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LOVE TO CHRIST AS DISPLAYED BY ST. PAUL. 57 is Christ. Self was subdued, and ruled no longer in his heart. While some live to pleasure, some to wealth, some to fame, all for which he lived was to bring honour to his Lord. To do this whether weaving a tent, or preaching the gospel. This was his ruling passion, strong in life, and strong in death. Hence that prayer, that Christ might be magpified in his body, whether by his life or by his death. It was not his desire that Paul might be magnified, that his name might be honoured far and wide, that ease and comfort, reputation or wealth, might be his portion, but that his Lord might be honoured. Nor did he pray that Christ should be honoured, merely by the labours and sufferings of a devoted life, but even by his death. Could he by labours and sufferings honour his Lord, he was willing to live; could he by dying advance his Redeemer's glory, he was willing to die.
His sufferings were many, but the love of Christ constrained them to bear them all. He was in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft ; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by his own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. *
A pious writer remarks, “Here is a man, impelled by some extraordinary principle, sacrificing the honours which awaited him, his ease, and every earthly comfort, and voluntarily embracing, and persevering in, a life exposing him to stripes, to imprisonments, to perils by land and by sea, to incessant deprivations, to want, to persecutions, and to death itself. What can constrain such a man to reject the intercessions of his friends who are entreating him to retire from these conflicts ? What is it that impels him to reply, · What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am not only willing to be bound, but to die at Jerusalem.' What is it? • If we be transported beyond ourselves, it is to God.' • I am willing to die at Jerusalem,' but it is for the name of the Lord Jesus.' It is the love of Christ that beareth him away; and extinguishes every recollection of himself and of his own sufferings. This is the secret of the life of Paul; and this is the (w) Phil. i. 20, 21.
(v) 2 Cor. xi. 23-30
58 REMARKS ON THE CHARACTER AND SPIRIT OF PAUL. spring and source of all that is distinguished, all that interests us, in the life of Whitfield, of Brainerd, of Pearce, and of Martyn. In short, this is the source of every thing great in Christian exertion ;-and where this is wanting, that place remains the region and shadow of death.'
“ It is this principle which disarms death, and makes heaven itself desirable. Hence, while one of the martyrs was sealing his testimony with his blood in Smithfield, a voice was heard from amidst the flames, saying, None but Christ-none but Christ -- none but Christ.' And hence the apostle says, “I desire to depart.' Ah! Paul, thou mayst well wish for rest : thy pilgrimage has been filled with thorns; many a weary step hast thou trod; many an hour of excessive labour hast thou endured; many a time hast thou been in perils, in prisons, in tumults, in hunger, in thirst. No wonder then that such a pilgrim wishes for repose, should desire to depart. But no—this is not his meaning, • I desire to depart, that I may be with Christ.' Yes, this is what impels him heavenwards; this is the torrent that carries him irresistibly along to the bosom of his Saviour."*
Referring to the life of the same apostle another distinguished writer says, “ We see him, in the prosecution of his purpose, travelling from country to country, enduring every species of hardship, encountering every extremity of danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by the magistrates, scourged, beat, stoned, left for dead; expecting wherever he came, a renewal of the same treatment, and the same dangers, yet, when driven from one city, preaching in the next; spending his whole time in the employment, sacrificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety; persisting in this course to old age, unaltered by the experience of perverseness, ingratitude, prejudice, desertion ; unsubdued by anxiety, want, labour, persecutions; unwearied by long confinement, undismayed by the prospect of death. Such was St. Paul.”+
What made him such? The constraining love of Christ. What is necessary to make you in your station as zealous and pious as he ? To know the love of Christ.
And why on his part this willingness, this desire, by life or death, to honour his Lord ? Because he felt the Saviour's love, and loved this gracious benefactor. Yet, was he mbre in• Ward.
ANECDOTE OF A CHRISTIAN NEGRO. 59 debted than you or I? Had Jesus suffered more for Paul than for you? had he sacrificed more, or did he invite him to a
happier heaven? Ah no, the blood which ransomed Paul i was shed to ransom you, and Jesus invites you to the same
eternal realms of peace and life. O then, under equal obligations, pray and seek for equal love.
A few years ago died an aged Christian negro. She was often visited by some friends of religion. On one occasion E she told them, if it was the will of “ Jesus Massa" to call her
to-morrow, she should be satisfied to go: if it was his will to spare her some time longer she should be satisfied to stay. She repeated, that she was waiting for her summons from above; said, God spared her a little, and she thanked him for it. By and by, when he saw his time, he would come, and then she would thank him for that.
The next evening she appeared faint and low, and said she was in pain from head to foot: “ Jesus Massa" had sent the pain, and she thanked him for it. Some day, when he saw good, he would come and take it away.
After lingering thus for some time, still in pain, but prayer and praise ever flowing from her lips, she drew near her end. When in her greatest extremities, she said her Saviour would give her ease when he saw fit; and if he did not give it her now, he would give it her yonder, pointing upwards.
How similar the spirit of resignation to the Saviour, displayed by this poor negro slave, and by the great apostle of the Gentiles.
$ 13. The Christian's love to the adorable Jesus, is described as accompanied by sincere and unreserved devotedness to hirn. “None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."y “The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” “ Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Ransomed with the Saviour's blood, the believer, amidst all ) Rom. xiv. 7. &. (3) 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. (a) 1 Cor. vi. 20.
- LOVE TO CHRIST CONNECTED his defects, lives to Christ; lives not to himself, but to the Lord, who died for him. . The Christian is delivered from his vain conversation ; becomes one of a peculiar people, who are zealous of good works; is not his own, but the Lord's ; and for the sake of Jesus will labour without fainting, and suffer with patience. What has now been laid before you is represented as descriptive of that character in general, not merely in some elevated instances : there is nothing in this description of which grace will not make you a partaker, if in sincerity you go to Christ, and follow him. It is true, this standard for the Christian character is much higher than that with which many professors of religion appear satisfied. But be not deceived. God's word is not changed. God's description of a Christian is not altered, to adapt itself to their selfish disposition, and worldly minds. We have every reason to fear that Christ at last will say to myriads, that in this land of peace profess adherence to the gospel, I never knew you, depart from me. He is no Christian who lives to himself; who does not act upon this principle, that he is the Lord's; who does not appear a peculiar person zealous of good works. Let him plume himself on his conversion, or what he please, he is no Christian.
An expressive description of devotedness to Jesus is that in which the apostle describes his own. “ I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in
Inpressive statement! happy they who realize it all! I am crucified with Christ; dead through his cross to the world, it has no charms for me. Yet I live, freed from condemnation and death. I live the life of grace. Yet not I; no excellency, no natural power of mine, produced this life, or gives it vigour. Not I; Christ liveth in me. He governs in my soul. He guides and regulates my actions. He gave me spiritual life, and his Spirit dwelling in me produces all the fruits of the life of grace. The apostle seems to represent himself as brought into such a state, as if the Spirit of Christ had actually taken possession of his body and his soul, and were ruling both with absolute sway. His meaning may be illustrated by the case of those unhappy persons that were possessed by evil spirits. Their actions and words are ascribed to the evil spirit that possessed
(0) Gal. ii. 20.
WITH DEVOTEDNESS TO HIM. to them. He literally dwelt and governed in them. The apostle
represents himself as much under the influence of Christ as they were of the devil. Christ liveth in me, and the life I lead he prompts, he rules. How happy a life! how holy must be its practice! how benevolent its tendency! how peaceful its end! But was it the life of an angel ? No: of a man, and that man once one of the chief of sinners, but now made a child of God by faith. O pant, and pray, and labour
after such devotedness to Jesus Christ. You never will reE pent of being too much devoted to him, though millions have mourned being too little.
$ 14. After this brief delineation of some important parts
of the Christian character, allow me affectionately to urge on f you the grand inquiry, Do these things meet in mine? Am I
washed from my sins in the blood of the Lamb, and justified E by faith in the Son of God? Is my whole dependence on him?
Do I count all things loss for him ? Am I united to him in a
bond as firm as that which binds husband and wife in lastting union? Do I discern a supreme glory in him, and cherish
a supreme love for him? Is there no one thing on earth so prized by me as Christ crucified ? The inquiry is needful, for many deceive themselves. All is not gold that glitters. Not all that appear penitent truly repent. Not all that profess faith truly believe. Not all that seem zealous for the gospel feel its power. Not all that profess to be disciples of Jesus here, will dwell with Jesus above.
To avoid self-deception is so unspeakably momentous, that it may be useful to observe how far you might go, and yet have no saving faith in the Lord Jesus.
1. You may be free from gross and open sins, may be adorned with many moral virtues, may be chaste and dutiful, just and liberal, courteous and engaging, and yet be a stranger to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. All this was the young ruler, whose history is recorded by the evangelists; who was so moral and pleasing, that Jesus loved him, and yet so worldly, that Jesus spoke of him as a perishing sinner, of whose conversion there was little hope.
2. You may, alarmed or instructed by the preaching of the gospel, have forsaken some iniquities in which you once delighted, and yet be no Christian. So Herod acted. He
(c) Mark x.