Lord explained it in after ages: "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him;" John xiv. 23. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth;" John xiv. 16, 17. Mark these blessed, precious truths, my soul, in the most lively characters, on thine heart; and hence learn, that the Lord thy God, in covenant engagements, dwelleth in the midst of his people, and in the hearts of his people; that, like the sun at midday, in the centre of the heavens, he may enlighten, warm, refresh, and give forth all his blessings to bless thee. Next mark what the prophet saith of this covenant Lord God, who is in the midst of his church and people: "He is mighty!" Shout aloud at this, my soul; for if he be mighty, then he will support thy weakness, and subdue thy foes. What can bear down, or destroy the soul, whom this mighty God upholds? What shall arise to distress a child of God, as long as God is almighty? And if he hath engaged to be for thee, who can dare to be against thee? Sweet consideration! What signifies my weakness, while Christ is strong? Yea, his strength will be made perfect in my weakness. Go on farther, my soul, in looking over the many blessed things spoken of in this verse. "He will save." Yea: he hath saved, and doth save, and will save. And this is the very cause, the angel said, for which his name should be called Jesus: for "he shall save his people from their sins." Matt. i. 21. Think of this, when at any time, sin or sorrow, trial or temptation, would cast thee down. Jesus is still Jesus, still on his throne: yea, thy Saviour. Amidst all thy changeableness, there is no change in him. And observe yet farther, how the prophet chimes on those sweet words: "He will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love: he will joy over thee with singing." Pause, my soul, over this most gracious account. Jesus not only saves, not only pardons, but he doth it as God, as Jesus. It is his joy, his delight, his pleasure, to do so. As he saith in another scripture, "Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart, and with my whole soul;" Jer. xxxii. 41. And as the poor timid believer, from feeling such coldness and deadness, as at times he doth in himself feel, is but too easily prevailed upon by the enemy, and by his own unbelieving heart, to suppose the same of Jesus: that he might not give way to this temptation, the Lord adds, "he will rest in his love:" will abide in it unmoved, and without change; for, as he saith in another scripture," the Lord God of Israel hateth putting away:" Mal. ii. 16. Oh! what a multitude of sweet things are folded up in this verse! Jesus rejoiceth over his people; yea, Jesus joys over them with singing. How often have I seen, in some lovely evening, like the present, that sweet bird of the air, called the skylark, mount aloft from her nest, still looking at her young as she ascends; and when advanced to her height, warbling in the most delightful notes over her brood; until at length, with all the rapidity of love, she darts down to cover, to feed, and to protect them Thus, but in an infinitely higher degree, doth Jesus joy over his children with singing, resting in his love; and is ever near, ever mighty to defend, to bless, to keep, and to make happy, those who rest in his strength; while he rests in his love, being their God, and they his people.

Exodus 13:21- 22

"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. " - Exod. xiii. 21, 22.

