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Good Words 1860
Good Words for Every Day in the Year

January 24.

"And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."—ISA. Iviii. 11.

"With such promises before us, why do we ever suffer our souls to remain "as a dry and thirsty land where no water is?" The fault is in ourselves, not in our outward circumstances, nor in our Lord, who knows them and appoints them, and gives us in His Word promises like this to assure us that in Himself we may ever find the supply of our spiritual wants, whatever may be the barrenness of the outward ordinances of grace. ''Rivers of living waters," is the promise of the Saviour to whosoever believeth on Him. "This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive." This blessed Spirit is ever nigh. He is waiting to " drop from above " on our hearts. He is near in the sick-room, when, perhaps, the weary sufferer's spirit is ready to faint. He can satisfy as well as guide, grant peace and convey instruction, till the soul, like a watered garden, brings forth all manner of lovely fruits of righteousness. Without Him the best teaching and the richest means of grace fail to refresh us; with Him we may find green pastures and still waters wherever we go. Let us strive to realise this, and cease to lay the blame and burden of our dulness on outward circumstances, striving to feel with David, ''All my springs are in Thee."

"Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity."

January 25.

"And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."—Mark x. 16.

How thankful we may be that the graphic pen of St Mark has given us such full details of this touching scene ! It reveals to us new and lovely features in the character of our Lord; and many a little child's heart has been early drawn in love to the Saviour by the picture of His tenderness here brought before us. He blessed them ! We cannot help wishing to know what was the future history of those early blessed ones ; we may believe that it was not in vain that they were brought to Him, and that they are, even at this day, praising in heaven Him who so early " took them up," and '' blessed them." We read often of blessings bestowed by our Lord on particular characters, as in the Sermon on the Mount; but except the blessing pronounced on "Simon Bar-jona," (Matt. xvi. 17,) we do not read of any individual blessings except this one; and we know nothing of those who here received it, but that they were little children. It is generally taken for granted that the mothers, or parents, at least, brought the children; but that is not mentioned here ; and I think this may and ought to encourage us to bring any children in whom we are interested—god-children, Sunday scholars, or others, to Him ; He is still the same Jesus, and will forbid none of the little ones to come to Him.

"He raised them in His holy arms,
He blessed them from the world and all its harms;
Heirs though they were of sin and shame,
He blessed them in His own, and in His Father's name."

January 26.

"My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King : my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men."—Ps. xlv. 1, 2.

"He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."—JOHN xvi. 14.

It is the Spirit of God who reveals Christ to His people. He is the ready writer who inspired the tongue of the Psalmist to sing, and filled his heart with things "touching the King," as he indited this "good matter;" the expression in the margin, "my heart boileth, or bubbleth up," gives the idea of an overflowing well-spring of holy praise. Without the teaching of the same Spirit, we can see in Christ "no beauty that we should desire Him;" but when He opens our eyes and our hearts, we cry, "Thou art fairer than the children of men!" "Thou art the chief est among ten thousand !" What need have we to plead continually Christ's own promise, and entreat Him to grant us His Spirit's teaching? this alone can enable us to "see the King in His beauty," and to rejoice in Him as our King.

"Come, Holy Spirit, from above,
With all Thy quick'ning powers;
Come, shed abroad a Saviour's love,
And that shall kindle ours."

January 27.

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."—Gal. v. 16.

This is the secret of a holy life and conversation, to "walk in the Spirit;" and this is what the Apostle solemnly tells us we must do, if we would be freed from living in bondage to the '' lusts of the flesh." For the spiritual man, who has the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in him, cannot be at the same time fulfilling those evil works of the flesh of which we have in this passage so fearful a picture; he lives in a new atmosphere, he has a new nature given him through the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and he desires daily more and more "to die unto sin and live unto righteousness." If we are tempted to evil, (and who is not tempted?) let us remember the Apostle's words, and seek to walk in the Spirit, to maintain a closer and nearer communion with our heavenly Father through the Spirit dwelling in us, then we shall find the desires after the works of the flesh grow weaker as His grace grows stronger in us. These two, the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit, are contrary the one to the other. If we would maintain a close walk with God, we must avoid fulfilling the lusts of the flesh; and, on the other hand, if we would be preserved from fulfilling them, we must be careful to keep up a close walk with God in the secret of our hearts.

"Oh for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame!
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

January 28.

"Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp."—Ps. cl. 3.

"And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps."—Rev. xiv. 2.

