« VorigeDoorgaan »
hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again, and was lost, and is found." Rejoice then, my Christian brethren, if you have the witness and the evidences that you are children of God; 'Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, rejoice."* "There is joy over you in heaven," let there be joy in you on earth."+
But let not your joy be a selfish, a fruitless feeling. There is one more answer to the question, “I AM A CHRISTIAN-WHAT THEN?"
4. "Why, I am a child of God, and ought to be filled with gratitude." Gratitude is a union of love and joy, arising from a sense of favours received; and it shews itself by returning love for love, and obedience for grace. "I beseech you, therefore, brethren," is the animated exhortation of St. Paul, "I beseech you by the
* Phil. iv. 4.
↑ John xv. 11.
132 THE CHRISTIAN A CHILD OF GOD.
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."* And what cause for gratitude has the Christian? Has he, indeed, a Father who has loved him with an everlasting love, and drawn him with loving kindness? Has he an Elder Brother, who has given himself for him? Has he a Guide and Comforter, who has brought him to God? Has he now the privilege of being a Son of God, and heir of all things? then surely, he can have nothing to keep, but his language must be
"Love, so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
In this spirit let us draw nigh to the table of the Lord, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us now and evermore. Amen.
* Rom. xii. 1.
THE CHRISTIAN A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST.
1 JOHN ii. 6.
66 HE THAT SAITH HE
ABIDETH IN HIM, OUGHT
HIMSELF ALSO SO TO WALK, EVEN AS HE
"I AM a Christian-What then? Why, I am a disciple of Christ and must imitate him who was meek and lowly in heart, and pleased not himself." How simple and natural is this inference! Yet, how seldom is it drawn to any practical effect. Those who call themselves after the names of men, the leaders of party, seldom lose sight of their distinguishing appellation, or the principles and conduct which it requires. The words of Jonadab, the son
Rechab, that he commanded his sons not
to drink wine, were performed;" but Christ has said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments;" and the tender appeal in the case of the great majority of those who call themselves Christians, has been made in vain. He may adopt the touching expostulation of the Lord, by the mouth of his Prophet: "Notwithstanding, I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.' "God, who at
sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the Fathers, by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son;"† spoken unto us by his life of goodness and his death of pain, "by his agony and bloody sweat, by his cross and passion;" and yet we will not hear; yet the world can call themselves by the name of Christ, without feeling the love of Christ in their hearts, and without exhibiting the character of Christ in their lives. They wear his cross, but will not * Jer. xxxv. 14, 15. + Heb. i. 1.
bear it. They "profess and call themselves Christians," but there they stop; they never proceed to the enquiry, "I am a ChristianWHAT THEN?"
Our subject, this morning, leads us to this enquiry; it brings before us the example of Christ, as the pattern to which his people are conformed. This is a subject on which there is less of doubt than on any of the leading points in religion, salvation, by grace alone, excepted. So clear and explicit are the statements of Scripture on our justification by faith, and our salvation by grace, that men, allowing their minds to dwell exclusively on these statements, have supposed them to be the whole of religion, and become practical, if not professed, Antinomians. On the other hand, so decisive and unequivocal are the injunctions to holiness, and the assurances that the ability to follow them is part of that great salvation which Jehovah has planned and executed; that others, dwelling exclusively on these parts of Scripture,