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supposed goodness, and an entire reception of Christ and his righteousness.
When this glorious work is wrought in our souls, then we become the very members of Christ's mystical body; we pass from death unto life, we are made the heirs of eternal glory.: 0! transporting privilege ! the heirs of perdition to be made heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ! Truly this is the rest, and this is the refreshing. How delightful are the words of Paul: “ We which have believed do enter into
Yes! even now, in this tumultuous world, we enter into rest. We rest in the love of God; we rest on the bosom of our Redeemer; we rest in the promises of his grace, and thus coming to him, and relying upon him, we find rest unto our souls. Christ is the only resting-place for the weary soul. is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked,"+ but, “in me," saith Christ to his people, “ye shall have
The carnal heart naturally hates this revelation of grace, and the character which it produces. Religion in its present form is so uncongenial to the natural man, that it requires not the aid of moroseness or austerity to render it unpalatable. Though it come to him clothed with humility, with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and smiling with benignity and love, yet he turns with aversion from this lovely object. Thus it was when He, who was the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely, came unto his own; his own received him not; they saw no beauty in him, nothing that they should desire him.
if the natural heart dislikes the religion of Jesus, how careful should real Christians be, lest by a want of the due exhibition of Christian graces, they should prejudice the ungodly against Christianity itself. True religion is lovely in its native character. We disfigure it too often by unchristian tempers, and thus impede its influence in the circle in which we
Temper, like an impure dross, sullies the # Heb. iv. 3.
+ Isa. Ivii. 21. John xvi. 33.
crystal cup of domestic comfort. What contradictions we often hear,-"He is an excellent Christian, and would be quite a pattern, if it were not for his temper, which often carries him beyond the bounds of moderation!” Nothing is more common than such an observation amongst professors of religion ! He is a good man—but....... This but spoils all.
Oh! did we live a life of faith in the Son of God, we should live in the daily cultivation of heavenly tempers. Our study and aim would be to tread in the steps of the meek and lowly Saviour; to drink deep into his spirit; and by a conversation becoming godliness, to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Knowing from whence these blessings flow we should " wait on the Lord."* How expres sive is the Hebrew word for wait.
for wait. “It implies the extension of a right line from one point to another. The first point is the human heart, the line is its intense desire, and the last point is God, to whom the heart extends this straight line of earnest desire. He who, while he waits on God, keeps his way, is sure to have the further blessings of which he is in pursuit.” O! that my wandering heart may thus be led to proceed in one unbroken line of holy, heavenly desires, towards my God and Saviour.
Blessed Jesus! the work must be thine. Thou, thou alone canst bind my fugitive affections to Thyself. Thou, who are the Life, O quicken me to live a life of faith in thee. Perform thy work of love in me, and then, through all eternity, my work of praise will never cease.
How precious is a life of faith,
In Jesus' never-failing word ;
To trust the promise of the Lord.
It gives a calm, a sweet repose,
Psa. xxvii. 14 ; Xxxvii. 34 ; Prov. xx. 22.
A peace, the true believer knows,
While passing through this world of strife.
When stayed upon his faithful God;
Beneath Jehovah's vengeful rod.
And nations quake through guilt and fear ;
Believers feel their Saviour near,
They walk with Jesus, and are bless'd ;
They walk in love, and can rejoice ;
Their souls' delightful, happy choice.
Along this consecrated way,
Which all the saints of old have trod,
To thee, my Saviour, and my God.
XXXV. - SEEKING AFTER GOD.
"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee.”—Psa. Ixiii. I.
The real value of a thing is not to be estimated by the eagerness with which it is sought. If this were to be our rule of judging, we should be sadly deceived.
To amass wealth, men rise early, and late take rest. To obtain this object of their desire, they navigate oceans, traverse deserts, endure privations, and often risk life itself.
To gain worldly glory, the warrior braves the cannon's mouth, combats in the blood-stained field, snatches the laurel-wreath from the very hand of death, and expires amidst the shouts of victory.
To immortalise his name, the man of science wastes the midnight oil, and wastes still more the oil
66 Seek ye 66 Seek ye me,
of life. Health droops beneath the mental toil; he lights the torch of fame, and dies !
To tread the flowery paths of pleasure, multitudes devote their days. Each thought, each hour, is drawn into the circle of dissipation. Like summerflies, they bask in the sun-beam of delight, and like these insects of a day, they quickly disappear, unregretted by the world.
In this anxious search for riches, glory, fame, and pleasure, so all-absorbing, so incessant, God is forgotten. That Being, who is the First Great Cause of all, man seeks not. How powerful are the calls of Infinite Love: “ Seek ye my face."* the Lord while he may be found.”+ and ye shall live.?! But the gracious sound falls unheeded on the ear.
Oh! Heavenly Father, give me grace to seek thee with my whole soul, to seek thee with the best affections of my heart, the best powers and faculties of my mind. May all my talents, my time, my tongue, my worldly substance, be employed in thy service; for only of thine own can I render unto Thee. To Thee be all the praise, thou source and giver of every good. As the wild uncultivated Indian barters the
pre. cious metals of his country for worthless beads and trinkets, so, many Christians, though baptised in the name of Christ, barter their precious souls for the empty baubles of the world. Did we know God through the teaching of his Spirit; did we know the value of our own souls, oh! how differently we should act. Then would our language be that of the Psalmist, proceeding from the fulness of our hearts, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee."
Truly delightful is the contemplation of the love of God in Christ. Here all is light and life. Multitudes are enveloped in darkness, because they hate the light of truth. But, when the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts, when the light of life
+ Isa. lv. 6. # Amos v. 4.
Psa. xxvii. 8.
bursts upon their souls, when Jesus reveals himself to them, in all the fulness of his salvation : then the mists of unbelief fly before the beams of Truth, and their souls are filled with peace and joy.
“God is love."* Precious revelation of his grace! Calculated to call forth every expression of thankfulness, and to awaken every grateful feeling. Oh ! that my cold heart could resemble the seraphims above, who, burning with sacred fire, surround the throne of Jehovah. As God is love, so all his purposes towards his people are love. He wills their happiness
. His tender mercies are over all his works. His law is love, forbidding nothing, but what, if indulged in, would harm us ; and commanding nothing, but what, if obeyed, will make us happy. How hateful, then, is rebellion against infinite love! How justly deserving everlasting punishment. All God's afflictive dispensations are the fruit of
They are correctives, for the spiritual health of his children. The Gospel of Christ affords the sublimest exhibition of divine love.
All our thoughts are lost in this infinity of grace. 0! that I may have these quickening views of the boundless love of God more vividly impressed on my soul.
every humble penitent, the Scriptures breathe nothing but peace. It is to the hardened infidel, and to the proud Pharisee, that they speak in language of severity. And yet, even to such characters, expostulations are made and pardon offered, if they will only turn to the strong-hold, as prisoners of hope. Thus all our misery springs from ourselves. Oh! how supporting it is, under a conscious feeling of innate corruption, to know, that God desireth not the death of a sinner; that he is waiting to be gracious ; that he can, and will, subdue our iniquities, if, through grace, we apply to him for the balm in Gilead, if we go to him as the Physician there.
Unbelief, interwoven with pride, the love of the world, and the lust of the flesh, forms the barrier
* 1 John iv. 16.