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“ Then let us trust the Lord alone,
And yet the reverse of this is our practice. We yield where we should be cautious, and we hesitate where it is impossible for us to err. We turn from the Rock of Ages, and lean on the broken reed. And what is the consequence? “ Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord : for he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh ; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is: for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh ; but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Let us cease, then, from man. Not that we are to become universally suspicious, and suppose that there is no sincerity in the world. It was David's error to say in his haste, All men are liars. And when the Scripture says, There is no faithfulness in them; men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie; it must be taken with qualification. Yet instances of inflexible integrity are not abundant. And we should not implicitly rely upon any one, especially in divine things. Let us respect great and good men, but not be enslaved by them. Let us not pin our faith to the sleeve of any authority merely human. Let us suffer no man to have dominion over our conscience; always searching the Scriptures to see whether these things are so—there.
For God is entitled to our absolute confidence.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Let us trust him as he deserves. Let us always place a ready and unshaken reliance on his Word. Let God be true, in its doctrines, and let us receive them, however mysterious. Let God be true, in its predictions ; and whatever difficulties stand in the way, believe that the whole earth shall be filled with his glory. Let God be true, in its threatenings; and let us flee from the wrath to come. Let God be true, in its promises; and let us be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
“O for a strong and lasting faith
March 4.-“ All his saints are in thy hand."
Deut. xxxiii. 3.
These holy ones are distinguished by many things from each other. Some of them are in public life and some in private. Some are rich and some poor. Some are young and some old-But all are equally dear to God; and partakers of the common salvation ; in which there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. They pass under various denominations among men: and these too often keep them at a distance from each other, and lead them to mistake and censure each other: and often they would seem to wish to draw Him along with them, and confine his influences within their respective exclusivenesses. But no. He owns them
all. They are all children of the same family, and going to the same temple to worship; and however they may differ in dress, or age, or stature, they all stand in the same relation to each other, and to himself. Some of them are strong, and others are weak in faith. He has in his fold lambs as well as sheep, and in his family babes as well as young men. But a bruised reed will he not break, and a smoking flax will he not quench, but will bring forth judgment unto victory. This honour have all his saints-“ All his saints are in thy hand.”
- In his fashioning hand. They are the clay, and he is the potter, and he makes them vessels of honour, prepared unto every good work. He fearfully and wonderfully made them as creatures. But they are his workmanship by another and a nobler creation—“This people have I formed for myself : they shall shew forth my praise.”
- In his preserving hand. For now they are precious, they are the more exposed. They are called a crown and a diadem; and the powers of darkness would gladly sieze it: but observe where it is placed for security: “Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God”-and there they are safe, perfectly safe: safe, not owing to their strength, but to their situation. By another image the Saviour establishes the same confidence. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My father, which gave them me, is greater than all : and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”
- In his guiding hand. To lead a blind man, you take him in your hand–Thus the Lord leads his people. He knoweth the way that they take ; but they do not~I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known. You take a little child in your hand to lead him. Though God, says Bishop Hall, has a large family, none of his children are able to go alone : they are too weak, as well as too ignorant. But fear not, says God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
- In his chastening hand. They are sometimes alarmed at their afflictions, and cry, Do not condemn me-as if they were in the hand of an enemy-but he is their father; and not like fathers of our flesh: for they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. Luther therefore said, Strike on, Lord, strike on; for now I know I am thy child. We deserve to lose the rod, and by our improper behaviour we forfeit all claim to his correction; and we may well wonder and exclaim, Lord, what is man that thou shouldest magnify him, that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him, that thou shouldest visit him every morning and try him every moment? But he does not deal with us according to our desert. And therefore, rather than leave us to make flesh our arm, or the world our portion, he will remove every prop of support, and dry up every spring of comfort. But he does not afflict willingly. If needs be only, we are in heaviness : and when we mourn our faults, the rod drops upon the ground, and he hastens to wipe away our tears. “ Is Ephraim my dear son ? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.”
- Whatever, therefore, Christians have to distress and perplex, here is enough to comfort and to satisfy them. “For all this I considered in my heart, even to declare all this, that the righteous and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God.”
spring of ds be only: its the rod
MARCH 5.-" So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.”
Rom. vii. 25.
So ends this chapter, concerning which there has been much dispute. For some have contended that the Apostle does not here speak of himself; but personates another. They suppose that he refers to à Jew-under the Law, but not under Graceawakened, but not renewed-convinced, but not converted. Yet can any unregenerate person, with truth, say—not only, “I consent to the law that it is good ;” but, “With my mind I serve the law of God?” and, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man?”—an expression of godliness that characterized the very temper of the Messiah himself. He could say nothing more than “ I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy láw is within my heart."
At first view, the language of complaint may seem much too strong to apply to the experience of a real Christian. But what real Christian would find it too much to utter—when placed in the same state, and occupied in the same way, with the Apostle ? That is-viewing himself before that God, in whose light the very heavens are not clean, and who charges his angels with folly ; and who sees more pollution in our duties, than we ever see in our sins—That is, comparing himself with the rule of all rectitude, the Divine Law, whose spirituality is such as to extend to the thoughts and the desires of the mind, as well as the actions of the life, and which considers anger as murder, and the lust of the eye as adultery. What must the highest attainments of mortals be, compared with this absolutely perfect standard of holiness; yea, or even with the elevated and vast desires of a renewed soul!
We need not wonder that many are astonished and perplexed here. “The spiritual judgeth all things; but he himself is judged of no man.” They