Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

their own worldly affections. He may awaken them to the need of a Saviour. He may urge them to a faithful and submissive perusal of God's own communication. He may thence press upon them the truth and the immutability of their Sovereign. He may work in their hearts an impression of this emphatic saying, that God is not to be mocked-that his law must be upheld in all the significancy of its proclamations and that either its severities must be discharged upon the guilty, or in some other way an adequate provision be found for its outraged dig. nity, and its violated sanctions. Thus may he lead them to flee for refuge to the blood of the atonement. And he may further urge upon his hearers, how, such is the enormity of sin, that it is not enough to bave found an expiation for it; how its power and its existence must be eradicated from the hearts of all, who are to spend their eternity in the mansions of the celestial ; how, for this purpose, an expedient is made known to us in the New Testament ; how a process must be described upon earth, to which there is given the appropriate name of sanctification ; how, at the very commencement of every true course of discipleship, this process is entered upon with a pur. pose in the mind of forsaking all; how nothing short of a single devotedness to the will of God, will ever carry us forward through the successive stages of this holy and elevated career; how, to help the infirmities of our nature, the Spirit is ever in readiness to be given to those who ask it ; and that thus the life of every Christian becomes a life of entire dedication to Him who died for us a life of prayer, and vigilance, and close dependance on the grad

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of God; and, as the infallible result of the plain but powerful and peculiar teaching of the Bible, a life of vigorous unwearied activity in the doing of all the commandments.

Now, this I would call the essential business of Christianity. This is the truth as it is in Jesus, in its naked and upassociated simplicity. In the work of urging it, nothing

more might have been done, than to present certain views, which may come with as great clearness, and freshness, and take as full possession of the mind of a peasant, as of the mind of a philosopher. There is a sense of God, and of the rightful allegiance that is due to him. There are plain and practical appeals to the conscience. There

is a comparison of the state of the heart, with the ' 2 requirements of a law which proposes to take the

heart under its obedience. There is the inward diseernment of its coldness about God; of its unconcern about the matters of duty and of eternity; of its devotion to the forbidden objects of sense; of its constant tendency to nourish within its own receptacles, the very element and principle of rebellion, and in virtue of this, to send forth the stream of an hourly and accumulating disobedience over those doings of the outer man, which make up bis visible history in the world. There is such an earnest and overpowering

impression of all this, as will fix a man down to the po their single object of deliverance; as will make him awake

only to those realities which have a significant and substantial bearing on the case that engrosses him ; as will teach him to nauseate all the impertinences of

tasteful and ambitious description; as will attach him of pre

to the truth in its simplicity; as will fasten bis every thes VOL. I.

31

[ocr errors]

ansion

[ocr errors]

ion:

COUN

with a

hings'

stage

[ocr errors]

tired

regard upon the Bible, where, if he persevere in tlie work of honest inquiry, he will soon be made to perceive the accordancy between its statements, and all those movements of fear, or guilt, or deeply-felt necessity, or conscious darkness, stupidity, and un.concern about the matters of salvation, which pass within his own bosom ; in a word, as will endear him to that plainness of speech, by which his own experience is set evidently before bim, and that plain phraseology of scripture, which is best fitted to bring home to him the doctrine of redemption, in all the truth, and in all the precious ness of its applications.

Now, the whole of this work may be going on, and that too in the wisest and most effectual manner, without so much as one particle of incense being offered to any of the subordinate principles of the human constitution, There may be no fascinations of style. There may be no magnificence of description. There may be no poignancy of acute and irresistible argument. There may be a riyetted attention on the part of those whom the Spirit of God hath awakened to seriousness about the plain and affecting realities of conversion. Their conscience may be stricken, and their appetite be excited for an actual settlement of mind on those points about which they feel restless and unconfirmed. Such as these are vastly too much engrossed with the exigencics of their condition, to be repelled by the homeliness of unadorned truth. And thus it is, that while the loveliness of the song has done so little in helping on the influences of the gospel, our men of simplicity and prayer have done so much for it. With a deep and earnest impression of the truth themselves, they have made manifest

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

that truth to the consciences of others. Missionaries
have gone forth with no other preparation than the
simple Word of the Testimony and thousands have
owned its power, by being both the hearers of the
word and the doers of it also. They have given us
the experiment in a state of unmingled simplicity ;
and we learn, from the success of their noble exam-
ple, that without any one human expedient to charm
the ear, the heart may, by the naked instrumentality
of the Word of God, urged with plainness on those
who feel its deceit and its worthlessness, be charmed
to an entire acquiescence in the revealed way of God,
and have impressed upon it the genuine stamp and
character of godliness.

Could the sense of what is due to God, be effectu-
ally stirred up within the human bosom, it would
lead to a practical carrying of all the lessons of Chris-
tianity. Now, to awaken this moral sense, there are
certain simple relations between the creature and the
Creator, which must be clearly apprehended, and
minifested with power unto the conscience.
believe, that however much philosophers may talk
about the comparative ease of forming those concep-
tions which are simple, they will, if in good earnest
after a right footing with God, soon discover in their
own minds, all that darkness and incapacity about
spiritual things, which are so broadly announced to
us in the New Testament. And, oh! it is a deeply
interesting spectacle, to behold a man, who can take
a masterly and commanding survey over the field of
some human speculation, who can clear his discri-
minated way through all the turns and ingenuities of
some human argument, who by the march of a mighty

We

and resistless demonstration, can scale with assured footstep the sublimities of science, and from his firm stand on the eminence he has won, can descry some wondrous range of natural or intellectual truth spread out in subordination before him :-- and yet this very man may, in reference to the moral and authoritative claims of the Godhead, be in a state of utter apathy and blindness! All his attempts, either at the spiritual discernment, or the practical impression of this doctrine, may be arrested and baffled by the weight of some great inexplicable impotency. A man of homely talents, and still homelier education, may see what he cannot see, and feel what he cannot feel ; and wise and prudent as he is, there may lie the barrier of an obstinate and impenetrable conceal. ment, between his accomplished mind, and those things which are revealed unto babes.

But while his mind is thus utterly devoid of what may be called the main or elemental principle of theology, he may have a far quicker apprehension, and have his taste and his feelings much more powerfully interested, than the simple Christian who is beside him, by what may be called the circumstantials of theology. He can throw a wider and more rapid glance over the magnitudes of creation. He can be more delicately alive to the beauties and the sublimities which abound in it. He can, when the idea of a presiding God is suggested to him, have a more kindling sense of his natural majesty, and be able, both in imagination and in words, to surround the throne of the Divinity by the blazonry of more great, and splendid, and elevating images. And yet, with all those powers of conception which he does possess,

« ForrigeFortsæt »