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new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness ?" If not, it is but self-deception to believe that “the same mind is in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.'
To "give us a clean heart,” and “a right spirit,” can only be the work of God Himself: and he in whom this good work is begun, is, as the Apostle terms it,“ a new creature; old things are passed away; and all things are become new.” The vices and the follies of the world have lost their value ;-and“ his delight is in the law of God.” This, brethren, is the only certain test, that “the same mind is in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.' “Judge then yourselves," now while there yet is time,” “ that ye may not be judged of the Lord.” If, on a strict, impartial scrutiny, “ your hearts condemn you not,” then humbly bless the Lord, “who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;"— pray for increased supplies of heavenly grace,and see that ye “walk as children of the light.”
But, brethren, do "your self-convicted hearts condemn you?" Does conscience cry, “ye still are unconverted,”--still “dead in trespasses and sin ?" O! stifle not her“ still, small, warning voice:” but gratefully adore God's Holy Spirit, for shewing you the danger of your state, and pointing to that never-failing fount, where you may wash, and be for ever clean. Yes, in the precious blood of Christ, behold a stream, of ye clean.
power to heal a far more loatlısome plague, than that from which, Jordan's pure waters cleansed the Syrian captain :-even the fatal leprosy of sin? Come then to Jesus;—wash, and be Yet think not, the mere calling him your “Lord,” will be your passport to his heavenly kingdom. No:-in the last great day, those only will the Lord acknowledge His, whose love and faith were proved by their obedience.
Whilst they who knew his will, and did it not, shall be disowned, and share the fearful doom of “all the workers of iniquity.”
If then, we would attain that union here, with our Redeemer, which, though his merits, and his boundless grace, shall be complete, and perfected in heaven, O! let us turn from every evil way, follow the bright example of our Lord, revere him as our Teacher, and our Guide, and love Him as our only hope and Saviour! So shall He give us power to do his will, --so shall He give us present peace and joy,-an earnest that He will complete his work, and make us blest in scenes of future glory!
THE INTERMEDIATE STATE.
ECCLESIASTES XII. 7.-" Then shall the dust return to the
earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
A fatal Sadducean error unhappily prevails, in but too many ill-regulated and perverted minds,—that there is no spiritual part in man: that he is constituted, like the inferior animals, of matter only ; and consequently liable, like them, to perish : having been endued by his Creator, with no immortal principle, which will survive the body's destruction.
But, with whatever specious arguments the infidel and the philosopher may seek to defend this cheerless opinion,—that they cannot urge the plea of high antiquity in its favour, is evident from the words of my text.
Solomon,—the wisest of men, who not only wrote “as he was moved by the Holy Ghost,” but at a period long anterior to any of the sophists of the Sadducean school, here plainly declares his conviction, that man's nature consists of two distinct principles, — spirit, and matter,-soul, and body : and that when its vital functions are terminated, the body (originally “ formed of the dust of the ground," and therefore corruptible) shall “ return to the earth as it was,” and moulder into its primitive dust ;while the soul, being an immortal, as well as an immaterial principle, infused immediately by God himself, into the creature he had made “in his own image," shall not perish with its earthly tabernacle, but "return unto Him who
it.” And it were to be hoped, that in an age so distinguished as the present, for anxious enquiries after the truth,—for holy zeal in the diffusion of that knowledge, which alone “maketh wise unto salvation,”—and for works of learning and piety, illustrative of the truths and doctrines of revelation, as far at least, as by the Holy Spirit's teaching, man is permitted to search into “ the deep things of God;"--it were I say, much to be hoped, that in this, our day, men could scarcely be found, so wilfully blind, as to grope in midday as in the night,—to go on still “in darkness and the shadow of death,” when “life and immortality are clearly brought to light by the
Gospel.” Yet, that such is, alas! the fatal
perverseness of many of our fellow mortals, witness the avidity with which infatuated thousands drink deep of the poisoned cup of infidelity, presented perhaps, in some attractive form, but too surely sapping the very vitals of Christianity, and leaving its hapless victims, “of all men most miserable,” “without hope, and without God in the world."
And do we ask, brethren, “how can these things be ?” The answer is to be found, in “an evil heart of unbelief.” Yes : the root and source of infidelity, is, the corruption, and pride, and self-deception of men ;—who, “ wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight,” refuse to “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save their souls ;” but, “having their understanding darkened,” by the influence of the Prince of darkness,-and“ being alienated from the life of God” – that noble principle of vital religion, to which they are wholly strangers, “ through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts ;”—are “given up to strong delusions, that they believe a lie:” and while they “ reject the Word of the Lord,” they listen with eagerness to the pernicious doctrines of those “ false teachers,” who shall assuredly“ bring upon themselves and their deluded followers, swift destruction.”