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therefore, will often reap obloquy be the Gospel, then, in his opposition to cause he chooses to forego unjust and their wishes, they may think it right improper ease ; yet even here an af- to forbear from serving him, as a profectionate faith is strong also to con- per punishment for such foolish, selfquer.
willed, and mischievous fanaticism. He Occasionally a Christian is so situat- may lose a fortune he may be obliged ed that he must displease, not only by to surrender an employment—he may being himself faithful to duty, but also alienate a patron, yet if faith be strong, by obliging others to be faithful too. he can bear that too. Instances of In a place of trust he is responsible such patient endurance are not want. for the conduct of others, and he must ing up to the present hour; nor make them often perform unpalatable have those who have adhered to duty, duties. Where this is only a matter at such a cost, ever repented it, unin which he manifests justice to those less sad declension has first lessened who have placed him in a situation of their gratitude by impairing their trust, the esteem of his employer may faith. counterbalance the odium which he Now, it is much, when a believer is has gained from others; but where enabled, through an affectionate sense the rights of God are in question, and of the glory of Christ, to meet such not those of man, with no human difficulties, as those I have mentioned ; gratitude to relieve his unpopularity, but the greatest are those which he he must look for merciless criticism, meets in subduing his own mind to if not unjust imputations. Accused Christ. Evil dispositions, which the of severity to others, he will be nicely first discovery of the love of Christ watched himself, and may often bear seemed to charm into inaction, begin the charge of criminality, as Joseph to appear and gain their original dodid in Egypt, only because grace has minion ; and here, an affectionate made him above being criminal. This faith displays all its powers. He it will be hard to bear, and harder is tempted, perhaps constitutionally, still to choose before-hand to bear it, to sloth-he is tempted to sloth in yet affectionate faith can endure even business, but shall he bring disgrace that.
on his profession, and forego the inPerhaps, however, a believer may fuence with which industry would be called to do more. His present in- furnish him to honour Christ? Shall terests are often placed, by God's over the world say his views of Christ have ruling providence, in the hands of other unfitted him to discharge the ordinary persons; and if those on whom he duties of life, and made him useless in depends are they who wish him to as the world? Gratitude forbids it; and sociate with them in habits which he he, through faith, triumphs over that knows to be wrong—to join in public constitutional tendency, becomes more amusements—to relinguish the means punctual, faithful, and diligent than he of grace-to renounce the doctrines of ever was before.
(To be continued.)
London: Published for the Proprietors, by T.GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand;
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SERMON BY THE REV. B. NOEL.
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 1831.
(The Rev. B. Noel's Sermon concluded.) He is tempted, perhaps, to sloth tendency to the acquirement of power in devotion, but he knows it will im- or gain, to accumulate business on his pair all his graces, that it will hin- hands till he has no leisure left for der communion with Christ, that it meditation, for prayer or for benevowill take away his spiritual strength ; lentexertion to do good to others. Here, and the declension that would ensue, again, an affectionate faith in the Lord is so intolerable to his mind, that in Jesus Christ will rescue him from his order to avoid it, he is resolute in danger. He cannot bear to forget Christ maintaining diligence. He may be -he cannot bear to lose his presence tempted to sloth in other things, but he would not hinder his spiritual zealhe knows a vacant mind affords easy he would not lessen his reward in heaven entrance to Satan. He knows he has -he would not injure others by his exmuch to do, and little time to do it in ; ample-he would not make the world and this makes him, in every thing, di- think that there is no difference or little ligent, and he girds up the loins of his between unbelief and faith, between the mind that he may advance on his way reception of Christ and the rejection of to heaven.
him-he would not for worlds deliAgain, a believer may have an ex- berately injure the cause of his Saviour, cessive love for amusement and plea- he therefore stirs himself up to more sure, perhaps fostered much for want spirituality of mind and more devotedof mental discipline in his earlier years. ness of conduct, and, in that struggle, This may tempt him to seek amuse- faith working by love, renders him ments which are not in themselves de successful. But most of all, he has to sirable, and forgetting that the legiti- struggle with more subtle and more mate end of amusement is to refit the obstinate sins; he has to contend with wearied mind for duty, he may be pride, and with what, for want of a stow too much time and thought and better term, I must call self-seeking, by pains in the acquisition of them. But which I mean a disposition perpetually love to Christ shows him that this is to seek his own glory. These dispounworthy a disciple of Christ, and sitions are the more difficult to eradi. this must lead him to fill up his cate, because they can exist when all thoughts and his time with such se- open sins have been renounced, when rious pursuits as leave behind them all the means of religion are diligently some fruit for Eternity, and in the ac- used, and there is much žeal and apquiring of them, to onour his Lord. parent progress in grace. He loves Christ too well to continue Indeed there is scarcely any thing frivolous or injuriously self-indulgent. which may not cherish these disposi.
