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them to this searching test, "Know ye not that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" It was not sufficient to settle this important question of their being in the faith, or of faith being in them, that they professed their belief in a Saviour, who was externally revealed in the Gospel, unless this Saviour was internally revealed in their hearts, and there formed the hope of glory. Could many nominal Christians only be persuaded to examine themselves, they might speedily discover the emptiness of their profession and the utter delusiveness of their hopes. They might soon be convinced that all the faith which they ever had is merely the effect of educational instruction, because, in point of fact and of sober reality, they believe not one single article of that creed which they profess to believe. For of all that the Bible affirms to be in them as depraved or renovated creatures, they find nothing true, or substantially verified, or transformed into matter of experience. And what reason have they, then, to believe that the things which are external to them, and which they have never seen, are actually in existence 1
We read, that he that believeth in the Son of God hath the witness in himself. Now there is an external and a manifold testimony borne to the Divinity of the Saviour by a variety of evidence. But, notwithstanding this abundant testimony to a particular fact, it is a truth which is without us—it is of that which we have no experimental knowledge, until we actually believe with the heart unto righteousness. It is only by coming to the Saviour that we have the testimony in ourselves that he is indeed the Son of God. But to those who do so it is no longer a matter of hearsay, or report, or barren speculation; for all who exercise faith upon him can adopt the language of the inhabitants of Samaria, addressed to the woman of Samaria, with reference to every external testimony, "Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." But it is only by acting faith upon the things which are revealed that we can feel the efficacy, and realize the power of the truth as it is in Jesus. It is thus that we may attain to evidence and assurance of the things which are revealed. Those who act faith upon these things, who make experiment of their reality by searching the Scriptures and
comparing them with the tablet of their inner man, who have recourse to the Redeemer upon the warrant of his own invitation, and to his blood, which cleanseth from all sin, who pray for his Spirit, and feel his renewing and sanctifying influences purifying their hearts from the love of all iniquity, and transforming them into the Divine image,—those who are thus exercised in practical righteousness, and with whom their Christianity is not a speculative contemplation, or a mere philosophical theory, but a business of urgent and imperative and diligent solicitude, can from their own assured and well-authenticated knowledge produce, as it were, the duplicate of the word, because there is a perfect adjustment between what it asserts and what they have attained. As they have read and heard from the testimony of Scripture, so they have seen and found from the testimony of experience. In this case there is an entire consonance betwixt the declarations of the Bible and the depositions of a believer's consciousness. He has the full assurance of understanding with respect to what he has learned in the exercise of faith. His experimental knowledge has incorporated the truth of Scripture with the tablet of his mind, and makes them one in their testimony. He has homologated the record, and this produces a permanent belief and an inexpugnable conviction with respect to Divine realities. These realities are revealed from faith to faith, from the doctrine of faith in the Word to the grace of faith in the heart, and between these two there subsists a complete correspondency. But, in order to attain the altitudes of Christian experience, or a knowledge of the deep things of God, it is necessary that we begin by believing the simple and elementary truths of Christianity; we must become as little children, that we may enter the kingdom of heaven; we must be willing to unlearn all our speculative orthodoxy, that we may learn the truth as it is in Jesus, that is, that we may learn it practically and to profit. "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise." The basis of all saving and sanctifying knowledge is laid in a deep conviction and persuasion of the primary and fundamental doctrines of our original depravity, and the necessity of regeneration; and the process of illumination is gradual, yet glorious; in virtue of which, the disciple of the
Saviour who has put himself under the tuition of the Spirit advances from one degree of knowledge and of spiritual understanding to another, until he attains the fulness of the measure of the stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus. The commencement of his course may be compared to the glimmering of the dawning day, by which no object is clearly revealed; but its brightness is progressive, and it will terminate in the effulgence of everlasting glory. The knowledge which arises from a firm belief of what the Bible tells us is in us, constitutes the sure and solid foundation on which
the goodly superstructure of all Christian experience is majestically reared; and may be compared, in the sublimity of its ultimate results, and in the towering elevation of spiritual discovery to which it conducts, to the ladder of J acob, which was set on the earth, but the top of it reached to heaven, and behold, the angels of God were seen ascending and descending upon it. "But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
ON CHRISTIAN LOVE AMONG BRETHREN.
