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appears lovely and blessed, and we at the same time remember that we may gain a delightful approach to it even here; shall there be wanting resolves, and cravings, and struggles to attain it? Shall we not desire as near a resemblance to it as possible ? Can our minds dwell for a time in meditation among the pure glories of a perfect state, and come down to converse again with ourselves, without feeling oppressed with shame and stirred with impatience at our deficiencies ? Are we not indignant at the incongruity we behold; and do we not burn with desire to act more like citizens of that country to which we profess to belong? When we send forward our antici. pations into that blessed world, are we not constrained to exclaim : “What manner of persons should we be in all holy conversation and godliness ?” If such then the practical influence of “ looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,” let us learn to converse more with heaven-to set our thoughts and affections less on things below and more on things above.
THE CERTAIN AND FINAL SUCCESS, NOTWITHSTAND
ING THE DIFFICULTY AND OCCASIONAL FRUSTRATION, OF OUR ATTEMPTS TO DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD.
All our arguments and illustrations have gone upon the assumption that a christian certainly chooses and purposes to seek the divine glory. That this is not too easily taken for granted, might, if it really required the labour of proof, be made to appear by many strong and weighty considerations. That toil however can hardly be requiste. It is but to glance at these reasons in order to be satisfied. We have only to look at the obligation, and we perceive instantly, that there is no one upon whom it falls so fitly, peculiarly and fully as on the believer. Who is to acknowledge the obligation, if he does not ? To whom does it reach, if not to him? And where shall we look for its cordial and practical recognition, if not in him ? It is clearly consequent too, upon the very excellence which makes up the character of a christian. This moral worth has no existence where the glory of God is not desired and sought. Its cast and features are wanting.–The very life and being of the christian are absent. A person without regard to the divine glory is no more a christian, than an automaton is a man. That this is also the choice and aim of the man of God is apparent from the nature of the motives which are accustomed to actuate him. This is the appropriate, the natural, the sure and unavoidable result of all the great incentives which act upon a christian's heart. Give them place and action there, and this must be their infallible issue. To what do they urge, and compel, and constrain, if not to this? The same conclusion is also forced upon us by the fact of that great transformation of character which every christian has undergone. To what has he been changed ? To what has he been recovered ? To what has he been reconciled ? To what has he been brought nigh? Is it not the sum and glory of this great achievement, that he has been brought to God? The destiny too, of the christian, yields us the same evidence. His heaven will be, glorifying God. And shall he have no preparation, no fitness; no congeniality, no training, no similar and introductory occupation here? These proofs are all crowned by clear and simple facts. These are recorded for us in abundance by a divine pen. When we take up the word of God we find ourselves compassed instantly by “so great a cloud of witnesses," that we can no longer doubt. These are followed by innumerable examples, written by fallible, but still by faithful and competent hands. And then succeed a long train of living, present, conscious attestators. Do we not perceive that those whom we are wont to Tecognise as christians seek this end? And are not christians themselves persuaded more or less that this is their aim? We see them in the first instance returning from their wanderings, breaking off from the wrong ends they have followed, and confessing with shame and penitence their past idolatries. We see them solemnly and affectionately avowing the Lord to be their God, and presenting themselves at his altar, as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. We behold them offering the incense of praise and prayer, breathing forth themselves to God, exhaling their very spirit and being, in filial, grateful, holy affections—an “ odour of a sweet smell to God.” We witness them laying their nature under the control of the divine will, and directing their longing and expecting looks for the smile of God. We view them endeavouring to bring the whole range of thought and the whole course of action under the great law of doing all to the glory of God. We see them attempting to bring under the government of this requirement, their devotions, their researches for truth, their affections, their purposes, their deeds, their tongues, their bodies, their minds, their relations, their offices and stations, their time, their property and influence, their social and religious intercourse, their whole life and being. We behold them drawing to their aid those grand and wondrous motives springing out of all the relations in which they stand to God, and especially those new and endearing ones which they sustain as sinners, ransomed, regenerated, and accepted. And for the preservation, improvement and maturity of these aims, we see their determination, their desires, their anxieties, their struggles, their eager use of every wise expedient. It is surely then not difficult to see what they are living for, and what they consider themselves as living for. It is easy to perceive that they are not " walking after the course of this world”-that they
tread not the common road of men-that they have another and far better path-the consecrated way, the way of holiness—that “they walk upon their high places.” • But whilst we grant all this we are far from maintaining that the Christian's course is unchecked. Whilst he intends, and desires, and labours to live in this manner, he is repeatedly disappointed. His plans are often frustrated, and his purposes frequently broken and thwarted. The godly tendency, although it be strong, is not without opposition, hinderance, and interruption. The current of hallowed principles flows not with undisturbed ease, with unvarying width and depth, with incessant rapidity and force, or always with the same equal purity and transparency. Numerous indeed and lamentable are the failures and disappointments of the Christian in his aims and attempts to lead this exalted life of doing all to the divine glory. We do not intend to say that he fails, or can fail, when in any given action his aim is truly to glorify God. This indeed is success. What we mean is, that in his general purposes and desires thus to live, he is often hindered and foiled. What we intend, is expressed withi admirable simplicity and fulness by the apostle Paul : “ SO THAT YE CANNOT DO THE THINGS THAT YE WOULD.”* He was not writing philosophically. Strictly speaking, in morals what a man wills, he does. The evil or the good of an action lies in the will, and is measured by the will. And it is needful sometimes to advert to this principle in order to convince men that there is no excusable necessity or physical compulsion to do evil; and thus to wrest
• Gal, v. 17.