My soul, look back this evening to the church's history in the wilderness, and behold how Jesus watched over his people then as he doth now. Surely it is sweet, it is blessed, to mark the same evidences of the Redeemer's love, and to observe, that in affection to his people (as in person so in love) he is "the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." Among many precious testimonies to this effect, that of the pillar of the cloud by day, and of fire by night, in the camp of Israel, is not the least. We are told in this scripture, that the Lord was in this cloud; and another scripture confirms it, saying, that Jehovah "spake unto them out of the cloudy pillar." It is wonderful to conceive what effect must have been wrought on the minds of the people by this constant display of the Lord's goodness. Contrary to all other clouds, it was always stationary, always near the tabernacle, and acted as the reverse of all other clouds, in that it shone bright by night, and was dark as a cloud to obscure the sun's brightness and scorching rays by day. Besides these and other wonderful properties, its movements became the token for the camp of Israel to move, and when it rested, it implied that Israel was to rest also. And thus, not for a short transient march or two, not on any particular emergency, did it become the guide and protection of Israel, for forty years together, until all the people of God arrived in the promised land. Pause my soul, and ponder over the grace of thy covenant God in Christ, in this standing miracle; and when thou hast duly considered the wonderful subject, say, was not Jesus then as much, in type and figure, preached to the church of old, as he is now in sum and substance? Was the Lord veiled in a cloud then, and hath he not since veiled himself in our flesh? Did he go before the people then, and doth he not the same now? Was he stationary then, that is, ever with them, and is he not with his people "always, even unto the end of the world?" Was the cloud in the wilderness the reverse of all other clouds, shining by night, but becoming a grateful screen by day? And is not Jesus all this and more; shining most bright upon his people when they are in darkness, and sheltering them when the heat of persecution or distress is at the height? Did the cloud never deport from the people during their forty years' journey through the wilderness until they arrived at Canaan? And doth not our Lord go before, and follow his redeemed, all the way of their pilgrimage, until he hath brought them home safe to heaven? Oh! thou glorious, gracious, great I AM! be thou, dearest Lord, still the light, the way, the truth, and the life, to alt thy redeemed. And as now, since thou hast finished redemption-work by thine open presence upon earth, in substance of our flesh, and "washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning:" do thou, Lord, fulfill that sweet promise, and "create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and a smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a defense!" Isa. iv. 4, 5.

Luke 8:45-46

"And Jesus said, who touched me? When all denied, Peter, and they that were with him, said, Master, the multitude throng thee, and press thee, and sayest thou, who touched me? And Jesus said, somebody hath touched me; for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." - Luke 8:45-46

What a most interesting passage is here! What an evidence does it afford of the clear knowledge of the Lord Jesus; and, by an undeniable conclusion from such a proof of his omniscience, what a testimony does it bring with it of the Godhead of Christ! Pause, my soul, over the portion, and mark it well. Next pass on to another sweet improvement of it, and duly consider what a beautiful distinction is here drawn between the violent pressure of the throng, and the gentle touch of faith. Multitudes crowd to churches, and they hear of Jesus; but the personal knowledge and enjoyment of the Lord Jesus, is this touching him. Oh! for grace to have this right discrimination! It is very easy to attend the means of grace, to hear or read the holy scriptures; nay, to have a clear head knowledge of divine things, and even to press after information concerning Christ; but all these may be, and perhaps often are void of that life-giving, life-imparting knowledge and enjoyment of Christ in the soul, which is really touching Christ by faith, and believing in him to the salvation of the soul. Once more, remark vet farther, the knowledge Jesus hath of all the individual cases of his afflicted people. He saw this poor woman amidst the whole crowd. He knew her case, knew all that had passed. In the greatest throng, Jesus's eye is upon each, and upon all. He knoweth what the needy require, and what the secret sighs of his poor people express: and it is Jesus that communicates virtue, grace, strength, comfort, and help, in all their vast varieties. What a sweet thought is it then, my soul, for thee to go in the greatest throng, as well as in the most secret retirement! Jesus encourageth thy faith, bids thee come and touch the hem of his garment, and, depend upon it, as in the instance of this poor woman, however unobserved or unknown by others, his eye is upon thee for good. The language of Jesus to every one of this description is, son! daughter! "be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace!"

