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obtain this inestimable treasure? Lord impart Thyself to me.
Dwell in my heart, as in a temple consecrated to thy glory. May the fire of holy love ever burn on the altar of my heart, and never go out.
What daily need we have to watch against spiritual lukewarmness. This evil state of heart will creep insensibly upon us without much watehfulness and prayer. A daily humbling sense of our sinfulness, a daily feeling of our need of Jesus, a constant looking unto him, and a believing application of his precious blood and righteousness, can alone keep us in a lively, dependent, loving, obedient frame of mind. O that we may be in earnest about salvation, then will our peace flow as a river. The God whom we serve is a God of love. How marvellously has he manifested forth the glory of his grace in the redemption of the world. But, alas! we have heard so long, and so often, about the dying love of Jesus, that it ceases to affect our hearts with that intensity which those feel who are first awakened to a sense of their danger and deliverance. Should it be thus with us? Is not this leaving our first love? Must it not be grievous to an infinitely loving, and precious Saviour? Oh! that I may hourly mourn over this lamented, this hated coldness, at the foot of the Cross, till i become like the burning seraphim, a flame of love.
What a wonderful provision has a God of mercy made for our present and future happiness. He wills our good. We, strange to say, seem to will our own misery, for thus said our Lord, “ Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."* 0! how much we forsake our own mercies, when we forsake the Fountain of living waters, and hew out to ourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
The reason why people in general are so averse to true religion, must be from their wrong apprehensions of it. They look upon it as a system of restraints, a withholding from them the loved enjoy
* John v. 40.
ments of the world. But, what can be so consonant with right reason, as to devote ourselves to the service of that God from whom we receive our being, and every other good thing connected with our existence ? It is in Him we live, and move, and have our being; and it is to Him we are indebted for all our comforts as travelling pilgrims. But, how immensely is our obligation to live to his glory increased, when we consider, that we are not our own, being bought with a price, and that price no less than the precious blood of his own dear Son. Nothing but the blinding, hardening, deceiving nature of sin, and the influence of Satan on our minds and hearts, can keep us from this most reasonable devotedness of ourselves to God. Herein lies our guilt. From hence, arises our misery.
O that I may now be like my Saviour in holiness ; live near to him in daily fellowship; and when released from the body, dwell for ever with him in glory.
XXXIV.THE LIFE OF FAITH.
“ The just shall live by his faith.”-Hab. ii. 4.
The life of the redeemed through Christ Jesus is a life of faith.-Being united to the glorified Head of the mystical body, the Church, believers receive all their spiritual life, all their vital influence from above. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.* All his people live by and through Him. He is their hidingplace, their refuge from every danger ; their life is hid with Christ in God; because he lives, they shall live also. Thousands call themselves Christians, who know nothing of the life of faith. They are zealous for their Church, but it is a party zeal. Some floating images of the truth pass through their minds,
John xiv. 6.
but no abiding principles of the Gospel influence or sanctify their hearts. There is a wide difference between speculative and experimental religion. The one, is the religion of the head, the other, the religion of the heart. If the mind be merely enlightened, the soul resembles a star-light night in winter -clear, but cold. When the heart is brought under the influence of the Sun of Righteousness, the soul, abounding in the fruits of the Spirit, presents the lovely appearance of summer ;-all is warmth and beauty.
The merit of works is the doctrine of the Church of Rome. The doctrine of justification by faith only, without the deeds of the law, is the peculiar characteristic of the gospel, and forms a touchstone whereby to judge of the soundness or unsoundness of Protestant churches.
The doctrine of justification by faith through the righteousness of Christ, as it brings the highest glory to God, so it secures the best interests of holiness in the heart of the believer. The fact is, at once, both true and striking, that the very individuals who renounce their own works in the article of their justification before God, and therefore are charged with encouraging licentiousness, are the very individuals who, from their anxiety to maintain good works as the fruits of faith and evidences of their justification, are stigmatised as methodistical, and being righteous over-much, by the self-righteous boasters of good works. But the tree is known by its fruits.
God is infinitely just, therefore he demands an infinite satisfaction from his rebellious creatures. His law is holy, and demands a sinless obedience to all its requirements. What we esteem a small breach of the commandments, is punishable with eternal death :-“ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."*
Gal. iii. 10.
Can a finite creature give an infinite satisfaction ?
Can' a being conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity, with a heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, keep the law of God whole and undefiled ?
It is impossible. The attempt is vain. Let a person try for one day to keep the entire law of God, reaching as it does to the thoughts, purposes, desires, and affections of the heart, without the least possible deviation from its demands, and he will, in one hour be led to cry out, if sincere, “ God me merciful to me á sinner.”
Man has devised many ways to escape the way of God's appointment ; but after all his labours, he remains a guilty sinner still. Penances cannot remove guilt, neither can the purgatorial fire, that unscriptural ordeal of the Romish church, purge it away. Superstition may use its whips and scourges, its rough-haired garments and frequent fastings, to mortify the body and propitiate heaven, but all in vain --the old Adam gathers strength by the very means employed to subdue the inbred evil
. All prove, at last, to be no better than a spider's web, a refuge of lies.
O blessed Redeemer, preserve me from the fatal leaven of self-righteousness; from the wily crafts of Satan. Lead me to a saving knowledge of myself. Teach me the good and the right way to the mercyseat. Thou art the way. O! may I daily walk with thee by faith; holding sweet communion with thee, and deriving all my strength from thy fulness.
Whilst renouncing every work which would dare to join itself with thee, in my acceptance with the Father, may
I be ever zealous of good works, thus proving myself to be amongst that little flock to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom. Save me from Romish errors, from every antichristian doctrine which would raise man and depress thee. Oh! make me faithful in maintaining the truth, and fearless in boldly confessing thee before men.
Almighty God, in his infinite wisdom, has devised a plan which his love and power have executed, and which, through his grace, he has revealed to us in the gospel of his Son. By an act of inconceivable mercy, he has made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus being made under the law, became our righteousness, by fulfilling in our nature all its requirements, and by suffering in our stead all its penalties. The moment, therefore, that we truly believe, and receive him into our hearts by faith, we are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses.* All that the law can do, is to convince and to condemn. It is the gospel alone which enlightens and saves the soul,
Precious faith, the inestimable gift of God, is what we need.-This grace, by uniting us to Christ, puts us in possession of all his merits, makes us interested in his salvation, and opens a direct way of access to God, who views us, in his Son, as his adopted children. 0! what a blessed revelation of mercy and grace! No wonder, if Satan strive to hide it from our view. Happy are they who, tasting the sweetness of this redemption, can sing with David :-" This God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death,”+
As justification by faith only strikes at the root of human pride, it is no marvel if the proud sinner, as well as Satan, rise against it. It requires no small degree of humility to renounce all creature dependence, all our fancied excellence, and to trust solely in the finished work of Jesus for acceptance with God. This blessed state of heart is the work of the Holy Spirit. He can so take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us; he can so guide us into all truth, as to make us delight in every thing which we naturally dislike ; viz. an entire renunciation of our own
+ Psa. xlviii. 14.
* Acts xiii. 39.