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sentiments only or principally. They are indeed of importance, and he will be concerned to have them in accordance with the Scripture: but if a man does not in his inquiry go beyond the determination of the orthodoxy of his creed he forgets that the devils also believe and tremble. He forgets that faith without works is dead, being alone. "Can faith save him?"—Yes; but not such faith: and this was the meaning of the Apostle. The faith that saves, as he observes, shows itself by its works. It works by love; it purifies the heart; it overcometh the world. Real believers stand, walk, live by faith. We therefore must look after the influences and effects of the truth as it is in Jesus: we must remark our deeds, our actions, conduct, course of life. If we know these things, happy are we if we do them-By this our state and character are to be evinced: "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."

The aim is important: "That his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." That is, whether they are the mere produce of nature, or the genuine effects of Divine grace. Here it is admitted as a principle that the religion of a Christian is not self-derived, but springs from a Divine source. How can it be otherwise? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? The stream cannot rise higher than the fountain: no effect can exceed its cause in any thing. That which is of the flesh is flesh but that which is spiritual must be of the Spirit. Accordingly God has promised to put his Spirit within his people: and to this every thing good, either possessed or done by them, is ascribed-They are his workmanship-This people, says he, have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise.

And behold the grand point to decide. It would indeed be absurd to press some of you to determine this thing. It is obvious already that your deeds are not wrought in God. You can feel no uncertainty in your minds concerning it. You must be sure that your disregard of private prayer, your neglect of family worship, your violations of the Sabbath, your intemperance, pride, covetousness, and revenge, cannot come from the Spirit of him that calleth you.

But some persons make pretensions to piety who would do well to inquire whether there is any thing in their religion that requires or bespeaks a Divine agency. For surely they may have a form of knowledge, or a form of godliness, they may come to his house and honour him with their lips, they may pray without desire, and sing without praise, without having the Spirit of the living God dwelling in them. Are we not only convinced, but converted? Not only reformed, but renovated? Not only excited in our passions, but transformed by the renewing of the mind? Have we not only another heart, but a new one? Do we diller not only from others, but from our former selves? Do we worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh? Do we bear any of the unerring features of the household of faith? Do we feel like them? Are our joys, and sorrows, and hopes, and fears, the same with theirs who are led by the Spirit of God and are the sons of God? Are we running with them in the race that is set before us? and fighting with them the good fight of faith?


How much depends upon the decision! It involves the glory of God. For we cannot praise him for doing what we think he has (not done, or conferring what we think he has not conferred. We may bless him for the exercise of his patience, and for favouring us with space for repentance, and the means of grace; but this is not the glowing gratitude of the man who can say, "Thou hast wrought all our works in us." It also must affect our own comfort; according to the words of the Apostle; "Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." The joy does not arise from the consciousness of his being the author of the work, but the subject of it: it is his own work," not as it is wrought by him, but in him. And how delightful, how animating must the persuasion of this Divine reality prove! And what may we not expect from the experience of it! "Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

The decision is not more important than it is possible. We are commanded to seek it. We are provided with all the means and assistances essential to the attainment. The very anxiety to deter-) mine is a token for good; and is here made by our Lord himself to characterize the subject: "He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

NOVEMBER 26.- -"I shall be satisfied."-Psalm xvii. 15.

THE Lord's people are not strangers to satisfaction now. We read of their being satisfied early with his favour; satisfied with his goodness; abundantly satisfied with the fatness of his house. But this is true only in degree: that is, they are satisfied, compared with what others feel, and with what they themselves once felt. They have found the supreme good, and they desire nothing beyond itBut they desire more of it-They long to know their Lord and Saviour more clearly, to resemble him more fully, to enjoy him more entirely. David therefore speaks of his satisfaction as future; and not only mentions the source of it; "I will behold thy face in righteousness;" but fixes the period: "I shall be satisfied, when I e awake with thy likeness."

Here we see, shall I say-the insatiable ambition religion inspires. What an enlargedness of views and feelings do the subjects of Divine grace experience! so that they not only pass by, as beneath their attention, what mortals idolize, but soar beyond all that God himself has done for them here, content with nothing short of his full vision and likeness in heaven; keeping on the wing, and continuing all manner of search, till they reach a rest and a prize so distant and so infinite! And we have witnessed this grandeur and elevation of soul, even in the humblest walks of pious life. The rude mechanic, and the illiterate ploughman, though incapable of constructing the poetry, have felt all the sentiment of the poet

"He by himself hath sworn,

I on his oath depend;

I shall, on eagle wings upborne,
To heaven ascend:

I shall behold his face,

I shall his power ad ore;

And sing the wonders of his love,
For evermore.".

How mean-spirited are the aims and taste of the worldly hero and philosopher, compared with this!

Here we behold the excellency of the soul. It is the prerogative of man only to be capable of such sublime satisfaction. But he was made for it; and his destination explains the enigma he now presents. Detached from this prospect, his greatness would be inexplicable. He would seem a vessel freighted at an incalculable expense, for an important enterprise, and as if designed to sail an immense voyage, only to cruise a few leagues and a few days, and then founder and be lost. Other creatures have a good suited to their nature, and they partake of it, and look no further, but are satisfied. Is man satisfied? He has faculties which carry him beyond the limits of his condition. He has an imagination which nothing can realize. He feels desires and expectations which nothing fulfils. He is struck with novelty, and pleased with diversions; but these, after a while, lose their charm; and by the time he has reached sixty or seventy, he seems to have run his round, and feels an ennui irksome and intolerable, unless he is animated by the spirit of our text. This would explain, and relieve, and enliven all, by showing him that the present is only the threshold of existence; that he is now only in a state of instruction and discipline; that nothing is designed to detain him here; that this is only a passage to the home of his heart and his portion for ever.

