Daily Devotions for September.
Be not conformed to this world. Romans 12. 2. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. 1 John 2. 15-17.
Reader, whose will dost thou do? Examine thyself. Perhaps thou thinkest to love the world, and to do its will, cannot be a great sin, because many reputed honest men and good Christians do the same. Nay, but for thy soul's sake consider what the Scripture says: If thou lovest the world, the love of the Father is not in thee; and without this love of the Father, thou hast no faith; and, being destitute of faith, thou hast no Christ, and consequently no life and salvation. Consider further, whether thou dost not love the world above either God or thy own soul? Hast thou not more than a hundred thoughts about the world for one of God or thy own soul? And dost thou not talk a hundred times more about the world than about God or thy soul? And is not thy pusuit continually after the world, to the neglect of God and thy soul? Why, then, the world is thine idol; thou lovest not God, and art murdering thy soul. Alas, what a piteous case thou art in! The Lord have mercy on thee!
I send the joys of earth away;
Away, ye tempters of the mind;
False as the smooth deceitful sea,
And empty as the whistling wind.
Down to the gulf of black despair,
And, whilst I listen'd to your song;
He rules me by his well-known laws
Your streams had near convey'd me there.
Lord, I adore thy matchless grace,
That warn'd me of the deep abyss;
That drew me from those treach'rous seas,
And bade me seek superior bliss.
Now to the shining realms above,
I stretched my hands, and glance my eyes;
Oh for the pinions of a dove,
To bear me to the upper skies.
Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy (Note) in all manner of conversation. 1 Peter 1. 14, 15. Give dligence to make your calling and election sure. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, etc. 2 Peter 1. 10; 1 Peter 4. 3.
None can be so sure of salvation as to be for ever free of fears and doubts; for there is no assurance without conflicts; therefore all diligence is required to be evermore sure of it, so as to have boldness even in death. But let us take heed of presumption, since we do not know what may befall us at last; and be careful not despise or overdrive the weaker sort of Christians, nor make our own experience a general rule for others, lest this comfortable doctrine of assurance prove a torment to them who have not yet attained it. Let all who have received a measure of grace be thankful; yet not rest in it, but press forward, fighting the good fight of faith, till they lay hold on eternal life.
How short and hast is our life!
How vast our soul's affairs!
Yet senseless mortals vainly strive
To lavish out their years.
God on high invites us home,
But we march heedless on;
And, ever hast'ning to the tomb,
Stoop downward as we run.
How we deserve the deepest hell,
That slight the joys above!
What chains of vengeance should we feel,
That break such cords of love!
Draw us, O God, with sov'reign grace,
And lifts our thoughts on high;
That we may end this mortal race,
And see salvation high.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19. 10.
Whoever seriously seeks to be saved both from the power and punishment of sin, and seeks deliverance only through Christ, should not give way to heaviness of heart; for consider, Art thou a lost sinner? Art thou seeking his salvation? This is a good token that Christ has sought thee, else thou wouldst not seek after him. Whom Christ seeks he saves. Now therefore call upon him diligently to set up his kingdom in thy bosom, and say to thyself - O soul, it was the very purpose of Christ's coming into the world to save sinners circumstanced just as thou art: yea, though thy sins be as scarlet, yea, though they be red as crimson, be not thou cast down, O my soul, and be not disquieted within thee: but encourage a cheerful hope in thy covenant God, and instead of poring only thy sins, consider the exceeding love of Christ in dying for them; and, by a sense of that love, do thy diligence to live unto him; and for this he will enable thee by his Holy Spirit.
The Lord of life and glory stands;
Aloud he cries and spreads his hands;
He calls ten thousand sinners round;
And sends a voice from every wound.
"An ample pardon here I give,
And bid the sentenced rebel live;
Show him my Father's smiling face,
And lodge him in his dear embrace.
I purge from sin's detested stain,
And make the crimson white again;
Lead to celestial joys refined,
And lasting as the deathless mind".
O Jesus, let me doubt no more,
But hear, and wonder, and adore
Till death shall make my last remove,
To dwell for ever in thy love.
Repent ye, (oh change your minds) and believe the gospel. Mark 1. 15.
