Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

his mind, and consequently his restoration to virtue and religion. In thus doing we should give special heed to his relation to ourselves.

Having thus taken a survey of the field and the means of action, we must speak and act the Truth with that kindness and compassion which seeks to redeem rather than to punish, which desires neither to draw down the fire of Heaven nor to shed the venom of acrimonious reproaches on the offender's head, though he may richly deserve it, if by forbearance he may be won. We shall deny ourselves even the comfort of expressing a holy indignation. Our rebukes, though sharp, as in cases of the certain style of character they should be, will be uttered more in sorrow than in anger. We shall exbibit that meekness of charity which beareth and that candor which hopeth all things. We shall exercise that patience which endures insult and injury, and that courage and fortitude which will certainly reiterate their attempts until the work be done, and the stronghold captured. In all this we shall exercise a holy prudence, a careful adaptation of the means to the end ; for, although we are not responsible for success, our great Captain demands of us that we do not fail through our own fault. Nathan was faithful in the application of his parable ; but he was prudent in securing a concession of the principle before he said, “Thou art the man.” Paul was faithful in warning the Athenians ; but he was prudent in availing himself of every point which was common ground to him and them.

Wisdom is profitable to direct in this as in all other duties ; and wisdom is needed ; for, although the simple principle of love, which is the fulfilling of the whole law, may be readily understood, like that of gravitation, yet how diversified and complicated are its operations ! The course of duty in each case, is, so to speak, the resultant of various moral forces, and to ascertain it we need a calculation beyond all that our guesses at expediency can furnish. The Bible pronounces a woe on those who lean to their own understanding ; and this some do most evidently in preferring what appears their own interest to God's high behests. There are others, however, who often make a great outcry at this sin, and yet are guilly of it in another way. They are generally persons possessed of some logical powers, and measurably devoid of that species of selfishness which would lead them to consult their own ease and comfort. They are not men-pleasers, neither are they lovers of pleasure rather than of God. They seize on some one or two points clearly laid down in the Scriptures. From these they draw their conclusions; and these become their convictions, and to them they resolutely cling. In them they hear the very voice of God, and that they will follow to consequences at which one would suppose th ey would shrink back agbast. Thus they“ please not God, and are contrary to all men." They are illustrations of the difference between mere logic and common sense. Logic diaw's conclusions from one or two premises ; while common sense looks at a larger number, and would look at everything that is to be taken into account. Now, if the expression be al lowable, God is a being of infinite common sense.

He surveys the whole ground and sees the end from the beginning ; and he has given us not only his law, but precepts, statutes, testimonies and judgments-applications of the great general principles of his government. We should search the Scriptures, then, not only for the grand truths,which are the basis of every duty, but for those specific directions which are given to guide us in the various departments of human action. In looking for such directions, we shall find that the Divine arrangements and precepts are consistent with the fact that large masses move slow in morals as well as in physics ; that a movement toward reform is gradually propagated through a large community, unless by some special intervention of bis Spirit, * a nation shall be born in a day.” A steady and patient effort of the motive power will produce the desired effect; while an impatient jerk may snap the connection, and so nothing be done.

Be it remembered however, that much as the errors of misguided zealots in urging reform are to be regretted, the virulence of those who befriend iniquity is to be abhorred, and their obstiracy lamented, while the lukewarmness of socalled neutrals, is still more to be deplored, if not despised. Ciphers they are, but ciphers that hugely swell the amount

I would thou wert either hot or cold.” Nor should we forget that it is not to be taken for granted that the reformer is in the wrong merely because he is persecuted : for then Paul had never been molested nor Jesus crucified.

Be it remembered also in humility and thankfulness, that our Heavenly Father looks with a benignant and watchful eye upon his children ; that he will reward their honest endeavors while he chastises their follies ; that he will at last abundantly pardon the believers, and though they may have been engaged in many a hot contention here on earth, He will gather

them at last into the bosom of eternal rest. There ali shall be truth, and love, and joy. There shall be no misunderstanding, no deceit, no sin. If this were more constantly in the mind of God's children, they would be more careful to abstain from evil, and from judging one another. And the church of Christ would present a spectacle of good-will, peace, purity, and holy zeal, far more attractive than it has yet been our lot to behold.

May the Holy Spirit convince the world of sin and righteousness and judgment, until all men shall do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before their God.

66

of wrong

CHRIST A PRECIOUS SAVIOUR.- BY THE EDITOR.

"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”—1 PETER, 2:7. The great end and business of the Scriptures are, to reveal Christ. They set Him forth in his person in his mission--in his office of work-in his life, sufferings, and deathin his humiliation and in bis glory, with amazing distinctness and power of interest, and challenge for him the belief and cordial acceptance of all men. And yet, millions of sinners, whom he came to relieve and to bless, know him not and are utter strangers to his salvation. They have heard of Christ by the hearing of the ear, and have read about him often, but have never taken him into their hearts,-feel no regard for him,-know nothing of the doctrine of a precious Saviour. To them the Bible reveals no divine Jesus ; for them there is no salvation. Heaven's Glory and earth's Redeemer, has no attractions for them. Alas that this should be true of most Gospel sinners.

