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pursuit, and painfully conscious that you have mistaken the path of happiness; while the terrible conviction forces itself on your minds, that you have been wasting, on trifles and on sin, those powers and opportunities which might have been employed in promoting your eternal interests. You may make the acquisition of property the great object of your life, and to some extent you may succeed ; but, with a heart thus estranged from God, and devoted to the service of Mammon, you will prove how vain and unsatisfying is the mere possession of wealth; and, perhaps, hardened into intense selfishness, and destitute of every generous and noble emotion, you will be poor in the midst of abundance, and be tortured by the varied anxieties which cannot but arise in a mind that is devoted to the world, and destitute, consequently, of a firm and consolatory trust in the special providence of God. To constitute man happy, it is necessary that the great principles of devotion and benevolence should be implanted in his heart, and should flourish there, in intimate connexion with an enlightened state of the understanding as to spiritual and religious truth. It is when the soul calmly realizes the divine friendship, and loves God with child-like confidence; when benignity to man pervades all its sentiments, and gives a character to all its efforts; when a high and firm adherence to rectitude, combined with humility, regulates every action of life; it is then that man finds that true enjoyment for which he has been formed. Thus, brethren, you must learn to esteem and love the law of God; you must deplore your own opposition to it in your unregenerate state; and you must never rest until your hearts are moulded into a perfect conformity to its pure and heavenly precepts.
But there is another important lesson suggested by a review of the subjects that have passed before us; and this is, that holiness can be attained only by coming, in humble and penitent faith, to the cross of Christ. My brethren, while you cherish the conviction that the law of God is pure, benevolent, and perfect, and that you cannot be happy unless your principles and feelings are brought into accordance with it, seek that holiness, which you thus behold in its beauty and excellence, through the sacrificial death of the incarnate Son of God. The law of itself cannot raise you to purity, or conduct you to eternal life; but the astonishing provisions of redeeming love open the way to your forgiveness, and to the entire sanctification of your nature. Come, then, to the cross; wait not until you have gained some supposed moral victories, and qualified yourselves, in your own estimation, to be admitted to the divine family ; but come now, in the confession of your guilt, your pollution, your inability to conquer sin, and your utter unworthiness of mercy, and cast yourselves on the merits of Him who died in your stead ; and plead the promises of that covenant which has been established through his blood. Thus shall you receive forgiveness and peace; and, while the calm of conscious reconciliation to God soothes and delights your minds, you shall receive also that spiritual energy which shall enable you to " walk in newness of life.”
Such is the plan of salvation which God has established, and which the Christian revelation is intended to make known. “ But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
Finally: let us who profess to have received the Saviour show forth, in our life and conversation, the power of his truth and grace. It devolves on us to manifest to the world the efficacy of his atonement, as that which can raise man from the depth of his moral ruin, restore him to the family of pure and happy intelligences, and transform his spirit into the image of God, who is the fountain of holiness and of love. The design of the Redeemer is, that we who fly to his cross, and receive from him the life-giving Spirit, should reflect his own character, and glorify him in all our principles and conduct. Our entire nature is “the purchased possession" of the Lord Jesus; and it is thus to bear the stamp of holiness on earth and in heaven. Ile “ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
THE SHIELD OF FAITH QUENCHING THE FIERY
DARTS OF THE WICKED ONE. Among the treatises published by Thomas Becon, in the reign of Edward VI., there is one with this title: “ The Christen Knighte teaching the Warriers of God, not onely how they may prevaile against Satan and his wicked Army in this Worlde, but also how they may live before God with a quiet and mery Conscience : newly set forth unto the great Comfort of godly Readers.” As a specimen of the way in which he teaches resistance to temptation, the following extract from the work is given. He represents Satan as saying, “ Are not these the words of thy God ?-Do this, and thou shalt live. •If thou wilt enter into life, thou must needs keep the law.' God gave not his precepts that they should be despised, but that they should be kept. And the Gospel doth sufficiently bear witness, in many places
, that no sinner can enter the kingdom of heaven. Why, then, dost thou nourish a vain hope? Wherefore dost thou not despair ? For doubtless thou art but cast away for ever and ever." The chief portions of the reply are now given.-EDIT. All these things are the law, or else belong to the law: thou shalt
, therefore, have none advantage here. For God hath set forth to sinful man two things : one is the law, the other is the Gospel. And I confess, with all my heart, that the law is the word of my God; and according to this word I do knowledge and confess, both frankly and with an open voice, that I am a sinner, guilty of everlasting damnation. For this is very true, that I, poor wretcb, through mine own works and perfection, have not fulfilled the law. Therefore, if there were none other way to fulfil the law than by mine own works, then
could I by no means escape, but must be snarled and taken ; I mean, perish for ever.
