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bear and forbear, made practical, ever urging us, in the remembrance of our own manifold imperfections, to receive injuries patiently, to forgive them readily, and with all the sincerity of those who, upon this express condition, daily ask forgiveness of their own sins of God. The fruit of the Spirit is “gentleness”-a temper apt to teach with humility, to receive instruction and reproof with thankfulness, to be kind and courteous in all the little incidents of daily life, founded upon the basis of an eternal charity “not easily provoked.” The fruit of the Spirit is "goodness”-a mind actively alive, upon true Christian principles, to the good of all our fellow-creatures, leading us, in imitation of our Divine Master, to do all possible good for our brother's temporal and eternal happiness. The fruit of the Spirit is
faith”-loving and speaking the truth, avoiding, with most scrupulous care, even the appearance of evil, hypocrisy, and deceit, and always acting with a “single eye" to the discovery and performance of the whole truth, boldly and faithfully at all times, and under all circumstances. The fruit of the Spirit is “meekness”—the constant exercise of a meek and humble spirit, in the deep conviction of our own unworthiness in the sight of that God whom we so imperfectly love and serve, “in lowliness of mind esteeming others better than ourselves.”. Lastly, the fruit of the Spirit is “temperance" -habitual.command over ourselves; a due self-denial in all the mere animal enjoyments of this present state of our being: a holy watchfulness over all our passions, so that through God's preventing grace, they shall not get the mastery over us; “ using but not abusing the world,” and keeping our heart firmly fixed, not upon the things of this world, but, where it ever should be, upon the treasure purchased by the blood of Christ, and by Him kept in store for us in His own heły Heavens. - These are the different parts of the temper and; conduct of the real believer in Jesus Christ, and the whole is impressively summed up in the apostolic assurance, that's they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” fogo ; . ;
What we have now seen of the nature of our Christian calling in the Redeemer of our souls, is not a mere speculative question, a rule taken from the wisdom of man; it is the plain and solemn admonition of God himself. It may well be called the Christian test: for it clearly shews to every sincere inquirer into the condition of his soul, whether he be Christ's ori not. It brings the whole matter respecting our spiritual state to a single point.
Having thus arrived at this momentous conclusion upon the authority of the Word of God, let every one who is brought to feel the important question of whether he be in the right path or not, try himself by this test. Have we these indispensable Christian graces summed up by the Apostle, as the proof that we are under the influence of the Spirit of Christ? We do not ask, have we the perfection of these heavenly graces and good dispositions of mind. For if those only are in a state of salvation, whose whole heart and daily conduct are under the perfect guidance of these virtues, who could be saved ? We may take comfort, if we be but consistent in manner of life and well grounded in Christian faith, in knowing that our course towards the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ” is progressive, and that our warfare against the enemies of our soul will not cease until death. Holy Scripture tells us that “ the path of the just is like the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
But this we must ask-Are we striving, earnestly striving, day by day to acquire these holy graces, the only real fruits of the Spirit? Is there a progressive Christian victory made manifest to our own conscience in the sight of our heart-searching God, in our daily walk through life? Is it more and more advancing towards its final triumph in continual resist
ance to the selfish will, the evil temper, the pride and natural hardness of the soul?. Do we, for this especial purpose, seek after with diligence, and use with humility of heart, the outward means of grace, as instruments of inward spiritual strength; prayer, holy meditation, frequent study of the Word of God, attendance upon His public services, and thankful communion at the table of the Lord ?
If, upon an honest inspection into what we really are, and into what we are doing in the world, all this is apparent to our own conscience, as the result of our daily life and habits; if we endeavour to act consistently upon the great Christian principle of faith; then, whatever may be the judgment of the world upon us, whatever the fears of a tender conscience, or the feelings of bodily weakness in the depression of the animal spirits, the Holy and unchangeable Word of the Most High God hath already declared, for our comfort and encouragement, that we have the Spirit of Christ, and are, therefore, His. In humble and entire dependence upon the same Holy Spirit, we have only to persevere unto the end in faith and well-doing, and Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life,” will bring us at last “ unto the haven where we would be.”
But should the reverse of all this be the sąd
issue of an impartial and close examination of our own life and conversation; if these holy Christian graces, these only genuine fruits of the Spirit, be not found in us, working day by day an increasing leaven, a spiritual harvest, whether thirty, sixty, or an hundred fold, then no consolation comes to us from the Word of God. Without these fruits of the Spirit, in their increasing proportion, whatever be our knowledge, our outward zeal, our boasting of high doctrines, faith, election, ir
perseverance; whatever our own spiritual self-exaltation, our unkindly feelings, uncharitable invectives against other men, our conscience, either now or at some future day, will disturb our peace; will tell the unwelcome truth, that, according to the Christian test we are still in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity;" that we have not the spirit of Christ, and, by necessary experience, are as yet none of His.
We have now, it is to be hoped, most seriously considered that plain and scriptural mark, by which, upon the authority of Scripture, we may at any time understand the true state of our soul. That what the final and unchangeable condition of each of us shall be, should have been hidden from our certain knowledge, is a mercy which we owe unto God. To check presumption and spiritual