Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

· ţions; when in literature, in arts, in fci.

ences, in political concerns; when in the whole circle of worldly affairs researches and connections, public, private, and domestic, zeal is esteemed, is applauded, is recognized as the foundation of the highest attainments and the most exemplary conduct : on what ground compatible with reafan do you disparage zeal when exercised in religion? Do you reply that the principle, however laudable, however useful, when applied to other subjects, becomes too hazardous, becomes pernicious, when applied to religion? Would Omniscience then have praised, have enjoined, religious zeal? Do you abhor the fierceness, the ex travagance, the enthusiasm, with which religious zeal has frequently been accompánied? Abhor the fierceness, the extravagance, the enthusiasm. But presume not to extend your abhorrence to a principle which is praised, which is enjoined, by Omniscience. Turn your eyes to the recorded abhorrence of Christ against the lukewarm. They who fervently love God cannot but be zealous for God, Deęm not yourself acceptable to the Judge of heaven and earth, until zeal for reli

gion gion habitually pervades and animates your breast.' si' is

. . sija ili...

II. Those persóns, however, whom a high sense of the value and the necessity of zeal feems to withdraw from the range of the preceding remarks, stand in continual need of counsel. Are you num. bered among the friends of zeal? Do you console yourself in the confidence that you are zealous ? Scrutinize the principle by which you are actuated. The spirit of party, the influence of association, natural warmth and eagerness, obstinacy in a favourite scheme, a bụsy and meddling tem. per, a carnal thirst of interest and applause ; how often have these and similar motives of action usurped the semblance and obtained the honours of zeal! If your object, like that of Jehu, be personal aggrandizement; if, like his, the tempers which you display be vain-glorious, furious, malignant; if the measures which you employ be, like his, fraudulent and hypocritical; if, in some of its leading distinctions, your life be, like his, in habitual opposition to the commandments of the God whom you profess to obey : when the pretended zeal

of

of Jehu shall be exposed before men and angels, by what disguise fhall your kindred motive be screened from detection? Were the sentence of condemnation against Jehu, founding in your ears; what sentence should you forebode concerning yourself? Examine your heart. . If examination leaves you self-convicted; if you discern, not religious zeal, but some counterfeit, some ad-i verse, principle enthroned in your bosom : by supplication to the Father, through the mediation and merits of the Son, draw down: to your aid the influence of the Holy Ghost. With weapons of proof from the armoury, of God, with the field of faith, with the breast-plate of righteousness, with the sword of the spirit, degrade, expel the 'usurper. If your bofom, explored by rigorous investigation, manifests the dominion of genuine zeal; beware left zeal be corrupted by an unnatural alliance with human pala fions, clogged in its operations by timidity, blinded by the mists of prejudice, or plungedi into difficulties by indiscretion. Be fervent in spirit : but be fober also, be vigilant. Convert not an instrument of good into a source of evil. Let not your good be evil spoken of (6). Bring not disgrace upon zeal; raise (6) Rom. xiv. 16.

not,

not, confirm not; prepoffefsions against ito Be fearlefs ; ýet give no needless offence': be Atrenuous, yet be mild': be stedfast, yet be meek: be earnest; yet be prudent. Fie nally, let your zeal direct itself to suitable obje&s ; and proportion its exertion to their relative importance. While it overlooks not any scriptural truth; let it mainly labour for the establishment, and the practical energy, of the grand peculiarities of the Gospel. Be your zeal Christian żeal : zeal for the honour of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; for the great mystery of Godlines, God manifested in the flesh; for the salvation of fallen man exclufively through the atoning blood of an incarnate Redeemer; for justification exclufively through faith in that blood; for habitual holiness and universal obedience as the indispensable evidences of faith ; for the renewal of the heart unto faith and holiness and obedience exclusively by the fanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit. Discriminate between that which is circumstantial and that which is essential. Be careful for the one; be anxious and ardent for the other. Be thus zealous for God: be thus zealous for man. Remember that without zeal you cannot truly love,

you

you cannot truly please God. But remember also, that no zeal is acceptable to God, except that which by habitual fruits of love to God and man proves itself to be genuine Zeal for the Lord..

« AnteriorContinuar »