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in sloth on the Sabbath mornings, and on other parts of the day?. Though you have too much respect for your good name openly to pursue the work of your calling, are you not guilty of doing many things which even if in themselves they are innocent, ought not to be done on the Sabbath? Now what do all these contrivances of your's prove? Why, that the Lord's Day, with its sacred duties, is a grievous burden to you; that you wish it were over, and would gladly shorten it as much as possible. How then could you endure an eternal Sabbath in heaven?
But perhaps this description does not suit your case. I hope it may not: then let me inquire when you were at church, did you desire to worship God in spirit and in truth ?" or did you only “ draw nigh unto him with your lips, while your heart was far from him?" Did you read your Bible as a formal, tiresome duty, or did you delight in it as the law of your God, which David declared to be “ dearer to liim than thousands of gold and silver ?” When called upon to praise the Lord with thanksgiving, did you joyfully take your part, “ making melody in your hearts unto God,” and longing for that blessed period when you should begin a never-ending song of praise to your Father, and Redeemer? If conscience tells you that your thoughts and feelings were quite at variance with these; that the exercises of prayer and praise were a weariness to you; then, I ask, how could you be happy in a place where such will be your endless occupations?
Again, is it secretly a matter of joy or of sorrow to you that God is acquainted with all your ways? we know there are some who desire God" to depart from them.” Is it thus with you? Then how shall you like to be " for ever with the Lord;" to dwell in his glorious presence, where the blessed see him “ face to face ?"
S. L. A.
( To be continued.)
* The dove is mentioned frequently in the Scriptures allegorically, as an emblem of innocence by our Saviour; as a bird of strong flight in the Psalms of David, when he wishes for the wings of the dove to fly from his enemies and discomforts. I have assumed both qualities here ; the last of which may represent a strong desire or aspiration to attain to beaven; both together, the wish and the qualification necessary for it.
SHORT SERMON ON FAITH.
Heb. iv. part of ver. 2. “ The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
St. Paul tells us, in his Second Epistle to Timothy, that “ the Holy Scriptures are able to make" us “ wise unto salvation;" and again, St. James bids us, “ to receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save our souls.” How is it then, that so many have the Bible in their hands, and do not neglect to read it,
and yet seem but little improved, or beneficially influenced by the momentous truths it contains ? For though, as David says, “ the law of the Lord is an undefiled law, converting the soul”- yet that it is often read without effect, is, indeed, a mournful truth-the cause of which will be found in the texts the word did not profit, not being mixed with faith.”
But these people will probably say, that they do believe the Bible. Yes, they may have a mere historical belief ---that “dead faith,” spoken of by James, which will do them no good. You have no doubt that there was such a person as Julius Cæsar, and that he was emperor of Rome, with many circumstances that are told us in history concerning him; but this faith does not produce any effect upon your conduct; because you are no way interested in what he did. In like manner, you may believe, that such a person as Jesus Christ did actually come into the world, live, and die in the manner related by the evangelists; but this sort of belief will produce no effect upon your heart and life; for, be it remembered, the very devils, “ believe and tremble.” In this way, you may assent to the truth of many things, which would have little or no effect upon your conduct, whether you believed them or no. Yet I must still maintain, because the word of Him " who cannot
Short Sermon on Faith.
27 lie," declares it to be so-that, where the Bible does not profit, it is from want of faith. But this faith is not of the kind of which we have been speaking—it is “ The gift of God;" by it, we make a personal application of the truths of Scripture to ourselves and are made to perceive how deeply we are individually interested in all that it contains. Tell a person some indifferent event, he says he believes it; but it makes little difference to him, for he feels no interest therein ; but tell this same man, that his house is on fire, that all his property is likely to be burnt, should you say he credited the report, if he remained unconcerned, took no step, made no effort to stop the progress of the flames? Of course, you would not. So it is with spiritual things. Faith is believing that things are so, because God has said they are; it receives his testimony, and it acts upon it, as undeniable truth. Thus it is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;" it renders invisible things in a manner present to us, and makes us receive the Bible as the message of God himself to us, not as being a mere revelation of his will to holy men of old. By this faith we apply the precepts, warnings, threatenings, examples, encouragements, promises of the Bible to ourselves, to our own particular state, dispositions, and character; conscience often witnessing within us, as Nathan to David; “ Thou art the man." Would you say, that person really believes that, by his breaking of the Divine Law, he lies under the curse of God; if you saw that it made no impression upon him, that he still heedlessly persisted in his evil ways, and did not seem the least troubled, though he was in danger of everlasting condemnation, nor anxious to discover whether there might be any way of escape from that wrath, which perhaps, the next hour, would fall upon him? Surely no sinner would willingly incur eternal damnation, did he but really consider what it is; did he, but from his heart believe all that is said concerning it in the Bible. But the truth is, that the things of time and sense so take up his attention, that he bestows no serious thoughts on the world to come : sometimes he flatters himself with delusive hopes, that he shall repent before he dies-or that God will not execute his vengeance, though he has declared that he will, or other false notions, which, if they are not founded in ignorance, clearly proceed from unbelief of some part of the Word of God.
Again, granting that we do believe as we profess to do, that we were standing on the brink of eternal ruin, without any way of escape ; what emotions must fill our hearts, when we learn from the Scriptures of truth, that “ God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that so we might not perish, but have eternal life;" that he might “ redeem us from the curse of the law,” which he did, by bearing that curse himself, in his agony and painful sufferings on the cross! Now, if in our hearts we believe this, what will be our feelings of sorrow for the sufferings of our Redeemer, and of love, gratitude, and esteem for him? and how earnest our desire to fulfil all his wishes, and obey his commands! That such will, in a greater or less degree, be the effects of saving faith, we know from the Bible. It is one of the beautiful descriptions there given of true religion, “faith working by love," and “ love is the fulfilling of the law;" “ for if ye love me,” (said our Saviour,) “keep my commandments"_"if a man love me, he will keep my word.” If, then, none of these fruits are produced in our hearts and lives, it follows, that we have not that faith which can alone make the Scriptures profitable unto our souls. Let us then watch and pray against “ a hard and evil heart of unbelief,” which causes us to depart from the living God." Let us entreat “ the Author and Finisher of our faith," to strengthen and increase it in us, and to “help our unbelief." See that the fruits of faith, in a holy, blameless, and useful life may abound in you more and more, “ to the glory and praise of God.” What is the reason, that even those, who, it may be