Psalm 1:1-2

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night." - Psalm 1:1-2

It is blessed to read every portion of scripture which speaketh of perfection in our nature, as referring to the person of the God-man Christ Jesus; and then, from our union with him, and interest in him, to mark our connection as his people, and our concern in all that is said or written of him. In the book of Psalms, particularly, there are numberless passages, which say that of holiness, which can be said of none among the fallen sons of men with the smallest shadow of truth. Who is the man, and where to be found, that hath never walked in the counsel of the ungodly; nor yet, which is more than walking, hath stood, as one not distressed at it, in the way of sinners; nor yet sat down, which is worse than all, in the scorner's chair? None of the children of men could ever lay claim to the blessedness of such a conduct from his own personal holiness in it. But if we read the words with reference to the ever blessed and ever holy Jesus, all this, and infinitely more, is true; for such was the spotless purity of the Redeemer, that his whole nature was altogether clean; yea," the law of Jehovah was in his very bowels." See the margin of the bible, Ps. xl. 8. My soul! behold in this account, the true character of thy Lord; and in it behold the holiness and purity of that nature, in whose holiness and purity alone thou canst ever see the face of God, in grace here by faith, and in glory hereafter by sight, in open fruition. Thus read, and thus accepted, the passage in this Psalm becomes blessed indeed. In his righteousness, his people are made righteous; and by virtue of an union with him, and in-retest in him, and in all that concerns him, being joined to the Lord by one spirit, the souls of the redeemed walk as he walked, avoid the society of the profane, and sit not in the counsel of the ungodly. Precious Spirit of all truth! do thou thus glorify the Lord Jesus to my view; take of the things of Christ, and shew them to me; and grant me daily fellowship and communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ!

1 Peter 1:8-9

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. " - 1 Peter 1:8-9

My soul! mark what a blessed testimony believers of the present hour are here said to give to an unseen, but dearly beloved Redeemer; and behold what blessed effects are induced in the soul by such lively acts of faith upon his person and righteousness! And, indeed, when it is considered who Christ is, what he is to us, what he hath done for us, and what he is forever doing for us, and will do to all eternity, who but must love him? In his person all divine perfections center; whatever tends to make any creature lovely, in heaven or on earth, is found in Jesus in the most eminent degree. For there is nothing lovely in creatures of any character, whether angels or men, but it is derived from him: it is Jesus who gives all that excellency and grace which they possess; the whole is found in him, and received from him. And when to these views of what Christ is in himself, the believer adds the consideration of what he is to him, what he hath wrought, and what he hath accomplished in redemption for him, such thoughts of Jesus, under the teachings of the Holy Ghost, in his glorifying him to the soul, give "a joy unspeakable, and full of glory." My soul! what saith thine own experience to these truths? Surely Christ is a portion full enough, and rich enough for every poor needy sinner to live upon to all eternity. And if thou hast been taught (as I trust thou hast long since been taught, and long proved) that all the fullness in Jesus is for his people; that his grace is magnified in giving out of his fullness to supply their need; yea, that Jesus waits to be gracious, and is as truly glorified, when a poor creature lives by faith and joy upon his bounty, as he is when that poor creature lays himself out in praises for that bounty; surely, though thou hast never seen Christ in the flesh, yet by faith thou hast seen him, and lived upon him, and hast such believing views of him, as giveth thee present peace, and immediate enjoyment of salvation. Oh! the felicity of thus realizing future things by present possession! Oh! the blessedness of substantiating things unseen by the strength of that faith which worketh by love! See to it, my soul, that thy God and Saviour is increasingly precious, and increasingly lovely, day by day. See to it, that he who is lovely to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost; the praise of all his saints in glory; the joy and adoration of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect; and lovely to all creation, but to devils and poor blind unawakened sinners: see to it, my soul, that this lovely and all- loving Jesus is the first, and best, and completely satisfying object of thy delight; that this blessed testimony, which the Holy Ghost hath here given of the faithful, may be thine; and that though not having seen Jesus, you love him, and though unseen, you believe in him. This will be to "rejoice with a joy unspeakable, and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul."

Song of Solomon 2:4

"He brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love." - Song of Solomon 2:4

