James Smith (1802-1862)

“Ye are not your own” 1 Cor. vi.19

No-Jesus has purchased you with His own blood, quicken you by His Spirit, espoused you to Himself, and intends to glorify you with Himself for ever. He claims you, and says “I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.” He will provide for you as His own, and spare you as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. You re His beloved bride, His portion. A member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. In loving you, He loveth Himself. He requires you to live under the daily conviction that you are His; that all you have is His. You have nothing of your own; all you have He freely gave, and all you have you profess to have surrendered to Him. Think more of Jesus than of His gifts, cleave to Him, and not to what you may be called to surrender. He will never take anything from you, but He will give you something better. If He strip you, it is to teach you; to lead you to live upon Himself; and to find your heaven in His company, grace, and offices. Do you live, walk, and act, so as to leave the impression upon the minds of observers that you are the Lord’s? Do you expect Him to preserve, guide, and supply you? Let conscience answer.

Lord! Am I thine, entirely thine?
Purchased and saved by blood divine?
With full consent thine I would be,
And own thy sovereign right in me.   

“I will heal your backslidings,” Jer. iii: 22

SIN brings sickness. The believer can only be healthful as he walks with God, lives above the world, and looks for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the feet of Jesus we are safe, and shall be healthy; but if we wander from Him, spiritual diseases will seize upon us. The backslider feels too weak, to run in the way of God’s commandments; too confused, to read His interest in God’s promises; too guilty to call God Father; too wretched to rejoice in hope. He has no liberty in prayer; no enjoyment of his Bible; no peace in his conscience; no delight in God’s ways. But the Lord  says, “Return ye backsliding children; I WILL HEAL YOUR BACKSLIDINGS,” This is a message from the GREAT PHYSICIAN, an invitation from our Father’s throne, a promises of our Saviour’s love. Oh, let us return unto Him with weeping and supplication, adopting David’s prayer as our own, “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.” Let us take gup the determination of the church, “Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God,” He will receive us graciously, and love us freely

Give me Thy pardoning love to feel,
And freely my backslidings heal,
Repair my faith’s decay:
Restore the sweetness of thy grace,
Reveal the glories of thy face,
And take my sins away.   

A Mediator Gal. iii.20

GOD is and must be eternal enemy of sin. He cannot be reconciled to it; it is the abominable thing which He hates. He cannot look upon it but with abhorrence. How then can God receive, bless or commune with us? Only through a Mediator; Jesus fills this office; He stands between God and us; He honours all the Father’s perfections: and renders us and our services acceptable through His glorious righteousness and precious blood. God can only love us, receive us, commune with us, or bless us, in Jesus. He represents us to God, and we are accepted in the BELOVED; He represents God to us, and we prove Him to be gracious. When going to the throne of grace, never forget that Jesus is the Mediator; the middle-man; present your persons, your petitions; and your praises to God through Him. You have nothing to fear, for Jesus wears your nature; He has a heart that beats in unison with yours; He calls you BROTHER; He uses all His influence with the Father on your behalf; all He did and suffered is employed for you: and at this moment He pleads your cause. 

Oft as guilt, my soul, torments thee,
Turn thine eyes to Jesu’s blood;
This will comfort, cheer, and cleans thee.
Seal thy peace, and do thee good:
Peace and pardon,
Flow to thee through Jesu’s blood.

“As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 2 Cor. vi. 10.5

THE Lord’s family are generally poor; men may look at them as having nothing valuable, important, or calculated to make them happy: but in reality they possess all things, because God is theirs. Our God has said, “I am their inheritance,” and we say, “Thou art my portion O Lord.” His eternity is the date of our happiness-His unchangeableness, the rock of our rest-His omnipotence our constant guard-His faithfulness, our daily security-His mercies our overflowing store-His omniscience, our careful overseer-His wisdom, our judicious counsellor-His justice our stern avenger-His omnipresence our sweet company-His holiness, the fountain from which we receive sanctifying grace-His all-sufficiency, the lot of our inheritance-and His infinity, the extent of our glorious portion. This is the blessedness of the people of the Lord; they have God for their God, and all His perfections engaged to make them blessed. O love the Lord! Live upon the Lord! Glorify God in the day of visitation! Make him your portion and everlasting all! He is enough in the absence of all besides.    

To us the privilege is given
To be the sons and heirs of heaven;
Sons of the God who reigns on high,
And heirs of joys beyond the sky:
Oh, may our conduct ever prove
Our filial piety and love.


“Go forward.” Exodus xiv. 15

BELOVED, there is no standing still in religion: we are either going forward or going back. Our Captain’s command is, “GO FORWARD.” This is our direction. Go forward in the Lord’s way; in the Lord’s work; to the Lord’s kingdom. The command contains great encouragement. Go forward, remembering the Lord’s wisdom; trusting in the Lord’s power; and believing in the Lord’s love. Go forward in union with the Lord’s people; with zeal for His glory; until summoned into your Master’s presence. Go forward, notwithstanding difficulties, fears, and discouragements. Go forward, because God has bidden you; He has promised to go with you; He will crown your journey’s end. Let us imitate ardent and holy Paul, who said, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am also apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Let us look for, and hasten to the coming of the day of God. There is nothing behind us worth a thought, if compared with what is set before us by the gospel. Be this then, our daily motto, “Go forward, forward.”

Much in sorrow, of in woe,
Onward, Christian, onward go;
Shrink not, fear not, dare not yield.
Never quit he battle field:
Forward press and win the prize,
Then to endless glory rise.

“Look unto me.” Isaiah xlv. 22.

A NEW year’s morning opens upon us, and we are still exposed to sorrow. Satan, and disappointment; sin lives in us; and a thousand things are ready to distress us; but our God says, “LOOK UNTO ME.” Look unto me as the source of happiness, the giver of grace, and your Friend. Look unto me in every trial, for all you want, and in every place. Look unto me TO-DAY. I have blessings to bestow. I am waiting to be gracious. I am your Father in Jesus. Believe that I am deeply interested in your present and eternal welfare: that all I have promised, I will perform: that I am with you, purposely to bless you. I cannot be unconcerned about anything that affects you: and I pledge myself to make all things work together for your good. You have looked to self, to others, in times past; but you have only met with trouble and disappointment; now look unto me ALONE, TO ME FOR ALL. Lift up the eye and the heart to me to-day, and every day throughout the year; and walk beforer me in peace and holiness. Prove me hereby, if I will not thus make you holy, useful and happy; try me, and find my word of promise true; true to the very letter.

Look to Him, till His mighty love
Thy ev’ry thought control;
Its vast constraining influence prove,
O’er body, spirit, soul.

“I am a worm” Psalm xxii.6.

MAN is naturally poor and proud, but grace strips him and humbles him in the dust. Here he highly favoured David, the man after God’s own heart, cries out, “I am a worm.” How little, how despicable he appeared in his own eyes. Every one that humbleth himself shall be exalted. You have looked at Bible saints, and have sighed out, “Ah! they were not like me!” My brother, are you not a poor, weak, worthless worm? Do you not feel so? Well, so did David. The less you are in your own eyes, the more fit you are for the Lord Jesus and the more welcome will you be at the throne of grace. But this was the language also of David’s Lord; this was the view the Jews had of Him, and they treated Him accordingly. The brightness of glory is compared to a vile reptile; the express image of the Father’s person is treated with the greatest contempt. But it was for us men, and for our salvation, O mystery of mercy! Jesus is reduced to a level with the worm, that we may be raised higher than the angels.

From Bethlehem’s inn to Calvary’s cross-
Affliction mark’d His road;
And many a weary step He took, To bring us back to God.

By men despised, rejected, scorn’d,
With grace and glory all adorn’d,
The loveliest form to me.

“He doth not afflict willingly.” Lam. iii. 33.

OUR afflictions do not flow from sovereignty, but from our Father’s wisdom, holiness, and love. He finds no pleasure in our pains, groans, and sighs. He is never hasty in using the rod; mercy flies to help us, but He is slow to anger and of great kindness. He never afflicts us without a sufficient cause; either sin has been committed; duties neglected; mercies slighted; lukewarmness discovered; world-mindedness tolerated; privileges abused; warnings despised, temptations trifled with; or danger is near. He never afflicts without a good and gracious intention, to make us fear, loathe, flee from sin; to shew his disapprobation of our unholy course; to quicken us in His ways; to make us long for, seek, and partake of His holiness to produce contrition and godly sorrow; or to prove that His authority is not surrendered because His love is great. He only afflicts partially, occasionally, and sparingly. He always strikes in love, and aims at our spiritual welfare; and we are often more benefited by afflictions, that we are by comforts and joys O Saviour, sanctify to me every afflicting stroke.

In the floods of tribulation,
While the billows o’er me roll,
Jesus whispers consolation,
And supports my fainting soul;
Sweet affliction,
Thus to bring my Saviour near.

“The glory of His grace.” Ephes i.6.

