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away from all perishable objects, and he will be affectionately united to fear the name of God, and with humility adore him as a gracious Father in Christ Jesus. The things pertaining to the person and offices of the great Redeemer sink deep into his heart, and he feels beyond the power of language to describe, that the way of the Lord towards him is holy, just, merciful, and gracious. Humility is worn by such a man as a garment, and it will become him thus to be adorned. He daily evinces great circumspection in his conduct before men, nor does he find any occasion to resign his caution and self-denial. He well knows that the journey of life cannot be extended beyond the limit which his kind Father has placed, nor does he wish to resign his present mode of existence, until all the will of God shall be fully accomplished in him. He has much to perform for the glory of God, and the minutes are numbered to him in which he is to do it. His felicity is increased as he increases in the knowledge of the Lord, in whom he is comprehended, and for ever perfected.
To be favoured to know how to husband lime aright, is peculiar to the household of faith. The man of pleasure has too much time upon his hands, but the sober christian has none to squander away in pursuit of prohibited things. The days of his years are appointed to him by God, and he finds it so important to use them agreeably with his spiritual state of being, that he frequently appears at the footstool of mercy to ask grace to sanctify him " So to number his days that he may apply his heart to wisdom." The numerous engagements of life employ much of his very precious lime, and that portion of it that is not swallowed up in his lawful calling, is gratefully seized by him to attend to the more important concerns of the soul. The conduct which he is called to imitate forbids him to misuse that over which he has no control. The Saviour himself said, " I must work while it is day." Beside, for a christian to spend the short life which we are in this world to enjoy in the service of God, is both reasonable and honourable. It is very painful to witness the conduct of many foolish professors of the gospel. They act as though time was not among the favours which God has given to his people in the person of his Son, and as if it were a matter of no consequence whether it is devoted to his honour and glory. It is not right to put weapons into the hands of any of the adversaries of the cross of Christ, for them to turn upon us and to beat us with our cudgels. It is therefore imperatively binding upon the believer in Christ, to gather up his moments as they pass, for when they are once fled, they can never be recalled. In addition to this, we may notice, that we are dying creatures. How just and wise it is that we should so live, that when we are in dying circumstances, the great adversary of our souls may not have any just ground to accuse us, and to distress our minds. What it is to die, we who are in sound health, cannot tell; but we learn from the holy scriptures, and from what we have seen of dying believers, we conclude, that it is truly solemn to leave this world when God commands us hence. To leave the earthly house of our tabernacle as it is called, and to go into our house from heaven, is not a change that can be contemplated with the same feeling that would pervade our bosoms, when we remove from our bodies our garments at night to retire to rest. There is not any thing immediately spiritual in the article of death, but we were born subject to it, and by falling under its dominion, we find a passage out of life, and we obtain admission into the immediate presence of God, the society of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. The change of circumstance and of society will be so different, and the intercourse with God, and the tenants of the heavenly world, will be so spiritual in the nature of it, and the degree of perfect purity will be so great beyond what can be known in this world, that while we contemplate the change with delight, a reverend awe fills the mind of the real disciple of Jesus.
"The hand of the diligent maketh rich." This is true in divine things as well as in those which are natural. The everlasting welfare of the soul has the ascendancy where grace reigns. Every earthly thing is in subordination to those which are eternal. If at any time the duties which God has commanded us to do are neglected, the soul will speedily feel a sensible loss. The care of which we speak is not a slavish dread of divine wrath, but an evangelical concern that the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory of God, may adorn the life, and ornament the conduct. The persons of the saints are chosen to life by God the Father; they are ransomed to possess it by the Son of God; and they are sanctified by the Holy Ghost to enjoy the life given to, and procured for them. Whoever may be disposed to obtain heaven by the labour of their own hands, the real christian has for ever done with such erroneous principles, for he receives his salvation through Christ as a gracious donation conferred upon him, which he could neither procure nor demand. The caie and mercy that Almighty God has shewn to him by Christ Jesus, has awakened in his bosom something of the same nature. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Here is practical godliness founded upon principles the most honourable to God, and safe to man. To receive these things by faith, is the privilege of the heirs of grace, and to follow after further acquaintance with God by them, is the necessary and just consequence of being connected with Jesus Christ. We have noticed before that evangelical consolation enters the mind by the door of knowledge; and we may further say, that real solicitude for the well being of the soul, is the result of that knowledge whereby we are assured that, " because Christ lives, we shall live also."
It has been said, "that man is a religious animal," and 1 suppose that the sense in which it is adopted by philosophers is true: but when we look at man as partaking of a religion that is wholly supernatural, we see the noblest piece of God's work beneath the canopy of the skies. Formerly when he was under the dominion of sin, the members of his body were used for every evil purpose; but now he is sanctified, and that body is the temple of the living God." "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now yield your members servants of righteousness unto holiness." The whole person of a believer is sanctified for God, and the animal passions do not reign and tyrannize over him. Indeed if animal gratifications were pampered and fed by him, there would be no distinction between him and the man of the world. There are numerous duties to be performed that the soul cannot attend to, but through the medium of the body; so also there are many pleasures that the soul derives through the medium of the senses, viz. as in religious conversation when it is well managed, we obtain great benefit by exchanging of our thoughts on the word of God. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." The scriptures so plentifully quoted, prove beyond all doubt that these things are good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. If the separation of the members of the body from vicious to gracious uses is considered aright, we must conclude that the body so used is sanctified for God, and consecrated for his dwelling-place. The mistakes that many truly godly men make upon this very interesting doctrine is astonishing, when the thing is as evident as though it were written with a sunbeam.
