Morning, April 19th, 2021

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”— Matthew 27:51

No mean miracle was wrought in the rending of so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power–many lessons were herein taught us.

The old law of ordinances was put away, and like a worn-out vesture, rent and laid aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay.

That rent also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for he was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.”

Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished.

The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus.

There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace.

Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion?

Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; he openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with him into the heavenly places, and sit with him there till our common enemies shall be made his footstool.

Evening, April 18th, 2021

“And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.”— Genesis 32:12

When Jacob was on the other side of the brook Jabbok, and Esau was coming with armed men, he earnestly sought God’s protection, and as a master reason he pleaded, “And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.”

Oh, the force of that plea! He was holding God to his word–“Thou saidst.” The attribute of God’s faithfulness is a splendid horn of the altar to lay hold upon; but the promise, which has in it the attribute and something more, is a yet mightier holdfast–“Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.” And has he said, and shall he not do it? “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

Shall not he be true? Shall he not keep his word? Shall not every word that cometh out of his lips stand fast and be fulfilled?

Solomon, at the opening of the temple, used this same mighty plea. He pleaded with God to remember the word which he had spoken to his father David, and to bless that place.

When a man gives a promissory note, his honour is engaged; he signs his hand, and he must discharge it when the due time comes, or else he loses credit. It shall never be said that God dishonours his bills.

The credit of the Most High never was impeached, and never shall be. He is punctual to the moment: he never is before his time, but he never is behind it.

Search God’s word through, and compare it with the experience of God’s people, and you shall find the two tally from the first to the last. Many a hoary patriarch has said with Joshua, “Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass.”

If you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an “if,” you may urge it with certainty. The Lord meant to fulfil the promise, or he would not have given it.

God does not give his words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for awhile with the intention of putting us off at last; but when he speaks, it is because he means to do as he has said.

Morning, April 18th, 2021

“And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.”— Joshua 2:21

Rahab depended for her preservation upon the promise of the spies, whom she looked upon as the representatives of the God of Israel. Her faith was simple and firm, but it was very obedient. To tie the scarlet line in the window was a very trivial act in itself, but she dared not run the risk of omitting it.

Come, my soul, is there not here a lesson for thee? Hast thou been attentive to all thy Lord’s will, even though some of his commands should seem non-essential?

Hast thou observed in his own way the two ordinances of believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper? These neglected, argue much unloving disobedience in thy heart. Be henceforth in all things blameless, even to the tying of a thread, if that be matter of command.

This act of Rahab sets forth a yet more solemn lesson. Have I implicitly trusted in the precious blood of Jesus? Have I tied the scarlet cord, as with a Gordian knot in my window, so that my trust can never be removed? Or can I look out towards the Dead Sea of my sins, or the Jerusalem of my hopes, without seeing the blood, and seeing all things in connection with its blessed power?

The passer-by can see a cord of so conspicuous a colour, if it hangs from the window: it will be well for me if my life makes the efficacy of the atonement conspicuous to all onlookers. What is there to be ashamed of?

Let men or devils gaze if they will, the blood is my boast and my song. My soul, there is One who will see that scarlet line, even when from weakness of faith thou canst not see it thyself; Jehovah, the Avenger, will see it and pass over thee.

Jericho’s walls fell flat: Rahab’s house was on the wall, and yet it stood unmoved; my nature is built into the wall of humanity, and yet when destruction smites the race, I shall be secure. My soul, tie the scarlet thread in the window afresh, and rest in peace.

Evening, April 17th, 2021

“The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”— John 12:21

Evermore the worldling’s cry is, “Who will show us any good?” He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. “O that I knew where I might find Him!”

When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, “Take it away: I want to find Him.”

It is a blessed thing for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mire of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields.

Happy is he who hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul’s desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, “I want Christ; I must have him–mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul’s desire. I would see Jesus!”

Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven.

Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus’ blood? Canst thou really say, “I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ?”

Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon, and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.

Morning, April 17th, 2021

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”— Hebrews 12:24

Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus?

The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came–the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own.

Guilty, lost and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus!

The dropping of his blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, “It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness.”

Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be “Looking unto Jesus.” Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this–“To whom coming.” Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming.

If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all.

The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort.

This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

Evening, April 16th, 2021

“But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”— Exodus 17:12

So mighty was the prayer of Moses, that all depended upon it. The petitions of Moses discomfited the enemy more than the fighting of Joshua. Yet both were needed.

So, in the soul’s conflict, force and fervour, decision and devotion, valour and vehemence, must join their forces, and all will be well. You must wrestle with your sin, but the major part of the wrestling must be done alone in private with God.

Prayer, like Moses’, holds up the token of the covenant before the Lord. The rod was the emblem of God’s working with Moses, the symbol of God’s government in Israel.