THE glory of grace is its FREENESS: it fixes upon objects that are most unworthy; bestows upon them the richest blessings; raises them to the highest honour; promises them the greatest happiness; and all for its own glory. Nothing can be freer than grace, the glory of grace is its POWER: it conquers the stubborness sinner; subdues the hardest hearts; tames the wildest wills; enlightens the darkest understandings; breaks off the strongest fetters; and invariably conquers its objects. Grace is omnipotent. The glory of grace is its BENEVILENCE: it never injured one; it has delivered, supplied, conducted, supported, and glorified thousands; it brings the inexhaustible fullness of God to supply the creature’s wants; it opens the treasury of heaven, to enrich poor, miserable, and wretched creatures on earth. Grace gives away all it has; reserving nothing for itself but the praise and gory of its acts. Jesus is grace personified; in Him it may be seen, in all its beauty, excellency, and loveliness; by Him it is displayed in all its native dignity. O Jesus! Glorify thy free, powerful, and benevolent grace to me!

O grace, thou bottomless abyss,
My sins are swallow’d up in thee;
Cover’d is my unrighteousness;
From condemnation I am free:
For Jesus blood, through earth and skies,
Mercy, eternal mercy cries.

“I am He that comforteth you.” Isaiah li. 12.

THE Lord’s people are often low and desponding; they do not live up to their privileges; the things of time make too deep an impression, because they do not sufficiently realize eternal things. But Jehovah is their COMFORTER; as such He presents Himself unto us this morning. He is the God of all comfort. He comforteth those who are cast down. To Him alone we must look for comfort. Looking to creatures for what God promises, dishonours Him; and at such times the creature may well ask, “Am I IN GOD’S STEAD?” Our God comforts us by His Son, whom He hath given to us; by the Spirit, which He pours out upon us; by His word, in which He speaks to us by His ordinances, in which He meets with us; and by His providence, when He appears for us. Let us look unto God as the author and giver of all comforts, let us plead with Him to comfort us according to His word, and let us be suspicions of all comforts which does not come from Him, and lead to Him. He must be the centre to which we always tend, and the circumference within which we move.

Jesus, all our consolations
Flow from Thee, the sovereign good;
Love, and faith, and hope, and patience,
All are purchased by Thy blood;
Now thy richest grace impart,
Sanctify and fill my heart.

“The Lord will give grace and glory.” Psalm lxxxiv. 11

THIS is good news, for except the Lord give us grace we shall never be sanctified; and unless He give us glory we shall never be glorified. All must be the free gift of free grace. If anything good was required of us to entitle us, we must sit down in despair; but now all is of divine bounty, we can hope; we need not be afraid. The Lord has given grace to thousands. He has given grace to us; and He will give more grace; grace to fit for duty, grace to support in trial, grace to sanctify the heart; and He will give glory, which is grace in perfection. Brethren, let us endeavour to believe that our God is as kind, bountiful, and beneficent as His word declares. Let us confess our sins before Him, seek grace from Him, and look to be glorified with Him. Our all is in God; our all must come from God; and all the glory should be daily given to God. Whenever we want grace, let us ask it of God; for He giveth liberally and unbraideth not. Let us approach His throne this morning, and be this our prayer. “Lord give us more grace. Give us grace daily, grace to devote us to thy service, and fill us with holy love.” O for more grace, that we may give God more glory.

Blest is our lot whate’er befall;
Who can affright, or who appal?
Since on Thy strength, our rock, our all,
Jesus! We cling to Thee.

“Rejoicing in hope.” Rom. xii. 12.

THE believer cannot always rejoice in possession, for he appears stripped of every thing; but he may rejoice in hope even then. He is warranted to hope for eternal life; for righteousness by faith; that God may be magnified in his body, by life or death; for the resurrection of the body, and its re-union with the soul; for the appearing of His beloved Saviour, and complete salvation through Him. The hope which is laid up for him in heaven, of which the gospel now informs him-a weight of glory, a crown of righteousness, and an eternal inheritance, are in reserve for him; and in hope of these he may rejoice. They are set before him to excite desire, produce courage, prevent despondency, and fill with joy. They are freely given, plainly promised, and carefully preserved; therefore we shall never be ashamed of our hope. Let us not yield to our gloomy feelings, or to distressing forebodings; but let us lift up our heads, rejoicing that we shall soon be made partakers of our hope. Let us hope in God, and daily praise Him more and more; making use of hope as the anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast. He that hopes in God will never be disappointed.

Come, Lord, and help me to rejoice.
In hope that I shall hear Thy voice,
Shall one day see my God;
Shall cease from all my painful strife,
Handle and taste the word of life,
And feel the sprinkled blood.

“Is thy Counsellor perished?” Mich. iv. 9

THE Lord’s people need counsel, and Jesus is given to them as a COUNSELLOR. He is exactly suited to their needs, being possessed of infinite wisdom, unbounded benevolence, great experience, and high honour. He never lost a cause. He counsels freely, cheerfully, and successfully. He turns the counsel of all our foes into foolishness. But though we have this Wonderful Counsellor, we neglect to consult, employ, or trust Him; and it may often be demanded of us, “Is thy Counsellor perished?” If not, why this perplexity? Why these mistakes? Why those fears and groans, and forebodings? Why this running to creatures for advice and succour? Beloved, let us stand reproved; we have walked in our own counsels, we have not waited for His counsel, we have neglected and forgotten Jesus in his office. Let us in future never act without His counsel, never employ men to His dishonour, never listen to Satan when he wold persuade us not to apply to, trust in, and expect advice from Jesus as our counsellor. He says, “I will counsel thee, mine eye shall be upon thee.”

Lord, be my Counsellor,
My Pattern and my Guide;
And through this desert land,
Still keep me near Thy side;
Oh, let my feet ne’er run astray
Nor rove, nor seek the crooked way.

“Though I be nothing.” 2 Cor. xii.11.

THIS was Paul’s estimate of himself: less then the least of all saints, and the chief of sinners. The more we know of ourselves and of Jesus, the more shall we be humbled in the dust before God; and the lower we lie before God, the happier and holier we shall be. Man will, MUST be something; this is his pride and his misery: the Christian is willing to be nothing, that Christ may be all in all. If we daily felt that we are nothing, how many mortifications we should be spared; what admiring views of the grace of God would fill and sanctify our souls. Apart from Christ we are less than nothing, but in Christ we are something. We are empty, but he fills us; naked, but he clothes us; helpless, but he strengthens us; lost, but he finds us; ruined, but he saves us; poor, but he supplies us. All we are, is by Christ; all we have, is from Christ; all we shall be, is though Christ. Believer, thou art nothing: therefore beware of thinking too highly of thyself, or fancying that you deserve more than you receive, either from God or men. Humble souls are soon satisfied.

Oh, could I lose myself in Thee,
Thy depth of mercy prove,
Thou vast unfathomable sea,
Of unexhausted love!
I loathe myself when God I see,
Content if Christ exalted be.

“Christ is all.” Col. iii. 11.

YES-this is God’s purpose, which cannot frustrated, that Christ shall be all. He is all in our justification and sanctification, for we are justified and sanctified IN HIS NAME. He is all in our preservation and glorification, for we are kept by His power, and enter heaven through His merits. He should be all in our pursuits, pleasures, hopes, motives, and aims. Many but their comforts in the place of Christ; and then God puts comforts out of their reach; others put their graces in the place of Christ, and then faith, hope, and love are concealed by a cloud. There must be nothing between God and us, but Jesus; we must look away from sin, from graces, and from works, and expect to be accepted, blessed, and honoured only in the name and for the honour of Jesus. Christ is our conquering weapon, by which we overcome our foes; our plea, by which we prevail with God; our righteousness, by which we are justified; and our peace, which supports and comforts us in life and in death. Christ is all we want, our God can give. He is our sun and shield; our present joy, and endless portion.

Saviour! The knowledge of thy love
Into my soul convey:
Thyself bestow! For Thee alone,
My all in all I pray.
I would be only, always thine,
And prove the power of love divine.

“We trust in the living God.” 1 Tim. iv. 10

THE living God is opposed to a dying world, to our dying frames, and to our dying frames; these must not be trusted, or we shall be wretched. Our God may, ought to be trusted for He is the only suitable object of a christian’s trust; He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. He is immutable. He never disappointed a sinner’s hope, if found on His word; or refused a believer’s petition, for deliverance or relief. If we trust in the living God, it will preserve us from perpetual disappointment; from bitter reflections on self and others; from many dangers; and from the threatened curse. If we trust in the living God we are blessed; we shall be fruitful; we shall be delivered from slavish fears; we shall enjoy perfect pace; we shall be provided for; we shall find a refuge in every storm; have an answer for all who reproach us; experience firmness and stability; and enjoy solid happiness. Let us ascertain, Are we trusting in the living God? Let us seek grace daily to live in simple, child-like dependence upon Him. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, he shall be save, fruitful, and happy.

