Page images
PDF
EPUB

languish, if we thus neglect procuring for it the most powerful support we can command. This is the great doctrine-Christ crucified;—which most effectually conquers stubborn hearts—it is the doctrine which disenchants the world. What delusion—what deception can withstand it? What pleasures, or what embarrassments, or what afflictions can resist that glorious conviction in the heartthat Christ has died and has risen from the dead. This is the conviction, which kept alive by constant meditation, will overcome the world—how great, therefore, is our misfortune, if we neglect the means appointed for strengthening it, the frequent and faithful study of God's holy word.

It is by this study, also, that we can most effectually make our avocations in the world conduce to the strengthening of our faith. We see that the world puts on a new appearance to those whose faith in Christ is strong. It is under the light of this faith that we really recognise all mankind as our brethren. It is under this light that the sorrows of our affiicted fellowcreatures are not merely recommended to the benevolent instincts of our nature, but are received as

so many visitations by which God addresses himself to our hearts, and would prove our gratitude. Thus it is that charity loses it vagueness, and becomes a true exercise of faith, when he who ministers to his brother's wants, sees in the sufferer a ransomed creature of Christ, when he beholds him precious for the price at which he was bought, and knows that the Saviour who redeemed him, sends him as his own represen-. tative to all who have the power to relieve. “Verily, I say unto you,

inasmuch as ye

have done it to the least of these little ones, ye have done it to me.”

May God grant that we may be greeted at the judgment day with this acknowledgmentthat we may employ ourselves assiduously in the cultivation of a true and lively faith—that through its influence our works may become pure, and that from works so purified, our faith may increase in strength continually.-Then shall we while we sojourn in this perilous world, find that its power over us is continually decaying, and, as we every day draw nearer to the grave, that we are every day becoming more prepared to pass through it. Then shall the holy dispositions which are to render us meet for Heaven, be daily becoming more pure and less encumbered-then shall all those passions which belong to earth, and which constitute much of its misery, be becoming

grace, such

ciple which reigns in our hearts—and then shall we even here, in this world of sin, receive those messages of grace and love which God is continually addressing to all men, but which, where faith spreads out no shelter, leave the heart unvisited. Oh! thus, my brethren, could we, by receiving the blessings which God bestows upon us, raise up faith to the high ascendancy which it ought to possess, and make our works correspond with its blessed directions—thus, should we draw down upon this world such visitations of divine love, such refreshing influences of divine

, hopes, such happiness—that when we had passed into the regions of everlasting blessedness, we should find the change to consist in the perfection of the blissfulness we had enjoyed here—and that our passage was rather from glory to glory, than from sin and wretchedness to everlasting life.

God grant, my brethren, that we may all be visited with such a faith, and that our lives may correspond--that, believing, firmly as we do, the truth of the declaration, “The just shall live by faith,” we shall also be influenced by the instruction, that even faith itself must cease to live, if it be withdrawn from that sphere of Christian activity in which it should be continually exercised.

[ocr errors]

SERMON XI.

Job v. 7.

MAN IS BORN TO TROUBLE, AS THE SPARKS FLY UPWARD.”

There are few of us to whom, at one period or another, the truth of these words has not been brought home by melancholy experience. One of the first things which strikes the observing mind, in comparing the condition of the human species with that of the other animals, is, the singular degree in which we are placed in each other's power, and our respective happiness or misery made to depend on our mutual conduct. And we cannot seriously dwell upon this peculiarity, in the character and circumstances of our race, without discovering that the wise and gracious Lord has so ordered it, for the wisest and most gracious purposes.

Is this world man's abiding place ? Does his destiny reach no higher than a sovereignty over this earth, upon which we tread ? Go

« PreviousContinue »