Repentance, or godly sorrow for sin, is the doctrine of the gospel; this is absolutely necessary to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and a life of union and communion with him. O reader, the Baptist calls thee to repent: Jesus calls thee to repent: the God of heaven and earth calls thee to repent: and without it thou wilt perish eternally in the flames of hell. Canst thou not give thyself the grace of repentance? Thou canst not. Oh then pray and cry to the blessed Jesus, that his Holy Spirit may produce this saving grace in thee. Pray to him that he would give thee a living, justifying faith in his blood and righteousness, and that thy heart may be filled with real sorrow for sin, with holy indignation against it, and with a sincere and active departing from it. Oh pray that you may walk by faith and not by sight, as seeing Him continually who, to the natural eye, is invisible.
Mistaken souls, that dream of heaven,
And make their empty boast;
Of inward joys, and sins forgiven,
While they are slaves to lust.
Vain are our fancies, airy flights,
If faith be cold and dead;
None but a living power unites
To Christ the living head.
'Tis faith that purifies the heart;
'Tis faith that works by love;
That bids our sins and lusts depart,
And lifts our souls above.
What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. Mark 13. 57.
On a day set apart for the celebration of some great event, how anxious are people to get in time to the place appointed! what earnestness is seen in their looks! As earnest should we be in watching for the hour in which our Lord shall come, that we may not be ashamed before him. A heart deceived by sin may suggest many arguments against this holy earnestness, but they are the reasonings of folly. It is a general warning, "What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.". Almost every day affords an instance of some one hurried into eternity on a sudden. Were not hourly watchfulness necessary, a merciful God would not permit sudden deaths. But he has sounded the alarm, "Ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Give me grace, O Lord, to live always as if I heard that solemn voice sounding continually in my ears, "Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment."
Awakle, my drowsy soul, awake,
And view the threatening scene;
Legions of foes encamp around,
And treach'ry lurks within.
Now to the work of God awake
Behold thy Master near;
The various arduous tasks pursue
With vigour and with fear.
The awful register goes on;
Th' account will surely come;
And op'ning day or closing night,
May bear me to my doom.
Tremendous thought! how deep it strikes!
Yet like a dream it flies,
Till God's own voice the slumbers chase,
From these deluded eyes.
Now also, when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not. Psalm 71. 18. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Psalm 25. 20, 21.
Divine Answer: Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are born by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb. And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and deliver you. Isaiah 46. 3, 4.
God never does forsake a true believer, since he is as closely united to Christ as a child to its mother. Yea, a mother may forget her sucking child; but Jesus never forgets his ransomed people. His eyes are upon them for good continually: they are graven on the palms of his hands, and lodged in his pierced side, close to his heart. We may expect everything confidently from him, and this confidence pleaseth him above all things. Then, oh may I "be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make my requests known unto God." Philippians 4. 6; always trusting that he will certainly carry thee through all difficulties to come, as he has done hitherto; so that I may even give him thanks for it beforehand. O Lord, gant that I may practise this better still.
My God, my everlasting hope,
I live upon thy truth:
Thy hands have held my childhood up,
And strength'd all my youth.
Still has my life new wonder seen
Repeated ev'ry year;
Behold my days that yet remain,
I trust them to thy care.
Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these; but throughly amend your ways and your doings, etc. Jeremiah 7. 4, 5. Of true prayer and worship in spirit and in truth. See also John 4. 24; Romans 12. 1.; James 1. 27.
As a contrite heart is the most pleasing temple of God, so speaking with God in words of our own, as a child does with with his father, is the best book of prayer. The most cunning method by which Satan deceives many now, is the mistaking of extensive knowledge and assurance of their own making, not witnessed by the Spirit for true faith; or trusting some outward form of worship, or having communion with others, or pretending to gospel experience and liberty, and thereby claiming the office of building up souls, though a true change was never wrought in their own hearts. For what can all our reading, prayers, going to church and sacrament, profit us, without this? Before all this shall be acceptable to the Lord, we must be renewed in our minds, and prove by our words and deeds that we are the living temples of God.
The Seventh of September.
Is there a thing beneath the sun,
That strives with thee my heart to share?
Ah! tear it thence, and reign alone,
The Lord of every motion there.
Then shall my heart from the earth be free,
When it has found repose in thee.
Oh hide this self from me, that I
No more, but Christ in me, may live!
My vile affections crucify
Let no darling lust survive
In all things may I nothing see,
Nothing desire or seek but thee.
Forsake me not, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me. Psalm 38. 21.
Divine Answer: The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted; behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. Isaiah 54. 10-12.
