"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3

THE first point we would look at is the love of the Lord Jesus in restoring a wandering believer. Nothing but infinite, tender, unchanging love could prompt Him to such an act. There is so much of black ingratitude, so much of deep turpitude, in the sin of a believer's departure from the Lord, that, but for the nature of Christ's love, there could be no possible hope of His return. Now this costly love of Christ is principally seen in His taking the first step in the restoring of the soul: the first advance is on the part of the Lord. There is no more self-recovery after, than there is before, conversion; it is entirely the Lord's work. The same state of mind, the same principle, that led to the first step in declension from God, leads on to each successive one; until, but for restraining and restoring grace, the soul would take an everlasting farewell of God. But mark the expression of David—"He restores my soul." Who? He of whom he speaks in the first verse as his Shepherd—"The Lord is my Shepherd." It is the Shepherd that takes the first step in the recovery of the wandering sheep. If there is one aspect in the view of this subject more touching than another, it is this—that such should be the tender, unchanging love of Jesus towards His wandering child, He should take the first step in restoring him. Shall an offended, insulted Sovereign make the first move towards conciliating a rebellious people?—that Sovereign is Jesus: shall an outraged Father seek His wandering child, and restore him to His affections and His house?—that Father is God. Oh, what love is that which leads Jesus in search of His wandering child! love that will not let him quite depart; love that yearns after him, and seeks after him, and follows after him through all his devious way, his intricate wanderings, and far-off departures; love that no unkindness has been able to cool, no forgetfulness has been able to weaken, no distance has been able to destroy!

Not less conspicuous is the power of Jesus in the restoring of the soul. "He restores my soul,"—He, the omnipotent Shepherd. We want omnipotence to bring us back when we have wandered; nothing less can accomplish it. We want the same power that converted to re-convert; the power that created, to re-create us: this power Jesus possesses. It was essential to the full salvation of His Church that He should have it; therefore, when praying to His Father, He says, "As You have given Him power over all flesh,"—why this power?—"that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him." It was necessary that He should have power over all flesh, yes, over all the powers leagued against the Church, that He should bring to glory all that were given to Him in the covenant of grace.

Now this power is gloriously exerted in the restoring of the soul. Jesus works in the believer, in order to his recovery. He breaks down the hard heart, arrests the soul in its onward progress of departure, places upon it some powerful check, lays it low, humbles, abases it, and then draws from it the blessed acknowledgment, "Behold, I am vile; but he restores my soul."


"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept your word." Psalm 119:67

THERE is infinite wisdom in the Lord's restorings. This perfection of Jesus is clearly revealed here: in the way He adopts to restore, we see it. That He should make, as He frequently does, our very afflictions the means of restoration to our souls, unfolds the profound depth of His wisdom. This was David's prayer—"Quicken me according to Your judgments:" and this was his testimony—"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept Your word." The season of trial is not infrequently the sanctified season of revival. Who that has passed through the furnace has not found it so? Then the declension of the soul has been discovered—then the hidden cause of that declension has been brought to light—then the spirit has bowed in contrition before the Lord—then grace has been stirred up in the heart, a new sweetness has been given to prayer, a new impulse to faith, a new radiance to hope, and from the flame the gold and the silver have emerged, purified from their tin and dross. But for the production of effects like these, why the many peculiar and heavy afflictions that we sometimes see overtaking the child of God? Do not think that our Heavenly Father takes pleasure in chastening us; do not think that it delights Him to behold the writhings, the throes, and the anguish of a wounded spirit; do not think that He loves to see our tears, and hear our sighs and our groans, under the pressure of keen and crushing trial. No: He is a tender, loving Father; so tender and so loving that not one stroke, nor one cross, nor one trial more does He lay upon us than is absolutely needful for our good—not a single ingredient does He put in our bitter cup, that is not essential to the perfection of the remedy. It is for our profit that He chastens, not for His pleasure; and that often to rouse us from our spiritual sleep, to recover us from our deep declension, and to impart new vigor, healthiness, and growth to His own life in the soul.


"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:27-28

As God-man Mediator, Christ is able to keep His people. As the covenant Head and Preserver of His Church, "it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." The Father knew what His beloved family would need. He knew what corruptions would threaten them, what temptations would beguile them, what foes would assail them, what infirmities would encompass them, and what trials would depress them; therefore it pleased Him, it was His own good and gracious pleasure, that in His Son, the Mediator of His beloved people, should all fullness dwell—a fullness of merit, a fullness of pardon, a fullness of righteousness, a fullness of grace, wisdom, and strength, commensurate with the varied, multiplied, and diversified circumstances of His family. It is "all fullness."

As the Mediator, then, of His people, He keeps them in perfect safety by night and by day. No man, no power, can pluck them out of His hands; He has undertaken their full salvation. To die for their sins, and to rise again for their justification, and yet not to provide for their security while traveling through a world of sin and temptation—to leave them to their own guardianship, an unprotected prey to their own heart's corruptions, the machinations of Satan, and the power of worldly entanglement—would have been but a partial salvation of His people. Opposed by a threefold enemy—Satan and the world in league with their own imperfectly renewed and sanctified hearts, that treacherous foe dwelling within the camp, ever ready to betray the soul into the hands of its enemies—how could a poor weak child of God bear up and breast this powerful phalanx? But He, who was mighty to save, is mighty to keep; in Him provision is made for all the trying, intricate, perilous circumstances in which the believer may be placed. Grace is laid up for the subjection of every inbred corruption—an armor is provided for every assault of the foe; wisdom, strength, consolation, sympathy, kindness—all, all that a poor believing sinner can possibly require, is richly stored in Jesus, the covenant Head of all the fullness of God to His people.

But how is the child of God to avail himself of this provision? The simple but glorious life of faith exhibits itself here. By faith the believer travels up to this rich and ample supply; by faith he takes his nothingness to Christ's all-sufficiency; by faith he takes his unworthiness to Christ's infinite merit; by faith he takes his weakness to Christ's strength, his folly to Christ's wisdom; his fearful heart, his timid spirit, his nervous frame, his doubtful mind, his beclouded evidences, his rebellious will, his painful cross—his peculiar case, of whatever nature it may be—in the way of believing, in the exercise of simple faith, he goes with it to Jesus, and as an empty vessel hangs himself upon that "nail fastened in a sure place," the glorious Eliakim on whom is hung "all the glory of His Father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups even to all the vessels of flagons." Thus may the weakest believer, the most severely assailed, the most deeply tried, the most painfully tempted, lay his Goliath dead at his feet, by a simple faith's dealing with the fullness that is in Christ Jesus. Oh, how mighty is the believer who, in deep distrust of his own power, casting off from him all spirit of self-dependence, looks simply and fully at Jesus, and goes forth to meet his enemy, only as he is "strong in the strength that is in Christ."


"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Romans 1:4

THE resurrection of the Redeemer established the truth of His godhead. His miracles had already proved the truth of His Divine Sonship. Yet there wanted one other evidence, the crowning one of all—the resurrection. This one evidence would put the final seal upon the truth of His Deity. If not, then all that He had previously said, predicted, and done would prove but to have been, as His enemies would have asserted, the stratagem of a designing man, attempting to impose upon the credulity of a few devoted but deluded followers. But this return to life on the exact day which He had predicted, breaking by the exercise of His divine power from the cold embrace of death and the imprisonment of the grave, put at rest forever the question of His Deity, and declared Him to be the Son of God. Oh, how truly and properly Divine did He now appear! August and convincing as had been all the previous attestations of His Godhead—His life one succession of the most astonishing and brilliant achievements of Divine power and goodness—diseases healed, sight restored, demons ejected, the dead raised, tempests hushed, and winds stilled—His death marked by prodigies of terrible and surpassing wonder and sublimity—the earth heaving beneath His feet, the sun darkening above Him, the graves opening around Him—yet never had His Godhead shone forth with such demonstrative power and resplendent glory, as when He broke forth from the tomb, and rose triumphant over hell, death, and the grave. Then did He fulfil this prediction, and redeem this pledge—"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it again." Receding for a while from communion with life—as if to create a pause in nature, which would awaken the interest and fix the gaze of the intelligent universe upon one stupendous event—He disappeared within the very domain of the "king of terrors," wrapped around Him its shroud and darkness, and laid Himself down, Essential Life locked in the embrace of death, immortality slumbering in the tomb! But he rose again; bursting from the cold embrace, and awaking from the mysterious slumber, He came back to life all radiant, immortal, and divine! Saint of God! want you further and stronger evidence that your faith has credited no cunningly devised fable? that He to whose guardianship you have committed your precious soul is able to keep it until the morning of our own resurrection-glory? Behold it in the risen life of the incarnate God! He has come up from the grave, to make good all His previous claims to Deity, thus to encourage and confirm your belief in the truth, dignity, and glory of His person, and to assure you that he that "believes in Him shall not be ashamed." Now may you take up the triumphant strain, as it falls from the lips of the departing apostle, prolonging it until another shall catch it from your expiring tongue, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."


"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh." Romans 8:12

THAT around a subject so momentous as this no obscurity might gather, tending to misguide the judgment, the apostle most distinctly and emphatically affirms, that the flesh has no valid claim whatever upon the believer; and that, consequently, he is under no obligation to yield compliance with its feigned exactions. We are debtors, but the flesh in not our creditor. What are its demands with which it is incumbent upon us to comply? Do we owe anything to sin, the parent of all our woe? Nothing. To Satan, who plotted our temptation, and accomplished our downfall? Nothing. To the world—ensnaring, deceitful, and ruinous? Nothing. No; to these, the auxiliaries of allies of the flesh, we owe nothing but the deepest hatred and the most determined opposition.

And yet the saints of God are "debtors." To whom? What debtors are they to the Father, for His electing love, for the covenant of grace, for His unspeakable gift, for having blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus! We but imperfectly estimate the debt of love, gratitude, and service which we owe to Him whose mind the Eternal Son came to reveal, whose will He came to do, and whose heart He came to unveil. It was the Father who sent the Son. With Him originated the wondrous expedient of our redemption. He it was who laid all our sins on Jesus. It was His sword of Justice that smote the Shepherd, while His hand of love and protection was laid upon the little ones. We have too much supposed that the Atonement of Jesus was intended to inspire the mercy, rather than to propitiate the justice of God; to awaken in His heart a love that did not previously exist. Thus we have overlooked the source from where originated our salvation, and have lost sight of the truth, that the mediation of Jesus was not the cause, but rather the effect, of God's love to man. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and gave His Son to be a propitiation for our sins." Oh, for the spirit to understand, and for grace to feel, and for love to exemplify, our deep obligation to God for the everlasting love that gave us His Son!

Equal debtors are we to the Son. He was the active agent in our redemption. He it was who undertook and accomplished all that our salvation required. He left no path untrodden, no portion of the curse unborne, no sin unatoned, no part of the law uncancelled—nothing for us in the matter of our salvation to do, but simply to believe and be saved. Oh, to raise the eye to Him—strong in faith, beaming with love, moist with contrition, and exclaim, "You have borne my sin, endured my curse, extinguished my hell, secured my heaven. Your Spirit was wounded for me; Your heart bled for me; Your body was bruise for me; for me Your soul was stricken—for me, a sinner, the chief of sinners. I am Your debtor—a debtor to Your dying love, to Your eternal, discriminating mercy. Surely an eternity of love, of service, and of praise, can never repay You what I owe You, You blessed Jesus." Oh, how deep the obligation we are under to Christ!

And not less indebted are we to the Holy Spirit. What do we not owe Him of love and obedience, who awoke the first thrill of life in our soul; who showed to us our guilt, and sealed to us our pardon? What do we not owe Him for leading us to Christ; for dwelling in our hearts; for His healing, sanctifying, comforting, and restoring grace; for His influence, which no ingratitude has quenched; for His patience, which no backsliding has exhausted; for His love, which no sin has annihilated? Yes, we are the Spirit's lasting debtors. We owe Him the intellect He has renewed, the heart He has sanctified, the body He inhabits, every breath of life He has inspired, and every pulse of love He has awakened. Thus are all real believers debtors to the Triune God—debtors to the Father's everlasting love, to the Son's redeeming grace, and to the Spirit's quickening mercy. To the flesh we owe nothing but uncompromising hatred; to Jehovah we owe undivided and supreme affection.


"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." 1 Corinthians. 3:17

How holy should the temple of the Spirit be! Reader, are you a temple of God the Holy Spirit? Then dedicate yourself unreservedly to God. You are not your own; your body, your spirit, your family, substance, time, talents, influence, all, all belong to God. He dwells in you; walks in you, rules in you, and calls you His dwelling-place. "Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?" Then, what a separation should there be between you and the world that lies in wickedness! How should you guard against every unnecessary entanglement with it! how cautious and prayerful, lest, by contracting an unholy alliance with it in any form or degree, you should defile the temple of God, "which temple you are"! Oh, what heavenly wisdom, and holy circumspection, and ceaseless prayer, do you need, that you might walk with unspotted garments—that no rival should enter your heart—that no lofty views of self, no spirit of worldly conformity, no temporizing policy, no known sin, no creature idolatry should enter there!—that, like the heavenly temple, nothing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, should be cherished or entertained in the abode and in the presence of the Holy Spirit! for "what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Reader, whose temple are you? Solemn question! Does God or Satan dwell in you? Christ or Belial? light or darkness? Either the one or the other has, at this moment, entire possession. You cannot serve two contrary masters; you cannot entertain two opposite guests. You are living either for God or for Satan. You are traveling either to heaven or to hell. Which? On your bended knees before God, decide; and may the Lord the Spirit renew you by His grace, and if renewed, make you "a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work."


"Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?"

WHAT the Church of God needs as a Church we equally need as individual Christians—the deeper baptism of the Holy Spirit. Reader, why is it that you are not more settled in the truth—your feet more firm upon the Rock? Why are you not more rejoicing in Christ Jesus, the pardoning blood more sensibly applied to the conscience, the seal of adoption more deeply impressed upon your heart, "Abba, Father" more frequently, and with stronger, sweeter accent, on your lips? Why are you, perhaps, so yielding in temptation, so irresolute in purpose, so feeble in action, so vacillating in pursuit, so faint in the day of adversity? Why is the glory of Jesus so dimly seen, His preciousness so little felt, His love so imperfectly experienced? Why is there so little close, secret transaction between God and your soul?—so little searching of heart, confession of sin, dealing with the atoning blood? Why does the conscience so much lack tenderness, and the heart brokenness, and the spirit contrition? And why is the throne of grace so seldom resorted to, and prayer itself felt to be so much a duty, and so little a privilege, and, when engaged in, so faintly characterized with the humble brokenness of a penitent sinner, the filial boldness of an adopted child, the rich anointing of a royal priest? Ah! let the small measure in which you have received the Holy Spirit's influence supply the answer. "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?"—have you received Him as a Witness, as a Sealer, as a Teacher, as an Indweller, as a Comforter, as the Spirit of adoption? But, rather, have you not forgotten that your Lord was alive, and upon the throne exalted, to give you the Holy Spirit, and that more readily than a father is to give good gifts to his child? That He is prepared now to throw back the windows of heaven, and pour down upon you such a blessing as shall confirm your faith, resolve your doubts, annihilate your fears, arm you for the fight, strengthen you for the trial, give you an unclouded view of your acceptance in the Beloved, and assure you that your "name is written among the living in Jerusalem"? Then, as you value the light of God's countenance, as you desire to grow in a knowledge of Christ, as you long to be more "steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord," oh, seek to enjoy, in a larger degree, the presence, the love, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Christ has gone up on high to give to you this invaluable blessing, and says for your encouragement, "Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."

September 8.

"But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

THE mere presentation of truth to the unrenewed mind, either in the form of threatening, or promise, or motive, can never produce any saving or sanctifying effect. The soul of man, in its unrenewed state, is represented as spiritually dead; insensible to all holy, spiritual motion. Now, upon such a mind what impression is to be produced by the mere holding up of truth before its eye? What life, what emotion, what effect will be accomplished? As well might we spread out the pictured canvas before the glazed eye of a corpse, and expect that by the beauty of the design, the brilliancy of the coloring, and the genius of the execution, we would animate the body with life, heave the bosom with emotion, and cause the eye to swim with delight, as to look for similar moral effects to result from the mere holding up to view divine truth before a carnal mind, "dead in trespasses and sins." And yet there are those who maintain the doctrine, that divine truth, unaccompanied by any extraneous power, can effect all these wonders! Against such a theory we would simply place one passage from the sacred word: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The sacred word, inspired though it be, is but a dead letter, unclothed with the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. Awful as are the truths it unfolds, solemn as are the revelations it discloses, touching as are the scenes it portrays, and persuasive as are the motives it supplies, yet, when left to its own unaided operation, divine truth is utterly impotent to the production of spiritual life, love, and holiness in the soul of man. Its influence must necessarily be passive, possessing, as it does, no actual power of its own, and depending upon a divine influence extraneous from itself, to render its teaching efficacious. The three thousand who were converted on the day of Pentecost were doubtless awakened under one sermon, and some would declare it was the power of the truth which wrought those wonders of grace. With this we perfectly agree, only adding, that it was truth in the mighty hand of God which pricked them to the heart, and wrung from them the cry, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The Eternal Spirit was the efficient cause, and the preached truth but the instrument employed to produce the effect; but for His accompanying and effectual power, they would, as multitudes do now, have turned their backs upon the sermon of Peter, though it was full of Christ crucified, deriding the truth, and rejecting the Savior of whom it spoke. But it pleased God, in the sovereignty of His will, to call them by His grace, and this He did by the effectual, omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of a preached gospel.

Thus, then, we plead for a personal experimental acquaintance with, and reception of, the truth, before it can produce anything like holiness in the soul. That it has found an entrance to the judgment merely will not do; advancing not further—arresting not the will, touching not the heart, renewing not the whole soul—it can never erect the empire of holiness in man; the reign of sanctification cannot have commenced. The mental eye may be clear, the moral eye closed; the mind all light, the heart all dark; the creed orthodox, and the whole life a variance with the creed. Such is the discordant effect of divine truth, simply settled in the human understanding, unaccompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart. But let a man receive the truth in the his heart by the power of God Himself; let it enter there, disarming and dethroning the strong man; let Jesus enter, and the Holy Spirit take possession, renewing, sealing, and sanctifying the soul; and then we may look for the "fruits of holiness, which are unto eternal life."


