« PoprzedniaDalej »
may fill my soul, and invigorate my endeavours to please thee.
Teach me to know the vanity and emptiness of the world; its insufficiency to gratify the desires, or satisfy the longings of the new-born soul; yea, its perfect inability to make its most devoted votaries happy.
Teach me to number my days, to estimate their shortness and uncertainty, that I may not procrastinate in the great work of salvation. When I think of a flood, a sleep, a flower, I am reminded of the fleeting life of man.* Thy word is full of warnings, cautions, and admonitions, to awaken my solicitude about eternal things.
Teach me to value the bliss of heaven above all earthly joys;-to dread the torments of hell above all earthly sorrow. Alas! how often do the pleasures of sense blunt our sensibilities to those things which are above; while the troubles of time obliterate from our minds the misery which awaits the impenitent and unbelieving.
Teach me, O blessed Saviour, cheerfully to refuse the pleasures of sin, which end in everlasting torment; and cheerfully to endure those trials, for thy sake and the gospel's, which terminate in endless glory.
O! my soul, remember where thou art, in a world of sinners, thyself a sinner. Time is flying with rapid wing. Eternity, with all its awful realities will soon open before thee. Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation; to-morrow, the door of mercy may be closed; to-morrow, thy state may be everlastingly fixed. To-morrow?-Oh! my soul, boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou canst not tell what a day may bring forth. Whilst thou art forming schemes of happiness for many years, the word may have passed the lip of the Eternal: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." Call together thy scattered powers, which have too Psa. xc. 5, 6.
long wandered amidst the vanities of time. Let all thy faculties be brought to ponder well the solemn truths of God. Meditate on everlasting things. Soon must thy old companion, this mortal body, be consigned to the tomb, there to moulder into dust, until the all-awakening trumpet of the archangel shall rouse it from its earthly bed, to stand, re-united to thyself, before the judgment-seat of Christ. But, thou, my soul, canst never die. When the hour of dissolution comes, thou only changest thy habitation, remaining ever a conscious, thinking being. Thy powers, when freed from the burden of the flesh, will be more expanded, and more fitted for the extremes of bliss or pain. O then how important is the enquiry, -on what state shall I then enter ?-in what habitation am I then to dwell?
Unfold the sacred volume, the Scriptures of the God of truth, and there thou readest, that the righteous shall go into life eternal, but the wicked into everlasting fire. Who then are the righteous, and who are the wicked? This, thou learnest also from these sacred oracles.
All, who live in open, wilful sin, despising, rejecting, or neglecting the gospel of Jesus Christ; -all, who will not have Christ to reign over them; -all, who love the world more than God; who hate holiness, and die in this impenitent, unbelieving state, are denominated wicked, and shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire and brim
All, who come, as lost sinners to Jesus Christ, weary of the service, and heavy laden with the guilt of sin; all, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness; all, who are seeking with earnest solicitude, for the pardon of sin, for peace with God, for purity of heart, through the blood and Spirit of Christ; all, who through the power of the Holy Ghost, resist the devil, crucify the flesh, renounce the world, live by faith in the Son of God, esteem him precious and altogether lovely, labour to win
souls to Christ, by prayer, by influence, and by example, are called righteous in the sacred Scriptures, and shall go into life eternal.
Now, oh! my soul, behold the truth spread before thee. The countless millions which people the earth are divided only into two classes by Him who searcheth the heart; the righteous and the wicked, saints and sinners, the sheep and the goats. Two states are prepared for them in the world to come— heaven and hell. No middle class is specified in the word of God; no middle state, no ideal purgatory is revealed. Here, the wheat and the tares grow together; here, pain and pleasure, sin and holiness, are strangely intermixed; but there, in the eternal world, it will be for ever,-unmixed bliss, or unmixed woe, -unmixed evil, or unmixed holiness; joys unspeakable, or anguish beyond conception. To which of these classes do I belong? If I determine this, I shall know my future state.
O! thou eternal Spirit of Truth, enable me to examine myself as in thy sight; yea, do thou in mercy search me and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Have I true faith in Christ?
Simon Magus believed; but he was in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity, though by baptism a professing member of the visible Church. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Spirit of Christ dwells in him, to renew his soul in righteousness, to fill him with all goodness, and to prepare him, by a life of holiness on earth, for a life of happiness in heaven.
Have I put off the old man, with the deceitful lusts, and put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him? Is sin, in all its forms, odious in my eyes and hateful to my heart? With relentless hand, have I torn
the twining mischief from my bosom, and cherished with delight the blessed motions of the Spirit?
"They, that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." His servants are dead unto sin and alive unto righteousness. They serve God in all holy obedience, delighting to do his
Have I mortified the members of my body, and crucified all inordinate inclinations and desires? Do I never serve sin in the lust thereof? Can I freely part with it though it cost me much, the love of former friends, the esteem of the world, and the prospect of earthly gain? Do I esteem all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord?
The true believer can say-The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world by the Cross of Christ. His heart is in heaven. He abideth in Christ, and Christ in him.
Have I renounced the world and all its sinful pleasures, its carnal company, its vain amusements? Are my friends, the friends of Jesus? Is He, the Hope, the Joy, the Treasure of my soul? Is my acceptance with the Father founded wholly on the righteousness of the Son? Disclaiming all merit in myself, have I received the gospel as a message of grace, a revelation of love to perishing sinners? Do I receive Christ into my heart by faith in all his saving offices of Prophet, Priest, and King? Do I dwell in Him, and He in me!
Am I clothed with humility?
The redeemed of the Lord are humble; they look at the rock from whence they were hewn, and beholding their honoured station, as lively stones in the spiritual temple, they exclaim, Lord! why me? When I find, on strict examination, that many former sins are subdued, and many once neglected graces attained, -can I say from the heart, by the grace of God I
am what I am; in the Lord alone have I righteousness and strength? Feeling the influence of holy love, am I pressing forwards in the path of holiness? Under the constraining love of Christ, am I running the race set before me, hastening with unwearied step towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus?
Do I bring forth the fruits of faith?
True faith is known, like a good tree, by its fruits. Do I cherish benevolent thoughts towards my fellowcreatures, as well as fellow-Christians? Is the conversion of sinners to Christ, the ardent desire of my soul? While preserved from the allurements of the world, can I pity and pray for those who are drawn away by them, as well as pardon those who speak reproachfully of me, because I dare not run with them to the same excess of riot; because I dare not be found in companies and places where God is notwhere his Spirit does not preside, where his fear is not found?
What is my conduct with respect to relative duties?
To be really holy, I must be relatively holy; holy in all manner of conversation. In every situation of life, as a child, a husband, a father, a master, a subject, have I searched the word of God to know the duties required of me in these particular relations? Have I diligently and frequently examined myself by that holy standard, in order to obtain a more perfect knowledge of myself, both as respects my attainments and deficiencies? Do I daily implore forgiveness for all my short-comings, and seek for grace to amend what is wrong? Does my heart overflow with gratitude to the Giver of all good, if, in any humble measure, I have been enabled to grow in grace and in the knowledge of my God and Saviour Jesus Christ? Can I take encouragement from the experience of