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our hearts, inflame our love, excite our obedience, and transform us into the image of Christ. The work being an almighty work, we must daily supplicate the gift of the Holy Ghost, who alone can take of the things of Christ and show them unto us.
How lovely does the character of our Redeemer appear
in his interview with the woman of Samaria, when sitting on Jacob's well. How great was his benignity and condescension, his tenderness and forbearance, his love and gentleness, in leading this benighted woman to a feeling conviction of her sinful state; and then to an acquaintance with those blessings, which he, as the Saviour of the world, was ready to bestow. “ If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”+ Alas! she neither saw the beauty, nor felt the need of this precious spiritual blessing, till Jesus probed the wound, and convinced her that he was the Messiah.
Like the divine Redeemer, we should be always ready to seize every opportunity of doing good; for opportunity, well improved, is the golden spot of time. Our Lord knew the character of this Samaritan woman, but he did not reproach her with it. His question and subsequent answer were designed to remove the veil from her mind. she made her neighbours acquainted with the joyful news, that she had found THE CHRIST. They heard for themselves, and believed in the Lord.
Was not this a blessing flowing from the covenant of grace ? 6 God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
What a striking contrast between wrath and mercy is presented to us in Genesis and Malachi. In Genesis, we read, “ The windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days John xvi. 15. of John iv. 10. # John iii. 17.
$ Chap. vii. 11, 12, 22.
and forty nights....... All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died." In Malachi,* “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Thus God can, with the same ease, deluge a world either with judgment or mercy. So it is with respect to spiritual blessings; the Almighty can, if he please, enlighten the whole race of mankind in a moment, by the power of his Spirit, with the same facility with which the earth is daily illumined by the beams of the sun; or, as when our sleeping dust shall “ be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”+
As the blessing is from God, we must wait upon him in humble faith and prayer, using the means which he has appointed, and firmly believing that 66 he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."# “ He that believeth shall not make haste."S thou the Lord's leisure: be strong, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord."||
If we feel our hearts drawn to seek God by secret prayer, let us ever cherish this motion of the Spirit; and, if prevented, then to lift up our souls in silent yet fervent ejaculations, darting heavenward, as from a heart on fire. This ready following of the Spirit will increase our desires after communion with God, and make us more spiritual in the general habit and frame of our minds.
Blessed Spirit of all grace, Thou who art the Sanctifier and Comforter of perishing sinners, lead me to Jesus Christ; enable me savingly to believe in Him who is my only atonement for sin, the only Way of access to God.
anew, and lead me in the paths of righteousness.
Blessed Trinity in Unity, fill me with peace and joy. How wonderful are the mysteries of thy grace! How vast the designs of thine infinite love! My mind is lost in the boundless extent of uncreated goodness. 0! how unspeakably great will my bliss be, when brought by the hand of love into the Temple above. I shall see thy face; be glorified with thy glory; and enjoy the blessings which flow onwards, through endless ages, from the Covenant of Grace.
* Chap. iii. 10. + 1 Cor. xv, 51, 52. * Heb. X. 37. S Isa. xxviii. 16. || Psa. xxvii. 14. ; see also Prayer Book Version.
XLV.-A CHRISTIAN INDEED.
“Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.”—John i. 47.
We read of some who have a name that they live and are dead. It will profit us nothing to be called Christians, if we are destitute of the Spirit of Christ; if we have not the mind of Christ; if we have never put on Christ; if we are not made conformable to ħis death; if we know him not in the power of his resurrection.
To call ourselves Christians, members of the Universal Apostolical Church, which Christ purchased for himself, out of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues, through his precious death upon the cross; and yet, to live in the habitual exercise of unholy tempers, unsanctified dispositions, and evil practices, is the height of hypocrisy and self-delu
Christ came into the world to save sinners. * He came to purify unto himself, through the Spirit, a peculiar people, zealous of good works.f All, then, who are saved by Jesus Christ, are redeemed from the power, as well as from the guilt of sin. They are made New CREATURES, abounding in all the peaceable fruits of righteousness to the glory and praise of God. I
The true Church is not content with external reformation. Her members are not whited sepulchres. • 1 Tim. i. 15.
+ Tit. ii. 14. 2 Cor. v. 17.; Phil. i. 11.
Christ, her Head, demands the heart, and will accept of nothing less than an internal, spiritual regeneration.
Have we, then, been born again, not merely by the sprinkling of water, which is the work of man, but by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which is the operation of sovereign grace? Do we evidence our regeneration by bearing the image of Christ ? Have we been made partakers of the divine nature ? Are we grafted into Christ by faith? Are all our hopes of glory founded on his meritorious cross and passion ? Have we received Christ into our hearts as our Prophet, Priest, and King ? Do we come unto the Father, only by him? Is he the daily food of our souls ? Is he all our joy, our glory, our righteousness, and our strength ?
These are most important questions. To talk of being living members of Christ without the scriptural marks of spiritual life, is as unreasonable as to grasp at a shadow, and then to maintain that we hold the substance.
Happy is the man who knows from sweet experience that he is a child of God; who feels the inward witness of the Spirit, by an increasing hatred of sin; an increasing enjoyment of peace; a growing love to the Saviour; and an abiding assurance of his acceptance with God, through faith in the righteousness of Christ. What prospects of glory are unfolded to such a happy believer in the Holy Scriptures ! can rejoice in the blessed appropriation of the apostle's words : “ All things are yours.
Lord ! make me a member of Christ's mystical body; a branch of the living vine; a lively stone in thy spiritual building. Then shall I have joy and peace in believing; then shall I overcome my spiritual adversaries ; then shall I triumph in death, and be glorified in Thee through a blissful eternity. Why should I not be such a CHRISTIAN INDEED ? It is thy will that I should be such an one; for this is thy
1 Cor. iii. 21, 22.
will, even my sanctification. Oh! make me willing in the day of thy power; subdue all my oppositions to thy will; then shall mine be the comfort, and thine the everlasting praise.
The name of Christian, like that of friend, is too often stamped on counterfeit coin. Hence it passes current in the world, till detected by an exposure of its base metal. Hypocrisy, in every age, has assumed a character not its own. Burning lips,”—burning with the professions of love and friendship, “and a wicked heart," -insincere and full of evil designs, “are like a potsherd covered with silver dross."* Thus an odium is brought upon Christianity, as if it sanctioned such baseness, while the enemies of the Lord triumph and blaspheme. Woe be to the man by whom the offence cometh, “it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”'of
Blessed Lord, deliver thy servant, I earnestly beseech thee, from hypocrisy and deceit. Thy word declares, that “he that covereth his sins shall not prosper,"I—that he who tries to conceal them
be sure that his sin will find him out. Give me grace to confess and forsake my sins at the foot of the cross, that I may there find mercy, through the blood of Jesus, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel,--the blood of Abel cried for vengeance,-the blood of Jesus cries for mercy: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.''S Oh! save me for Jesus's sake. Hear his intercession in
Give me grace to walk as becometh the gospel of Christ, to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing : to walk worthy of him who hath called me to his kingdom and glory.
To be a Christian in the Scripture sense of the word, is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. “ The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."|| How important, then, is the question : Am I a disciple of Prov. xxvi. 23. + Matt. xviii. 6. * Prov. xxviii. 13. § Luke xxiii. 34.
|| Acts xi. 26.