Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

power of sin; and in heaven there shall be found no tempter and no temptation,-nothing that defileth, and nothing that is defiled. We are delivered from the ills and calamities of life; and in heaven, all tears shall be wiped from the eye, and all sorrows banished from the heart,—there shall be no decaying health, and there shall be unbroken rest, and there shall be songs of unmingled gladness. We are delivered from the power and fear of death; the saints shall dwell in that sinless and unsuffering land, as the redeemed of Him who “ was dead and is alive again, and liveth for evermore.” All things are theirs; theirs is the unfading crown, theirs is the incorruptible inheritance, theirs is the kingdom that cannot be moved, theirs is the blessedness and the glories of eternity.-Chalmers.

LESSON IV.

SIN.

Sin is the known violation of God's law, and to which man in a state of nature is prone. To sin is to resist the inward conviction of what is right, and to act contrary to it; to cherish feelings contrary or in opposition to the dictates of conscience, to withhold from God the reverence and gratitude we owe him ; to yield our senses and bodily powers which he has given us for good, to purposes of evil, and to prefer our present enjoyment to our final well-being :-in a word, to act as if God was not within us, and took no cognizance of our affairs, and had no reward or punishment for us hereafter.

The Scripture represents sin to us in such striking forms, that we can never mistake it, or be in ignorance concerning it. It indeed opens with no logical definition of it. It does more ; it shows it to us in act, and with the act also shadows forth the remedy. Temptation, sin, and death strike our minds from the first, and throughout the whole

of scripture. Sin is associated with inward wretchedness or sensible retribution ; with mental, moral, and spiritual debasement. As a most intolerable bondage, grievous to be borne; as a defilement by which the temple of the Holy Ghost is defiled ; as an inward rottenness-a plague spot on the heart; a leprosy; a poison; a withering moral miasma whose breath is a destroying and deadly pestilence, proceeding from the common enemy of man.

And such is sin. In this life man is subject to calamity, disease, the world's scorn, oppression, neglect; but all the shocks that flesh is heir to come not near to the groanings of a wounded spirit.

Wrongs may be borne, and Sorrow's eyes be dried ;
The lowliest poverty be gilded yet;
The neck of airless, pale imprisonment
Be lightened of its chains-For all the ills
That chance or nature lays upon our heads,
In chance or nature there is found a cure.
But sin's abasement is beyond all cure;
The brand is there burned in the living heart,
That bears its mark beyond the grave. The mind
Becomes a suicide for which there is
No after-hope, no pardon—in itself.

Within our outward, apparent organization exists another more delicate, more sensible, to which the first is merely as a sheath. To this the Scriptures give the name of soul, and teach that when the natural body shall be turned to dust, the spiritual body shall partake of immortality. Now nothing can hurt this inward and spiritual part of us but sin. It has been ordained that that delicate part of our organization on which sensibility, pain, and pleasure depend, should be peculiarly alive to the touch of moral evil. Now as that part of us is imperishable and cannot die, we may be assured that the stains and disfigurements it takes, will not die also, but will attend the soul in its future state of existence, and darken our future being, and be a consuming fire and an undying worm.

It is true there is a remedy for sin, but that remedy is with the cessation of the evil. Christ died, not to save us in sin, but from it; not merely from the penalties, but from its workings within us. And this is the test by which we know that we are partakers of his sacrifice and death. When his spirit dwells within us, we become purified, exalted, and cleansed from this inward defilement. And without this manifestation of Christ's love, we are dead in sin, and can have no reasonable assurance of everlasting life.-W. M.

LESSON V. ON THE DEATH AND SACRIFICE OF CHRIST. Father! the hour is come. What hour? An hour the most critical, the most pregnant with great events, since hours had begun to be numbered, since time had begun to run. It was the hour in which the Son of God was to terminate the labours of his important life, by a death still more important and illustrious; the hour of atoning by his sufferings for the guilt of mankind : the hour of accomplishing prophecies, types, and symbols, which had been carried on through a series of ages: the hour of concluding the old and introducing to the world the new dispensation of religion; the hour of his triumphing over the world, and death, and hell: the hour of his erecting that spiritual kingdom which was to last for ever. This was the hour in which Christ atoned for the sins of mankind, and accomplished our eternal redemption. It was the hour when the great sacrifice was offered up, the efficacy of which reaches back to the first transgression of man, and extends forward to the end of time; the hour when, from the cross, as from an

high altar, that blood was flowing which washed away the guilt of nations. This awful dispensation of the Almighty contains mysteries which are beyond the discovery of man. It is one of those things into which angels desire to look. What has been revealed to us is, that the death of Christ was the interposition of heaven, for preventing the ruin of mankind. We know that under the government of God, misery is the natural consequence of guilt. After rational creatures had, by their criminal conduct, introduced disorder into the divine kingdom, there was no ground to believe that, by prayers and penitence alone, they could prevent the destruction which threatened them, and the prevalence of propitiatory sacrifices throughout the earth proclaims it to be the general sense of mankind, that mere repentance is not of sufficient avail to expiate sin, or to stop its penal effects. By the constant allusions which are carried on in the New Testament to the sacrifices under the law as pre-signifying a great atonement made by Christ, and by the strong expressions which are used in describing the effects of his death, the sacred writers show, as plainly as language allows, that there was an efficacy in his sufferings far beyond that of mere example and instruction. Part we are capable of beholding; and the wisdom of what we behold we have reason to adore. We discern in this place of redemption, the evil of sin strongly exhibited, and the justice of the divine government awfully exemplified, in Christ suffering for sinners. But let us not imagine that our present discoveries unfold the whole influence of the death of Christ. It is connected with causes into which we cannot penetrate. It produces consequences too extensive for us to explore. God's thoughts are not as our thoughts. In all things we see only in part; and here, if anywhere, we see only through a glass darkly. This, however, is fully manifest, that redemption is one of the most glorious works of the Almighty. If the hour of the creation of the world was great and illustrious, that hour when, from

the dark and formless mass, this fair system of nature arose at the divine command, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy; no less illustrious is the hour of the restoration of the world, the hour when, from condemnation and misery, it emerged into happiness and peace. With less external majesty it was attended, but is on that account the more wonderful, that, under an appearance so simple, such great events were covered.-Blair.

LESSON VI.

THE TEACHING AND CHARACTER OF JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS CHRIST appears among men, full of grace and truth; the authority and the mildness of his precepts are irresistible. He comes to heal the most unhappy of mortals, and all his wonders are for the wretched. In order to inculcate his doctrines, he chooses the apologue or parable, which is easily impressed on the minds of the people. While walking in the fields he gives his divine lessons. When surveying the flowers that adorn the mead, he exhorts his disciples to put their trust in Providence, who supports the feeble plants, and feeds the birds of the air ; when he beholds the fruits of the earth, he teaches them to judge of men by their works; an infant is brought to him, and he recommends innocence; being among shepherds, he gives himself the appellation of the good shepherd, and represents himself as bringing back the lost sheep to the fold. In spring he takes his seat upon a mountain, and draws from the surrounding objects instruction for the multitude sitting at his feet. From the very sight of this multitude, composed of the poor and the unfortunate, he deduces his beatitudes : Blessed are they that weep-blessed are they that hunger and thirst. Such as observe his pre

« AnteriorContinuar »