Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

will withhold from thee no manner of thing that is good Is it good, that the whole body of sin, which is now crucified in thee, should be destroyed ? It shall be done. Thou shalt be cleansed from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit. Is it good that nothing should remain in thy heart, but the pure love of God-alone? Be of good cheer! " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. Faithfül is he that hath promised, who also will do it.” It is thỳ part, patiently to continue in the work of faith, and in the labour of love: and in chearful peace, in humble, confidence, with calm and resigned, and yet earnest expectation, to wait till the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this.

5. Fourthly, If they that are in Christ, and walk after the Spirit, are not condemned for sins of infirmity, as neither for involuntary failings, nor for any thing whatever which they are not able to help: then beware, O thou that hast faith in his blood, that Satan herein gain no advantage over thee, Thou art still foolish and weak, blind and ignorant more weak than any words can express, more foolish than it can yet enter into thy heart to conceive, knowing nothing yet as thou oughtest to know. Yet let not all thy weakness and folly, or any fruit thereof, which thou art not yet able to avoid, shake thy faith, thy filial trust in God, or disturb thy peace or joy in the Lord. The rule which some give as to wilful sins, and which in that case, may perhaps be dangerous, is undoubtedly wise and safe, if it be applied only to the case of weakness and infirmities. Art thou fallen, O man of God ? Yet do not lie there, fretting thyself and bemoaning thy weakness: 'But meekly say, Lord, I shall fall thus every moment, "unless thou uphold me with thy hand. And then arise! Leap and walk. Go on thy way. Run with patience the race set before thee.

6. Lastly, Since a believer need not come into condemnation, even though he be surprized into what his soul abhors, (suppose his being surprized is not owing to any carelessness or wilful neglect of his own) if thou who believest, art thus overtaken in a fault, then grieve unto the Lord; it shall be a precious balm: pour out thy heart before him, and shew him of thy trouble. And pray with all thy might to him whois touched with the feeling of thy.. infirmities, that he would stablish and strengthen and settle thy soul, and suffer thee to falt no more. But still

he

he condemnetb thee not. Wherefore, shouldst thou fear? Thou hast no need of any fear that hath torment. Thou shalt love him that loveth thee, and it sufficeth i more love will bring more strength. And as soon as thou lovest him with all thy heart, thou shall be perfect and en. țire, lacking nothing. Wait in peace for that hour, when the God of peace shall sanctify thee xholly, so that thy whole spirit, and soul, and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of qur Lord Jesus Christ!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

'S UYE HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF BONDAGE.

AGAINO UN TO FEAR: BUT YE HAVE RECEIVED THE
SPIRIT OF ADOPTION, WHEREBY WE CRY, ABBA,
FATHER

I.

SAINT

AINT Paul here speaks to those who are the chil

dren of God by faith. Ye, saithi he, who are indeed, his children, have drank into his Spirit. " Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear. Buti because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts. Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba; Father.

2. The spirit of bondage and fear is widely distant from this loving Spirit of adoption. Those who are influenced only by slavish fear, cannot be termed the sons of God. Yet some of them may be stiled his servants, and are not far fruin the kingdom of heaven,

Z But it is to be feared, the bulk of maņkind, yea, of what is cailed. The Christian world, have not attained even

[ocr errors]

this ; but are still afar off, neither is God in all their thoughts. A few names may be found of those who love God: a few more there are that fear him. But the greater part have neither the fear of God before their eyes, nor the love of God in their hearts.

4. Perhaps most of you, who by the mercy of God, now partake of a better spirit, may remember the time when ye were as they, when ye were under the same condemnation. But at first ye knew it not, though ye were wallowing daily in your sins and in your blood : till in due time ye received the spirit of fear (ye received; for this also is the gift of God:) and afterwards, fear. vanished away, and the spirit of love filled your hearts.

One who is in the first state of mind, without fear or love, is in scripture termed a natural man. One who is under the spirit of bondage and fear, is sometimes said to be under the law : (although that expression more frequently signifies one, who is under the Jewish dispensation, or who thinks himself. obliged to observe all the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish law). But one who has exchanged the spirit of fear for the spirit of love, is properly said, to be under grace. ...