In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust,
Mighty, and merciful, and just
Who hides my life above;
Thou canst, Thou wilt my helper be;
My confidence in all in Thee,
My faithful God of love.

“The Lord thinketh upon me.” Psalm. xl.17.

WHEN we think of the greatness and glory of Jehovah, man appears so worthless and insignificant, that we are ready to ask, “Will the Lord regard us, bless us, and dwell with us?” Yes-He has promised to do so in his word, and He has informed us that His thoughts are perpetually taken up with us. He thinketh upon us, to supply our need, protect from foes, lead us in His ways, and make us meet for His kingdom and glory. His thoughts are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us an expected end. He thinketh upon us by day and by night, when at home or abroad; and He thinks of us with love as His children; with pleasure as His friends; with a purpose to bless us as His dependants. We think He may perhaps have mercy, He may do a little for us; but a high as the heavens are above the earth, so are His thoughts above our thoughts; and His ways above our ways. His thoughts are worthy of a God. What are the promises? Only His thoughts put into our language. And what do they prove? Truly that He thought of all our wants, wishes, and desires, and made full provision for them.

Father, I want a thankful heart,
I want to taste how  good Thou art;
To plunge me in Thy mercy’s sea,
And comprehend thy love to me;
The length, and breadth, and depth, and
Of love divinely infinite.

“Come near unto me.” Isaiah xlviii.16

THE believer’s happiness and Jehovah’s pleasure are united; we are only happy as we are near to Him, and He is only pleased as we cleave unto Him. He has taken us into a near relationship as His children, people, and beloved bride. He has represented our union by the most striking figures, the branch in the vine, the member with the head, and the building with the foundation. He has made His name our strong tower. His Son our fountain of supply, and His secret places our home. In living near to Him, we enjoy the sweetest comforts; possess unutterable peace; realize the fullest liberty; and find safety and rest. Our assurance, light, holiness, and strength come from His presence, our misery, wretchedness, and woe, from living at a distance from Him. He invites us this morning, as Jacob did his beloved son, 2Come near unto me.” He intends to bless us, as that patriarch did his child; to discover Himself unto us; to shew us His covenant and secret; to make us understand His will and word; to preserve us from all evil, fill us with grace, and conform us to His image. O Saviour, be near to me this day, and keep me near to thee!

When trials vex my doubting mind,
Jesus to Thy dear wounds I’ll flee;
No shelter can I elsewhere find,
No peace or comfort but in Thee;
To Thee my cause I recommend,
On Thee for future grace depend.  

“He will ever be mindful of his covenant.” Psalm cxi. 5.

THE LORD’S people know their God as a covenant God, reconciled to them, at peace with them, and dwelling among them, through the work of Jesus. He has made a covenant in which they are interested, from which all their blessings flow, and on which their confidence is founded. Of this covenant, God is ever mindful. He is mindful of the engagements of Jesus as our Surety; of the relationship in which He was pleased to manifest Himself, as our Father; of the state in which He viewed us; as poor wretched sinners; of the provision He made for His own glory and our needs; of the promise made to Jesus, including all the promises made to us; of the oath He swore, that He would not be wroth with us; of the blood of His Son, as the victim slain to confirm and ratify it; of the end He had in view in making it, even the display of all His glorious perfections in our eternal salvation. He will ever be mindful of the covenant, He cannot forget it, He will not act contrary to it, but will confirm it even to the end. “Beloved, let us also be ever mindful of His covenant.

Firmer than heaven His covenant stands;
Tho’ earth should shake, and skies depart,
We’re safe in our Redeemer’s hands,
Who bears our neame upon His heart;
For us He lived, and died, and rose,
And triumph’d over all our foes.

“And He marvelled because of their unbelief.”
Mark. vi.

UNBELIEF is represented as filling Jesus with surprise; and is it any wonder, especially our unbelief? Consider what God hath done to remove doubt. He hath sent His character, “God is love.” He hath made a proclamation, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” He hath given an invitation, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” He hath employed entreaty, “As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” He hath issued a command, “This is His commandment. That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ” He hath sworn an oath, “That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might strong consolation.” He hath given his Son as a pledge, to assure us that “whosoever believeth on Him shall never perish, but have eternal life.” He hath added the testimony of all His saints. Well then may He marvel at our unbelief. Never let us attempt to excuse it, but let us plead and pray against it, until we conquer it.

O Lord, fulfil in me Thy word,
Now let me feel Thy pardoning blood,
Let what I ask be given;
The bar of unbelief removed,
Open the door of faith and love,
And take me into heaven.

“They shall be mine, saith the Lord of Host.”
Mal. iii.17

WHO? They that fear the Lord and think upon His name. They who fear to offend Him because they love Him. Who desire above all things to obey Him, be conformed unto Him, and glorify Him. They who think upon His name, “OUR FATHER;” and believe Him to be gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness, and truth. Who approach Him as children; who walk before Him. Desiring to do every thing as under his eye; who are jealous of His honour, and concerned for His glory. Who speak of His goodness, talk of His power, and adore the riches of His grace. “THEY SHALL BE MINE, SAITH THE LORD OF HOST.” He will treat them as his children, prize them as His jewels, and acknowledge them before assembled angels. He will put a difference between them and others, and will manifest Himself unto them as He does not unto the world. Beloved, we are entitled to claim this precious promise? Do we fear? Are we grieved at sin, because it dishonours Him? Do we think upon His name with love and reverence? If so, He will spare us, preserve us, and place us among His jewels for ever.

Hail, sacred day! That shall declare
The jewels of the Son of God;
Design’d to deck His crown they were.
Chosen of old and bought with blood.

“God, even our own God, shall bless us.”
Psalm lxviii. 6

He has pledged Himself, so do so in His word and He delights to make good His promise. He is our God by covenant; by a spiritual birth; through Christ Jesus; and at our own desire, request, and consent. He is the great God who fills heaven and earth; the all-sufficient God, who has all resources in Himself; the unchanging God, who is eternally the same. He espouseth the quarrel of His people, He dignifies and ennobles them, and proves Himself gracious and merciful unto them. He blesseth them indeed; and if others curse into blessing. We may rest fully assured of this pleasing fact, “GOD EVEN OUR OWN GOD WILL BLESS US.” He has done so in Christ before time, He has promised to do so through time, and when time shall be no more. He will bless us in temporals and spirituals, He will bless us wherever we are. Let us believe the fact, and plead for its realization in our experience; this will embolden us in danger, fortify us against fear, and keep us in perfect peace. Let us trust in Him, and He will bless us; and so shall we rejoice in Him.

Rise, my soul, with ardour rise!
Breathe thy wishes to the skies!
Freely pour our all thy mind.
Seek, and thou art sure to find:
Readier is thy God to give.

“They shall be mine, saith the Lord of Host.”
Mal. iii.17

WHO? They that fear the Lord and think upon His name. They who fear to offend Him because they love Him. Who desire above all things to obey Him, be conformed unto Him, and glorify Him. They who think upon His name, “OUR FATHER;” and believe Him to be gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness, and truth. Who approach Him as children; who walk before Him. Desiring to do every thing as under his eye; who are jealous of His honour, and concerned for His glory. Who speak of His goodness, talk of His power, and adore the riches of His grace. “THEY SHALL BE MINE, SAITH THE LORD OF HOST.” He will treat them as his children, prize them as His jewels, and acknowledge them before assembled angels. He will put a difference between them and others, and will manifest Himself unto them as He does not unto the world. Beloved, we are entitled to claim this precious promise? Do we fear? Are we grieved at sin, because it dishonours Him? Do we think upon His name with love and reverence? If so, He will spare us, preserve us, and place us among His jewels for ever.

Hail, sacred day! That shall declare
The jewels of the Son of God;
Design’d to deck His crown they were.
Chosen of old and bought with blood.

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep.”
Psalm cxix. 176

This is the humble confession of a man of God, and may not we adopt it as our own his morning? Have not we also gone astray? Does not this display our weakness? How weak to wander from so kind a Shepherd, so rich a pasture, so good a fold! Is it not a mark of inattention? Jesus hath warned and cautioned us against it in his word. Is it a proof of our ingratitude? Oh, how ungrateful to forsake Him after so many favours, such rich blessings, such tokens of unmerited kindness! Does it not betray our folly? –to go from good to bad, from safety to danger, from plenty to want and wretchedness. Oh, the power of corruption! The deceitfulness of the human heart! Lord, seek Thy servants, for we do not forget Thy commandments. We smart for our folly; we grieve over our sins; we desire to return; restore us to thy fold, to the enjoyment of Thy favour; and enable us to delight ourselves in Thy ways. Jesus, Shepherd of the sheep, bring us back from all our wanderings, and keep us near Thyself; for why should we turn aside from thy flock and fold?

Thou know’st the way to bring me back.
My fallen spirit to restore-
Oh, for Thy truth and mercy’s sake,
Forgive, and bid me sin no more:
The ruins of my soul repair,
And make my heart a house of prayer.

