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Spiritual Treasury For The Children of God
Devotional: August 1st
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?- Mark 8:36-37.
Hast thou heard the voice of thy beloved? art thou a willing disciple of a despised master? But does the flesh shrink from, murmur and reason against taking up the cross daily, "and suffering the loss of all things?" Listen, O soul, to the reasonings of WISDOM. Though the followers of the Lamb are counted fools and madmen, yet their dear master here teaches them such reasoning and argument, drawn from the nature and fitness of things, as will in a dying hour, and at the judgment-day, silence the tongue of every adversary. Ever use thy master’s weapon. Reason daily, O, Christian, upon thy spiritual gain, by the knowledge of Jesus. Study to look with contempt upon thy trifling worldly loss. What is all the wisdom of this world but folly? the righteousness of the whole world, but filthy rags? the hopes of a fallen world, but miserable delusion? the pleasures of a gay world, but vanity? the riches of the world, but deceitfulness? the honors of the world, but an empty sound? All these, though possessed and enjoyed, cannot profit the soul.
Nay, rather like Job’s friends, they often only prove miserable comforters, distress the mind, but can never bring comfort to the soul. Though often set by the enemy before our eyes in the most conspicuous view and advantageous light, as Satan tempted our Lord; yet, is there any comparison between an eternal gain and a temporal loss? Verily, one moment’s communion with Jesus by faith, infinitely transcends a whole life of threescore years and ten, spent in all the glory and happiness this whole world can yield. O, this one word, "thou fool, this hour thy soul is required of thee," is a death stroke to all worldly enjoyments.
What then can be placed in competition with an "exceeding and an eternal weight of glory?" How great is the worth of the soul! it is immortal. How rich the love of God! it is everlasting. How transcendent the love of Jesus! it passeth knowledge. How amazing the grace of the Holy Ghost! it proceeds from both. It is through his power any poor sinner is able to say, "What things were gain to me, those I count loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless; and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them dung, that I may win Christ and be found in him," etc.- Philippians 3:7-9.
When I survey the wond’rous cross
On which the Prince of glory dy’d,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all beside.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed. Romans 4:16.
Men come to earthly inheritances, either by heirship, gift, or purchase. Each one can tell how he came by his estate, and by what right he holds it. Come, Christian, examine thy heavenly inheritance to-night. See how thou camest possessed of it, and by what means thou dost hold and enjoy it. (1st.) It is thine by purchase. Not that thou didst ever contribute one mite to buy it; but Christ thy elder Brother paid the full price for it. Therefore it is called “the purchased inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:14.) (2d.) It is thine by gift: “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” (Luke 12:32.) (3d.) It is thine by heirship: thou wast born to inherit it: not by thy natural, but by thy spiritual birth. Now thou art “an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ,” thy elder Brother. (Romans 8:17.) (4th.) How dost thou hold it? By faith. Mind this: Faith is not thy title to it. Thou hast that by purchase, heirship, and gift. Faith receives it, takes possession of it, and enjoys the comfort of it. We are receiving a kingdom, (Hebrews 12:28.) (5th.) The Spirit is the earnest of this inheritance. He first makes thee an heir, then bears witness to it, by possessing thee of the graces and gifts of the kingdom-and thus trains thee up for the full enjoyment of it in glory. (6th.) It is by faith, “that it might be by grace.” Works have not the least hand at all in the matter. They neither procure right, nor give title to it. It is a gift of the free favour of God. Adoption to heirship, and purchase of it, are all of free grace; and faith to enjoy it, is a gift of grace also. Well then, O soul, does not this inspire thee, to give all the glory to a gracious God? But mind again, lastly. It is by grace, “to this end, that the promise might be sure to all the seed,” even the promise of eternal life. The promise is by grace, therefore it is absolute, sure, and certain, else God’s truth would fail. If it were suspended but upon the smallest condition of works, (whatever some may say) every soul would forfeit his title to heaven, and fall into hell. But it is “sure to all the seed.” For God, who cannot lie, promised eternal life before the world began. (Titus 1:2.) To whom? To Christ: for and in behalf of all his spiritual seed. Therefore in Christ our title is sure. Living upon him by faith, we enjoy both present comfort and full assurance, that we shall live and reign with him in his kingdom of glory. Thus poor sinners’ hearts are made happy in faith, joyful in hope, obedient in love, while Father, Son, and Spirit, have all the glory.
“Jesus, my Saviour and my Lord,
‘Tis good to trust thy name;
Thy pow’r, thy faithfulness, and love,
Will ever be the same.”
The woman’s seed, the seed of Christ,
Are heirs, by promise sure;
In sweet experience now they’re blest,
And shall be evermore.
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18
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