Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

the Lord Jesus Christ. Does it seem to evade us, to fly from us? Let us follow it with determined step, with patient perseverance, with strong cries and tears to God for help. Is it opposed to our natural disposition ? Let us yield up ourselves unto God, that he may sanctify us wholly in body, soul, and spirit.

Love is humble; it is never proud of itself, nor will it allow its possessor to boast, or to undervalue others, in order to exalt himself. “Love is patient; it will not fly at every supposed insult, or be provoked by every appearance of neglect. Love is active; it will do, or give, or go, to com. fort, or relieve, or benefit any of its objects. Love is self-denying; it looks from itself, it loses sight of itself, and wishes to do others good, and make others happy. Love is liberal; it will allow others to think dif. ferently, to act differently, without being prejudiced or offended, except God be dishonoured, and his cause injured. “Love," says the Holy Spirit, “suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself,' is not puffed up, doth not, behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth.” Let us, therefore, heartily, earnestly, and constantly follow after love. It is the object of Satan's special hatred, consequently, he makes the most determined opposition to its exercise, and endeavours by all means to prevent its cultiva. tion. It is also opposed to all the selfish principles of our fallen nature, and is, therefore, opposed by them all. But we should ever remember that God requires it, not only in his law, but also in his gospel. Nor can he be pleased with us, if we neglect, or trifle, or run counter to this his holy and necessary commandment. He sent his own Son 'to set us the example, to shew us that love may be cultivated, and constantly manifested even in a world like ours, and under the most unfavourable circumstances. The church deeply needs the exercise of love. Her many imperfections,--her unseemly divisions, the unfounded prejudices of one part of the body against the other,-her low condition,-her sorrows and sufferings, all these call for love. They unite, and with one strong, energetic, and solemn voice they cry, “Follow after love." All admire love. It is the most powerful instrument we can wield. Would we spread the truth? Would we conquer the enemies of the gospel? Would we win over the young to the cause of God? Would we silence gainsayers ? Would we close the mouths of infidels? Would we effectually conquer Rome? In one word, would we honour God, exalt Jesus, sow to the Spirit, heal the wounds of the church, make a good impression on the world, or be really happy ourselves, it must be effected by love? We must, one and all, in public and private, by searching the heart, by pleading with God, by denying self, by using all the means which God has appointed, or the gospel furnished, follow after love."

Reader, is love an object of admiration with you? Does it appear as most desirable, not only in others, but also in yourself ? Do you sigh, cry, pray, and pant for it? Are you mourning over the want of it in others, but especially in yourself ? Is it the object of your pursuit ? Or, can you indulge in unlovely tempers, use and sanction harsh and uncharitable expressions, and live in a state of alienation from God's people because they have at sometime offended you? Is this the case ? If so, how dwelleth the love of God in you? How can you expect to enjoy nearness to God, or sweet communion with God ? How can you wonder, if thus grieving the Holy Spirit, he leaves you to yourself, and your heart grows hard, your evidences are beclouded, and your religion dwindles into a mere form? Would the Scriptures be true if it were otherwise ? You are a backslider in heart, and unless you repent, the Lord will leave you to be filled with your own ways. You are sowing the geeds of wormwood, and it will be bitterness in the latter end. Religion is love. Love to God and love to man. We have just so much religion as we have love, and no more. If we have no love, we have no religion. May the Holy Spirit shed abroad the love of God in our hearts, and lead us to love every one that loves God with tender affection; and to love all others with pity and compassion. Then shall we prove that we are the children of God, by loving him and keeping his commandments; then shall we adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; then shall we allure sinners from the paths of sin and death; and then shall we be the ornaments of the church, and the glory of Christ. Let us, therefore, "FOLLOW AFTER CHARITY.”

Shrewsbury.

THE GREAT HEALER.

BY THE LATE REV. J. H. EVANS. “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”—Jer. xvii. 14. It is a great truth, that all fulness is in Christ. “It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” And it is no small mercy if we can say that it pleases us. It is a fact that is lost sight of too frequently. "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” All is in Him, and so alí flows from Him. A Jew would look to God through his Messiah, and some Christians look only to God through Jesus., The Lord Jesus Christ himself, the God-man, is the Physician of souls. His blood is the true balm of Gilead, he is the Healer of the soul. It hath pleased the Father that this should be the case. We have access to the Father, who reminds us, as Pharoah did, all is in the hand of Joseph. All grace, all sanctity, all justification, all righteousness, all healing, is in Jesuș. The text is a vehement prayer. Let us notice, · First, The sin-sick soul. It is easier to use the words than to feel the force of them. Sin is the sickness of the soul. It weakens, it pollutes the soul. The seat of all evil is the heart. It is defiled to its very core. It is full of evil thoughts and evil things. Sin is compared to the plague, the leprosy, to adder's poison, to the vomit of the dog, to the mire in which the sow wallows. God's hatred to sin is deep, and God's deep hatred to sin causes the believer to mourn, that he feels and mourns over sin so little. The cause of all disease and death is one peculiar in sin, the seed of all sin was seminally in Adam's sin. All sin was included in that one sin. All rebellion, all distaste to God, was from that one sin. It is a disease that is incurable by any human remedies. “For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord” (Jer. ii. 22). What, in the prophet! He was a shining light, a gracious character. True, but there was one blemish in him. Turn to Jer. xx. 7th and 14th verses: “O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.” If God leave us, beloved, we shall do just the same. We think of him and wonder. Let us walk softly if we would walk safely. God's thoughts and Jeremiah's thoughts differed. The Spirit knows it to be safest to shew us our faults rather than our excellencies. He had

