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evil thoughts, and from evil tempers.-" True,” say some,
We shall thus be saved from our sins; but not till death; not in this world.” But how are we to reconcile this with the express words of St. John ? “ Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” The apostle here, beyond all contradiction, speaks of himself and other living Christians, of whom (as though he had foreseen this very evasion, and set himself to overturn it from the foundation) he flatly affirms, that not only at or after death, but in this world, they are as their Master, 1 John iv, 17,
28. Exactly agreeable to this are his words in the first chapter of this epistle, verse 5, &c, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light,---we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” And again : “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now it is evident, the apostle here also speaks of a deliverance wrought in this world. For he saith not, the blood of Christ will cleanse at the hour of death, or in the day of judgment, but it “cleanseth," at the time present, “ us," living Christians, “ from all sin.” And it is equally evident, that if any sin remain, we are not cleansed from all sin: if any unrighteousness remain in the soul, it is not cleansed from all unrighteousness. Neither let any sinner against his own soul say, that this relates to justification only, or the cleansing us from the guilt of sin; first, because this is confounding together what the apostle clearly distinguishes, who men, tions first, to forgive us our sins, and then to cleanse us from all unrightcousness. Secondly, because this is asserting justification by works, in the strongest sense possible; it is making all inward as well as outward holiness, necessarily previous to justification. For, if the cleansing, here spoken of, is no other than the cleansing us from the guilt of sing then we are not cleansed from guilt, i. e. are not justified, unless on condition of walking in the light, as he is in the light. It remains then, that Christians are saved in this world from all sin, from all unrightcousness; that they are now in such a sense perfect as not to commit sin, and to be freed from evil thoughts and evil tempers.
29. Thus hath the Lord fulfilled the things he spake by his holy prophets, which have been since the world began ;-by Moses in particular, saying, Deut. xxx, 6, I"will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul;”—by David, crying out, “ Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me;"_and most remarkably by Ezekiel, in those words : “ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, ard ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, vil I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I pu: within you ;—and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keo) my judgments, and do them.-Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses. Thus saith le Lord God, In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iziquities,—the heathen shall know that I the Lord build the ruined pla : Cus;-I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it,” Ezek. xxxvi, 25, &c.
30. “ Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved,” both in the izw and in the prophets, and having the prophetic word confirmed unto as in the gospel, by our blessed Lord and his apostles ; " let us cleanse
ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." "Let us fear, lest (so many) promises being made us of entering into his rest, [which he that hath entered into, has ceased from his own works,] any of us should come short of it.” “This one thing let us do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, let us press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" crying unto him day and night, till we also are delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!"
THE PROMISE OF SANCTIFICATION.
Ezek. xxxvi, 25, &c.
BY THE REV. CHARLES WESLEY.
1 God of all power, and truth, and grace,
Which shall from agc to age endure;
Remains, and stands for ever sure:
And waits thy promises to prove;
The seal of thine eternal love.
That all mankind thy truth may see,
And perfect holiness in me.
Adorn'd in righteousness divine,
I justly call the Saviour mine ;
My inmost soul to thee convert:
And sprinkle with thy blood my heart.
To quench my thirst and wash me clean :
Descend, and make me pure from sin.
My idols all be cast aside :
From all the filth of self and pride.
From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free;
And let my spirit cleave to thee.
(Thy rule it doth not, cannot own ;) In me no longer let it stay:
Oh take away this heart of stone! 10 The hatred of my carnal mind
Out of my flesh at once romove;
and fill'd with faith and love
11 Within me thy good Spirit place,
Spirit of health, and love, and power ;
And sin shall never enter more.
And I thy statutes shall fulfil ;
every point thy law obey,
And perfectly perform thy will.
That I thy law shall keep and do?
They all are false; but thou art true.
Thy word might to the utmost prove !
The Canaan of thy perfect love !
Be thou my God, and I will bo
Give me eternal life in thee,
Let me in thee salvation have :
My ransom’d soul persist to save.
Tell me no more it cannot be,
His blood was all pour'd out for me!
One drop of thy all cleansing blood
And fill me with the life of God.
Sustain the lifo thyself hast given;
The manna that comes down from heavou. 20 The gracious fruits of righteousness,
Thy blessings' unexhausted store,
Nor let me ever hunger more.
“My leanness, oh my leanness," cry!
Of all my Father's children I!
Thy joyous presence shall remove ;
The wholo eternity of love.
I wait to prove thy perfect will ;
And stamp ine with thy Spirit's sot.