Such as have never felt spiritual distress cannot relish this word of promise; but they who have been brought out of great misery by this sweet word, or any other word of promise applied to their hearts by the Holy Ghost, will henceforth take hold of it, and prize it: yea, they should firmly believe, even without a present feeling of it comfort, that God will certainly perform the promise he has once sealed upon them. He is a God that changeth not, and a God in covenant with his people, and his covenant is everlasting; therefore he will not forsake his people, but order all things for their good, and conduct them safely through their pilgrimage, though violent enemies assault them, and mighty tempests fall upon them. His faithfulness stands engaged for this.
Firm are the words his prophets give,
Sweet words, on which believers live
Each of them is the voice of God,
Who spoke and spread the skies abroad.
Oh for a strong, a lasting faith,
To credit what the Almighty saith;
To embrace the message of his Son,
And call the joys of heav'n our own!
Then should the earth's old pillars shake,
And all the wheels of nature break;
Our steady souls should fear no more,
Than solid rocks when billows roar.
Lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3. 5. Be not wise in your own conceits. Romans 12. 16. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. 1 Corinthians 3. 19.
Whoever desires to know the will of the Lord, and prayeth earnestly for instruction, shall certainly know his will. But he must not be wise in his own conceits, nor lean to his own understanding, nor expect that the wisdom or learning of this world will explain the things of God. He must not seek to reconcile the word to his lusts, but combat his lusts by the word. In short, he must come to Jesus for instruction, with the same simplicty as a child comes to learn its letters: and not come for a month or a year, but sit all his life at the feet of Jesus, to receive instruction from him. Lord, make me jealous of myself, enable me to go in and out with prayer, and keep me from all errors that may hurt my soul.
This saith the wisdom of the Lord,
Bless'd is the man that hears my word,
Keeps daily watch before my gates,
And at thy feet for mercy waits.
The soul that seeks shall obtain
Immortal wealth and heavenly gain;
Immortal life is his reward,
Life and favour of the Lord.
But the vile wretch that flies from me,
Doth his own soul an injury;
Fools, that against my grace rebel,
Seek death, and love the road to hell.
So we preach, and so ye believed. 1 Corinthians 15. 11.
The method of the gospel is this: First, it proposeth things which are perculiarly its own. So the apostle sets down the constant entrance of his preaching, 1 Corinthians 15. 3. It reveals its own mysteries, laying them as the foundation of faith and obedience; and it also inlays them in the mind, thereby conforming the whole soul unto them; Romans 6. 17; Galatians 4. 19; Titus 2. 11, 12; 1 Corinthains 3. 11; 2 Corinthians 3. 18. This foundation being laid, it then grafts all duties of moral obedience on the stock of faith in Christ Jesus. Where this foundation is not laid through ignorance, or rejected through prejudice, the gospel has nothing to do with such men; it neither renews their souls, nor produces any genuine fruit of obedience. Thus, the apostle Paul, in all his epistles, teaches first the mysteries of faith that are peculiar to the gospel, and then descends unto those moral duties which are regulated thereby; so we must first hear the gospel and be acquainted with its discoveries, before we can believe aright; and when our faith is rightly founded, it is to show itself in practice of all those good works that are required of us in the Scriptures: "As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the God of Israel."
Reveal mysterious gospel truth,
And plant it on my mind, O Lord!
So will my spirit be renew'd
And yield obedience to thy word.
How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. Genesis 39. 9.
Joseph was a slave, and in a strange country; he was tempted by a wanton and revengeful mistress; had he complied, he would have been sure of secrecy and rewards; but if he resisted, he might expect her keenest resentment, if not the loss of his life. ye all these could not influence him; he chooses to submit to every inconvenience and danger rather than be guilty of so foul a crime, and sin against God. From thence we may learn that fear of God, is a mos effectual preservative against all criminal indulgences; it was this that restrained Joseph, and will, where it is possessed, ahve the same effect on all mankind upon all occasions, and in every scene of life. It strikes every passion, every spring of human actions, and includes in it all the most powerful motives by which the conduct of mankind is determined. If interest be the principal thing that sways us, that surely cannot be so certainly promoted as by securing the favour of God, and avoiding his dis-pleasure. If we are governed by our fears, he is the most formidable Being in the universe to a mind that has perverted its faculties, and trangressed the laws of its nature: if by hope, he is the supreme good: if by love, he is the most amiable and perfect excellence: if by gratitude, he is the Author of all our happiness.
