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Thy gifts my days with gladness crown; Sin, only sin hath bow'd me down : Lord, touch my heart, and make me know My Saviour's worth, my Saviour's woe; Then shall my angry will be tame; Then shall I learn and weep my shame, The weight of wrath in judgment due Shall feel, and feel thy mercy too.
Yet not for pardoning grace alone
So, as I walk my earthly way,
A Foster, Printer, Kirkby Lonsdale.
SHORT SERMON. “And exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” Acts xi. 23. latter part.
This was the advice of Barnabas to all the disciples; and as it is left on record for our instruction, it behoves us to weigh well its sacred import: seeking the aid of that blessed Spirit, by whom alone we can be led into the way of truth.
What is it then, to cleave unto the Lord Jesus Christ? I. We must, in the first place, cleave to his Word. The apostle says; “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly:" that is, make it the subject of your meditation all the day long: make it your study and de
light; for in the Bible alone are contained the words of eternal life. If we follow the precepts contained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and take them
wilderness of this world, then they will be as a lamp to our feet, and a light unto our paths; and will lead us in safety to the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of our God. Let the young be encouraged to search the Scriptures; for God hath declared by the mouth of Solomon ; "I love them that love me, and they who seek me early shall find me.” And again in the Psalms; “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." And whither should the aged, the sick, or afflicted apply, but to this endless mine of rich treasures ? In the Bible they will find the pearl of great price, even Jesus, who invites all that are weary and heavy-laden to come to him; and who assures them, that he will not suffer them to be tried above what he will give them strength to bear. In the Bible too, there are exceeding great and precious promises, which are in Jesus yea and amen. “My God shall supply all your need, out of his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” “Be careful then for nothing ; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known unto God.” And in the hour of death, the believer in Jesus may say with David; “When I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” Let us then sit, with holy Mary, at the feet of Jesus; and I hope we shall find his word to drop as the rain and distil as the dew.
II. We must cleave to the Saviour's merits : fly to his precious blood for pardon, to the Fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. The sacred stream which issued from Mount Calvary,purges from all guilt, takes away all sin ; and (blessed be God!) it is always open. “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” We must cleave to the righteousness of Christ ; renouncing all claim to goodness in ourselves; and relying simply on his obedience. For alas ! 'what unprofitable servants are we! The best of our righteousness is as a polluted thing! And how imperfect and stained with sin is every work we perform! But as for Christ, his work is perfect: it is complete, and infinitely meritorious.
III. We must cleave to his Spirit. Oh! let us seek for the Divine Spirit, and cry mightily for it. Let not those who have never felt the Spirit's power, rest one hour till they have sought this great blessing: for God has declared, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man." And let those that have it, pray that they may have more of it; that they may walk in the Spirit, yea, be filled with the Spirit. This blessed Spirit reveals Christ to the sinner's conscience; strengthens faith; quickens love ; and purifies the heart. Christ died to obtain this Spirit for us; he intercedes for us at his Father's right hand that we may receive it; and God has promised that for his Son's sake, he will give the Holy Spirit to all who ask it. He has promised it; and oh! what a glorious truth, that he will impart this blessed gift more readily, than an earthly parent gives bread to his hungry child!
Lastly, we must cleave to Christ's example. “He has left us an example that we should follow his steps.” Study his holy life: observe his spotless conduct; his forgiving and forbearing temper, to all who reviled and injured him. And here I would mention a little fact, which may be useful, through the divine blessing, to some who read this. A person, who was by nature of a very violent,' unruly temper, was happily roused from a state of careless unconcern, to inquire - What must I do to be saved ?” Well