“Our Sufficiency is of God.” 2 Cor. iii.5

LET us think of this, whenever we are cast down on account of our weakness, or the difficulties we meet with on our way. We are weak, but Jesus is strong; and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He has given us His word, that He will work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. He speaks and it is done. The word of the Lord knows no obstacles or difficulties; all things must obey Him. When He sent Moses to Pharaoh, He said, “Certainly I will be with thee:” and the Lord’s presence was his strength. He acts just so with us: His fullness is our sufficiency; it is opened to us in Jesus, and we receive from it according to our wants, weakness, and faith. “Through God,” said DAVID, “I shall do valiantly.” “I can do all things,” said Paul, “through Christ strengthening me.” Look not then at your own emptiness, or weakness; but look at what God is to His people, and what He has promised to give them, and sing, “OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD.” “God is our refuge and strength; and as our days so shall our strength be.” “He grace is sufficient for us; His strength is made is made in weakness.”

When we cannot see our way,
We should trust, and still obey,
He who bids us forward go
Will instruct the way to know.

“We walk by faith.” 2 Cor. v: 7a

The Christian’s path is often very rough; thorns and briars grow on either side, clouds hang over it, and no cheering prospects appear to animate the heart, But if he acts consistently he still believe it is the right path; that trials are mercies in disguise, and that the path of tribulation ends in the kingdom of God. He believes it is all needful, is the very best way his Father could select; that the design of God is gracious, and his present trials are to end in his eternal welfare. He believes his God is with him, though he does not enjoy his presence, and that all needful supplies will be sent, though he cannot tell from whence. He rests on the faithful word, trusts in an immutable God, and says, when surrounded by trails, “None of these things move me; I know that it is through much tribulation that I must enter the kingdom; my God will support me, His hand will defend me, and His grace shall be glorified in my present and eternal salvation. I know not the way, but my God knows, and He will lead me; He will never leave me, but will be my guide, even unto death.”

Oh may I walk by faith,
Believing what my God has spoke;
Rely on His unchanging love,
And cease to grasp at fleeting smoke;
On His eternal truth depend,
And know Him as my God and Friend.    

“That Which I See Not, Teach Thou Me.”
Job xxxiv.32.

We were once blind, but now our eyes are open; but still we are absolutely dependent on divine teaching, or we shall never become truly wise. If God teach us, self will become vile; the world vanity; sin bitter; the blood of Christ most precious; His righteousness glorious; His name our only hope; His love our joy; His Spirit our strength; His glory our aim; and “Teach Thou me,” our daily prayer. We see but little of what Christ is in Himself; of what He hath done for His people; of what He possesses, and will give to all who call upon Him in truth; of what He has promised to work in us, and bestow upon us. Beloved, let us daily plead with God to teach us, that we may know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings and be made conformable to His death. Let us beg the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Jehovah alone can teach us to profit.
O Jesus, teach my soul to know
Thyself, the truth, the life, the way;
May I in grace and knowledge grow,
Till I arrive in perfect day:
From Satan, self and sin set free,
And what I know not teach thou me.

“And she went to inquire of the Lord.” Genesis 25:22.

EXCELLENT example! Let us imitate Rebekah, for God commands us to do so. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy steps. Commit thy way unto the Lord, thrust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Are you in trouble? Go and inquire of the Lord-What is the cause? Unite with holy job in praying, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.” Are you in perplexity? Go and inquire,-What is the design? He will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shouldst go, He will guide thee with His eye. Go in an inquiring spirit. Go persuaded, whatever thy circumstances or trials may be, that a believer in Jesus, wrath and curse can have nothing to do with thee; they were exhausted when Jesus died in thy stead. Be assured that whatever come from God is a blessing, a benefit, a favour, a proof of love; however painful, perplexing, or distressing it may be. Do not reason, but believe in the promise of thy God; do not despond, grieve, or complain; but go and INQUIRE OF THE LORD; at His throne, of His word. He says, “I will be inquired of.”   

Prayer was appointed to convey
The blessings God designs to give;
Long as they live should Christians pray,
For only while they pray they live.

“He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim 2:13.

GOD has opened His heart to us in His word. He has told us all His mind, He intends every w He has spoken, and will fulfil every promise He has made. He cannot deny Himself or falsify His word; He can have no temptation to do so. Man may be fickle, he is but a bruised reed; Jehovah is always the same, He is the rock of ages, He will have compassion on the miserable, who seek His face; and show mercy to all who plead with Him in Jesu’s name. He cannot cast out a coming sinner, or refuse to receive a confessing backslider. He cannot turn a deaf ear to our cries, or refuse to deliver us when we call on His name. He will take His own time, but will never dishonour His faithful word. He will be rigidly faithful, both to His threatenings and promises. Let us take courage and trust in Him; we have His word, it is true, from the beginning we have this assurance, that HE CANNOT DENY HIMSELF. Let us then stay ourselves on the word of God; let us trust Him though the night be dark and the burden be heavy. He exhorts, “Trust ye in JEHOVAH for ever, for in JAH, JEHOVAH, there is everlasting strength.”

Engraved as in eternal brass
The mighty promise shines;
Nor can the powers of darkness rase
Those everlasting lines.

“A Christian.” 1 Peter 4:16

A CHRISTIAN wares the name, possesses the nature, breathes the spirit, lives the life, and devotes himself entirely to the glory of Jesus. All Christ has is his, all Christ has done was for him, and all Christ has promised he may expect. Are you a Christian? Is the matter doubtful? Does Jesus live in you? Ae you living by faith upon Him? His He your daily bread? Do you find that you could as well live without food, as without Jesus? This is a sure evidence. This is the certain effect of the Spirit’s work. If you are a Christian, you pant, pray, and strive to be Christ-like; to bear about in your body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in your mortal body. You put off the old man which is corrupt, and put on the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness. You would live in newness of live, as one raised from the dead; exhibiting the effects of His death in deadness to the world, love to immortal souls, bearing testimony to the truth, and looking for, and hastening to, the coming of the day of God. O to be a Christian indeed!

“Gethsemane.” Matthew 26:36

This was a garden at the foot of Mount Olivet; here Jesus as the SUBSTITUTE of His people, received the cup of wrath from the hand of His offend Father. It was the wrath of God, all we had deserved, the punishment we must have endured; the Son of God in our nature, in our stead, for our salvation, was punished by divine justice. No human hand touched Him, no human voice spake to Him, when He sweat great drops of blood falling down. It was the baptism He expected, and oh, how great was His love! The baptism He longed to undergo. See the wonderful sufferer, bear His dreadful groans, listen to His heart-breaking sighs; heaven and hell are astonished, only man remains unaffected. Beloved, it is our SURETY: He is paying our debt, redeeming our souls, purchasing our happiness, and making our peace. He went to GETHHSEMANE that we might not go to hell; He was punished that we might be glorified. Often, very often, visit this sacred spot; here have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings by faith. O my soul, I charge thee to visit Gethsemane, and visit it very often, for fellowship with Jesus! 

Go to the garden sinner, see
Those precious drops that flow:
The heavy load He bore for thee:
For thee He lies so low.  

“Their heart is divided.” Hosea 10:2

THIS is a very serious charge, for God demands the whole heart, and his people profess to surrender it. But have we not reason to fear that many are guilty on this point? They appear so undecided that we must think that the heart is divided between God and the world; between sin and holiness; between truth and error; or between Christ and self. What are the symptoms of a divided heart? Habitual cleaving to earth. Being satisfied with a form of godliness. Backwardness to examine ourselves. A dislike to plain, close, soul-searching, rousing preaching. Putting away eternal things to a distance. Beloved, how is it with you? God rejects half the heart, He will have all or none. Do you fear on this point? There is a remedy. Thoroughly examine your heart. Condemn whatever you detect amiss in it. Take it to Jesus, and beseech him to heal it. Expose it to the keen edge of God’s word. Endeavour to keep up a constant sense of the presence of God. Converse much with eternal realities. As the heart is, so will the life be; so will the comfort and peace be. O Lord, unite my heart to fear thy name!

Let me, according to Thy word,
A Tender, contrite heart receive,
Which grieves at having grieved its Lord,
A never can itself forgive:
A heart Thy joys and griefs to feel,
A heart where Christ alone may dwell.

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Rom. 8:33.

God’s elect are sinners; they know it, feel it, and deplore it. The world is against them, and Satan tries every means in his power to ruin them. But blessed be God he cannot prevail. The work of the Holy Spirit within them, sets and keeps them panting for holiness; striving against sin; aiming at God’s glory, and desiring to be a blessing to all around them. The work of Christ for them, brings forth a sentence of justification from the eternal Father; and believing His word they realize their privilege, and may boldly ask-“WHO SHALL LAY ANY THING TO THE CHARGE OF GOD’S ELECT?” Will God? No-for He is perfectly satisfied through the death of His Son. Will conscience? No-for it is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, silenced by the word of God, and corroborates Jehovah’s testimony. Can Satan? No-for he is cast out, his testimony cannot be received, having long since been proved a liar by the God of truth. Will Jesus as judge of all? No-for No for He would rather die for us than condemn us. O beloved, see the perfection of the Saviour’s work!

Complete atonement He has made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er He people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If shelter’d in His righteousness
And sprinkled with His blood?

“Only acknowledge thine iniquity.” Jer. 3:13.

WILL the Lord receive us when we have backslidden from him, and are desirous of returning to Him? Oh, yes, He invites, He exhorts, He beseeches us to return. Nor does He prescribe any hard conditions, but he says, “ONLY ACKNOWLEDGE THINE INIQUITY.” He is so ready to forgive, so infinitely gracious in His nature, that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Have we wandered? Have we left our first love? Let us go and return to our first husband, for then it was better with us than now. His bowls yearn over us. His arms are open to receive us, and He waits to fall upon our necks and kiss us. Let us go to His throne, and there confess our sins, crave His pardon, sigh for the enjoyment of His love, and He will restore unto us the joys of His salvation, and establish us with His free Spirit. Let us daily confess our iniquities unto the Lord, and He will pardon our numerous sins. In His favour is life. In His frown is distress and woe. His delighteth in mercy. He will receive us, pardon us, and bless us like a God, for His mercy endureth for ever.

This glorious news dispels my fears,
Makes glad my heart, wipes off my tears,
Displays the riches of His grace,
Inflames my love, and claims my praise:
A pardon’d sinner lives to prove
The height and depth of Jesus’s love.

“Why are ye troubled?” Luke 24:38

CONSIDER what Jesus has done for you, promised to you, and is gone to prepare for you. Consider what He is to you, your loving Bridegroom, faithful Friend, and gracious Saviour. What troubles you? Is it sin?-He will pardon, subdue, and destroy it. The world?-He has overcome it, redeemed you from it, and is leading you through it. Satan?- he is conquered, condemned, and will soon be imprisoned. The cares and troubles of life?- Jesus says, “Bring them to Me by prayer, cast them on Me in faith, leave them with Me; I know what you want, I have provided of my goodness, I will supply all your needs; your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure. I will make a way in the wilderness of trouble, and a path in the desert of perplexity. Let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me. Try Me. In all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will direct your paths. I have wisdom, power, and love; and all that I have is yours; to be employed for your good.” Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass.

Yield to the Lord, with simple heart.
All that thou hast, and all thou art;
Renounce all strength, but strength divine,
And peace for ever shall be thine:
Behold the path the saints have trod,
The path which led them home to God.

“The Spirit of Supplication.” Zech. 12:10

ALL spiritual prayer is produced by the Holy Spirit; He convinces us of need, discovers to us the fullness of Jesus, leads us to the throne of grace, and helps our infirmities there. The very desire to pray is from Him, and the liberty we enjoy in prayer is His gift. But how dreadful a thing is sin, and how condescending is the Holy Spirit! He sympathises with us, and maketh intercession for us, with unutterable expressions of distress; with groanings which cannot be uttered. Sin has rendered us so vile, that no sacrifice but that of the Son of God Himself, could atone for us; and so weak, that none but the Holy Spirit can make us to pray with fervour, faith, and success. See, beloved, our deep your obligations, and how great your dependence upon this blessed Spirit of grace supplication. Be careful lest you grieve Him by you lightness, worldliness, or lukewarmness; but sow unto the Spirit and you shall reap life everlasting. He will testify to you of Jesus, and bless you with liberty and peace.

I want a heart to pray,
To pray and never cease;
Never to murmur at thy stay,
Or wish my sufferings less.
I want a godly fear,
A quick discerning eye;
That looks to thee when sin is near,
And sees the tempter fly.   

“Evil is present with me.” Romans 7:21

But what a mercy that it does not reign in you, and over you; it did once, and would now but for free and sovereign grace. If sin makes you groan, leads you to the throne to plead with God, and to the fountain of the Saviour’s blood to be cleansed from it, it does not, it cannot reign. It may, disturb your peace, distress your mind, hinder you in duty, mix with all your efforts to do good; and even make you cry out, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?” But even then you would not doubt; Jesus still loves you, grace will reign in your experience, and you shall be more than a conqueror. Paul had known the Lord many years, he had been in the third heaven, and daily triumphed in Christ; yet he felt just as you feel; when he would do good evil was present with him, and he could not do the things that he would. If sin annoys you, is you burden, and causes you grief; holiness lives in you, and the present painful conflict will end in everlasting peace. You may even now sing, “Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Live upon Christ, and you will live down all evil.

Crosses and changes are our lot,
Long as we sojourn here;
But since our Saviour changes not,
What have the saints to fear?  

“The Lord our righteousness.” Jer. 23:6

JESUS is Jehovah, the self-existent, eternal, and immutable God. He is our righteousness. To this end he assumed our nature; came into our place; laboured, suffered, bled, and died in our stead. We have no righteousness by nature, but we have the righteousness of God by grace. “Their righteousness is of me saith the Lord.” Jesus completed for us that was necessary to justify us; He made an end of sin; He magnified the law and made it honourable; He brought in everlasting righteousness; and now He clothes us with the garments of salvation, and covers us with the robe of righteousness. In Him. In Him we possess all justice can demand, or God require, for our full, and eternal justification. This portion is not necessary merely for one day, but every day; it silences an accusing conscience, confounds Satan, strengthens the soul, and glorifies God. Let us look to day, all the day, and every day to Jesus, as “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Let us go to duty, to conflict, to trials, in the strength of the Lord; making mention of his righteousness, even of His only. This is our plea at the throne of grace, our song in the house of our pilgrimage, and our confidence in the prospect of death.

Saviour divine, we know thy name,
And in that name we trust:
Thou art the Lord our righteousness,
Thou art our joy and boast.  

“I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

THERE is no rest for the Christian in this world. There will be always something to disturb, perplex, or distress hi; it is an enemy’s land. But Jesus says, “I will give you rest.” He does so by enabling us to rely on His word, recognize His hand, submit to His will, and trust in His perfect work. He assures us that our sins are forgiven us; that our persons are safe in His keeping; that His presence shall always be with us; and that all things shall work together for the best. We can rest on His faithfulness; He has been tried, and found faithful. We can rest on His love, for it knows not the shadow of a turn. We can rest on His power; it is ever engaged on our behalf. We can rest on His covenant, it is ordered in all things and sure. We can rest on His blood; it speaks peace, pardon and acceptance with God. We can rest at His feet; there we are safe, and can never be injured. We cannot rest on our graces, on our comforts, on our friends, or on our possessions; but we may rest on Jesus-we should rest on Him with unshaken confidence, and ardent love; for His promises are plain, His power is infinite, and His love passeth knowledge.

In the ark, the weary dove
Found a welcome resting-place;
Thus my spirit longs to prove,
Rest in Christ, the Ark of grace.

“We joy in God” Romans 5:11

THIS is every believer’s privilege; God is reconciled to him in the person and through the work of Jesus; all charges against him are blotted out; all his sins are freely and fully forgiven; he is justified from all things; and stands before God in Christ, accepted, beloved, and blessed, To him God is love; with him God is at peace; and he is now a son of God. If this is believed on the testimony of God, and realized in the soul as the effect of faith; then God becomes our exceeding joy, and we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. If we joy in frames, they change; if we joy in friends, they die; if we in possessions, they are vanity; but if we joy in God, though the exercise of joy may be interrupted, yet the object remains eternally the same, and we shall joy for evermore. Beloved, look at Jehovah in Jesus; there you see Him as the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; joy and rejoice in Him as your God, your portion, your everlasting all. Throughout this day, joy in God as your Father, your Friend, and your Saviour. In this rejoice and be exceeding glad.

O that I could now adore Him,
Like the heavenly host above,
Who for ever bow before Him,
And unceasing sing His love!
Happy songsters,
When shall I your chorus join!   

“Be watchful.” Revelation 3:2

SATAN is watching to ensnare us, the world is watching to exult over us, and God is watching to protect us. Jesus our best friend says to us, “BE WATCHFUL.” Watch against the spirit of the world, against thy easily besetting sins, against seasons of temptation, and against Satan the sworn enemy of thy soul. Watch for opportunities to do good, for answers to prayer, for the appearance of God as a God of providence. Unite prayer to God, dependence on His holy word, and watchfulness together, pray to be kept from sin, in temptation, unspotted from the world; trust in God to answer but do not leave the throne; and then watch as though all depended upon thy diligence and efforts. Blessed is He that watcheth and keepeth his garments. “Watch ye therefore and pray always.” But trust not to thy watchfulness, but while watching trust in God. He that keepeth thee will not slumber; He is with thee when on guard, as well as when thou art feasting on His word and rejoicing at His table. He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Watch ye therefore, and pray.