In which thou causest me to twist,
25 Show me how foul my heart hath been
When all renew'd by grace I am:
Show me the fulness of iny shame.
Display thy glory from above;
Lost in astonishment and love.
I would be by inyself abhorrd;
All glory be to Christ my Lord!)
Now let me into nothing fall!
And feel that Christ is all in all !
SERMON XLI.-Wandering Thoughts. " Bringing into captivity every thonght to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Cor. x, 5.
1. But will God so “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” that no wandering thought will find a place in the mind, even while we remain in the body ? So some have vehemently maintained; yea, have affirmed, that none are perfected in Icve, unless they are so far perfected in understanding, that all wandering thoughts are done away; unless not only every affection and temper be holy, and just, and good, but every individual thought, which arises in the mind, be wise and regular.
2. This is a question of no small importance. For how many of those who fear God, yea, and love him, perhaps with all their heart, have been greatly distressed on this account ! How many, by not understanding it right, have not only been distressed, but greatly hurt in their souls ;-cast into unprofitable, yea, mischievous reasonings, such as slackened their motion towards God, and weakened them in running the race set before them! Nay, many, through misapprehensions of this very thing, have cast away the precious gift of God. They have been induced, first to doubt of, and then to deny, the work God had wrought in their souls; and hereby have grieved the Spirit of God, till he withdrew and left them in utter darkness !
3. How is it, then, that amidst the abundance of books which have been lately published almost on all subjects, we should have none upon wandering thoughts ? At least none that will at all satisfy a calm and serious mind? In order to do this in some degree, I purpose to inquire,
I. What are the several sorts of wandering thoughts ?
I. 1. I purpose to inquire, first, What are the several sorts of wandering thoughts? The particular sorts are innumerable; but, in general, they are of two sorts : thoughts that wander from God; and thoughts that wander from the particular point we have in hand.
2. With regard to the former, all our thoughts are naturally of this kind: for they are continually wandering from God: we think nothing about hini: God is not in all our thoughts: we are, one and all, as the apostle observes, " without God in the world.” We think of what we love: but we do not love God; therefore, we think not of him. Or, if we are now and then constrained to think of him for a time, yet as we have no pleasure therein, này; rather, as these thoughts are not only insipid, but distasteful and irksonie to us, we drive them out as soon as we can, and return to what we love to think of. So that the world and the things of the world, what we shall eat, what we shall drink, what we shall put on,what we shall see, what we shall hear, what we shall gain, --- how we shall please our senses or our imagination,--takes up all our time, and engrosses all our thought. So long, therefore, as we love the world; that is, so long as we are in our natural state; all our thoughts, from morning to evening, and from evening to morning, are no other than wandering thoughts.
3. But many times we are not only“ without God in the world,” but also fighting against him; as there is in every man by nature a nal mind which is enmity against God:” no wonder, therefore, that meni abound with unbelieving thoughts ; either saying in their hearts, There is no God, or questioning, if not denying, his power or wisdom, his mercy, or justice, or holiness. No wonder, that they so often doubt of his providence, at least; of its extending to all events; or that, even though they allow it, they still entertain murmuring or repining thoughts. Nearly related to these, and frequently connected with them, are proud and vain imaginations. Again : sometimes they are taken up with angry, malicious, or revengeful thoughts ; at other times, with airy scenes of pleasure, whether of sense or imagination; whereby the earthy, sensual mind, becomes more earthy and sensual still. Now by all these they make flat war with God: these are wandering thoughts of the highest kind.
4. Widely diferent from these are the other sort of wandering thoughts ; in which the heart does not wander from God, but the understanding wanders from the particular point it had then in view. For instance: I sit down to consider those words in the verse preceding the text: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.” I think, " This ought to be the case with all that are called Christians. But how far is it otherwise! Look round into almost every part
of what is termed the Christian world! What manner of weapons are these using ? In what kind of warfare are they engaged,
While men, like fiends, each other tear
In all the hellish rage of war?' See how these Christians love one another ! Wherein are they preferable to Turks and Pagans ? What abomination can be found among Mohammedans or heathens, which is not found among Christians also ? And thus my mind runs off, before I am aware, from one circumstance to another. Now all these are, in some sense, wandering thoughts : for although they do not wander from God, much less fight against him, yet they do wander from the particular point I lrad in view.
II. Such is the nature, such are the sorts (to speak rather usefully than philosophically) of wandering thoughts. But what are the general occasions of them ? This we are, in he second place, to consider.