But there are a few souls on earth to whom Jesus is precious-inexpressibly precious : precious in his own matchless and exalted character : precious in His Word which reveals him : precious inrbis providence which bears constant testimony to his kindness and faithfulness ; precious in his example of all virtue and benevolence : precious in his extreme humiliation as “a man of sorrows," and as the sufferer of Calvary : and precious in his exultation and exceeding glory. They have seen Jesus in all his divine attractionshave tasted of his love-have experienced his renewing grace--have enjoyed the most intimate communion with him and to them there is no being like Jesus. “Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee,” is the language of their daily experience. Christ and his cross are all their theme-their song in the house of their pilgrimage. “ Unto you therefore which believe he is precious." Consider

1. To whom Christ is precious. “Unto you therefore which believe he is precions." He is precious to none else. There are many characters found in this world, but Jesus Christ passes them all by, and reveals himself only to the humble and contrite soul--to that man who believes and trembles at his Word. He who has FAITH--faith in the Gospel,—the faith appropriate to him as a sinner, and to Christ as an all-suflicient Saviour, is sure to find Christ inexpressibly dear to him. He may be deficient in learning, in worldly advantages, in everything beside, but if he really“ believe with the heart unto righteousness," Jesus Christ has been formed in him the hope of glory, and reveals himself to him in the ellicacy and preciousness of his Grace.

* How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer's ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals bis wounds,

And drives away bis fear. .

66

It makes the wounded Spirit whole,

It calms the troubled breast; 'Tis manna to the hungry sonl,

And to the weary rest. God honors faith. The soul must look to Jesus-trust in him--cast her'all upon him, in order to experience the in: effable peace, and consolation, and reward of the Gospel.

II. Why Christ is so precious to the believer. He is seen by him in his glory as revealed by the Spirit of God,-experienced by him in the fulness of his salvation.

1. Christ is recognized by the believer as the medium of all earthly blessings. They are the fruit of His mediation, and flow to him through the channel of redeeming love and covenant grace.

2. As the source of spiritual blessings : pardon of sinreconciliation with God--peace of mind-à new heart-a holy life--perseverance unto the end, and final victory in death, and glory beyond,-all come from Christ. He is our life, our hope, our strength, our wisdom, and redemption. We owe to him everything we enjoy and hope for. He has dove for us what no other being has done or could do. All his promises are ours. He is present in every conflict to deliver, in every trial to strengthen, in every blessing to enrich, in every duty to quicken, in every chastisement to soothe and sanctify. There are, in what Christ is in himself, and in what he has done for the believer, and will yet do, infinite reasons why he should be precious to him, “ the chief among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely." The soul cries to him, and is delivered-looks to him, and is changed into the same image-feeds upon him, and grows up to life everlasting-trusts in him, and finds repose. 0, low precious is Jesus to the man who can truly say: “I know that my Redeemer is mine and I am his." Compared with what he finds in Christ, all earthly good is insipid and vain. Christ alone is precions. And he is precious as a Saviour, to deliver and pardon--as a Friend, to counsel and sympathize--as a Teacher, to instruct and guide—as a Benefactor, to nourish and bless--as a Refuge, to afford safety and repose--as an almighty Deliverer, to bring the soul ofi

' conqueror over death and the grave.

III. When Christ is thus precious.

At all times-for He is always equally lovely and adorable, always equally nigh and rich in blessing, and the soul is always equally in need of him and satisfied with him. But more especially

1. In certain frames of mind, as, when the soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness; when it experiences anew the emptiness of all earthly good, and turns to God with longing desires ; after a season of spiritual darkness and conflict, when the light of God's countenance is again lifted up upon the soul, and the joy of his salvation restored ; and

when faith, overcoming its wonted weakness, and rising above the regions of doubt and uncertainty, attains to full assurance. In such states of mind the face of Jesus shines with ineffable sweetness and glory, in the believer's soul, and all is peace and joy. Like the disciples on the mount of transfiguration, he would evermore abide in this heavenly frame of mind, and gaze and gaze eternally on the unveiled and transcendent glories of his Redeemer.

2. In certain duties, as in secret prayer--in the worship of the sanctuary-in remembering Christ's dying love at his table-in visiting the sick, the poor, and the needy, to relieve their wants, and to make Jesus known to them—and in sacrifices for the cause of God and the salvation of souls.

2. In certain seasons, as in times of danger, in the hour of bereavement, in the day of sickness and trial, and more than all, in the hour of death. Oh! how unspeakably precious has Christ been found to millions of believing souls, when all earthly comforts have fled, and the soul has felt the pressure of an infinite emergency! Language is inadequate to do justice to their experience at such times. Thier peace is like a river, their victory complete.

“ If such the sweetness of the streams, &c.

1. How much we need such a Saviour in this world of sin' and sorrow : an Almighty hand to pluck us from ruin; an infinite righteousness to justify us with God ; the Word and Spirit of the Holy One to enlighten and sanctify us ; a refuge from earth's sorrows and calamities, and the pledges and mercies of an “everlasting covenant” to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless, with exceeding joy, before the Throne.

2. If this Jesus is not precious to you, my hearer, it is because you do not believe in him. The Scriptures reveal him to you ; the Holy Spirit would draw you to him. Open your eyes and behold the matchless One ! open your heart and feel the power of his love. Jesus is precious; do you not know it? Jesus is precious, and will you live disconsolate and die in misery?

Finally-Behold the reward of faith. All this comes from believing. What a reward! What can equal it! The man to whom Jesus Christ is really precious, is favored above all men. His heart knows the secret of all happiness ; the secret of right living, and of a peaceful, happy death. What would you not give to know that secret? At what sacrifices would you not buy inward peace, triumph over death, salvation from hell? Only believe, believe in Jesus--the Jesus of the Scriptures--the Jesus of whom you have heard and read so often, and yet do not know ; believe in Him, and you shall have peace, joy, victory, eternal life, glory unspeakable! The Lord give you

faith.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »