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become of us, if Lazarus should die! But they state the case-and leave it: "Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick."-When, therefore, we have to pray for deliverence from some trouble, or the acquisition of some outward favour, let us do it with modesty and reserve. For these blessings are promised, not absolutely, but conditionally; that is, if they are good for us: and in the very same way they are to be implored. We must not desire them, if they would be hurtful; and they may be injurious: and God perfectly knows whether this would be the result of success and indulgence. Had the Jews prayed in this manner, for flesh, he would not have given them their hearts' desire; and sent leanness into their souls. What we extort, as it were, from God, by restless importunity, turns the blessing into a curse. The feverish and inflamed state of the mind, renders the gratification of the craving dangerous. We cannot be too earnest with God about spiritual blessings; but as to every thing of a temporal nature, temperance of mind becomes us; and, in resignation at his feet, we must endeavour to say— "Here I am; let him do what seemeth him good.
AUG. 22.-"The word of Christ."
Col. iii. 16.
So the Scriptures are called-because he is the author; and-because he is the subject of their contents. They are not only derived from the inspiration of his Spirit; but they are full of his person, and character, and sufferings, and glory. There is
nothing, perhaps, admitted into them, but has some relation to him. We cannot, in many instances, trace this connexion at present: but we shall see more of it when, in the Church, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days. And, perhaps, to explore it perfectly, will be a part of the blessedness and employment of heaven. But when our Lord urged his hearers to search the Scriptures, he said, "They are they that testify of me." And, going to Emmaus with the two disciples, "he expounded unto them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself."
We may divide the Scriptures into six parts.
There is the historical part. He is the substance of this. In Adam, we see him the head and representative of his people. In Noah, as the restorer of a new world. In Isaac, as a victim laid on the altar. In Joseph, as a sufferer and a saviour. In Moses, as a lawgiver. In Aaron, as a high priest. In Joshua, as a leader and commander. In Solomon, as the prince of peace. In Jonah, as buried, and rising from the grave.
There is the ceremonial part. Of this, he is the substance. He is the body of all its shadows, the reality of all its types. He is the Rock, whose streams followed the Israel of God. He is the manna, the true bread, that came down from heaven. In the City of Refuge, we behold him as our security from avenging justice. And in every bleeding sacrifice, as the atonement for our sins.
There is the prophetical part. Here he is all in all. "To him gave all the prophets witness." testimony of Jesus, is the Spirit of prophecy."
There is the promissory part-And how large and glorious a portion of it is filled with exceeding great and precious promises! What blessing can we need, that is not furnished under the pledge of a God that cannot lie? "But all the promises of
God in him, are yea; and in him, amen, to the glory of God by us."
There is the practical part. To be a Christian, is, to live not to ourselves, but to him that died for us, and rose again. Of good works, his example is the rule; his love is the motive; his Spirit is the author. He is the altar on which all our sacrifices are to be offered. Prayer is asking in his Name. We are to love our wives, even as he loved the Church, and gave himself for it.
There is the doctrinal part-And what is the great mystery of godliness? "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." Every doctrine of the Gospel, as treated by the inspired authors, leads to him. If we are justified, it is by his righteousness. If we are sanctified, it is by his Spirit. If the glory of God shines forth, it is in the face of Jesus Christ. Providence is, all power given unto him in heaven and in earth. The whole of Christianity is called, "The truth as it is in Jesus."
Take him out of the Bible, and you take the sun out of our world; and the soul out of the body-And what is left?
It is this that so powerfully endears the Sacred Volume to every real Christian-It is the word of One, he supremely loves, and feels infinitely necessary to all his comfort, and all his hope. Of him, he can never read, or hear, enough.
O my soul! let this Word of Christ dwell in thee, richly, in all wisdom. Never forget the admonition of kindness, as well as authority: "Bind it continually upon thine heart, and tie it about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee."
AUG. 23.-"Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it." Ps. xxxvii. 34.
HERE is a twofold admonition.
First. "Wait on the Lord."-"I hope I do so.' But are you sure of this? Is there any thing in your religious exercises that really deserves the name of waiting on God? For persons may read without attention, and hear without faith, and sing without praise, and pray without desire. They They may draw nigh to him with the mouth, and honour him with the lip, while the heart is far from him.-But God is a Spirit; and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in truth. I hope I do thus wait on Him.' But do you thus wait on him sufficiently? First. In the sanctuary? Secondly. In the family? Thirdly. In the closet? Fourthly. In all your concerns-like David, who said, "On thee do I wait all the day, Lord!"
Secondly. "And keep his way." This is beautifully connected with the former. Wait-and work. Wait-and walk. Get grace-and exercise it. Persevere in the use of means, if present comfort be withholden. Neither give up the course in which you are engaged-nor turn aside-nor stand stillnor look back-nor seem to come short; though superiors frown-and companions reproach-and iniquity abounds-and the love of many waxes cold— and numbers walk no more with him. In all opposition, and through every discouragement, let your soul follow hard after God. Thus did Job; and therefore he could say, "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 it was also with the Church. "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." We have enough to animate us to hold on-"After two days will he revive us in the third day will he raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."
Here is also a twofold promise.
First." He shall exalt thee to inherit the land." God is the source of all elevation and honour. He raised the Jews to the possession of Canaan, the glory of all lands. But he dignifies Christians with a title to a better, even a heavenly country; where, "with kings, are they upon the throne."-He advances them here, as well as hereafter. For he is "the glory of their strength, and in his favour their horn is exalted"-And not only with regard to spiritual, but temporal things. For "the meek shall inherit the earth." Not that all of them are rich and great in the world. So far from it, they are commonly a poor and an afflicted people. Not that every thing is actually in their possession, or that they have a civil right to it-dominion is not founded in grace: but security is; peace is; contentment is; happiness is. And as to covenant interest, and enjoyment, and improvement, "all things are theirs."
Secondly. "When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it." And they will be cut off. They are often cut off, even in life, from their places, and riches, and prospects. At death they are cut off from all their possessions and comforts: for, poor as their portion here is,
""Tis all the happiness they know."
Yea, they are then cut off from all the means of grace, and the hopes of mercy. In the last day