Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Condition of those to whom the Gospel is

Addressed.

Every one who is born into our world, in consequence of his descent from Adam, since the fall, partakes of a nature totally corrupt; by which is meant that whatever general amiableness and loveliness of disposition there may be, and much there sometimes is, yet, without divine grace, there is no right disposition, but a wrong one towards God and holiness. The Scriptures declare ihat “ the carnal mind,” that is, the mind of every man in his unrenewed state, is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,-Rom. viii. 7. This is a description, not of any one man, but of human nature in its most generic sense. All men, every man, till renewed by divine grace, is in enmity against God. He is not merely indifferent to God, and alien from him, but inimical to him, he does not merely not love him, but he dislikes him. He dislikes his moral attributes of righteousness and holiness, and resists his authority as expressed in the law. So that in the heart of man there is not one good or holy feeling; but all its thoughts and emotions towards God and holiness are evil, only evil, and that continually. There may be blended with this many fine, and generous, and noble sentiments of patriotism, social kindness, honour, generosity, and philanthrophy; but these affect not the disposition towards God, that still remains unmixed, unsubdued dislike. Many think this not true, because they take pleasure in thinking of God's great kindness and indulgence ; but mercy, without holiness, is not the character of God as delineated in the Scriptures, and many who speak with pleasure of an indulgent God, are displeased with a holy and a just one. abatement of the truth of this representation of human nature, that some who are not evangelically pious, take pleasure in tracing the wisdom and power of God in the works of creation ; because it is the God of the Bible that is proposed as the object of our love, fear, and delight; and not merely the God of nature. It is God, as righteous, holy, true, and merciful, that is revealed to us, and whom we are to love ; and not merely as wise, powerful, and beneficent. Human nature, in its unchanged state, is opposed to holiness; it dislikes it even in the imperfect form in which it is seen in the saints, a plain proof that it is opposed to it in its source and model, which is God. It may be supposed that this arises from ignorance in man, and that he would love God more if he knew him better. Quite the contrary. The reason why men think they dislike him so little, is because they know him so little. If they knew him more, they would be still more opposed to him. If we dislike a quality, the more that quality prevails, or is known, the stronger must be our dislike to it. So it is with the sinner towards God; as he is opposed to his holiness, the more he knows it, the more he is opposed to it. Consequently it would be impossible for an unconverted man to be happy in Heaven. There God reveals himself clearly, and gloriously, and for ever, as the holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty; and must necessarily be an object of dread, terror, and dislike to an unholy mind, in proportion to the clearness of the manifestation. Such is the heart of man in his unconverted state,

Nor is it any

THE CONDITION OF THOSE TO WHOM THE GOSPEL IS ADDRESSED.

5

Now look at his conduct. It is his duty to love God with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind, and his neighbour as himself,-Matt. xxii. 37–39. Not only to love him in some measure, but supremely, practically, and constantly. To be without this love is a state of sin; such a life is a career of rebellion againts the divine authority, and contempt of the divine excellence. This is the one great sin which comprehends all other sins. Dwell upon the other sins which stand connected with it ; first, towards God himself, there is no gratitude for his mercies, no reverence for his authority, no habitual veneration for his character, no fear of his displeasure, no trust in his promises, no submission to his will, no devotedness to his service, no living to his glory, no pleasure in his ordinances, no prayer in the spirit of it, no communion with him, no walking with him, no delight in him. Instead of this, in many cases, profaning his name, dishonouring his institutes, despising his ordinances, and especially the great sin, the greatest sin of all sins in his sight, neglecting his salvation in Christ Jesus. To these sins add others committed against man, disobedience to parents, rebellion against the authority of masters, lying, malice, revenge, slander, envy, impure thoughts and feelings, and acts, injustice, oppression, cruelty, swearing, cheating—but, where shall we stop, suffice it to say, that the exposition given by our Lord, in his sermon on the mount, of the strictness and spirituality of the laws, by which an unchaste feeling is called adultery of the heart, and sinful anger, murder, is such as to prove that each one of us is guilty in the sight of God, of sins equally innumerable and inexcusable.

Next behold man's danger. Depraved and sinful every one is exposed to the wrath to come, and there is but a step between us and death.

