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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Daily Devotionals
The Poor Man's Morning and Evening Portions
Devotional: July 18th

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July 18—Morning—Song of Solomon 2:15

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes."—Song of Solomon 2:15.

My soul, mark the sweetness and tenderness of this precept. Foxes no doubt resemble, in this scripture, the subtle, less open, less discovered sins and corruptions which lurk in us, like these cunning creatures, under a covering, and perhaps sometimes under a fair covering. Moreover, they may mean also false but fair teachers. "Oh Israel," said the Lord, "thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts;" crafty, designing, malignant, and filthy. And in proportion as they put on a more fair and specious appearance, the more are they to be dreaded. Satan never more artfully, nor perhaps more effectually deceives, than when he is transformed into an angel of light. Moreover, the precept is enforced by that important consideration, that vines, by which no doubt are meant believers, have tender grapes. What more tender than a weak conscience? And what more liable to be wounded than the tender principles of young beginners in a life of grace? My soul, look up to Jesus, the Lord of the vineyard, for grace to be on the look out against these destructive enemies to thy welfare. And, conscious that all thy vigilance, without his watchful eye over thee, would never protect thee from foes so shrewd and artful, beg of Jesus himself to take these foxes for thee, and destroy them before thine eyes. Lord, I would say, keep me from every enemy which doth evil in thy sanctuary, and preserve alive, in flourishing circumstances, all those tender graces of thy Spirit bestowed upon me, that I may bring forth fruit to the praise of thy holy name, and may flourish and spread abroad as the cedar in Lebanon."

July 18—Evening—Luke 22:15

"And he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you, before I suffer."—Luke 22:15.

My soul! thy Jesus holds a feast of the ordinance of his supper; that most interesting service, which he hath appointed in his church as a standing memorial of his death, until his second coming. Surely, thou canst need nothing more endearing, to prompt thee to attend it, than what the Lord himself expressed of his own pleasure in it, in these words. There is somewhat uncommonly affectionate in them: they seem to open and unfold the whole heart of the Redeemer upon the occasion. And do not forget, that what Jesus then said to his disciples, he saith now to thee, and to all his redeemed; they were the representatives of his whole body, the church. Listen to what Jesus here saith, and regard every word in this most tender and affectionate request, as if Jesus in person were now speaking to thee, in prospect of the coming supper:" With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you, now I have suffered, and have accomplished redemption by my blood!" Pause over the blessed view, and trace the wonderful desires of Jesus from everlasting, which he all along manifested towards his people. His goings forth for the salvation of his people have been from everlasting. He saith himself, that "while as yet Jehovah had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world; that then his delights were with the sons of men!" Proverbs 8:22-31. And how did the Lord Jesus manifest his desires towards his people, as soon as creation-work took place, in all those appearances he made of himself to them, from the garden of Eden, to his openly tabernacling among them in the substance of our flesh? What were all those manifestations we read of, sometimes in the form of man, and sometimes of an angel, but to tell his church, his redeemed, that with desire he desired for the fulness of time to arrive, when he would become their passover, and suffer for them? And is not the desire of Jesus after the conversion of every poor sinner, whom the Father hath given to him, now as earnest, and as affectionate as ever? Doth he not wait to be gracious? Doth he not long for their recovery from sin and Satan, and to bring his prisoners out of the prison-house? And when they are brought, by his Holy Spirit, which he puts within them, into the liberty wherewith he makes his people free, doth he not delight in their company, seek to allure them to ordinances, call upon them by his word, by his providences, by all his dispensations, to manifest himself to them otherwise than he doth to the world? Dost thou not know somewhat of those precious things, my soul? And if so, shall Jesus say, as he doth in those blessed words to his disciples, in the evening of his agonies in the garden, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you, before I suffer?" And wilt thou not be among the first to attend thy Jesus at his table? Oh! bountiful Lord! I beseech thee, let this view of thy desires quicken mine, and let my whole soul, With all her affections, be earnestly going forth after thee, that I may say with one of old, "O send out thy light, and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles; then will I go unto the new testament altar of my God, even unto Jesus, my God, my exceeding joy; yea, upon the harp of my warmest affections will I praise thee, O God, my God," Psalms 43:3-4.

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