Page images

expected. But as after the seed time then cometh the fruit, so after the truth is received, good works are the certain consequence, Rom. vi. 22.

“ Christ died for the ungodly,” Rom. v. 6 ; "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God," 1 Peter iii. 18. Most clearly is it shown in the Scriptures, that the great end of redemption by bis blood, is, that we might walk with God here, Titus ii, 14, 1 John i. 3; and then live with God hereafter, Eph. i. 3-12. Hence the frequent exhortations to those who have professed to have received the truth—“ Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's,” I Cor. vi. 20, Rom. xii. Col. iii.

But these exhortations to the performance of all good works, are not that he should be justified by them before God, but because the believer is justified without them. They justify his faith to others, James ii. 18, and evidence to his own soul that he has not received “ the grace of God in vain,” 1 John ii. 3; but they cannot, nor were they intended, to justify him before God.

It is the great glory of the scheme of redemption that, while it sets forth the most wonderful grace and compassion to the forlorn and wretched, the guilty and the wicked, 1 John iv. 10, and effectually promotes holiness in those who partake of it, Titus ii. 11, 12, it excludes boasting altogether, Rom. iii. 27. Am I asked, By what means is this effected ? By this especially; it declares that all who are justified, are justified as wholly and entirely unworthy. It declares that, God justifies " freely by his grace," Rom. iii. 24; that is, that there is no reason in the sinner himself wherefore one more than another should be justified, but only because God hath said that all that believe on his Son “ are justified from all things,” Acts xiii. 39.

Boasting is here for ever shut out. Even in the very enjoyment of glory, the saints in their highest godliness will sing to the praise of that grace which justified them when ungodly, Rev. v. 8–10. The good works, then, of the believer, have their due place and situation; in that place all is beauty—take them out of that place, and all is confusion.

Fare thee well, my brother! May the Father of mercies, the God of all comfort, keep thine eye fixed

Jesus bearing thy sin in his own body on the tree; it is the great secret for peace in the conscience, joy in the heart, Rom. v. 1, 2, and holiness in the life, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. May the name of Christ be precious; and may a remembrance of God's love to thee, draw out thy affections towards God. Whenever sin seems trifling, may a sight of the cross of Christ make it hateful. May the love of Christ constrain thee to live no longer to thyself, but to him who died for thee and rose again. And as Christ hath loved thee, and given himself for thee, so do thou love his brethren, however frail and weak, however poor and despised, however often differing from thee in judgment, and sometimes in practice, for Christ's sake.






J.&W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.




Among the many representations of the folly and danger of trifling with the instructions of the God of wisdom and love, contained in his Holy Word—one passage claims especial notice—“He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul : all they that hate me love death,” Prov. viii. 36. The following circumstance, painfully illustrative of the truth of these words, is stated without embellishment or exaggeration.

A young man left his father's house in the country, at the age of fifteen. He had a pious mother, and had been the subject of early religious instructions and impressions. After he began to reside in the city, he attended for a while upon the faithful preaching of the gospel, and was of hopeful habits. He, however, kept himself aloof from the more personal and special means of grace, still believing religion to be important, and designing to attend to it at a future time. He soon formed an acquaintance with associates less favourable to piety, with whose feelings he gradually learned to sympathise. He went on in this way for four or five years without much obvious change; though he was resisting convictions, barden- , ing his heart, grieving the Spirit of God, and laying the foundation of his moral ruin. He often received letters from his mother, reminding him of his duty, and urging him to it; over some of which he was constrained to drop a tear, and make good resolutions,

But the way of his heart tended more and more to evil. Every month hardened him the more in impiety. He at length began to visit the theatre, and other dissipating amusements and pleasures. His place in the house of God was frequently vacated, and he was scarcely ever seen at the evening services. His mother's letters he read with less attention than formerly; for he had begun to suppose that he was quite competent to think and judge for himself, without her assistance; he thought,

irdeed, she was a kind and good mother, but that she did not know what was most becoming a young man in his situation.

About this time, he fell in with some sceptical writings. He at first hesitated as to reading them; but as he had attended infidel meetings once or twice without experiencing, as he supposed, any harm, he foolishly thought there could be no danger in seeing what such writers had to say, especially as it was his principle to examine all sides. He first read, then doubted, then began to be more wise than all his teachers. His seat in the house of God was henceforth quite forsaken.

He was now prepared for more desperate steps. He lost his situation from irregularities and vices. He afterwards succeeded in finding another engagement, but it was not such as he had lost. It was a much humbler position, to which he found himself reduced. He was mortified and discouraged. This rendered him still more subject to the power of baser motives. To these he continued to yield; losing, of course, what remained of self-respect, and falling under those severe lashes of conscience, which if they do not bring to repentance, drive to more desperate lengths in sin.

One day an individual applied to the writer and said, “There is a young man at my house, whom I am desirous you should visit. We took him in some three or four weeks ago, out of charity; for he is destitute, homeless, and sick; although he is a young man of respectable manners, and appears to have seen better days. But he is not inclined to talk. The physician thinks that he is in a fixed and rapid consumption. He has a wasting cough, seems to be very much dejected, and is at times apparently in very great distress of mind. I asked him if he was willing to see a minister or Christian friend; he at first refused, but has since consented.”

On visiting him, his condition was found even worse than had been represented. He had a wan ghastly countenance, a sunken eye, a hollow voice, an expression of intolerable anxiety upon his countenance; every thing indicated extreme wretchedness and approaching death. He was at first dis

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »