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sinners; no, my friends, the condition itself must be felt, must be realized in all the extent of its danger and destitution. Nothing short of this can create the desire for relief and deliverance-nothing but the sense of our disease can bring us to the physician of souls. What, then, is the sinner? The enemy of God -his enemy by wicked works—an outcast from his favourthe miserable prey of disease, death, and hell; this is all that he is in himself. And is this a desirable condition for an immortal being, for one who cannot, if he would, bide from himself that there is another life, and that there the retributions of justice and the sanctions of eternity await him?
But whence do we learn that we are by nature this abject miserable thing? From the word of God and from our own hearts, my hearers, deceitful though they be. Oh! there is a voice within us which responds to the truth of God, and by every emotion of fear and apprehension, at real or imaginary danger, proclaims that we are separated from our God—that confidence is gone—that love is extinguished by fear-and desire by hatred. These are strong expressions, my friends, but they are the words of inspiration and experience. Inspiration tells us, that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; that there is none righteous, no, not one ; that the wages of sin is death; that the sinner knows not that he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. And experience tells us, that the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not that I do. If, then, I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. Oh ! wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?
This is the sinner, in the truth of his condition-but it is the awakened sinner—the sinner crying out, what must I do to be saved? And thanks be to God, who hath provided deliverance and salvation for all who seek it, through our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Hearken, then, and learn the way, the truth, and the life, as it is in JESUS. Let the word of God, and the witness of your own hearts, cure your unbelief. Be no longer faithless, but believing; and learn that you are this poor, undone, wretched thing, called a sinner. As such, seek unto God in prayer for the help of his Holy Spirit, that his saving convictions may deepen your penitence unto godly sorrow, and strengthen you to cease from sin. Ask and ye shall receive ; seek and ye shall find ; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Continue in his word, by reading, meditation, and prayer, that you may grow in the knowledge of divine things, and be nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine. Listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart through the word of life, that he may show you the things that are freely given you of God-even the humiliation, passion, and death of his only begotten Son, to make atonement for your sins, that you might have life through his name. Dwell on this exceeding great love of God our Saviour, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour, till your heart warms under the contemplation, and you learn to love him who hath first loved you, and loving, to confess him before men as your Saviour and your God. Pray for the renewing, sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost with constancy and fervour, and strive to be what you pray for. Watch continually against sin, mortifying the sinful desires of the flesh and of the mind. Look for the evidences of your acceptance in the Beloved in increased longings aster God, increased delight in his service, diminished power of temptation, and victory over sin. These shall speak a language to your heart which cannot deceive, for they are the fruits of the blessed Spirit of promise dwelling in you, and working in you both to will and to do. Thus shall you possess the witness in yourself, and find joy and peace in believing, and thus shall the transforming power of divine grace separate you from the world, enrol you in the family of God, and keep you by his mighty power, through faith, unto salvation. To the believer the wrath due to sin is quenched in the blood of Christ; the fear that hath torment gives place to that perfect love which casteth out fear; and righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, adorn the life and make happy the death of him, who, by hearty repentance and true faith, has found peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
praise of his abounding love, he hath provided for these very wicked, that they may turn from their wickedness and be forgiven, and made heirs of everlasting life. This message of salvation is sent to each one of us, my hearers. Mercy and forgiveness are freely offered to us all on the terms of the gospel. Shall we, then, believe God, obey and live; or go down to death loaded with the heinous guilt of having rejected the counsel of God against our own souls, of having put away from us the means of grace, the hope of mercy and eternal life, purchased by the blood of Christ ? This is the solemn inquiry that meets you this day, and which this day is given you to answer; another may not be yours. Meet it, then, with the seriousness it deserves, and may grace be given you to choose that good part which shall not be taken from you.
THE NATURAL MAN.
1 CORINTHIANS ü. 14.
" But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are
foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
It requires but a small acquaintance with ourselves, my brethren, and no very extensive observation of human nature, to discover the import of the text; but it requires a deeper consideration than men in general are disposed to give it, to attain those advantages which flow from divine truth received and acted upon.
The primary object of revelation being to give to mankind information of what they could not otherwise know, and the information given being of things spiritual and heavenly, bearing upon our peace and comfort in time and our well-being in eternity, its claims upon our attention can only be rightly measured by the interests which are at stake ; and it might most reasonably be presumed, that what was so vitally important to every individual person, would be as gladly and joyfully attended to, as thankfully embraced and followed out in its directions, as light is welcomed by the weary and benighted traveller, or the means of healing and health by the sick and diseased.
Yet observation and experience prove to us, my hearers, that it is otherwise in the practice of the world. The text, therefore, is verified to us in its assertion ; and intimately connected as it is with the truth of our present condition, may lead to an improvement profitable to all present.
The subject before us, in connexion with the context, presents to our consideration two descriptions of persons, alike in their original but different in their actual character, the natural and the spiritual man. It, therefore, obviously leads us to examine not only the distinction between them, but the cause, also, of that distinction, with the consequences which attach to their respective states, as well by the reason of the thing as by the wise appointment of God.
I shall, therefore, endeavour to show you,
First, what we are to understand by the words natural man, as here used by the apostle.
SECONDLY, what those things of the Spirit of God are which are foolishness to the natural man.
THIRDLY, I shall inquire why these particular things are counted foolishness; and, then,
Conclude with some remarks on the consequences which must follow to those who remain in this condition.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the SPIRIT OF God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I. First, I am to show you what we are to understand by the words natural man, as here used by the apostle.
In limiting the meaning of the words to the particular sense in which they are here used by the apostle, it is not to be inferred that there is no other and useful meaning in which this passage of Scripture is to be taken. It was not the apostle's intention, nor is it mine, to exclude the awfully verified truth, that to man fallen there is not, by his nature, any true knowledge of his own condition, or any saving knowledge of God. In this respect, we are all alike destitute of spiritual capacity or spiritual power. So true is this, that had God been silent, or withheld his Holy Spirit, it never could have entered into the heart of man to conceive any thing of his nature, or of the worship and service due to him from rational beings. For though mankind are not deprived, by their fallen condition, of any of the faculties of rational creatures, yet so debased and degraded are those faculties, so perverted and turned round from their original destination, that they serve only a secondary purpose, and are conversant, not with spiritual, but sensible things, so that experience confirms the truth of God's word, that the world by wisdom never knew God.
In another respect, however, this disability is removed; for the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all