Page images
PDF
EPUB

distinguishable from the love of angels, and the faith of devils. It is peculiar to the returning sinner. None but a lost sinner needs, and mone but a humbled sinner relishes, the grand sentiment of faith, that grace feigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here then let the reader examine himself whether he be in the faith. He may possess the forth of devils. He may be fully persuaded that there was such a person as Jesus Christ; that he was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justification; he may possess the vain confidence of the hypocrite, which neither worketh by love, nor is of the operation of God; he may cherish the pernicious hope of the self-deceived-while he remains blind to the excellence of the Divine character, and while enmity to the cross of Christ is the governing principle of his heart and his life. Every carnal mind, whether sensible of it or not, maintains the most decided aversion to the person of the Redeemer, the benefits of His purchase, and the terms upon which those benefits are proffered The whole character and work of Christ bears so intimate a relation to the unbeliever; they so pointedly take the part of God against him; they so unequivocally condenan his character and conduct; they will have such a damning efficacy upon him throughout eternal ages that when clearly seen, they cannot fail to draw forth the latent enmity of his heart.

If it be true, as it unquestionably is, that you may have a just view of the character of Christ, while you have no love to that character as infinitely deserving your affection, and while you make no surrender of yourself into Elis hands, as to one who is supremely worthy of your confidence; it be'comes you to inquire, whether you love the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth, and whether you trust in him as your only foundation of hope.

Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Apply the question. Do you love Cbrist? And why do you love Him? Do you love Him merely because He died to save you, or because He died to honor God in your salva. tion? Do you love Him because He descended from heaven to take the part of God against man; to show the world, that in the contest between the creatures and the God that made them, God is right, and man is wrong, and with His own blood to set His seal to the truth, that the soul that sinneth ought to die? Or does He appear to you on this account, as a root out of a dry ground, as having no form or comeliness, no beauty that you should desire Him? The true believer loves the Lord Jesus, because he effects bis eternal salvation in a way that harmonizes with the glory of the Divine character. To be saved in a way that is in the least reproachful to that glory, would rob Heaven of its sweetness. It is for this that Jesus Christ is so precious to those that believe; in this,

men.

that he is eminently fairer than the sons of

Do you love Jesus for the divine glories of His person, for the excellence of His life, for the benefits of His death, for the prevalence of His intercession, for His res. urrection, His dominion over the world, and His office as the Supreme and Final Judge? Are the feelings of your heart drawn out to ward Christ as your chief joy? Can you sit down under His shadow with great delight, and find His fruit sweet to your taste? When affected with a view of your lost state and guilty character, when bowed down under a sense of sin, does Christ appear precious? Is a view of him refreshing?

Do you receive the Lord Jesus, and rest upon Him alone for salvation? Can you take the place of a lost and hell-deserving sinner, and with a broken, contrite heart, make an implicit surrender of your immor tal soul into His hands to be saved upon His own terms? Beloved reader, this is a plain question. Every humbled heart, in the exercise of faith, knows how to answer it. Can you relinquish every other hope! Can you adventure this vast concern with Him?

Can you receive and rest upon the Lord Jesus as He is offered in the Gospel? Are you at heart reconciled to the terms of the Gospel? Are you at heart reconciled to the humbling doctrine of being justified by faith in the righteousness of Christ? It is a doctrine wbich, if correctly understood, will be scen to reduce the returning rebel to the low

est point of degradation. To a heart that is invincibly attached to rebellion, it is hard to bow. To one who is naturally attached to his own supposed goodness, it is hard to renounce it all, and desire and receive mercy only for the sake of Christ. To a man who loves himself supremely, and values himself supremely, who has cherished the most extravagant notions of bis own importance from the woint, it is hard to lie down at the footstool of sovereign mercy. It is cutting indeed to the pride of the human heart, to be constrained to feel that we are guilty, and then forced to admit that there is no pardon for our crimes, but through the merit of another. Say, reader, is thy heart bowed to the humbling terms of the Gospel? Do you delight to take your place at the foot of the cross, and while reaching forth the hand to receive the robe of the Savior's righteousness, to shout, grace! grace! Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto thy name, be the glory, for thy mercy and truth's sake?” If so, you believe. If so, amidst all your doubts and fears, you have that faith, which is the gift of God. If so, you may humbly claim the promise. Here is your consolation, He that believeth-shall be saved. Yes, SHALL BE SAVED! What more has God to bestow; what more can the creature enjoy? Here are blessings as great as the capacity of the immortal soul, as eternal as the God that engages to bestow them. In the comprehensive promise of that covenant

to which faith makes you a party, the mys. teries of eternity lie concealed. Life and death, earth and heaven, things present and to come, joys high, immeasurable, and immorial-what shall I say? All are yours; and ye are Christ's, and Christ's is God's.

ESSAY IX.

HUMILITY.

"In the school of Christ," says the devout Archbishop Leighton, the first lesson of all is humility; yea, it is written above the door, as the rule of entry or admission, LEARN OF ME, FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLI OF HEART!” Humility is a grace that is nearly allied to repentance. Repentance respects the nature and aggravation of sin; humility respects the person and character of the sinner. Humility consists in a just view of our own character, and in the disposition to abase ourselves as low as the vileness of our character requires.

A just view of our own character is a view of it as it actually is. The pride of the human heart naturally casts a veil over the character of man, and aims to conceal his worthlessness as a creature, and his deformity as a sinner. The humility of the Gospel naturally throws aside the veil, and discovers that native worthlessness which ought to

« PreviousContinue »