« ElőzőTovább »
happiness in his love'? Do I ésteem him above every name, love him above every creature and thing, and value an interest in him before ten thousand worlds ? Is the language of my soul,
i This sentence utters all the writer's heart. Where is the Christian, however distinguished by literary fame, who would not rather coinpose with the spiritual wisdom and holy ardour of this query, than with the sublimity of Milton, the majesty of Johnson, or the
of Parr? But the high tone of these inquiries may discourage some real Christians, who are accustomed to contrast the glory and claims of their Redeemer with their own coldness and ingratitude. Yet this sentence is not a hair's breadth beyond the Saviour's declaration, that they who love him not beyond all on earth, or even life itself, are not his disci. ples. Nor is it beyond what every Christian would be able to say of himself, were he not prevented by false humility, mistaken modes of self-examination, the prevalence of temptation, or bodily disease. That to a real Christian any object should be dearer than Christ is impossible. This is sometimes manifest in those who are most afraid that they cannot stand the test here proposed. All the blessings they possess in the world, lose their power to make them happy, only because they fear that Christ is not theirs. But such persons, instead of inquiring whether they love Christ better than every other object, are only asking whether they love him
as much better as they ought, or as some others do. The infinite worth of the Saviour, and the humility of the real Christian, will always prevent him from answering these latter questions to his own satisfaction. A mista ken humility, however, induces some to persist in putting such questions as these to their consciences, which keeps them always doubting and complaining. Bodily disease sometimes prevents Christians from concluding that they have supreme love for Christ, as the most fond mothers have (under the in
Now none but Christ, none but Christ; “ whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon, earth that I desire besides thee?” Is all the world, all that is admired in it, esteemed by me as dung, and beheld with the greatest contempt, when compared with a glorious Christ, the ravishing sweetness of his love, and the unsearchable riches of his grace? Do I wish nothing so ardently, seek nothing so diligently, and rejoice in nothing so greatly, as to win Christ, and be found in him ? Be this my portion, and can I say, I want, I wish, I ask no more?
§ 5. Has my faith a purifying influence upon my heartk? Does the view of Christ dying for my sins make me die unto them? And can I no longer indulge, no longer look with indifference
fluence of a disorder which sometimes afflicts mothers) denied that they had any love for their own children. To give consolation to such persons we must mend their health. But if the world and sin haye really drawn away the heart from Christ, to all human investigation our religion must be doubtful. In this case, our first business is to return to a close walk with God: our assurance will follow.
k After we have believed in Christ, in spite of our unworthiness, it is necessary to prove the reality of our faith by its holy effects. For though it is ruinous to our souls to look to our own character for encouragements to faith, and for a ground of confidence in approaching to God for mercy; it is equally ruinous to be satisfied without being able to shew our faith by our works. These questions, therefore, are intended for those who profess to have believed unto life. He
on those sins which made my Saviour die, which cost him a bloody agony, a bitter passion, a shameful, painful, and cursed death? But has my faith in Christ, as “ wounded for my transgressions, and bruised for my iniquities," made me bitterly lament them, sincerely hate them, and vow to be the death of them, of every one of them? Though there may be still much sin in me, is there none allowed? Is there none, no not one, no not that“ sin which does most easily beset me," which I desire to be spared and excused in: Do I rather look upon all sin as the
that shrinks from such inquiries may pretend to condemn them as legal, but he secretly dreads them as too evangelical. He suspects his own heart to be too carnal to endure a test so spiritual.
The apostles not only mention this as the criterion by which they knew that God had received the gentiles into the number of his people that he had purified their hearts by faith,” but they also declare, that the evangelical mode of salvation was devised as a means of securing conformity to the law. What the law could not do (i. e. make men holy) in that it was weak through the flesh (the depravity of man), God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, for a sin offering, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” And they who formerly laboured to keep the law for righteousness, and have since believed on Christ for justification, are conscious that the law never received such obedience from them, while labouring to satisfy its demands for their acceptance with God, as they have since been enabled to yield from a principle of love and new obedience to Christ, the Lord our righteousness.
enemy of Christ, and my own soul, and, as such, do I hate it with a perfect hatred ? Am I praying fervently for divine grace to subdue it, and in the strength of that grace, do I maintain a constant and vigorous war with it, determined never to give it any rest in my heart, never to cease my conflict with it, till I have gained the complete and everlasting victory?
$ 6. Is my faith productive of an unfeigned love, and a willing obedience? Does it kindle up in my heart ardent love and gratitude to the God and Father of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, for this unspeakable gift of his love to, this invaluable provision he hath made for the salvation of poor sinners in his dear Son? Does it constrain, sweetly and powerfully constrain me to love and live to this adorable Redeemer, who hath loved me, and given himself for me? Does the believing sense of his immensely great, his wonderfully free love, in dying for me, with all the rich precious and everlasting fruits of it, win my whole heart; and, do I feel myself irresistibly drawn by these cords of love, and bound for ever to him, and to his service, by these endearing bands? Do I no longer look upon myself as my own, but as his, and do I rejoice in being so, and am I the cheerful thankful servant of him, who hath purchased me with his own blood? Do I most willingly, sincerely, and unreservedly de
vote and dedicate all I am and have to his service and disposal? Do I own no other Lord, as having no other Saviour, and is his service sweet, and obedience to him most delightful? As he has particularly charged me, so am I careful, ready and willing to maintain good works, not that I may be justified by them, (which I can never expect, as the best are so polluted, so defective) but that I may glorify my Father which is in heaven, testify my gratitude to my dear Redeemer, evidence to the world my faith in him, adorn his gospel, be useful to others, and exercise the kindest and sweetest affections of my own soul in doing good? Is this the case with thee, O my soul? Can I, as in the presence of God, answer with any degree of satisfaction these weighty and important questions? Am I not conscious to myself of any insincerity, partiality, or reservem? I may then comfortably
** Many real believers will be afraid to say, that they are not conscious to themselves of any insincerity, partiality, or reserve.” Deep self-research will detect insincerity, even in the secret closet, under the immediate eye of the omniscient; partiality in our utmost, efforts at universal obedience; and reserve, when yielding up ourselves most entirely to God. But, then, the Christian is so far from intending or allowing this, that he deeply deplores it, and seeks deliverance by increasing sanctification. It is this which is the law in the members, warring against the law of the mind; the flesh that lusteth against the spirit, com, pelling him to exclaim, “ O wretched man that I am,