Again, a believer may feel a strong tions, absurd and immensely wicked as
they are. All advantages we possess, from whom they spring, and so to abnatural or acquired, external or essen- hor the pride and the self-seeking that tial to us, those of nature and those alienates him from so much goodness. even of grace, may make us proud. We I may mention only one more inmay be proud of our knowledge of stance, in which faith, working in the Scripture, we may be proud of our believer by love, enables him to sur. views of God, we may be proud of our mount evil. It is when it makes him self-knowledge or of our discernment not only to mortify those things which of the characters of others. The per- are positively sinful, but guard against formance of our duties may make us temptation too. There are many things proud, and so may our resistance of which, in themselves, are not sinful, sin. We may be proud of our Chris- which yet, so generally lead to sin, that tian experience and our usefulness; a Christian cannot safely indulge in our very confession of guilt may make them. Now, while we have a proud us proud. We may be proud of our self-confidence, and, therefore, think contrition, yea, pride can nourish itself that we can easily surmount temptaeven on humility. But wherever pride tion, we shall not avoid such things ; is, there it impels the soul irresistibly or while we yet but a little dislike the to seek its own glory, and where pride sin, and therefore do not dread the and self-seeking are, there, we cannot occasion of falling into it, we shall seek simply the glory of God, but in- yield to such things; or, while we are yet stead of seeking the glory of God in too light-minded or too light-hearted what we do, we seek, idolatrously, our to reflect on our conduct, we shall not own glory. These are dispositions avoid them ; but the Christian who which spoil perhaps the whole of an has discovered, who has known the exemplary course, and turn that which goodness and glory of the Lord, has appears most fair before men into an
so learnt to dislike the sin which abomination in the sight of God. brought Christ to suffer, and that
This the Christian knows well, and, which it is in Christ's heart to morknowing it, he dreads the domination tify in him, that he dare not plunge of these wicked dispositions, and dread-into temptation ; consequently, whating, he longs to forsake them; but it is ever he knows, by experience, does bepassing strange how obstinately they tray him into sin, even though it be in may resist all efforts to subdue them, itself innocent, by steady self-denial, what wounds they may survive, what he will avoid. What I said with relong and immense exertions they may spect to pride is eminently true of seem to laugh to scorn; yet faith, temptation too, that it is not till after working by love here, in its longest many falls he will learn thoroughly and severest battle, can make the the sad lesson of his own weakness, Christian more than conqueror. By and thoroughly, therefore, dread tempslow and painful degrees, perhaps, and tation ; but, even in this early stage of yet progressively, it does master pride, his progress, the love he bears to Christ, and brings down the haughtiness of and the consequent dislike he has to the soul which would once not bow to sin, will be a substitute for experience, God; and although it is true, that he and give him a sort of instinctive dread will not yet, till he has had repeated of those things which made him to falls to bring down that pride, learn offend his gracious Lord. how essentially mean it is ; still faith, In all these particulars then, faith, and love, and hope, will lead him more working by love, makes the believer and more to depend on the Saviour
more than conqueror. We have seen,
even these few instances are enough but superficial, the working of the na. to show us, how severe the opposi. tural mind. Is there any one here tion is from without, and from within, that would find a sure road to heaven, which the servant of Christ must ex- and if possible avoid the difficulties pect to meet in winning the arduous which a honest and consistent profesway to heaven; but we have seen, too, sion of Christ must entail on him ? the principle on which all that oppo. That is another symptom scarcely less sition may be surmounted, and that is fatal, that as yet, you have known noa lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. thing of your Saviour. Faith working
In applying, as doubtless we all by love will make you meet those difmust, if we would profit by such con- ficulties which God, in his all-wise siderations, the subject to our own providence, has allotted to try us all. case, my Christian friends, let us not | It is a part of that which is essential think it is our lot to float down with a to our well-being; and the temper in current of favourable circumstances to which we should survey our prospects the haven of eternal rest. Do not let us is this, that God our Father in heaven, think that it will be ours to go down infinitely wise and powerful as he is, the course of life as though we had no- who could sweep away with one omnithing to do but to gaze on the glowing potent volition all the difficulties which beauties of the heaven above, or heed- we have to meet, has determined for lessly to inhale the fragrance of the our good, and not through his own flowers that grow on the margin around weakness, that these difficulties must us. No, the current is not with us be met. They should be met, then, but against us; and if we would win cheerfully; we should gird up the our way to heaven, it must be by stre- loins of our mind to meet them, and feel nuous and by prolonged exertions. Let that they are a part of our appointed us make up our mind to meet the op- lot. We should meet them cheerfully, position, which assuredly we must because we know the sources from suffer, if we would successfully prose- whence we may derive sufficient cute our journey to a better world. strength to become more than con