But I have another manner of obtaining righteousness, which thou canst not take from me. For God himself hath taught me this manner and way in the Gospel, even that I should believe in Christ, which alone hath most perfectly fulfilled the law and all obedience for my sake. By this faith all my sins are forgiven me, and the Holy Ghost is given unto me, which purifieth my heart, and beginneth to fulfil the law in me. There is another word which God hath set forth to me; and he wills that I believe this no less than the first. This second word is called Gospel ; that is to say, grace, favour, and remission of sins promised in Christ. Therefore hear how shall I escape. God, having pity on us, promised, and sent to us, a true Deliverer from all evils. This is Jesus Christ, the natural Son of God, born of the seed of David, of Mary the virgin, without sin. Ile sent him to become man; and that for this cause chiefly,—that he might save sinners, of whom I am not the least. Now, this one Lord and Saviour talketh with us more lovingly and familiarly than Moses his servant spake before in the law. Moses required a high, true, and perfect righteousness; and all that want that absolute righteousness he threatened to condemn. But although Moses saith unto me in the law, “ Thou art cursed, because thou hast broken the commandments of God;" yet will I not despair, but flee unto Christ, which saith unto me in the Gospel, “Son, be on a good comfort. I myself have borne away thy sins in mine own body upon the tree of the cross; yea,
I have offered such a sacrifice, that I have made full satisfaction for them. I have overcome death and Satan for thy sake. All these things that I have done are thine, if thou believest in me.”
Hearest thou, Satan, what Christ saith? Thou layest Moses against me: I again object Christ against thee. Thou allegest the servant; but I bring forth the Lord himself. The servant accuseth me of maliciousness and unrighteousness, and will judge me to death ; but the Lord himself setteth me at liberty, and giveth me life of his own free will. I therefore set nothing by thine accusations : they cannot hurt me.
Thou mayest, indeed, lay my sins against me; but I again object and lay against thee infinite merits, even the satisfaction, the fulfilling, of the law,-the obedience, the death, and the resurrection of Christ
This, now, is my treasure ; Christ's righteousness is my righteousness; yea, Christ himself is mine innocency and my righteousness. If thou, therefore, canst accuse Christ of no sin; if thou canst not condemn him ; neither canst thou have any power against me, to condemn me; and that for Christ, which hath both fully put away, and also forgiven me, all my sins. Fray me, therefore, by laying the law against me, so long as thou wilt: I will flee unto the Gospel, wherein I find sure comfort, and a way to escape out of thy hands.--Thomas Becon.
ON MINISTERIAL GUILT.. I would first call upon myself, of us, with which he thrice prefaced and every Minister present. every the command, “ Feed my sheep," watchman on the walls of Zion, to " Feed my lambs :” “Simon, son of take up the language of the text. “I Jonas, lorest thou me?” blessed, will stand upon my watch, and set if we shail be able, with humble me upon the tower, and will watch hope to answer, “ Lord, thou knowto see what he will say unto me.” est all things, thou knowest that I
Speak, Lord; for thy servant love thee!” hearet)." I will waich to see what As we ought not to be Ministers thou wilt say unto me of mine ini. at all, however, if we be not Chris. qnities and sins, as one set by thee tians, regenerated men, so, assumnto “watch for souls as they that ing this, I believe that one of our must give account.”
chief sins, and the parent of all 1. And I feel constrained to be other evils in the really Christian gin, as the root and spring of all ministry together, is to be found in our sins as Ministers together, with the low state of godliness, of the life the low state of our • souls as Chris- of God, in our own souls. I am tians, the low state of religion in our aware that this statement is liable own hearts. I assume in this, fathers to be misunderstood; and all I can and brethren, that we are Chris- afford time to say, to obviate mistians, that we are converted men; apprehension, is just this, that I am although the Lord is witness that I not here comparing us with our forassume it not as thinking it a matter mer selves. In this view, perhaps, of course in reference to myself, at we may have made some happy pro. least : and I do believe that it were gress; and this, that we are not a very salutary thing this day, be quite so far off as before, may just our state and character before God be the secret of our seeing more what it may, if we were bearing distinctly to-day our fearful distance solemnly in mind, that a man may
from the mark. I am comparing our preach the Gospel to others, and be spiritual state with such words, such himself a castaway; that Ministers notes of a lively and prosperous are in singular hazard of deceiving Christian, as the following :-“ Our themselves in this matter; that conversation is in heaven."