BY THE REV. JOSEPH BURNS, WHITEHAVEN, CUMBERLAND.
"Beloved," says the apostle John, "let us love one another, for love is of God." Here is a call for ministers, elders, deacons, and members, to be like God. Could words breathe more the spirit of heaven than these? They invite us to show the spirit of our heavenly Father, as much when we meet in our church courts as when we cluster around the mercy-seat. God is love. His is a spirit of love; love is his nature, love his character. Beloved, have we received Jesus as the revelation of love? Then are we the sons of God, and the Divine love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us. And having become the sons of God, shall we not love our heavenly Father with pure hearts fervently, and prove that we are his by loving one another? Do we wish to know that we are God's children? Then "let us love one another, for every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God." To love is to possess the life of God in the soul, for God is love. "By this," says Christ, "shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Would we know that we have passed from death unto life, then "let us love one another." This sweetest of all the graces flows from the heart of God, is shed abroad in the heart of the believer by the Holy Ghost, and assimilates all the younger brethren to the image and superscription of the elder brother. Is it any wonder that the apostle should urge the exercise of this
loveliest of all the graces? No, beloved, let us for a moment think of the change which has taken place in our own souls, and the wonder will be, that we do not exercise it more. We have received the same heavenly birth, and are related to the same common Father; invited to Jesus, the living Head, quickened by the loving Spirit, and should we not be united to each other by the most endearing ties of Christian love?
What are all intellectual attainments without love? What are our acquisitions of knowledge without love? What are all the miraculous achievements of faith without love? What though we understood all mysteries, gave all our goods to feed the poor, and our bodies to be burned, and have not this exotic of heaven in our souls? Possess what gifts we may, the Spirit of God declares, without love we are nothing. See how the apostle contrasts the highest spiritual gifts with this love, and shows its vast superiority over them all, " God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing." (1 Cor. xii. 28.) And now follows the amazing declaration of the apostle, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." (1 Cor. xiii. 1.) This expressive statement should awaken solemn and personal self-examination in each professing Christian, but especially in the ministers of the Gospel. Are there none of us who stand self-convicted and selfcondemned at the recollection of our petulance, impatience, want of forbearance, provoking to wrath, self-will, pride, envy, jealousy?
As memory calls up the past, and hope gilds the future, does conscience witness any dark leaven of envy in the heart, because of the prosperity, or attainments, or any other advantage of a brother or a sister, over us? Does the Spirit of love see anything of this root of bitterness working within the secrecies of our hearts'! How must it grieve him! Does it not put us to shame, and make us blush, as we look forward to the day when it shall be all openly revealed before assembled worlds 1 O, beloved brethren, let us love one another, for love is of God. Let us all keep our eyes on the day of judgment, and ask ourselves how our words and looks and acts will appear before the great white throne of God? This will serve as a chick against all provoking words, sour looks, angry tempers, and will lead us to cultivate tones of love towards others, and to put the hand of love on the chords of human passion, and draw out the sweetest melodies of heaven.
What a miniature heaven of love our Church would possess in herself, and exhibit to the God-hating world around, if all her ministers were examples of love to their flocks,—if all her elders ruled in love and the fear of the Lord,—if all her deacons were full of the Holy Ghost, and gathered and distributed the fruits of love for the more general diffusion of the Gospel, which is itself heaven's glad tidings of love, and if all her members were drinking in large draughts of love from the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. This would be heaven below, and it would ripen us more for heaven above. And why should it not be so? God is love; and if all were under the influence of this heaven-born affection, we would avoid giving or taking offence; we would be modest in expressing our own opinions, and pay great respect to the opinion of brethren; we would guard against that reckless spirit which pursues its heedless way of self-will, and tramples beneath its iron heel the best feelings of a brother's heart; a spirit which, under a cloak of pretended faithfulness and zeal, cares not about results, while, with unsparing hand, it inflicts the severest wounds. Surely, if there be one temper
or spirit which makes a man tenfold more the child of hell than another, it is that which can permit him to invoke the God of heaven for the forgiveness of his own trespasses, as he forgives them who trespass against him; and, after all, can think evil and speak evil of his offending brother, perhaps meet him without exercising towards him one feature of this Christian love, proving by his very conduct that he does not freely and frankly forgive and love him as he professed while pleading with God, for Christ's sake, to love and forgive himself. And, on the other hand, if there be a single exercise of Divine grace in which the believer most resembles God, it is in the exercise of that love which forgives offences. In what exercise is God so like himself as in forgiving sinners? Beloved, let us love one another, and imitate God in the exercise of love, for love is of God.
Does the reader recollect at this moment any one who has offended him, or whom he has offended? Beloved, you will overcome evil with good, and convince your offender that you are like your elder brother in spirit and affection, growing daily in conformity unto Christ's death. Take your stand at the cross; raise your eyes to the expiring Redeemer. See how He deals with his offenders. They inflict on Him the deepest and deadliest wounds: He blots out their sins, and the remembrance of them, by the very blood they shed. As He endured the severest agony, He lifts up his eyes to heaven and prays, "Father, forgive them." How fearfully at that moment He might have otherwise acted! It would only have been an act of his justice to have crushed his enemies beneath his wrath, and have avenged himself of his adversaries. But no; his power and greatness were on the side of mercy and forgiving love. Beloved, have we his mind, his spirit, his affection? Then let us love one another, and be like him. Who will say, I cannot forgive? Enmity may say it, but love cannot. True love knows no bounds to forgiveness; while human affection will not extend its forgiveness beyond the seventh offence, Divine love will constrain us to stretch out the hand of love to an offending brother, and teach us to forgive him till seventy times seven. Just reflect how God your Father has dealt with your poor perverse self. When you were without strength God commended his love towards you; and while you were yet a sinner Jesus Christ died for you. Be like your Father in dealing with your offending brother. Do not wait till the offender bows to you and confesses his faults. Perhaps he may feel that you are the offender as much as he. And may not pride and self-love hide from you that share of the evil which you ought to confess to him, and which you doubtless would confess, if you viewed all in the light of eternity? Arise, then, and go to your offending brother, and, with your eye resting on the mercy-seat sprinkled with blood, tell him what God has done for you, and that you have made up your mind freely to forgive and forget all. God for Christ's sake forgives you, and you will for Christ's sake forgive him and love him as a brother. The old man will refuse to do this; he will whisper to the soul, "Don't yield; keep your distance; the offence is too great, it is of too long a standing, and now it is too late." Such is the counsel of the old corrupt man. But place in contrast the words and counsel of the Redeemer, "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." How lovely to gaze on the angel face of Stephen expiring under the shower of stones as we read these words! Look at this child of God on his knees beseeching his heavenly Father not to lay this sin to the charge of his enemies. There is a child shewing the spirit and character of his Father in heaven. Let us be like our Father too, brethren. And if Christ would have us to deal thus with our enemies, what would He have us to be, and to do to each other as brethren? O, if we are to love and be kind to the evil, how much more ought we to love and be kind to the good? Can any offence be too great or of too long a standing for Christian love to forgive? The old man cries, Yes! The new man says, No! which should the minister, the elder, the Christian brother obey? The Apostle charges us not to grieve the Holy Spirit, and then tells us to put away the sins which do grieve this holy and tender friend. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put far from you with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye followers of God as dear children and walk in love, as Christ
also hath loved us and given himself for us."
Who is the brother that will, in the face of all this, refuse to forgive and forget his brother's offence however great or of long standing in his eye? And who will say, it is too late? Is it too late to love a brother? Is it too late to be like God? Is it too late to prove our own relation to Christ Jesus ?" By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." "We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren." "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God." Until God tells us it is too late for Him to love and forgive us, let us not say it is too late for us to love and forgive one another. Until death places your offending brother beyond your reach, or removes you and leaves it not in your power, it is not too late. As long as the bridegroom tarries and we are spared we have scope to forgive injuries and to bear reproaches for His dear name. He bears long with us, may we bear and forbear with one another.
Read the portrait of Heaven's love in 1 Cor. xiii. 4—8, "Love suffereth long and is kind; it envieth not; is not jealous of the preference given to others. It vaunteth not itself, is not ready to put itself forward, it considers all claims before its own. Is not puffed up with a high opinion of .its own good qualities, rather does it prefer the shade. Doth not behave itself unseemly. It knows the respect due to others and it yields to it. Seeketh not her own, her own elevation, credit, interest, either at the expense or to the exclusion or injury of others."