All the opposition I have described querors over them all. we must meet, perhaps, more than all Where, then, does the Christian's will fall to the share of some of those strength lie? It lies in this alone-in believers whom I address ; but if I believing experimental views of the address any one who has discovered at Lord Jesus Christ. If we obtain those length the glory of the Lord Jesus views of our blessed Saviour, which Christ, and is now able to glory in are offered to us all, we may obtain a him as a Saviour that exactly suits his principle and power to resist all the wants, I beseech my Christian bro- difficulties in our way; but this is abther to prepare his mind for all those solutely essential. To know Christ, difficulties in his road to heaven that then, is the great lesson of our lives, he must assuredly meet. On, let him to know him more and more is the not so flatter himself that these dif- single and grand lesson which every ficulties may take him unawares, and soul among us must desire on our way he shrink from them when they come. to heaven. For this, and this alone, Is there any one here who, because St. Paul counted all things but loss there are such difficulties in his way, that he might be accounted of Him. is disposed to turn back again ? That This, and this alone, was that which were a sad symptom that every reli- seemed to him to sum up all other gious feeling you ever had was nothing blessings in himself. What was so inexpressibly precious to St. Paul, and Oh! my brethren, is there any obis most precious to each believer in ject, I beseech you to consider, that exact proportion to his experience of you can attain by any exertions, that it, must be set before us all, as the can so reward your pains as to make it grand thing we have to aim at in our worth your while to lose this increase desires, our exertions, and our prayers. in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Can To know the glory of Christ, the ma- you so deliberately propose to yourself jesty of Christ, the power of Christ, a course of life in which you shall not the faithfulness and truth of Christ, know more and more of the love to know his holiness—to know more which passeth knowledge? Was it for and more of his tender compassion to this our blessed Redeemer died? Was it sinners—to observe his wise and mer- for this he rose again to glory? Is it for ciful dealings with his people-to this he exerts his power and his omsurvey the promises he has given, and nipotence daily to do you good ? Does the means by which he accomplishes he watch you, and bless all your exerthem-to know how he loves us—to tions? Has he placed you in a state experience, in our own hearts, the height of happiness, surrounded you with and depta, and length and breadth of mercies, given you the children that that love which passeth knowledge you love, the wife that you cherish, this is the business of each one who the husband that you value? Has would call himself a Christian-this is he given you your homes? Has he the grand spiritual discovery, after given you your health ? Has he given which each of us must aim. For this you your faculties?
Does he conno exertions are too great, it will infi- tinue them all? Is he inexpressibly nitely more than repay every effort that glorious ? Is Christ really so good, we can make for it.
so true, so holy, so eternally to be And when I call you, my Christian adhered to, that you can choose to friends, most seriously to make that forget him, that you can choose to effort, are there objections arising in take the petty things of a day, and your minds which efface so rapidly engross your mind from the beginning every impression now formed on them? of the week to its close with these and does it come into your mind, I little things ? Never did Christ dehave my own necessary affairs to en- mand from you that which is incomgross me, and from the beginning of patible with your soul's blessedness, but the week to its close I must labour he does ask that you should give him hard, and labour to exhaustion, that I some of your best thoughts and some may secure the great objects of life? of your best hours ; and that you feel Politics, philosophy, merchandise, re- with St. Paul, to have no other end searches of science, manual labour, in view but to know and love Christ. and whatever else may employ men in Oh, let not secondary thoughts oco the thousand modes in which human cupy you! I am sure, my brethren, beings are labouring in this world, there is not one so busy among you, these so engross and exhaust my powers not one so necessarily engrossed in that I have no time left for a serious difficult and most important affairs, endeavour to penetrate deeper and but that he may, if he will, find time to deeper into the mystery of redeeming solace his weary spirit, to refresh his love. Does a feeling of this sort dwell exhausted mind by this best and most in the mind of any one here who calls delightful knowledge. Oh, if you have himself a Christian, who is a believer tasted you cannot do without it-you indeed ?
cannot consent, whatever be the cir.