« AnteriorContinuar »
gencies of time, however frowning, His glory,” and to form from this and all the solemnities of an eternal contemplation such apprehensions of existence. And yet real christian what God is as a Father, Redeemer, experience goes the whole length of and Friend, that fear and mistrust enabling a man to do this. A sincere appear to be dishonourable and sinbeliever so fully apprehends what ful, and the simplicity of child-like God is as a Redeemer in His crucified confidence a duty and a delight. Son, and so distinctly experiences Here we must leave the subject for what is the loving-kindness of the the present. We have considered the Lord, in His dealings with his soul fact of a Christian's confidence in from day to day, and becomes so sa- God, or the staying his mind on God. tisfied of the fact of a reverential, but It is a real state of experience, of affectionate and filial, intercourse of which there can be no question. A his redeemed spirit with the Spirit of man is able to have the change from the Eternal, that he does not mis- ignorance of God to the knowledge of trust. He can lay down his head on God; from mere theory to practical his pillow, without the burden of sin acquaintance with God, and nearness on his conscience, or he could lay it to Him, and communion with Him; on the block, if it were necessary, from ignorance, and criminal dread with the same calmness. The rock and mistrust of God, to delight and of his confidence is the infinite suffi- satisfaction in God, and thorough and ciency of God's covenant protection. confiding repose on Him for all the
We grant that there may be mo- future. And on his knees, before ments of misgiving, dishonouring God, he is able to feel that he has moments, moments of gloom and now, as a believer in Christ, a wellweakness; especially in cases where grounded reliance on Divine aid, to the knowledge of Almighty love is which he was once entirely a stranger. not complete; but these are defects It is for us, applying these thoughts which are passing away. The ha- to our own case, to say whether we bitual, abiding state of the experi- know anything of it in our own enced Christian's mind is staying breasts. Have we so learned Christ? upon God, leaning on the Beloved, Have we so arrived at the knowledge feeling after the substantial strength of of God, and so learned to trust Him? the everlasting arms, and looking at This knowledge and trust is practical all contingent threatened and certain religion, as set forth in Scripture and evils, – the evils of affliction, oppres- realized by those who love, and study, sion, calumny, suffering, temptation, and pray over the word of God. They death, and judgment,—and being en- either have attained this, or they are abled through them all to trust Him making way towards it. And this is who gave up His Son to the death of the essential difference between a state the cross. It is the having the mind of faith and unbelief, of conversion so imbued with the spirit of the dis- and unconversion, of spirituality and pensation of the atonement, as not to sensuality, of death and life. We be able practically to call in question know whom we worship; we know the love of God; but, on the contrary, that we have passed from death unto to make it the business of life to dwell life; we know whom we have bewith wonder on “the brightness of lieved; “ we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dis- we have any such reality to fill the solved, we have a building of God, void of our hearts,- any such light to an house not made with hands, eter- cheer the gloomy future. Let us, in nal in the heavens." We know all prayerful meditation, search diligently this by experimental teaching, the for the truth; and may the God who teaching of God's Spirit; of the truth made us give us grace rightly to deof which we cannot be defrauded. termine the nature of our case. A
Such are established Christians. mistake here is certain ruin. Let us examine ourselves, whether
A good adage, or sage maxim, adopted was in company; to them he yielded in youth, and “fastened” in the me- himself; he pursued their studies; to mory like “a nail in a sure place," none he was decidedly opposed; and will be found very useful through life, he never preferred himself to any." and being always present to the mind, But he accommodated himself to all will preserve the man in action from with whom he had intercourse, and all the ill-consequences of extravagance whose interest he desired at once to and excess. To recommend the adop- share and promote. Rather“ prefertion and appropriation of the one ing others before himself;'* in some forming the theme of this parallel, it respects therein imitating the disciple will contribute, if we view each part, of Gamaliel, who, when he went in connection with the text, before among the Gentiles to fulfil his minisand after the proverbial saying, se- try, avoided extremes, and "made’himlected from the Andrian by Publius self subservient to his one great object Terence. Siino, an Athenian, address- of gaining converts to the Gospel, and ing his freedman, says of his son, uniting in its fellowship both Jews “ As to that which almost all young and Gentiles.f men do, when they apply their mind The Latin adage has its parallel in to some pursuit or other, either to Greek : “To undev yapa'yar, 'áyav je feed and train horses, or hunt with TEPITEL." By interpretation, “ For nodogs, or go to the schools of Philoso- thing in too great a degree pleases me phers to learn of them ;- of these Pam- very much." And, in other words, philus pursued none excessively be- the same is common among English yond others; but all these in modera- peeple, " Too much of ought is good tion. I rejoiced that he did so." And for nought.” Excess is always injuSosia replied, “Not unjustly; for I rious; and a man given to it is almost am of opinion that this maxiin is sure of defeating his own purpose, or especially useful in life, Nor too much at least of marring his own work. So OF ANYTHING.” “Such was the life little of exception, indeed, can be of my son,” rejoined the father ; “ he taken to the saying, that the Book of was wont to bear with, and suffer patiently all inen, with whomsoever he • Rom. xii. 10. + 1 Cor. ix.19-23.