"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21

THERE is an order, as well as a harmony, in the operations of the Spirit, which it is highly important should be observed. An ignorance or an oversight of this has led to great and fatal perversions of the gospel. All the self-righteousness of the Pharisee, and all the self-devotion of the deluded disciple of the Papal superstition, have their origin here. Now, the order of the Spirit is this—regeneration of the heart first—then its sanctification. Reverse this, and we derange every part of His work, and, as far as our individual benefit extends, render it entirely useless. Sanctification is not the first and immediate duty of an unrenewed person. Indeed, it were utterly impossible that it should be so. Sanctification has its commencement and its daily growth in a principle of life implanted in the soul by the Eternal Spirit; and to look for holiness in an individual still dead in sins is to look for fruit where no seed was sown—for the actings of life where no vitality exists—it is to expect, in the language of our Lord, to "gather grapes from thorns, and figs from thistles." The first and imperious duty of an unrenewed man is to prostrate himself in deep abasement and true repentance before God; the lofty look must be brought low, the rebellious will must be humbled; and in the posture of one overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. He is to look by faith to a crucified Savior, and draw from thence life, pardon, and acceptance. True, most solemnly true it is, that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord;" yet all attempts towards the attainment of holiness, before "repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," will but disappoint the soul that looks for it.

This work of renewal done, sanctification is comparatively an easy and a delightful employ. Motives and exhortations to a life of holiness now find a ready response in the heart, already the temple of the Holy Spirit. The "incorruptible seed" there sown germinates into the plant, blossoms and ripens into the fruits of holiness, and the "living water" there welled springs up, and pours forth its stream of life and purity, adorning and fertilizing the garden of the Lord. Let us, then, be careful how we disturb the arrangement and reverse the order of the blessed Spirit in His work. Great errors have in consequence arisen, and souls have gone into eternity fearfully and fatally deceived. Especially cautious should they be in this matter, who are appointed to the office of spiritual instruction—to whose care immortal souls are intrusted—lest, in a matter involving interests so precious and so lasting, any should pass from beneath their teaching into eternity ignorant of the one a true method of salvation.


"For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13

GOD speaks of it as involving two evils—the evil of forsaking Him, and the evil of substituting a false object of happiness for Him. Dear reader, the true painfulness of this subject consists not in the sorrow which your heart may have felt in seeing your cisterns broken. Ah no! the true agony should be, that you have, in your wanderings and creature idolatry, sinned, deeply sinned, against the Lord your God. This, and not your loss, ought to lay you low before Him. This, and not your broken scheme of earthly happiness, ought to fill you with the bitterness of sorrow, and clothe you with the drapery of woe. Oh! to have turned your back upon such a God, upon such a Father, upon such a Friend, and to have supposed that even a universe of creatures could have made you happy without Him, ought to bring you to His feet exclaiming, "God be merciful to me, the chief of sinners!" Is it no sin to have said to God, as you have a thousand times over—"I prefer myself to You—my family to You—my estate to You—my pleasure to You—my honor to You"? Is it no sin to have taken the gifts with which He endowed you, or the wealth with which He intrusted you, and forming them into a golden image, to have fallen down before it, exclaiming, "This is your god, O my soul?" Oh yes, it is a sin, the guilt and the greatness of which no language can describe. And is it no sin, O believer in Jesus, to have turned away, in your unbelief and inconstancy, from the glorious redemption which the Lord has obtained for you at such a price, and to have sought the assurance and the joy of your salvation from other sources than it? What! is not the atoning work of Jesus sufficient to give your believing soul solid rest, and peace, and hope, but that you should have turned your eye from Him, and have sought it in the polluted and broken cistern of self? Oh, slight not the precious blood, the glorious righteousness, the infinite fullness, and the tender love of Jesus thus. No, you dishonor this precious Jesus Himself! Shall He have wrought such an obedience, shall He have made such an atonement, shall He have died such a death, shall He have risen and have ascended up on high, all to secure your full salvation and certain glory, and will you derive the evidence and the comfort of your acceptance from any other than this one precious source—"looking unto Jesus!" Look away, then, from everything to Jesus. No matter what you are, look away from self—to Jesus. The more vile, the more empty, the more unworthy, the greater reason and the stronger argument why you should look entirely off yourself—to Jesus. His atoning work is finished by Him, and is sealed by the Father. It is impossible that God can reject you, entirely renouncing yourself and fleeing into Christ. Coming to Him in the name of Jesus, God cannot deny you. He has pledged Himself that whatever is asked in that name He will grant. Take Him at His word!

Ask Him for a sense of His reconciled love—ask Him for the Spirit of adoption—ask Him for a filial, loving, and obedient heart—ask Him for a meek, lowly, and submissive will. Yes, pour out your heart before Him: God waits to grant your utmost desire breathed out to Him in the name of Jesus. He has given you His beloved Son—oh largess worthy of a God!—oh gift of gifts, priceless and precious beyond all thought!—what inferior blessing will He then, withhold?


"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

HOW strong the consolation flowing from this truth to the believer in Jesus! No condemnation is the ground of all comfort to the suffering Christian. What a mighty breakwater is this condition to the rolling surge of sorrow, which else might flow in upon and immerse the soul! Let it be your aim to improve it on every occasion of suffering and trial. God may afflict, but He will never condemn you. Chastisements are not judgments; afflictions are not condemnations. Sickness, bereavement, and low estate, based upon a condition of non-condemnation, you can welcome and patiently bear, since they are not the forecastings of a coming storm, but the distillings of a mercy-cloud sailing athwart the azure sky of a soul in Christ. The fiery trials which purify our faith have not a spark in them of that "unquenchable fire" that will consume the condemned hereafter. Oh, what are crosses and the discomforts of this present world, if at last we are kept out of hell! and oh, what are the riches, and honors, and comforts of this life, if at last we are shut out of heaven! At the bottom of that cup of sinful pleasure which sparkles in the worldling's hand, and which with such zest and glee he quaffs, there lies eternal condemnation; the death-worm feeds at the root of all his good. But at the bottom of this cup of sorrow, now trembling and dark in the hand of the suffering Christian, bitter and forbidding as it is, there is no condemnation; eternal glory is at the root of all his evil. And in this will you not rejoice? It is not only your holy duty, but it is your high privilege to rejoice. Your whole life not only may be, but ought to be, a sweetly-tuned psalm, a continual anthem of thanksgiving and praise, pouring forth its swelling notes to the God of your salvation; since beyond the cloudy scene of your present pilgrimage there unveils the light and bliss of celestial glory, on whose portal you read as you pass within—No Condemnation. Unless, then, you either distrust or disparage this, your joyous condition and blessed hope, you must, in the gloomiest hour, and from the innermost depths of your soul, exultingly exclaim—"He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me! who is he that shall condemn me?"


"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God." Romans 7:17

NOT only are they begotten by God as His children, and by a sovereign act of His most free mercy have become the heirs of an inheritance; but, subjectively, they are made the heirs of Himself. "Heirs of God." Not only are all things in the covenant theirs, but the God of the covenant is theirs. This is their greatest mercy. "I am your part and your inheritance" are His words, addressed to all His spiritual Levites. Not only are they put in possession of all that God has—a boundless wealth—but they are in present possession of all that God is—an infinite portion. And what an immense truth is this, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people"! Take out this truth from the covenant of grace, were it possible, and what remains? It is the chief wealth and the great glory of that covenant, that God is our God. This it is that gives substance to its blessings, and security to its foundation. So long as faith can retain its hold upon the God of the covenant, as our God, it can repose with perfect security in expectation of the full bestowment of all the rest. Here lies our vast, infinite, and incomputable wealth. What constitutes the abject poverty of an ungodly man? His being without God in the world. Be you, my reader, rich or poor, high or low in this world, without God, you are undone to all eternity. It is but of trivial moment whether you pass in rags and lowliness, or move in ermine and pomp, to the torments of the lost; those torments will be your changeless inheritance, living and dying without God, and without Christ, and without hope. But contrast this with the state of the poorest child of God. The universe is not only his—"for all things are yours"—but the God of the universe is his: "The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore will I hope in Him." We have a deathless interest in every perfection of the Divine nature. Is it Wisdom? it counsels us. Is it Power? it shields us. Is it Love? it soothes us. Is it Mercy? it upholds us. Is it truth? it cleaves to us. "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people, from henceforth, even for evermore." What more can we ask than this? If God be ours, we possess the substance and the security of every other blessing. He would bring us to an absolute trust in an absolute God. Winning us to an entire relinquishment of all expectation from any other source, He would allure us to His feet with the language of the Church breathing from our lips—"Behold, we come unto You, for You are the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel." It is in the heart of our God to give us the chief and the best. Had there been a greater, a better, a sweeter, and a more satisfying portion than Himself, then that portion had been ours. But since there is not, nor can be, a greater than He, the love, the everlasting, changeless love that He bears to us constrains Him to give Himself as our God, our portion, our all. And have we not experienced Him to be God all-sufficient? Have we ever found a want or a lack in Him? May He not justly challenge us, and ask, "Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness?" Oh no! God is all-sufficient, and no arid wilderness, no dreary land, have we experienced Him to be. There is in Him an all-sufficiency of love to comfort us; an all-sufficiency of strength to uphold us; an all-sufficiency of power to protect us; and all-sufficiency of good to satisfy us; an all-sufficiency of wisdom to guide us; an all-sufficiency of glory to reward us; and an all-sufficiency of bliss to make us happy here, and happy to all eternity. Such is the inheritance to which, as children of God, we are the heirs.


