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unto my Father, and your Father," John xx. 17. Hence the Holy Spirit draws the image of Jesus, "the first born of many brethren," upon each of their souls, and possesses them with the faith of Jesus; and “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him," 1 John v. 1. Faith in Jesus is the band or cement of brotherly love. Are we the brethren of Jesus, beloved and chosen by one Father, born again of the same Spirit, partakers of the same grace, heirs of the same promises, travellers to the same kingdom, and shall we not love each other? Alas! alas! we mourn for the loss of health, substance, &c. but what greater cause is there to lament the loss of love, amongst God's dear children, and Christ's beloved brethren!
But we are all like Simeon and Levi, brethren in iniquity: and as with them, so anger and self-will are also found with us, Gen. xlix. 5,6. Both are the effect of pride, and are contrary to faith and love. The question is not, Are we perfectly freed from every passion and temper contrary to love? This we are not to expect from our brethren. God loves us, not as sinless, but as he views us in Christ. Do we really love the children of God as such, love the members of Jesus, purely for his sake? Instead of indulging, do we curb and resist, watch and pray against our tempers which are contrary to love? This is a blessed evidence, and the root of love is in us. Let us be importunate with Jesus, that the fruits may abound more and more to the glory of God, “whom we love, because he first loved
Love creates happiness, yea, heaven in the heart: it restores paradise to the soul: for "he who dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him," 1 John iv. 16.' “Covet earnestly the best gifts, and yet I show unto you a more excellent way:" "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us,” Ephes. v. 2. Love as brethren.
JAN. 15.-Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.-Psalm Xxxviii. 4.
You, who think lightly of sin, and account iniquity a trifling thing, evidently show, that the god of this world bath blinded your eyes to the infinite atonement of Jesus, and hardened your hearts through the deceitfulness of sin; therefore you are insensible of grief, and without feeling of godly sorrow for sin. But when Jesus is known in the heart, sin is truly abhorred, forsaken, and overcome. But it is most distressing to the regenerate soul, when the load of guilt and the burden of sin are suffered to lie, day after day, upon the conscience. The insupportable agony of such a state none know, but those who have experienced it. One would ask, Is not this contradictory to that comforting assertion, “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus?” Rom. viii. 1; inconsistent with that triumphant challenge, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?” Rom. viii. 33. No, for though charge and condemnation for sin may be brought by Satan, the accuser of the brethren; the law may condemn, and our own spirits must confess we are sinners; yet our covenant God hath no condemnation against us. For he hath laid all our iniquities upon Jesus; and this is the full and free charter of his covenant concerning all his children, “Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more," Jer. xxxi. 34. Oh, say some, this will take away all fear of sinning, and all dread of guilt! Most impious charge against the God of grace and love! But who say this? Those who reject God's truth, and believe not his everlasting love; but judge from their own corrupt principles. But regenerate souls groan under the burden of sin; and because love prevails, sin is hated and self-abhorred.
Jesus is the only balm in Gilead, the only Physician for sin-distressed, sore burdened, heavy-laden souls. We may seek rest from other objects, but all in vain. Nothing can quiet and relieve the distressed soul but this one truth, Jesus hath actually borne, fully suffered, perfectly atoned for all the sins of his people. So that the Lord has discharged all their sins, and will remember not one sin against them, Oh! when one beholds this general release, every debt crossed by Jesus' blood, and God acquitting from every accusation of law. and conscience, then our souls return to their rest. This is the faith of God's elect. And while kept simple, loving, faithful to him, we live by his grace, feast on his love, and holy longings inspire our hearts to enjoy him in glory
JAN. 16.-Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ?-Gen. iii. 1.
It is the grand master-piece of that wisdom, which is earthly, sensual, and deyilish, to call in question the truth of God's word, and to insinuate doubts about it. But here appears more modesty, even in Satan, than in many
of his servants; for he only puts a query upon it, whereas they absolutely deny and ridicule the truth of Jehovah. In the same way that the old serpent attacked and prevailed against the innocence of our first parents, he still attempts to destroy the comforts and oppose the holiness of God's children, by artful suggestions against the truth of God's word. If he can but raise a doubt in our minds concerning what the Lord hath spoken, he strikes at the very foundation of our faith, hope, love, and obedience. As he abode not in the truth, he is a restless, implacable enemy to the truth, and to every soul who embraces the truth as it is in Jesus.
Really, one finds Satan like a laborious, domestic chaplain, preaching in season and out of season in one's ears: “Hath the Lord spoken this ? hath he forbidden that? how can this doctrine be true? it is so contrary to reason, so inconsistent with the nature of things. You a child of God ? you a believer in Jesus ? your sins atoned for by Jesus? your soul clothed with his righteousness and sanctified by his Spirit ? Is not everlasting love mere imagination, electing grace the creature of fancy, the safety and perseverance of the saints of. Jesus the whim of a heated brain ? Is Jesus the essentially true God ? hath the Lord spoken so much against sin? doth he require so much strictness of life, and holiness in walk, as is contrary to the rest of the world, and exposes to their hatred and contempt? hath God said so and so ?” &c.
Thus with art and sophistry Satan insinuates, and puts on the air of a candid disputant for truth. But what did Eve get by listening to and conversing with him? rather, what did she not lose ? even the life, the love, the joy, the peace of her soul. It is our wisdom, not to parley with, or study to answer Satan's sug. gestions, but instantly to “resist him, steadfast in the faith,” (1 Pet. v. 9,) taking the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, wherein is contained the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is able to make us wise unto salvation, through' faith which is in Christ Jesus; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works," 2 Tim. iii. 15–17. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," James iv. 7.
JAN. 17.—And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath.—Luke iv. 28.
Human nature, how low fallen in misery and wretchedness! yet how high does it rise in pride! Though the meek Lamb of God is the preacher of sovereign grace and distinguishing love, yet the wrath of man dares to exalt itself against his doctrine. Fury bursts forth like fire: vengeance and resentment break the bounds of the law of God and man, and would have instantly put Jesus to death.
Pride is the first born of Lucifer: “Ye shall be ag gods," hath tainted our whole nature with the cursed leaven, and will be the last enemy that is destroyed in
Out of the abundance of pride in the heart, the mouth is opened against God's sovereign grace, discriminating love, and divine dispensations. "Be still, and know that I am God,” is a lesson the proud nature of man is averse to. “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy," (Exod. xxxiii. 19,) though spoken from the mouth of the Lord, yet the hearts of sinners rise in wrath against it: they look with an evil eye upon the good pleasure of the Lord; and dare challenge and call in question his truths, and his dealings with the children of men.
Disciple, this day a real likeness, a true picture of thy proud nature, is presented to thy view. Behold thyself in thy proud brethren. See thy natural aversion to the sovereignty of God's truths and thy Saviour's doctrines. All these worshipping Jews, priests as well as people, conceived wrath, even in God's house; yea, their teeming hearts were soon filled with it against Jesus, a man who told them the truth. The histories of the Sareptan widow and Naaman the Assyrian, they were well acquainted with, but could not bear the doctrine of them. Good Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, 2 Chron. xxxii. 26. Do we not feel the stirrings of it also ? Oh then, what cause, what daily cause for his practice! Stout words proceed from unhumbled hearts. When our voices are heard on high against God's sovereign determinations, it is a sad proof that our hearts are not laid low with a sight and sense of our being guilty before God. Those who challenge God's purposes, have some plea founded upon
their own imaginary goodness. “Be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble,” 1 Pet. v. 5. God's truths are most humbling to the proud heart of man. They are above carnal reason, and contrary to corrupt judgment. We never