There is another view which we may take of a good man, and learn that he is an honourable character. He is not a sensual man. The sensualist is entirely devoted to corporeal pleasures, and he is carnally minded. He is like the spider that carries poison in its own bowels, and converts every thing which it receives into the same vile quality; but the believer is in heart and affection separated from the love of unrighteousness. He is neither lewd nor luxurious, unchaste nor libidinous; purity of heart is discovered by his modest mien, chaste language, and unassuming deportment. The mind of such a man is not under the dominion of vice, nor does he make provision to gratify it, so as to degrade his character, but he is conversant with heavenly realities. Any advance, however small the degree of it towards sensuality, is a step taken in an unrighteous path, which will be of far more consequence than is usually conceived of by the thoughtless and gay professor of the gospel. " To be carnally minded is death."
The religion of the Son of God is so holy in its nature, and heavenly in its tendency, that whosoever is keenly alive to the importance of keeping a distinction between the church and the world, will strive to abstain from all appearance of evil. The true christian is the only man who has learned to use the world aright. His portion is not in it; his happiness is not derived from it; nor does he set his affections upon it. He is contented with the good things which he receives from God in it; and he is truly grateful to him for them.—Malevolence has not a dwelling-place within the good man's bosom. It is certainly comprehended in the sinfulness of his nature, but he does not make any provision to cherish or practice it. It would be a tacit denial of the truth if we were to say that a gracious man is mischievously disposed, or that he is employed in a wicked manner to do his neighbour harm. Grace having destroyed in him the reign of sin, he is no longer under its command or rule; he therefore walks according to his new creation state in Christ Jesus, and he endeavours to live in peace with all men, but especially with the household of God. The same mind that was in Christ dwells in him, and that is an antidote for human misery; and in consequence of it he is delivered from that inclination to hurt others, which is so evident in the conduct of all men who are not partakers of the religion of the Son of God. There is nothing upon earth which can be compared to an evangelical principle of action towards God and man. We may search the world through, but we shall not find any thing equal to that "pure and undefiled religion" which God hath provided for his own children. Thanks, eternal thanks to God for such a religion as that of the gospel of peace, by which we are saved from seeking our own gratification, and by which we are disposed to sit down at the feet of our great Redeemer, to be taught by him all things which pertain to life and godliness.
When the dispositions which are radically comprehended in the principle of life and sanctity, that is in every saint, are called into action, there is then present in the bosom much of that holy feeling which is ever pleasant to all who fear the name of the Lord. This feeling is not any part of our salvation in equity, nor do we make it the ground of our acceptance with God; but when he is pleased to fill the mind with the light of his holy countenance, the heart is delivered from the power and prevalence of evil. The celestial influence of the Holy Spirit, by which the conscious soul is kept vigorous and healthy, has a tendency to preserve him in a proper temper before God, and in a becoming spirit towards his brethren. We perceive that the true believer is redeemed from sin, that he is also brought to God by the sanctification of the Spirit; and as the result thereof, he is preserved from evil; that he is also blessed by God with many great and signal mercies, and that he has the prospect of possessing endless life with Christ in heaven.
(For the Spiritual Magazine. J
•Behold, thou art fair, my low. BfJiohl, thou art fair. Thou art all fair—there is no spot in thee." Sol, Song i. 15.— iv. 7.
By taking a two-fold view of the bride, the Lamb's wife, we behold a mysterious personage, and a wondrous contrast: black as hell by sin—fair as the moon, clear as the sun, through the blood and righteousness of Jesus, and the regenerating sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost. In herself, clothed like Joshua the high priest, with filthy garments—filthy rags. In Jesus, clothed in linen clean and white—a raiment of wrought gold. By nature a fit companion for devils—by free grace a fit companion for angels, yea, the choice companion of him who is the chief among ten thonsand, whom angels worship and adore, and account it an honourable employ to do his pleasure. Behold her, (who may well be compared to a brand plucked out of the fire) behold her, seated by the side of her royal Husband, the King of kings, in realms of perfect light. Our idea of her beauties is so far beneath correctness, as it falls short of that portrait that represents her seated there, free of all and every infirmity, and possessing all the beauties and excellencies Deity can confer on a creature.
Who can conceive what is contained in this expressive language of him, whose superior knowledge of beauty is exquisite—whose penetrating eye can discover with infinite ease the smallest atom of impurity, or the least deformity whatever—" Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair. Thnu art all fair, there is no spot in thee." None can comprehend, and much less explain to the full what is couched therein, Jehovah himself excepted. All her past, present, and future deficiencies, are fully made good by the carpenter, the son of Joseph; and by him all her past, present, and future guilt is washed away. Although she feels the sad effects of sin in this her time-state, her crimes are viewed by him as her's, only to forgive, and not to bring condemnation to her door. And although she knows she did commit them, he as well knows he has tasted death for them; and in strict justice to her account is charged no guilt. And whilst the active and passive obedience of Jesus justifies and enrobes her, his inwrought graces are her inward ornaments; and may I not assert, that the superlative glory that emanates from her character of the bride, the Lamb's lawful wife, and her real eternal union to him, does and will transcend all other glories transferred to her? Truly these all conspire to make King Jesus' fair one all glorious within, and all glorious without. The effects of inwrought grace are in measure conspicuous by her attachment to and her conduct towards her royal Husband here, but more resplendantly observable hereafter, when she has taken possession of her mansion above, where without obstruction all will conspire to draw them forth into