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Rev. J. LONSDALE An Exhortation to Christian progress
a motive to Importunity in Prayer
The Nature, legitimate Objects, and pre-
eminent Importance of Christian Charity
The final Restoration and Conversion of the
individually at the Day of Judgment
The Nature, Design, and End of the Gifts
and Graces communicated by Christ to
the New Testament Church
ed by the Gospel unto all Nations
The magnanimous Resolution of Joshua,
an Example universally to be imitated
Consecration of Heart unto the Lord
The Judgments of God upon the City of
Jerusalem, a warning to Christendom
to his Works
Decision with regard to Religion
and Ratifier of Peace to his People
DELIVERED BY THE REV. J. LONSDALE,
AT ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH, BLOOMSBURY, FEB. 27, 1831.
I Thessalonians, iv. 1.4" Furthermore, then, we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you
by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to
please God, so ye would abound more and more." We have here St. Paul addressing the self and his colleagues as to the manThessalonian converts on the part of ner in which they ought to walk and himself and those two fellow-labour- to please God, is not content with eners in the ministry, whose names are forcing a constant adherence to that joined with his in the opening of the Christian rule of life, but is very urepistle, with a mixture of affection and gent with them that they should solemnity; entreating them as bre- abound in the exemplification of it thren by the sacred ties of brotherhood, more and more. He
expresses his and adjuring them by the Son of Man, anxiety that they should not only by their common Lord, by that Jesus, bring forth the fruits of their faith who was at once their Redeemer, their without failing, but also in continual King, and their Judge. Nor is the increase and abundance that they end for which these powerful incen- should make daily advances in the actives are applied at all unworthy of quirement of those graces and the dishim: it is the promotion of holy liv- charge of those obligations to which ing; a conclusion, indeed, to which they had been called by their converthe Apostle never fails to bring his sion from heathen darkness to Chrisreasoning, his exhortations, his en- tian light. treaties, and to the inseparability of Such is the lesson which St. Paul which from the spirit and design of here presses upon the church of the the Gospel he bears on all occasions Thessalonians. Let us now consider unequivocal and unvarying testimony. its application to ourselves. This I say is manifestly the general one should be inclined to suppose, that scope of the passage which I have because we are not like those early taken from the epistle of the day for believers, new converts to Christ, or our present consideration.
because the Gospel has sounded in our The inspired teacher, while he re- ears from our earliest childhood, we minds his disciples of the full instruc- have, therefore, nothing to learn from tion, which they received from him. it, the notion would admit of too ob
vious and too complete a refutation. accession and improvement. In this The mere theory, indeed, of our faith respect it exhibits nothing but what is is easy of apprehension ; and igno- analagous to the other attainments rance in this respect can be attri- which lie within the reach of our faculbuted only to a gross neglect of those ties. Nor let it be objected that this means of spiritual knowledge which comparison is out of place, for while are placed within the reach of every we have our being in a soil which conone of us, and it must be classed with nects our souls most closely and intithat wilful ignorance against which, mately with our bodies, some consi. be it remembered, the word of God in derable similarity must reasonably be many places has denounced wrath and expected to subsist between our bodily punishment. Christianity has no and spiritual concerns, our worldly and doctrines to be kept back from the our religious capacities. world at large and communicated to a Now to pass over minor pursuits, in few favoured adepts alone. There is which, however, those who are devoted no saving truth belonging to it which to them make daily advances, what the most unlearned person that now splendid instances to our present purhears me may not sufficiently under pose are at hand in the widely exstand; and God forbid that the minis- tended ranges of human learning and ters of religion should ever be otherwise science ? How easily would it be to than most willing and ready to assist accumulate the names of men who have those who desire their assistance in laboured here with a perseverance that coming to such an understanding. But no difficulties could exhaust, with an the knowledge of Jesus Christ and him ambition that no advancement could crucified, that knowledge for the excel-satisfy, unceasingly heaping acquisilency of which St. Paul counted all tion on acquisition, no sooner setting things but is something far higher foot on one resting place than eager to in its nature, far more extensive in its proceed to another, and proposing no influence, far more powerful in its ope- end to their toilsome progress but that ration than a simple acquaintance with of life itself. That wise man of antithe terms of salvation as they are pro- quity who left us this record, “ That posed to man in the Gospel. It has he went on in the continual acquireits seat in the heart rather than in the ment of much knowledge," displayed understanding, though not to the ex- thereby, to the honour of our nature clusion of the latter, and consists in be it spoken, not a singular disposipractice rather than in speculation. and who would withhold the due Its use and application extend to tribute of praise from those, who posevery variety of human circumstances. sessing leisure and qualifications for It manifests its reality by its mighty such studies, have scorned to grovel in effects on the moral character and con- the pursuit of mere sensual gratificaduct of those with whom it resides. tions, and have directed themselves to Such is its true nature, and such does the cultivation and improvement of it appear to us in that book, in which that far better part of their constitualone it is fully pourtrayed.