"They stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."—Rev. xv. 2.

In the Psalms we have repeated mention of praising God with instrumental music, and we know from the historical narrative how important a place it held in the temple service. But when we read of harps in the upper sanctuary, as seen by St John in the Revelation, it seems as if more is meant than such praise as even the sweet Psalmist of Israel could offer with his well-tuned psaltery; and I cannot but think that something higher is here symbolised. Cowper says,

"Man is a harp whose chords elude the sight,
Each yielding harmony disposed aright."

And may it not be that something like this is what we are to understand by the "harps of God?" Hearts, in every chord attuned to harmony, must utter sounds of praise worthy of heaven. Oh, what that music must be, when there is no longer a jarring note or an imperfect, feeble tone! when all is holy harmony and unity, and the theme of their song the highest that man or angel can utter— "Worthy is the Lamb!"

"Hark! how the adoring hosts above
With songs surround the throne,
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
But all their hearts are one.
Worthy the Lamb that died, they cry,
To be exalted thus!
Worthy the Lamb, let us reply,
For He was slain for us!"'

January 29.

"And Jesus answering, said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, hut sinners to repentance."—Luke v. 31, 32.

In answer to the murmurs of the Pharisees, our Lord announces this principle of His dealings with men, and blessed be God for such a declaration! He came as the Physician of the sick, as the Saviour of the lost; not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ; and it is in the confidence that such is His will that I may venture to draw near to Him as my Physician, as my Saviour! Had He laid down any qualification of merit, I must have despaired; for the nearer I approach to Him, the more do I behold my own utter vileness, and the more plainly do I see that whoever is whole, I am sick, whoever is righteous, I am a sinner before Him in thought, word, and deed. And it is not only at the beginning of the Christian course, but all through, even to the end, that this principle holds true; we must come as sick, as sinners; we have nothing but His free grace to lay hold of ; if we have laboured for Him, our labours need to be washed and purified before they can be accepted; and if we have learned anything of His love and His goodness, we shall see to the end of our days on earth, that we have nothing in ourselves whereby we can stand as righteous in His sight.

"Not the labour of my hands,
Can fulfil Thy law's demands.
Could my tears for ever flow,
Could my zeal no respite know,
All for sin would not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone."

January 30.

"I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the hooks were opened; and another book was opened, which is the hook of life."—Rev. xx. 12.

"There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."—Rev. xxi. 27.

"Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." —Luke x. 20.

"Clement also, and other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life."—Phil. iv. 3.

I find repeated mention, in God's Word, of the book of life. It is a solemn thought, "Is my name written there?" No question can be of such importance to me ! How happy the chosen seventy must have been, when their Lord's own voice told them that they were to rejoice, because their '' names were written in heaven !" How happy Clement must have been, and those other fellow-labourers, when the inspired apostle had said that their '' names were in the book of life!" But it was not to produce a careless security that they were assured of this; they must have felt more than ever humbled by a sense of God's undeserved mercy, and more than ever earnest in seeking grace to persevere, and holiness to live as became those whose names were written in heaven. And if I have thus felt His mercy and sought His grace, though no voice from heaven can now assure me that my name is written there, I may yet have a good hope through grace, for His own word remains as firm as in the day when He himself uttered it—''Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."

"Write but my name upon the roll
Of Thy redeem'd above;
Then heart, and mind, and strength, and soul,
I'll love Thee for Thy love!"

January 31.

"He weakened my strength in the way.'—Ps. cii. 23.

"This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."—John xi. 4.

When God weakens our strength in the way, and sends us sore sickness, we are peculiarly apt to be tempted to question His love and wisdom. We are ready to say, Why am I thus laid aside from all usefulness in the world? Or if the trial is sent, not to ourselves, but to some dear Christian friend, we feel often still more perplexed by God's dealings, and ask, Is it not a very dark and mysterious Providence that one so useful, so full of benevolent schemes, so able to do God's work in a world where workers are so needed, should be thus prostrated with pain, and his strength thus " weakened in the way?" Perhaps the sisters and friends of Lazarus thought thus. Little could they deem that, by his sickness, God was to be glorified more than if he had lived in perfect health to the age of Methuselah! And though God does not now glorify Himself by raising men from the dead, like Lazarus, He is still calling on us to have faith in Him, and to believe that sickness is not sent in vain, but for the glory of God, when borne with Christian patience. Surely His grace was not less manifested, and His name was not less glorified by the patience of Job, than by the cure of Hezekiah!

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