صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

the Saviour, whether inhabiting the torrid or the frigid zone.

If I am a child of God, I shall love the commandments of God. His law will be my rule of life, whilst Christ crucified is the sole foundation of my hope. I shall have more delight in his word than in all manner of riches; for these can only gratify my animal nature, whilst that can satisfy my immortal soul.

If I am a child of God, I shall be anxious to live to his glory ; to employ my talents in his service; and to promote his cause amongst men. I shall not be ashamed to confess myself his servant. If reproached, I shall rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer shame for his name, and shall be willing to be accounted even the offscouring of all things for Jesus.

If I am a child of God, I shall bear the image of God. In God's family, there is a family likeness. All the children resemble their heavenly Parent. They have the mind of Christ, and are renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created them. " If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

I may possess an extensive knowledge of divine truth and a facility of utterance, which, when combined with strong natural warmth of feeling, may cause me to make an imposing appearance before a humble, retired Christian: but what will knowledge avail, if destitute of humility; or glowing eloquence, if devoid of love?

Let me then seek most earnestly the sweet graces of the Spirit, love, humility, and purity. These will make me like the blessed Jesus, whose whole character bore these sacred features, and whose gentle command is, “learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

Blessed Jesus! be pleased to sanctify the desire of my heart. This is thy will, even my sanctification Let it be my will also. O! put forth thy healing hand; touch my leprous soul; yea, speak the word only, and thy servant shall be healed. Let me never for one moment doubt thy willingness to save, though I be the very chief of sinners..

Thy grace is infinite; if it were not infinite, I might indeed despair; but being infinite, how can I despond? O! what a word is infinite! There is no depth of guilt in which infinite mercy cannot reach me; and no height of glory, to which infinite love cannot raise me!

Rejoice then, O! my soul, and be filled with thanksgiving. Jesus is thy all-sufficient Saviour. Believe in him; trust in him; come to him ; and love him; and then shalt thou be saved with a present and everlasting salvation.

How blest are they who love the Lord,

Who lean upon his word;
They feel a joy, a peace within,

Which earth can not afford.
By faith they see the heavenly world,

And taste the Saviour's grace ;
The bliss concealed from carnal eyes

They view " with open face.”

They know their interest in his love,

Who bought them with his blood;
And with assured.faith can say,

My Saviour-and my God.

Ye blessed flock-ye chosen few,

Let grateful praise ascend;
And, as ye pass the vale of life,

Extol the sinner's Friend.

LXIII. ON JOY.

Christian joy is not a tumultuous passion or feverish affection, but a calm and composed frame; a holy serenity of soul; a gladsome rest in the faithfulness and grace of Jesus. It sheds a lustre over the countenance; beams forth at the eye; and often causes it to be suffused in tears. It creates an indescribable delight in the heart.

St Paul was in this heavenly frame when he said: “ I am filled with comfort; I am exceeding joyful in all my tribulation.” This holy joy does not depend on outward circumstances, for the apostle could say, “ As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing." No one possesses this inward joy, but the real believer. 16 A stranger intermeddleth not with it.” It is the fruit of the Spirit, and flows from a lively faith in the divinity and atonement of Jesus.

So inseparable from Christian joy are right views of the blessed Saviour, that St. John commences his first Epistle, as he did his Gospel, by refuting those two heresies, which, like poisonous weeds, were then springing up. The one propagated by the Gnostics or Docetæ, who denied the real humanity; the other by the Ebionites, who denied the essential divinity of the Redeemer. How conclusive are the declarations of St. John: “ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life :" What language can more fully describe the real humanity of the Son of God? “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” What a striking attestation to the divinity of Christ ! " That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that

LL

ginning, eyes, which of the word the real humanie.

ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Thus the apostle clearly and unequivocally states, that Christian communion can only be maintained in its blessedness, and Christian joy possessed in its fulness, by a cordial reception of Jesus Christ, as “God, manifest in the flesh.”

- It were well, if all who profess to believe in Jesus, would examine the ground of their faith, and the source of their joy, by this highly important passage in the word of God. Holy joy is a portion of hesven brought down into the soul, and enables the believer to soar above the troubles which assail him. Like the Alpine traveller, he looks down upon the storm which agitates the vale beneath. Even when compelled to exclaim, “without are fightings, and within are fears,” he can “rejoice evermore.”

Habakkuk was truly happy when, raised above all the changing scenes of life, he thus sang to the harp of prophecy : “ Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

The apostles sang in the prison. The martyrs praised God in the fires. They rejoiced in hope of the glory of God, and were made more than conquerors through him who loved them, and gave himself for them.

This holy joy, this peaceful state of heart, is, nevertheless, liable to be disturbed and ruffled.

Through the remaining corruption of his nature, the believer is often sorely harassed and distressed.

in

The enemy plies him very closely with his temptations. Thus he finds hourly need for watchfulness and prayer; as well as for deep humiliation and self-abhorrence. If ensnared, through the subtlety of Satan, or by sudden surprisals of temptations, the enemy exults, and his heart is grieved. Yet, what must he do? Through grace, he betakes himself to the blood of sprinkling. He goes mourning to his heavenly Father; acknowledges his sin ; pleads the merit of his Saviour; implores the continued aid and protection of the Holy Spirit; lies low in selfabasement at the foot of the cross, and there receives this gracious word applied powerfully to his soul : “ go in peace, thy sins are forgiven thee." Light beams once more in his heart; joy once more fills his soul. He hates himself and loves his Saviour ; watches more narrowly over the inward motions of his spirit; distrusts himself; and relies more confidently on the grace of his covenant God.

Thus the enemy of souls is baffled; his growth in humility is promoted ; and God, through his restoring grace, is glorified.

" Affliction,” says the apostle, “is not joyous, but grievous.". Hence outward troubles may damp the believer's joy, while he looks off from the Saviour to the boisterous wind and waves which rage around him. Peter did so, and began to sink. Faith however clings fast to the Saviour and exults in the storm.

Paul was compelled at times to say: “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart." But whence arose this grief? It sprang from the deep concern which he felt for his perishing brethren according to the flesh.

Thus many favoured souls who are happy in the love of God, and who rejoice in Jesus with a joy un• speakable and full of glory, can sympathize with

« السابقةمتابعة »