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Robert Hawker, The Poor Man’s Morning Portions

“For he said, surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.”—Isaiah 63:8

Oh what a tenderness of expression is contained in these words! Jesus not only takes his people into relationship with him, but undertakes for their faithfulness. In the birth of God’s everlasting purpose, this was done from everlasting; so that in one and the same moment, we are his people, his children, his brethren, his wife, his redeemed, his fair one, made comely in his comeliness, and in his blood cleansed, and in his righteousness justified before God. And observe, my soul, the grounds of this relationship: surely, he saith, they are my people. Not only as God’s workmanship and property, but as his purchase. Not only in first giving them being, but in giving them new being in Christ Jesus. The Lord hath taken them into covenant with him in Christ, and granted them a charter of grace and salvation in Jesus. Sweet and precious thought. God the Father, whose right they are by creation, hath given them to his Son. And Jesus hath made them his, both by his own purchase, and the conquests of his grace therefore he hath an interest in them, and in all that concerns them. Surely, saith Jesus, they are my people, my jewels, my treasure, my hidden one. And observe further, how he speaks for them as well as of them they will not lie. How is this? Why, they are children of the covenant. And because he hath undertaken for them, therefore he was their Saviour. Oh the preciousness of such a Saviour, to every circumstance, to every state, in every way, and upon every occasion in life, in death, in time, and to all eternity. Jesus, thou art indeed a Saviour, thou art truly called Jesus, for thou hast saved, and thou wilt save, thy people from their sins.

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“Gad, a troop shall overcome him; but he shall overcome at the last.”—Gen. 49:19

Is there nothing, my soul, in this sweet promise, that suits thy case and circumstances? Was not Gad one of the children of Israel? And are not all the seed of Israel interested in the promises? Was the tribe of Gad for a time brought down, and brought under, by a troop of foes? And are not all the seed of Israel oppressed and brought into subjection? Was not that glorious Israelite, the great Captain of our salvation, made perfect through suffering? Think, my soul, what troops of hell assaulted him. But was the issue of the battle with him doubtful? Neither is it now. In his blood and righteousness all the seed of Israel shall be justified and overcome by the blood of the Lamb. What then, though there be troops of lusts within, and legions of foes without? Troops from earth, and troops from hell, may, and will, assault thee; but look unto Jesus. It is said of his people of old, that they had an eye unto him, and were enlightened, and their faces were not ashamed. So now, Jesus undertakes for thee, and for thy faith, He saith, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and an adversary to thine adversaries. God the Father is looking on: angels are beholding; all heaven is interested. Nay, hadst thou but eyes to see, thou wouldest behold, like the prophet’s servant, mountains around, thee, full of horses and chariots of fire, all engaged for thy defence. Shout, then, for the battle is already obtained by Jesus for all his people. Though a troop may overcome the Gadites of the Lord, yet shall they overcome at the last. “Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.”—John 4:16

Who hath known, and believed, in terms equal to the greatness of the mercy itself, the love of God to the poor sinner! God’s love must be an infinite love, and consequently the display of it must be infinite also. God, we are told, ” Commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Had God loved and delighted in saints that loved him, this would have been love. Had God taken the holy angels into a nearer acquaintance with him, this would have been love. But when he raised beggars from the dunghill, and took rebels from the prison to sit upon his throne, and at a time when his justice would have been magnified in their destruction; to prefer sinners, haters of God, and despisers of his grace; to bring them into the closest and nearest connection with him, in the person of his dear Son; and all this by such a wonderful plan of mercy, as the incarnation and death of Jesus; who hath ever calculated the extent of such grace? Who hath thoroughly known or considered, or believed, in any degree proportioned to the unspeakableness of the salvation, the love that God hath to us? Oh Lord, add one blessing more. Cause my cold heart to grow warm in the contemplation of it; and let it be my happiness to be daily studying the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of God, which passeth knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fulness of God.