Ecclesiastes presents a caution even other important subordinate objects, as to that, in which we are least in a degree suitable to their claims; likely to exceed the due bounds of the Christian to " walk humbly with prudence. “Be not righteous over God," being as well diligent in his much; neither make thyself overwise: earthly calling, as "fervent in spirit;" Why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?"* -the man of business and of politics However we interpret the words, they not to be covetous, and too eager are an instance pointing to the danger about worldly distinctions, which must of extreme rigour, and recommending terminate and perish; and the conmodesty.
trovertist, the statesman, and diploLet so much then suffice for the matist, who would prove successful in first part of the parallel or resemblance. his measures and aims, to be tempeThe other so much the more deserves rate, free from all extravagance, and attention, as it is Divinely inspired, not altogether unyielding to co“ Let your moderation be known unto adjutors and rivals. all men." And the words before, and The adage is capable of very exthose which follow after, reflect some tensive application, and will be often, light upon it, “ Rejoice in the Lord if at hand, found to be of value in alwayand again I say, Rejoice." checking and restraining men of an But even that may be excessive; for impetuous, sanguine, selfish, and exwe are commanded to " rejoice with clusive disposition. It will only need trembling." And, having admonished modifying and viewing in its own us, that, “The Lord is at hand ;''-a native light, and in juxta-position motive to avoid every prejudicial ex- with its parallel, to be eminently sertreme, and teaching us to walk up viceable, in these days of revision rightly, which we cannot always do ;— and reform, in reference to one thing the Apostle adds, “ Be careful for no- and another; in the Church and in thing." Over anxiety, as well about the State. Men seated in their studies spiritual as temporal good things, is and in association, in synod and in sinful, and to be disallowed. “Mode council, would do well to listen to the ration," or if the reader of his Greek wisdom of many ages, saying, Not too Testament prefer it, “ gentleness and much of that-indeed, " Not TOO equanimity," should be conspicuous MUCH OF ANYTHING." in our whole deportment; yielding something to others, and modestly and humbly tempering and subduing
The couplet which follows, from our prevailing dispositions and pro
the mouth of Sosia, Simo's freedman, pensities.
conveys to “the children of this Thus Simo's praise of his son is not
world” admonition, which “ the chilbeneath the regard of one børn much
dren of light” should not overlook, later, and teaches by example those
unless they be indifferent about inin whose hands has providentially
curring the reproof given to the disbeen placed a better and safe morality.
ciples, who heard the parable of the Even from his licentious, though beau
rich man and his steward, whom tiful comedy, may thus be extracted
Jesus “commended."* good; and the light of nature is seen
“ Sapienter vitam instituit: namque hoc glimmering before the day-star arose. tempore, This parallel may direct and influ
OBSEQUIM AMICOS, VERITAS ODIUM ence the student who has “ left the
PARIT." Ephebi,” how to apportion his time
Pub. Terentii Andria, Act. i. Scen. 1. and abilities, to the relative claims of This proverb also reflected upon in various and conflicting studies ;-the its true spirit, * Compliance makes minister of the Christian dispensation friends, truth causes hatred, — may not to give himself unduly to pursuits teach us how rightly to become all of any kind professionally ; so as to things to all men, so as to gain some.t neglect the proper application of his And viewed alongside with St. Paul's powers, physical and mental, to even conduct, as related by himself to the * Eccles, vii. 16.
• Luke xvi. 8. + 1 Cor. ix. 19-23.
· Corinthians, it will be found hardly interest in the promotion of it. “And unworthy of our attention in these this I do for the Gospel's sake," we difficult times. “To the weak be- must be able to say, “that I might be came I as weak, that I might gain the partaker thereof with you;" lest our weak: I am made all things to all compliance and complacency degenemen, that I might by all means save rate into pure selfishness. some.” This must be our great object,
H. W. GAINSBORO'. R. and that with a desire to our personal The Ostrich, Derby,
Jan. 24th, 1852.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT A CLERICAL MEETING.
