« PreviousContinue »
risheth (9). He may flatter hiinself with hopes of heaven : but, as surely as the word of God is true, he will find himself among the wicked who are turned into hell. Do you love mercy ? Have you not only proved yourself gentle, kind, tender-hearted, compassionate, and charitable, in your ordinary proceedings; but have you diligently fought opportunities of exercising these Christian virtues, and placed your delight in the exercise of them? Have you remembered the infinite and unmerited mercy of Jesus Christ in dying on the cross to make atonement for your sins, that if through his offered grace you repent and believe and obey you may be received for His fake into heaven? He who feweth no mercy Shall have judgement without mercy.
If you forgive not men their trespasses against Joll,
neither will your Heavenly Father forgive jour trespasses (r) again:/Himself. Do you walk humbly with your God? Do you acknowledge your utter unworthiness in his fight? Do you confess the original corruption of
your nature, and your numberless tranfgreflions by thought and word and deed of the righteous laws of your God? Have you fied for falvation to Christ, through whom alone man is to be saved? Have you taken (2) Prov. xi. 7. (o) James, ii. 13. Matth. vi. 15.
him for your Lord and Master? Are old things pased away, and all things become new ? Has the
grace of the Spirit of Christ transformed you into a new creature (s)? Do you pray for the continued influence of that Spirit to enable you to thew yourself a fịncere servant of the Lord Jesus? Do you humbly submit your imaginations and desires to his gospel ? Do you
strive to love what he commands you to love, and cheerfully to renounce what he forbids ? Follow him now, that he may acknowledge you hereafter. If
you are not one of his faithful followers on earth ; he will deny you and casti you out at the great day. Love Hirn with your whole heart, humbly and stedfastly serve Him here; and He will own you before assembled angels, and receive you for ever into glory.
(1) 2 Cor. v. 17.
On presumptuous Plans.
JAMES, iv. 13-17. Go to now, ye that say; “ To-day, or to-mor
row, we will go into fuch a City, and con“ tinue there a Year, and buy, and sell, and
get gain.” Whereas ye know not what shall be on the Morrow. For what is your Life ? It is, even a Vapour, that appeareth for a little Time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say ; “ If the Lord will, we "Jhall live and do this or that."
But now ye rejoice in your Boastings: all such Rejoicing is Evil. Therefore to Him that knoweth to
do good, and doeth it not; to Him it is Sin. THE Scriptures abound with admonitions
calculated to undeceive mankind respecting the importance and the natural effects of wealth. If riches increase, faith the warn
ing voice of the Old Testament; fet not your heart upon them. Let not the rich man glory in his riches : he that trusteth in his riches shall fall. He that trusteth in the abundance of his riches, strengtheneth himself in bis wickedness. Give me not riches ; left I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the Lord (a)? In the New Testament, the aweful exclamation of our Saviour, How hardly fall they that have riches enter,into the kingdom of God (6), would of itself be sufficient, after the most ample deductions which could be required on account of the peculiarity of the occasion on which it was uttered, to establish by the sanction of his immediate authority the antecedent declarations of prophets, and the subfequent testimony of apostles, concerning the destructive influence of the idol of mankind. That the love of money is the root of all evil; that there is no degree, no species, of criminality to which the thirst of gold may not prove a fuccessful incentive; that they who will be rich, they who are resolved on the accumulation of poffeffions, fall into temptation and a frare, and into many foolish and hurtful lufts which drown men in destruction and perdition : that, while some have coveted
(a) Psalm lxii. 10. Jer. ix. 23. Prov. xi. 28. Pl. lii. 7. Prov. xxx. 8, 9. () Mark, x. 23
after wealth, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many forrows, they have apoftatized from Christianity and overwhelmed themselves with remorse, anguish and dsepair : this is the recorded result of the judgement and experience of St. Paul (c). But among the sacred writers there is no one more frequent or more energetic than St. James in denunciations against transgressors, whom riches plunge into enormities. The two leading sources of evil, which are represented in the inspired writings as derived from the influence of riches. over the heart, are worldly-mindedness, and self-dependence. · Against these fortresses of guilt, sometimes battered separately, sometimes assailed in the fame onset, the sacred artillery of Scripture is unremittingly directed.
In the verses immediately under your confideration the apostle points the vehemence of his attack against felf-dependence. Go to, now, ye that say,“ To-day or to-morrow we will
go into such a city, and continue there à year; and buy and sell, and get gain.” Whereas, ye know not what fall be on the morrow. For . what is your life ? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth (c) Tim. vi, 9, 10.