The Eleventh of September.
Give me, O Lord, such godly fear
As feels thy presence nigh;
And looks to thee when sin is near
And makes the tempter fly.
I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, etc. 2 Kings 22. 8, 19.
The priests, probably to save themselves the trouble of writing, and the people of reading the book at large, had furnished themselves with abstracts of the law, leaving out, or slightly mentioning, some parts thereof, and particularly the threatenings; which Josiah was so much affected with, as being new to him. The book of God's law seems in our day to be lost; a sealed book to most of the congregations that profess themselves Christians; imperfect accounts of it are given, which hide the promised blessings and threatened curses of God. When this book by spiritual light is found, and on reading or hearing thereof conviction reaches the conscience, it is a great instance of God's favour, a token of good, and must be faithfully acknowledge as such. Reader, art thou truly apprehensive of the weight of God's wrath, and solicitous to obtain his favour? Seek, then, earnestly upon thy knees, and in the house of the Lord, redemption from the curses of the law; pray that Jesus may be revealed to thee; the blood of the Lamb of God alone can take away the guilt of sin; having found the law, rest not till thou find the gospel also, and arrive at a comfortable assurance of thine interest in its blessings. Josiah's heart was tender, he wept, and was encouraged; follow his sorrow, and thou wilt partake of his blessings; and make the law of God thy delight and counsellor.
The word of God is seal'd from us,
Till he our hearts prepare;
But when the Spirit light imparts,
'Tis found and read with care.
Draw me, we will run after thee. The King hath brought me into his chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine; the upright love thee. Song of Solomon 1. 4.In thee the fatherless findeth mercy. Hosea 14. 3.
The needle's point in the seaman's compass never stands still, but quivers and shakes till it comes right against the north pole. The wise men of the east never rested till they were right against the star which appeared unto them, and the star itself never stood till it came right against that other Star, which shone more brightly in the manager than the sun did in the firmament: and Noah's dove could find no rest for the sole of her foot, all the while she was fluttering over the flood, till she returned to the ark with an olive branch in her mouth. So the heart of every true Christian, which is the turtle-dove of Jesus Christ, can find no rest all the while hovering over the waters of the world, till with the silver wings of a dove, and the olive branch of faith, it flies to Jesus, the true Noah and rest of our souls, who puts forth his hand out of the ark, and, taking the dove in, receiveth it to himself.
The Thirteenth of September.
In vain I seek for rest
In all-created good;
It leaves me still unblest,
And makes me cry for God,
And sure at rest I cannot be,
Until my heart finds rest in thee.
What think ye of Christ?. Matthew 22. 42.
And ought we not to put this question to our souls, when our happiness for ever depends upon him, and when without him we are undone to eternity? How ought we then to think of the Lord Jesus Christ? Surely as the Scripture represents him to be,-- "the chiefest among ten thousand," and "altogether lovely." We ought to think of him in his person as the great God incarnate; in his work and his offices, as the Saviour of Israel: we ought to think of him as one in whom justice is satisfied, love and righteousness are manifested, and sinners are saved. Oh how highly have God's people ever thought of Jesus Christ! And how exultingly do the saints now in heaven think of him! But what think we of Christ, when burdened with sin, when oppresssed with affliction? When we cannot entertain a good thought of ourselves, can we then think of Christ as highly as heretofore? Alas! how very weak is our faith at the best! Lord, strengthen our faith, inflame our love, enlarge our views, support us in trials, inflame our love, enlarge our views, support us in trials, guide us by thy counsel, and receive us into glory, that we may sing thy praise to all eternity. Amen.
Of Christ we cannot think and sing
Until we taste his grace;
Then he is All in ev'ry thing,
Peace, strength, and righteousness.
Our conversation, or our citizinship, is in heaven. Philippians 3. 20. Therefore rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10. 20. Set you affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3. 2.
A Christian being only a traveller through the world, must expect a traveller's fare; bad roads sometimes, bad weather, and bad accommodations; but since his journey's end and city is heaven, all his actions, sufferings, prayers, trade, and conversation, turn that way. O Lord, grant that mine eyes may always be fixed upon this mark, so as to regulate all my designs and doings accordingly, asking myself in everything, whether it be fit for heaven, and agreeable to mind of the heavenly Bridegroom and to the manners of the heavenly citizens.