"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not." 1 John 3:1

IT is not strange that the fact of his adoption should meet with much misgiving in the Christian's mind, seeing that it is a truth so spiritual, flows from a source so concealed, and has its seat in the profound recesses of the soul. The very stupendousness of the relationship staggers our belief. To be fully assured of our divine adoption demands other than the testimony either of our own feelings, or the opinion of men. Our feelings—sometimes excited and visionary—may mislead; the opinion of others—often fond and partial—may deceive us. The grand, the divine, and only safe testimony is "the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit." There exists a strong combination of evil, tending to shake the Christian's confidence in the belief of his sonship. Satan is ever on the watch to insinuate the doubt. He tried the experiment with our Lord: "If You be the Son of God." In no instance would it appear that he actually denied the truth of Christ's Divine Sonship; the utmost that his temerity permitted was the suggestion to the mind of a doubt; leaving it there to its own working. Our blessed Lord thus assailed, it is no marvel that His disciples should be exposed to a like assault. The world, too, presumes to call it in question. "The world knows us not, because it knew Him not." Ignorant of the Divine Original, how can it recognize the Divine lineaments in the faint and imperfect copy? It has no vocabulary by which it can decipher the "new name written in the white stone." The sons of God are in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, illumining it with their light, and preserving it by their grace, yet disguised from its knowledge, and hidden from its view. But the strongest doubts touching the validity of his adoption are those engender in the believer's own mind. Oh! there is much there to generate and foster the painful misgiving. We have said that the very greatness of the favor, the stupendousness of the relationship, startles the mind, and staggers our faith. "What! to be a child of God! God my Father! can I be the subject of a change so great, of a relationship so exalted? Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You should exalt me to be a King's son? Is this the manner of men, O Lord God?" And then, there crowd upon the believer's mind thoughts of his own sinfulness and unworthiness of so distinguished a blessing. "Can it be? with such a depravity of heart, such carnality of mind, such rebellion of will, such a propensity to evil each moment, and in everything such backslidings and flaws, does there yet exist within me a nature that links me with the Divine? It seems impossible!" And when to all this are added the varied dispensations of his Heavenly Father, often wearing a rough garb, assuming an aspect somber, threatening, and crushing, oh, it is no marvel that, staggered by a discipline so severe, the fact of God's love to him, and of his close and tender relation to God, should sometimes be a matter of painful doubt; that thus he should reason—"If His child, reposing in His heart, and sealed upon His arm, why is it thus? Would He not have spared me this heavy stroke? Would not this cup have passed my lips? Would He have asked me to slay my Isaac, to resign my Benjamin? All these things are against me." And thus are the children of God constantly tempted to question the fact of their adoption.


"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Romans 8:16

AS to the great truth thus witnessed to by the Spirit, we are not to suppose that the testimony is intended to make the fact itself more sure; but simply to confirm our own minds in the comfortable assurance of it. Our actual adoption cannot be more certain than it is. It is secured to us by the predestinating love of God and the everlasting covenant of grace; is confirmed by our union with the Lord Jesus, and is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." It is not for the benefit of our fellow-creatures, still less for the satisfaction of God Himself, but for the assurance and comfort of our own hearts, that the Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. The testimony is for the confirmation of our own faith, and the consolation of our own hearts.

But the question arises, What is the mode of His testimony? In attempting to supply an answer, we must acknowledge that we have no certain data to guide us. Sufficient light, however, beams from His work in general, to assist us in forming an intelligent and correct idea of His operations. How, then, may we suppose the Spirit witnesses with our spirit? Not by visions and voices; not by heats and fancies; nor by any direct inspiration, or new revelation of truth. Far different from this is the mode of His testimony. We may gather from the measure of light vouchsafed, that He first implants within the soul the germ of spiritual life, which, beneath His culture, produces the "fruits of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." From these we are left to draw the rational deduction of our adoption. If, for example, a child of God, with all lowliness of spirit, and after much prayerful inquiry, discover that, more or less, some of these effects of the Spirit's operation are developed in his experience, then it is no presumption in that individual, honestly and humbly to conclude that he is a child of God. This is the Spirit's witness, and he cannot gainsay it without wilful blindness, nor reject it without positive sin. The breathing of the renewed heart after holiness supplies another illustration of the mode of the Spirit's testimony. The panting after Divine conformity is the Spirit's inspiration. Where, therefore, it exists, the deduction is that the individual is a child of God. Thus, be begetting in us the Divine nature, by producing in us spiritual fruits, and by breathing in our souls a desire for holiness, the Spirit conducts us to the rational conclusion that we are born of God. By shedding abroad God's love in the soul—by sprinkling the conscience with the atoning blood—by endearing the Savior to our hearts—by leading us more simply to rest in His finished work, yes, to rest in Himself—by creating and increasing love to the members of the one family, and fellowship with whatever is holy, heavenly, and useful, He thus testifies to our Divine relationship.


"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus." Hebrews 6:17-19

THE hope of heaven fostered by an unrenewed mind is baseless and illusory. There exists not a single element of goodness in its nature. It is the conception of a mind at enmity with God. It is the delusion of a heart in covenant with death, and in agreement with hell. It is the treacherous beacon that decoys the too confiding but deluded voyager to the rock-bound shore. Unscriptural, unreal, and baseless, it must eventually cover its possessor with shame and confusion of face. But not such is the believer's hope. Begotten with his second nature—the in-breathing of the Spirit of God—an element of renewed mind, and based upon the atonement of the Savior, it must be essentially a good hope. Cleansed from moral impurity, not in the laver of baptism, but with the blood of Christ; justified, not by the ritual of Moses, but by the righteousness of the incarnate God; sanctified, not by sacramental grace, falsely so called, but by the in-being of the Holy Spirit—the believer's hope of heaven is as well founded as the throne of the Eternal. Moreover it is "a good hope through grace." The first and the last lesson we learn in our Christian course is, that "by grace we are saved." Lord! do You require of me one thought of stainless purity, one throb of perfect love, one deed of unsullied holiness, upon which shall hinge my everlasting happiness? Then am I lost forever! But since You have provided a righteousness that justifies me from all things, that frees me from all condemnation—and since this righteousness is Your free, unpurchased gift, the bestowment of sovereign grace—I clasp to my trembling yet believing heart the joyous hope this truth inspires. It is a blessed hope. "Looking for that blessed hope." Its object is most blessed. The heaven it compasses is that blissful place where the holy ones who have fled from our embrace are reposing in the bosom of the Savior. They are the blessed dead. The day of their death was to them better than the day of their birth. The one was the introduction to all sorrow, the other is a translation to all joy. Blessed hope! the hope of being forever with the Lord. No more to grieve the Spirit that so often and so soothingly comforted our hearts; no more to wound the gentle bosom that so often pillowed our head. No more to journey in darkness, nor bend as a bruised reed before each blast of temptation. To be a pillar in the temple of God, to go no more out forever. And what a sanctifying hope is it! This, to the spiritual mind, is its most acceptable and elevating feature. "Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself even as He is pure." It detaches from earth, and allures to heaven. Never does it glow more brightly in the soul, nor kindle around the path a luster more heavenly, than when it strengthens in the believer a growing conformity of character to that heaven towards which it soars. It is, in a word, a sure hope. Shall the worm undermine it? shall the tempest shake it? shall the waters extinguish it? Never. It saves us. It keeps, preserves, and sustains us amid the perils and depressions of our earthly pilgrimage. And having borne us through the flood, it will not fail us when the last surge lands us upon the shore of eternity.