In whatever sense thou art led, my soul, to look at the banqueting-house of Jesus, thy joy will be great in the contemplation. And if he who hath prepared the banqueting-house, and well stored it with everything to afford a spiritual repast, will lead thee thither, and regale thee there with the rich enjoyment of himself, and the fullness of blessings in him, thou wilt have a feast of fat things indeed! Come then, this evening, and take a view of Jesus's banqueting-house, and wait on thy kind and condescending Lord. He hath been known to take home many a poor waiting hungry sin-net, that hath been on the look-out for him, to his banqueting-house, and given him a gracious, full, and satisfying entertainment. Come then, my soul, and see this banqueting-house of Jesus. Some have looked at it as the covenant itself of redemption; for this is indeed a house of banquet, where everything that can enrich the soul in the love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, is found. Oh! the blessedness of this covenant! Well might David, when he was brought into it, exult and say, "This is all my salvation, and all my desire!" And some have looked at the banqueting-house, and thought it meant the church, the house of God; for here all the blessings of the covenant are given to the guests which Jesus brings into it. And here again we find, that they who are blessed with a place in God's house are so delighted, as to resolve to go out no more. "Here would I dwell (is the language that expresseth the sentiment of all): this is my rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein," Ps. cxxxii. 14. And some have looked at the banqueting-house of the Lord Jesus, and considered, that it is the blessed "word of God, the scriptures, of truth." And certain it is, that" they contain the words of eternal life;" and open every day, and all the' day, an everlasting supply to banquet the hungry soul, and to satiate the sorrowful soul. One, who could not be mistaken, said, when he had been feeding upon the rich things contained in it, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart," Jer. xv. 16. And another, not less taught, cried out in a transport," O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day," Ps. cxix. 9. But I see no reason why the whole may not be considered as the banqueting, house of Jesus. For when, by the sweet influences of his Spirit, he hath brought his redeemed into a heart-felt enjoyment of an interest in his covenant, his church, and scriptures, every word, ordinance, and means of grace, with all the promises, are the inheritance of his people. Pause, my soul, and inquire, whether the Lord Jesus hath thus brought thee in? Art thou acquainted with his banqueting-house, and convinced that none but Jesus could bring thee in? It is a solemn thought! Man may attend the church, may read the scriptures, follow ordinances; yea, go to the Lord's table; but unless Jesus, by his Holy Spirit, lead the sinner there, meets him there, and blesseth him there, to what purpose will be the going? Look to it, my soul, that thy visits are by the Lord's invitation, and thy welcome from him; yea, that he leads thee by the hand, meets thee, and blesseth thee; sets his banner over thee of love, and bids thee partake largely in the riches of his grace and salvation, in those well-known words of thy Lord: "Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved."

Hebrews 9:28

"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." - Hebrews 9:28

My soul! pause over this blessed portion, for it is most blessed, and seek from God the Holy Ghost, grace to gather all its sweets for thine evening enjoyment. Every word is big with importance. And, first, who is it that is here said to have been once offered? Even Christ, the sent, the sealed, the anointed of Jehovah. So that when thou goest to a throne of grace, to plead for mercy in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ; thou goest in his name, whom thy God and Father hath appointed. Thou then tellest thy God, what thy God first told thee. He, in whose name, blood and righteousness, thou askest redemption, is he whom Jehovah himself "hath set forth as a propitiation, through faith in his blood." Hence it is impossible not to succeed. "I have given him (saith the Lord) for a covenant to the people." Next, consider the fullness, the greatness, the all-sufficiency, of this sacrifice, which thy Jesus hath offered. He was once offered. Yes! it is enough: "For by that one offering, he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." There was, and is, more merit in that one offering of the Lord Jesus Christ, to take away sins, than there is demerit in all the sins of his people forever. Mark this down also, when thou goest to the throne. Thou art seeking redemption, upon the plea and footing of a full and rich equivalent made by thy Surety, under Jehovah's own appointment and authority. Then go on to that other most interesting part of this precious verse: "And unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Pause, my soul, over these words. When thy Jesus appeared the first time, he came as the burden bearer of all the sins of his redeemed. And though in himself "he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;" yet he was made both "sin and a curse for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Hence all the sins of his redeemed were charged upon him, and" the Lord Jehovah laid upon him the iniquity of us all." But when he had by himself purged our sins, the whole weight and pressure of sin, with all its tremendous effect, were for ever done away. And therefore unto them that look for him, when he shall appear the second time, it will be without sin unto salvation. He put away sin by his first coming; and by his second, he will put all his redeemed into the complete possession of that salvation which, by his one offering up of himself for sin, he hath eternally secured. What sayest thou, my soul, concerning thyself, and thy personal hope in these glorious things? Art thou one of that blessed happy number who are thus looking for Jesus? Dost thou believe that Jesus died and rose again? Art thou so well pleased with the merits and efficacy of this one offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all, as to seek no other, to desire no other; yea, to renounce and despise every other? Pause, and duly consider. These are solemn soul transactions. A mistake here, is a mistake indeed. Oh! it is blessed to be well pleased with what Jehovah hath declared himself well pleased with: and to be satisfied, yea, well satisfied, with what Jehovah is well satisfied. For then thou wilt be daily on the lookout for thy Lord's return, as one that is on the lookout for a dearly beloved friend. And thus, if thou art in love with his appearing; loving all that appears to promote thy Redeemer's glory on earth, in the conversion of sinners, and comforting of saints, loving his church, his Zion, his ordinances, his people; shortly the hour will arrive, in which the Master will come, and call for thee; thou shalt hear his chariot-wheels at the door, and his voice will be distinctly heard by the waiting spirit; "Arise, my fair one, and come away!"

