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empty, unprofitable speculation. Its possessor has merely the knowledge which puffeth up, and not the charity or love which edifieth,76 or buildeth up the true Christian. Those who are really the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus are a holy people to the Lord their God, and will follow holiness. They cannot live in sin allowedly or habitually. The characteristic which our Saviour has given of His people is, Ye shall know them by their fruits. In illustration of which He asks, Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" If the power of godliness be not apparent in the walk and conduct, the love of Christ cannot reign in the heart; and where there is no real love to Christ, a profession of religion is vain.

But in order that we may be enabled in some measure to judge of our own state before God, since outward morality is easily attainable where a profession of religion prevails, and obtains general credit, the apostle shows us,

Thirdly, The object proposed by the Christian in his whole conduct; and this is two-fold, namely, to please God, and to abound more and more in walking so as to please Him. To please God in all things is the desire of His people, in like manner as a child is desirous to please his parent. We naturally endeavour to please those

76 1 Corinthians viii. 1.

77 Matthew vii. 16.

whom we love and reverence. An affectionate child finds no difficulty in doing what he knows will please a kind and tender parent. It is a delight to him to act according to his parent's wishes, and even sometimes to anticipate them, as a proof of his regard, and his desire to please. Thus it will be also with the child of God. To please God will be his first consideration. And in order that he may do the will of God, he will seek to know it. As the will of God is revealed in His holy word, the child of God will search the scriptures, that he may learn from them to choose the good and refuse the evil. He will read them with prayer for Divine illumination, that he may rightly apprehend and understand what he reads, and for Divine grace to enable him to put it in practice. When tempted to turn aside out of the good ways of God, he will implore Divine aid to hold up his goings in the paths which his heavenly Father has marked out for his children to walk in, that he may not go astray either to the right hand or to the left. And not satisfied with any present attainments, he will press forward with an anxious desire to know more of the will of God, to love his heavenly Father in Christ Jesus with more ardour and affection, and to live in more entire obedience to His will in all things. It is pleasing to God that His people should seek to be made acquainted with His will, as it is revealed in His,

blessed word; and that their hearts should be under its influence, that they should love His word, and make it the subject of their continual meditation.

But it is also important that their walk, or conduct in life, should be governed by it, that it should be manifest to the world that they really renounce what He has forbidden, and live in obedience to what He has commanded; and that therein they should abound more and more, that as they go forward in their religious profession, they should appear more decidedly, and more confidently and openly on the Lord's side, as the opposers of every thing that is evil, especially in denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; and as the promoters of every thing that is good and profitable unto their fellow-creatures. Let us seek grace from God to enable us so to walk as to please Him, and therein to abound more and more. As we are unable of ourselves to do this, unable to walk in the commandments of God and to serve Him without His special grace," He has graciously promised to give to them that ask Him His Holy Spirit, to enable them to fulfil what they are unable to do of themselves. If then we pray that His blessed influences may be vouchsafed to us and rest upon us, He will work in us both to will and to do what is pleasing in His sight; in consequence of which, the fruit of the Spirit which is in all goodness and righteous


ness and truth,78 will appear in our conduct to the glory of His holy name. The believer in Christ who seeks Divine aid, being the habitation of God through the Spirit, shall be upheld continually in the good ways of God, and be kept from falling into sin, or running into danger.

Happy are they who take the word and will of God for the rule of their faith and practice, and who propose to themselves, as their main object, to walk so as to please God by the assistance of His Holy Spirit. The God of their mercies will never leave them nor forsake them, so that they may boldly say, The Lord is my helper.79 He will not suffer the enemies of their souls to obtain the advantage over them; but will keep them as the apple of the eye, will hide them under the shadow of His wings. He will be their shield and their exceeding great reward; and, after having guided them in safety through all the storms and troubles of this mortal life, He will carry them at length into the haven of eternal rest, to rejoice in His salvation for ever


Let us endeavour, before we conclude, to bring home the subject to our consciences. The principle which operates in the mind of the true Christian has been set before us; let us ask ourselves, Are we under its influence? When we

78 Ephesians v. 9.

79 Hebrews xiii. 6.

are besought, entreated, exhorted by the Lord Jesus, by the consideration of what He has done and suffered for us, when He humbled Himself to be the propitiation for our sins,80 that through Him we might be pardoned and reconciled to God, and reinstated in His favour, what effect does this consideration produce upon our minds? Has the love of Christ so affected our hearts that we do truly love Him in return? If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, he can have neither part nor lot in His great salvation. Can we appeal in humility to the Searcher of hearts, Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee?81 If you fear to make this declaration, Do you really desire to love Him above all things? Are you anxious that this question should be settled between God and your own consciences? Do you pray earnestly that you may be enabled by His grace to love Him supremely, that the love of God may be shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost being given to you? 82 If this be not the case, it is to be feared that you are unacquainted with the first principles of the gospel of Christ; for if you were in any degree sensible of your obligations to the Lord Jesus, you could not but desire and pray that He might be the object of your supreme affection.

80 1 John ii. 2. 81 John xxi. 17.

82 Romans v.


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