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Rev. R. Robinson ,
W. Dalton . .
Dr. Busfield .
T. J. Judein .
T. Scott . .
R. Hall . .
H. J. Owen
G. De Joux
T. J. Judkin .
J. Clayton . .
The Duty of Repentance parabolically ex-
The Judgments of God upon the City of
Jerusalem, a warning to Christendom 239
The Final Judgment of every man according
to his Works . . . 255
The Danger of unworthy Communicating 265
The Commendation of God's love to Sinners 271
The Condescension of Christ . . 282
The Importance and Necessity of Personal
Decision with regard to Religion . 296
The Love of God a Motive to Christian
Liberality .... 303
Christ the Preacher, Procurer, Bestower,
and Ratifier of Peace to his People . 310
The Character, Blessedness, and Security
of the True Disciple . . . 322
The Intrinsic Value of the Holy Scriptures 329
The Duty and Advantages of Religious Me-
The Greatness of the Gospel Salvation, and
the Danger of neglecting it . . 344
God's Favour, the Means of its Enjoyment,
and the Effects which it produces . 353 God's mighty Attributes—their Covenanted-Engagement for the Security and happiness of His People . . 359
Heaven, the Object of the Believer's Devout
Contemplation and Longing Desire . 365
Ezekiel's Vision . . , 372
God, the Comforter of his People . 383
The inexhaustible Fulness treasured up in
Christ Jesus . . . 391
Christ the Dispenser of Spiritual Freedom 399
The Present awful State and final Destruc-
On the Witness of the Spirit . . 416
The Necessity of Consistency in the Charac-
Reflections suggested by the Re-construction
of the Temple . . .431
DELIVERED BY THE REV. J. LONSDALE,
AT ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH, BLOOMSBURY, FEB. 27, 1831.
1 Thessalonians, iv. 1.—" Furthermore, then, we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jer'u, that at ye hare received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more."
We have here St. Paul addressing the Thessalonian converts on the part of himself and those two fellow-labourers in the ministry, whose names are joined with his in the opening of the epistle, with a mixture of affection and solemnity; entreating them as brethren by the sacred ties of brotherhood, and adjuring them by the Son of Man, by their common Lord, by that Jesus, who was at once their Redeemer, their King, and their Judge. Nor is the end for which these powerful incentives are applied at all unworthy of him: it is the promotion of holy living; a conclusion, indeed, to which the Apostle never fails to bring his reasoning, his exhortations, his entreaties, and to the inseparability of which from the spirit and design of the Gospel he bears on all occasions unequivocal and unvarying testimony. This I say is manifestly the general scope of the passage which I have taken from the epistle of the day for our present consideration.
The inspired teacher, while he reminds his disciples of the full instruction, which they received from him
self and his colleagues as to the manner in which they ought to walk and to please God, is not content with enforcing a constant adherence to that Christian rule of life, but is very urgent with them that they should abound in the exemplification of it more and more. He expresses his anxiety that they should not only bring forth the fruits of their faith without failing, but also in continual increase and abundance—that they should make daily advances in the acquirement of those graces and the discharge of those obligations to which they had been called by their conversion from heathen darkness to Christian light.
Such is the lesson which St. Paul here presses upon the church of the Thessalonians. Let us now consider its application to ourselves. If any one should be inclined to suppose, that because we are not like those early believers, new converts to Christ, or because the Gospel has sounded in our ears from our earliest childhood, we have, therefore, nothing to learn from it, the notion would admit of too ob
vious and too complete a refutation. The mere theory, indeed, of our faith is easy of apprehension; and ignorance in this respect can be attributed only to a gross neglect of those means of spiritual knowledge which are placed within the reach of every one of us, and it must be classed with that wilful ignorance against which, be it remembered, the word of God in many places has denounced wrath and punishment. Christianity has no doctrines to be kept back from the world at large and communicated to a few favoured adepts alone. There is no saving truth belonging to it which the most unlearned person that now hears me may not sufficiently understand; and God forbid that the ministers of religion should ever be otherwise than most willing and ready to assist those who desire their assistance in coming to such an understanding. But the knowledge of Jesus Christ and him crucified, that knowledge for the excellency of which St. Paul counted all things but loss, is something far higher in its nature, far more extensive in its influence, far more powerful in its operation than a simple acquaintance with the terms of salvation as they are proposed to man in the Gospel. It has its seat in the heart rather than in the understanding, though not to* the exclusion of the latter, and consists in practice rather than in speculation. Its use and application extend to every variety of human circumstances. It manifests its reality by its mighty effects on the moral character and conduct of those with whom it resides. Such is its true nature, and such does it appear to us in that book, in which alone it is fully pourtrayed.
Judge, now, whether this be a possession to be gained once for all, absolutely, fully, and satisfactorily. On the contrary, it manifestly, and from the very nature of it admits of various gradations, and is capable of continual
accession and improvement. In this respect it exhibits nothing but what is analagous to the other attainments which lie within the reach of our faculties. Nor let it be objected that this comparison is out of place, for while we have our being in a soil which connects our souls most closely and intimately with our bodies, some considerable similarity must reasonably be expected to subsist between our bodily and spiritual concerns, our worldly and our religious capacities.
Now to pass over minor pursuits, in which, however, those who are devoted to them make daily advances, what splendid instances to our present purpose are at hand in the widely extended ranges of human learning and science? How easily would it be to accumulate the names of men who have laboured here with a perseverance that no difficulties could exhaust, with an ambition that no advancement could satisfy, unceasingly heaping acquisition on acquisition, no sooner setting foot on one resting place than eager to proceed to another, and proposing no end to their toilsome progress but that of life itself. That wise man of antiquity who left us this record, "That he went on in the continual acquirement of much knowledge," displayed thereby, to the honour of our nature be it spoken, not a singular disposition ; and who would withhold the due tribute of praise from those, who possessing leisure and qualifications for such studies, have scorned to grovel in the pursuit of mere sensual gratifications, and have directed themselves to the cultivation and improvement of that far better part of their constitution, their minds? The desires, of which these are the workings, are of heavenly birth, and exhibit traces of the divine image originally impressed on man.
But it must not be forgotten that there are other ends to which these energies should be yet more earnestly directed, other objects far more worthy of the aspiration and exertion of an immortal being. Howmuchsoever those who are unwearied in their endeavours to enlarge the empire of human science may be entitled to our admiration, they have a much stronger claim to it who are constantly extending the kingdom of God within them; in other words, who are daily endeavouring to become better and holier and more Christian-like. Whatever may be the value of new ground gained inthe field of secular learning, it dwindles into nothing when compared with the advances in that learning for the promotion of which, we are told, that the Scriptures were written: it is a mere trifle if it be considered with reference to progress, in what the Apostle in his strong figurative language calls, "Learning Christ." That which commonly passes under the name of learning, be its value what it may for awhile, must soon finally determine, or at least, be swallowed up and lost in something infinitely greater; and as to any fruit it may produce to us in a future state that will depend not on itself but on the purpose to which it shall have been applied. But if we learn of Him who offered, and still offers himself to mankind as a meek and lowly and yet an authoritative teacher, if we train ourselves in conformity to the revealed will of our Saviour and our God, this is the learning which will endure through all eternity. "Let us learn," said one of the Fathers, "let us learn those lessons on earth, the knowledge of which may remain with us in heaven ;" and we are reminded by far higher authority than this, "That tongues shall cease, and knowledge shall vanish away; but charity," under which name, in the language of Scripture, all Christian practice is sometimes comprehended, "charity never faileth;" neither the habit nor the re
ward of it shall fail among the spirits of just men made perfect. And these, be it particularly observed, are acquisitions not like the others to which we have adverted, limited to a few gifted or favoured ones, but attainable by all, however circumstanced who are walking in the open field of Christian duty. While these men glory in daily multiplying intellectual pursuits which at the very time of their increase are hastening to their total extinction, at least, as far as the present possessor is concerned, is it reasonable, is it consistent to add nothing to the imperishable treasures of Christian virtue? While there are those who can never take their fill of earthly wisdom, in the best sense of the expression, is it worthy our immortal destiny that we should rest satisfied with any fixed and definite measure, however large, of the wisdom which descendeth from above, and returneth again? Such, however, is the opinion which we are too apt to entertain, such is the conduct which we are too often content to adopt. There is a spiritual indolence about us which induces us to repose in self-complacency in our spiritual attainments, whispering a persuasion that it is enough if we do not recede, and that to advance is no part of our duty. We are readily disposed to forget how extremely difficult it is in such a case to remain stationary, and how naturally it is in all acquirements originally attended with difficulty, particularly in moral and religious habits, to begin to go back when we cease to go forward. Time moves on perpetually while our salvation stands still: we grow older without becoming wiser and better, and death calls us to our account not more fully prepared for it than if our probationary course had been cut off years before.
Now, let us not flatter ourselves, that this is a point on which we are left at liberty to follow our own de