tion, their minds ?
The desires, of Judge, now, whether this be a pos- which these are the workings, are of session to be gained once for all, ab- heavenly birth, and exhibit traces of solutely, fully, and satisfactorily. On the divine image originally impressed the contrary, it manifestly, and from on man. the very nature of it admits of various But it must not be forgotten that gradations, and is capable of continual there are other ends to which these
energies should be yet more earnestly ward of it shall fail among the spirits directed, other objects far more worthy of just men made perfect. And these, of the aspiration and exertion of an im- be it particularly observed, are acquimortal being. Howmuchsoever those sitions not like the others to which we who are unwearied in their endeavours have adverted, limited to a few gifted to enlarge the empire of human science or favoured ones, but attainable by'all, may be entitled to our admiration, however circumstanced who are walkthey have a much stronger claim to it ing in the open field of Christian duty. who are constantly extending the king. While these men glory in daily multidom of God within them; in other plying intellectual pursuits which at the words, who are daily endeavouring to very time of their increase are hastening become better and holier and more to their total extinction, at least, as far Christian-like. Whatever may be the as the present possessor is concerned, is value of new ground gained in the field of it reasonable, is it consistent to add secular learning, it dwindles into no- nothing to the imperishable treasures thing when compared with the advances of Christian virtue? While there are in that learning for the promotion of those who can never take their fill of which, we are told, that the Scriptures earthly wisdom, in the best sense of were written : it is a mere trifle if it the expression, is it worthy our imbe considered with reference to pro- mortal destiny that we should rest sagress, in what the Apostle in his strong tisfied with any fixed and definite meafigurative language calls, “ Learning sure, however large, of the wisdom Christ.” That which commonly passes which descendeth from above, and reunder the name of learning, be its turneth again ? Such, however, is the value what it may for awhile, must opinion which we are too apt to entersoon finally determine, or at least, betain, such is the conduct which we are swallowed up and lost in something too often content to adopt. There is a infinitely greater; and as to any fruit spiritual indolence about us which init may produce to us in a future duces us to repose in self-complacency state that will depend not on itself but in our spiritual attainments, whisperon the purpose to which it shall have ing a persuasion that it is enough if been applied. But if we learn of Him we do not recede, and that to advance who offered, and still offers himself to is no part of our duty. We are readily mankind as a meek and lowly and yet disposed to forget how extremely difan authoritative teacher, if we train ficult it is in such a case to remain ourselves in conformity to the revealed stationary, and how naturally it is in will of our Saviour and our God, this all acquirements originally attended is the learning which will endure with difficulty, particularly in moral through all eternity. “Let us learn,” and religious habits, to begin to go said one of the Fathers, “ let us learn back when we cease to go forward. those lessons on earth, the knowledge Time moves on perpetually while our of which may remain with us in salvation stands still: we grow older heaven ;" and we are reminded by far without becoming wiser and better, higher authority than this, “That and death calls us to our account not tongues shall cease, and knowledge more fully prepared for it than if our shall vanish away; but charity,” under probationary course had been cut off which name, in the language of Scrip-years before. ture, all Christian practice is some- Now, let us not flatter ourselves, times comprehended, “ charity never that this is a point on which we are faileth ;” neither the habit nor the re- left at liberty to follow our own de