Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

me.

Popery is the master-piece of Satan, which can adapt itself to every state of society. It is the religion of the natural heart. Lord ! save me from unbelief,-selfdeceptions,-Satan's delusions,—and the fear of man.

I am now a pilgrim journeying through the wilderness. The manna is daily descending; and the water of life continually flowing to sustain and refresh

Jesus, the true bread from heaven, is freely given; the Holy Spirit, as a living stream, is graciously supplied from the fountain of eternal love. O! how great is the goodness, truth, and mercy, of my covenant God, Father, Son, and Spirit, to an unwor. thy worm of the earth. Lord, make me grateful. Give me a believing and a loving heart. Preserve me from self-will and self-seeking; from self-sufficiency and self-pleasing. Mould my will into thine; and enable me in all things to seek thy glory.

Guide me, thou great Jehovah, in safety through this desert land. Shield me by thy power. Cheer me with thy presence. Uphold my goings in thy way. Let me not turn aside into crooked paths; nor dread any danger, while in the path of duty. Keep me as the apple of an eye. Hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

Impart that spiritual illumination which will direct me aright; that spiritual strength, which will enable me to endure unto the end ; that assurance of faith, which will animate me to the conflict; and that experience of thy love, which will support me under every trial, and cause me to die, rather than deny thee before men. O grant these inestimable blessings, for thine own mercy and truth's sake ; for thou, O Lord, alone art the God of my salvation.

Holy Father ! hear my prayer,

As, through Jesus, it ascends;
On Thee I cast my every care,

Now the day of labour ends.
Soon will sleep my eyelids close,
In Thy love may I repose.

All my days are known to Thee,

All my times are in Thy hand;
Life is like the rolling sea ;

Ebbs and flows at Thy command :
As a plant doth bloom and die,
Man is only vanity.

Thus to-day is swiftly gone,

Solemn witness to appear
At Jehovah's holy throne, -

How shall I the judgment bear?
Lord! I shrink with shame and awe,
'Midst the thunders of Thy law.

Jesus! clothe my naked soul,

With Thy Righteousness divine,
Thou canst make the wounded whole,

Let Thy Spirit seal me Thine.
Pour Thy comfort in my heart,
Never from my soul depart.

Hide me, thou Almighty Friend,

Under Thy paternal wing,
From the ills which life attend,

Then will I Thy goodness sing.
Lord ! renew my wasted powers,
Consecrate my waking hours.

LVIII. - THE UNPROFITABLE NATURE OF BODILY

EXERCISE WHEN MADE A SUBSTITUTE FOR GOD

LINESS.

“ Bodily exercise profiteth little : but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”—1 Tim. iv. 8.

Gracious God ! impress this truth upon every heart, that all who call themselves Christians may live under its saving influence.

Bodily exercise profiteth little, when confined to the externals of religion. We may regularly attend the house of God; be stated communicants at the Lord's Table ; observe with rigour the appointed fasts of the Church ; use various austerities to mortify the flesh; be conscientiously strict in private devotion, and in family worship; be zealous for the Church in all its rites and ceremonies; be actively engaged in the management of religious and benevolent institutions: and yet, with all this bodily exercise, remain mere Formalists. Nothing is pleasing to God, nothing is vital in religion, but what springs from faith in Christ. Without love, all our doings are nothing worth.*

0! then, what need we have to watch and pray, lest we should be deceiving ourselves, having only the form of godliness whilst denying its power.

We may deceive ourselves and others, but the all-seeing God cannot be deceived. He looketh at the heart. He weigheth the spirits. Blessed Lord ! show me my true state and character. Deliver me from a deceived heart, from formality and hypocrisy. Give me a single eye, make me upright and sincere before thee.

Man is naturally legal and self-righteous. He is ever ready to substitute bodily exercise for godliness. The ancient Jews were continually reproved by their prophets on this very account.

* To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord....... When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand to tread my courts ?...... When ye make many prayers I will not hear : your hands are full of blood.”ť

True devotion cannot live in a sinful atmosphere, but formality can. This truth is verified in every age of the Church.

Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is. What a sweet assurance to the people of God. They shall have every thing that can render this life truly happy; for, being the children of God by faith * Heb. xi. 6.; 1 Cor. xiii.

+ Isa. i. 11, 12, 15.

in Christ Jesus, he will withhold nothing from them that is really for their good.

Their sins are all forgiven through the blood of Christ. They are justified freely by his grace, and have peace with God. They are adopted into his family, and become heirs of his kingdom. They are made the temples of the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in them, to enlighten, guide, sanctify, and comfort them on their way to Zion.

They may be hated and persecuted by the world; they may be often in heaviness through manifold temptations; they may often groan, being burdened ; they may be frequently harassed by the enemy of souls, and by the rebellious lustings of indwelling sin : but they still have the promise of the life that now is. They shall have sweet seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; they shall enjoy a pleasure to which the world is a stranger, a pleasure flowing from a close and abiding union to Christ their living Head, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily, and out of whose fulness they shall receive continual supplies of grace and strength. They may be poor in temporal things, but Jesus will sweeten their little portion, while the rich have often gall and wormwood poured into their golden cup

0! my soul, art thou looking unto Jesus ? Art thou longing to obtain an interest in his blood ? Ah! what avail the gilded pomp and grandeur of the world? Do I want to be rich ? Let me look at the end of the rich worldling who fared sumptuously every day, but when called into eternity, was cast into the lake of fire !*

Do I seek the praise of men and the honours of the world? Let me remember, that " whosoever will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God;”+ that all who love the world, shall perish with the world, when Christ shall come in flaming fire to take vengeance on all who will not have him to reign over them. * Luke xvi. 19_31.

+ James iv. 4.

Do I pant after the pleasures of the world? Let me not forget, that all who now place their happiness in sinful gratifications shall feel the gnawing of the worm that never dieth, and the torment of the fire which never shall be quenched.*

“Seek," then, O my soul, “ those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set thy affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”+ Labour to possess that godliness which hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Blessed truth ; the promise of the life to come, is included in godliness. Oh! what a treasure, surpassing all the riches of ten thousand worlds. Could I call the stars my own, this vast possession would dwindle to a point, when compared with the inconceivably glorious portion of the humblest believer. He is AN HEIR OF GOD, AND A JOINT-HEIR WITH CHRIST.

Death alone can reveal the fulness of this blessed

Here we must live by faith. So did St. John: “ Now are we," said he, 6s the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure."

0! thou eternal Spirit of all grace, renew my soul in righteousness, and fill me with light and love. Preserve me from formality. Guard me against selfdeception. Deliver me from false views of religion, and false marks of grace. Enable me to walk in the narrow way, and strengthen me to withstand the world, the flesh, and the devil; to confess thee before men, to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

O give me a new heart, that in simplicity and godly sincerity I may live a life of faith on earth, * Mark ix. 44, 46, 48.

+ Col. iii. 1, 2.
# Rom. viii. 17. § 1 John iii. 2, 3. || Jude 3.

ness.

« VorigeDoorgaan »