Habakkuk 3:13

"Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed. " - Habakkuk 3:13

Every view of redemption is blessed: but there are some views transcendently so. And when the soul is led out in the contemplation of Jehovah, in his threefold character of person, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all engaged, in their goings forth from everlasting, for the accomplishment of it, there is somewhat which overpowers the mind with the greatness, and the surpassing glory of the subject. As the salvation of the Lord's people is from Jehovah, and from all eternity; so it is to Jehovah, and to all eternity. All the springs of it are from this one source, and tend to this one end. The song of heaven, which John heard; so proclaimed it: for while the address was to the Lamb, in ascribing to him all the glory of the work; the great purpose for which it was wrought, was ascribed to the Father: "Thou wert slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood;" Rev. v. 9. My soul! mark the similar expression in this song or prayer of the prophet. Jehovah" went forth for the salvation of his people; even for salvation with his anointed." And was not Christ the anointed of the Father! And did not Jehovah go forth with Christ, upholding, supporting, carrying on, and completing, redemption work in, and by, and with Jesus? Yea, did not Jesus go forth from everlasting, when his delights were with the children of men before the world? Is it not of Jesus that it is said, "Then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men?" Prov. viii. 30, 31. Oh! the soul-comforting subject! How truly blessed to see the whole Godhead thus engaged in the salvation of poor sinners! Yes! Blessed Lord Jesus! it is plain, that in all the goings forth of Jehovah, the redemption of thy church was the one great object and design. Before time began to be numbered, thou wentest forth. In time, when thou camest in substance of our flesh, still the salvation of thy people was the object. And now in eternity, thou art still going forth, in thy priestly office on thy throne, which thou art carrying on in heaven to the same purpose, to make the salvation of thy people secure. Oh for grace to keep these views always in remembrance, that, while Jehovah is thus, in one eternal act, going forth for the salvation of his redeemed, all his redeemed may go forth in love, and adoration, and praise, in the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ: and here on earth begin the song which is never to end in heaven: "To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen."

Deuteronomy 33:3

"Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thine hand." - Deuteronomy 33:3