Is a sheep ready to perish in the midst of wolves ? Is a diseased man ready to perish, who from the crown of his head to the sole of the foot, is covered with wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores? Is a traveller ready to perish, who is fast asleep on the edge of a tremendous precipice? Is a criminal ready to perish, on whom the judge has pronounced sentence, and who is left for execution to-morrow? Is an infant ready to perish, that cast out into the

field on the day that it is born, and whom there is no eye to pity, none to have compassion ? But none of these are so ready to perish as we are ; the destruction of none of these is so great as is our perdition, and from this state we are by no means able to deliver ourselves. No-no hope of relief can be found but in the boundless grace of God. And why should we be ashained that this, our state, should be known? It is desirable, reader, that you should know your state; to this, your condition, the whole Gospel refers, and on this the whole of it is founded. It is also necessary that you should know it, else the Gospel will be a repulsive system to you. It will be like offering alms to the wealthy, or announcing liberty to those who are free, or entering a house to couch the eye of a man who can see, unless you would strip the Gospel of its fine character as suited to sinners; unless as some have done, you would reduce it to a system of moral ethics. But is such a meagre representation as theirs the Gospel? Does it come up to this representation ? “ The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost ?" Or does it come up to this language ? loved the world that he gave his only begotton Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life ?"

open

66 God so

1

The Pearl of Days.

Our Sabbaths.

on high, bless the passing hours of the How rich a boon has celestial mercy Heaven itself

, make it a blessing to the

Sabbath, and render it the best type of bestowed upon our laboring, toil-worn

child of God, which he would not part with world, in the day of sacred rest. What

for ten thousand times the gain he could should we do, as regards either body or soul, without the Sabbath, to invigorate

acquire, by devoting it to business and to

wealth; and his heart would claim it as a the impaired energies of the one, and recruit the wasted piety of the other. If privilege to keep holy the Sabbath-day, even

if conscience did not dictate it as a duty. the man of wealth and leisure, whose

If you would keep up the power of godli-. time is all his own, to spend it, if it please him so to do, in reading, meditation, and

ness in your soul; if you would live by faith

upon the Son of God; if you would overcome prayer, feels little need of such a season

the world and set your affections upon things of repose, not so the tradesman, the

above, spend well your Sabbaths. These servant, and the laborer. How sweet to them, as Saturday evening is closing upon

are the days of the soul's gains; her golden them, and all the weariness of six days

seasons for growing rich in all that constilabor is pressing them down, is the reflec

tutes spiritual prosperity; her times not tion, “To-morrow is the Sabbath of the only for the enjoyment of devotion, but for Lord.” There is no need to prove to gaining new light to guide the conscience,

and fresh strength to invigorate all her them by elaborate 'argumentation, that the Sabbath is of perpetual obligation, for religious and moral principles. Religion

would retire from the world with the they cannot persuade themselves that He who hath loved them in Christ Jesus, would Sabbath, and would be feeble and sickly

in the church if indeed it could live even have left them without such an opportunity as this affords, in their scene of toil, to there, without the aids of this holy day.

James. dwell upon His love, and enjoy it: and hence, as often as the season round, they meet its very dawn with the How our Sabbaths may be made words of Watts,

profitable and pleasant to us. “Welcome sweet day of rest,

I. By a deep impression of their inestimable That saw the Lord arise,

value, and a great anxiety to spend them Welcome to this reviving breast,

well. And these rejoicing eyes."

II. Endeavor, as much as possible, to The various mental associations equally keep up through the days and business of serene and delightful—the hallowed please the week a spiritual frame of mind. ures—the recollections and anticipations- III. It is desirable, where it can be the pureimmortal hopes—theraptexercises accomplished, to end the business of the of devotion, which, like the day-spring from week early on Saturday evening, and thus

comes

DROPPINGS OF THE SANCTUARY.

7

secure a portion of time for reflection, and VIII. In order to spend a profitable devotional exercises.