Now, because it highly imports us, to know what spirit we are of, I shall endeavour to point out distinctly, I. The state of a natural man.

i II. That of one who is under the law. And III. Of one who is under grace. 1.1. And first, the state of a natural men. This the scripture represents as a state of sleep. The voice of God to him is, Awake, thou that sleepest. For his soul is in a deep sleep. His spiritual senses are not awake: they disa qerg neither spiritual good nor evil. The eyes of his understanding are closed; they are sealed together, and see not, Clouds and darkness continually, rest upon them ; for he lies in the valley of the shadow of death. Hence having no inlets for the knowledge of spiritual things, all the avenues of his soul being shut up, he is in gross, stupid ignorance of whatever he is most concerned to know.. He is utterly ignorant of God, knowing nothing concerning him as he ought to know. He is totally a stranger to the law of God, as to its true, inward, spiritual meaning. He has no conception of that evangelical holiness, without

which

which no no man shall see the Lord ; nor of the happiness, which they only find, whose life

' is hid with Christ in God. 1. 2. And for this very reason, because he is fast asleep, he is, in some sense, at rest. Because he is blind, he is alsó secure : He saith, Tush, there shall no harm happen unto. . The darkness which covers him ou every side, keeps him in a kind of peace : (so far as peace can consist with the works of the devil, and with an earthly devilish mind.) He sees not that he stands on the edge of the pit; therefore he fears it not. He cannot tremble at the danger he does not know. He has not understanding enough to fear. Why is it that he is in' no dread of God?” Because he is totally ignorant of him: if not saying in his heart, there is no God, or, that he sitteth on the circle of the heavens, and humbleth not himself to behold the things which are done on earth

; yet; satisfying himself as well, to all Epicurean intents and purposes, by saying, " God is merciful;" confound? ing and swallowing up at once, in that unweildy idea of mercy, all his holiness and essential hatred of sin, all his justice, wisdom, and truth. He is in no dread of the vengeance denounced against those who obey not the blessed law of God, because he understands it not. He imagines the main point is, to do thus, to be outwardly blameless : and sees not that it extends to every temper, desire, thought, motion of the heart.. Or he fancies, that the obligation hereto is ceased; that Christ came to destroy the law and the prophets ; to save his people in, not from their sins: to bring them to heaven without holiness. Notwithstanding his own words, “ Not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass away, till all things are fulfilled : and, Not every one that saith unto mc, Lord, Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven." * 3. He is secure, because he is utterly ignorant of himself. Henee he talks of “ repenting by and by;" he does not indeed exactly know when ; but sometime or other before he dies': 'taking it for granted, that this is quite in his own power. For what-should hinder his doing it, if he will ? If he does but once set a resolution, no fear but he will make it good.

4. But this ignorance never so strongly glares, as in those who are termed, men of learning. If a natural man be

one

1

one of these, he can talk at large of his rational faculties : of the freedom of his will; and the absolute necessity of such freedom, in order to constitute inan a moral agent.. He'reads and argues, and proves to a demonstration, that every'man may do' as he will ; may dispose his own heart to evil o good, as it seems best in bis own eyes. Thus the God of this world spreads a double veil of blindness over his heart, lest by any means the light of the glorious gosso pel of Christ should shine upon it. ' .

5• From the same ignorance of himself and God, there may sometimes arise in the natural man a kind of joy, in tongratulating himself, upon his own wisdom and goodness. And what the world calls joy, he may often possess: He may have pleasure in various kinds ; either in gratify

the desires of the flesh, or the desire of the eye, or the pride of life: particularly if he has large possessions: if he enjoy an affluent fortune. Then he may cloath himself in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day. And so long as he thus doth well unto himself, men will doubtless, speak.good of him. They will say, he is a happy man: for judeed this is the sum of worldly happines: to dress, and visit, and talk, and eat, and drink, and rise up to play.

6. It is not surprizing, if one in such circumstances as these, dozed with the opiates of flattery and sin, should imagine, among his other waking dreams, that he walks in great liberty. How easily may 'he persuade himself, that he is at liberty from all vulgar, errors, and from the prejudice of education, judging exantly right, and keeping clear of all extremes. I am free (may he say) from áll the enthusiasm of weak and narrow souls; from superstition, the disease of fools and cowards, always righteous' over much; and from bigotry, continually incident to those who have not a free and generous way of thinking.”. "And too sure it is, that he is altogether free, from the wisdom 'which cometh frotz alové, from holiness, from the religion of the heart, from the whole mind which was in Christ.

7. For all this time, he is the servant of sin. He commits sin, more or less, day by day. Yet he is not troubled : He" is in no bondage;" (as some speak) he feels no condemnation. He contents himself, (even though he: should profess to believe that the Christian revelation is of God) with,. Man is frail. We are all weak. Every man' has his infirmity." Perhaps he quotes scripture : No. II.' O

Why,

« AnteriorContinuar »