365 days with Newton


Take stock

‘For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.’ Psalm 90:9

It would be seasonable to take a review of our lives, especially of the past year. I would willingly assist you herein and help you to set out some of the particulars before your conscience: God’s dealings with you and your returns to him. The Lord’s dealings with us may be comprised under mercies, afflictions and ordinances.
(i) Mercies: as life itself—a measure of health, deliverances from danger, a supply of your returning wants; he has given to many of you the lives of your friends, comfort in your families, restored some who were dear to you from the borders of the grave. Now all temporal mercies and comforts are from his gift. They are talents and shortly you must give an account of your stewardship. How have you improved them? I trust he has taught some of you to own them as his gifts and to improve them to his glory. But alas, are there not too many who have abused his mercies to occasions of sin?
(ii) Afflictions: these indeed, when sanctified, are mercies likewise. But how many suffer in vain. Many changes have happened amongst us in a year: pain, sickness, death in our families, crosses and losses in our affairs. None of these things have happened by chance. The Lord has done it. Every rod has a voice. Have you heard it, taken it to heart? Did you humble yourself before him in affliction?
(iii) Ordinances: we have been favoured with a year more of gospel ordinances. The word of the Lord has been with you precept upon precept, line upon line [Isaiah 28:13]—to what effect? What have you known of Jesus? Are you convinced of sin? Are you considering your latter end?

FOR MEDITATION: If you cannot answer such an enquiry with comfort, still the Lord waits to be gracious. Now at least, cry to him for light and faith that you may receive a free pardon and be turned by the power of Jesus, for there is no other name given among men whereby we can be saved. Believers will find cause of humiliation, but you have an Advocate with the Father. Thank him for all that is past, trust him for all that’s to come.


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