O gracious God, in whom I live,
My feeble efforts aid;
Help me to watch, and pray, and strive,
Though trembling and afraid. 

“Search me O God.” Psalm 139:13

NONE can search the heart but God; none are desirous or willing for the heart to be searched but real Christians. A believer desires to know the worst. He dreads deception. Grace has made him honest, and he prays, “Lord, search me.” If a man was to search, he would expose, irritate, and injure us; but if God search, He will humble, strengthen, and heal us. The man who sees himself in the light of truth, and knows himself as the effect of divine searching, cannot trust himself for one moment; he files from self to Jesus; from the law to grace; he loathes himself; and while he confidently trusts in Jesus, and rejoices in hope, he walks humbly with his God. He cannot boast, he dares not presume; but walk in holiness, and ascribe all to free grace. Beloved take the heart to Jesus to be searched. He says, “I am He that searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins.” If He search you, He will save you from deception, self-righteousness, and every false way. Be this your daily prayer, “Search me I, God. And lead me in the way of everlasting. Examine me, I Lord, and prove me: try my reins and my heart.” Let a man examine himself. You need searching.

Lord, search my heart, and try my ways,
And make my soul sincere;
Then shall I stand before thy face,
And find acceptance there.

“The Lord delighteth in thee” Isaiah 62:4

AND it is possible, that such poor, depraved, unworthy creatures, can be the objects of Jehovah’s delight? Yes- the infinite love of God has been fixed upon us from eternity: because he loved us; He sent His only begotten Son to die for us; He sent His Holy Spirit into our hearts; and gave us a good hope through grace. Here the apostle: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us, even when we were DEAD IN SINS, hath quickened us together with Christ: by whose grace ye are saved.” Jehovah views us in Jesus, and loves us with an infinite love. Yea, He has loved us, as He has loved Him. Every believer, though His faith may be weak, his fears many, his corruptions strong, his troubles great, and his temptations sore, is the object of Jehovah’s delight. Let us therefore endeavour to pass through this day, yea, and every day, believing and realizing, “I am Jehovah’s delight; the object of His highest love; the subject of His sweetest thoughts; and His portion for evermore.” O incomparable privilege! Source of comfort, holiness, and love! Thou has more cause for gratitude than an angel.

The greatness of eternal love
What angle-tongue can tell?
Oh may I to the utmost prove
The gift unspeakable   

“Love not the World.” 1 John 2:15

WHAT is the world? A shadow. A deception. The enemy of God. What can it do for us? It may enchant, but it will deceive. It may please for a time, but will sting in the end. It is an enemy’s country; we must pass through it, but we should not be too intimate with the inhabitants of it. It crucified our Saviour; it is in open rebellion against our God; it has allured, deceived, and injured many of our brethren; it is reserved unto fire at the judgment of the great day. We shall soon be called to leave it, we may be called today; “For what is our life? It is even as a vapour, which appeareth for a while, and then vanisheth away.” Let us fix and spend our love upon a worthier object; let us turn our thoughts to heaven, to Jesus; and let us seek race that we may daily and heartily say, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth I desire beside Thee.” Precious Saviour! Engross our attention, fix our affections, and be always our ALL IN ALL! None but Jesus, none but Jesus, should be our motto every day. He alone is worthy of our love; and He is worthy of it, for He died and lives to win it.

Lord, from this world call off my love,
Set my affections right,
Bid me aspire to joys above,
And walk no more by sight.

“Being justified freely by His grace.” Romans 3:24

It was a solemn question which was proposed in the days of old, “How can man be just with God?” Man is without righteousness; he is chargeable with many crimes; he is brought in guilty, and condemned by God’s hoy law; and he has no excuse to make. His mouth is stopped. We feel this is to be our situation by nature. But the Lord who is our judge, hath devised a way by which He can be just and yet justify us. IT IS BY GRACE. He justifies, or acquits us from all charges; pronounces righteous; accepts us; and introduces us into his favour, friendship, and fellowship, FREELY; without any thing being done or suffered by us. He PRESENTS US with the work of Jesus, by which all our debts are paid; our righteousness is wrought out; the law and government of God are honoured; and a good title to eternal title is made out; we RECEIVE this work by faith, which he also bestows, and we are JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS. Not one charge remains. There is no condemnation. But we are justified freely by grace without the works of the law and being justified we have peace with God.

Slain in the guilt sinner’s stead,
Jesus, Thy righteousness I plead,
And Thine atoning blood:
That righteousness my robe shall be;
Thy merit shall avail for me,
And bring me near to God.   

“I am a stranger in the earth.” Psalm 119:19

Beloved, we are strangers and pilgrims in the earth, as all our fathers were; our days are as a shadow, and there is no abiding. We are born from above, and are bound for glory. We are distant from home, where our kindred, our treasure, and our hearts are found. Here we have no fixed residence; nor should we have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. We are called to submit to many inconveniences. The Bible is our light, our food, or joy, and our directory. We want a guide, a guard, a companion, a comforter; but Jesus has engaged to fill each of these offices. We should pray for the peace of the country where we sojourn; we should not be meddlers with the concerns, but keep ourselves detached; we should be thankful for every advantage, but set and keep our affections on things above; we should neither be impatient nor reluctant in reference to going home, but submit to our Father’s will; we should consider ill-treatment as permitted to do us good; and contrast the present with our own beloved country and home. As strangers and pilgrims, let us abstain from fleshly lusts.

There is my house and portion fair,
My treasure and my heart are there,
For me my elder brethren stay,
And angels beacon me away,
And Jesus bids me come.   

“Cease ye from man.” Isaiah 2:22

NEVER trust him, for his heart is deceitful; never expect from him, for he is an empty cistern; never follow him, for he is a false guide. Cursed be the man who trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. Trust ye not in a friend. One object of trust is enough: He has all you want, and has offered to give whenever you ask. He never did deceive, He never can. It is impossible for God to lie. Looking to man, dishonours His fullness; trusting in man, is pouring contempt on his word; expecting from man, is overlooking His agency. If you neglect this loving direction, expect to suffer; if you walk by it, your peace will be like a river, and your soul like a well-watered garden. He knows what is in man, you do not. He cautions you, because He loves you. He would save you from disappointment, sorrow, and woe. Come then to the conclusion of the prophet, “Therefore will I look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” Never expect from am, but always from God.

Happy they who trust in Jesus!
Sweet their portion is, and sure;
When destruction other seizes;
God will keep His own secure;
Happy, though despised and poor.   

“I am the Lord’s.” Isaiah 44:5

Not only because He has chosen me from others, in Jesus His beloved Son; nor merely because I am redeemed from among men, by the precious blood of Immanuel; but also because I have surrendered myself up into the Lord’s hands, with all I have and am, to be taught by His Spirit, ruled by His word, supplied by His providence and devoted to His praise. The Lord claimed me, and I was enabled to acknowledge the claim; He has a right to me, and that right should never be forgotten by me. Am I tempted to sin? To murmur? To despond? Let this be my preservation, “I AM THE LORD’S.” How base, ungrateful, and wicked for ME to yield to sin; for me to complain of any of His dispensations; or for me to doubt His goodness or His grace. I am thee Lord’s for life; I shall be the Lord’s in death; and then (O delightful thought!) I shall be the Lord’s for evermore. He will guide me by His counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. I have only to aim at His glory, walk by His word, and live at His throne, until He takes me to Himself. My only business on earth is to please God, and my heaven will be to enjoy Him for ever.

Jesus, thy boundless love to me,
No thought can reach, no tongue declare,
Oh, knit my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there!

“Call upon me in the day of trouble.” Psalm 50:15

KEEP the straight path of duty, and if troubles come, or difficulties arise, thy God invites thee to call upon Him. He will come to thy help, and bring all His boundless resources with Him. He is always within call. His ear is never heavy, that it cannot hear; His arm is not shortened, that it cannot reach or save. He can make thy greatest troubles prove thy choicest blessings; He can give thee cause to bless Him through eternity, for thy sorest trials. Oh, trust Him and fear not! Run not to creatures; but, “Arise and call upon thy God.” Look not to others, until thou hast proved that He cannot, or will not help; and that will never be. His heart is too kind, His word is too faithful. Art thou in trouble this morning? If so, you have a SPECIAL invitation from thy God to pay Him a visit, and lay thy whole case before Him; expecting His sympathy, interference, and blessings; He says, “CALL UPON ME IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE. I WILL DELIVER THEE, AND THOU SHALT GLORIFY ME.” He is faithful who hath promised. Oh, trust Him, for so you honour him; expect from Him, and you cannot be disappointed. Wait for Him and you shall not be ashamed.

Dear refuge of my weary soul
On Thee, when sorrows rise,
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies.