“Thy many will say another day, “Lord word was found of me, and I did eat have we
not prophesied in thy it; and it was to me the joy and the name, and in thy name cast out rejoicing of my heart." “ To me to devils, to whom he will answer and live is Christ.” “Enoch walk d say, I never knew you, depart from with God.” “I press towards the me ;” that Judas was the last of all mark." “My soul thirsteth for the twelve, when the announcement God, for the living God; when was made, “One of you shall betray shall I coule and appear before me,” to put the question, “Lord, is
God?" it I?" () it were well if we this Now let me try if I can bring ont, day heard that great and gracious
in a sentence or two, the vital conOne addressing the inquiry to each
nexion between this state of soul,
and the discharge of the whole work * Serinon preached before the General Assem of the ministry. See it, for i::stance, bly of the Free Church of Scotland, on Tuesday, in that word of Paul, 2 Tim. i. 12: May 21st, 1844, being the Day appointed by the “ I suffer these things; nevertheless Assembly for solemn Humiliation and Prayer,
I am not ashamed; for,'-Inark the in reference to the State of Religion. By Rev. Charles J. Brown, Minister of the Free New
secret of his heroic bearing; we talk North Church, Edinburgh. Edinburgh, Bell
of the magnanimity, the heroism, of Paul; but observe the secret of all
his labours, and toils, and sufferings, our own, and we come to use and
—" for I know," says he, “whom I wield it with facility. Otherwise, have believed, and am persuaded the word is to a man what Saul's that he is able to keep that which I armour was to David, when he said, have committed unto him against “I cannot go with these ; for I have that day.” Ah! that is what will not proved them.” It is a cummake a man go through the flames brous, clumsy thing, hanging about for Christ, that element deep and a man, which he can make no use strong in his soul: “I know whom of. The theme, in short, is endless. I have believed, and am persuaded If we are not prospering in soul, that he is able to keep that which I living much in secret prayer, we are have committed to him.” Or, see cut off from the fountain of all our the same in the words of David we strength for the ministry together. were just singing : “Restore unto What guilt lies on us in this whole me the joy of thy salvation, and matter? What mischief have we thus uphold me with thy free Spirit ; done to souls! What good bave then will I teach transgressors thy we not failed to do! What endless ways, and sinners shall be converted opportunities have we lost! We, unto thee;" then,-Lord, how shall I who ought to have been "ensam. teach thy ways, unless I am seeking ples to the flock; we, who have to walk close and straight in them had so many and peculiar advanmyself,—unless, restored and up- tages for walking with God; (for I held by thy good Spirit, I am both can never admit that our familiarity discovering and loathing my own with divine things, often as ways, and carefully and constantly suffer it to become a snare to us, is seeking to tread in thine? Or, take not in itself a mighty privilege and it thus : Our themes, fathers and advantage ;) alas, our distance from brethren, the hinges of the ministry, him has all but paralyzed our minisare sin and Christ. Well; how try! We have not dwelt in the shall a man discover the sins of secret place of the Most High. We others, solidly and tenderly, not have not lived under the powers of harshly, but tenderly and lovingly, the world to come. We have not who is not seeing and weeping in walked humbly, and softly, and secret places over his own iniqui- mournfully before the Lord. We ties? And as for Christ, the very have not gloried in the cross of idea of the Christ, the Beloved of Christ. His word has not dwelt the Father, his “ elect, in whom his richly in us. We have not “ spoken soul delighteth,” is one of the heart because we believed.” I have no and soul. It is not to be taken up doubt we have spoken what we by mere intellectual apprehension. believed, but too little because “The love of Christ constraineth because we could not but speak us,” says Paul, giving the spring of the things which we had seen and his whole labours. Lovest thou heard.” Thus have we been too me," Peter? then “feed my lambs," much in our own work like some “feed my sheep,”—thou canst ne nervous, sickly man that must ver feed them otherwise. “ That work, rather because he is yet upon which we have seen and heard his feet. But we have wanted the declare we unto you.” “Out of spring, and vigour, and elasticity of the abundance of the heart the the ministry, which comes from a mouth speaketh.”
sound, healthy state of the soul be Or take this view of it: The fore God." Have mercy upon me, word is our instrument, our sword. O God, according to thy lovingBut the way to get into the very kindness ; according unto the mulheart of the word, and to get the titude of thy tender mercies, blot word into our heart, so as to have out my transgressions.” it inwrought into our very being, is 2. If we have felt anything, benothing else than our living on it in loved, of this parent guilt, this secret, praying over it, weeping, inner, central iniquity, I may mark rejoicing over it. Thus it becomes more briefly a second line of minis
Vol. XXIII. Third Series. NOVEMBER, 1844, . 3S