much communion with God. He lived near to God. The nearer to God, the lower we lie. Your men at a distance think themselves something: To have a good report from without should be a special object of your care. What cares the world for your principles? they consider your conduct. The righteousness of Jesus teaches us to be zealous of good works, and faith purifies the heart. What are we when alone before God Alone before God, Jeremiah was deficient as a prophet, as a preacher, as a man of God. They derided him, he betook himself to the throne of grace. We now observe,

Secondly, The conviction expressed. Only the Lord can heal. None but the God-man. There is such a depth in sin, such ingratitude. Who can understand his errors, their number, their aggravations! What a black ground is this on which the diamond lies, goodness, mercy, longsuffering, grace! No one can heal me who does not understand my errors. It requires omnipotence to subdue them. A dark soul is like the dark world; only God can say, “let there be light.” Matter is inert; but a sinful soul is active against God; therefore it requires a greater disa play of power to regenerate a 'soul than to re-fashion a world. It required more power to convert Saul of Tarsus, than to create millions of angels. To subdue corruption is more than to create a world. What boundless, inconceivable patience does God exercise towards us! Oh, ye triflers with sin, think, think of this ! A small request is a test of love, therefore to refuse it is the greater sin. Sin opposes every perfection of God, every purpose of his will. What an instance we have of this in Luke ix. 51st to 56th verse. Jesus came, not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. But the disciples would call down fire from heaven to con. sume those who would not receive him. Who would do this ? John. John! what, the loving John? Oh, how much there is of this in England! But how differently Jesus felt. What inconceivable sympathy there was in him, just fitting him to be our Physician. A stranger may bear with men in a loathsome disease; but we want more than this. We want a friend to wait on us, a brother to soothe us, a husband to deal tenderly with us. Jesus is all this. As our legal head he suffered for us; as our vital head he suffers in us.

Thirdly, The confidence that he could heal effectually. “I shall be healed.He alone can make means effectual, and he makes any means effectual. He uses everything as a means of healing. Things pleasant, . and things painful. Great things and small things. Giving and taking. Friends and foes. The power is not so much in the medicine, as in the Physician who employs it. In sickness he often begins his work with a thought. We begin to think, this leads us to pray; we have our misgivings, we obtain more light; we are filled with anxiety, this again leads to prayer, to repentance, even repentance unto life. He uses the threatenings, the reasonings, the promises, the invitations, and the warnings of the word of God. He uses his own precious, precious, precious blood. He makes us new creatures, but not without blood, not without a view of a forgiving God. The blood unfolded, applied by his Spirit, purifies the heart, quiets the conscience, and leads out the soul in obedience to God. It is as the cross is exalted, that he purges the conscience, and melts the soul into tears; see Mary, being forgiven, she wept. Oh, for more sanctification through the blood of Jesus! Live upon justification, for it is as this truth is realized, and its efficacy felt, that our sanctification is deepened. There is infinite wisdom in the remedies he employs. We are all sick,-we are in a desert world, the church is a hospital,-the ordinances are means of healing, may we all use them aright. They are precious cordials, but they are not the physician. Beware lest

you put them in the place of Christ. Some make too much of ordinances, and some too little. Some appear too forward, and some too backward. O for the happy mean! See that happy believer, he had been in great darkness, he was looking at self, and the more he looked the worse he saw himself, he lost all hope; at length he looked simply at Christ, he looked above all his sins, fears, doubts, and misgivings to Jesus; hope sprung up, light spread over his soul, and all was peace. Then rose up those evidences, which he had been seeking for before but could not find, like lilies of the valley. When was this? When he looked simply to Jesus. Beloved, Jesus gives all the medicine with his own hands. There is one point more, it is the mysterious process by which he heals. He opens our wounds,—he makes us feel the hidden evils of our hearts, he discovers sin to us, and reproves sin at times by sin, thus he beats us off from self, and we mourn in secret over our faults; then he leads us to himself as our only Physician, and heals us by his precious blood. My hearers, Jesus, as a physician, never fails; he never rejects, or refuses to heal any poor sinner who applies to him for healing. May the Holy Spirit lead you to Him just as you are, with the confidence of the prophet, saying, Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.