“To comfort all that mourn.” Isaiah 61:2

THE Lord’s people are all mourners; grace sets and keeps them mourning over sin committed-depravity discovered-evidences needed-comforts forfeited and lost-apparent uselessness-the sins of others-the state of the church-or for the salvation of relatives and friends. We mourn after Jesus when we do not enjoy His love, and over Him as suffering when we do. But He has declared, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Jesus Himself is anointed and appointed to be our COMFORTER; He has given Him the tongue of the learned, that He may speak a word in season to them that are weary. He comforts us by pardoning our sins-subduing our iniquities-restoring the joys of His salvation-employing us in His service, and making us successful. He comforts us by His word, His servants, and His spirit. Admire the wisdom of God, in the person appointed; the love of God, in the work to which He is appointed; and the faithfulness of God, in the perpetuity of His office. He ever lives, and lives to comfort us. Sweet view of Jesus, let us dwell upon it; and especially do so in trouble and trial.

Now in the Lord I will be glad,
And glory in His love;
In him I’ll joy, who will the God
of our salvation prove;
My salvation will my comfort be,
And set my soul from trouble free.   

“The gospel of your salvation.” Ephes. 1:13

OUR salvation is our deliverance from sin, the curse, and the wrath of God; this was impossible to man, but God sent His own Son in our nature, to save us freely, fully, and eternally. The gospel is the “GOOD NEWS OF OUR SALVATION.” It is sent to inform us that God is love; that grace reigns; that heaven is opened; that provision is made for our guilt, weakness, and fears; that God waits to receive us, bless us, and glorify us with Himself for ever. It sets before us all Christ has done; all He possesses; and invites us to come and receive, to use and be happy. It requires nothing of us to entitle us, it presents all it has, and gives it freely to the poor, the halt, the maimed, and the blind. It has all our misery requires, all our wants demand, we cannot wish for more than it brings; it is full of grace, and full of glory. Precious gospel! Glorious news! May we receive it, believe it, act upon it daily, and so be happy. It is intended to FILL US with joy and peace in believing to lead us to abound in hope; and to make us more than conquerors over despondency, doubt, and fear. Strong faith in God’s gospel, will bring strong comfort to our souls.

For you the purple current flow’d
 In pardon from His wounded side;
Languish’d for you the eternal God;
For you the Prince of glory died;
Believe, and all your sin’s forgiven;
Only believe, and yours is heaven.

“He delighteth in mercy.” Mich. 7:18

THE proper object of mercy is misery; sin has rendered us miserable, and God has revealed Himself as merciful. He delighteth in mercy; it is a pleasure to Him to have mercy upon us; He delights to pardon our sins, relive our necessities, and save our souls. His own glory being secured, He delights to bless His people. He is styled THE FATHER OF MERCIES; and as a father takes pleasure in his children, so does our God in showing mercy. He always delights in mercy, therefore He does so this morning: go then and mourn over thy sins which have grieved Him, and rendered you miserable; go and plead for mercy at His throne, nor doubt for one moment His pity, His kindness, or His grace. Have you obtained mercy? Be zealous, to glorify God in the day of visitation; be honest, and ascribe all to mercy which is her due; and be active to spread the good news abroad, assuring poor miserable sinners, that GOD BELIGHTS IN MERCY. With the check, thy fears, repel thy temptations, and comfort thy heart. Believe it as an undoubted truth, plead it as a powerful argument with God, and daily rejoice in it. It is sweet to be an infinite debtor to mercy.

“Tis mercy in Jesus exempts me from hell;
Its glories I’ll sing, and its wonders I’ll tell;
Twas Jesus, my friend, when He hung on the tree,
Who open’d the channel of mercy for me.

“He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye.” Zech. 2:8

How infinitely tender is Jehovah of His people! They had lately been visited with sore judgements; reduced to great straits; appeared to be neglected of God; were generally despised; had only just escaped from the enemy’s land; and returned with weeping and supplication, like brands plucked from the burning, to their own country. And now the Lord says, “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye.” How wonderful the ways of God! As the wise physician, He will touch to cure; but He will not allow others to touch to hurt. Like the tender mother, He will not allow others to do so. How close the union! How peculiar the affection! How tender the sympathy! How constant the attention! How merciful the provision! How safe and how happy they are! Beloved, take encouragement under all your persecutions and trials; be comforted in all your afflictions; you are as near and dear to Jehovah as the apple of His eye; and you are hid under the shadow of His wings. Holy Spirit, help me daily to realize this truth!

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, thro’ Christ, my own. 

“My times are in thy hand,” Psal. 31:5

EVERY event is under divine control; nothing is left to chance. The hand of God is in all that occurs; directing, overruling, or sanctify us, and appointed all in infinite wisdom and love; therefore we should not judge rashly, or conclude hastily. We know not what may occur to-day, but we know that the purpose of God cannot be frustrated, nor can his promise fail. He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. He says, “My purpose shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” But this our comfort, that He taketh pleasure in His people, and in the prosperity of His servants, Let us consider then, every thing passes under our Father’s eye; is overruled by our Saviour’s power; is directed by the Holy Spirit to do us good. It shall not be as our enemies wish, or as our hearts fear; but as our God and Father pleases and has ordained. Be not therefore anxious, troubled, or cast down, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and He is God. He shall preserve thee from evil, He shall preserve thy soul.

I know not what may soon betide,
But Jesus knows, and He’ll provide;
My life is by His counsel plann’d
And all my times are in His hand:
I’ll therefore trust, nor yield to fear
But cast on Jesus all my care.

“Search the Scriptures.” John 5:39

THE Bible is God’s book, a favour bestowed on man; intended to lead him to a knowledge of the nature, perfections, purposes, will, providence, and salvation of God. It contains all that is really necessary to be known. It should be read carefully, prayerfully, frequently, and in course: every part of the Bible should be read, meditated upon, and prayed over. It makes us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. We cannot understand the Scriptures, or gather spiritual profit therefrom but by the Holy Ghost; nor should we expect to be taught the mind of God but by the Scriptures. Praying, reading, and thinking, should go together; and no one but he who has proved it, can possibly tell the profit which may be thus gained. Let the Bible be the every-day book. In it God speaks to your soul; by it He will sanctify your nature, direct your steps, and give you joy and peace. Let not the works of man occupy the place of the book of God; but search the Scriptures daily, and exercise faith therein. “Open thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of thy law.” Unfold to me the riches of thy grace.

O may thy counsels, mighty God,
My roving feet command;
Nor I forsake the happy road,
That leads to thy right hand.

“Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt. 6:24.

OUR God is a jealous God. He requires the devotion of the heart, the consecration of all the powers, and we cannot enjoy religion without these. Persons who try to unite God and the world, the service of sin and the service of God, cannot be happy. We must be decided. Well, who is to be God TO-DAY? Who is to have the heart, the talents, the affections TO-DAY? Is gain, carnal pleasure, or worldly company to be the idol to-day? Or is Jesus to have the thoughts, the desires, and the talents? Shall we seek His glory, and aim at His honour? Or, shall we say to some worthless bramble, Come thou and reign over us? Choose you, whom will you serve? Attempt not to reconcile opposing claims, but let God or mammon have the whole. Surely you are ready to cry out, “Thine am I, Jesus, and thee only will serve!” But you can only serve Him acceptably, as you serve Him with the graced He imparts; He has provided, promised, and invites you to receive. Let us therefore have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Serving God in the spirit of adoption is true happiness.

Oh, let thy love my soul inflame,
And to thy service sweetly bind;
Transfuse it through my inmost frame,
And mould me wholly to thy mind.

“Now is the day of salvation.” (II Cor. 6:2)

WHAT an unspeakable mercy to live at such a period. We are poor, lost, ruined sinners; but this is the day when salvation is freely bestowed, without money and without price. The Lord saves from the love, power, and consequences of sin; gives His Holy Spirit, writes His law in the heart, and directs our feet into the way of peace. He gives is Jesus, who is the Saviour; gives us grace, which conquers sin; and gives us heaven, to enjoy when thee journey of life is ended. This is the day in which He works deliverance for His people; He employs His power, His wisdom, His word, his providence, and His angels, for our deliverance. What then shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid? Let us go to His throne, remembering that it is the day of salvation; let us plead for deliverance from all that mars our peace, prevents our enjoyment, or hinders us in our christian course. Let there be no dependency, for this is a day of good things; it is, Believe, and be saved; pray, and be delivered; wait on the Lord, and He will strengthen your heart. “By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God.”

Salvation! O the joyful sound,
Tis pleasure to our ears;
A sovereign Balm for every wound,
A cordial for our fears.    

“I will spare them,” Mal. 3:7

PRECIOUS assurance! But whom will the Lord spare? All His children,-especially those who speak of His goodness, witness to His faithfulness, think upon His name, and honour Him before an evil generation. He says, “They shall be mine, in that day when I make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a father spareth his obedient son.” If we are aiming at the Lord’s glory, and walking by the Lord’s word, we have nothing to fear from any of His dispensations. He will shield us from danger sanctify our troubles, and secure our best interests. If we are living to His praise, we may safely leave out wants and our comforts in His hands; He will supply the one and preserve the other. He says, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee.” “Bring every trouble to my throne, every want to my fullness; I am EL-SHADDAL, God all-sufficient; enough in the absence of every one and every thing. I am your God; I may punish the nations, but I will spare you. Believe this and be happy. Rejoice in this and you glorify me. You are no more servants, but a son; and if son, then an HEIR of God through Christ. Though I punish the world, I will spare you.”

