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it is not the persuasion of this, whe- Let me notice some of those difther it be a truth or not, that we are ficulties which a Christian, under the the favourites of God; but it is such powerful infuence of a real faith in a spiritual perception of the goodness the Lord Jesus, is enabled to wrestle and power of God to save the soul with and surinount. He is called to through Christ, as leads us heartily to maintain at once the doctrines and receive Christ, and to approve the precepts of the Gospel against the powhole method of salvation by him, to pular notions that contradict him. give ourselves to be saved by Christ in Against his views, often, the most ophis own way. The single isolated posite charges are blended together. persuasion that we are pardoned may Some will say that his doctrines sap all be false, or it may be true. If it is the foundations of morality, others that false, it will be accompanied by all his rules poison the springs of social the mischievous effects that ever attend enjoyment. Some will complain that falsehood; but a spiritual perception his rigid system cramps all the faculof the Divine glory as seen in the per- ties of the soul, others that his enson and work of Christ, such as I thusiastical cordials administer a danhave mentioned, can only bring forth gerous excitement. Some will charge an affectionate obedience and genuine him with credulity, others with a prefaith.
sumptuous dogmatism. Some willeject This disposition to obey Christ, him from society as a mischievous hypowholly to obey him, uniformly, under crite, others will exclude him from all all circumstances, and for ever, is fellowship as a silly enthusiast. Withsometimes not severely tried during out an experimental knowledge of the that delightful period of the Christian glory and goodness of Christ, the belife which follows the first full dis- liever might have his faith swept away covery of the Saviour. It may please by a torrent of invictive argument and God to reserve severer trials for a later satire; but he knows Christ, he loves period in the Christian course, when Christ, and he dares to confess Christ; grace has become more mature, and the he knows, “that with the heart man soul is strengthened to endure them. believeth unto righteousness, and with Sometimes, however, where the dis- the mouth confession is made unto covery of the love of Christ has been salvation.” Is not Christ's will to be exceedingly powerful, and has led to a maintained, whatever the opposing corresponding decision and conduct world may think of it? Are not the and profession, the Christian, now for Scriptures the revealed will of Christ? the first time assured in Christ, is often And is not his own view of Scripture led to such a boldness in the Christian a sound one? Will the opinions opcourse, as brings on him, even in the posed to his bear any serious compafirst beginning of his Christian course, rison with Scripture? If not, they a whole flood of trials. It may bring are opposed to the will of the LORD him to wrestle with numerous and va. of heaven and earth; and then to ried difficulties, and may make the yield to those opposing views would way of duty to him exceedingly hard; be infidelity to Christ, of which, if he yet in such a state of mind the vigour has a faith that works well, he will of faith, of hope, of love, and joy pre- never systematically be guilty. pares him for them all, and he proves Perhaps the believer is called to a most deeply the truth of that Scrip- new conflict with the world—perhaps ture, “ The joy of your LORD is so long as they remain inactive the your strength.”
world wlil tolerate them; but if they in
terfere with its practices they must be solicitations. In this case, though the decidedly proscribed. Now the Chris- struggle is sometimes, to a young pertian soon finds the necessity of giving son hard, faith works by love and up some popular habits and amuse
makes him more than conqueror in ments much valued in the world, and rising superior to the seductive influ. if he be young, often he must give ence of an evil world. them up against the judgment and so- This difficulty not unfrequently enlicitation of those to whose judgment tails another. His progress has dehe has been accustomed to defer. In pended much on the use of the means his altered state of mind the amuse- of grace, particularly on the use of ments themselves might be surrendered Scripture and on prayer. It may have without any sacrifice; for they are been aided by the public ministry and attended with circumstances so disa- by the conversation of Christian friends. greeable to the renewed mind, that For these two latter advantages, if he they would be given up as painful if acts properly, he will make such sacrithey were not renounced as wrong;
fices as show that he knows the value but circumstances may make it ex- of all advances in the Divine life; but ceedingly painful to relinquish them.
as to the two former he will never conTo worldly minds they do not seem sent to intermit them, they must be wrong, and may not, in fact, be inju- adhered to in compliance with the exrious. Of course, then, such persons press will of his Master. These are will think him fanciful, precise, and indispensably requisite for his safety absurdly scrupulous in terming them as well as necessary tests of his faithinjurious to himself.
At the same
fulness. To these, when tempted, time, they are not only thought young Christians have clung with a pleasant to young persons, but sub- pertinacity
and decision strongly servient to some important ends in contrasted with their former pliancy the maneuvering of life. The young of habit; but again, here faith has Christian, therefore, would have to wrought by love, and they can ven. relinquish them at the cost of se- ture to obey Christ, to serve him, and riously displeasing, perhaps, affec- to honour him, however painful the tionate relatives, from whom the conflict may be, through which that charge of obstinacy, presumption, mo- service is maintained. roseness, and even ingratitude, will be Again, sometimes in the beginning backed by a thousand plausible argu- of a decided Christian course, a believer ments in favour of such pleasures ; has to displease others more seriously, and, perhaps, some threats even urged by adhering to duty, in such a way, as against the means of grace. Still he to interfere with their interests or their will find, in fact, they injure him, and enjoyments. So much that is common injure others--they hinder prayer is wrong, and men's actions are so they promote vanity-God is forgotten intertwined with one another in soin them—they weaken all Christian ciety, that an inflexible course upon resolution—they indispose for medita- steady principle can scarcely fail to tion—they waste time, strength, and clash sometimes with the course of a money, when there are pressing claims companion who may be determined of duty on them all. He cannot ask by worldly honour or by worldly conthe blessing of God upon them—he venience, and that inflexibility of Chriscannot feel sure that they are accord- tian principle will be ever hateful, in ing to God's will—he loves Christ too proportion to the inconvenience which well to yield to the most affectionate the other feels from it. The Christian,
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;
and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.
Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.
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 deli. Again, 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 zeal and apquiring of them, to honour 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 surviews 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 weare 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 be. passing 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,