THE OLD MAN.

The old man totters bye

With footsteps slow;
Dim is his sunken eye,

And on his brow
A weary weight of care

Its hand hath lain.
Weep'st thou for him ?-forbear,

Or list again.
He hath trod the weary way

Which thou must tread;
He hath seen Hope's morning ray

In darkness fled.
He hath laid the loved of youth

In silence down;
And its cherish'd hopes' untruth

His heart hath known.
He hath seen a home of mirth

Of all berest,
And a love-encircled hearth

Deserted left.
He hath wept, as thou must weep,

O'er trust betrayed ;
He hath toil'd through anguish deep,

With none to aid.
The cup which he hath quaff'd,

Thou too must drink,
Though from the sickening draught

Thy spirit shrink.
Then sorrow not for one

Whose cares are o'er,
Whose footsteps rest upon

Life's farther shore,

He hath we betrayed inquish deep.

Where Hope's reviving ray

Is o'er him cast,
And Mercy seems to say,

“Safe home at last !"

Biblical.
GEOLOGY AND GENESIS. New Testament principles. Not to men-
SECOND ARTICLE.

tion the numberless institutions of a chari

table kind which aim to fulfil the law of We adverted, in our last number, to Dr.

love, even Free Trade and Equal Political · Pye Smith's valuable illustrations of sound

Rights, are but developments of that higher principles of interpretation, as worthy of

formula in which our Lord described strict fuller notice than we then could bestow

equity, “Whatsoever ye would that men upon them. In Lecture VII., after a co

should do unto you do ye even so unto pious induction of passages of Scripture,

them.” But in the department of Science he says, “We have thus seen it placed be

all this is reversed. When Religion is conyond the possibility of a doubt, that it is

cerned all is calculated not only for the the manner of the Scriptures, and most co

people as they are, but also to lead them piously in their earliest written parts, to

higher. In matters of Science the language speak of the Deity, his nature, his perfec

is that of the many, nor is an idea conveyed . tions, his purposes, and his operations, in

in such terms as suggest that the reality language borrowed from the bodily and

may be something very different. With the mental constitution of man, and from those opinions concerning the works of God in

language which speaks of God after the

manner of man, as if he partook of our the natural world, which were generally

nature and its imperfections, abundance is received by the people to whom the blessing

also said which quite corrects any wrong of revelation was granted." (Page 191,

use which could be made of it, and which Fourth Edition). And the Doctor observes

prompts to the profoundest consideration that if it was not unworthy of God to per

of the Divine attributes. Not so of the un. mit himself to be described in terms so in

metaphysical and unphilosophical language finitely beneath him, much more is it con

employed in regard to the works of God. sistent with the character of the Scriptures

Not a hint is given suggestive of profounder that his works should be described in lan

philosophic views. Why this difference? guage comporting with the knowledge of

The only answer is, that we might not be the age at which the revelation was given.

tempted to look for aught in the Scriptures Now we think nothing can be clearer than

beyond what they were given for, namely, that throughout the whole compass of the

instruction in the knowledge of God, and word of God, nothing properly scientific is

in our relations and duties to Him. the subject of revelation. Not a single discovery in astronomy, chemistry, optics, or It follows' of course that while He by any branch of science, is anticipated in the whose inspiration holy men of old spake Scriptures. Hardly any of the great is omniscient, yet as He used their lanHeathen writers and thinkers, but gained guage, so He used their thoughts and views, some glimpse of knowledge which posterity

on all matters which had no necessary condeveloped. The same may be said of all nexion with His main objects. An exact the greater minds in Christendom. Almost historical date when the common reckonevery distinguished philosopher has been a ing was sufficient for the religious purpose, philosophic or scientific prophet. In the it was of no more consequence to correct scripture writers, on the contrary, so many

by Revelation, than it is for an educated of them wise and powerful minded men man now to correct always the date of the as well as inspired, we meet with nothing current year to the real time of our Lord's of the kind. Moral and spiritual dis birth, though it is hardly to be doubted coveries, if we may so use the word, we

that our date is wrong by several years. do find anticipated. Our Lord and his

Much more is this the case in regard to apostles continually discover in Moses,

Astronomical and Geological questions. David, or Isaiah, the germ of ideas de Any attempt to have communicated in veloped by them under the Dispensation of

either what is now known even to well the Spirit ; and even now we are continually educated persons generally, not to say to noticing with admiration that the most philosophers, would have required a miratruly benevolent views and projects of the cle to have rendered it even intelligible to day, are but the bringers out more fully of the men of such an unscientific age.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »