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done, and seek, by confession, restoration, reformation, or in other appropriate ways to make some amends for it. It is a feeling that is ever connected with a sense of personal guilt. We never do, nor can, we repent for what is not, either wrong in itself, or apprehended to be such by us. The child sces the character of its conduct towards its parents, and feeling it has done wrong, repents of its evil deeds, and, acknowledging its feelings, gives a moral pledge 'that it will reform. So, the sinner,- when he brings his own conduct and the feelings of his own heart in contrast with the righteous commands, and holy character of God, and sees, in the light of this high and holy standard of right, how wrong they have been becomes uneasy, agitated, and oftimes overwhelmed with a sense of his guilt. He does indeed, after some sort, repent,--regrets that he had done this and the other wickedness, and protests and vows that he will do so no more. But such feelings are painful; and it is a law of our nature to shrink from pain, and to avoid what is productive of uneasiness. The terrors of hell, and of death induced by the contrast, which the sinner makes of his own conduct, with the truth and righteousness and holiness of the divine law and character, never yet lasted long, or proved permanently influential. They are only the pleasurable emotions, or those which, at the iime afford some gratification to the individual, that are of easy repetition and are cherished. But against the anguish of convictions the impenitent sinner struggles.
There is, however, another view to be taken of the Di. vine Character, and when the impenitent sinner contrasts his conduct with the goodness and grace, the boundless love, and mercy, and compassion of God, especially as manifested in Ilis giving His own well beloved Son to die for usthe just for the unjust, that He might bring us to Himself, he feels the baseness, the vileness, the ingratitude, the maDignity of his conduct, and heartily loathes it, and bimself,
on account of it.
The feelings of sorrow, induced by a view of the tender mercies of God, in contrast with his own character, break his heart; and he weeps and mourns, for his transgressions. He looks on Him whom he hath pierced, and mourns for it, as "one that mourneth for an only son, and is in bitterness for it, as one that is in bitterness for a first born."?1 Nor does he find these feelings painful. He seeks to have them increased continually, and often in retirement, in meditation on the word, under the preaching, and at the holy table of the Lord, stands gazing with mingled emotions of sorrow and love, on Him who was delivered for our offences.” It is his full, deliberate, and decided purpose, eternally to renounce his sins. The sins and corruption o others as they dishonor God, deeply affect his heart. God is his choice, and seeing His glory to be of far greater consequence than his own enjoyments or interests, he is ready to exclaim
Oh could I lose myself in thee;
Thy depth of mercy prove;
Of unexhausted love!
And into nothing fall;
And Christ be ALL IN ALL. With these feelings of love for God, and sorrow for sin, will be found associated that of confidence or faith. Faith is the trust or reliance of the heart upon the word of God. It is not a mere intellectual belief; for the objects disclosed by Ilis testimony, cannot be apprehended as realities, without producing some excitement, and therefore it is, that, "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” Scientific speculatims and inquiries, regard the great truths and facts of revelation as mere matters of abstraction. Such things seldom, if ever, interest the heart. Indeed when they do so, in any strong degree, it is thought to in
1 Zech. xii. 10,
dicate mental alienation. And perhaps, this is one reason why an unbelieving world accounts the christian mad. They cannot understand why mere abstract matters, as they apprehend the truths of christianity to be, should take such deep hold on the sensibilities. But the christian knows, that they are solemn realities. His religion is all based on matters of fact. He knows it is true, that God hates sin, and must punish the sinner, if he will not repent; that sin is most odious, impudent, malignant and abominable, as it is opposition to His law and government, and seeks to exalt a miserable worm of the dust, a wretched rebel-the idol self, to supremacy;—that Jesus the eternal Son of God, has died to magnify the law of God, and make it honorable;—that having finished transgression, and made an end of sin, He hath brought in an everlasting righteousness, so that, now God can forgive, in perfect consistency with His truth, and honor, and without any ground of impeachment of His goodness and equity as a moral governor; and that He actually is willing, and ready to forgive, and proffers His pardoning mercy to any and every sinner, who hears the gospel. Apprehending these things as absolutely true, the heart is inspired with confidence, alike in the character of God, as a moral governor, and in the faithful. ness of his declarations, and yields itself in sweet reliance unto Him in both respects.
