« PoprzedniaDalej »
without acknowledging how deeply we are each concerned in them. It is a duty equal in its consequence to eternity itself, for each to ascertain the fact whether he have a “ single eye” or not, before this little space of our existence shall come to an end. It is not for the mere purpose of present peace, of social happiness or of public good, that, as Christians, we should be urged to pray for and endeavour to obtain a “single eye.” Our unchangeable condition in eternity depends upon it; and sooner or later we shall be compelled to feel (what it will be well for us to acknowledge and practise now,) that there is revealed for us more than sufficient to make the business of the soul indeed the “one thing needful.” Let us bring this thought frequently before us, and consider the immensity of what concerns us all in the great question of our final salvation. Redeemed as we all are by the great and sufficient sacrifice of the Son of God, we are each at this moment before Him, either with the single eye—with increasing faith, a well-grounded hope, and a rooted charity; or with the light that is within us, through ignorance and love of sin darkened to the discovery of what we really are, and comparatively careless of what we ought to be. In one or other of these two characters we each stand in the sight of our all-seeing God. Let the if erence from a consideration so awful, so strictly true, be left to the plain and ready admonition of our own consciences. If through the gracious influence of God's Holy Spirit, the lesson be made profitable to thoe who have not the "single eye,” and cheering and encouraging to those who have, all will be prepared to feel the importance of what our blessed Lord hath said hereupon; all through a firm faith and a holy life will then, in this their day of trial and merciful acceptance in Christ Jesus, seek to be directed by the “single eye,” “ before the night of death cometh, when no man can work."
THE CHRISTIAN TEST.
ISAIAH, CHAPTER 8, VERSE 28.
“To the baw, and to the testimony."
UNLESS the conscience be hardened, and the soul entirely careless about any thing åfter death, there can be no one who lives under the light of the Gospel to whom some inquiry, as to what shall happen to him hereafter, does not frequently recur: Am I in the right way to be saved? When I die shall I pass the endless
ages of eternity in Heaven, or be condemned to the everlasting despair and torments of Hell?_Now we shall each of us deem this question of greater or less importance according to the strength of our faith, the tenderness of our conscience, and our general sense of religion. But still every one will acknowledge that it is a matter of the deepest import. How, then, shall this question be answered ? How shall we each know, with
any degree of inward peace, that we are in the right path which leads to life? The text points“ to the law and to the testimony;" and the Saviour of our souls hath directed us to the same source of knowledge when He commanded us to “search the Scriptures,” and there learn of God “the things which belong unto our peace.” He, in His most tender care for us His adopted children in Christ, hath not left us without a fixed and neverfailing rule, by which we may always know what our spiritual condition really is, and what our hope of final salvation ought to be; and if Christians would but go to the Word of God, and use His own appointed means for a right understanding thereof, there would not be so much painful doubt, so much inconsistency in daily life, so much discredit upon religion itself.
But before we consider the rule which Holy Scripture gives for ascertaining our spiritual condition, let us first speak of some other rules, false and dangerous, by which too many seem to judge of the present state of their soul.
The question, "am I in the right way to be saved ?” is thus answered by many : "I was born of Christian parents, brought up in a Christian land; I have been baptized into the Christian Church, and by virtue of these outward privileges alone, have an undoubted hope of being finally saved.”
Some think themselves safe because they cannot but perceive that their lives are less
openly wicked than other men's, and then, comparing their character, not by the standard of Scripture, but with the outward conduct of persons more wicked, as they imagine, than themselves, they rest, for å season, satisfied with their spiritual condition, and have some indefinite hope of being within the pale of salvation. But these surely forget that judgment is threatened against all unrepented šin.
Some judge themselves by their knowledge, and endeavour to believe that, inasmuch as they have learnt the way, they are safely walking therein. Such have little practical understanding of the spiritual import of Chris tian knowledge, and discern not those things which can only be "spiritually discerned.”
Others strive with a more awakened conscience to think favourably of their spiritual condition, because they are outwardly zealous in things pertaining to religion, eager in the use of human means of public and private good to others, though neglectful of those nearer duties which more immediately concern themselves. : Others think well of themselves upon the ground of what they deem a harmless life doing injury, as they suppose, to no one; paying every man his own, and passing their days in a listless indifference to the great truths and