Sabbath, great care ought to be taken to IV. We must not only abstain from improve well the interval of public worship worldly labor on the Sabbath, if we would IX. Before the day quite departs, and improve it to any spiritual purpose, but sleep drowns in oblivion, or only keeps from worldly thoughts. An eminently holy alive in dreams the solemn engagements friend of mine who carried on trade in and topics which have filled its fleeting London, and lived in its environs, used to hours, we should be found again in our say, “He always left his business on closets, reviewing the whole, and pouring Saturday evening on London Bridge, to over all the silent and dewy influence of be taken up again on Monday morning.” prayer; this being done, then taking care

V. If we would spend a profitable as the last duty of the day, as we lay our Sabbath, we must not waste “the sweet head upon our pillow, and resign ourselves hour of prime,” in slothful indulgence to slumber, to fall asleep with the petition, upon our bed. They who sleep away the “Seal instruction upon my heart, O God, morning till they have scarcely time to get and let my profiting appear unto all men.” ready for public worship, can expect no X. One more step should be taken, and benefit, for they seek none, from the ordi- that is, to secure a portion of time on nances of God's house. Early rising is the Monday morning before we replunge essential to a devotional spirit. “His morn- into the business, and labors, and anxieties ing smiles bless all the day.”

of the world, to look back on the day that VI. If we would gain benefit by the is past, for the double purpose, first, of word, we must make our profiting the recalling the views, emotions, and purposes specific object of hearing it preached. that were suggested by the services of the

VII. Much of the improvement of our sanctuary, and the Sabbath; and then, of Sabbaths depends on the state of our settling with ourselves a plan for reducing minds, during what may be called the them all to action.-Ibid. devotional exercises: I mean the prayers and the singing

Droppings of the Sanctuary.

If religion has done nothing for your The faithful in every age, have always remained faithful to the Scriptures, and tempers, it has done nothing for your

souls.-Clayton. God, in the Scriptures, has always remained

Death is terrible in the eye of nature, faithful to them.— Stollery.

but far more terrible in the eye of conIt the world can move us from our science. Ford. religion, we may be sure of this, we shall

Procrastination is the kidnapper of souls, do the world but little good.—Leifchild.

and the recruiting officer of hell.-Irving. A head full of knowledge, and a heart Prayer is a key, which being turned by full of lusts, will sink the soul into the the hand of faith, unlocks all God's lowest hell.-Ibid.

treasures.

[blocks in formation]

The mind of a believer stored with Nature is content with little, grace with Scripture promises, is like a room set less; but lust with nothing.--Henry. with diamonds; turn which way you will, A saint may be brought very low, but it is all splendor, richness, and beauty. he can never fall below the promises.

man can be in no condition whe ein It is his own power, that supports the God is at a loss and cannot help him. throne of Jehovah, and clothes all his If comforts be wanting, he can create perfections with grandeur and majesty. comforts not only out of nothing, but out God has two thrones, one in the highest of discomforts.

heavens, and the other in the lowest hearts. Better is it to go with a few to heaven, A lively christian lives like a king, and than with a multitude to hell, and be prays like a beggar; he works in his secudamned for the sake of company.

lar calling, as if he were to live long, and It is better to go through fire and water in his spiritual calling, as if he were to die in the path of duty, than through verdant to-morrow. fields and pleasing landscapes, with temptation for our guide.

Friendly Monitions to Parents.
A Word Fitly Spoken. company of the nobility were invited to his

house. It was so arranged, that during the The daughter an English nobleman was festivities, the daughters of different nobleprovidently brought under the influence men, and among others, this one, were to be of the followers of Wesley, and thus came called on to entertain the company with to the saving knowledge of the truth as it singing and music on the piano. If she is in Jesus. The father was almost dis- refused compliance, she would be publicly tracted at the event, and by threats, temp- disgraced, and lose, past the possibility tations to extravagance in dress, by read- of recovery, her place in society. It was ing, and travelling in foreign countries, a dreadful crisis, and with peaceful confiand to places of fashionable resort, took dence did she await it. As the crisis every means in his power to divert her approached, different individuals, at the mind from “ things unseen and eternal.” call of the company, performed their parts But her “heart was fixed.” The God of with the greatest applause. At last the Abraham had become “her shield, and name of his daughter was announced.exceeding great reward,” and she was In a moment all were in fixed and silent determined that nothing finite should suspense to see how the scale of destiny deprive her of her infinite and eternal would turn. Without hesitation, she arose, portion in him, or displace him from the and with calm and dignified composure centre of her heart. At last the father re- took her place at the instrument. After solved upon a final and desperate experi- a moment spent in silent prayer, she ran ment, by which his end should be gained, her fingers along the keys, and then, with of his daughter ruined as far as her an unearthly sweetness, elevation, and soprospects in life were concerned. A large lemnity, sang, accompanying her voice

« PreviousContinue »