This is that brotherly love which is not easily provoked, it is more ready to bless enemies, when it has them, than to make them when it has them not. "Thinketh no evil," indulges no evil thoughts of any man. It rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, it grieves over evil and delights in good, no matter where or by whom done. It draws a veil over all things which would appear to the disadvantage of a brother, hiding his faults instead of blazoning them abroad. It hopes where it cannot believe, and where it can neither hope nor believe it waits patiently and hears for Christ's sake what it cannot remedy. What so lovely as this spirit of Christian love? Love is the atmosphere of heaven, the life of angels, the life of the redeemed, the life of God himself. And the more we grow in the exercise of love the more we grow in conformity to the spirit and character of God, and in meetness for those peaceful regions where strife, and ambition, and discord, and pride, and envy, and selfishness, are unknown! Brethren, suffer a fellow-worm to exhort you all to be like your Lord and Master in loving one another, and forgiving one another. This is the only time when we can be like Him in this. When death comes the opportunity will be gone I
We will not regret it on a bed of death, nor on the day of judgment. Let us
cherish love more in our church meetings, in our church courts, and in our families, until under its holy and self-subduing influence we all love as brethren, and ripen in meetness for that happy world where love reigns in every bosom and breathes forth from every lip, and where we shall drink it in everlastingly from the infinite fulness of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the God of love !" Beloved, let us love one another, for if a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
THE LANDS OP THE BIBLE.*
Late one winter evening, after a hard day's work, we set ourselves down to have a fireside journey through "The Lands of the Bible." How far we penetrated into the first volume at that sitting we must not say, lest Dr. Wilson should think we had skipped some of his learned foot-notes, or left undeciphered some of his oriental quotations. We accompanied the author and his fellow travellers from Bombay to Aden and Suez, across the desert to Cairo, thence amidst the Pyramids and other ancient but ever new wonders of Egypt; and again from Suez toward the Red Sea and the Great Wilderness. The narrative increased in interest as we got into the footsteps of the march of ancient Israel, and it was not till amidst the solitude and snow on the summits of Mount Sinai, that we perceived the fire at which we sat had died out unheeded, the mind being far away in scenes of world-lasting, if not everlasting sacredness.
"We had still a narrower defile before us for a quarter of an hour after we got to the highest point, but it began to expand as we advanced. A few palm trees and green bushes were tokens of the possibility of life amidst the awful desolation which the heights on all sides presented to our view. The first snow
* The Lands of the Bible visited and described. By John Wilson, D.D., Honorary President of the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and Missionary of the Free Church of Scotland.—Two Vols., 8vo. William Whyte and Co., Edinburgh; Longman and Co., London.
which I had seen for fifteen years covered the peaks and filled the crevices of JebelSalsal-Zeit in our front.
"On a sudden, when we had defected a little to the left hand, a broad quadrangular plain, but of much greater length than breadth, lay before us. It is bounded at its farthest extremity by a mountain of surpassing height, grandeur, and terror; and this was the very'mountof God,' where he stood when he descended in fire, and where rested the cloud of His glory, from which he spoke 'all the words of the law.' The plain itself was the Wddf-er-Riihah, the'Valley of Rest,'where stood the whole congregation of the sons and daughters of Israel when gathered together before the Lord. Asof old, the everlasting mountains by which it was bounded on every side, were the walls, and the expanse of heaven itself the canopy of this great temple. Entered within its court, so sacred in its association, we felt for a time the curiosity of the traveller lost in the reverence and awe of the worshipper. Never before, perhaps, were we so strangely affected as in this wondrous locality. Our emotions were then incapable of analysis, as they now are of description. I trust they were more than excited by the contemplation of past realities and enduring solemnities —that they were directed Godward by the great Spirit of truth Himself."—Vol. I., p. 210.
Next day, from the convent the party ascended to the summit of Jebel Muza, or the Mountain of Moses.
"From the chapel of Elijah, the last halting-place, to the summit is the steepest part of the mountain, and it occupies in the ascent about half an hour.