"The body is dead because of sin." Romans 8:10

WHAT body is referred to here? Certainly not, as some have supposed, the body of sin. Who can with truth affirm of it that it is dead? The individual who claims as his attainment a state of sinless perfection, an entire victory over the evil propensities and actings of his fallen nature, has yet to learn the alphabet of experimental Christianity. Pride is the baneful root, and a fall is often the fatal consequence of such an error. Oh no! the body of sin yet lives, and dies not but with death itself. We part not with innate and indwelling sin but with the parting breath of life, and then we part with it forever. But it is the natural body to which the apostle refers. And what an affecting fact is this! Redeemed by the sacrifice, and inhabited by the Spirit of Christ, though it be, yet this material fabric, this body of our humiliation, tends to disease, decay, and death; and, sooner or later, wrapped in its shroud, must make its home in the grave, and mingle once more with its kindred dust. "The body is dead because of sin." Our redemption by Christ exempts us not from the conflict and the victory of the last enemy. We must confront the grim foe, must succumb to his dread power, and wear his pale trophies upon our brow. We must die—are dying men—because of sin. "Death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." And this law remains unrepealed, though Christ has delivered us from the curse. From this humiliating necessity of our nature even the non-condemned find no avenue of escape; from this terrible conflict, no retreat. One event happens to the wicked and the righteous—they both leave the world by the same dismal process of dissolution. But the character of death is essentially changed; and herein lies the great difference. In the one case death is armed with all its terrors; in the other, it is invested with all its charms—for death has an indescribable charm to the believer in Jesus. Christ did not die to exempt us from the process of death; but He died to exempt us from the sting of death. If, because of original and indwelling sin in the regenerate, they must taste of death; yet, because of pardoned sin in the regenerate, the "bitterness of death is passed." If, because there exists a virus in the body, the body must dissolve; yet, because there exists an infallible antidote, the redeemed soul does not see death as it passes through the gloomy portal, and enters into its own life, light, and immortality. How changed the character of death! If the body of the redeemed is under the sentence, and has within it the seeds of death, and must be destroyed, yet that death is to him the epoch of glory. It is then that the life within germinates and expands; it is then that he really begins to live. His death is the birthday of his immortality. Thus, in the inventory of the covenant, death ranks among the chief of its blessings, and becomes a covenant mercy. "Death is gain." "What!" exclaims the astonished believer, "death a blessing—a covenant blessing! I have been used to contemplate it as my direst curse, to dread it as my greatest foe." Yes; if death is the sad necessity, it is also the precious privilege of our being. In the case of those who are in Christ Jesus, it is not the execution of a judicial sentence, but the realization of a covenant mercy. And, as the Christian marks the symptoms of his approaching and inevitable dissolution—watching the slow but unmistakable advances of the fell destroyer—he can exclaim, as he realizes that there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus—

"Come, Death, shake hands; I'll kiss your bands—
'It is happiness for me to die.
What! do you think that I will shrink?—
I go to immortality."

"Because of sin." Ah! it is this truth whose dark shadow flits across the brightness of the Christian's condition. To what are all our ailments, calamities, and sorrows traceable, but to sin? And why do we die? "Because of sin." The immediate and proximate causes of death are but secondary agents. Had we not transgressed, we then had not died. Deathlessness would have been our natural and inalienable birthright. And were we more spiritually-minded than we are, while we looked onward with steady faith to a signal and glorious triumph over the King of Terrors, we should blend with the bright anticipation of the coming victory, the humbling conviction that we have sinned, and that therefore "the body is dead.


"This is life eternal, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3

WHEN does this acquaintance between God and man commence? It commences in reconciliation—it commences at the time of man's peace with God. I can form no acquaintance with an individual against whom my heart cherishes deep, inveterate, and deadly enmity; my very hatred, my very dislike to that individual prevents me from studying his character, from analyzing his heart, and from knowing what are his feelings towards me. But bring me into a state of amity with that individual—remove my enmity, take away my dislike, propitiate his feelings towards me, and then I am in a position for studying and becoming acquainted with his character. The Holy Spirit does this in man; He takes away the enmity of the sinner's heart, humbles his spirit, and bows it in penitence; constrains the sinner to lay down the weapons of his hostility against God—brings him to see that the God against whom he has been battling and fighting all his life is a God of love, a God who draws sinners to Himself, a God who is reconciled in Jesus Christ. That soul, disarmed of its rebellion and enmity, is now brought into a position for the study of God's character. Looking at God now, not through the law, but through the gospel, not in creation, but in Christ, he is in a position for becoming acquainted with God. And oh what an acquaintance he now forms! All his dark and shadowy conceptions vanish away; all his distorted views are rectified; and the God that he thought was a God so hateful, a God whose law was so repulsive, a God who was so harsh and tyrannical, he sees now to be a God of infinite mercy and love in Jesus Christ: now he becomes acquainted with Him as a sin-pardoning God, blotting out the utmost remnant of his transgressions; he becomes acquainted with Him as a God reconciled in Christ, and therefore a Father pacified towards him. Oh! what a discovery is made to him of that God, with whom before his soul lived in the darkest and deepest alienation! Thus he becomes acquainted with God, when his heart becomes reconciled to God. A closer and more simple view of Jesus, a daily study of Jesus, must deepen my acquaintance with God. As I know more of the heart of Christ, I know more of the heart of the Father; as I know more of the love of the Savior, I know more of the love of Him who gave me that Savior; as I know more of His travail of soul, to work out my redemption—as I know more of the tears of blood He shed—as I know more of the groans of agony He breathed—as I know more of the convulsions through which He passed—as I know more of the death-throes of the spotless soul of His—I know more of the heart of God, more of the character of God, and more of the love of God. Want you to see more of the glory of God? See it in the face of Jesus. Learn it in the "brightness of the Father's glory," learn it in "the express image of His person," as it stands revealed to you in the person and in the work of Jesus Christ.


"But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Is your knowledge of God a transforming knowledge? Have you so become acquainted with God as to receive the impress (as it were) of what God is?—for a true knowledge of God is a transforming knowledge. As I look upon the glory of God I am changed into that glory; and as my acquaintance with God deepens, I become more like God. There is a transfer of God's moral image to my soul. Is your knowledge then transforming? Does your acquaintance with God make you more like God—more holy, more divine, more heavenly, more spiritual? Does it prompt you to pant after conformity to God's mind, desiring in all things to walk so as to please God, and to have, as it were, a transfer of the nature of God to your soul? Examine, therefore, your professed acquaintance with God, and see whether it is that acquaintance which will bring you to heaven, and will go on increasing through the countless ages of eternity.

And I would say to God's saints—trace the cause of much of our uneven walking, of our little holiness, and, consequently, of our little happiness, to our imperfect acquaintance with what God is. Did I know more of what God is to me in Christ—how He loves me, what a deep interest He takes in all my concerns—did I know that He never withdraws His eye from me for one moment, that His heart of love never grows cold—oh! did I but know this, would I not walk more as one acquainted with God? Would I not desire to consult Him in all that interests me, to acknowledge Him in all my ways, to look up to Him in all things, and to deal with Him in all matters? Would I not desire to be more like Him, more holy, more divine, more Christ-like? Yes, beloved; it is because we know Him so little, that we walk so much in uneven ways. We consult man rather than God; we flee to the asylum of a creature-bosom, rather than to the bosom of the Father; we go to the sympathy of man, rather than to the sympathy of God in Christ, because we are so imperfectly acquainted with God. But did I know more clearly what God is to me in the Son of His love, I should say—I have not a trial but I may take that trial to my Father; I am not in a perplexity but I may go to God for counsel; I am in no difficulty, I have no want, but it is my privilege to spread it before my Father—to unveil my heart of sin, my heart of wretchedness, my heart of poverty, to Him who has unveiled His heart of love, His heart of grace, His heart of tenderness to me in Christ. As I become more acquainted with God, my character and my Christian walk will be more even, more circumspect, more holy, and consequently more happy.


"And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God." 1 Samuel 23:16

THE Lord's vineyard is a large one, and the departments of labor are many and varied. And if, in this world of activity—where so many agencies, evil and good, are at work, where so many influences, for weal and for woe, are in constant and untiring operation—there is one class which demands our warmest interest, our most fervent prayers, and our most affectionate sympathy and support, it is those who are actively and devotedly employed in the kingdom and service of Jesus. It is needless to enumerate or specify them: those who are preaching Christ's gospel; those who are teaching the little ones; those who are instructing and training the young about to enter upon life; those who disseminate God's holy word, and promote religious literature; those who visit the sick and the dying, the stranger, and the prisoner, and especial and strong claims upon our Christian sympathy. A little expression of kind interest in their self-denying labors, oh, how often has it inspirited, cheered, and encouraged them! What a privilege to repair to the scene of their toil, anxiety, and discouragement, and by a visit, a word, a donation, "strengthen their hand in God"—that hand often so feeble, tremulous, and ready to fall. And is there not a lamentable lack of sympathy for the Christian missionary? Who so much demands, and who so worthy of the support, the prayers, the sympathy of the Christian Church, as those who are her messengers and almoners to the far distant heathen? How much do they need that by our petitions, our zealous cooperation, and our consecrated substance, we strengthen their hand in God! Let us, then, cheer all Christ's true laborers, remembering that thus, indirectly, we are urging forward His truth and kingdom in the world. Nor let us withhold our sympathy from any case of sorrow, Christian effort, or individual labor, on the plea that its expression and its source are feeble, uncostly, and obscure. Ah! from many a darkened chamber, from many a sleepless pillow, from many a couch of languor, there has gone up the secret, silent, but fervent and believing wrestle with the Angel of the covenant in behalf of some Christian laborer, or some Christian enterprise, that has brought down from heaven the grace and might, and smile of Omnipotence, to support, strengthen, and bless. Thus sympathy has its home in every holy heart and in every lowly dwelling; and there is no individual, however straitened by poverty, or veiled by obscurity, oppressed by trial, or enfeebled by sickness, form the altar of whose heart there my not ascent the sweetest, holiest, most precious and powerful of all human offerings—the offering and the incense of a true and prayerful sympathy.


