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of sin, and the idolatry of riches, and yet gape after an idol after all. How did the Tempter assail our Lord himself? By appetite, saying, Command that these stones be made bread; by ambition, saying, All these things, the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them, will I give thee; and by flattery, saying, Cast thyself down thou Son of God, for angels shall bear thee up. Even thus he proceeds with us. First he inflames the lusts that are in our members; next he inflames our covetousness and ambition; and if with much contention and many defeats we escape him so far, then he turns round upon us with flattery, saying, “ Thou hast overcome, glory now in thy deeds and in thy strength, look to the work of thy hands, respect that which thy fingers have made.” All the crimes into which the Tempter may inveigle us are less insidious than this.
A man may fall into sin, repent, and recover; but when he once accustoms himself to such thoughts as this, is not this great Babylon that I have built; by the strength of my hand have I done this, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent ; when he dotes upon his deeds, (viewing them as it were through a magnifying glass,) when he muses upon his perfections, when he indulges a vain complacency in what he does, or says, or writes, he cherishes the growth of a weed in his heart which kills the good seed of the word; he falls into a species of idolatry as inconsistent with the spirit of the Gospel as any sin whatsoever. It is the purport of the Gospel that we should cease to live
unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us, and how can we live unto Him if we make an idol of ourselves ? Where is boasting? says St. Paul. Surely it cannot reside in one who wishes to be saved not by his own merits but by the merits of Christ. The religion of Christ is a religion of humiliation and dependence. A believer in Christ finds and seeks for nothing in himself, and glories in nothing but in his Redeemer. Boast not of thyself is written in the very texture of the soul. Self-glorying is not only a delusive but a disquieting thing, it having no foundation to rest upon. The intrusion of pride is an uneasy sensation; whereas the heart finds relief in reposing on an unseen, superior power.
Would we have rest to our souls ? Let us not seek it in ourselves but in Christ. Let us learn of him to be meek and lowly in heart. His yoke gives ease to the conscience and rest to the soul. It is not grievous ; it will not lie heavy on us, but it is light and easy, and has been well compared to the wings of a bird, which instead of burthening the creature, serve to bear it aloft, singing and rejoicing. Let us but be willing to keep his commandments, and we shall find them more agreeable to our nature (not indeed to our carnal but to our renewed nature) than any
idol which we can make ; and that the gold tried in the fire, which he will give us,
is better and purer than that of any golden image which we can Since then we must not and cannot make idols of sin, the world, or ourselves, where shall we seek for strength but in the Lord ? The more we walk in his ways and in communion with Him, the more we perceive that he is the life and light of the soul. How shall we discern this light if the soul be overspread with the mists of error and sin? How shall we discern this light if the soul be darkened with the vanities of the world? How shall
? we discern this light if we shut it out by self-idolatry? Let us disperse these mists, let us cleanse our souls from love to sin, empty them of love to the world, and open and expand them by the utter exclusion of all complacence and confidence in ourselves, and this light will begin to dawn
When we have cast out all idols from our hearts, then we shall begin to discern the true object of our devotion. For thus saith the Lord. Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches : but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth. Then we shall no longer bless ourselves in the earth, but shall bless ourselves in the God of truth. Then we shall find that there are no evidences of religion like internal evidences. We shall have the witness in ourselves. We shall not need any one to teach us, saying, Know the Lord, for we shall find that he
will dwell within us, giving us power to become the sons of God, and to know that we have everlasting life through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
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.
ON THE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS OF SOULS WITH CHRIST
BETWEEN DEATH AND THE GENERAL
DAY OF JUDGMENT.
John xii. 26.
Where I am there shall also my servant be.
The assurance of the soul's continuing to be in a state of self-consciousness between death and the resurrection is a point that deserves our most serious attention. It is a thing which gives vital warmth to our religion, and makes us feel that the kingdom of God is at hand.
It has however been made a question whether the soul's self-consciousness between death and the resurrection be a matter of revelation or not. Now we have Christ's own words, and his dying words, to show that the soul which departs in his faith and fear shall be with him immediately on its departure from the body. Our Lord saith in the text, If any man serve me let him follow me, and where I am there shall also my servant be: there shall my servant be; that is, according to current language, exist, live, move, and have his