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deceitfulness of the heart, is thy prerogative. But oh! let me not be ignorant of my vileness. Let not pride and self-love blind the eyes of my mind; or cause me to fancy myself to be something when I am nothing; less than nothing, and vanity. Show me to myself, through the light of thy Holy Spirit shining upon thy own word of Truth. In that faithful mirror may I behold my natural state of guilt and misery, and while beholding, loathe myself with perfect loathing. O! cause me to sink down before thee in deepest self-abasement. Lord break my proud heart. Melt the stone that lies within me. Purge away the dross of sin, and make all new within; that my heart may become a temple, in which thou wilt condescend to dwell.
I AM A HELPLESS CREATURE.
As a person, who has fallen down a steep precipice, and broken his bones, cannot stand upright; so, through the fall of my first parents, I am totally unable to recover myself from the dreadful consequences of transgression.
The tenth article of the Church of England is most true in Christian experience. "The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works to faith and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable unto God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that will."
Lord teach me to renounce all self-dependence. In myself, I have no strength; therefore, of myself I can do nothing to satisfy thy justice, or restore thy lost image in my soul. O! may I never, for one moment, make the vain attempt of appeasing thy wrath; or of appearing before thee, in the filthy rags of my own righteousness. Thy justice demands an
** Rom. v. 6.
infinite satisfaction; and thy holiness delights only in unspotted purity. But I cannot pay the least mite, nor present before thee a clean heart, being ignorant, guilty, polluted, and enslaved. Where, then, must I flee? To whom must I look for help, and succour? How shall I obtain present and everlasting salvation?
GOD IS LOVE.
O! delightful truth! O! heart-cheering consolation. Let it be carried round the globe. Let it be echoed from hill to hill, from shore to shore, till all nations catch the joyful sound, that "God is love,” that "God so loved the world, that he gave his onlybegotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."+
Here, in this one truth, this precious gospel message, proclaimed by the Saviour of sinners himself, is contained all peace, and strength, hope, joy, purity, yea, heavenly glory. Only believe this sweet declaration, with a loving obedience; only receive Christ, through whom this salvation is procured; and all the promises which cluster on the living Vine are thy portion, O my soul, freely and fully given by the Father of mercies, through the Son of his
O Thou eternal Spirit of light and truth, proceeding from the Father and the Son, work this saving faith even now in my heart. O make me this day, which commences another year of my earthly existence, a true member of the mystical body of Christ, a regenerated member of his Church, a sheep of his fold. Take away the darkness of my mind, and shed a flood of light into my soul. Pluck my feet out of the net of Satan's temptations; and enable me to walk in the path of thy commandments. Give me to see the beauty of holiness, and to hunger and thirst after it, to discover the heinousness of sin, to flee from it, and abhor it.
If called into the furnace of affliction, be thou with me to support and comfort me. If led into the enjoyment of worldly blessings, do thou preserve me from the snares of prosperity. O! grant that I may begin this year with earnest desires after Christ and his salvation, that, being kept by thy power from day to day, I may be continually waiting for the Saviour's coming, and rejoice, when his voice of mercy shall whisper to my soul: "Come up hither;" "Enter into the joy of thy Lord."*
Jesus! I will praise thy name,
While my life and being last;
'T is my bliss, Thy love to know.
With the lightning's rapid flight
Fleeting vapours are my days,
Thou, my kind redeeming Lord,
Wean my heart from earthly joy;
Change me by thy powerful word,
Let my treasure ever be,
Holy Spirit, Heavenly Fire,
* Rev. iv. 1.; Matt. xxv. 21.
Kindle every pure desire,
Save me from indwelling sin.
LXIX. THE BELIEVER'S REVIEW OF HIS CHRISTIAN
"Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no."-Deut. viii. 2.
THOUSANDS live regardless of the hand that supports them. They revel amidst the bounties of Providence; and rebel against his chastening rod. They regard not the work of the Lord," nor consider "the operation of his hands." "God is not in all their thoughts." Not so, the true believer in Jesus. In prosperity, he can say with David: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."* And with him, he can also say in adversity: "I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."+
In the Psalms of David, we find all the varied experience of a child of God. The mere religionist knows nothing of the internal workings of the renewed mind. The difference is indeed great, between the outward form, and the inward power of godliThe former, whilst destitute of the latter, is like the body without the soul; it is a lifeless carcase. Hence we find David always breathing after the quickening influence of the Spirit. The hundred and nineteenth Psalm is full of these divine breathings. As David was a man after God's own heart,
so he was made well acquainted with his own heart He abhorred the idols of the heathen. He never fell into the sin of idolatry; yet he could exclaim with grief: “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word;"* and with brokenness of heart confess, "I have sinned against the Lord."+
This is the common complaint of all true Christians. They want an entire conformity to the mind of God. They pant after universal holiness. They labour to get their affections supremely fixed upon Christ and heaven. They long for the complete victory over indwelling sin, and the perishing vanities of the world. Yet, they find, to their inexpressible grief, that when they would do good, evil is present with them; not indeed as a thing indulged, but as mixing itself with all their aims and desires, so that they are constrained to cry out, "Woe is me! for I am undone.”§ “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?"|| They feel a force drawing them down to earth, when they would soar above.
This experience greatly humbles the Christian pilgrim, while travelling through the wilderness. He sees that he has no righteousness of his own; that of himself he can do nothing; and that it is of the Lord alone, that he has either righteousness or strength.
This conviction of inward pollution, unseen by the eye of man, drives him to the blood of sprinkling. It makes Christ unspeakably precious. He is fervent in supplication for the supply of the Spirit, through the intercession of his great High Priest ; and feeling his inability to think one good thought, or exercise one holy affection, without the grace and power of Jesus, he sits daily at his feet, to hear his word, to receive out of his fulness, to imbibe his spirit, and to copy his example.
*Psa. cxix. 25. + 2 Sam. xii. 13.
Rom. vii. 21, &c.