"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." Matthew 4:1

IMAGINE yourself, my Christian reader, shut in for a single day with one of the vilest and most degraded of our species. During that period, his whole conversation shall be an attempt to tamper with your allegiance to Christ, to undermine your principles, to pollute your mind, to infuse blasphemous thoughts, to wound your conscience, and destroy your peace. What mental suffering, what grief, what torture would your soul endure in the period of time! Yet all this, and infinitely more, did Jesus pass through. For forty days and nights was He enclosed in the wilderness with Satan. Never were the assaults of the prince of darkness more fearful, never were his fiery darts more surely aimed and powerfully winged, and never had so shining a mark presented itself as the object of his attack as now.

Our Lord's exposure to temptation, and His consequent capability of yielding to its solicitations, has its foundation in His perfect humanity. It surely requires not an argument to show that, as God, He could not be tempted, but that, as man, He could. His inferior nature was finite and created; it was not angelic, it was human. It was perfectly identical with our own, its entire exemption from all taint of sin only excepted. A human body and a human mind were His, with all their essential and peculiar properties. He was "bone of our bone, and flesh and our flesh;" He traveled up through the stages of infancy, boyhood, and manhood; He was encompassed with all the weaknesses, surrounded by all the circumstances, exposed to all the inconveniences, that belong to our nature. He breathed our air, trod our earth, ate our food. The higher attributes of our being were His also. Reason, conscience, memory, will, affections, were essential appendages of that human soul which the Son of God took into union with His Divinity. As such, then, our Lord was tempted. As such, too, He was capable of yielding. His finite nature, though pure and sinless, was yet necessarily limited in its resources, and weak in its own powers. Touching His inferior nature, He was but man. The Godhead was not humanized, nor was the humanity deified, by the blending together of the two natures. Each retained its essential characters, properties, and attributes, distinct, unchanged, and unchangeable.

But let no one suppose that a liability in Jesus to yield to Satan's temptation necessarily implies the existence of the same sinful and corrupt nature which we possess. Far from it. To deny His capability of succumbing to temptation were to neutralize the force, beauty, and instruction of the eventful part of His history altogether. It were to reduce a splendid fact to an empty fable, a blessed reality to a vague supposition; it were to rob Jesus of the great glory which covered Him when left alone, the victor on this battlefield. And yet that He must necessarily be sinful, in order to be thus capable of yielding, does not follow; it is an error of judgment to suppose that the force of a temptation always depends upon the inherent sinfulness of the person who is tempted. The case of the first Adam disproves this supposition, and in some of its essential features strikingly illustrates the case of the second Adam. In what consisted the strength of the assault before whose fearful onset Adam yielded? Surely not in any indwelling sin, for he was pure and upright. There was no appeal to the existence of an corrupt principles or propensities; no working upon any fallen desires and tendencies in his nature; for, until the moment that the blast swept him to the earth, no angel in heaven stood before the throne purer or more faultless than he. But God left him to the necessary weakness and poverty of his own nature, and thus withdrawing His Divine support and restraint, that instant he fell! That our adorable Lord did not fall, and was not overcome in His fearful conflict with the same foe, was owing solely to the upholding of the Deity, and the indwelling and restraining power of the Holy Spirit, which He possessed without measure.


"For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to support those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:18

DO YOU THINK, my reader, was it no humiliation for the Son of God to be thus assailed by the prince of darkness? Was it no degradation, that His dignity should be questioned, His authority disputed, His reverence for and allegiance to, His Father assailed, and His very purity tampered with by a fallen and corrupt spirit whom He had ejected from heaven? Ah! how deeply and keenly He must have felt it to be so, the first moment He was brought in contact with this arch-fiend and subtle foe of God and man! But, oh, what glory beams from beneath this dark veil of Christ's humiliation! How lovely and precious an object does He appear to saints and angels in this wondrous transaction! What holy sympathies and fond affections are kindled in the heart, and rise towards Him, as the eye surveys each particular—the appalling nature of the onset—the shock which His humanity sustained—the mighty power by which He was upheld—the signal victory which He achieved—the Divine consolation and comfort which flowed into His soul as His vanquished enemy retired from the conflict, leaving Him more than conqueror—and above all, the close and tender sympathy into which He was now brought with a tempted Church! These are features replete with thrilling interest and rich instruction, on which the renewed mind delights to dwell.

But our Lord's humiliation went deeper still than this! The clouds now gathering around Him grew darker and more portentous as He advanced towards the final conflict. We must consider the first step of His bearing sin, the painful consciousness of which increased as the hour of its atonement drew on, as forming one of the most overwhelming demonstrations of that voluntary abasement to which He had stooped, and through which He was now passing. In the following passages this great truth of the Gospel is explicitly and emphatically stated. And let it be borne in mind, that when the Holy Spirit represents our Lord as bearing sin, the statement is not to receive a figurative, but a perfectly literal interpretation, as asserting a solemn and momentous fact. He bore not the appearance of sin, or the punishment merely of sin, but the sin itself.

Thus does the Holy Spirit declare it: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." "He shall bear their iniquities." "He bare the sin of many." "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." "He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." There stood the eternal God, in the closest proximity to the evil one. Never did two extremes, so opposite to each other, meet in such near contiguity and collision. Essential sin, essential holiness; essential darkness, essential light; essential hatred, essential love; man's deadliest foe, man's dearest friend. What an hour of seeming power and triumph was this to the grand adversary of God and man! what an hour of deepening gloom and humiliation and defeat to God's beloved Son! How would this Lucifer of the morning exult, as with the swellings of pride he placed his foot upon incarnate Deity! And how keenly and powerfully conscious would Jesus be, at that moment, of the deep abasement and degradation to which He had now sunk!

But behold how this great transaction contributed to the deep humiliation of the Son of God. What must have been the revulsion of moral feeling, what the shrinking of His holy soul, the first instant it came in personal contact with sin! What a mighty convulsion must have rocked His human nature, pure and sinless as it was! Saint of God! what composes your bitterest cup, and what constitutes your keenest, deepest sorrow? Has a tender Father blown upon your blessings, removed your mercies, lessened your comforts, darkened your bright landscape, dried up your sweet spring? Is this the cause of your shaded brow, your anxious look, your tearful eye, your troubled and disconsolate spirit? "Ah, no!" you perhaps exclaim; "rid me of this body of sin, and you chase the cloud from my brow, the tear from my eye, and the sorrow from my heart. It is the sin that dwells in me." Do you think, then, what the spotless Lamb of God must have felt, and how deeply must it have entered into His humiliation—the existence of an all-absorbing, ever present, and ever painful and humiliating consciousness of bearing upon His holy soul iniquity, transgression, and sin!


"A little while and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father."

THE sacred friendships we form in our present state enter deeply into our future happiness. A bosom friend—and we now speak only of the sympathy which a mutual hope in Christ inspires—we feel to be a part of our own existence, an essential element of our intellectual and moral being. Such a friend is identified with our immortality. The affection inspired, the communion maintained, the communion enjoyed here, surely form but the embryo, the germ, of that friendship which, in its fullness and perfection, awaits us on high. The very character of earth's sacred friendships points us to a fuller development. Is the communion, the communion, the reciprocation of feeling springing from a warm confidential and exclusive friendship, at all commensurate with the depth and intensity of the affection that inspires it? Alas! not so. How little and how imperfect here the communion of kindred hearts! Places, oceans, circumstances separate, and it is but now and then that we sip the sweets of a full and unalloyed communion. And then, how frequently does death step in, and cast its shadow and its blight over the heart's fondest treasure! the thread is broken, and our bosom friend is gone! "A little while, and you shall not see me," gently whispers each holy, precious friendship of the heart. It is but "a little while" we enjoy the friends God gives us, and then, disappearing within the veil of eternity, we see them no more. But are they lost? Oh no! Another voice is heard—it is as a voice from heaven speaking—"And again a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father." Yes! it is but a "little while," and we shall see them again; because they are safe in the house and reposing in the bosom of their Father.

And what is heaven? It is not a place of solitude and loneliness. There is society there—there is companionship there. And the life of the blessed will be a life of the closest personal communion and of the highest social enjoyment. And what beings in the Father's house will be more likely to participate with us, and, by participation, heighten, the joys of heaven? Surely those who, in this lower world, were more closely than all others endeared and assimilated to us, by affection, providence, communion, and time. And when we have passed through the portal of death, and find ourselves in glory, who, amid the bright throng of redeemed spirits, will be the first objects of our eager search? Will it not be those who on earth we knew and loved better than others, and whose associations were so interwoven with our earthly and former life, that not to renew the same peculiar friendship, freed from all the imperfections of sin, and not to enjoy again the same hallowed communion, would be like the destruction of our consciousness and memory? Yes! a little while, and we shall see them again! Oh blessed reunion and of the holy dead! Beloved, in a little while we shall see them all again, because they are with the Father. Let us comfort one another with these words.