The evidence of the truth of these things, which is furnished to the mind, is abundantly satisfactory. It is the word of Him who cannot lie. This sways his mind, and his faith becomes "the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for.” “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true." But she that believeth not God, hath made Him a liar." And this is the grand offence which ruins and damns to all eternity, those who reject the testimony of Jesus, "the Amen—the faithful 1 Heb. xi. 1. 2 John ii. 33.
3 1 John v. 10.
and true witness."
." And it is RIGHT it should be so. For faith, or the cordial believing of what God says, is most reasonable. We have capacities of mind, to perceive the truth of what He testifies, and of heart, to feel its impressiveness. His testimony is emblazoned with the most convincing evidence of truth, and nothing but the most unjustifiable, and bitter prejudice, and dislike of God, prevent the mind from perceiving it. If, therefore, a veracious friend or neighbor feels, that he has a right to expect and demand our confidence, when he speaks, how much more reasonably must God do so? Could He speak to us, and leave it optional whether to believe or not, so that with impunity we might refuse, it would be an impeachment of Himself, and a virtual declaration, that He is not worthy of our confidence. It is true, that in the exercise of our minds in the perception and belief of truth, we act voluntarily; but when the evidence is sufficient--when the person speaking is a true and competent witness, and his communications clear and intelligible-we are morally bound to believe Him. such obligations, in reference to God, we can never be released in heaven, earth or hell. They will follow us to the utmost verge of creation. Nor can we ever escape from them, as long as we have intellectual capacities sufficient to attend to, and believe another.
“If I say the truth,” said the blessed Saviour, "why do ye not believe me?" Impenitent reader, say why? You know full well, that when your neighbor, whom you believe to be a man of truth, speaks to you, you readily give your assent to and repose in his statements. Indeed, if your mind does not labor under the influence of prejudice against him, you find it morally impossible not to believe what he testifies he has seen and does know, though you have neither seen nor known it. But on the other hand, if you know him to be false, and hypocritical, and not worthy of confidence, and your hearts are prejudiced
2 Joliu viii. 46.
1 Rs. iii. 14.
against Him, scarcely will his asseveration and oaths induce your belief. You cannot, it is morally impossible for you to believe the man, whom you think does not. speak the truth.
Here lies the grand difficulty in the way of your believing God. You believe Him to be a liar. You think that what He says, in His word, is not true, and in this practical influential conviction, with respect to. the character of God, which saps the very foundation of all confidence in Him, you are sustained, and confirmed, hy your wishes that it may be so, your love of sin, and your dislike of God. You would rather believe, that God falsifies His word, and violates. His pledges, and perjures his soul;-yea, and that Jesus, notwithstanding Ile has died to save us, is destitute of mercy, and the devil worthy of greater confidence than either! In short, any thing and every thing sooner, than that it is true, that you must go down to Hell unless you repent. Your difficulties are all of your own creating. You put from you the word of eternal life, and judge yourself unworthy of it. Oh poor suicide, “Who shall have pity upon thee? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?"!! “You have beheld the Lord, and said it is not He, neither shall evil come upon me." But you shall know that He is Jehovah when He shall lay His vengeance upon you”3_ and that it is true, all true, most true, unalterably and eternally true, what God hath said, that the wicked shall be turned into Hell," and "he that believeth not shall be damned."
We have taken a very brief and general view of faith; but every reader must perceive, that while its essential character as the cordial belief of the word of some faithful witness, remains the same, its specific influence, and the manner in which it will affect the sensibilities, and the acts of the man, depend upon the character of the truth, 1 Jer. xv. 5. 2 Jer, v. 12. 3 Zeki sxv. 17. 4 Mark xvi. 16.