The Fifteenth of September.
Lord, bid my soul fly up and run
Through every heavenly street;
And say, There's nought below the sun
That's worthy of my feet.
So shall we mount on sacred wings,
And tread the courts above;
Nor earth, nor all her mightiest things,
Shall tempt our meanest love.
The glorious tenants of the place,
Stand bending round the throne;
And saints and seraphs sing and praise
The infinite Three-One.
Jesus, oh when shall that dear day,
That joyful hour appear,
When shall I leave this house of clay,
To dwell among them there?
To him all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Acts 10. 43; 4. 12. Thy name is as annointment poured forth. -- the fulness of all grace. Song of Solomon 1. 3. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18. 10.
In this name we should draw nigh to the Father in prayer, and not approach him with strange fire of our, kindled from the fancied merit of devotion; and he will draw nigh to us again, James 4. 8. He will certainly grant our petitions, and we shall receive, that our joy may be full. John 16. 24. For the Lord is good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon him; Psalm 86. 5. and all these promises are Yea and Amen in Christ; so that every believer may say, "The Lord will receive my prayer." Psalm 6. 9. "Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy with me." Psalm 66. 20; 13. 6.
Lift up your eyes to th' heavenly seat,
Where your Redeemer stays;
Kind Intercessor! there he sits
And loves, and pleads, and prays.
Petitions now and praise may rise,
And saints their off'rings bring;
The Priest with his own sacrifice
Presents them to the King.
Jesus alone shall bear my cries
Up to the Father's throne,
He, dearest Lord, perfumes my sighs,
And sweetens every groan.
In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16. 11. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelations 21. 2-4, 10, 12.
O my dear Saviour, look upon me in mercy. Thou seest what earthly desires and unmortified tempers are yet found in me; and though I cry unto thee daily, mine enemies still prevail over me. Yet thou art almighty to save, and hast promised to cast out none that come unto thee. Let me, then, experience the power of thy grace in raising me up to more newness of life, in stirring up prayer, and strengthening faith, in creating hungerings after righteousness, and thirstings after God, and in bestowing a right heavenly mind upon me; that my soul may be as a bride prepared and adorned for her husband. Give me also a frequent taste below of those pleasures which are at thy right hand for evermore, that my heart may be kept waiting and eagerly looking for thy coming.
The Seventeenth of September.
Oh the delights, the heavenly joys,
The glories of the place,
Where Jesus sheds the brightest beams
Of his o'erflowing grace!
Archangels sound his lofty praise
Through every heavenly street,
And lay their highest honours down
Submissive at his feet.
Lord, how our souls are all on fire
To see thy blest abode!
Our tongues rejoice in tunes of praise
To our incarnate God.
And while our faith enjoys the sight,
We long to leave our clay;
And wish thy fiery chariots, Lord,
To fetch our souls away.
Watch and pray. Let us be going Matthew 26. 41, 46. Remember Lot's wife. Luke 17. 32. This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30. 21.
To be kept from self-righteousness on one hand, and from false liberty on the other, is the Christian way. But how shall I find this way? O my dear Jesus, thou art the way. Teach me then to walk in thy strength, to live in thy faith, to gaze much upon thee, to cleave firmly unto thee, and abide ever in thee; so shall I experience the liberty of the gospel, which yieldeth no license for sin, but bringeth joyful deliverance from its power. For when my heart resteth on thee, it cannot rest in the flesh, and seek to fulfil its lusts; but being delighted with thy beauty and glorious love, all other things vanish, and I am kept watchful, close, and fervent.
When my forgetful soul renews
The savour of thy grace,
My heart presumes I cannot lose
The relish all my days.
But, ere one fleeting hour is past,
The flatt'ring world employs
Some sensual bait to seize my taste,
And to pollute my joys.
Then I repent, and vex my soul
That I should leave thee so;
Where will those wild affections roll,
That let a Saviour go?
Show my forgetful feet the way
That leads to joys on high;
There knowledge grows without decay,
And love shall never die.
Walk before me (as in my presence), and be thou perfect. Genesis 17. 1. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12. 13, 14.
Consequently all such things as are now called indifferent in their nature will also be brought to God's bar, and not be called indifferent there, but judged as actually good or actually evil. Oh, the prodigious harm that is done by the false doctrine of innocent things! It opens the door to innumerable sins; for though our conscience often tells us that we should not do such things as are not actually good, yet presently innocent is pleaded, it is called a harmless thing; which, though it could not be said to be good, yet it is not evil either, but quite indifferent in its nature; by which thousands are drawn into the snares of the devil. O Lord, grant that all my works may be done unto thee, and in thy presence, agreeably to thy commandments; that even my leaves may not wither, and whatsoever I do may prosper and abide forever.
The Nineteenth of September.
Within thy circling power I stand,
On every side I find thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrendered still with God.
Oh may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where'er I rove, where'er I rest;
Nor let my weaker passions dare,
Consent to sin, for God is there.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3. 3.
Consequently no outward form of religion will do; but we must be renewed by the Spirit of God, and have our hearts changed, else we cannot enter the kingdom of God. Christ, by saying, Verily, verily, has confirmed this twice by an oath. How is it possible, then, that mere honest and moral men can be saved? Will Christ break his double oath? No, surely. Now, when outward gross vices only are blamed in conversation or preaching, a moral man slips through the law without censure, and the careless think they can leave off their sins one time or another; and so none are duly concerned to be thoroughly converted; but the new birth and a real change of heart being insisted upon, and held forth in this only true way, every one who will be saved must be turned.
The second Adam shall restore
The ruins of the first;
Hosanna to that sov'reign power
That new creates our dust.
When from the curse he sets us free,
He makes our natures clean
Nor would our Saviour come to be
The minister of sin.
His Spirit purifies our frame,
And seals our peace with God;
Jesus and his salvation came
By water and by blood.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42. 11. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with this glory which shall be revealed to us. Romans 8. 18.
The Twenty First of September.
Believers, we are here assured, may be in great distress; but though much perplexed, and often discouraged, they are secretly held up by faith, and brought off conquerors. If God had commanded us to pray and hope only till a certain time mentioned, and his help had failed to come within that time, we might justly despair. But since he requires us to hope even to the end or last moment of life, this should keep us from impatience and despair: for though he should tarry even to the end, believers will certainly experience him then to be faithful to his promise. He may try our faith and patience to the utmost, but he cannot break his own word. Dear Lord, whatever load thou art pleased to lay upon me, enable me to wait, in faith and in prayer, till the joyful hour of deliverance comes.
'Tis God that lifts our comforts high,
Or sinks them in the grave;
He gives, and blessed be his name,
He takes but what he gave.
Peace, all our angry passions then
Let each rebellious sigh
Be silent at his sov'reign wil,
And every murmur die.
In smiling mercy crown our lives
Its praises shall be spread;
And we'll adore the justice too
That strikes our comforts dead.
Be not soon shaken in mind. 2 Thessalonians 2. 2. I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2. 2. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2. 3.
O my dear Saviour, eneable me to rest humbly and quietly in thee, avoiding all such novelties as might breed presumption, distract my thoughts, and cause my heart to swerve from thee. Whoever has tasted the sweetness of thy word will be satisfied with it; and better it is to improve in the life of faith, and power of godliness, than in new words, forms, and professions. "May the Lord quicken me by the old truths, and humble my heart evermore, so as to receive them better, and to abide in that which I have heard from the beginning!" Novelty is the bane of souls, by which we are often greviously tormented and distracted. It is work enough for a meek and quiet soul to keep within the bounds of a settled mind, effectually to centre in God. How can such enjoy true rest, who, from a vain curiosity to know everything, are ever running after new doctrines, or prying into every man's business? Lord, save me from this unsettled mind, and make me determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Amen.
Oh that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still;
Oh that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will.
My soul has gone too far astray,
My feet too often slip;
Yet, since I've not forgot thy way,
Restore thy wandering sheep.
Let earth's alluring joys combine,
While thou art near in vain they call
One smile, one blissful smile of thine,
My dearest Lord, out weighs them all.
Low at thy feet my soul would lie,
Here safety dwells, and peace divine
Still let me live beneath thine eye,
For life, eternal life, is thine.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51. 2. Divine Answer: The blood of Jesus Christ (the Son of God) cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1. 7.
The Twenty Third of September.