”For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

THE world, where not a spot is found unscathed by the curse, must be a world of suffering. The world, where sin holds its universal empire, tainting every object, and beclouding every scene, must be a world of suffering. The world, where the spirit is wounded, and the heart is broken, where reason is dethroned, and hope languishes, where the eye weeps, and the nerve trembles, where sickness wastes, and death reigns, must needs be a world of suffering. From none of these forms of woe does Christianity exempt its believers. But with this truth, on the other hand, it soothes and reconciles—they are the sufferings of the present time. They are but momentary, will soon be over—and forever. We live in a dying world—a world that is passing away. Time is short—is ever on the wing; and we are ever on the wing of time, borne each moment by its sweeping pinion nearer and still nearer our Father's house; of whose occupants it is said, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Oh, how gentle is the admonition—"Arise you, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted"! Then comes the glory—"the glory which shall be revealed in us." What word could more appropriately express the future condition of the saints? The world claims the title, but has no claim to the reality. What is the glory of science—of learning—of rank—of wealth, but a tinseled pageant, a meteor blazing for a moment, and then disappearing in eternal night? But the glory that awaits the suffering Christian is a real, a substantial glory. At present it is veiled. The world sees it not; the believer only beholds it through faith's telescope. But the day of its full, unclouded revelation awaits us. It draws near. It will be a glory revealed in us. This truth may be startling to some. "What!" they exclaim, "a glory to be revealed in me! In me, who can scarcely reflect a solitary ray of light! In me, so dark, so sinful, living at so remote a distance from communion with the Father of lights! Can it be that in me this glory will be revealed?" So affirms the word of our God. If a child of the light, dwelling, it may be, in the world's shade, and often called to walk in great darkness, you shall one day outshine the brightness of the firmament and the stars forever and ever.


"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17

IN what respects will it be a glory revealed in us? It will be the glory of perfect knowledge. "Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Oh, what an orb of intellectual light will be each glorified mind! What capacity of understanding will it develop—what range of thought will it compass—what perfection of knowledge will it attain! How will all mysteries then be unraveled, and all problems then be solved, and all discrepancies then be reconciled; and every truth of God's revelation, every event of God's providence, every decision of God's government, stand out more transparent and resplendent than ten thousand suns. Do you, in your present search for spiritual knowledge, deplore the darkness of your mind, the feebleness of your memory—the energy of your mental faculties impaired, dimmed, and exhausted? Oh, rejoice in hope of the glory that is to be revealed in you, when all your intellectual powers will be renewed as the eagle's strength; developed, sanctified, and perfected, to a degree outvying the mightiest angel in heaven. Then shall we know God and Christ, and truth, and providence, and ourselves, even as now we are known. It will also be a glory in us of perfect holiness. The kingdom within us will then be complete; the good work of grace will then be perfected. It will be the consummation of holiness, the perfection of purity. No more sin! The conscience no more sullied—the thoughts no more defiled—the affections no more ensnared—but a glory of holiness, dazzling and resplendent, beyond an angel's, revealed in us. "It does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him."

The glory of perfect happiness will be the certain effect of perfect sanctity. The completeness of Christ is the completeness of moral purity. With reverence be it spoken, God Himself could not be a perfectly happy, were He not a perfectly holy Being. The radiance of the glorified countenance of the saints will be the reflection of holy thoughts and holy feelings glowing within. Joy and peace and full satisfaction will beam in every feature, because every faculty and feeling and emotion of the soul will be in perfect unison with the will, and in perfect assimilation to the image, of God. Who can paint the happiness of that world from where everything is banished that could sully its purity, disturb its harmony, and ruffle its repose?—where everything is included that comports with its sanctity, harmonizes with its grandeur, and heightens its bliss. Oh, yes! it will be a glory revealed in us. The glory of the Father's adoption—the glory of Christ's atonement—the glory of the Spirit's regeneration, radiating from a poor fallen son of Adam—a sinner redeemed, renewed, and saved. And what is each present ray of heavenly light, each thrill of divine love, each victory of indwelling grace, and each glimpse of the upper world, but the foreshadowings of the glory yet to be revealed in us? Suffering and glory thus placed side by side, thus contrasted and weighed, to what conclusion does our apostle arrive? "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." No, not worthy of a comparison. Do we measure their relative duration? "Then, our light affliction is but for a moment," while our glory is a "far more exceeding and eternal weight." Before long all suffering and sorrow will forever have passed away—a thing of history and of memory only—while glory will deepen and expand as eternity rolls on its endless ages. Do we weight them? What comparison has the weight of the cross with the weight of the crown? Place in the scales the present "light affliction" and the future "exceeding and eternal weight of glory," which is the lightest? Are they worthy to be compared? Oh, no! One second of glory will extinguish a life-time of suffering. What were long years of toil, of sickness, of battle with poverty, persecution, and sorrow in every form, and closing even with a martyr's death, weighted with one draught of the river of pleasure at Christ's right hand—with one breath of Paradise—with one wave of heaven's glory—with one embrace of Jesus—with one sight of God? Oh, what are the pangs of present separation, in comparison with the joy of future reunion? What the pinchings of poverty now, with the untold riches then? What the suffering, and gloom, and contempt of the present time, with the glory that is to be revealed in us? We can go no further. Tell us, you spirits of just men made perfect, if it be lawful, if it be possible, what the glory that awaits us is! Tell us what it is to be an unclothed spirit—to dwell in the bosom of Jesus—to see God—to be perfectly holy—to be supremely happy! Wait, my soul! before long it will be all revealed!


"And do not be conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

THE world, and the love of it, and conformity to it, may please and assist the life of sense, but it is opposed to, and will retard, the life of faith. Not more opposed in their natures are the flesh and the Spirit, darkness and light, sin and holiness, than are a vigorous life of faith and a sinful love of the world. Professor of the gospel! guard against the world; it is your great bane: watch against conformity to it in your dress, in your mode of living, in the education of your children, in the principles, motives, and policy that govern you. Grieve not, then, the Holy Spirit of God by any known inconsistency of conduct, any sinful conformity to the world, any inordinate pursuit of its wealth, its honors, its pleasures, its friendships, and its great things. Pray against the sin of covetousness, that canker-worm that feeds at the root of so many souls; pray against the love of dress, that sin that diverts the mind of so many professors from the simplicity of Christ, and takes the eye off from the true adornment; pray against a thirst for light and trifling reading, that strange and sinful inconsistency of so many, the certain tendency of which is to starve the life of God in the soul, to engender a distaste for spiritual aliment, for the word of God, for holy meditation, and for Divine communion and fellowship—yes, pray against the spirit of worldly, sinful conformity in everything, that the Holy Spirit do not be grieved, and that Christ do not be dishonored and crucified afresh in and through you. It is to be feared that much of the professed Christianity of the day is of a compromising character. The spirit that marks so many is, "What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" There is a betraying of Christ before the world—a bartering of Christianity for its good opinion, its places of honor, and influence, and emolument. The world, the flesh, and Satan are ever on the alert to frame a bargain with a Christian professor for his religion. "What will you give me in return?" is the eager inquiry of many. Oh, awful state! oh, fearful deception! oh, fatal delusion! Reader! are you a professing Christian? Then guard against the least compromise of your principles, the least betrayal of Jesus, the first step in an inconsistency of walk; above all, pray and watch against a worldly Christianity—a Christianity that wears a fair exterior, so far as it is composed of attendance upon sanctuary services and sacraments and religious institutions, but which excludes from it the cross of the meek and lowly Lamb of God—a Christianity which loves the world and the things of the world, "makes a fair show in the flesh," speaks well of Christ, and yet betrays Him with a kiss. Let not this be the model of your religion. The world is the sworn enemy of your Savior; let it not be your friend. No; come out of it, and be you separate.


"I know your works, that you are neither old nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor not, I will spue you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:15-16

OF all spiritual states, lukewarmness is most abhorrent to God, and grieving to the Holy Spirit; and thus has God declared His utter detestation of this state. And yet, who contemplates it in this awful light? who pauses to examine himself, to ascertain what real progress his soul is making—what grace is enfeebled—what part of the Spirit's work is decayed—what spot of his soul is barren and unfruitful, and how far he is secretly and effectually grieving the Holy Spirit by a known, allowed, and cherished state of spiritual declension? If, after all his skill, it must be affecting to the architect to witness the decay of his building—if so to the parent, after his costly expenditure of means in education, to witness the fond hopes he cherished of his child blasted—how infinitely more is the Spirit affected and grieved to behold the temple He had erected at such a cost falling to decay; the soul He had taught with such care and solicitude receding into a state of coldness and formality in its spiritual duties and affections! "The heart of the Spirit," beautifully remarks Dr. Owen, "is infinitely more tender towards us than that of the most affectionate parent can be towards an only child. And when He with cost and care has nourished and brought us up into some growth and progress in spiritual affections, wherein all His concerns in us do lie, for us to grow cold, dull, earthly-minded, to cleave unto the pleasures and lusts of this world, how is He grieved, how is He provoked!" See, then, that your spiritual state is such as occasions joy rather than grief to the Holy Spirit of God. Nothing can fill His loving heart with greater and more holy delight than to witness the deepening character and expanding influence of His own work in the believer. To behold the glimmering light, which He created, "shining more and more,"—the gentle plant emitting its fragrance, and putting forth its fruit—the well-spring in the heart rising heavenward, God-ward—such a picture must be grateful to the Spirit. If the enthroned Redeemer looks down with satisfaction upon the travail of His soul in the calling in of His redeemed, equally joyous must it be to the Eternal Spirit to behold the widening of His kingdom in the saints—the maturing of the soul for the inheritance and the companionship of "just men made perfect." To mark a growing conformity to the image of Christ—holiness expanding its root—each grace in active exercise—every weight cast aside—every sin mortified, and the whole body, soul, and spirit a rising temple to God, must indeed fill all heaven with joy. Christian reader, see well to your state, that the Holy Spirit of God is not grieved at any known and cherished declension of His work in the soul.