Jesus, my Saviour, and my Lord!
Tis good to trust thy name:
Thy power, thy faithfulness, and love,
Will ever be the same.    

“Cleave unto the Lord” Acts 11:23

EVERY believer is united to Christ, and is one with Him. Jesus is the vine, he is a branch; Jesus is the husband, he is the bride. Satan’s design is to lead him from the Lord; he knows well he can do little or nothing, while the Christian cleaves to Jesus. Oh, then, cleave to Him by faith, in love, with perseverance! Cleave to His truth, to His people, to His ordinances, to His word, and to His throne. Think of Jesus as the affectionate child thinks of his beloved father, as the tender bride thinks of her devoted bridegroom, as the way-worn traveller thinks of his cheerful home. Let Jesus be uppermost in thy thoughts, let His love rule thy heart, and let nothing steal away thy affections from Him. Live upon His fullness, live according to His word, live in the element of His love; no living safely, no living happily, but as you cleave unto the Lord. Never let Satan find thee at a distance from Jesus, or he will assuredly be too much for thee. He is ever on the watch to find thee wandering, that he may worry, deceive, and distress thee. Therefore cleave unto the Lord, with full purpose of heart. Cleave to Him as the ivy to the oak, or the child to the mother’s breast,

Saviour, let me cleave to thee;
Love the bond of union be;
And, lest I should o’er depart,
Keep thy dwelling in my heart.

“Why are ye so fearful?” Mark 4:40

THE disciples appeared to be in danger, and fear filled their hearts; they did not realize that they were the care and charge of Jesus, or else knowing Him their fears could have had no place. Beloved, you are in the hands of your loving Saviour; He has charge of you and all your concerns; He has numbered the very hairs of your head, and watches over you every moment, by night, as well as by day. He is ever present, His eye cannot be diverted from you, His omnipotence is engaged to defend you. His fullness to supply you. His wisdom to guide you, and all His perfections will be glorified in your everlasting holiness and happiness, He says, “I am glorified in them.” Why are you so fearful? Jesus is a very present help, He is a friend that loveth at all times, He is your shield, and will be your exceeding great reward. But perhaps you have wandered from Him; your conscience accuses, and Satan tempts you to despond; go, go and return unto Him, delay not a moment, cast yourself, guilty as you are, at His feet, confess all, and give yourself to Him afresh. He will receive you, graciously, love you freely and restore the joys of His salvation.

The saints should never be dismay’d
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect His and,
The Saviour will appear. 

Lacked ye any thing? Luke 22:35

The Lord will always provide for His own people, who keep His company, do His will, and aim at His glory. If He sends us, though He chooses to carry the purse, our bread shall be given, and our water shall be sure. The disciples went out unfurnished, but then Jesus commanded them; they return and confess that they lacked nothing, the God of providence supplied them. If we are in the Lord’s way, we may rest assured that we shall meet the Lord’s messengers bringing our supply. They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. He notices our wants, remembers His promises, times His mercies, and proves Himself a faithful God. Have you lacked anything?-for body?-for soul? He who has supplied the past will provide for the future, Jesus is full of grace; got and receive that your joy may be full. Jesus is the God of providence; look to Him, trust in Him, plead with Him, and you shall never be destitute. Believe His word, He cannot deny himself; trust in His faithfulness, and He will put honour upon thy faith, fulfilling His own word.” Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.”

His love in times past forbids me think
He’ll leave me at last, in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms his good pleasure to help me quite thro.

“I will instruct thee.” Psalm 32:8

AT best we know but little, and we are slow to learn: but as the Lord has promised to instruct us, we may yet expect to be made wise unto salvation. The Lord’s teaching always produces humility, self-loathing, confidence in God, zeal for His glory, and devotes the heart to His praise. It brings us to the feet of Jesus, and delivers us from the present evil world. Under divine instruction we learn the true nature of sin, the vanity of the world, the emptiness of creatures, and the fullness and preciousness of Christ. Is God willing to instruct us? Then let us be early and often at His throne, praying as the Psalmist did, “Lead me in truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Then shall we exclaim as Elihu did, “Behold, God exalteth by His power: who teacheth like Him?” The Lord will teach us to profit, and sanctify us through the truth He imparts, Christ is our great lesson, and to know Him rightly is life, peace, and joy. Is Jesus thy teacher? Then sit at His feet, treasure up His words, and shew forth His praise. He says, “Learn of me.” Learn to know Him, love Him, obey Him, and live upon Him.

Eternal life thy words impart;
On these my fainting spirit lives:
Here sweeter comforts clear my heart,
Than the whole world around me gives.  

I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13

Wherever the Lord leads us, He will support us; nor shall the difficulties of the day, or the weakness we feel, be too much for us. His hand is stretched out to us, and it is for faith to lay hold and proceed, confident of assistance. This arm of His power is the protection of His people in danger, and the strength of His people in weakness. He is a very present help in trouble. A God at hand. Are you weak, or in difficulty? Plead His word; it is plain, positive, and sure. He cannot lie. He will not deceive. His strength is made perfect, and is glorified in your weakness. Fear not, underneath are everlasting arms. He will strengthen you with strength in your soul. He CAN help, for He is omnipotent. He WILL help, for He has given you His word. Trust in the Lord at all times; yea, trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. That strength is promised to you, and will be employed for you in answer to prayer. Why then are you so fearful? Why cast down? He says, “I WILL HELP THEE.” He hath said, and shall He not do it? He hath spoken, and shall He not make it good?”

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismay’d!  
I, I am thy God, and will give thee aid!
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand.
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.

“Ye are my friends.” John 15:14

WHAT infinite condescension in Jesus, to call us worms, His friends! But He not only calls us so, but treats us as such, and expects us as friends to do whatsoever He commands us. Is Jesus thy friend? Then visit Him often, let him hear thy voice in prayer and praise; then trust him confidently, let him see a proof of thy faith in thy dependence; then walk with Him in love, let Him enjoy much of thy company; then expect Him to be thy friend in sickness and health; in poverty and plenty; in life and in death. If Jesus is our friend, we can never be destitute; if father and mother forsake, He will take us up and take us in; we can never be miserable, He will receive us and be a Father unto us; we can never be neglected, for He will never fail us nor forsake us, but will do for us all He has promised in His word. He will defend us from foes, visit us in sickness, and cheer and support us in death. Precious Lord Jesus, be thou my friend, call me thy friend, and treat me as such, in life, in death, at the judgment, and before thy Father’s face for ever.

Oh let us make His name our trust,
He is a Saviour wise and just;
On His Almighty arm depend,
He is a friend tried and faithful friend;
And all His friends shall shortly prove,
The power and glory of His love.

Blessed are the poor. Luke 6:20

The Lord’s people are all poor; they see and feel that sin has stripped them of every excellence; and has left them wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. They can do nothing of themselves, they can procure nothing; but free grace has made ample provision for them, and the gospel informs them that Jesus has everything they want, and all He has is for them. When they look at, or into themselves they are discouraged; but when they look to Jesus, they rejoice. He has riches of grace, and riches of glory; and He says, “Every one that asketh, receiveth.”  He giveth liberally, and upbraideth not. Here then is the present blessedness of the Lord’s poor; Jesus has all they need. He is their Friend; and they that seek Him shall not want any good thing. Am I poor? If so, Jesus bids me come to Him, and buy gold, clothing, wine, and milk; all that is necessary to comfort and support in time, and render me happy throughout eternity. Poor in self, rich in Jesus. Poor at present, rich by-and-bye; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “All things are yours, ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” “All things are for your sakes.”

What want shall not our God supply,
From His redundant stores?
What streams of mercy from on high
An arm almighty pours!

Come unto me. Matthew 11:28

Jesus calls thee to His throne; He is there waiting to hear, relieve and bless you. You are to go to Him just as you are, and receive from Him all you need. He will give you wisdom, to direct your steps; peace, to keep your hearts; strength, to do His will; righteousness to justify your souls; and rest, unspeakably sweet. He is glorified in bestowing theses blessings upon you, He calls you this morning, this moment, to receive without money and without price! What a kind and tender Friend! Let us go boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. “Cme,” He says, “come to me; go not to self, to the world, to the empty cisterns which creatures idolize; but come to me, and I will do for you exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think. Your sins I will pardon; your graces I will revive; your comforts I will restore; your holiness I will increase; you’re your efforts to glorify me I will crown with success; I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing.” Oh, how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that seek thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men!”

Jesus, with thy word complying,
Firm our faith and hope shall be;
On thy faithfulness relying,
We will cast our souls on Thee.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11
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