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“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”—John 14:14

Is it so, blessed Jesus, that if I go to the Father in thy precious name; my petitions shall be certainly heard, and answered? Lo, then, I come. I feel my faith and confidence emboldened in this gracious assurance. And as thou knowest, Lord, this day, what is most suited for me, let thy wisdom choose, and let thy love bestow, that very grace and mercy, be it what it may. And let a throne of grace witness for me, that I seek it wholly on Christ’s account. I consider it as good as given, from the high love my God and Father bears towards his dear Son, as my Surety and Saviour. And although in the moment that I ask with this boldness of faith, I see and knoll—in myself, that I have nothing to recommend me to thy favour, as in the least meriting that favour, but much, very much, to make me an object in meriting thy displeasure; yet looking up in Jesus, depending upon his blood and righteousness, and wholly asking in his name, and for his righteousness sake only, I am encouraged to hope that I shall not ask in vain. Oh then, Lord, hear for Jesus’s sake, and let my petition and prayer be answered, that the Father may be glorified in his Son.

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“It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”—Isaiah 53:10

The depths of wisdom were explored to furnish redemption, and to find a person competent to accomplish it; and when found, the depths of love were broken up, to make it complete. My soul, read over the mysterious volume which the Lord hath in part opened before thee. It cost the Father his thoughts from all eternity, to appoint a plan, by which, consistently with his holiness and his justice, thou mightest be saved. It cost the Father his Son, his dear Son, his only Son, before that thou couldest be redeemed. Jesus must die ere thou canst live. Pause over the subject as it is here expressed. “It pleased the Father to bruise him.” Jesus, who was in himself holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; he, who knew no sin, must be made sin; he who never merited wrath, must be made a curse. Read on; Jesus must die! and by whom? Not by Jews, nor Gentiles only; not simply by high priests and governors among men; but by God the Father. He must bruise him, and put hint to grief; for though Jesus was taken, and by wicked hands crucified and stain, yet all this, we are told, was “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” And is there yet another chapter of wonders in this mysterious volume? Yes; what can it be? Namely, that all this was for sinners, for rebels, for enemies; nay, my soul, for thee. Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! Had our whole nature been bruised to all eternity in the mortar of divine wrath, for the sin of our nature; what would all this have been to the sufferings, agonies, and death of the Lamb of God? And didst thou die for me, O thou unequalled pattern of love and mercy, and by try stripes is my soul healed? Precious Jesus!

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“Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”—Matthew 28:6

Lord, I would desire grace to accept the call, for it is always profitable to have faith in lively exercise: I would pray that my meditation might frequently take wing, and view the memorable sepulchre of my Lord. Did Jesus once lay in the grave? Surely death never had such a prisoner before! But did Jesus lay so low for me? Am I shortly to lay there? Sweet consoling thought! The grave is now softened, and the chambers of death are perfumed with the fragrancy contracted from his holy incorruptible body. But is there not another place where the Lord lay? And doth not the angel invite his people to see him there also? Yes, Jesus lay in the bosom of the Father from all eternity. And doth he not lay there now, and will he not through all eternity? But can I see him there? Yes;—for if by faith I behold Jesus as the Christ, the Sent, the Sealed of the Father; in seeing him, I see the Father also. He saith this himself, John xiv. 9. And again, John xiv. 20. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” Blessed assurance! Jesus is one with the Father, and all his people one with him. And as he is in the bosom of the Father, so are they in his, and there shall dwell for ever and ever. Hallelujah. Amen.

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“Whether our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.”—2 Corinthians 8:23

What a blessed account is here given of the children of God to all inquiries concerning them. See, my soul, whether thy experience corresponds to it, and mark their character. They are not only brethren to one another, but to Christ also; for we are told that he is not ashamed to call them brethren. Precious condescending, Saviour! Moreover, they are the messengers of the churches. What is that? A messenger, in scripture, is called also an angel. And if the brethren of Jesus do know, and can speak of him as his people should, then are they like angels come down from the court of heaven, to relate what they have seen and known, of the King in his beauty, and their hearts glow with a warmth of earnestness to proclaim his glory, and his love to poor sinful creatures here below. Neither is this all. For they are the glory of Christ. Mark this, my soul, and dwell with rapture upon it. A true believer in Jesus is the glory of Jesus. Not only because he gives glory to the Redeemer for his grace; but because Jesus derives glory from his redemption. Not only because the poor sinner hath everlasting happiness from Jesus; but Jesus hath everlasting glory from that poor sinner’s salvation. Never lose sight of this, my soul, when thou goest to Jesus. Indeed, indeed, Jesus is glorified in receiving thee, in pardoning thee, in blessing thee, in giving to thee of his fulness. And the Father is glorified in this great salvation by his Son. Oh what encouragement is this to faith; what inducement to come to Jesus! Lord, how ought I to blush when I think how little glory I give to thee in not seeing that thy church and thy people are thy glory, in being saved and redeemed by thee.

