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And O! how beautiful are the images which the Holy Spirit employs to shadow forth thine excellencies. Thou art “the rose of Sharon and the lily of the vallies ;” “a plant of renown." Thou art “the true vine,” which supplies each living branch with fruitfulness and verdure. Thou art "the fountain," in which all may wash and be clean ;-the rock, on which thy church is immoveably fixed ;the way, in which thy people journey to the heavenly Canaan ;—the door, by which they enter into the covenant of grace ;--the day-star, which illuminates their path and guides them safe to glory. Thou art the bread of life, the true manna, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed.
0! may I daily feed upon thee by faith in my heart with thanksgiving, till I see thee in the heavenly paradise, and taste through eternal ages the sweetness of redeeming love !
0! may I prize a throne of grace,
If in the hour of deep distress,
Or when the grateful odours rise
Ah! whence proceeds this sacred love,
may I daily love thee more,
In gladsome notes of heart-felt praise,
XLIV. ON THE CAUTIONS AND WARNINGS OF
The word of God abounds with cautions as well as encouragements; with warnings as well as invitations; with threatenings as well as promises. These are necessary and important; otherwise they would not be so thickly scattered through the sacred volume.
We find the need of cautions and warnings, in proportion as we are made acquainted with the subtlety of Satan, the deceitfulness of sin, and the treachery of our own heart.
We learn by a thousand painful instances, that "he who trusteth to his own heart is a fool.”
How short-lived are the best resolutions made in our own strength. They resemble the early dew which soon passeth away, and the grass upon
the house-top which withereth afore it groweth up.
What a valuable part of the Bible are the kind admonitions of a loving Saviour. How should we prize the salutary counsels of him who spake as never man spake; who sticketh closer than a brother!
May we ever remember his gracious exhortations ; for “they are spirit, and they are life."
“Without me ye can do nothing”—“Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation”-“ Take heed and beware of covetousness”- 6 Strive to enter in at the strait gate”—“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" — “Continue ye in my love."
We are here taught by infinite wisdom, that of ourselves we can do nothing that is pleasing to God, or effectual towards our salvation : that our spiritual enemies are constantly plotting our destruction, spreading nets for our feet, and holding out their baits to draw us into sin: that the love of the world is a whirlpool down which millions are carried into perdition: that carnal ease and sensual indulgence form the road to hell: that to escape this dreadful end, we must strive, yea agonize, to enter in at the strait gate which leadeth unto life eternal. We are exhorted to seek, as the first great object of pursuit, not the honours and wealth of the world ; but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. We are warned against the smallest approach towards spiritual declension; and to avoid so great an evil, we are commanded to persevere in the good exercise of a supreme love to Jesus, who loved us, and gave
himself for us. Such are the salutary counsels given to us by our divine Saviour, who said to his disciples : know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them.”
In the Gospel of the blessed God, we are also cautioned against spiritual pride : “Be not highminded, but fear."
How prone we are to be proud, although we have nothing to be proud of. Our hearts are strongly inclined to pride, which is the very essence of the fall. Pride cast angels out of heaven, and man out of paradise.—Pride fights against the mercy of God; bars the sinner's heart against the Saviour ; and hurries the proud rebel down the precipice of desperation into the burning gulph of hell! then is the man who feareth alway,” lest he fall into the condemnation of the devil!
Blessed Jesus ! clothe me with humility ; destroy this baneful root of pride out of my heart ; and
6 if ye
make me meek and lowly ; resigned to all thy wise disposals, however painful they may be to fallen nature.
How needful at all times is this kind admonition: “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” We are never in such danger of falling, as when we think ourselves the most secure. Self-dependence, and carnal security, are those fatal props by which thousands are upheld through the delusions of Satan, till they drop into everlasting misery.
How good is this caution also: “Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."
Self-love blinds the eyes of the mind, so that we cannot see our real state and condition. the case with the declining church of Laodicea. She fancied herself rich and increased with goods, and having need of nothing; when in the eye of the all-searching Jesus she was wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Of Ephraim it was said : 66
are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.” Of Ephesus: “thou hast left thy first love." Of Sardis : “thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead.” So blind are we to our spiritual declensions !
All are not believers who believe themselves to be such. The divine touchstone is : “ by their fruits ye shall know them.”
When Christians are sometimes led to doubt the sincerity of their faith, it is often attributed to the temptation of Satan ; but this may not always be the case.
Had the church of Laodicea exercised a holy jealousy over herself, that very fear of self-deception would have indicated much self-knowledge and spiritual discernment; and might, through grace, have preserved her from degenerating into that state of
lukewarmness, which evidently originated in pride and self-conceit.
Satan not unfrequently harasses the true believer with desponding fears; whilst he buoys up the mere nominal professor with presumptuous hopes. These desponding fears, if indulged to excess, are injurious to the believer's advancement in holiness. They wound his
and are dishonourable to a faithful, loving Saviour.
Yet, if these fearful apprehensions lead him to closer self-examination, and greater searchings of heart; to more fervent supplication, and increased watchfulness; then Satan is foiled, and the believer, rescued from the power of the enemy, through the unfailing grace of the Redeemer, is made to come off more than conqueror, and to sing with joy in the ways of the Lord. When the believer in Jesus has attained to this happy state, his soul is in a right frame: humble, watchful, and holy. Being taught in the school of Christ to know himself and his Saviour, he proceeds with steady step towards the heavenly Canaan under the equipoising influence of hope and fear.
Every thing which can comfort the child of God is recorded by the pen of eternal truth.
As his salvation is all of grace in its origin, so is it also in its progress and consummation. “God is faithful who hath promised.” “He who hath begun the good work, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Nothing can be stronger than the following assurance of love and mercy which is made to every penitent sinner, flying for refuge to the cross of Christ.
“God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath ; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,