But what a view does it give us of his blessedness, that it can, that it will satisfy every longing of the soul itself! Here two things will serve additionally to enhance its greatness. Our capacities will be amazingly enlarged hereafter to what they now are. Men who have put away childish things require far more to satisfy them than is necessary for infants. We should think highly of any thing that would satisfy such minds as Newton's and Bacon's. But the least in the kingdom of heaven will be greater than they. Then we must think of the duration of the pleasure. Many things will satisfy for a while; but here are thousands of ages to be provided for. What discoveries and employments, what acquisitions and enjoyments must those be, which will yield undeclining satisfaction for ever and ever!

What do you think of this? Is not such a prospect inviting? Does any thing here satiate the hunger and thirst of the mind? Do you not feel vanity in every success, as well as vexation of spirit in every disappointment? Yet this is your best condition-It is all the happiness you will know if you die out of Christ. You will then awake; but it will be to know the reality of the blessedness of which we speak-to know that you have lost it-lost it for everand lost it for nothing. You will therefore awake to everlasting shame and contempt.

But as for you, ye heirs of glory, turn the prospect of this satisfaction to your advantage. For which purpose-First, make it sure. Secondly, keep it clear. Thirdly, bring it near. Fourthly, use it daily. Carry it into your religious duties; it will enliven you. Carry it into your trials; it will sustain you. Carry it into the valley of the shadow of death; it will comfort you. A rotion formerly prevailed, that if a man travelled with a myrtle wand in his hand, he would feel no fainting or weariness. Here is the reality

of the fiction-This hope is the true myrtle staff. Take it constantly along with you: and you will renew your strength-you will run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.

NOVEMBER 27.-" He knoweth the way that 1 take."-Job xxiii. 10. THIS, under the dark and distressing dispensation with which he was exercised, afforded Job relief and satisfaction—The knowledge of his covenant God and Father: "He knoweth the way that I take." But what are we to understand by this knowledge? Acquaintance and approbation.

First, acquaintance. So he knoweth the way that his people take: and so he knoweth also the way that others take. But they do not deem this a privilege; yea, it is an irksome and fearful reflection; and therefore instead of having recourse to it for consolation they endeavour to banish it from their minds. "For he that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light." He feels pleasure in the thought, "Thou God seest me." Not that he is so vain and ignorant as to imagine that he can bear censureless the gaze of Omniscience; far from it: he is conscious that God will see much that is amiss in him--but he is conscious too, that God himself will see nothing wrong in him which he does not wish to have rectified. "I must be cured; and he alone can heal me; and therefore I rejoice that his knowledge prepares him to deal unerringly with me; and therefore I can pray, See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

And as this relieves him with regard to his experience, so it comforts him with regard to his outward condition and circumstances in

the world. He telleth all my wanderings. He knoweth all my walking through this great wilderness. He sees all my dangers, and can defend and guide me. I know not the way that I take, but he knoweth it, and my welfare depends upon his knowledge, not mine. He is now bringing the blind by a way that they know not, and is leading them in paths that they have not known; and he will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight; these things will he do unto them and not forsake them. All is now perfectly clear to him; and I can trust him when he says, And thou shalt know hereafter.

There is also another case. "Am I misunderstood by friends, and reproached by enemies, while acting conscientiously and uprightly? How pleasing is it to turn from creatures so liable to err, and appeal to him who searcheth the heart, and discerns our motives and aims! My witness is in heaven, and my record is on high." "Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal"-"He knoweth the way that I take." Secondly, approbation. Thus "he knoweth the way of the righteous," but does not know the way of the ungodly. "For the way of the ungodly shall perish;" he" is angry with the wicked every day." But if any man love God, the same is known of him. The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him. The words of their mouths and the meditations of their hearts are acceptable in his sight. And that Job here peculiarly intends approbation as obvious

from the words which follow: "When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." So confesses the Church: All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death." And says David, "For I am become like a bottle in the smoke, yet do I not forget thy statutes." And it is well when in our sufferings we can approve ourselves unto God. You are not, says Peter, to suffer as evil-doers, but as Christians; and therefore he adds, "Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator." Jacob had this satisfaction when he was returning from Padan-aram, and had to meet his infuriated brother: he could therefore plead, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee." Thy word has brought me into this strait; and therefore I have a gracious right to rely upon thy care for safety and deliverance. It was otherwise with Elijah when he fled from the face of Jezebel, and concealed himself in the cave at Horeb: and therefore says God, "What dost thou here, Elijah?" He was unable to frame an answer that did not reflect upon his own fear and distrust; and had not God dealt with him better than he deserved, he would have found that the turning away of the simple slays them.

But whatever be our state and circumstances, let us seek the testimony that we please God, and labour that whether present or absent we may be accepted of him. What can sustain and animate like this? "Let them curse, but bless thou."

NOVEMBER 28.-"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." -Ephes. i. 3.

THERE is a correspondence observable between God and his people; or, so to speak, a spiritual flux and reflux from God to them, and from them to God. He chooses them, and they choose him. He sanctifies them, and they sanctify him. He glorifies them, and they glorify him.

Thus, in the words before us, we have grace for grace, and blessing for blessing. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." All our happiness and duty are found in this circulation. If God does not bless us we are miserable; if we do not bless God we are criminal.

Yet there is a great difference between these benedictions. His blessing us precedes our blessing him, and we love him because he first loved us. His blessing us is a real communication; and the Apostle characterizes the benefits which it bestows four ways: by their quality; by their plenitude; by their residence; and by their relation-He blesses us with "spiritual" blessings; with "all"

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