Daily Devotionals

Devotional: April 16th

Morning Devotional

He is a babe. - Hebrews 5:13.

THE apostle does not refer to a babe by nature. This, indeed, is one of the most lovely, attractive, and interesting objects in creation. It seems impossible not to consider his destination and the powers in his nature not yet unfolded; we think of the spirit inspired by the Almighty, which dwells within the beauteous shrine. When we see the bud, we think of the flower; when we see the dawn, we think of the day; when we see a crown, we think of a king. How should we have felt towards a Newton, or towards a Milton, if, dandling them on our knee, we had known at the time all the splendours of fame to which they were born? But who knows what any babe may become, however humble its birth, or however mean his external condition? The princess opened the ark of bulrushes, and the babe wept; and she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrew children;” but that forlorn, friendless babe was to become the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, the scourge of Pharaoh, the destruction of Egypt, the deliverer of the Jews, the king in Jeshurun, and the prophet of the Most High. But a babe is not to be a babe always: we expect to see him grow; and, indeed, we soon witness the process.

It is scarcely possible to look at such a being and not remember the exhortation, “Despise not one of these little ones,” or without calling Hannah to mind; and, above all, can we forget Him who “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”? But Paul refers not to a babe natural, but to a babe spiritual; for there is an infancy in the church as well as an infancy in the family,-an infancy morally as well as corporeally; and this religious infancy is twofold.

First, There is a real and proper religious infancy. We always look for it at the commencement of the divine life; for Christians are new creatures, and therefore they have a beginning, and the beginning is small. But they grow; they “go from strength to strength;” they “wax stronger and stronger;” they “increase with all the increase of God;” from babes they become young men, and from young men fathers in Christ.

Secondly, There is an improper and a reprovable religious infancy. It is this the apostle speaks of: for observe his language: he does not say, “You were such as needed milk, and not strong meat;” but “Ye are become such.” If we saw a man playing with toys, we should be ready to say, “Why, you are too old and too big for this;” but we should not say this if we saw a child. “When I was a child,” says Paul, “I spake as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.” And if, after a child is weaned and grown and put to a public school, he should cry after his mother, and by a supposable transformation become a babe, crying for the rattle and the knee, why, we should be shocked and offended. Such a thing is physically impossible, but not morally and religiously so; it is the very thing the apostle has in view: his language, indeed, is metaphorical, but there is truth in it, and let us get towards it.

Christians are commanded to advance in religion, and they are expected to grow in grace: but is this always the case? Is it commonly the case? Are there not many instances in which, instead of increase, there is decrease,- instead of going forward, there is going backward? We read of the “first days of Israel;” and does not the Saviour reprove the church of Ephesus, and say, “Remember from whence thou art fallen, and do the first works”?

Evening Devotional

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Philemon 1:25

TO what else than this principle alone can our salvation. be ascribed? The Saviour’s interposition on our behalf is neither the result of imposition, compulsion, desert, nor importunity. It cannot be ascribed to imposition. Some persons undertake enterprizes unconscious of their consequences. How often they have exclaimed, “If I had foreseen the results, I would have had nothing to do with it!” But this was not the case with the Lord Jesus. He was neither inveigled into it, nor did he engage in it from ignorance. He saw the end from the beginning. It was laid before him. He saw it all when he said, “Lo! I come to do thy will, O God.”

We know what this will implied-it was his becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Yet he came forward and showed no reluctance in the execution; and as his passion drew near, he said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” Voluntariness was also necessary to his obedience. Deity has no impression from external causes. He therefore must act and did act freely. His passion was the exercise and the expression of his absolute independence: “No man taketh my life from me; I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Therefore, in his death, “he cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost,” which showed that he died not of exhaustion or weakness. He was not only the Sacrifice, but the Priest that offered it. Nor could it be the effect of desert. We were criminals in our misery; and this is a circumstance on which the Apostle enlarges so frequently and so much: “When we were without strength, Christ died for the ungodly;” “God commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Nor was it the result of importunity. It was as much without our desire as it was without our desert; for it was long before we had a being. To humble Job God said to him, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” and Christ may say to Christians, “Where were you when I came forward and said, Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom?”

No; the more we examine this subject the more we shall find it impossible to ascribe our being, enriched with all the blessings of salvation, of grace, and of glory, to any other cause than to his grace.

“With pitying eyes the Prince of Peace

Beheld our helpless grief;

He saw, and O amazing grace,

He came to our relief.”

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