Under the ceremonial law, all things were purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood there was no remission; thus it is impossible that any one sin, even the least sinful motion, should be taken away, except by the blood of Jesus Christ. May this teach me the atrocity of sin, keep my heart humble, and my conscience tender. For how dreadful must the stain of sin be, since nothing but the blood of Christ can wash it out! Blessed be God for opening this fountain, and keeping it open day and night, for the vilest sinners to wash in. May my polluted soul be daily washed in this fountain, and receive both peace and strength from it.
My dying Saviour and my God,
Fountain for guilt and sin;
Sprinkle me ever with thy blood,
And cleanse and keep me clean.
Wash me, and make me thus thy own,
Wash me, and mine thou art;
Wash me, but not my feet alone,
My hands, my head, my heart.
Th' atonement of thy blood apply,
Till faith to sight improve;
Till hope shall in fruition die,
And all my soul be love.
For ever here my rest shall be,
Close to thy bleeding side;
'Tis all my hope and all my plea,
"For me the Saviour died."
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13. 5.
But is there any need of such self-examination, when yet we preach Christ, and stay ourselves on his name? Alas! it is possible both to preach and profess him, yea, to have a seeming confidence in him, and call him our Rock, and talk of his grace, and yet be lovers of sin and haters of holiness; and thereby show we have no interest in him, but are in the road to destruction. Thus Jesus hath told us, Matthew 7. 22, 23. Let us examine ourselves: Is our faith in him accompanied with much self-abhorrence, in the views of our sinfulness and pollution before him? Do we prize him, not only for his favour to us, but for his own goodness, his grace, and his excellence? Do we love him, so as to love nothing else in comparison of him; neither self, nor the world, nor our ease, nor advantage? Then surely we are his, and he also is ours. These grace are the fruits of his Spirit within us: they are the proofs of our faith, and of our union with him: and if we are united by the Spirit of Jesus, he will certainly own us before men and angels; he will never forsake us in time or eternity. But how dreadful will their case be who deceive themselves here, and habitually give themselves unto sin and iniquity, whilst yet they make mention of Jesus Christ with their lips! Keep us, Lord, we beseech thee, from such sad delusion. Oh give us to remember all our past provocatiopns; and to know, love, and serve thee in sincerity.
Is Christ your only trust and guide,
And dearer far than all beside?
And pants your heart for holiness?
Then sure you are a child of grace.
What lack I yet? Matthew 19. 20. Yet lackest thou one thing. Luke 18. 22. But one thing is needful. Luke 10. 42.
The Twenty Fifth of September.
This one thing needful is to have Christ; but he must first serve and treat us with his grace before we can draw strength from him to serve him again. We must be taught to see our food, and to hunger for him, before we can feed upon him, or do anything for him. And as Christ is the author of faith, he gives it increase out of his fulness; and faith, being somewhat strengthened, begins to work for him, though it be but faintly. However, we become Christians, and remain in a perfect state of salvation, not by what faith works, but by what it receives; for though a feeble will perform feeble works, it can receive a whole and perfect Christ; which is the one thing needful.
I'll bear nothing else beside
My Jesus, and him crucified;
In him is all I want;
His blood, his meritorious blood,
Alone is rich, alone is good;
For that alone I pant.
Sure none refuse to join this song,
To praise our Saviour all along
Their pilgromage below;
To sing, "There's none, there's none beside,
But Jesus, and him crucified,
Needful for us to know."
Joseph is a fruitful bough; the archers have sorley grieved him, and shot at him; and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel. Genesis 49. 22-24.
Joseph is acknowledged to be an eminent type of the Messiah: by bringing some circustances under one view, the resemblance will appear conspicuous and striking. Joseph was in a peculiar manner beloved by his father; Christ is the dear Son of his Father's love. Jacob made for Joseph a coat of many colours; God prepared a body in human nature for Christ, filled and adorned with the various gifts and graces of the Spirit without measure. Joseph was hated by his brethren, and they could not endure to think he should have dominion over them; the Jews, Christ's brethren according to the flesh, hated him, and would not have him reign over them. Joseph was sent by his father on a long journey to visit his brethren, and know their welfare; Christ was sent from the bosom of the Father, to seek and to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Joseph's brethren conspired to take away his life; the Jews said, "This is the heir, let us kill him;" and they consulted to take away his life. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, at the motion of Judah; and Christ, by one of the same name, was sold for thirty pieces of silver. Joseph was delivered to strangers, and Christ to the Gentiles. Joseph being reckoned dead by his father, and yet alive, may be an emblem of Christ's death and resurrection from the dead.
