Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ingly perseveres, till, in God's appointed time, he receives the light and comfort which have been so ardently sought : then the Holy Ghost renews his soul in righteousness, and enables him to do the will of God. Pardon of his offences, however numerous or aggravating they have been, is freely and fully granted; he is accepted and justified by faith in Christ; he daily advances in knowledge and goodness: and thus he obtains the peace of God, and is made a partaker of every benefit, both teinporal and spiritual, of Christ's redemption'.

Now that his tears, prayers, and efforts, are crowned with the desired success, through the tender mercy of God in Christ, his state and prospects are materially changed. Before, he was an outcast. expelled from paradise, and a child of misery. Now, he is become the son of God Most High, and an heir of heaven. Already he possesses a rich foretaste of the bright" inheritance reserved in heaven for him, which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away.” Thus, bis former sorrow is turned into joy, which is “unspeakable and full of glory.”

Surely an end so blessed is more than a recompence for the labour and solicitude which is necessary to arrive at it. When the redeemned sinner reaches the mansions of eternal felicity, and sees the glory prepared for him, and the torments which he has escaped, he will forget the little trials of the way, and give unceasing thanks to God, “ that his light afflictions, which have been but for a moment, have worked out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."." Oh, let everyone diligently pursue the Christian calling! because it leads its followers to blessedness the most durable and satisfying. ! Rom. v. 1-6. " Eph. i. 7-20. 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.

you have

.. 6. Reader! whilst you will not hesitate to admit the wisdom of making the pursuit of religion an object of the first importance, examine yourself, whether

you do not stand condemned of negligence in this high concern. Instead of inquiring after your Maker, from whom you have deeply revolted, and seeking to regain the seat in heaven which lost, do you not suffer yourself to be engaged about the merest trifles of time-about objects which are lighter than vanity, from which you must soon be for ever separated ? Your indifference is highly culpable ; for your are letting slip the precious opportunity afforded you, of gaining the unsearchable riches of Christ. Death is hastening on, and you are unprepared. Reflect on your deplorablestate. Alienated from God, to whom you are an enemy by wicked works, unfit to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, what will become of you, if you die in the same ignorance, and unbelief, and eninity to God, in which you have lived ? Why, you must perish for

Oh, awake! and pray for repentance, that you may love God, and regain his favour.

7. But are you one of those who are inquiring " the way to Zion with their faces thitherward. Do you sincerely desire to know Jesus Christ, who is the “way, the truth, and the life";" the way to God, and everlasting happiness? Do you say, from the bottom of your heart," Oh that I knew where I might find Him ! that I might come even unto his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments'.” If this be the wish of your soul, then you have abundant encouragernent from the Saviour to advance still further in the knowledge of God. The promises of

Jer. 1.4-5. h John xiv. 6. Job xxiii. 36.

ever.

assistance which he has left on record, should incline you to go forward in the way in which you have set out. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” His treatinent of the Syrophenician womank evidently proves, that however long he may think fit to exercise our faith and patience, he will not send us empty away, if we earnestly implore his benediction.

Consider, then, ye who are truly seeking after God, the advantageous ground which you occupy. That conviction which you have of your sinfulness, ignorance, wants, and danger; and that desire which you feel to return to the way of righteousness; is indeed a work of the Holy Spirit, which he will carry on and complete, if you encourage his gracious influences. He has already taught you the evil of your hearts, in order to prepare you for the reception of his sanctifying grace, whereby you may acquire that “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord'.” In proportion as you act conformably to the teaching of the Spirit, you will constantly improve in wisdom, truth, and goodness ; your faith in Christ will be confirmed; your hopes brightened; your love increased; and your progress, in every Christian virtue, will be visible to all men.

Be diligent in the use of appointeil means; such as, prayer, reading the Scriptures, and attendance on ordinances; which, through the Divine blessing, nourish in our souls the life of faith and righteousness.

Remember, that religion has its beginning, progress, and perfection. The little you know already concerning it, should excite in you an earnest desire to be better acquainted with its nature, design, and tendency. It has blessings to communicate beyond *John vii.17. Mat. xv. 22–29: 'Heb. xii. 14. Hosea vi. 3. all estimation-peace for the troubled, joy for the Borrowful, and complete happiness for the wretched soul.

If you want an antidote for the miseries of life, you will find it in the faith and consolations of the Gospel; which opens to the view of the sincere Christian, a state of rest and satisfaction in heaven, where God “shall wipe away all tears froin his eyes"."

Il Rev. vii. 14-17.

LECTURE LXII.

Mark vüi. 34. Whosoever will come after me, let him deny him

self, and take up his cross, and follow me.

ON THE NATURE AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN

LIFE.

In order to conduct an enterprise with success, it is as requisite to provide against difficulties that may defeat our plans, as to contemplate the advantages which may result from our efforts. A foresight and knowledge of the one will preserve us from rashness and false security; and a view of the other will stimulate us to persevere, under the greatest discouragements, in the hope of realizing the object we are seeking to obtain.

So, in prosecuting the Christian life, it will be prudent to expect pains, as well as pleasures; trials, as well as comforts and privileges. It is true that, simply considered, “ Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace *;" yet it is equally certain, that, in adhering closely to her holy dictates, “we inust suffer persecution.' Our Great Master, who fully understands the · Prov. iii. 13-19.

• 2 Tim. iii. 12.

nature of his spiritual kingdom on earth, prepares his followers for that kind of treatment which will require the exercise of patience, when he affirms,“In the world ye shall have tribulation ; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world"." Yet,upon a just comparison, it will be evident that the inconveniences attending a sincere profession of godliness in this life are as nothing, in respect of the glorious reward which awaits the devoted servants of Jehovah in that which is to come. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in usd.” ".For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

From these statements of Christ and his Apostle, we learn, that it is expedient for those who would becoine Christians indeed, and obtain the blessing of their divine Master, to sit down, and count the cost, in order that they may be disposed to bear the cross patiently; and to submit, with cheerfulness, to any sacrifices which an unshaken attachment to Christ may demand. Our Lord requires this testimony of affection from his disciples, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

The very similitudes used by the holy Penmen, in describing the nature and requisitions of the Christian life, should prepare those who engage in it, to expect that they will have to encounter dangers before they can receive its everlasting recompence“.

• John xvi. 33. * Rom. vii. 18. • 2 Cor. iv, 17, 18. Mark viii. 34. # Gal. vi. 9.

« ForrigeFortsæt »