« ForrigeFortsæt »
THE WHOLE OF RELIGION.
to all, and omit none. “If ye know tnese things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Our obedience should be constant. As God does not forget us, we should not forget Him. As He gives us daily bread, we should give Him daily gratitude and obedience. Were God to withdraw His kindness from us, we would perish in a moment; and shall we withdraw our allegiance and obedience from Him? David held fast the everlasting covenant till he died. Simeon waited and persevered, till he got the Promised Child in his arms. Paul pursued his labours in the gospel, till he finished his course with joy. And shall not we imitate such noble examples ?
The importance of religion to man—“For this is the whole of man. The word “duty” is not in the original, and it is better to omit it. To fear God and keep His commandments, is the whole we need to know. Doctrine and duty, principles and practice, faith and works, religion in the heart, and religion in the life, are all here. The whole matter is summed up in one short sentence. How plain! how explicit! how comprehensive! This is the whole we need to do. It is the rule of our hearts, and the rule of our live; and we ought to attend to this great rule in early life and without delay. This is the whole we need in order to be happy. The fear of the Lord brings “ riches and honour,” “prolongeth days," " is a fountain of life,” and “tendeth to life.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT ASKED.
“ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your chil.
dren, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"-Luke xi. 13,
OUR Great Teacher here instructs us how we may obtain the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit. These influences sought and enjoyed are the germ of religion, and the spring of human happiness. Here we have an invaluable privilege, a necessary duty, and an encouraging argument.
An invaluable privilege—“The Father shall give the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit is a person distinct from the Father and the Son. He is a divine Person, and the proofs of His divinity are abundant in Scripture. Ananias and his wife lied unto the Holy Ghost, and when they did so, they lied not unto man, but unto God. He inspired prophets and apostles to speak and write the Holy Scriptures. “ Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” He is the author of all good in the soul, the source of light, and life, and blessedness. We are saved “by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
We “ abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.” By Him the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by Him we walk in comfort, and
THE HOLY SPIRIT ASKED.
by Him we are sanctified. We are strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man ; He witnesses with our spirits that we are the children of God; and all our gifts and graces are the fruits of the Spirit.
A necessary duty—The Spirit is given “ to them that ask Him.” If gifts and blessings are worth the having, they must be asked. We must ask the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ ; for only through His mediation can His influences be enjoyed. God is the fountain of life, Christ is the channel, and the Spirit's influences are the streams, and if we would be refreshed, we must ask through Christ. We must ask in faith, nothing wavering. Like Abraham, we must not stagger at the promise of God, but be strong in faith, giving glory to Him. We must ask sincerely. Feeling our great deadness, and our great need of spiritual life, we must be in earnest, and cry from the depths of our hearts for quickening grace. We must ask importunately. Like the borrower who went to his friend at midnight and said, “Lend me three loaves," though refused once, we must plead again, and plead till we obtain. Let us beware of formality, and catch, if possible, the spirit of prayer. “ When I was a nominal Christian," says one, “I used to pray to my family ; if any strangers were present, I prayed to them ; when I was alone I prayed to myself; but since I have
felt the need of the Holy Spirit, since I have been renewed by divine grace, in all my prayers, I pray to God.” “ Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you."
An encouraging argument- “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more?” All are naturally evil. Our hearts are evil, our words are evil, and our actions are evil. We are ignorant of God, we are selfish and stubborn, we are unbelieving and unfruitful, but then, thus evil, we have natural affection. We love our children, we love our parents, and we love our friends. We know what would be pleasing and profitable to them, we know what is for their good, and we exert ourselves, and spare neither time, labour, nor expense to provide for them good gifts. We give them food, we give them clothing, we give them education, and endeavour to fit them for the business and duties of life. In like manner our Father in heaven knows our weakness, our frailty, and our need, and He is ready to supply us, and much more ready than any earthly parent to supply his children. Having given us His Son, He is ready to give, through that Son, the Holy Spirit “ to them that ask Him.” If, then, we have not this necessary Almighty agent, it is because we ask not, or because we ask amiss.
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION.
“ But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we
shall be saved."-Acts xv. ll.
JEWISH rites and ceremonies were not to be imposed on Christians, for the way of salvation was the same for Gentiles as well as Jews. The apostles of Christ and Gentile converts were alike saved by grace without works. Here we have salvation, its nature-salvation, its source- and salvation, its assurance.
Salvation, its nature—“We shall be saved." Think of its deliverances. It finds us guilty and worthy of punishment, and it delivers us from guilt. It finds us in love with sin, and it makes us loathe ourselves and love holiness. It finds us under the dominion of sin, and the willing slaves of Satan, and it rescues us from his tyranny. It finds us exposed to all the consequences of sin; wrath, curse, hell, and interposes its Almighty arms, and plucks us as brands from the burning. Think of its enjoyments. Salvation brings us the pardon of all our sins, pardon free, complete, and irrevocable. “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” It brings us peace of mind, peace within, peace from above, and peace all around. “ Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It brings