My soul, here is a very blessed portion to meditate upon in the night watches, and to lie down with, reposing in the bosom of Jesus. The word yea, is a sweet scripture word, and very strong to the purpose. God's "yeas," and "amens," are firmer than all the oaths of creatures; and when Jehovah puts his yea to the love that he hath to his people, it ought to give great comfort and confidence to our faith. And Oh what testimonies hath Jehovah, in his three­fold character of person, manifested, in the Father's love, the Redeemer's grace, and the Holy Ghost's fellowship, in proof of this affection! Blessed Lord! help me to keep it in remembrance. But, my soul, do not stop here. Mark what the Holy Ghost hath said, as a farther testimony of it: "All his saints are in thine hand." In whatever point of view we read these words, they become blessed. Whether the saints of the Lord Jesus, here spoken of, be old testament saints, or new testament believers, the sense is the same. Jesus committed all his people into his Father's hands. "Keep them," cried the Saviour, in that divine prayer, the specimen of his holy intercession, "keep, holy Father, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me!" John xvii. 11. And hence, the Redeemer elsewhere saith, "My sheep shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand; I and my Father are one." John x. 28, 29, 30. Think, my soul, how eternally safe and secure must the church of Jesus be, thus kept by the mighty power of God, through faith, unto salvation! What shall unclasp the hands of Jehovah? Who shall wrest the weakest, the humblest, the poorest of Christ's little ones, from the holding of his omnipotency? Why then art thou, my soul, so frequently exercised with fears, and doubts, and misgivings? It is the Lord's love that is the foundation of thy assurance, and not the strength of thy graces! His own free mercy, and not thy merit, were the first causes of thy calling; and what is it now, in thy present preservation, but the same which holds thee up, and carries thee through every difficulty? "Yea, he loved the people:" that is, the source, the reason, the sole motive. And their safety he secures: "All his saints are in thy hands!" Precious Lord Jesus! it is enough. How shall a child of thine perish, when secured by such almighty support? Oh! to hear thy voice, in the soft whispers of thy love, comforting my soul, as thou didst the church of old: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget; yet, will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

Exodus 17:15

"Jehovah-nissi. " - Exodus 17:15

Jehovah-nissi, is the suitable inscription for every undertaking. The meaning is, "The Lord is my banner." And how blessed is it to set this over us in all the conflicts of our warfare, because it appeals to God, and calls in God to our help in all emergencies. Hence the church cries out, "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners." Ps. xx. 5. And how lovely is the church described, when strengthened in the Lord her God, "looking forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners Song vi. 10. But this inscription hath a yet more special reference to Jesus. The history to which it belongs, gives us an account of Amalek, with whom the Lord declared "he would have war from generation to generation." Now as Joshua was a type of Christ, so Amalek became a type of the devil. There is nothing neutral in this war; "He that is not for us, is against us;" but what a blessed relief is it to the soul, that the issue is not doubtful! While Christ is our banner, and Jehovah-nissi the glorious name under whom we fight, we shall be more than conquerors through him who helpeth us. The cause is his, the glory of God in salvation his, the everlasting issue of it his, and the whole termination his. Hence we go not forth as to a thing doubtful, but already sure. Sit down, my soul, this evening, and write Jehovah-nissi upon all that concerns thee. The Lord is engaged for thee in this holy warfare. The Lord hath sworn that he will have war with all the enemies of his Christ, from generation to generation. Hence he will have a suited grace, and a suited strength, proportioned to the wants of all his people. The name, the person, the work, the righteousness, the finished salvation of the Lord Jesus, is, and must be a banner for triumph, because of the truth. Therefore, as David, who, long before he had possession of the kingdom, enjoyed it by faith; so in Jesus, our Jehovah-nissi, we may with confidence cry out as he did, "Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;" Christ is mine, and heaven is mine; yea, all things are mine; for "Christ is the strength of my life, and my portion forever."

