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glad will it make our little circle of friends ! Yes, and it will give joy in heaven ; for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repentath.” In the transactions of such a scene, Heaven witnesses a new display of sovereign mercy. I seem to see you returning ; your family rejoice, your brothers are glad, your neighbors praise the Lord for the change; and lo! you have begun your everlasting song. Oh sing this song, dear brother, and the very angels will not be ashamed to join you. Most affectionately yours,
1 Corinthians i. 26, 27, 28.
For ye see your calling,brethren,how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty ; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
The apostle had said, in the preceding verse, that the foolishness of God is wiser than men ; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. This is the subject to be illustrated in the next succeeding verses. By the foolishness of God, he evidently means the gospel of Christ ; which he had just said was, to the Greeks, foolishness. Yet, he observes, that by the foolishness of preaching, it pleases God to save those who believe. Though man's wisdom would never have chosen the doctrine
of a crucified Christ to convert the world, God's wisdom has :— The doctrines of the cross being fitted, beyond all others, to form men to that humility, which is essential to their relishing and enjoying a salvation which is all of grace. And this gospel, when cordially embraced, has unspeakably happier influence on the hearts and lives of men, than all the rules of morality, which the united wisdom of men could ever have devised. This sufficiently shows, that the foolishness of God, as the world view it, is wiser than men. But what is to be understood by the weakness of God 2 And how does the apostle make it appear, that this is stronger than men : Would it at all illustrate the strength and power of this weakness to say that, not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble were converted 2 That this weakness of God had but few trophies of its superior strength amongst the wise and the great men of the world?—That its triumphs were to be found principally amongst the weak, the low, and despised part of men It will readily be seen, that such a construction, instead of illustrating the strength and glory of what is called the weakness of God, would rather tend to give degrading views of it. Yet this, perhaps may be the sense, in which our translators understood the passage : For, to the words, Ye see your calling, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, they have added are called—these words not being found in the original. Is it not, then more reasonable to suppose, that by the weakness of God, we are to understand those weak instruments God made use of to effect those mighty changes, which it is beyond the united power and wisdom of the world to produce? This, then, will be the sense of the words; “Ye see, brethren, the manner in which, and the instruments by whom ye were called—That instead of the wise and great men of the world, God chose the foolish and weak things of the world to confound the wise and the mighty—men, without either riches or power— men, who were despised, aud considered as the offscouring of the world—the illiterate followers of Christ, who went forth with no other weapon than that gospel, which men termed foolishness; and with this, triumphed and were instrumental of producing effects, which infinitely exceeded any thing that could
ever be brought about by the united wisdom and power of men.” That such mighty changes should be made in the state of the world, and the foundation laid for the utter overthrow of the Roman heathen empire, by men, who were without wealth, or power, or influence; and this only by preaching the doctrines of the cross, is a striking evidence, that a divine and almighty power accompanied them. Here indeed it appears, that the weakmess of God, (the weak instruments he makes use of) is stronger than men, and effects changes, which the wise, the mighty, and the noble of the earth could newer have effected. However true then, it may be, that a smaller proportion of the wise and great men of the earth are converted, this is not, it is to be believed, what we are taught in this memorable passage of the apostle.
THOUGHTS ON THE ATON EMENT AND EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST.
SoME of the most interesting subjects in religion have suffered so much in the hands of the weak and ignorant, that in treating of them it requires no little caution to obviate their mistakes. The person, the work, and the example of our blessed Savior, are of this number. The deplorable prostitution of his sacred name, is sometimes ready to check the language of sober and honest asfection. The Scriptures, however must still be our standard. Truth must be guarded indeed,
but not relinquished nor obscured. “The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow,” are the grand subject of revelation. Jesus Christ is the sun of the spiritual world—the source of light, and life, and holiness. Every part of religious doctrine stands connected with him as its centre : and in proportion as he is exhibited as the glorious head of the church, will life and vigor, be diffused to its members, If a man feels himself to be a transgressor of the commandments of God and enters into the full meaning and consequences of the concession, the most interesting question will be, How am I to be pardoned He that is once truly awake to this inquiry, can be diverted from it by no pressure of employments, no sophistry of error. The disputes of divines upon abstract and metaphysical niceties, are to him insipid ; for heaven and eternity are at stake. Of a mind thus exercised, the anxieties and apprehensions are frequently painful, and sometimes prolonged : yet if the Scriptures be carefully studied, prayer assiduously cultivated, and the ordinary means of instruction conscientiously improved, will they yield at length to accurate conceptions of the method of redemption. He who thus diligently uses the light he has received, and earnestly implores further discoveries, will, by degrees, find his knowledge of the Scriptures enlarged and confirmed, until he can rely with holy satisfaction on the atonement of the Son of God. Such a text as this “ Who his ownself bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness,” is balm to his wounded conscience. The view of an incarnate God, dying to redeem him; is life and consolation to his mind. It loosens the bonds of sin. It is peace, and pardon, and deliverance. it awakens a sacred sorrow for his past delinquencies, and produces a benign and holy humility, not far removed from tranquillity and joy, Such a view may well allay his fears, and lighten his disquietude.
It may well excite an ardent and overflowing principle of love. It may well enable the Christian to overcome the world, and even to count, with St. Paul, all things but loss for the excellen. cy of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. With such a view, therefore, where it is deep and abiding, will always be connected that total renunciation of sin and supreme devotedness to God, of which it is the origin and support. Why does God pardon my sins, but that being released from their bondage, I may serve him with new and universal obedience 2 “How can they who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Hesitation, here, is suspicious and unpardonable ; and if the doctrines of our holy religion are doctrines of grace, they are also doctrines according to godliness. If there be any true godliness in the world, it arises from their influence. The honest christian has, indeed, no interest in ambiguity. It forms his delight to follow the example, and transcribe the character of his Master. His complaints and sorrows spring from his deficiency in this respect. He would be entirely holy. He desires to glorify God in body, soul, and spirit. He aims at treading in the steps, imbibing the spirit, and adorning the gospel of his God and Savior; and whenever he falls short of this, he falls short of his principal object, and applies humbly for fresh forgiveness and fresh supplies of grace. There is no sin whatsoever which he does not desire to be subdued, no duty which he does not endeavor to perform. The perfect holiness of his Lord is perpetually in his view, and he never rests till he is assimilated in every point to his divine pattern. This is the calling, the business, the indispensable duty of the christian. This imitation of his Savior, especially in the spirit and temper of his mind, is repugnant indeed to his corrupt nature ; but it is on that very account to be more assiduously pursued. Accuracy in doctrines may be consistent with much warmth and acrimony. It is the humble, meek, benignant, tender character, who gives the best evidence of a right frame of heart. It is to be feared that we are in general too culpable in this respect— too little careful of “putting on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” But let us contemplate the Son of God as “meek and lowly of heart,” as “bearing the contradiction of sinners against himself,” as breathing in every action, not the angry, contentious spirit of modern polemics, but love, peace, gentleness, kindness, long-suffering, and grace; “when he was réviled, reviling not again, when he suffered threatening not ; but committing himself to him that judgeth righteously :” and let us labor to acquire in these respects the mind which was also in Christ Jesus. Ch. Ob.
REFLECTIONS OF A FORMA LIST ON HIS BIRTH-DAY.
On this day I am no less than sixty years of age, and surely it is more than time for me now to awake out of sleep. The days of man are threescore and ten
years. Only a seventh part of that time is left to me now, and of that small remnant of life I have no assurance. How few arrive at that period of life to which I am already come ! Almost all that were born before me are now in their long home. A very few only of the companions of my youth survive. Some of them had constitutions that promised a longer life than mine, and disease or accident has made an end of them. I almost wonder that I am still in the land of the living. If it had been said by an heavenly messenger ten years ago, that either my friend J. S. or myself would be in the grave before this time, it would have been thought highly probable that my friend was to be my surviver, and that before this day, my eternal doom was to be pro
nounced. And what would it have been 2 I tremble at the thought. I have all reason to
fear, that it would not have been with the righteous. It is written, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. That God is of purer eyes than to be. hold evil, or to look upon iniquity ; that light can have no communication with darkness ; that righteousness can have no fellowship with unrighteousness, nor Christ any concord with Belial. But I must deceive my own soul, if I presume to rank myself with those who are cleansed from their filthiness. It would be presumptuous to pass sentence against any one of my departed friends. But is it not to be feared, that some of them are gone to the world of torment 2 For many, in whose company I once took pleasure, were, I had reason to think, as careless about their own souls as I have hitherto been ; and no signs of amendment appeared in them before they went down to the grave. A change might pass upon them unknown to me, or there might be some good thing in them with which I was unacquainted. God forbid that I should deal damnation amongst either the living or the dead. My business is with myself. I am well convinced by late reflections on my own conduct, that if I had met with the fate of those of my friends who died in a late epidemical fever, or of one who died by a fall from his horse, I must have been in a place which I cannot name without horror. God be thanked that I am yet in the land of the living. I have read of a nobleman who was condemned to die for offences against government, and felt such terror in his soul at the thoughts of an eternal world, that he cried out, O for some more days, though I should live in a mouse hole ! But the poor wretch was chased out of the world, in all appearance with his sins cleaving fast to him, and pressing him down to the pit of destruction. I am sure that I have infinite reason to bless God that I am still alive, although I were compelled to spend all the rest of my time on earth in a dungeon, or to drag them out in incessant toil on board a galley. I have been sometimes tempted to envy some of my 11 eighbors, because they were In ore prosperous than myself; but henceforth I will compare my condition, not with those who are alive, but with the dead. Had I been with them in the 1 and of forgetfulness, I must by
this time have been a devil, removed beyond the hope of salvation by Christ. I should have gone down to the grave with my bones full of the sins of my youth, which would have lain down with me in the dust, and I should have risen with them at the last day, to be exposed to the view of the whole world in all their horrible deformity. What has not been may be. I have no assurance of my life for a single moment. Should I at this time breathe my last, what would become of me 2 must I not sink down into endless perdition with those sinners who have gone before me. Some of my friends, it is to be feared, would meet me there, and load me with grievous curses for the encouragement I gave them to hold on in these evil courses which led them to the place of torment. They would tell me, that if they had seen me more careful of my salvation, they might have been awakened by mine example to consider their ways ; that if I had reproved them for their drunkenness, their profane words, their neglect of divine ordinances, they might have repented and prevented those eternal horrors, from which there is now no escape for them. How shall I hear their execrations against me for endless ages, when I find it so difficult to endure an unjust reproach, which is over in a moment, and forgotten in a few days. But in that world I will probably find, that some of my friends once not better than myself, have escaped that misery to which I am doomed. The Bible spoke of a rich man in hell, who iifted up his eyes and saw Abraham