Imágenes de páginas

described this conflict in Rom. vii. as the great object of faith is where the new nature is seen “ de- Christ Jesus, in his person and lighting in the law of God,” though work, it is to him this faith has a “ another law in the members is peculiar regard. And as, in the sawarring against this law of the crament of the Lord's Supper, his mind," &c. &c. (See ver. 14 to the dying love, his work of atonement end.) Thus the renewed and re- and his righteousness, are peculiarly generate soul is fighting and pray- exhibited, to this, in the exercise ing from day to day ; nor is there of faith, the believer delights to any truce in this warfare till “ the come. Here, by faith, he views good fight be fought, and the his dying Lord in all his grace and course finished.” In this manner salvation ; here, by faith in his the grace of the Spirit and the promises, he feeds upon his dying new man is daily exercised in the love; and, by faith, appropriates spiritual contest. It prevails, how the blessings of his salvation. In ever, and shall prevail, for “ sin the use of all his appointed means shall not have dominion over you, he expects to be edified and built since ye are not under the law up in his most holy faith, not restbut under grace.(Rom. vi. ing in the external observances, 14.) The spiritual life once com- but looking through them for that municated, like the natural life, grace and power which are procan never be satisfied without mised to attend them. Thus he growth, enjoyment, and perfection. feeds on the bread of life, drinks Hence it must desire and delight of the water of life, spiritually eats in those things which tend to in- the flesh and drinks the blood of crease and facilitate its exercises. Jesus, and lives in him and by The lowest evidence, therefore, of him, while Christ liveth in him. its existence, is that which is spo- Thus the spiritual life is nourishken of by the Apostle, in an allu- ed, and produces all its appropriate sion taken from the beginning of fruits in the works of righteouslife, in infancy: “ As new-born ness, till it cease to be exercised babes desire the sincere milk of the in a way of faith, and is consum-. word, that ye may grow thereby.” mated in vision and enjoyment in (1 Pet. ii. 2.) But the believer the life of glory. These exercises will be still looking forward, press- are not common to nature, nor ing towards the mark, &c. as Phil. does the principle spring from the iii. 12-16; and then all his de- source of corrupted nature, but is sires and hopes will be perfected, the gift of grace, dependent for ita when this life shall be consummat- exercises upon the same grace, ed : “ Then,” says he, “ shall I be and secured by the promises of satisfied, when I awake up in thy God. likeness.”

But, it is asked, does God the This short view of regeneration, Spirit always perform this work in and its operations in the Christian baptism, and always therein be. life, has led us also to discern the stow the blessing? Baptism is nature of a living faith. For faith the emblem, it is the sign, and to is the very principle of the spiritual the believing recipient the pledge life, exercising itself upon spiritual and the seal. We may charitably truth and objects, realizing them hope in each particular instance to the soul, and bringing the power that the blessing is communicated, and enjoyment of them into the though, alas! if we consider the heart, and thus becoming “ the sub- views with which a child is often. stance of things hoped for, and the brought to the ordinance, and the evidence of things not seen.” By disposition of all concerned, we it the believer lives and acts. But can in many cases scarcely indulge

the hope. If, however, the work of gisters all their thoughts and regeneration is to be known by its words, and every wanton look, effects, certainly it is not always and all their affected and ostenta. wrought then, for how few appear tious delicacy, the expression of as “ sanctified from the womb !” their pride and self-admiration. No one can say in any case, that Especially he notes with abhorGod may not have effected it; no rence such wantonness and haughone can say in all cases, that he tiness in the daughters of Zion, in has, or that he always does. If, women professing the Gospel. He however, it be effected in the ad does not deem these trivial or inministration of the sacrament, it is different matters; but, as it were, produced by an act of almighty keeps an inventory of all their orpower and effectual grace, and is naments, and by his prophets and distinct from the outward sign, or servants protests against that fondany operation of the outward or- ness for external show, and that dinance itself. But, whether it be desire of being admired and flatwrought then or afterwards, it must tered, and of becoming temptabe wrought for the salvation of tions to others, which are the any sinner; for, “ except a man be sources of this vanity. The pro. born again, he cannot see the fuse expense, also, of precious time kingdom of God.”

and money, to the neglect of pieMay God the Holy Ghost thus ty, charity, and even justice, to render all his ordinances and sacra- the ruin of families and the subments effectual to us by his almighty version of all distinction of rank power and grace; that, being born in society, meets his most decided again of water and of the Holy disapprobation. The occasion Ghost, we may live the life of faith, which such vanities afford for feeding from time to time on the temptations to still further crimes, bread of life, “ the body and blood in order to support the expense of of our Saviour Christ.” Thus liv- them; the violation of his holy day ing by him and upon him in faith that it causes, and the abominable on earth, we shall soon live with practice of coming to places of him and become perfectly like him worship as to a theatre, on which in the kingdom of heaven. to exhibit their vain decorations;

while thase who should be wor

shipping, or hearing the word of EXTRACT FROM THE REV. T.