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“It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”—John 6:45

Mark, my soul, these precious words of thy Jesus. It was one of the old testament promises, that all God’s children should be taught of him. And as this condescension of God, in teaching, implied the Father, so the blessed consequence and effect of it should be, that every one thus taught proved his being a child, and inclined his heart to come to God in Christ as a Father. My soul, art thou come? Art thou looking to, leaning upon, trusting in, walking with, and seeking for Jesus? Is he the Lord thy righteousness, thine only righteousness, thine only hope, thine only confidence? Dost thou, like the apostle, count all things else but dung and dross to win Christ, and to be found in him? Courage then, my soul! These are blessed tokens of thine adoption character. None but God the Father, by his Holy Spirit, could have taught thee these things. None but He, that revealed his Son in the heart of the apostle, could have been thy teacher. Thou hast both heard and learned of the Father, and in proof thereof thou art come to Christ for life and salvation. Fold up then this precious scripture in thy bosom for thy daily use, and examine thine interest in Christ continually, by a mark so sure and infallible. And remember what the Lord Jesus hath said, as a collateral testimony to the same blessed truth: “All that the Father giveth me (saith Jesus) shall come to me: and him that cometh I will in no wise cast out.”

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“Praise waiteth for thee, Oh God, in Zion.”—Psalm 65:1

Is this the language of my heart? Am I indeed waiting until that Jesus be ready to receive my poor praise? Hath God the Holy Ghost prepared my heart? Oh then, hasten to him, my soul, with thy morning offerings, poor as they are; for sure I am, Jesus is waiting to be gracious. God will accept both thee and thy offering in him the Beloved. Go forth to meet him as early and as often as thine heart can wish: depend upon it, thy Redeemer will be beforehand with thee, and is waiting thy coming. Neither thy praise nor thy prayer can outrun his love; for both are the blessed effects of his grace, and of his own quickenings. Precious Jesus, grant me to come as often as I need thee. And, Lord, if thou wilt grant me this blessing, I shall never be from thee, for I need thee every moment.

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“It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”—Romans 13:11

Solemn consideration! What time is it with thee, my soul? Let me ask, with the prophet, “Watchman, what of the night? The morning cometh, and also the night.” Perhaps there may be but a step between me and death. Am I really awakened from the sleep of carnal security? Am I alive from spiritual death? Am I dead to the world, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Oh Lord Jesus, impress these solemn enquiries upon my soul yet more and more, since everlasting happiness, or everlasting misery hangs upon the decision. My beating pulse is hastening to fulfil the appointed number. Even while I think of these things the account is increased. Every fleeting breath is one the less to take. Lord, make me wise to remember my latter end!

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“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”—Song of Solomon 4:6

Methinks I would have every poor sinner, until the day dawn of awakening grace breaks in upon his soul, get away to the ordinances of God in the mountain of the Lord’s house: there lie should live, there wait, until the Lord speaks to his soul. And methinks I would have every poor sinner that is awakened, until the day of glory breaks in with an everlasting light upon him, get away to the gospel mountain, where the odour of Jesus’s incense, and the savour of his blood and righteousness, become sweeter than myrrh, and more fragrant than frankincense. Here, Lord, cause me to get away from all surrounding impediments, and to be constantly found waiting, that my soul may drink in the fresh, reviving, renewing streams, until Jesus himself, the morning star, breaks in upon my soul, to lead me home to his everlasting glory, in his bosom for ever.

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“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”—Romans 5:6

My soul fold up this sweet and precious scripture, and carry it about with thee in thy bosom, and in thine heart, that it may help thee on at any time, and at all times, when thy strength seems gone, and there is no power left. Was it not when the whole nature of man was without strength, that Christ was given of the Father? And was it not equally so, when Christ came to seek and save that which was lost? And was it not in due time when Christ died for the ungodly; due time in his resurrection, due time in his ascension, “when he ascended up on high, led captivity captive, and received gifts for men, yea, even for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them?” Go further yet, my soul, as it concerns thyself was it not due time indeed, when Jesus passed by and saw thee in thy loathsome state of sin, cast out to perish, and when no eye pitied thee, that then his eye compassioned thee, and bid thee live? Who more ungodly than thee? Who more weak? Who more undeserving? Did Jesus then look upon thee, call thee, strengthen thee when thou wast without strength, and hath helped thee to this hour? Oh then, trust him now, trust him for ever. “His strength is made perfect in thy weakness.” And depend upon it, when thou art most weak in thyself, then is the hour to be most strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. He that in due time died for the ungodly, will be thy strength in due time of need.

