Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

them, we cannot be prepared for approaching that ordinance which derives from them all its efficacy. Until we cordially believe that the eternal Son of God, in our nature, shed his blood to purchase our redemption; until we believe, that through his merits alone we can have access unto the throne of our offended Judge, and that by his grace we must be sanctified and restored to the favour of God; the holy sacrament of his supper, where he is set forth as crucified for our redemption, will appear an unmeaning rite; our participation of it would only be a mockery of God and the Saviour, and tend to the condemnation of our souls. Pardon, salvation, and grace, the blessings of this sacred ordinance, are conveyed only to the true believer. The penitent, who is awakened to a sense of his guilt and his subjection to sin, will never experience rest or peace, until he heartily embraces the truths, that the blood of the Saviour is all-sufficient to cleanse from sin, and his grace all-powerful to redeem from its dominion.

Let, then, thy most earnest solicitude, O my soul, be directed to the examination, whether thou dost possess that lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, which will convey to thee holiness and peace, and make thee an acceptable guest at the table of the Lord.

Rest not satisfied in a faith which embraces the Gospel merely as a well authenticated record of facts. Thou mayest acknowledge the birth, life, and miracles of the Saviour. Thou may

est cherish a high esteem for his character and instructions. But what will this faith avail thee, while thou dost refuse to receive the Saviour as thy merciful and almighty Lord and Master, by whose righteous laws thou art to be guided, by whose precious blood thou art to be redeemed, by whose gracious spirit thou art to be. sanctified and governed? Was it not his primary, his sole object, to effect the redemption of fallen man from the guilt and dominion of sin ? Are not his allsufficient merits and grace presented to us as the certain means of our salvation? A faith which, passing over these infinitely momentous objects of the Redeemer's mission, regards him merely as a distinguished personage, and barely assents to the various events of his life, offers the most presumptuous affront to the dignity and glory of the Saviour, and can lay no claim to the blessings of his salvation.

Equally futile and presumptuous is a faith which embraces the Gospel only as a system of speculative truth. The superficial faith just mentioned embraces the Gospel as an authentic history of facts; while it is indifferent to the truths which it promulgates, and the duties which it enjoins. This speculative faith advances further, and regarding Christ as the author of divine truth, forms from his Gospel a system of doctrines which it embraces on the ground of divine authority. But this faith is fundamentally defective, in considering the doctrines of Christ as intended merely to correct

and regulate the opinions of men, and not principally to purify their hearts. It is wholly insensible to the important truth, that the doctrines of the Gospel are designed to redeemn us from error and sin, and to establish in the heart all divine and holy graces. This speculative faith will never impress on the soul her subjection to sin and misery, her need of divine mercy and grace it will never awaken the exalted emotions of love and gratitude to God, for the gift of his Son to be the Redeemer of fallen man-it will never excite that peace and joy which arise from the experience of the mercy of the Redeemer, and which urge to generous and universal obedience to his commands. Unfruitful either of holiness or peace, it cannot be a passport to the favour of that God who requires the homage of the heart; it cannot confer an interest in the merits of that Saviour who came to establish in the soul the kingdom of righteousness, peace,

and joy.

Beware also of resting in an imperfect or obscure faith, which does not thoroughly comprehend the plan of salvation, and which is not deeply sensible of its value and efficacy.

Dost thou entertain, O my soul, only superficial views of the evil and guilt of sin, and of the necessity of the grace of the Saviour to redeem thee from its power? Instead of regarding his precious blood as the only fountain of pardon, and his almighty grace as the only source of holiness ; dost thou content

thyself with an occasional, a lukewarm confidence in his merits and power? Dost thou rest thy hopes of salvation on the superficial ideas which thou dost entertain of Christ, as a benevolent personage, who is to procure thy pardon with an offended God-instead of cordially receiving him, in all his offices, as the divine Prophet who is to instruct thee in the will of God -as the merciful High Priest, by whose atonement and intercession thou art to have access unto the Father-as the glorious King, by whose laws thou art to be governed, to whose righteous authority thou art to be subject, by whose victorious grace thou art to be defended and finally exalted to everlasting glory? Ah, my soul! this imperfect and obscure faith in the Saviour, on which thou dost rest thy salvation, will disappoint and condemn thee. Weak and irresolute, it will not allay the pangs of guilt; it will not repel the assaults of temptation; it will not subdue the power of sinful passion; it will not inspire thee with serenity and hope at that tribunal, where a supreme affiance on thy Saviour's merits will be thy only refuge from the condemning scrutiny of thy Almighty Judge.

The faith, then, which is effectual to salvation, and which, in the participation of the holy supper, will vitally unite the devout communicant to his Lord and Saviour, does not consist in a bare acknowledgment of the truth of the facts recorded concerning the character and life of Christ; in a speculative belief in

163754

his Gospel, as an excellent theory of religious and moral truth; or in a loose and general trust in the Saviour, without a clear, lively, and just apprehension of his character and offices. To approach the altar with these imperfect, speculative, and feeble views of the Saviour, would be casting dishonour on the precious efficacy of his blood-insult and mockery on his divine dignity and power.

That genuine faith which will lead the soul to Christ as her only refuge, must be founded on a lively conviction of our guilt and misery. On the degeneracy and guilt of human nature is the superstructure of redemption raised. Merely to instruct mankind; merely to improve the code of moral duties; merely to display an example of virtue, it surely was not necessary that the eternal Son of the Highest should divest himself of the majesty and bliss of the Godhead, should descend into this vale of sin and misery, and veil his eternal glories in the horrors of the cross. Man is a fallen and guilty creature. A divine Personage only can vindicate the insulted Majesty of heaven, and by his sufferings and death appease the claims of divine justice. Behold here the truths which develope the mystery of redemption; which present an object worthy of the infinite condescension of the Son of God; which shed resplendent light on the gloom that envelops the cross. “The word was made flesh," "the Son of God humbled himself to the death of the cross," that man, " dead in trespasses and

« PoprzedniaDalej »