« السابقةمتابعة »
warfare. It enables him to endure with patience and fortitude, the rugged path through which he has to travel Zionward.
The Christian's hope is full of immortality.” It traverses the valley of the shadow of death, and opens to his view the boundless prospect of eternal glory. It gathers by delightful anticipation, many a precious cluster of the grapes of Eshcol, and thus gives a foretaste of the joys of heaven.
The Christian's hope "maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in his heart, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto him.” It forms a divine evidence of his union to Christ. He can now say with St. Paul: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” He is not ashamed to confess Christ before men, as his only hope of glory. He can declare with humble confidence and heart-felt sincerity: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
The Christian's hope is “a helmet of salvation," which covers his head in the day of battle, when the fiery darts of Satan are levelled against him. It is "an anchor of the soul,” both sure and stedfast, which preserves the tempest-tossed soul from being driven into the ocean of doubts and despondencies, or dashed against the rocks of presumption or despair.
Surely then it is a blessed hope.” All who possess it are blessed. This made the apostle pray so sweetly for the Roman converts: “Now the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ġhost.”
Diligence and privilege are inseparately united by the wisdom of God. Hence St. Paul thus exhorts the Hebrews: “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have
shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister; and we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end ; that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
Examine well, O! my soul, what is the hope of thy calling. Thou hast been, and art continually called by the outward preaching of the word; but here is the turning point; hast thou been drawn to Christ by the inward, effectual call of the Holy Spirit?
To ascertain this important fact, enquire what is the nature of thy hope? Is it a good hope? a blessed hope ? a hope full of immortality ? Hast thou cast the anchor of hope within the veil? Hast thou put on the helmet of salvation ? Dost thou find thy hope to be a lively hope, animating and invigorating thy endeavours after the attainment of everlasting life? Does the hope which thou possessest, purify all thy affections? Is Jesus really dwelling in thee as the hope of glory? Art thou resting on him as the only foundation of hope ? And, in the full assurance of this Christian hope, dost thou enjoy that peace which passeth understanding: that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory? If this be thy experience, then rejoice and be exceeding glad; for happy, unspeakably happy will be thy lot through the countless ages of eternity.
But oh! hast thou not reason to mourn over the little progress which thou hast made in the divine life, since the bright beams of grace first dawned upon thee? Thou knowest, blessed Lord, that I want to love thee more than I have ever yet done ; yea, I want those unerring marks of real love, which never fail to prove it to be genuine. I want to feel a greater delight in prayer, to pour out my heart before thee with more childlike simplicity; to tell
thee more freely all my wants; to mourn more deeply over all my corruptions; to trust more unreservedly to the blood of Jesus; to dread all approaches to sin, and earnestly to covet the best gifts of faith, hope, and charity; humility of mind; holiness of heart; deadness to the world; and an entire subjection of the soul to thee. Thou canst in a moment impart these blessings. Thousands have been partakers of them, without diminishing thy fulness. Open the doors of my heart, enlarge it by thy grace, and let it be “ fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction.”
Thou wilt be inquired of by thy people; not that thou needest to be informed, but that they may feel their need of thee.
O! that I may approach thee at all times sprinkled with the atoning blood, till the angel of death shall bear me to the mansions of glory, where hope shall be swallowed up in the enjoyment of thy everlasting love.
Unite, ye saints, in cheerful praise,
Let sacred hope your breasts inspire ;
Praise Him, who long in patient love
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
0! may our praises never cease,
LXII. ON LOVE.
True Christian love is of an enlarged, disinterested nature. It loves all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
Party spirit is confined within the limits of a sect. But Christian love outsteps the narrow boundary; and can recognize a brother in each humble believer, who practically exemplifies the holy doctrines of the Gospel.
When we love our own party exclusively, or persons only of our own peculiar train of thinking, we love ourselves in them. We see our own image and admire it.
But when we love those who differ from us in nonessentials, because we discover in them the humility, meekness, purity, patience, and benevolence of the Redeemer; then, our love is truly Christian. It is Christ in them whom we love.
How little of this enlarged affection on pure Christian principles do we discover in the professing world. We hear much about it, but see little of it. It is highly extolled, but little cultivated.
The heart of man is naturally selfish and contracted, bigotted, and full of jealousies. It suspects a foe, where charity hails a friend. Should we not then rejoice in the formation of that glorious institution, the British and Foreign Bible Society, that goodly cedar among the trees of the forest ? " In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar; and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing, in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.” (Ez. xvii. 23.)
As this prophecy beautifully describes the blessed Gospel of Christ; so it may be lawfully accommodated to that Society, whose boughs are extending themselves in every direction; bearing the precious fruit of the word of God, and affording a resting place for “all fowl of every wing,” however diversified in form or colour.
How admirably adapted is the Bible Society to copcentrate all the energies of the Christian world; to bring together its too long divided parts ; to smooth down the asperities of party; to excite a feeling of brotherly love towards those who differ from each other; to call into exercise the best affections of the heart amongst its numerous members; and all this without compromising any principle, invading any province of private judgment, or violating the dictates of the most tender conscience.
The Bible Society is therefore a blessing to the world. Love is inscribed upon it. Like the divine Author, whose Book it circulates, it seeks nothing but the promotion of peace on earth and good-will towards men. May every heart say, BE THOU PERPETUAL!
Nothing is more evident than this truth ; that Christian charity increases our happiness with its own increase. A narrow, contracted spirit, under the influence of prejudice, and blinded by fond partialities, can never enjoy the refined pleasures of Christian communion. Such a spirit chills and freezes the soul; it checks exertion, except when party is concerned ; and looks shy on those, however excellent, who “ follow not us." Distinctions seem necessary in this state of imperfection ; but real Christians know