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the work is complete when the law in the members shall no longer war against the law of the mind. Till then we must fight, and wrestle, and struggle by faith and prayer. Jesus is almighty. Through Him we shall overcome. His
is sufficient for us, and he has promised that it shall prevail.
If we are sincere in our desires after the attainment of the truth ; if we have simplicity of intention in our search for it, we shall be anxious, savingly to know these four things :
The state of our own hearts;
The way of salvation by grace, through Jesus Christ;
The path of duty as revealed in the Gospel ;
The means for growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To know these experimentally and practically, will enable us to glorify God by a life of holy obedi
We shall then daily realise the presence of God; have an eye continually to the providence of God; and draw comfort and strength from the promises of God. In prosperity we shall be humble, in adversity resigned, in all conditions thankful and dependent.
O! blessed Lord, impart unto thy poor unworthy child these spiritual blessings. Give me an insight into myself.
Preserve me from self-delusion and hypocrisy. Let me never study appearances, but labour after simplicity and godly sincerity. Make me ever an humble suppliant at thy mercy-seat, a thankful recipient of thy bounties. Watch over me, O Lord, for good. Guard me from the snares and wiles of the devil
. Keep me from a covetous mind. Wean my affections from this vain world, and cause me to set them on things above. Be thou my portion. Make me more spiritually-minded, more alive to thee, more solicitous about the good of others. May it be my daily intention to please thee, my daily endeavour to glorify thy name. Give me the blessing of a good conscience, a conscience sprinkled with the blood
of Jesus, a conscience enlightened by the Spirit of truth. Shine on me with beams of love, till, through thy grace, I shine in the heavenly temple with beans
XLVII.—THE CHRISTIAN'S REST.
“ We which have believed do enter into rest."-Heb. iv. 3.
As there is a heaven in going to heaven, so there is a rest, ere we enter into the rest of Paradise.
The soul which loves Christ supremely, which abides in him by faith, and in which Christ abides by his Spirit, enjoys while here a heavenly rest. Jesus is the believer's resting-place, his place of refuge. It is the believer's delightful privilege to hold communion with the Saviour, to taste his love, to possess his peace. 0! how sweet is true religion when felt in all its regenerating power! Lord grant that I may thus experience the joys of thy salvation.
The world is indeed but a wilderness of care ; the region of sin and sorrow. Troubles, like thorns and thistles, spring up around us, and alas ! too frequently they spring up within us. Unbelief, slavish fear of God, distrust of his providence, indulged lustings of the flesh, pride, and such like poisonous weeds, corrupt the soul and fill it with vexation.
Where, then, can true rest and peace be found in the midst of such anxieties? Surely no where but in Jesus. How true is his declaration : “ In the world ye shall have tribulation."* How unspeakably refreshing is his promise : “ In me ye shall have peace. Here, under all circumstances, we must expect to meet with trials. It is therefore our wisdom to fortify ourselves against them, by flying to the Strong for strength, and to the Comforter for consolation.
* John xvi. 33.
What we want is faith, that faith which is of the operation of the Spirit, that faith which is called “the faith of God's elect."'* Without this faith it is impossible to please God; because, whatever springs not from this true faith in Christ is sin. The indwelling of this holy principle is known by its fruits. It transforms the whole inner man, through the power of the Holy Ghost, into a likeness to Jesus Christ. It purifies the soul through the cleansing efficacy of the blood of Jesus. It works by love through the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost. It enables the believer to renounce the vanities of a world at enmity with God. It opens to his view eternal glories, and gives him a foretaste of that rest which remaineth to the people of God. What a blessing then is faith, and yet how rare a gift to man; and why? because he desires it not; he asks not for it; he holds fast deceit; he refuses to return.
Awful, indeed, are the words of Jesus: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”+ We seem to be approaching a time of trial. At this moment there is a restlessness, a desire for change, not alas ! from sin to holiness. The minds of men are anxious to throw off ancient restraints and to breathe what they term the air of freedom. Delusive expectation! so long as the heart is enchained by sin. The political free-man is too often Satan's bondman. While he throws off the salutary bonds of social order, he puts on the galling yoke of unbridled passions, and wild licentiousness. Infidelity revels in the storm, and tracks its path with blood!