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“For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations; like as corn is sifted in a sieve; yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”—Amos 9:9

Blessed promise to my poor soul; sifted, blown about by temptation. Look then to Jesus with it, and plead it under every new sifting time. Corn must be sifted, for it is much covered at times with tares and chaff. And so must the seed—of Jesus, that the precious may be known and separated; “for what is the chaff to the wheat?” saith the Lord. Oh Lord, if it please thee, for thou knowest the necessity of it, sift me, try me, separate me, not only from the ungodly, with whom I am constrained to dwell, but from myself, from my own trifling, vain conversation, from the corruption of indwelling sin in my fallen nature, from the vain thoughts which lodge within me. Yes, precious Jesus; sift all, and every thing which is unsuitable to thee, and let the whole fall through the sieve, that thou alone mayest remain with me, for sure I know my God hath said, though his Israel be sifted, yet not the least grain of the true wheat shall be lost.

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“And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live.”—Ezekiel 47:9

Listen to this promise, my soul, and make it the subject of this morning’s meditation, of this day, and every day. See how rich, how extensive it is in the life-promising power. And the river of life in Jesus possesseth all these blessed effects. To every poor sinner, brought into this rich stream, it gives life, spiritual life, eternal life. And who shall describe the length, the breadth, the heights, the depths of it? Not only extending over all the continent of the earth, but from the borders of hell to heaven, and from one eternity to another. And its sovereignty is such that it bears down all before it—washing away sin, and guilt, and misery; diffusing streams of life, and grace, and mercy; opening sources of joy, and peace, and happiness, for ever and for ever. Oh precious, precious Jesus, make glad my soul with the streams of this river; be thou the fountain of all my happiness, and let all my springs be in thee.

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“Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David.”—Psalm 89:35

Wonderful condescension! Was it not enough, that Jehovah gave his Son to poor sinners; gave his word, his promise, that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life? But, as if consulting the weakness of our faith, confirmed it with an oath; pledged his holiness to Jesus, and to poor sinners in Jesus, for the sure accomplishment of all covenant engagements, in the blood and righteousness of his dear Son. Oh my soul, never, never more call in question the truth of thy gracious God. Say with Job, “Though he slay me; yet will I trust in him.” What are afflictions, trials, darkness, poverty? These are in me, and about me, but no obstructions to the efficacy of Jesus’s righteousness, or the Father’s faithfulness. Read under every one of them the charter of rich sovereign grace; hear what God hath said, what God hath sworn: and believe the record that God hath given of his dear Son:—”Men shall be blessed in him.” Jesus shall see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. Here then rest, my soul. God hath sworn once by his holiness: Jesus hath once died, the Just for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God. Return to thy rest; the Lord hath dealt, my soul, bountifully by thee.

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“Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, for my Name is in him.”—Exodus 23:20, 21

Who can this be, my soul, but Jesus? He, and He only, who is the whole of the covenant, is also the Messenger and the Angel of the covenant. Jehovah hath never put his name in any other; neither given his honour to any other. But in Jesus he is eternally well pleased, and hath given all things into his hand. Pause then, my soul, and contemplate this holy, this blessed, this only- begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. I see in Him all the glory, the sovereignty, the wisdom, grace and goodness of the Father, and he is Jehovah’s salvation to the ends of the earth. And wilt thou then, my gracious God and Father, send Jesus before me in all my way, to keep me, to guide me, and to bring me in, to behold thy glory in the face of Jesus Christ, and to dwell with thee for ever? Oh Lord Jesus! I would desire grace so to beware of thee, so to love thee, so to obey thee, so to adore thee, so to make thee my all in all, my life, my love, my joy, my present, my everlasting hope and portion, that in life and death, in time and to all eternity, Jesus maybe my glory and salvation for ever and ever.