Romans 5:8

"But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

It is a very blessed heightening of divine mercies, when we behold them as not only bestowed upon those that deserved them not, but upon those that deserved the reverse of them. It is not enough, in our account of God's love, to say that God was gracious when we had done nothing to merit his favour, but that God was gracious when we had done everything to merit his displeasure. This is among the sweet features of the gospel. And the reason is very plain. God himself is an infinite Being, and therefore his love must be an infinite love. All the properties of it are infinite; it must be exercised to suit an infinite power; it must be such as corresponds to infinite wisdom; and its effects must be such as shall be suited to infinite goodness. Hence, therefore, in the display of it, such manifestations must be given as shall set forth, that the love of God, as an infinite Being, totally differs from the love of man, who is but a finite creature. Our love is bounded, like ourselves, by circumstances of a finite, limited, perishing, dying nature, such as ourselves, and all the creatures around us partake of. But in the love of God, there are "breadths and lengths, and depths and heights, passing knowledge!" Now God commendeth his love towards us by those properties; that is, he bids us take notice of it by those special marks and characters. And when the Lord surpriseth the souls of his people by the same astonishing instance of his grace, in those acts of goodness, he speaks as in these solemn words: "If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in mine eyes, saith the Lord of Hosts?" Zech. viii. 6. How sweetly is this shewn to us in the gift of his dear Son Jesus Christ! When' was Christ given? When we were enemies. On what account was he given? Purely on account of God's love. And to whom was he given? Not to his friends; not to those who had never offended him; not to those who, by their affection, or by their services, could make some return of acknowledgment for such blessings; but to poor, helpless, barren, unprofitable sinners. So that the love of God in Christ is particularly recommended, sent home, pressed upon our hearts, by this rich display of it. To have blessed us, or to have loved us, if we had never offended God, would have been a stream too shallow, too trifling, to shew forth divine love. No! "God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Pause, my soul! mark these properties, admire divine, goodness, and learn how to put a proper value upon the unparalleled love of God in Jesus Christ. So God commended his love towards us!

Psalm 110:3

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power: in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth." - Psalm 110:3

There is so much of the Lord Jesus in this sweet Psalm, indeed it is altogether so truly a gospel Psalm, that the morning portion, which was a selection from it, cannot be better followed than by taking another verse of it for the evening portion, that both together may furnish out blessed meditations to my soul, in the contemplation of our precious Jesus. Here are views of Jesus, in all his blessed offices, as the Prophet, Priest, and King of his people; and every verse is more or less descriptive of his glorious person, offices, and character. This precious portion for my evening thoughts, contains the promise of Jehovah the Father, in his covenant engagements, that the Redeemer should see the blessed fruits and effects of his undertaking in the hearts and minds of his elect people. "Thy people (saith the Lord) shall be willing." So then Jesus had a people before his incarnation, and that people Jehovah engaged to make willing; willing to be saved, willing to receive Christ, and own him for their Redeemer? Sweet thought of encouragement to the poor sinner! The Lord undertakes to give the willing mind; so that this is enough to stir the humblest to attend the means of grace, where Jehovah will make Christ's people willing in the day of Christ's power. And while it furnisheth out encouragement to the sinner, it holds forth instruction to the saint; the former can plead no inability, and the latter can make no boasting; the willingness is of the Lord, and it is in the day of Christ's power. My soul! thou canst subscribe to this truth. The first awakenings of grace in thine heart, thou knowest, were not the effect of thy strength, but the willingness there wrought by divine power. But there are in this verse, also, "the beauties of the Lord's holiness" spoken of; "from the womb of the morning." It is indeed to see "the King in his beauty," and to worship in the "beauty of holiness," when the Lord's people are made willing in Christ's power, and worship only in the beauties of Christ's holiness. And such, the promise saith, shall be the fruitfulness of the womb of conversion in Christ's strength, when he seeth the travail of his soul, that, as the dew-drops of the morning are incalculable, so shall be the multitude of redeemed souls that shall "flee as a cloud, and as doves to their windows!" Precious Lord Jesus! rule thou as a King, the rightful Sovereign of Zion; subdue thine enemies to the sceptre of thy grace, and bring every knee of thy people to bend to the rod of thy power. And Oh Almighty Father! ever let my poor soul praise thee, love thee, obey thee, adore thee, that thou hast fulfilled this covenant promise to thy dear Son, in the instance of my soul Thou hast indeed subdued the natural stubbornness of my nature, and made me willing to be saved in the Lord's own way. And now, blessed Lord, I desire to bend the knee of my heart to Jesus, and daily, hourly ascribe the whole of my salvation "to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb that was slain, forever!"