The Church of Rome has long held the world in spiritual bondage. She has studiously withheld the light of truth from her members, and thus has fostered infidelity in her bosom. To elevate her traditions, and enforce her decrees, she lowers the book of God. She raises doubts and mistrusts respecting the blessed Scriptures. She starts difficulties of interpretation, and obscurities without number, that her members
+ Luke xviii. 8.
Tit. i. 1,
may blindly follow the Church, hear the Church, and believe nothing but what the Church teaches. By this means she raises her priesthood above the oracles of God, for to deny the decretals of her Popes, Cardinals, and Councils, is the way into the dungeons of the Inquisition, to the fires of the Auto de fé. *
* Extracts from a Defence of Roman Catholic Principles, in a Letter
to a Protestant Minister, by Gallitzin. “ We believe that Jesus Christ has established the holy Catholic Church as the supreme tribunal to regulate our faith, or, in other words, to keep the precious deposit of Revelation unaltered, to explain to us (without any possibility of error) the meaning of every part of holy writ necessary for salvation, and likewise to preserve and transmit to posterity undefiled, all that part of Christ's divine doctrine which was only delivered by word of mouth either by Christ or his Apostles.” “We believe that the unwritten word of God, transmitted to us by tradition, is entitled to the very same respect as the written word.”
" When the Church has pronounced, the controversy is settled, doubts vanish, and we are as certain as if Jesus Christ himself had spoken !!”
6 Holy writ (although certainly God's word) was not intended to be our Supreme Judge in matters of faith " “We believe that the Catholic Church is this living, visible, and supreme Authority." “We believe this authority resides in the body of Christ's Ministers, the pastors of the Catholic Church, and the lawful successors of those pastors whom Jesus Christ appointed and invested with full authority to discharge the functions of his ministry. To that body of pastors we look for heavenly instructions, in them we see the successors of Jesus Christ, invested by him with the same authority which he himself had received from his heavenly Father.” “The Spirit of truth never has, and never will depart from the pastors of Christ's Churches."
Such are the dogmas of the Church of Rome, founded on her infallibility. And woe be to those who (when she has power) dare to resist her authority. The venerable Bishop Hall by a familiar simile strikingly shows the folly of these Popish tenets, which would substitute the decisions of fallible men for the infallible wisdom of God.
« The Scripture is the sun; the Church is the clock, whose hand points to, and whose sound tells us, the hour of the day. The sun we know to be sure, and regularly constant in his motion; the clock,
When a ray of light darts into this region of darkness from the torch of human reason or philosophy, by which her members are led to see the craft of her priestly domination, and the mummery of her services ; then a spirit of emancipation is created, and being ignorant of the truth as it is in Jesus, they fly from superstition to infidelity, from the despotism of Popery to the anarchy of atheism. Witness France and all her revolutionary horrors, the offspring of an infidel philosophy, bursting the barriers of Papal despotism, and plunging into a sea of blood. The Church of Rome, it has been said, may perhaps, die from the sting of infidelity, that viper which she has nurtured in her own bosom. Such is often the retributive justice of God. How remarkably was her power weakened, for a season, by the reign of infidelity in France.
Nothing but heavenly truth can guide men aright through this tempestuous world. If once we leave our divine Compass, the word of God, we are at the mercy of every wind of doctrine, we are carried hither and thither, as the tide or storm may drive us, and at length are dashed against the rocks and perish.
Lord! graciously preserve thy true Church amidst every tempest. Increase the light of Truth,
as it may fall out, may go too fast or too slow. We are wont to look at, and listen to the clock, to know the time of the day ; but where we find the variation sensible, to believe the sun against the clock, not the clock against the sun. As, then, we should condemn him of much folly that should profess to trust the clock rather than the sun, so we cannot but justly tax the MISCREDULITY OF THOSE WHO WILL RATHER TRUST TO THE CHURCH THAN TO THE SCRIPTURES."
If this conclusion, which the pious Bishop of Norwich draws fro his simile be correct, it cannot be consistent with sound Protes. tantism, with the doctrines of the Reformation, or with the Arti. cles of the Church of England, to assert that there is an in fallible interpreter of Scripture, the Holy Catholic Church, since Churches and Countils have erred and do err to this day. Witness the Church of Rome, the Greek Church, and other Christian Communions.