« AnteriorContinuar »
every temper, every action, into subjection to the laws and conformity with the example of your Lord; to love God above all things, and man, in the next place, for the fake of God; and to manifest the ftedfastness and fervency of your love to God and man by uniform and unequivocal deeds, by living to the glory of your heavenly King and the good of your fellowcreatures; then may you humbly confide that you are at present one of the people of God; then may you regard yourself as entitled by the mercy of Christ to apply to your own comfort the promises of the Gospel. Remember, however, the ground on which you stand. Remember that, if your obedience begins to flag; if a worldly spirit gains strength in your bosom; exactly in the fame proportion your title to comfort is undermined. The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression. When the righteous turnetb from his righteousness and committeth iniquity; he shall even die thereby. Remember that when St. Paul beseeches God to comfort the hearts of the Thessalonians, that petition is connected with a second prayer indispensable to the success of the former; that He would establish them
in every good word and work. Blessed i are they faith our Saviour, by the mouth of St. John, almost as it were closing the volume of Scripture with the momentous warning; blejsed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life (/). Brethren ! remain stedfast in obedience. So shall (he God of hope Jill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the pow?r of the Holy Ghojl (ni).
(/) Rey. xxii. 14. (m) Rom. xv. 13.
On religious Despondence.
Psalm xxxviii. 6.
I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; / go mourning all the day long.
*npHE eyes of the mind, no less than those of the body, are incompetent to sustain, without being dazzled and bewildered, a sudden transition from darkness to light. The objects which float before them, new, dimly viewed, imperfectly comprehended, are divested of their proper shapes, their native colours, their genuine dimensions, their wonted accompaniments, their obvious use and application; and not unfrequently present themselves as gigantic phantoms, arrayed in imaginary terrors. It is only by collecting the powers which Providence has imZ 4 planted, planted, by exercising them with discretion, by gradually rendering them familiar with unaccustomed scenes, by resorting to appropriate means for strengthening their debility and rectifying their errors, that the recently awakened organ learns to judge, to discriminate, to understand; to appreciate the various subjects of its contemplation; to direct them to the ends which they are severally calculated to answer; to invite assistance and to derive consolation from every quarter whence by the appointment of Heaven the blessings may be obtained; and, while it distinguishes between real and fancied dangers, and sedulously guards ,against perils actually supervening, to dismiss groundless alarm.
When persons who have lived not unto Christ who died for them, but unto themselves; whether immersed in the grossness of open vice, absorbed in the cares of the world, funk in sluggish indifference, or resting on punctiliousness of moral decorum; when such persons by the effectual application of the word of God, by sickness, by adversity, by the loss of a dear friend or relative, or by some equally seasonable operation of the visiting hand ot
Omnipotence, Omnipotence, are roused from their spiritual lethargy: when they perceive that their life has been a shadow, a dream, a childish play, a tissue of duties neglected and wilful transgressions: when they survey the holiness and the justice of God whom they have despised, and see themselves suspended by the thread of mortality over the abyss of eternal condemnation: it is not unusual for their terror and dejection to settle into the bitterness of despondence. ' The curses of the broken law, the thunders of inevitable vengeance, found incessantly in their ears. Before their eyes the books are opened: and the long catalogue of their fins 'written' in the books overwhelms them with agonising dismay. Groaning under the anguish experienced by the afflicted Psalmist, but destitute of the gleam of comfort which, in the humble consciousness of penitence, he ventured to cherish; they are troubled^ they are bowed down greatly, they go mourning all the day long. 'The arrows of the LordJlick fajl in them; and His handprejfeth them fore. There is no soundness in their Jlejh because os His anger; neither is there any res in their bones because os their sn. For their iniquities are gone over their head;