Daily Devotionals

Devotional: May 25th

Morning Devotional

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, such an one caught up to the third heaven.- 2 Corinthians 12:2.

Visions, manifestations, raptures and ecstacies of soul, though even from God himself, (which there is every good reason to suspect, unless they sink the soul in humility, and excite such love to Jesus as is founded in knowledge and productive of obedience), are not to be gloried of. St. Paul says, it is not expedient for ME to glory. I know the danger, I fear the evil of it; from the pride and treachery of my nature. It tends to exalt one above measure; and to make others think more highly of one than they ought to think. Therefore, on these accounts glorying of these things is to be avoided. Indeed the cause of truth may require it, and the glory of God may be promoted by it. Though on these accounts it may be expedient to glory; yet it is not expedient for the Christian’s own sake to do it. So Paul declared. Yet he did glory; for necessity compelled him.

Behold, admire, and imitate the humility of this great apostle, "I knew a man in Christ," etc. When he speaks of himself, it is as a poor sinner, under the most humbling, self-abased views. Then it is I MYSELF-Romans 7. But here, lest ostentation should appear, he conceals himself under the character of another man. What a contrast is here between self-exalting principles and the grace of the gospel! How widely different is this from the notions many professors entertain! For if they can but give a tolerable account of some vision, revelation or manifestation, which they suppose was from God, they conclude they know their sins are forgiven, and all is well.

Perhaps this might pass on them fourteen years ago, more or less. But what is their frame and temper now? what their pursuit and practice? If no evidence of faith, hope, love and obedience, but if while sunk into carnality and the love of the world, yet strong in confidence that their sins are forgiven, and bold in hope of the safety of their state; surely such are blinded to the hope of the gospel, through the spirit of this world. Satan transforms him, from a minister of darkness, into an angel of light. Luther was wont to caution against the white devil, as well as the black one. St. John’s advice is ever needful, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."- 1 John 4:1.

Faith in heart true comfort brings,

It makes and keeps it humble too.

Christian experience ne’er exalts,

But gives to Christ his glory due.

Then while by faith I Jesus know,

And peace and love and joy do spring:

Of Christ alone, I’ll glory now,

Not self, but Christ, I’ll speak and sing.

Evening Devotional

I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10.

When we meet with journals, diaries, experiences, etc. which do not exalt the riches of the grace of God, but set off the self-importance of the writers of them, they are as nauseous to the mind as tainted food to the palate. They remind us of the poet’s observation, “And I the little hero of each tale.” Not so St. Paul, in speaking of himself. No sooner had he brought this little great I upon the stage, but he instantly caused it to disappear. Hence, the doctrine is plain, The grace of God makes a person labour for God, and yet keeps him humble before God. Consider, (1st.) To have the grace of God with one, is to have a lively sense of God’s free favour, in Christ, upon one’s own soul. Without this, we go on heavily in the ways of God; soon tire in his service; and turn back and walk no more with Christ. This was the life and spring of all Paul’s labours. See to it then, that we wrestle with God in prayer; study the precious word of his grace; and be diligent in attending his ordinances, that we may ever have a lively sense of God’s pardoning, justifying, sanctifying grace in Christ upon our hearts-ever cautiously avoid all persons, places, and things, which tend to grieve the Spirit and damp his lively influence. For, (2d.) Every private Christian is called to labour for God, as well as apostles and ministers. There is such a thing, as receiving the grace of God in vain. How? When we profess to esteem and receive the doctrine of the gospel of grace, and yet they bring not forth in us correspondent fruits. O, how much is this the case among professors! how greatly to be deplored and deprecated! What! do you profess to know God, and yet in works deny him? Do you believe the love and salvation of Christ for miserable sinners? and yet can you, instead of laboring for his glory, be idle, in not living and walking, studying and striving to please our Saviour, and profit his dear children? Have you the grace of God with you? It is to be feared. If you have, you have sadly lost its life and influence. O, be deeply affected for your state. (3d.) Is the grace of God warm upon our hearts? Are we alive and active for God’s glory in our lives? Do we labour more than others for God? O! let us beware we do not sacrifice to ourselves; exalt our own power and faithfulness: for true grace will keep us low and humble. In the light of it, we shall see how little we do for God; how much more we ought to do; and, in the little we do, how much evil there is in it, and how far short we come in all of his glory. “Be clothed with humility.” 1 Peter 5:5.

He is most blest, who labours most

In God’s most holy ways:

But, after all, we dare not boast,

For all is done through grace.

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