It is too frequently the case, that vant of God. And in this view the when ministers of the Gospel meet on subject exhibits to us the character of public occasions, more purely minis- David's religion. It was not specuterial, the time is spent in the consi- lation; it was not opinion merely: it deration of some topic of a critical or was a holy reality which influenced controversial nature, instead of being his whole life. Whatever others might devoted to those more grand and ele do, he had put his trust in God; he vating subjects which are connected had said, Thou art my Lord; he had with our duty and our hope. It is my taken the Lord as the portion of his purpose to avoid altogether, if possi- inheritance; and in practice he set ble, such a misapplication of our time the Lord always before him, desiring on this solemn and interesting occa- perpetually to live as in God's sight, sion, and to direct our attention at and in the reverential conciousness of once to a subject of thought which God's presence. may be practically useful both to mi. If, however, any one should prefer nisters and people.
to consider the words quoted as havI purpose to consider the influence ing a primary reference to Messiah, of practical godliness on the discharge and not to the circumstances and exof the duties of the pastoral office; perience of David, this will not mateand with this view I have selected rially affect the use which I purpose the words contained in Psalm xvi. 8, to make of them; for if we are to un“I have set the Lord always before derstand them as the words of Christ, me: because He is at my right hand, and that in all His difficulties and I shall not be moved.” We have trials He “set the Lord always before here in a short compass, a very com- Him," then, as Christ was the image prehensive idea of what practical of God, to which His people are to godliness is. The Psalm from which labour to be conformed, and as He they are taken is one which speaks left us an example that we should folprophetically of Christ; and indeed low His steps, these words become to the passage is quoted by St. Peter as us a pattern of what we ought to do having reference to Him, where, in in our trials and difficulties, and an Acts ii. 25, he says, “I foresaw the epitome of that practical godliness Lord always before my face." But, which we ought to cultivate. although the Psalm generally, and Having, then, determined the orithis verse in particular, may have re- ginal meaning of the passage, I purference to the conduct of the Media- pose now to limit our present use of tor, and in some passages may have it to the object more immediately bean almost exclusive reference to Him, fore us,-the influence of practical yet it is evident also, that in its pri- godliness, or of a godly mind, on the mary meaning, the Psalm relates to performance of pastoral duties. We David's personal experience as a ser- will first consider generally, what is meant by a godly mind; second, its and his Friend. So says St. Paul, influence on the various branches of “Therefore being justified by faith, pastoral duty.
we have peace with God through our 1. What do we mean by a godly Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we mind? I conceive this to be the sort have access by faith into this grace of mind referred to in the passage wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope before us; a mind that sets the idea of the glory of God." Having really of God always before it, that car- accepted the terms of reconciliation ries the reverential and affectionate and relied on them, God is no longer thought of God into all its doings and a dark, distant, and unknown Being, speculations; a mind with which the but is realized to the mind as a “God thought of the existence of God, and near at hand," and manifested in all of the revealed character of God, is the riches of His goodness and mercy. so closely interlinked, that all its ope- All that is interesting and lovely in rations are carried on under the con the character, conduct, and mission sciousness of the Divine presence of Jesus Christ, becomes identified Perhaps the whole idea that I would with our idea of God. The tenderwish to convey may be thus expressed, ness and love and compassion of that a godly man is one who is look- Jesus, are a manifestation of the attriing habitually towards God, and ha- butes of God; “for in Him dwelt all bitually under godly influence. the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
First. He is habitually looking to- And the believing Christian feels that wards God, setting God always before he has not to do with a hard and sehim. This can only be done in one vere Master, but with a Being whose way, and that is in the way that God moral character is accurately pourhas appointed as the mode in which trayed or put forth, in the doings and He has been pleased to return and to spirit and temper of Jesus Christ, and reveal Himself to us His guilty crea- whose providential dealings towards tures. It is through faith in the Mes- himself are full of the same love, forsiah, in Christ, in the great “mystery bearance, and commiseration. of godliness, God manifest in the Now a man of a godly mind sets flesh.” All attempts made to know this God always before him; looks and love and worship God, indepen- habitually to Him; dwells affectiondent of faith in the incarnation and ately upon the thought of Him, as the atonement of the Son of God, will be supreme, unrivalled good. He looks found abortive and ruinous. Christ to Him as the object of worship and has said, “No man cometh unto the of love. All other objects of attachFather but by Me." But He says ment, reverence, or desire, fall into also, “I am the way and the truth the shade, as compared with the great and the life." "I am the Door: by and good God who filleth all in all. Me if any man enter in, he shall be The highest human excellence seems saved, and shall go in and out, and poor and meagre aside of the glorious find pasture." And again, “ If a man character of the High and Lofty One love me, he will keep my words: and that inhabiteth eternity; and intermy Father will love him, and we will course with the highest human intelcome unto him, and make our abode lect wearisome, compared with the with him.” Faith in this blessed Sa- prostration of the soul in adoring reviour is the appointed channel by verence before the boundless mind of which we attain to real practical the Eternal. He says, “ Whom have knowledge of the invisible God; and I in heaven but Thee? and there is a really godly man is one who has none upon earth that I desire beside such a belief in the truth that “God Thee." He looks to God as the source was in Christ reconciling the world of strength and blessing. It is no unto Himself; and such a practical longer a mere theory, that God will application to God through this chan- bless and protect His creatures. He nel, that he actually knows God, has experiences the reality; and in all the fellowship and communion with God, various temptations, difficulties, and and delights in Him as his Father trials of life, he says from experience,