Page images
PDF
EPUB

Scriptures? Pray, read, and meditate. Do not suspect your Bible, but suspect yourself. The want of truth lies not in that but in you. Men naturally love darkness rather than light. Those who are brought to love the light come to the light, and then the light is made manifest unto them. They come to the light by praying, reading and meditating on the Scriptures. Want of sustained attention to the subject is want of light. The more we sustain our attention to scriptural truths by devoutly meditating upon them, the more light and comfort those truths will give us.

Life and immortality are revealed to us in the Gospel. But if we would have comfort from these things, our thoughts must be often upon them. Life and immortality are revealed to us for the very purpose that our thoughts should be

these things. God might have bestowed upon us life and immortality, keeping us in ignorance of his intention, but seeing He has revealed it to us in his son Christ Jesus, this shows it to be his will that our thoughts should be upon these things. He might have kept us in ignorance that our actions were watched, that his eyes are upon us; but next to seeing Him it is the greatest degree of light always to remember that He seeth us. This light, if improved, will soon make us walk in the light always. For by constantly lifting up our minds to Him we shall find them as ready to mount as a flame is to ascend. Then we shall begin to prefer his light to our own darkness, and find that we lose nothing by putting this darkness from us. The darkness of sin, the darkness of sloth, the darkness of a worldly mind, the darkness of pride and self-conceit, -all will give place to the heavenly light which Christ will give to those who heartily seek it. Having cast away all these clogs which hindered them, our souls will be more free and more able to ascend in communion with their Redeemer. Finding no more complacency in sin, in sloth, in the world, or in ourselves, seeking neither sinful delights, slothful delights, worldly delights, nor delights in our own perfections or performances, we shall seek delight in being always either actively employed in His service, or in humbly and thankfully reposing in the assured confidence of his love and protection. Whosoever thus believeth in Christ shall not abide in darkness. Whosoever thus followeth Him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

upon

Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.

SERMON XIV.

ON THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT.

GALATIANS v. 22, 23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering,

gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance : against such there is no law.

This text would be sufficient to decide the controversy as to the possibility of ascertaining whether or not the soul be in a state of acceptance with God if we did not shrink from the operation of probing and searching the heart with necessary questions. Here are infallible marks laid down which are as symptomatic of the soul's health as regular pulse, appetite, sleep and digestion are symptomatic of the health of the body. Here are certain presages of our salvation, indicative of our infallible acceptance with God; for they are fruits of his Spirit, and against those happy persons who have and keep them there is no law; no law, either in this world or in the world to come.

Would we my brethren examine faithfully whether our souls be in this happy state or not? Love is the principal symptom of the soul's health.

L

When our Lord says I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: he immediately adds these things I command you,

that
ye

love one another. Love is the great test laid down by St. John. Hereby we know that we have passed from death unto life if we have love toward the brethren. Love is the first criterion which the apostle in the text lays down for us, love to God and man. As to love to God you say how can we but love the source of love and goodness ? No one can love God who loves that which He hates or hates that which He loves. You say you love your neighbour also: are you in the habit of doing good to him in soul and body, as far as your station permits? Perhaps there is one or more who have used you despitefully, treacherously, and unjustly, who are thwarting your inclinations, injuring your interests or reputation, and who have a thousand evil qualities, and how is it possible, you ask, to love them? My brethren, there is no remedy but one, and that is prayer. By praying for them you must conquer your resentments and dislikes, and love them, love them even for Christ's sake, or you in vain pretend to that love which is the fulfilling of the law.

Peace is also a symptom of the soul's health. Now there is no such thing as peace without innocence. Peace is the result of innocence, such innocence as is imputed to us by Christ's atonement. On this subject then I ask have you from the bottom of your heart repented of all your sins? And do you keep such a watch over your heart from whence are the issues of life as to guard it, with all diligence, by every means, and to the

very
best of

your power from every evil thought? This is the only way to have peace. Peace will not consist with unrepented sin, nor with a double mind. It is the influence of death, not peace,

which the unconverted feel. There is no peace

saith

my

God to the wicked. We come to the consideration of long-suffering. Is there any evil attending your condition which you do not cheerfully bear for Christ's sake, or which is the same thing for the sake of your own salvation? Is there any thing that you wish for more ardently than to live with Christ in glory for ever? Do

you

seek any thing before the kingdom of heaven? And do you wholly and solely submit your condition and inclinations to the will of God?

Gentleness and meekness are also symptoms of the soul's health. How fares your soul in respect to gentleness and meekness? Do you give way to anger? Are you irritable? Is it in the power of persons or of things to put you beside your patience? Or do you condemn the least ebullition of anger as a sin, and to be repented of? Do

you sincerely and resolutely keep your mouth as it were with a bridle, and if you suffer a hasty, angry expression to escape from you, do you repent of it from the bottom of your heart and

« PreviousContinue »