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have stigmatized it to the last half hour of his existence in the world. But grace still does something. It delivers from the reign of sin, so as that we do not obey its motions, though vexed and annoyed with the feeling of them. And accordingly, from the exclamation of, "O wretched man!" does he pass in a moment to the grateful exclamation of, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord," in whom it is that we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

From such a representation as is given by the apostle of Indwelling Sin, we may deduce some distinct practical lessons, which may be of use to the believer.

First, we think it conducive to the peace of a believer, that he is made aware of what he has to expect of the presence of corruption during his stay in this the land of immature virtue; and where the holiness of the new-born creature has to struggle its way through all those adverse elements, which nought but death will utterly remove from him. It must serve to allay the disturbance of his spirit, when pierced and humbled under the consciousness of an evil desire and wicked principle still lurking within him, and announcing themselves to be yet alive, by the instigations which they are ever prompting, and the thoughts which they are ever suggesting to the inner man. It is his business to resist the instigations, and to turn away from the thoughts; and thus the old nature may be kept in practical check, though as to its being,

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it is not exterminated. Yet the very occurrence of a sinful desire, or an impure feeling, harasses a delicate conscience; for no such occurrence happens to an angel, or to the spirit of a just man made perfect, in heaven; and he may be led to suspect his interest in the promises of Christ, when he is made to perceive that there is in him still so much of what is uncongenial to godliness. It may therefore quiet him to be told, that he is neither an angel nor a glorified saint; and that there is a distinction between the saint who is struggling at his appointed warfare below, and the saint who is resting and rejoicing in the full triumph of his victory above; and the distinction announces itself just by the very intimations which so perplex and so grieve him-just by the felt nearness of that corrupt propensity which is the plague of his heart, which it is his bounden duty to keep his guard against, and which, with his new-born sensibilities, on the side of holiness, he will detest and mourn over-but not to be overwhelmed in despair, on account of, as if some strange thing had happened to him, or as if any temptation had come in his which was not common to all his brethren who are in the world.


But, secondly, this view of the matter not only serves to uphold the peace of a believer, but conduces also to his progress in holiness; for it leads to a most wholesome distrust of himself, under the consciousness that there is still a part about him most alive to sin; and which, if not watched and

guarded and kept under severe and painful restraint, would be wholly given over to it. And here there is a striking accordancy between the theoretical view which the Bible gives of our nature, and the practical habit it labours to impress upon all who partake of it. An angel, perhaps, does not need to be warned against the exposure of himself to temptation; for there may be no ingredient in his constitution that can be at all affected by it: but not so with man, compounded as he is, and made up as his constitution is here, of two great departments, one of which is prone to evil, and that continually; and in the other of which lie all those principles and powers whose office it is, if not utterly to extinguish this proneness, at least to repress its outbreakings. In these circumstances, it is positively not for man to thrust himself into a scene of temptation; and when the alternative is at his own will, whether he shall shun the encounter, or shall dare it, his business is to shun, and the whole of Scripture is on the side of cautiousness, rather than of confidence in this matter; and we may be assured, that it is our part, in every case, to expose nothing, and to hazard nothing, unless there be a call of duty, which is tantamount to a call of Providence. When the trial is of our own bringing on, we have no warrant to hope for a successful issue. God will grant succour and support against the onsets which temptation maketh upon us, but He does not engage Himself to stand by us in the presumptuous onsets which we make upon tempta

tion. We better consult the mediocrity of our powers, and better suit our habits to the real condition of our ruined and adulterated nature, when we keep as far as in us lies our determined distance from every allurement-when with all our might we restrain our tendencies to evil within, from coming into contact with the excitements to evil that are without-when we make a covenant with our eyes to turn them away from the sight of vanity -and whether the provocation be to anger, or evil speaking, or intemperance, or any wayward and vicious indulgence whatever, let us be assured, that we cannot be too prompt in our alarms, or too early in our measures, whether of prevention or resistance; and that in every one instance where we have it in our power, and no dereliction of duty is implied by it, it is our wise and salutary part, not most resolutely to face the provocative, but most resolutely to flee from it.

But, thirdly, this view of the matter not only leads us to withdraw the vicious and wrong part of our constitution from every encounter with temptation that can possibly be shunned-it also leads us to such measures as may recruit and strengthen the gracious or good part of our constitution for every such encounter as cannot be shunned. For we must, in spite of all our prudence, have many such encounters in the world. Temptation will come to our door, though we should never move a single unguarded footstep towards temptation; and then, What, we would ask, is the armour of resis

tance ?-what the best method of upholding the predominance of the good principle over the evil one? We would say, a fresh commitment of ourselves in faith and in prayer to Him who first put the good principle into our hearts-another act of recurrence to the fulness that is in Christ Jesusa new application for strength from the Lord our Sanctifier, to meet this new occasion for strength which He Himself has permitted to come in our way, and to cross the path of our history in the world. The humility which leads us to flee whenever we can, and to pray when flight is impossible -this is the very habit of the soul, which removes it from the first set of temptations, and will most effectually strengthen it against the second. To the proud man, who reckons upon his own capabilities, God refuses grace. To the humble man, who in himself has no other feeling than that of utter emptiness, God gives grace in abundant measure for all his necessities: and thus it is, that by proceeding as he ought, on the consideration that there is a part of his nature belonging properly and originally to himself, which he must keep at an assiduous distance from every excitement to evil; and then proceeding as he ought, on the consideration that there is a part of his nature derived by grace from heaven, and nourished by constant supplies from the same quarter-thus it is, we say, that his knowledge of his own constitution, such as we have endeavoured to unfold it, has a direct tendency both to deepen the humility of the believer, and to exalt and perfect his holiness.

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