"Trust you in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." Isaiah 26:4

THERE is no act of the soul more acceptable to God, because there is none that brings more glory to His great name, than this. Wherever we trace in the Scriptures of truth a trust in the Lord, there we find especial and remarkable deliverance. It is recorded of the children of Israel that the Lord delivered their enemies into their hand, "for they cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him." Again, we read of God's wondrous message sent by Jeremiah to Abed-melech, the Ethiopian, "I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but your life shall be for a prey unto you; because you have put your trust in me, says the Lord." The experience, too, of God's people confirms the blessedness of trusting in the Lord. "In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped." The promises connected with trusting in the Lord are equally rich and encouraging. "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You." "None of those who trust in Him shall be desolate." "The Lord knows those who trust in Him." "Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You; which You have wrought for those who trust in You before the sons of men. You shall hide them in the secret of Your presence." What a marvelous and precious cluster of Divine encouragements to those who trust in the Lord with all their heart, under all circumstances, and at all times! "Only trust," is Jesus' word. "This is all I ask of you, the utmost thing I require at your hand. I demand no costly sacrifice—no wearisome pilgrimage—no personal worthiness—no strength, or wisdom, or self-endeavors of your own. Only trust me. Only believe that I wait to answer prayer—that I am gracious—that I have all power at my command—that I have your interest at heart—that there is no good thing I am willing to withhold—that I, and I alone, can guide your present steps, can unravel the web of your difficulties, guide your perplexities, extricate you from the snares that have woven their net-work around your feet, and bring you through fire and through water into a wealthy place. Only trust me!" Beloved, is this too hard? Is the request unreasonable and impracticable? What! only to trust Jesus? Only to trust your needs to His ear—your burdens to His arm—your sorrows to His heart? Is this too hard? Is it beyond your power? Then tell Jesus so. Remind Him of His own words, "Without me you can do nothing." And ask at His hands the faith to trust, the heart to trust, the courage to trust, and the power to trust all your interests, temporal and spiritual, for time and for eternity, into His hands.


"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13-14

SELECT your choicest, sweetest temporal mercy, and say, is it satisfying to your soul? Does it, in its fullest enjoyment, leave no want unsupplied, no desire unmet, no void unfilled? Does it meet the cravings of the mind? Go into the garden of creature-blessing, and pluck the loveliest flower, and taste the sweetest fruit; repair to the cabinet of friendship, and select from thence its choicest pearl; pass round the wide circle of earth-born joy, and place your hand upon the chief and the best—is it the feeling of your heart and the language of your lips, "I am satisfied, I want no more"? Does it quench the spirit's thirst; does it soothe the heart's sorrow; does it meet the mind's cravings; does it quiet the troubled conscience, and lift the burden from the aching heart? Oh no! the height, the depth, the length, the breadth exclaim, "It is not in me: am I in God's stead?" But how blessed is that which truly satisfies! Listen to the gracious words of the Savior. "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." Did language ever utter a sentiment more true than this? Jesus is an all-satisfying portion. They who have tried Him can testify that it is so. His is not a satisfaction in name, but in reality and in truth. There is a felt, a realized sense of holy satiety. The mind is content. The believer wanders no more in quest of happiness or of rest. He has found them both in Jesus. He is satisfied to stake his eternal all upon the finished work of Immanuel—to live upon His smile, to abide in His love, to draw upon His grace, to submit to His will, to bear His cross, to be guided by His counsel, and afterwards to be received by Him into glory. The Lord Jesus imparts contentment to the soul in which He enters and dwells. Vast as were those desires before, urgent as were those necessities, insatiable as were those cravings, and restless as was that mind, Jesus has met and satisfied them all. The magnetic power of His love has attracted to, and fixed the mind upon, Himself. "He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." The believer is satisfied that God should possess Him fully, govern him supremely, and guide him entirely, and be the sole Fountain from where he draws his happiness, gratefully acknowledging, "All my springs are in You." Thus is he content to be just what, and just where, his Father would have him. He is satisfied that he possesses God, and that, possessing God, he has all good in God. He knows that his Father cares for him; that He has undertaken to guide all his steps, and to provide for all his needs. The only anxiety which he feels as to the present is how he may the most glorify his dearest, his only Friend, casting the future on Him in the simplicity of child-like faith. Nor is the satisfaction thus felt limited to the present state. It passes on with the believer to eternity. It enters with him into the mansions of bliss. There, in unruffled serenity, in unalloyed joy, in unmingled bliss, it is perfect and complete. "You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Happy saint! who have found your all in Jesus! Glorified spirit! would we recall you to these scenes of sin, of suffering, and of death? No! the needle of your soul no longer varies and trembles, diverted from its center by other and treacherous objects—Jesus fixes it now, and fixes it forever.


"For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." John 13:15

EVERY soul re-cast into this model, every mind conformed to this pattern, and every life reflecting this image, is an exalting and a glorifying of the Son of God. There is no single practical truth in the word of God on which the Spirit is more emphatic than the example which Christ has set for the imitation of His followers. The Church needed a perfect pattern, a flawless model. It wanted an impersonation, a living embodiment of those precepts of the gospel so strictly enjoined upon every believer, and God has graciously set before us our true model. "Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." And what says Christ Himself? "My sheep follow me." We allow that there are points in which we cannot and are not required literally and strictly to follow Christ. We cannot lay claim to His infallibility. He who sets himself up as infallible in his judgment, spotlessly pure in his heart, and perfect in his attainments in holiness, deceives his own soul. Jesus did many things, too, as our Surety, which we cannot do. We cannot drink of the cup of Divine trembling which He drank; nor can we be baptized with the baptism of blood with which He was baptized. He did many things as a Jew—was circumcised, kept the passover &christian.—which are not obligatory upon us. And yet, in all that is essential to our sanctification, to our holy, obedient, God-glorifying walk, He has "left us an example, that we should follow His steps." In His lowly spirit, meek, humble deportment, and patient endurance of suffering: "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." In the disinterestedness of His love, His pure benevolence, the unselfishness of His religion: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others: let this mind be you which was also in Christ Jesus." "For even Christ pleased not Himself." Look not every man on his own circle, his own family, his own gifts, his own interests, comfort, and happiness; upon his own Church, his own community, his own minister. Let him not look upon these exclusively. Let him not prefer his own advantage to the public good. Let him not be self-willed in matters involving the peace and comfort of others. Let him not form favorite theories, or individual opinions, to the hazard of a Church's prosperity or of a family's happiness. Let him yield, sacrifice, and give place, rather than carry a point to the detriment of others. Let him, with a generous, magnanimous, disinterested spirit, in all things imitate Jesus, who "pleased not Himself." Let him seek the good of others, honoring their gifts, respecting their opinions, nobly yielding when they correct and overrule his own. Let him promote the peace of the Church, consult the honor of Christ, and seek the glory of God, above and beyond all private and selfish ends. This is to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son, to which high calling we are predestinated; and in any feature of resemblance which the Holy Spirit brings out in the holy life of a follower of the Lamb, Christ is thereby glorified before men and angels.


"And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

THE apostle employs in the original two different languages. It may not be improper to infer, that in using both the Syriac and Greek form—the one being familiar to the Jew, and the other to the Gentile—he would denote that both the Christian Jew and the believing Gentile were children of one family, and were alike privileged to approach God as a Father. Christ, our peace, has broken down the middle wall of partition that was between them; and now, at the same mercy-seat, the Christian Jew and the believing Gentile, both one in Christ Jesus, meet, as rays of light converge and blend in one common center, at the feet of their reconciled Father. The expressions, too, set forth the peculiarity and intensity of the affection. Literally, "Abba, Father," signifies "My Father." No bond-servant was permitted thus to address the master of the family; it was a privilege peculiar and sacred to the child. And when our blessed Lord would teach His disciples to pray, he led them to the mercy-seat, and sealed these precious words upon their lips—"Our father, which are in heaven." And after His resurrection, with increased emphasis and intensity did He give utterance to the same truth. Previously to His death, His words were, "I go to the Father." But when He came back from the grave, every truth He had before enunciated seemed quickened as with new life. How tender and touching were His words—"I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." No longer a bondslave, but a son, oh, claim the dignity and privilege of your birthright! Approach God as your father. "Abba, Father!" How tender the relation! how intense the affection! what power it imparts to prayer! What may you not ask, and what can God refuse, with "Abba, Father," breathing in lowliness and love from your lips? Remember, it is an inalienable, unchangeable relation. Never, in any instance, or under any circumstance the most aggravated, does God forget it. He is as much our Father when He chastises as when He approves; as much so when He frowns as when He smiles; as much so when He brims the cup of adversity as when He bids us drink the cup of salvation. Behold the touching display of it in His gracious restorings: "But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him." In all his wanderings that father's love had never lost sight of his wayward child. It tracked him along all his windings, and waited and welcomed his return. We may doubt, and debase, and deny our divine relationship, yet God will never disown us as His children, nor disinherit us as His heirs. We may cease to act as a child, He will never cease to love as a Father. To Him, then, as to a Father, at all times repair.