صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of iniquity. It was on this account that the apostle Paul so constantly warned the churches to whom he wrote, against false profession, and receiving the grace of God in vain. He speaks of those who hold the truth, but who hold it in unrighteousness. The Epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude, are full of warnings against false-teachers, antichrists and deceivers. The charges to the seven churches, in the book of Revelation, most awfully shew the danger of declension, of leaving our first love, of becoming lukewarm, and consequently loathsome to an infinitely holy God.

Many, it is to be feared, have the reputation of being spiritually alive, whose souls, in the sight of God, are dead to all the vital influences of the

Holy Spirit.

0! my soul, let not these solemn portions of God's sacred word be lost upon thee. Pray without ceasing for that grace, which can alone preserve thee from falling ; and through the merits of Jesus, present thee faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.

Almighty Saviour ! awaken my drowsy sense; and make me alive to my real condition. Suffer me not to neglect thy blessed Gospel ; but draw me to thyself continually, for thy grace is sufficient for

Wash me in the cleansing fountain of thy blood. Place me upon that foundation which can never be moved. Arm me for the spiritual combat; and at last make me more than conqueror, through the power of thy might and the riches of thy grace.

me.

Why should I linger here below,
When Jesus calls my heart above ?
Why, O! my soul, the bliss forego,
The joy of everlasting love ?

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

woe.

The world is full of mourning, lamentation, and

We see many dancing along in thoughtless gaiety, and sporting on the brink of perdition ; but this lightness of spirit is transient; sorrow soon darkens the glare of human happiness, and leaves the soul in sad dejection and despair.

This picture may be gloomy, yet it is true. Sin has defaced the moral excellence of man; yea, more, has converted him into whatever is base, polluted and depraved.

All his faculties and powers are now employed as weapons against his Maker; and the very plan of mercy, whereby alone he can be restored to holiness, happiness, and heaven, is opposed, neglected, or despised.

And yet, we talk of moral excellence in a fallen creature ; of goodness in a heart which is desperately wicked; of righteousness in a condemned criminal; of amiable qualities in a mind at enmity

[ocr errors]

against God; of strength in a helpless worm ; of wisdom in a soul beclouded in all its powers.

Strange inconsistency ! “ What communion hath light with darkness ?” The word of God condemns such a motley character, and pronounces a woe on that, which the world so much admires.

It is no uncommon thing to hear people talk about their good hearts and good intentions; when love to God, and a desire to please him, is an utter stranger to their breast.

These self-admiring persons consider as libellous, every attempt to tear away the mask, and to expose the native vileness of the inner man. Thus pride, vanity, self-love, and unbelief, the deadly roots from whence all mischief springs, conspire to keep us in a state of bondage, and enveloped in the mist of error.

It is quite compatible with the vanity of our fallen nature, to extol as the highest excellence, those benevolent and patriotic feelings, which often exist in a heart totally alienated from God. The Bible acknowledges no real excellence, but what arises from the regenerating work of grace upon the soul. An attentive reader of that Holy Book must be struck with the faithful delineations which it gives of the human heart. Man is there represented, as he appears in the sight of God, when divested of all his meretricious ornaments.

What we call virtues, will be found, when analyzed, to be mere selfish principles ; and human approbation to be the secret spring of many a splendid action. This disclosure is revolting to our pride. But proud man must be humbled.

The Scripture hath concluded all under sin. In this state grace at first finds the sinner. There is naturally no movement of the soul towards God; no affection for him; no trust in him; no obedience to him.

The first inclination of the heart to God, is the

sole operation of his own secret power, by such instruments or means, as he in his wisdom and sovereignty is pleased to employ.

The work once begun, gradually, and sometimes indeed rapidly, increases. The blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear, are of a longer or shorter period in their growth, as the principle is weaker or stronger; for there are mysteries in grace, as well as in nature.

But in both kingdoms, the work is of God. He begins, carries on, and completes the vast design. All originates in his will, and all shall terminate in his glory. His language is : “ I am God, and besides me there is no Saviour. “ In the Lord, all the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory."

Yet man is a responsible creature, a moral agent.

In this work of grace, God does not force, but inclines the heart to seek him. He does not compel the sinner with reluctant steps, to enter in at the strait gate ; but by enlightening his mind, and touching his heart, he sweetly constrains him to enter in that he may be saved.

His refusing to submit to the yoke of Jesus, and to accept of mercy on Gospel terms, is altogether the fruit and effect of his own depraved heart; and will justly be punished, if persisted in, with everlasting destruction. Thus all the praise of our salvation is due to God alone, whilst all the guilt and final misery flowing from our transgressions are chargeable solely upon ourselves.

Men may now argue, and dispute, and cavil, about the truths of revelation, but a day is fast approaching, when “every mouth that is now opened against him, God will condemn.” In that tremendous day of just judgment, the guilty conscience will speak in loudest thunder to the self-convicted soul : whilst notes of praise will for ever ascend from hearts re

newed by sovereign grace, to the fountain fo eternal love.

We sin and forget the sin. But God remembers all our wickedness. Awful, awakening thought Every impure imagination, every unhallowed affec tion, every sinful purpose, though unripened into action, every secret, and to men unknown iniquity is remembered by that omniscient God, who will judge the secrets of men's hearts by Jesus Christ; and strictly render to every man according to his works.

0! what a day will that be, which tears away the mask of hypocrisy from the face of sin; which rolls away the whitened stone from off the loathsome sepulchre ; which discloses the impure chambers of imagery, and discovers all the hidden evils of a heart once admired, but now abhorred by an assembled world of saints and angels.

In that day the wicked will bewail in bitter reproaches their forgetfulness of God, and their love of sin ; but this bitterness of soul being utterly destitute of every gracious feeling, will only increase the sharpness of their torment, and give additional strength to the sting of that worm which never dies !

Thus their self-reproaches and hatred of God will be commensurate with eternity. Hating God· hating themselves—and hating the dreadful fiends

who torment them, they will be wretched beyond all conception for ever and ever!

Happy are they who receive the truth as little children. Lord, give me right views of the truth, as it is in Jesus; and right feelings and affections towards thee, who art the God of my life and of my salvation.

Put thy fear into my heart, that I may not depart from thee.

Fill me with a reverential awe of thy holy name. Let me never pry into the wiselyconcealed purposes of thy grace, but ever remember

L

« السابقةمتابعة »