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“If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt- offering and a meat-offering at our hands; neither would he have shewed us all these things.”—Judges 13:23

Precious faith this of the wife of Manoah, and sound and conclusive reasoning. My soul, hath the Father, who gave thee Jesus for a Saviour, accepted thee in Jesus? Hath the Father, who sent his dear Son to be the Saviour of the world, accepted Jesus for thy, Saviour? Hath the Holy Ghost shewed thee the glorious things of redemption in his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace? And hath he given thee to believe in the record that “God hath given eternal life, and that this life is in his Son?” Oh then say, with the wife of Manoah, surely the Lord would never have done all this, neither would be have sheered me all these things, had be not intended my salvation Treasure up, then, these past tokens of favour: consider present evidences of mercy; and say, is not Jesus still precious? Are not my desires after him? And small as you sometimes think your hope, yet would you, my soul, relinquish it for a thousand worlds? Oh then, my soul, hang upon Jesus, cleave to Jesus, hold fast on Jesus. Never would the Lord have shewed me the beauty, glory, fulness, suitableness, and all-sufficiency of Jesus, nor enabled my soul to hold up Jesus in the arms of my faith for acceptance, if the Lord had been pleased to kill me.

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“Come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price.”—Isaiah 55:1

Surely, no man can plead poverty as an excuse for not buying, when the things sold are not only without money, but without even the proposals for money; not only without ready money, but without any money. Here is not even a price given. My soul, remember this. The poorer the wretch, the more welcome to this market. But what are the things sold? Both wine and milk. A blessed variety in the gospel feast—wine to cheer, and milk to nourish. Yes, blessed Jesus, thy love is better than wine, and thy salvation more healing than milk: Besides, it comes free, it comes pure, it comes in plenty. And it far, very far, exceeds the strongest wine, and the richest milk. For though wine may remove a temporary heaviness, yet was it never known to raise the dead; but thy love, blessed Jesus, hath raised, and will keep alive for ever, sinners dead in trespasses and sins, and preserve the languishing graces of thy saints. Come then, my soul, obey the gospel invitation of this day, and every day; come, buy these precious things without money, and without price. Come, ye poor, needy, perishing, sinners; come, every one of you, and buy, there is enough in Jesus for us all; and depend upon it, not one of you will be sent empty away, if you come empty to be filled, and hungry to be satisfied. This is the only mark and evidence of every real purchaser. If Jesus, with all his blessings, be welcome to your heart, you are welcome to take of his free salvation. Lord, I am come this day, and every day. Now let me hear thy voice; “Eat, O friends; yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”

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“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”—Isaiah 11:5

Mark these expressions, my soul, concerning thy covenant God in Christ. The Lord condescends by them to represent both his righteousness and faithfulness, as they are engaged to make good the purposes of redemption, in the Father and the Son. Jehovah’s righteousness, and Jehovah’s faithfulness, are blessed securities for this purpose; for so saith the Holy Ghost. “God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Wherefore? Because “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. to every one that believeth.” And do not overlook the striking figure of the girdle, which is chosen to represent it by; for as a man binds on the girdle round his loins, as a strengthener; so Jehovah takes to himself the righteousness of his dear Son. “Let him take hold,” saith Jehovah, “of my strength, to make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me,” Isaiah xxvii. 5. This is the girdle of Jehovah, which compasseth him about, and cleaveth to him all around; so that his people, whether they are behind or before, may lay hold of the girdle of his perfections, and hang upon them, and depend upon them, and even when God’s providences seem to frown, or the Lord seemeth to have turned his back upon them. Oh for grace and faith both in Jehovah’s covenant faithfulness, and Christ’s righteousness, thus to trust, and thus to stay; for he is faithful that hath promised.