In Joseph I my Jesus see,
How archers shot and grieved thee;
Into the grave like Joseph cast,
And raised like him a Prince at last.
What things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ; yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, as my righteousness.. Philippians 3. 7-9.
This was the life and constant mind of St. Paul. The words,"in him," "in Christ," "in the Lord," etc., occur continually. I chose them also for my staff and my song in the wilderness; for they shall be my great tower, my strong fortress, my sweet paradise, mine only element and life. Here may I take up mine abode forever, and the Lord keep me stedfast. "It is good for us to be here;" for this is Pisgah, the mount of the Lord, where Jesus, being transfigured, reveals his glory to his disciples. Here we should build our tabernacle; and here may death find me at last.
The Twenty Seventh of September.
Had I ten thousand gifts beside,
I'd cleave to Jesus crucified,
And build on him alone;
For no foundation is given,
On which I'd place my hopes of heaven,
But Christ the corner stone.
Possessing Christ, I all possess;
Wisdom, strength, and righeousness,
And holiness complete:
Bold in his name, I dare draw nigh
Before the Ruler of the sky,
And all his justice meet.
What must I do to be saved?. Divine Answer: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.Acts 16. 30, 31.
Faith is not a confidence of our own making, but it is God that works it in a broken heart and repentant heart; this faith purifies the heart, mind, and all the powers and faculties of the souls, which is the true Protestant faith; and not that we only think and say, "I believe." All true believers have received it under a sense of godly sorrow, and with brokenness of heart. If we feel something of this, and apply to Christ, by prayer, for faith and grace, we have a sure mark of faith already; for if we did not believe we would not pray. and he that daily applies to the blood of Christ for cleansing, has true faith and hope already, though he is but weak, and does not taste any joy.
Ye dying souls, that sit
In darkness and distress
Look from the borders of the pit,
To Christ's recov'ring grace.
Sinners shall hear the sound;
Their thankful tongues shall own,
Their righeousness and strength is found
In Christ the Lord alone.
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5. 22. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Philippians 2. 15.
Lord, I desire to shine in good works, the genuine fruits of faith; therefore will I give myself up to thee, to purge me that I may bring forth more fruit. Looking upon myself as thine, I would not only abstain from evil, but the very appearance of it. Some are satisfied with knowing they are blameless, and care not what others think of them; but, for the gospels sake, I desire to appear blameless before others, lest some offence should come through me; which, as far as in me lieth, I would prevent. Thy children, O God, are as lights in the world. Oh pour thy grace, that heavenly oil, into my lamp, and so trim it that it may give light unto all around, that they may be led to glorify thy holy name.
The Twenty Ninth of September.
O Lord, my stubborn will subdue
Create my ruined frame anew,
Dispel my darkness by the light,
Into all truth my spirit guide,
But from mine eyes for ever hide
All things displeasing to thy sight.
Be heaven now my soul's abode;
Hid be my life with Christ in God,
My spirit, Lord, be one with thine;
Let all my works in thee be wrought,
And fill'd with thee be all my thought,
Till in me thy full likeness shine.
Let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelations 22. 17.
If there be a sense of sin, and a want of spiritual belssings, and a willingness to be saved by grace, though you know that it is Christ's secret power that makes you willing, yet, being athirst and willing, you are invited: do not puzzle and perplex yourself with such questions as these:- Am I elected? Have I a right? Am I prepared? - but come upon the invitation, take pardon, peace, righeousness, and every gospel blessing, as free gifts to the needy. If one ready to perish with hunger and thirst were invited to a feast, and assured of welcome, and he should stand hesitating, Have I a right? Am I worthy? would it not seem preposterous in him thus to demur, when his necessities were pressing upon him, and a plentiful table before him? The weary, the hungry, the thirsty, the guilty, the worthless, the vilest, are invited to believe on Jesus, who came only to save sinners; and hath assured them in his word that those who thus come to him "he will in no wise cast out."
The Spirit in the word,
And in his motions, cries,
Come to the fountain-head of life,
And come to large supplies.
Let him who feels his thirst,
Nor can endure its rage,
Come to salvation's copious springs
And all his pains assuage.
And whosoever will,
Is welcome to receive
The streams of everlasting life
That Heav'n will freely give.
Jesus, is this thy voice?
We bless the gracious call,
And flee with joyful haste to thee,
Our Saviour and our All.