Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and if he takes his talents, and uses them for any other purpose, he is guilty of facrilege. · The second is derived from their perSONAL RENOVATION. The instruments under the law were only holy by appropriation; no change passed upon them; no change was necessary. It is otherwise with us; for since God finds us in a state wholly unsuited to his service, we must be “ made meet for the great Master's « use.” Hence regeneration is necessary, by which we are “ renewed in the spirit of our minds,” and “made “partakers of the divine nature.” God may call an angel into his presence, and immediately employ him without a change ; he will love the command, and be equal to the work. But does he determine to employ in his service an unregenerate finner? He is unqualified; he has neither ability nor inclination; and is destitute of the spirituality which the work of God requires. Hence the promise, “ a new heart also will I give you, " and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take “ away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give “ you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within “ you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye « shall keep my judgments, and do them.” And with this agrees the declaration of the apostle : “ we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus “ unto good works, which God has before ordained “ that we should walk in them.” View him then as he comes from the hands of his new Creator. There is nothing by which he is so much distinguished, as an unconquerable concern for holiness. . What does he love ? -" I delight in the law of God, after the inner “ man.” What is his grief?“ O wretched man

. [SER. II. « that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this 6 death ?” What is his prayer ?-“Create in me a clean “ heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” What is his hope ? That he “ shall be like Him, and “ fee Him as he is : and having this hope in him, he “ purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” Holiness is the gospel embodied. The faint exhibits it alive. The gospel is holy; its Author holy ; its maxims and its commands holy ; its promises, ordinances, designs holy; and there is nothing by which it is fo much distinguished and glorified, as the holiness which pervades it. My brethren, contemplate the subject in this light more frequently, and do not include every thing else, rather than this in your notion of the gospel. Do not imagine with fome, that it was designed to furnish a substitute for holinefs ; and that it will excuse your being holy, provided you are found. The grand thing it is intended to teach you is, “ that denying all " ungodliness and worldly lust, you should live soberly, 6 righteously, and godly in this present world.” And remember this important truth, that christians are called by the gospel to be saints ; that you are christians only in proportion as you are saints; and that you are no further faints than you are “ holy in all, 6 manner of conversation and godliness.” We proceed to reflect,

PART II. ON THE CONNECTION THERE IS BE

ONLY have patience. “ For the Lord seeth not as « man feeth: for man looketh on the outward appear5 ance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” In his

eftimation, principle and motive are essential to the goodness of action. A thing may be materially good, when it is not morally so. A man may give “ all his goods to feed the poor, and not have charity;" while a poor widow is held up as an example of benevolence, though she casts into the treasury but two mites. If a law were enacted against luxury and extravagance, a covetous man would be very obedient; but let his avarice, and not the law, have the honour of his obedience. Apply this to the case before us. A man may endure, and not be patient ; there may be no religious principle or motive to influence him ; it may be a careless indolence, a stupid insensibility ; mechanical bravery ; constitutional fortitude ; a dar, ing stoutness of spirit, resulting from fatalism, philofophy, or pride. Christian patience is another thing ; it is derived from a divine agency, nourished by heavenly truth, and guided by scriptural rules. Such is the patience of which we are speaking ; and as this is ONLY to be found in the subjects of true holiness, so we may observe,

Secondly, Every faint poffefses patience ; not indeed in equal degrees, " for one star differeth from “ another star in glory.” But all are stars. All are endued with this virtue. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit ; it is an essential part of the divine image restored in man. The work of God in the soul is not like a piece of statuary, where one part is finished while the reft remains in block ; but it is a creation, and imperceptible as the beginning may be, there are found all the parts which increased and developed, pro* duce, and display the maturity; all is advanced

endued with this effential part God in the soul is

together, and all is perfect as far as the operation proceeds. A christian may be defective in his organs of vision; but who would draw him without eyes? Who would describe a faint without patience ? I wish this to be remembered the more, because there are so many evangelical professors in our day, awfully deficient in this instance. Their religion has very little to do with their dispositions. They think it necessary for the judgment to be informed, and the practice to be moral ; but from one of these to the other, religion is to pass without touching the temper, which lies between. If they are converted, it seems to be from that which is human, to that which is diabolical. They are accusers of the brethren, proud, self willed, fierce, revengeful. Saints in the house of God, they are demons at home. Every trifle makes them explode. How the religion of the meek and lowly Jefus can live with them, it is impossible to determine; we know nothing else can.

Thirdly, it HIGHLY becomes saints to CULTIVATE patience. « The ornament of a meek and quiet spir« it is in the sight of God of great price.” It ennobles the possessor. Some have obtained honour by doing mischief. It has been said by a modern prelate, "one murder makes a villain, a thousand a hero.” The christian conqueror draws his glory, not from the fufferings of others, but from his own. And nothing renders his character more impressive and useful; it recommends his religion ; it carries along with it a peculiar conviction. When a christian has met with an affliction, that has led him in from the duties of his calling, deprived him of opportunities of exertion, and

confined him to the house of grief ; little has he fup-
posed, that he was approaching the most useful peri-
od of his life. But this has often been the case; and
he has rendered more service to religion by suffering,
than by doing. O, what a theatre of usefulness is even
a“ bed of languishing !” “ We are a spectacle to
“ angels;” as well as “ to the world, and to men.”
The sufferer lies open to their inspection; and the
view of him, enduring, sustained, glorying in tribula-
tion, draws forth fresh acclaniations of praise to that
God, whose grace can produce such wonderful effects :
“ Here is the patience of the saints.” But all his fel

circle of relations, friends, neighbours, who are wit-
nesses of the scene. I appeal to your feelings. When
you have seen a christian suffering in character, with
all the composure and majesty of submission; when
you have heard him softly saying, “ though I mourn,
“ I do not murmur; why should a living man com-
- plain ?” “it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth
“him good;" « his ways are judgment;" " he hath
“ done all things well ;” « I see a little of his perfec-
s tion, and adore the rest,” has not a voice addressed
you-
*

Now see the man immortal; him I mean w r u, Who lives as such ;. whose heart full bent on heaven

Leans all that way; his bias to the stars.

The world's dark shades in contrast set shall raise',"
:: His lustre more; tho' bright without a foil: i n

Observe his awful portrait and admire,
Nor stop at wonder, imitate, and love. - .' ; ".'. '

Have you not turned aside, and exclaimed, What an

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »