My soul! sit down this evening, and ponder over some few particulars of the characteristics of grace, and behold its freeness, fulness, unexpectedness, greatness, sovereignty, and undeservedness; and yet, if possible, more astonishing than either, in its distinguishing operations. The Lord himself invites his redeemed people to this blessed study; and when a poor sinner can receive it, and mark his own interest in it, nothing more tends to humble the soul to the dust before God, and compels it to cry out, under a deep sense of its own unworthiness," Lord, how is it that thou hast manifested thyself to me, and not unto the world? "In this demand of God, the question is decided and answered. "I have loved you, saith the Lord. But ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? "or as some read it, wherefore hast thou done so, when we were utterly undeserving of it? How is it, Lord, that thy grace was so personally distinguished? To which the Lord replies," Was not Esau Jacob's brother? yet I loved Jacob, and hated Esau. "As if Jehovah had said, I have been pointing out my distinguishing love from the beginning. Was not Esau Jacob's brother; yea, his elder brother? And had any right of inheritance arisen by birth, or from my covenant with Abraham, was not Esau before Jacob? Yet, to shew the freeness and sovereignty of my decrees," before the children were born, or had done either good or evil," it was said by me," The elder shall serve the younger."Lord! help me to bow down under a deep sense of thy sovereignty, and to cry out with the patriarch," Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? "or in the precious words of the patriarch's Lord," Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. "My soul! sit down, and trace the wonderful subject all the bible through; and when thou hast done that, ponder over thine own experience, and fall low to the dust of the earth, in token that it is, and ever must be, from the same distinguishing grace alone, that one man differs from another; for all that we have is what we first received. And how marvellous is the distinguishing nature of grace, when passing by some that we might think more deserving, to single out others apparently the most worthless and undeserving. The young man in the gospel, full of good deeds, and, as he thought, within a step of heaven, shall go away from Christ very sorrowful; while Paul, in the midst of his hatred of Jesus, and making havoc of his people, shall be called. Nay, my soul! look not at these only, but look at thyself. Where wert thou, when Jesus passed by, and bid thee live? How wast thou engaged, when grace first taught thine eyes to overflow; and he that persuadeth Japheth to dwell in the tents of Shem, persuaded thee, and constrained thee by his love? And what is it now but the same distinguishing love, and grace, and favour, that keeps thee, under all thy wanderings, and coldness, and backslidings, from falling away! Who but Jesus could keep the immortal spark of grace from going out, amidst those floods of corruption which arise within? Who but Jesus could prevent the incorruptible seed from being choked for ever, which at times seems to be wholly encompassed with weeds, or buried in the rubbish of thy sinful nature? Precious Lord Jesus! let others say what they may, or think what they will, be it my portion to lie low in the deepest self-abasement, under the fullest conviction that it is thy free grace, and not creature desert, which makes all the difference between man and man! Oh! for the teachings of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, to accompany all my views of this most wonderful subject! And when at any time pride would arise in my heart, or any supposed excellency in me, compared to others, or when beholding the state of the vain or the carnal, Oh! for grace to hear that voice speaking and explaining all; "Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord; yet! loved Jacob, and Esau have I hated."From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
[Top of page]