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“Christ the wisdom of God.”—1 Corinthians 1:29

Think, my soul, what wisdom is contained in that one word, and that one person, Christ. An whole eternity will not be sufficient to read over the immense volume. Wisdom in planning, wisdom in executing, wisdom in completing the great salvation. And what a world of wisdom, in the two natures united in one person-the God-man, the Glory-man, the Wisdomman, Christ Jesus! And Oh what wisdom, in making sin, which strikes at God’s sovereignty, the very means of manifesting God’s power and love. Such is the wisdom of God in Christ, that sin, which in its nature becomes productive of the greatest dishonour to God, should be rendered subservient to produce the greatest glory. My soul, ponder these things; then ask thyself, is there not a wisdom in this vast subject, as far as it concerns thee, yet more wonderful than all? Yes, for surely the greatest of all mysteries in this wonderful volume, to thy view, is, that thou, even thou, shouldest be made the subject for the exercise of such wisdom, as Christ, the wisdom of God, and the power of God, for thy salvation. And all this even against thy determined resolution to ruin thyself. Well mayest thou join the apostle in his overwhelming song of praise, and cry out, “Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and goodness of God.”

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“The strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Corinthians 15:56, 57

Pause, my soul, over this solemn, but yet sweet verse. “The strength of sin is the law.” Doth sin derive strength from the law? Yes, for the motions of sin, which is in our members, gather strength from the precepts in God’s holy law, just as pent-up waters, that are increasing from various sources, will swell and rage the more because they are restrained. And this is what the apostle means, when he saith, “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.” For the mass of indwelling corruption is stirred up, and excited into action by the law. The Lord, in rich mercy, teaching us by this very process; that so totally corrupt is our nature, that we do not know the whole workings of sin, until, by the holiness of his commandment, we are led to see, and feel a disposition to break it; like the first transgressors in the garden of Eden, who lusted to eat of the forbidden fruit, because it was forbidden, so that the very precepts of God, by the sin of our nature, become the means of giving strength to that sin of our nature. The law of God, in this instance, acts upon the heart, as when the gardener’s spade uncovers the surface of the earth, and the worms, which before lay concealed, appear. The worms were there before; but. they did not appear before. In like manner, the law turns up the heart, and then appears the sin which, though there before, lay undiscovered. Is this thy case, my soul? And dost thou still carry, about with thee such a body of sin and death-! Well might Paul call it the mystery of iniquity; and well might Paul, from his deeper knowledge in the anatomy of the heart, cry out so greatly under the burden of it. Oh precious, precious, precious Lamb of God! how little understood, and less regarded, even by those that know somewhat of thee in the riches and greatness of thy salvation, is it considered, in ten thousand instances which pass away in the gulph of forgetfulness over our unthinking minds. Lord, give me to see and feel, yet more and more, that in myself I am virtually all sin. And, Oh Lord, give me to see and feel, yet more and more, that thou, and thou alone, art my righteousness. And let the apostle’s hymn of praise be henceforth daily and hourly mine” Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ”

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“Good news from a far country.”—Proverbs 25:25

From a far country, indeed; for it is no less distance than from heaven to earth, and from beings as opposite as holiness and sin could make-even from God to man, from a rich Saviour to poor sinners! And so remote that had not this good news been sent, heaven must have remained at an eternal distance, as an inaccessible region! And what is the good news itself? The angels who were first sent to proclaim it, called it glad tidings of good things, of great joy to all people. And indeed, such glad tidings it contains, as language fails to describe. It is pardon, mercy, and peace to poor rebels. It holds forth joy, happiness, and everlasting felicity to poor sinners, enemies, and the fallen race of men. God revealed; sin atoned; Satan conquered; death destroyed; hell vanquished; heaven opened! And these not all. This good news informs also of the stupendous way by which the blessings are given, and everlasting happiness secured. Jesus, the Son of God, the author, the finisher, the source, cause, sum, substance, beginning, end, and portion of all his people. These, among an infinite and endless volume of mercies, are contained in the good news from a far country: but we must enter upon that country, to which indeed we are invited by the proclamation of the gospel, before that we shall fully know, or even conceive, the thousandth part of what God hath laid up for them that love him. My soul, hast thou heard this good news? Dost thou know the joyful sound? Art thou truly alive to the blessed things contained in it, and anxious to be interested therein? Oh then, meditate upon them; give thyself wholly to them. And while men of the world, from the world are seeking their chief good, and asking one another, what news? do thou turn a deaf ear to every other relation of a dying world, from which thou art dying daily, and let thy meditation be all the day, and let thine eyes prevent the night-watches to dwell upon this good news, and this only, which cometh from a far country.

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“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.”—Revelation 19:13

Oh thou bleeding Lamb of God! didst thou thus appear to thy servant John, to tell him, and the church through him, that thy priesthood and thy sacrifice are of the same everlasting nature and efficacy as thy person and thy finished work—”the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever?” And didst thou thus manifest thyself by way of assuring thy poor needy followers that thou delightest in thine office, and lovest to be employed? Was it not, dearest Jesus, to this end, and as much in effect, as if thou hadst said, see, I wear these priestly garments: behold my vesture still fresh with the blood which I offered in the day of my sacrifice on the cross, for my redeemed, and for whom I still appear in the bloody robe, as a proof of the everlasting efficacy. For whom, but for my people, do I wear this vesture? “My soul, art thou looking now, with an eye of faith, within the veil? Hast thou a blessing to ask at the court of heaven, this day? Fly then to Jesus. Behold him still, as John beheld him, and hear what he saith. Remember, his blood speaks; for so the Holy Ghost declares”—it speaks better things than that of Abel;” for Abel’s blood cried for vengeance. Jesus pleads for mercy. And doth it not speak to God for pardon, and from God in covenant promises of pardon? Oh the blessedness to behold Jesus clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, in confirmation that “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

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“Thou shalt weep no more; he will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.”—Isaiah 30:19

Listen to this, my soul. Ponder over every precious word in it. Are not all tears dried from thine eyes, when beholding that complete salvation in which thou art interested in Christ Jesus? Believers are commanded to sorrow no more, as others without hope. And doth Jesus indeed wait to be gracious, nay, very gracious? Is it possible to consider that He, who hath all power in heaven and in earth, waits upon a poor worm of the dust, and this in order to be gracious? Come then, my soul, unto the mercy-seat. Do thou wait for him, who thus waits for thee. And as soon as thy Lord hath heard, and answered one prayer, do thou follow it up with another. Remember that he waits to be gracious; and Jesus is glorified, in giving out of his fulness to supply the wants of his people. And what petitions, my soul, hast thou now before the throne? What mercies art thou waiting for? Lord, help me to know my need, and thy fulness to supply. Help me to be for ever bartering my poverty for thy riches, and my sins for thy righteousness; that while thou art coming forth to me in mercy, my soul may be going forth to meet thee in prayer; and while Jesus is loading me with benefits, my poor heart may for ever be proclaiming his praise.

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“At our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, Oh my beloved.”—Song of Solomon 7:13

Yes, blessed Jesus! at the gates of ordinances, and the word of thy gospel, all the pleasant and precious fruits of the Spirit, which come in new and in fresh supplies from thee, are indeed laid up. And Oh how sweet and refreshing are they brought home and laid up in my heart by thy divine power, when thou enablest me by faith, and in thy leadings and strength, to go forth and bring them home, and to live upon them, and feed upon them from day to day! And shall I not then, blessed Jesus, by the endearing name of my Beloved, call upon thee to command the north wind and the south wind to blow upon thy garden in my heart and in my soul, that the spices may flow; and that then my Beloved may come into his garden, and eat of his own pleasant fruits which his grace alone planted, and which his Spirit bringeth forth and ripens?.

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“And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.”—Isaiah 35:7

Oh how refreshing is this promise to my poor, dry, barren, thirsty soul! Surely every poor sinner, like me, that knows his own leanness and poverty, will feel the blessedness of it; for whether it be in the sapless state of unawakened nature, or whether in a scorched or languishing state from the want of the renewings of grace, nothing can be more refreshing than such a promise. Precious Jesus, do thou revive the languishing frame of thy people; do thou “pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” Oh what a fulness, blessed Lord, there is in thyself to supply all. Surely thou art, as the church said, “A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.” Do thou then, Oh Lord, send forth this day, this blessed day, such copious streams from thyself, as may cleanse, revive, comfort, satisfy, and strengthen all thy churches. Lord, cause me to drink of the rivers of thy pleasure; for with thee is the fountain of life.

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“Christ hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour.”—Ephesians 5:2

If, when Noah offered by faith his sacrifice at the coming forth from the ark, the Lord smelled a sweet savour in it, because both the ark and sacrifice were a type of his dear Son, how fragrant and acceptable must have been the substance, when Jesus offered himself without spot to God? Behold him by faith, my soul, in that hour, in the full incense of his own merit, the censer of his own offering, and the golden altar of his own nature. And while God, even the everlasting Father, accepts Jesus as thy Surety, in the fragrancy of his offering, wilt thou not by faith so apprehend the sweet influence of his person, work, and righteousness, as to rejoice before God in the sure acceptance of thyself and all thy poor offerings in the Beloved? Oh let a throne of grace be a daily, hourly, testimony for thee, that all thy approaches here are under the incense and intercession of Jesus; and all thine hopes and expectations of glory hereafter, are all founded in him and his finished salvation. Yes, thou Lamb of God! let all witness for me, that thou and thou alone, art the Lord my righteousness, and that I seek salvation in no other; most perfectly assured from thine own Spirit’s teaching, that there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved. Hallelujah.

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“And they shall come which were ready to perish.”—Isaiah 27:13

What a blessed promise is this to a poor sinner, that is conscious of his being in perishing circumstances? My soul, pause over it this morning. Art thou not, if considered out of Christ, in perishing circumstances, by reason of the captivity of sin? Art thou not perishing under the sentence of God’s broken law; under the just judgment of God, the alarms of thine own guilty conscience, the accusations of Satan, the fear of death, and the prospect of judgment and eternity? And doth this sweet scripture hold forth a provision for such perishing circumstances? Doth it really say that such shall come; nay, that they shall come, whatever obstructions, either from within or without, shall block up the way? Will the Lord enable them, lead them, help them; nay, constrain them to come, in defiance of all impediments? Oh precious, precious Jesus! may the blessing of him that is ready to perish come upon thee; for thou dost indeed make the widowed heart, and the sorrowful heart, to sing for joy. Blessed be thy name, for that thou hast made me willing in the day of thy power.

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“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.”—Isaiah 11:10

Jesus is both the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and MORNING star; and therefore, is not this the day, the very day, the joyful day, in which he who was set up, as God the Father’s ensign from everlasting, for salvation in the council of peace? And was he not brought forth, and set up, and proclaimed as God’s salvation to us poor gentiles in the fulness of time, as well as the light of his people Israel? Surely it can have reference to no other. Precious Jesus, I do indeed behold thee as set up from everlasting. Thou wert so exhibited in the council of peace, and thy goings forth were, from everlasting, when thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people. In the bible thou art the great promise; and the whole of the promises. Thou art the whole of the law and the prophets. Both the old testament dispensation, and the new testament grace, all pointed to thee, and in thee they had their completion. Thou art the Father’s ensign of redemption, the signal of war with sin, with Satan, and all the powers of hell and corruption. Lord, to thee do I seek; under thy banner, and in thy strength, would I enjoy a rest which indeed must be glorious. And Oh thou blessed Spirit of all truth! when at any time the enemy cometh in like a flood, do thou lift up thy ensign, even Jesus, as a standard against him.

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“For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”—Hebrews 7:26

What a sweet thought! surely, as a poor sinner, I need an High Priest to act for me. I cannot, I dare not, approach in myself, and with my poor polluted offerings, without one. But he that intercedes for me must be himself holy, free from sin; his sacrifice holy, his obedience holy, and in all points suited to his office and my necessities. Cherish, then, the thought, my soul—He that is thine High Priest is all this, and infinitely more. So holy in himself, that not the shadow of sin was in him. So harmless, that in his mouth was found no guile. So undefiled, that though he took all the sins of his people upon him, yet in himself he was free from all sin. So separate from sinners, that though he took the nature of man, yet wholly underived from man. And so much higher than the heavens, that his own personal holiness infinitely transcended the holiness of angels; for, while they are said to be charged with folly, Jesus is the Holy One in whom the Father declared himself well pleased. Meditate, my soul, on these precious features in thy Jesus, at all times, and upon all occasions; and more especially when thou drawest nigh the throne of grace, in and through this glorious Mediator. And moreover, for thy further comfort. and encouragement to come boldly to the mercy-seat, forget not to recollect the still further blessed thought, that this holiness of Jesus is the righteousness of all his people; for be was made sin, when he knew no sin, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him. And as if this was not enough, Christ glorified not himself to be made thy High Priest, but was called to it, as was Aaron. Go then, my soul, go to the precious, the holy, the harmless, the undefiled High Priest, Christ Jesus, in whom, and in whose righteousness and atoning blood thou mayest always have boldness to draw nigh, to find grace and mercy to help in all time of need.

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