God, are employed in admiring, SCOTT'S BIBLE.

envying, or making remarks on To the Editor of the Christian their finery: all these, and innuGuardian.

merable more evils, arise from this SIR,

contagious folly, which is too geThe following Extract from the nerally tolerated in our congrega. · Rev. T. Scott's practical observ- tions, but which will eventually eat ations on the third chapter of out the life of godliness, where Isaiah, applies, I fear, too justly not opposed and protested against to many professing Christians in as inconsistent with the word of the present day, and may, with God. If, indeed, Christians are the blessing of God, be useful to bound to redeem their time, imthem. Yours, &c. W. W. prove their talents, refuse confor

mity to the world, and do all « Nor let it be thought that the things to the glory of God, surely Lord disregards the conduct of soine regard should be paid to the those females who are chiefly re- scriptural examples and exhortamarkable for their vanity and dissi- tions on this subject; and women pation. He watches over and re: professing godliness should be sent

entire contrast to these wanton gence, and their love was in a daughters of Zion, in their deport- measure waxed cold; they were ment and apparel. May every not so lively in their affections, nor reader henceforth renounce such so fervently devoted to God, as childish vanities, and seek that heretofore. It would be happy if beauty and that adorning, which none among ourselves were more will endure, brighten, and purify notoriously fallen than they; but for ever; which at the hour of too many fall, not only from their death will render the soul meet for first love, but so as to become an the company of holy angels, and open disgrace to their Christian will ensure to the body a glorious profession. The decay of love resurrection in the image and like- and spiritual diligence in the Epheness of our exalted Redeemer, to sians was offensive to Christ; they be with him for ever in his heaven- are rebuked for it; and it is shown ly kingdom."

in the text what ought to be the effect of every admonition, whether

from the word or the providences ON THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF

of God. Not that they should be ASIA.

displeased with the Reprover Rev. ii. 5.

(which would have increased their Remember, therefore, from whence guilt, and have been a mark of

thou art fallen, and repent, and hypocrisy), not that they should do the first works ; or else I will be unconcerned about their case, come unto thee quickly, and will or plead that their sin was small, remove thy candlestick out of his and thus backslide more and more: place, except thou repent. but that they should be excited

In this epistle to the church of to consider, and be duly affected Ephesas we have, --1. Something with their condition. Remember

by way of commendation and en- from whence thou art fallen ; that - couragement, ver. 2, 3: “ I know thou art fallen, and from whence it

thy works, and thy labour, and is. Not only are those fallen who thy patience,” &c. 2. A reproof, have returned (like a dog to his vover. 4: “ Nevertheless, I have mit, &c.) to their former lewdness, somewhat against thee, because drunkenness, oaths, neglect of thou hast left thy first love.”. 3. prayer, of public worship, and the In the verse before us, an exhort- Lord's table, &c.; but those also ation, enforced by a threatening; are fallen who have left their first 66 Remember, therefore, from love, though nothing worthy of rewhence thou art fallen, and re- buke may appear in their outward pent, and do the first works; or conduct, but they still walk in all else I will come unto thee quickly, the commandments and ordinances and will remove thy candlestick," of the Lord. Many of the most &c.

i pious Christians, while they exa1. The Ephesians are called and mine and watch over themselves, exhorted to three things, and in must be conscious of such falls and them all others that may be in si- backslidings in heart, though others milar case.-1. Remember from cannot perceive them; and they whence thou art fallen. They had cannot and will not make light of Ieft their first love, though they these, but lament them, and be had not fallen into known and wil- abased before God. Even such ful, much less into open and scan- persons are to remember from dalous sins; and though they were whence they are fallen. In those still in the main upright and exem- of every condition, the first step plary, they had yet in some degree toward recovery and a return to declined in zeal and spiritual dili. God is to remember; to reflect and consider, to look inward and exa- which thou art reminded of. Con mine themselves, and compare sideration is in order to repentance, themselves with the divine word, and must issue therein; or it is all and hearken to its calls: Thus in vain. Repentance is suitable saith the Lord, Consider your ways. and necessary for every soul of Let us search and try our ways, and man, because all have sinned and turn again to the Lord. Ezek. xvi. come short of the glory of God. 63: That thou mayest remember, God commandeth all men every and be confounded, &c. xviii. 28: where to repent. Repent and be He considereth, and turneth away converted, that your sins may be from all his transgressions, &c. An blotted out. And this is a work unconverted sinner, in order that and exercise which is not only to he may return to God and not pe- have a beginning, but to be perrish, must remember and reflect sisted in to the end of life. Whoupon his guilty, miserable, and un- ever is truly awake will see the nedone condition ; from whence he cessity of humiliation continually, has fallen in Adam ; how he hath both for past iniquities and present sinned in thought, word, and deed; shortcomings and defects. Rethat he is without hope and help in pentance is a deep conviction of himself, and what he must do to our sin, both of nature and prac.. be saved. When the call of God tice, of its guilt and demerit, and produces any effect, and the con- of our danger thereby; it is humiscience is awakened, it will mani- liation and self-condemnation for fest itself by serious consideration, our síns, and unfeigned confesand induce the sinner to reflect on · sion of our deserving the wrath of his state and conduct with bitter God and the curse of the broken ness of soul, and with fear and law; it is grief and lamentation deep concern. It is the want of for having provoked and dishoconsideration that leaves such num- noured God, and brought ruin on bers at ease in a state of impeni- our souls. It is a lively sense and tence, and regardless of their souls, conviction of our utter inability to till they lift up their eyes in tor-, help ourselves, or to appease the ments. So likewise, they that have deserved wrath of God by any departed from the good ways of thing we can do, or that is in ourGod, or returned to former sins, or selves, our prayers, tears, repent"have but barely left their first love, ance, reformations, &c. And hence must remember from whence they the repenting sinner, looking out are fallen, and search and try and inquiring for relief, is become themselves, that they may be re- willing and glad to accept it from stored, and not remain in their the free and rich mercy of God, backsliding state, nor draw back through the death and righteousanto perdition. They must not ness of Christ, and looks to him overlook or make light of their de- alone for pardon and acceptance clensions, but inquire wherefore with a holy God. Thus Christ bethe Lord contends with and re- comes precious above all things, proves them. Such as have fallen and he counts every thing beside foully, if they do not thus reflect as dung and dross; he is delivered on it, are awfully hardened, and from the wrath to coine, and entitheir last state is worse than the tled to the divine favour; and he first. And such as have only left goes on thus to abase and take their first love, if they are at ease, shame to himself till the end of and settled on their lees, are in the his course, confiding and rejoicing way to decline from God more and in the Redeemer alone. They that more. 2. Repent; i. e. repent have departed from the ways of anew, and of this particular evil God, wore or less, myst especially

repent of such base conduct, as More particularly when men rewell as of all their other sins, if pent of their backslidings, and rethey would not perish, and must turn to their first love, they will of seek to have their backslidings' course return to their first works, healed. And they who have only and to the same or greater dili. left their first love are required to gence in doing the will of God. remember and repent, to see and By their fruits ye skall know them: lament the sin of having declined al] zeal and pretended love, and in any degree from their former talking of love and of religion, are zeal, and fervour, and diligence, utterly vain, unless the life corre. to loath themselves for the disho- sponds, and there is a care to nour they have done to God, for keep a conscience void of offence their ingratitude to the Saviour, toward God and men. and for the treachery of their 2. A threatening to enforce the hearts; they have cause, with Pe- exhortations, and which must be ter, to weep bitterly, and with Job executed unless they are complied to cry, Behold, I am vile; I abhor with : I will come unto thee quichly, myself, and repent in dust and and remove thy candlestick out of its ashes. St. Paul rejoiced that the place, except thout repent. This was Corinthians, when he had set their threatened even to Ephesus, who evil conduct before them, sorrowed had only left the purity and ferto repentance; viz. to a fresh exer- vour of religion in a small decree. cise, and to the increase thereof, Even this is very displeasing to for their departure from God. 3. God, and much more still greater Do the first works.--It hence ap- declensions. The most notorious pears, that love will always disco- have small beginnings, in churches ver itself by works, the genuine and individuals, and come on by fruits of it: all kinds of good degrees, and therefore the first inworks; those of piety, morality, clinations to depart from God are kindness, and forsaking all kinds of very deplorable, and attended with evil works. Religious zeal, while great guilt. Unless they repented any known duties are neglected, is and returned to their first love, only a delusion and heated imagin- Christ would come to them quickly, ation. Leaving the first works, speedily, and unexpectedly, in a falling into the neglect of any way of judgment and indignation, duty, and becoming less strict and It is probable they did repent upon conscientious, is ever a clear proof this call, and therefore judgment that the first love has been for was deferred. It is an alarming saken. They did not do their first sign, that a people are near to works, and so had plainly left their ruin, when the adnionitions of the first love; and they were to show divine word are not regarded. But that they had regained the latter Ephesus afterwards declined from by doing the former. Observe, God again, and far worse; and the repentance in general, if true and threatening was fulfilled; and sincere, shows itself to be so by its their candlestick has long been reeffects. It is a turning from sin moved out of its place. The unto God; ceasing to do evil and churches in Asia first became luke. learning to do well: where this is warm and licentious, then fell into wanting, whatever sorrow, convic- Arian or other heresies. To pur tions, or professions there may be, nish them, the Mahometan delusion it is a repentance which needs to came in like a flood; their counbe repented of. An outward re- tries were over-run with cruel and formation may be without renova- barbarous nations, and the light of tion of the heart; but there cannot the Gospel extinguished ; so that be the latter without the former, for hundreds of years but little of

« AnteriorContinuar »