Imágenes de páginas

man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and, in the world to come, life everlasting." Luke xviii. 28-30.



SUCH trials and sacrifices would be absolutely insurmountable to them, nor could they ever be prevailed upon to encounter them, were they not assured of adequate support under them, and also that they shall all terminate, to their unspeakable advantage. Christ has gone before them in bearing the cross, he knows how to sympathise with them, and he possesses strength adequate to support them in every case. "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. xii. 9. The fulness of Christ secures the fulfilment of this promise, and encourages the faith of believers. Were it not for this, they would soon faint in the path of duty, give on the assaults of their enemies, and sink down under pressure of their own fears. Jesus overcame every trial and every danger; his people may, therefore, rejoice, even in tribulation; for through him they also shall overcome. He will not call them to suffer for him, and desert them in the hour of danger. As he holds in his hand all the treasures of grace wisdom and strength, so he supplies them liberally in the time of need. He often surprises them with copious, unexpected, and seasonable communications of his Spirit. Then their strength is increased, their zeal inflamed, their minds inspired with for, titude, patience and resolution, and their souls are com posed, comforted, and encouraged by a blessed sense of the divine love. All this proceeds from the fulness of Christ, and ought to excite believers to cultivate an extensive experimental acquaintance with it, that their souls may be fitted for every holy exercise, and animated to meet every trial, and every danger. In this way they

will find Christ's yoke easy and his burden light, and also find rest to their souls.

FINALLY. We may from this subject learn, what is the true and effectual spring of genuine religion and morality, the fulness of Christ. Though men, in general, admit the advantage of receiving gracious assistance from Christ, yet they consider the human soul as possessed of such powers and moral principles as, by proper discipline and culture, will lead to the practice of all the duties they owe to God and men. Such views of the human character are at variance with the testimony of him "who searches the heart, and who knows what is in man." "Out of the heart," said the Saviour, "proceed, evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man." Mat. xv. 19, 20. The man in whose heart these lusts, or principles of sin prevail, is internally defiled, his heart is evil: for the evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth evil things. And when these lusts burst forth into sinful actions, the man is outwardly defiled. With this testimony of Christ agree the words of the Apostle. Rom. viii. 7. "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." No man was ever better qualified to give a just description of the human heart; for he had paid the closest attention to the state of his own mind, and was infallibly directed by the Spirit of God. "I know," says he, " that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." Rom. vii. 18. The flesh, in him, was the remains of the "old man," and here no good, no holy principles or dispositions existed; consequently those who were in the flesh," and in whom there was nothing better than the old man, were destitute of all holy principles of action.

[ocr errors]

These, while in such a state, are not subject to the divine law, neither can they. The law and their hearts are at variance. Instead of chusing it and delighting in it, they reject and hate it. On this account, they are represented as "dead in trespasses and sins, walking in the lusts of the flesh, and fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind." Eph. ii. 1, 2, 3.

SINCE Such is the character of the human heart, is it conceivable that any principles of religion and morality, -of love to God and man, can exist in it! A change must take place. These principles are contained in the fulness of Christ and must be communicated to the soul. From him the dead soul must have life, ere it can live to God. He confers his Spirit, "The law of the Spirit of life, who delivers the sinner from the law of sin and death." Rom. viii. 2. A new heart is given him,-a heart which loves God and men,-a heart on which the divine law is inscribed, and which delights in it, and observes it. Not only is a "new spirit" given him, but Christ puts his Spirit within him," to remain, and to preserve and improve all those principles of holiness which have been implanted there. Here the Spirit "works both to will and to do;" inclining the heart to holiness, and communicating ability for action. Here the principles of religion and morality are to be found, and the practice of both may certainly be expected. Love to the divine law is now a prevailing principle; and as this law comprises all religious and moral duties, the sum of which is, love to God and our neighbour, these duties will be attended to, and studiously practised. "O how love I thy law," said David, "it is my study all the day." And Paul " delighted in the law of God after the inner man." God, in all his perfections, greatness, counsels, and love, is now the object of his contempla

tion, love, and delight. "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Jesus, with all his fulness, occupies much of his thoughts, and warms his heart with love, hope, desire, and gratitude. He looks inward upon himself, his views are changed, and he sees nothing but guilt, loathsomeness, and misery, and his language is, "Behold, I am vile." Sin now becomes hateful, and he shuns it; holiness appears amiable, and he pursues it. He no longer trusts in himself but places all his confidence in God. Now the pleasures of sense yield him little satisfaction, his affections are set on things above, and his conversation is in heaven.

[ocr errors]

His heart is now very differently affected towards mankind. He pities and bewails their sinful condition. He is sensibly affected with their insensibility, and infatuation. Universal benevolence reigns in his soul,→→→ it expands itself to all men, and embraces and consults, as far as it can, their best interests. He considers the importance of morality; he sees how much the interests of society depend upon it; and he makes conscience of attending to the duties of it. He esteems its duties as a part of true holiness, which he owes to God; and while he is studying the interest of men, he is also serving him. In order to the due discharge of all these religious and moral duties, he has recourse to the fulness of Christ, to obtain renewed supplies of grace, to have the principles of holiness strengthened, and to be fully furnished to all good works. It is his wish, and his study, that his whole life 'towards both God and man, may be as becometh the gospel of Christ.



[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »