« PoprzedniaDalej »
the want of the principle of Christian love. Where no love is, there cannot be peace; there may
bè an' outward shew of domestic or of social happiness : but if the affections be estranged and cooled in the relationship of life, it is a contradiction to say that there can be any thing like the pure and holy enjoyment of that social happiness, which we all naturally seek after, and which seems in the Word of God to be reserved, in its unmixed proportion of bliss, for the possession of a better and a higher state of our being.
If our conscience tell us that we have long experienced, or still experience the bitterness arising from the absence of Christian love, either in our own heart, or in the hearts of those with whom we mix in this common state of our joint trial for eternity, we must be subject to an ill which surely we would gladly remedy. In what has been brought before us, we have seen the remedy, as well for those who have little or no Christian love in their hearts, as for those who suffer under the absence of this holy and necessary principle in the hearts of others. Under God's Holy Spirit directing us, let us suit the remedy to the existing ill. Let us strive to make ourselves well acquainted with our own hearts. Let us see whether the momentous concerns of the soul really affect us; whether
we have sincere belief, that all the passing circumstances of time are as nothing, save only in their spiritual usefulness, when compared with the eternity of pain or of glory which has been so fully revealed by the Gospel. This knowledge and belief, being clearly ascertained, will aid us at once to discern where we may find the source of our ills, in want of Christian love, and how we may secure the remedy for these bitter parts of our lot in this life. If we have the due proportion of Christian faith and hope, we shall lessen the weight of evil which we suffer from the absence of Christian love in others, by looking up to Him who hath entirely loved, and who still loves us, and who is even now preparing a place for us amid those scenes of future glory, where it shall be seen, as it is now believed, that "God is love."
If we lack the proportion of a Christian's faith, and our hope of present things hinders the progress of better hope for more enduring, but future and spiritual joys, we must not wonder, however we may have cause to grieve, at the sorrows which come upon us from the absence of Christian love. Our hearts must yet be more firmly impressed with the serious and manifest belief of the reality and the superiority of spiritual things; and if they be so impressed, the fruits will speedily yield their own abundance. Whatever be the possessions which the heart values, it will always be apparent in every movement of daily life : for it was Christ Himself who said, that “ out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” If therefore our abundance hath hitherto savoured of the mere things of time, and the solemnities and interests of eternity have been reserved for merely appointed times, whether they be times of affliction, or public services, or private and family. devotion, we must not be surprised that Christian love, which has its foundation in the comprehensive principle which includes the future and eternal; as well as the present condition of souls, shall hitherto have been little more with us than a name: we must not wonder that while it hath been thus practically disallowed, it shall have poured many a bitter sorrow into our cup of life. Our real happiness can increase only in proportion to our progress in spiritual things; and when we become at last really awakened to their truth, and begin literally to apply them to our own case, Christian love will beam within our souls, in the full belief of those mercies and privileges, which the Christian only can value and understand, as well for himself as for his fellow-creatures. Thus only can we be brought to love God; in humble imitation of His love towards us, and
thus only can we effectually love others, who are also with ourselves the objects of the redeeming love of God. Our lives so guided will then be no more borne down by the evil of that state wherein is no love; and the increasing blessedness of love here, will be the foretaste of better and uninterrupted love hereafter.
THE COMMON INDIFFERENCE TO
ST. MATTHEW, CHAPTER 12, VERSE 34.
“ Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
THERE are so many instances of wisdom in the short sayings of our Lord, so forcibly applied, so feelingly proved by the common experience of us all, that we are, in a manner, compelled to believe that “ He knew what was in man.' Some passing incident apparently of little moment; some accompanying circumstance as to time or place; some idle and curious question from a secret enemy, or an ignorant friend, were oftentimes made the vehicle of a grave and important doctrine, or a rule of moral duty. That passage of Scripture which is now before us is of this description; and it is the more worthy of our individual attention inasmuch as it seems to be a safe rule in understanding the real condition of the soul.
It was on a time when our Lord was sur