Learn, O pleading saint, to hold up the promise and the oath of God before him. The Lord cannot deny his own declarations. Hold up the rod of promise, and have what you will.

Moses grew weary, and then his friends assisted him. When at any time your prayer flags, let faith support one hand, and let holy hope uplift the other, and prayer seating itself upon the stone of Israel, the rock of our salvation, will persevere and prevail.

Beware of faintness in devotion; if Moses felt it, who can escape? It is far easier to fight with sin in public, than to pray against it in private.

It is remarked that Joshua never grew weary in the fighting, but Moses did grow weary in the praying; the more spiritual an exercise, the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to maintain it.

Let us cry, then, for special strength, and may the Spirit of God, who helpeth our infirmities, as he allowed help to Moses, enable us like him to continue with our hands steady “until the going down of the sun;” till the evening of life is over; till we shall come to the rising of a better sun in the land where prayer is swallowed up in praise.

Morning, April 16th, 2021

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”— 1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy.

By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with him. Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it “cleanseth from all sin.”

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains.

O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God. The blood of Christ is likewise “precious” in its preserving power.

We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same.

The blood of Christ is “precious” also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God.

There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “precious,” unspeakably precious, is this blood, because it has an overcoming power.

It is written, “They overcame through the blood of the Lamb.” How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat.

The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!

Evening, April 15th, 2021

“Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.”— Psalm 28:9

God’s people need lifting up. They are very heavy by nature. They have no wings, or, if they have, they are like the dove of old which lay among the pots; and they need divine grace to make them mount on wings covered with silver, and with feathers of yellow gold.

By nature sparks fly upward, but the sinful souls of men fall downward. O Lord, “lift them up forever!” David himself said, “Unto thee, O God, do I lift up my soul,” and he here feels the necessity that other men’s souls should be lifted up as well as his own.

When you ask this blessing for yourself, forget not to seek it for others also.

There are three ways in which God’s people require to be lifted up.

They require to be elevated in character. Lift them up, O Lord; do not suffer thy people to be like the world’s people! The world lieth in the wicked one; lift them out of it! The world’s people are looking after silver and gold, seeking their own pleasures, and the gratification of their lusts; but, Lord, lift thy people up above all this; keep them from being “muck-rakers,” as John Bunyan calls the man who was always scraping after gold! Set thou their hearts upon their risen Lord and the heavenly heritage!

Moreover, believers need to be prospered in conflict. In the battle, if they seem to fall, O Lord, be pleased to give them the victory. If the foot of the foe be upon their necks for a moment, help them to grasp the sword of the Spirit, and eventually to win the battle. Lord, lift up thy children’s spirits in the day of conflict; let them not sit in the dust, mourning forever. Suffer not the adversary to vex them sore, and make them fret; but if they have been, like Hannah, persecuted, let them sing of the mercy of a delivering God.

We may also ask our Lord to lift them up at the last! Lift them up by taking them home, lift their bodies from the tomb, and raise their souls to thine eternal kingdom in glory.

Morning, April 15th, 2021

“To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”— Psalm 22:1

We here behold the Saviour in the depth of his sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which his cry rends the air–“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which he had to pass; and to make his grief culminate with emphasis, he suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of his Father’s presence.

This was the black midnight of his horror; then it was that he descended the abyss of suffering. No man can enter into the full meaning of these words.

Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” There are seasons when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us.

It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ’s case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from his Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused him?

In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in his case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face, but art now in darkness, remember that he has not really forsaken thee.

God in the clouds is as much our God as when he shines forth in all the lustre of his grace; but since even the thought that he has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when he exclaimed, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Evening, April 14th, 2021

“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.”— Isaiah 3:10

It is well with the righteous always. If it had said, “Say ye to the righteous, that it is well with him in his prosperity,” we must have been thankful for so great a boon, for prosperity is an hour of peril, and it is a gift from heaven to be secured from its snares: or if it had been written, “It is well with him when under persecution,” we must have been thankful for so sustaining an assurance, for persecution is hard to bear; but when no time is mentioned, all time is included.

God’s “shalls” must be understood always in their largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until the day-star shines, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it shall be well with the righteous.

It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed, he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed, he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed, he dwells in God; he is well married, his soul is knit in bonds of marriage union to Christ; he is well provided for, for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed, for heaven is his inheritance.

It is well with the righteous–well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance.

O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we laugh them all to scorn.

Blessed be God for a faith which enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with thee, thou righteous one; then, beloved, if thou canst not see it, let God’s word stand thee in stead of sight; yea, believe it on divine authority more confidently than if thine eyes and thy feelings told it to thee.

Whom God blesses is blest indeed, and what his lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.

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