« PreviousContinue »
family, as redeemed with the same price, and as heirs of the same eternal inheritance. Bear with one another's infirmities. Do not harshly censure, nor hastily expose, the weakness of each other: but “
put on bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering ; forbearing one another; and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any : even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye; and, above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Watch over one another with a godly jealousy; and, “ if any be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Be faithful and tender in
reproving others ; be humble and thankful when you are reproved. Be always ready to sympathize with the afflicted; and, as far as you are able, to give them assistance. Take every opportunity for spiritual conversation, and social prayer; and “ follow the things which make for peace, and things whereby one may edify another."
Building up yourselves in your most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God; looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto . eternal life.” Do all you can to preserve the purity of the divine ordinances ; and to maintain the honour and privileges of the church, to which you have united yourselves. “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offen. ces, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them: for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus, but their own belly; and by good words, and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the
simple.” Be cautious that you do not put yourselves in the way of seducers, lest God should leave you to a spirit of delusion.
- Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” “ Hold fast the profession of your faith without waying; that ye be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ; but that, speaking the truth in love, ye may grow up into him in all things, which is the bead, even Christ."
But I especially exhort you, as a duty which you owe to Christ, to the church, and to yourselves,
“ let your conduct be as becometh the gospel.” By the grace of God, and your profession this day, you are as lights set upon a hill; and as the
eyes of the world are upon you, the smallest defect will be observed, and exposed. There are men who will endeavour to betray you into sin, and then publish and exaggerate every failing. Come out, therefore, from among them, and be separate: having nothing to do with sin, and as little as possible with sinners. Some of the deepest wounds which religion has ever received, have been given in the houses of its friends : for the crimes of professors, as they imply singular guilt, so they are always particularly injurious to others.
· Whatsoever things (therefore) åre true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The difficulty of
these duties will be no excuse for your neglect; for he that sent you into his vineyard, will assist you in his work; and if you be true to him, he will be ever attentive to you. “My grace is sufficient for thee;" is abundant encouragement to the weakest of his labourers.
Let the same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. If you imitate his pattern of holy and active obedience, and depend upon his grace for assistance and acceptance, you will labour with pleasure, and obtain a reward. Remember that it was the eleventh hour before you entered the vineyard. Be diligent, therefore, during the little time longer that your day may continue; and rejoice that very soon you will rest from your labours. Then whatsoever is right, that will ye receive; and ye, who have been faithful over a few things, shall be made rulers over many things; and enter into the joy of
A Meditation on
PSALM CIV. 34.
My meditation of him shall be sweet.
I hope it will, for a sweeter subject of meditation there never can be. My heart is stupid, indeed, that I should so often need to be reminded of a friend to whom I owe my life, my comfort, and my hopes of salvation. If I were in thy thoughts no oftener than thou art in mine, in what a dangerous situation, blessed Jesus, should I be! If thou shouldst think on me with as much coldness and indifference, as I too often meditate on thee, what would become of me! and yet what else is worthy of my notice? O! how I blush to recollect what trifling, what worse than trifling things have occupied my thoughts, while thou hast been neglected! I am certain, that if I would meditate upon the noblest and most sublime subject in the world, I must meditate on Christ. Let philosophers soar in their contemplations, and walk among the stars; what are stars to Christ, the Sun of righteousness, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person? God manifest in the flesh, is a theme which angels rejoice to contemplate.
A more copious subject I never could have chosen. Some things that seem agreeable, are shallow and
superficial. When we have thought of them for an hour or two, we comprehend the whole ; and if we reflect on them long after, we can perceive nothing new; but the same ideas recur again and again. But in Christ there is an infinite variety. If we could muse upon him for hours, and days, and years together, without intermission, and it were possible to keep up a close attention all the while, such is his inexhaustible fulness, that fresh matter would continually present itself, and as many beauties be discovered, as if we had never considered him before.
I could not have fixed upon a more pleasant subject : let the worldling delight in thinking of his houses, and lands, and hoards of golden treasure ; let the sensualist rejoice in recollecting past pleasures, or looking forward to future ; let those who are engaged in business, feel themselves happy in forming plans for trade, or enjoying their success; let the man of letters be pleased with observing the improvements that are continually made in arts and sciences ; I envy none of their enjoyments, while I can meditate upon Jesus.
Jesus. Does a malefactor remember with pleasure, the friend who has procured for him a pardon ? Does a sick person delight to think on the physician, from whose skill and tenderness he has the prospect of returning health? Does a beggar recollect with joy, that generous benefactor, from whose door he never goes empty away? I have much greater reason to think with delight and rapture on Jesus, who has been to me a benefactor, a physician, a friend, a brother, and every thing that is kind and compassionate. This is the pleasing subject