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being." This poison at the fountain taints all the streams of conduct. This disease at the heart enfeebles and corrupts the whole frame. It was to atone for and remedy this evil, that the Son of God became incarnate, and suffered on the cross. Through His atoning sacrifice we obtain forgiveness; and the Holy Spirit of God is imparted to renew and sanctify our nature. But so long as we are unconscious of our ruined condition, there will be no personal application by faith for the salvation which is offered to us in the gospel.
This faith, which works by love and purifies the heart, will be exhibited in the appropriate fruits of righteousness. Love to God is the effect of believing in Christ, and the producing cause of love to man.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance.” But natural disposition may produce much that resembles these fruits in outward feature. Though the motives prompting them greatly differ, the actions themselves may be similar. God may be as much out of the thoughts in an amiable, as in a benevolent, action ; yet there is much greater difficulty in being convinced that the motive is defective. The product of a benevolent disposition being often externally the same as that of faith, the inference is likely to suggest itself, that the producing cause is the same, or equally good. And thus there is a peculiar ob
stacle in the way of some men acknowledging their unworthiness in the sight of God, which those do not encounter whose lives are glaringly at variance with His laws, although in other ways this disadvantage is more than counterbalanced.
In the case of Dr. Gordon, there was everything to make those who were anxious for his spiritual welfare, feel that no ordinary difficulty was to be overcome. It was feared that the
excellence of his character might be a hindrance to his simple reliance on Christ. Speaking after the manner of men, he was perfect. Distinguished by an undeviating course of 'uprightness, benevolence, selfsacrifice, scrupulous honour, and ardent love of truth, such as are exhibited by few who have made the highest attainments in piety; often amazed at the spirit and conduct of Christian professors, who could say and do things which he, without such profession, loathed; having no relish for the pleasures of the world, and finding his happiness only in his studies, in his benevolent enterprises, and in the midst of his family, whom he gladdened by the streams of cheerful and tender affection, which ever flowed from his gushing heart,-was it not to be feared that he might find it difficult to acknowledge himself worthless in the sight of God, to come as a little child to the feet of Jesus to be taught, and, as a hell-deserving sinner, to rely solely on His atoning sacrifice ?
These two anxieties were more than removed. Most explicit was his avowal to the many persons who visited him during his illness, that the Scriptures must have had a God of infinite wisdom and love for their author; most full and repeated his confession of reliance, not on his own righteousness, which he saw only to be filthy rags, but on the merits of a crucified Saviour. Abjuring the pride of human reasoning, he came as a babe to Christ for instruction, earnestly seeking, and happily experiencing, the illuminating and sanctifying energies of the Holy Spirit, and casting the burden of his sins on Jesus, in compliance with His gracious invitation-“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," he rejoiced in the fulfilment of the promise, “I will give you rest.”
HOPEFUL INDICATIONS, AND ILLNESS.
ALTHOUGH it was not till the last few weeks of his life that Dr. Gordon spoke of what was passing within his own breast on the subject of religion, it would be a very erroneous inference that his was a sudden and death-bed conversion. He told the writer, that from a child, he not merely admitted the truth of Christianity, but loved and honoured it; and ever felt convinced, that the sincere Christian was the only truly happy man. But he spent many years in anxious investigation of infidel objections, and laboured by human reason to arrive at a full understanding of the mysteries of the faith. His mind was often unsettled and disturbed on these important subjects; and even when his convictions became more established, he was for many years a stranger to that great change which takes place in the heart of every true believer, and of which Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
It was by a very gradual process that light broke in upon his mind. A considerable change in his views had taken place, previous to his attendance on the author's ministry in 1842; else, to use his own words, “I should not have felt such pleasure in listening to his sermons.” In the whole church there was not a more attentive hearer; and he often expressed the greatest satisfaction at the discourse, when the insufficiency of human virtues, and the absolute necessity of a change of heart and faith in Christ, were the most plainly enforced. He always loved the society of those Christians whom he believed to be sincere, though the inconsistencies of many professors, and the indelicate, obtrusive, and ostentatious manner of some in speaking about religion, frequently disgusted him. He always spoke in the highest terms of the literary beauties and elevated sentiments of the Bible, which he often referred to as containing the sanctions of his public conduct. On several occasions he took the sacred volume to meetings of working men, whom he addressed on the splendour of its compositions, and often in his conversation manifested his familiarity with its contents. In the chanting of its sublime poetry, and the singing of hymns at the fireside, he took the greatest delight. He was frequently alone in his private room, when there is little doubt he was occupied in devotion and the reading of the Scriptures; though he took