Page images


the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is clear that he that is with me is greater than he that is against me, and that I may struggle with confidence against my temptations, knowing that in that struggle the Eternal Spirit of God will aid me.” Further, the very simplest notions of God tell us, that holy things and holy places must not be profaned by the mixture of evil. But the Christian thinks, body is a holy thing, for God has redeemed it; my heart is a holy place, for the Holy Ghost has made it his temple. Every evil, therefore, of thought, and word, and deed, profanes a thing set apart to God's special service; profanes a place where God continually dwells. Every lust, every evil and unkind passion, is, therefore, a sacrilege.” And, then, if he turns to the temptations of the world, and casts the eye of faith towards that future and unseen recompense, which is promised him, he bethinks him at what price it was purchased for him, and by what infinite love it was given; he feels, on the one hand, how worthless must be his own efforts to earn that which only the blood of the Son of God could buy; yet, with what zealous hope he may labour, sure that God is mightily working in him, giving him an earnest will,


and strengthening him to do steadily, what he has willed sincerely.

This, then, is a faith that overcometh the world; for it is a faith that looks to an eternal reward, and which is founded on such a display of God's love and holiness, that the Christian may well say,

“ I know in whom I have believed.” Conceive any one of us, old or young, having this faith, and do we not feel sure that it must overcome the world ? Do we not feel sure that all temptations must be powerless against him who is heartily persuaded of what God has done, and will do for him, who looks forward to the kingdom of heaven, and knows and feels by whose blood it has been thrown open to him ? Do we not see clearly, and do not our own hearts tell us, that if temptations are too strong for us, it is because our faith is weak? If the present pleasure beguiles us, is it not because the future blessing is one of which we do not feel quite sure ? is it not because the love of Christ, in dying for us, is rather a sound familiar to our ears, than a reality, thoroughly impressed on our hearts and minds? Have you not, in fact, so felt it to be, even while I have been now addressing you? The sounds, the words, which I have been using,

[blocks in formation]

are so familiar to your ears, that they seem uninteresting from their very triteness. Your attention would be ten times more aroused by the commonest story which I could tell you, about the commonest worldly interest; yet, while the words are thus so familiar, the reality of them is altogether strange to you. If your attention has followed what I have said, I know that in much of it I shall have been as one who beateth the air; that the love of God in Christ gives you really no distinct and lively idea: your hearts and minds do not take it in. Assuredly the faith

. which you find at once so uninteresting, and so hard to understand, cannot be the ruling principle of your lives: you cannot, in any sense, be walking by faith. And, therefore,

. I have thought that it might be well to say a few words in conclusion, as to the means of gaining this faith; to tell you how you may, with God's blessing, come to understand it and to love it, and to act upon it, just as naturally as we now act every day, from some motive of worldly pleasure or pain.

I dare say, that when I speak of the means of gaining this faith, you will know at once to what I am alluding ; so impossible is it to say what you do not know already; as

Lord's supper.

impossible, indeed, as it appears to be to make you feel it as well as know it. The means are principally three – reading the scripture, prayer, and a partaking of the

You see what it is that is wanted ; namely, to make notions wholly remote from your common life take their place in your minds as more powerful than the things of common life ;-to make the future and the unseen prevail over what you see and hear now around you. I know, indeed, of one thing which would effect this in an instant. Let



be taken dangerously ill, let his prospects of earthly life be rendered less than uncertain, then he would soon think far more of the unseen world than of the world now around us. And it is certain, or at least all but certain, that some of you who now hear me will be thus reminded of another world-out of the number here assembled, it is certain that some will be cut off before they reach their prime. No one, who has left school ten years, will find that all who were his companions there are still alive: therefore, although taking you each separately, the probabilities are, that you will live on to the natural age of man; yet, taking you all together, it is argue with.

more than a probability that you will not. But this is always one of those cases in which every one trusts that the chances will be in his own favour; and this innate gambling spirit of human nature it is mostly vain to

Your business is to gain for yourselves, with no risk, but to your infinite and certain profit, that lively sense of unseen things, which sickness and sudden death may bring to you, when too late to save you. When I speak of Christ's love to you, those who know little of the New Testament feel that the words are to them hardly more than an empty sound: they have no distinct impression of what Christ was and is. But this impression may be gained by reading about him: it was one great end of his becoming man, and of his words and actions being so fully recorded, that we should be able to bring him before our minds as a real and living friend, that his character, his feelings I had well nigh said his very person and manner - might be brought distinctly and vividly before us. And what a picture the history of Christ's life and death, as given in the Gospels, does really offer to

! It cannot be said that it is hard or uninteresting ; on the contrary, the story of


« PreviousContinue »