Imágenes de páginas

dence in a guide; keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.' But what was the prophet's conduct under these heavy troubles? “Therefore, (saith he,) I will look unto the Lord: I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me*' The more the world frowns, the sweeter will be the smiles of Jesus. And the greater unkindness you meet with from your relations, the greater will be your esteem of the affection of the Redeemer. What, though all your earthly connexions fail, and their friendship is continually fluctuating, and changeable ; yet in Jesus you find an unchanging friend (at all times; one born for adversity, and who sticketh closer than a brother.' . And it should very evidently seem, that God over-rules those very events which tend to loosen our attachment to every thing here below, on purpose to raise our affections, and to fasten them on the great objects which are above. - By tinging our most innocent enjoy.

ments in this mortal state with vanity and dis. py appointment, what is it but in effect saying,

* Micah vii. 4, 5, 6.

Arise ye and depart, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted? There is much meaning in that word of the prophet, Therefore ; when he says, Therefore I will look unto the Lord ; that is as much as to say, Because all things else are dissatisfying, I will look where I am sure not to be disappointed. Though all creatures leave me, my Creator is the same ; and though every earthly friend fail me, my heavenly Friend never will. O, depend upon it, let a child of God be persecuted, forsaken, -slighted, or despised ever so much by man; yet while he hath a God to look up to, and a Covenant-God to trust in ; while he can say My God, he may at the same time with full assurance say, he will hear me. ... And I believe it possible, nay more than possible, even frequently induced by divine grace, that, where the love of God is shed abroad in the heart in its fulness and strength, it drives out of all lesser considerations; as the · effulgent brightness of the sun puts out the

fire of the hearth. And it is in this sense we · must accept that otherwise seemingly harsh doctrine to flesh and blood, where the Redeemer saith, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his

life also, he cannot be my disciple. That the apostle Paul felt the influence of this hating his own life, no one will question, who attends to the holy saint's groaning under the body of sin and death,' which he tells us he carried about with him. And that a believer in the present hour, who knows what it is at times to loathe and even hate his own flesh from the corruptions of it, may without violence to the purest affections be well supposed to feel something of obedience to the Redeemer's precept in hating every tie which tends to separate the soul from the great and unrivalled object of its love, will not be doubted. 'Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee;' is an appeal, which many besides David have been "enabled to make. . . . . : When the Interpreter had finished his discourse to the woman, he addressed himself ta me; and concluding, from my appearance among the circle, that one and the same motive as brought others to his house, had brought me also, he desired to know what was the immediate subject of my present attention.

I simply repeated to him the distress with

which my mind had been exercised, since I had perused a little book on the subject of grace, and had overheard the conversation between the brothers.

He prevented my adding more, by saying, • I know very well that author's writings, and can easily conceive how his reasonings may have operated upon your mind. But a moment's reflection, under God the spirit's teaching, will be enough to refute doctrines of such a tendency.

"To suppose that the gift of God's grace. depends upon man's merit, is to invert the very order of things, and make the creature the first mover in his salvation : which is in direct op. position to the whole tenor of scripture. This, if true, would destroy God's foreknowledge.

To imagine that our acceptance or refusal of grace is the result of our own pleasure, is to rob God of another of his glorious perfections of character: for it is in effect saying, that man is more powerful than his Maker, in that what God wills, man may defeat. And this takes from God his omnipotence.

"To fancy that our improvement, or misimprovement of grace, will render it effectual, or the contrary, is committing another breach on the divine attributes; for this is reducing the

covenant of grace to a covenant of works. And. hence, after all God hath said and promised, concerning the freedom, and fulness, and sovereignty of his salvation, in this case, the event of it would depend on the merit of the creature. And this is taking from God both his wisdom and his glory.

" And to believe, after what God the Father“: hath given, and God the Son hath accomplished, for the salvation of his people in a covenant way, that souls renewed by God the Holy Ghost, and called with an holy calling, may yet finally perish; this is bringing down redemption' work to so precarious and uncertain an issue, as must leave it altogether undetermined whether a single believer shall be saved, or not. And this throws to the ground the distinguishing character of God's immutability.

I will very readily grant, (continued the Interpreter,) that grace is brought forward into many sharp and trying dispensations in the lives of the faithful. God is certainly exercising the gifts of his Holy Spirit which he bestows upon them, by temptation and troubles, and a variety of providences. And in fact, such must be the case. For unexorcised grace would otherwise find no scope to mani. fest itself. But for any one to imagine from

« AnteriorContinuar »