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applications of the great general principles of his government. We should search the Scriptures then, not only for the grand truths which are the basis of every duty, but for those specific directions which are given to guide us in the various departments of human action. In looking for such directions, we shall find that the Divine arrangements and precepts are consistent with the fact that large masses move slow in morals as well as in physics ; that a movement toward reform is gradually propagated through a large community, unless by some special intervention of his Spirit, “ a nation shall be born in a day.” A steady and patient effort of the motive power will produce the desired effect; while an impatient jerk may snap the connection, and so nothing be done.
Be it remembered however, that much as the errors of misguided zealots in urging reform are to be regretted, the virulence of those who befriend iniquity is to be abhorred, and their obstinacy lamented, while the lukewarmness of so-called neutrals, is still more to be deplored, if not despised. Ciphers they are, but ciphers that hugely swell the amount of wrong. “I would thou wert either hot or cold.”
Nor should we forget that it is not to be taken for granted that the reformer is in the wrong merely because he is persecuted; for then Paul had never been molested nor Jesus crucified.
Be it remembered also in humility and thankfulness that our Heavenly Father looks with a benignant and watchful eye upon his children; that he will reward their honest endeavors while he chastises their follies; that he will at last abundantly pardon the believers, and though they may have been engaged in many a hot contention here on earth, He will gather them at last into the bosom of eternal rest. There all shall be truth, and love, and joy. There shall be no misunderstanding, no deceit, no sin. If this were more constantly in the mind of God's children, they would be more careful to abstain from evil, and from judging one another. And the church of Christ would present a spectacle of good-will
, peace, purity, and holy zeal, far more attractive than it has yet been our lot to behold.
May the Holy Spirit convince the world of sin and righteousness and judgment, until ali men shall do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before their God.
CHRIST A PRECIOUS SAVIOUR. -BY THE EDITOR.
“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”—1 PETER, 2:7.
The great end and business of the Scriptures are, to reveal Christ. They set Him forth in his person—in his mission—in his office-work-in his lite, sufferings, and death-in his humiliation and in his glory, with amazing distinctness and power of interest, and challenge for Him the belief and cordial acceptance of all men. And yet, millions of sinners, whom he came to relieve and to bless, know him not, and are ulter strangers to his salvation. They have heard of Christ by the hearing of the ear, and have read about him often, but have never taken him into their hearts, -feel no regard for him--know nothing of the doctrine of a precious Saviour. To them the Bible reveals no divine Jesus; for them it has no salvation. Heaven's Glory and earth's Redeemer has no attractions for them. Alas! that this should be true of most gospel sinners.
But there are a few souls on earth to whom Jesus is preciousinexpressibly precious: precious in his own matchless and exalted character: precious in His Word which reveals him: precious in his providence which bears constant testimony to his kindness and faithfulness: precious in his example of all virtue and benevolence : precious in his extreme humiliation as “a man of sorrows,” and as the sufferer of Calvary: and precious in his exaltation and exceeding glory. They have seen Jesus in all his divine attractions-have tasted of his love-have experienced his renewing grace-have enjoyed the most intimate communion with him; and to them there is no being like Jesus. “ Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee,” is the language of their daily experience. Christ and his cross are all their theme--their song in the house of their pilgrimage. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.
1. To whom Christ is precious. “ Unto you therefore which believe he is precious." He is precious to none else. There are many characters found in this world, but Jesus Christ passes them all by, and reveals himself only to the humble and contrite soul-to that man who believes and trembles at his Word. He who has Faith—faith in the Gospel, the faith appropriate to him as a sinner, and to Christ as an all-sufficient Saviour, is sure to find Christ inexpressibly dear to him. He may be deficient in learning, in worldly advantages, in every thing beside, but if he really “believe with the heart unto righteousness,” Jesus Christ has been formed in him the hope of glory, and reveals himself to him in the efficacy and preciousness of his grace.
“ How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer's ear!
And drives away his fear.
" It makes the wounded spirit whole,
It calms the troubled breast; 'Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest." God honors faith. The soul must look to Jesus—trust in him -cast her all upon him, in order to experience the ineffable peace and consolation and reward of the gospel.
II. Why Christ is so precious to the believer. He is seen by him in his glory as revealed by the Spirit of God, -experienced by him in the fullness of his salvation.
1. Christ is recognized by the believer as the medium of all earthly blessings. They are the fruit of His mediation, and flow to him through the channel of redeeming love and covenant grace.
2. As the source of all spiritual blessings : pardon of sin---reconciliation with God-peace of mind-a new heart-a holy lifeperseverance unto the end, and final victory in death, and glory beyond, -all come from Christ. He is our life, our hope, our strength, our wisdom and redemption, We owe to him every thing we enjoy and hope for. He has done for us what no other being has done or could do. All his promises are ours.
He is present in every conflict to deliver, in every trial to strengthen, in every blessing to enrich, in every duty to quicken, in every chastisement to soothe and sanctify. There are, in what Christ is in himself, and in what he has done for the believer, and will yet do, infinite reasons why he should be precious to him, “ the chief among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely.” The soul cries to him, and is delivered-looks to him, and is changed into the same image-feeds upon him, and grows up to life everlastingtrusts in him, and finds repose. O, how precious is Jesus to the man who can truly say: “I know that my Redeemer is mine and I am his.” Compared with what he finds in Christ, all earthly good is insipid and vain. Christ alone is precious. And He is precious as a Saviour, to deliver and pardon-as a Friend, to counsel and sympathize--as a Teacher, to instruct and guide---as a Benefactor, to nourish and bless-as a Refuge, to afford safety and repose-as an almighty Deliverer, to bring the soul off conqueror over death and the
grave. III. When Christ is thus precious.
At all times—for He is always equally lovely and adorable, always equally nigh and rich in blessing, and the soul is always equally in need of him and satisfied with him. But more especially-
1. In certain frames of mind, as, when the soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness; when it experiences anew the emptiness of all earthly good, and turns to God with longing desires ; after a season of spiritual darkness and conflict, when the light of God's countenance is again lifted up upon the soul, and the joy of his salvation restored ; and when faith, overcoming its wonted weakness, and rising above the regions of doubt and uncertainty, attains to full assurance. In such states of mind the face of Jesus shines with ineffable sweetness and glory, in the believer's soul, and all is peace and joy. Like the disciples on the mount of transfiguration, he would evermore abide in this heavenly frame of mind, and gaze and gaze eternally on the unveiled and transcendent glories of his Redeemer.
2. In certain duties, as in secret prayer-in the worship of the sanctuary—in remembering Christ's dying love at his table-in visiting the sick, the poor, and the needy, to relieve their wants, and make Jesus known to them-and in sacrifices for the cause of God and the salvation of souls.
3. In certain seasons, as in times of danger, in the hour of bereavement, in the day of sickness and trial, and more than all, in the hour of death. Oh! how unspeakably precious has Christ been found to millions of believing souls, when all earthly comforts have fled, and the soul has felt the pressure of an infinite emergency! Language is inadequate to do justice to their experience at such times. Their peace is like a river, their victory complete.
" If such the sweetness of the streams,” &c.
REMARKS. 1. How much we need such a Saviour in this world of sin and sorrow: an Almighty hand to pluck us from ruin; an infinite righteousness to justify us with God; the Word and Spirit of the Holy One to enlighten and sanctify us; a refuge from earth's sorrows and calamities, and the pledges and mercies of an “everlasting covenant” to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless, with exceeding joy, before the Throne.
2. If this Jesus is not precious to you, my hearer, it is because you do not believe in him. The Scriptures reveal him to you; the Holy Spirit would draw you to him. Open your eyes and behold the matchless One! open your heart and feel the power of his love. Jesus is precious, do you not know it? Jesus is precious, and will you live disconsolate and die in misery ?
Finally—Behold the reward of faith. All this comes from believing. What a reward! What can equal it? The man to whom Jesus Christ is really precious, is favored above all men. His heart knows the secret of all happiness ; the secret of right living, and of a peaceful, happy death. What would you not give to know that secret? At what sacrifices would you not buy inward peace, triumph over death, salvation from hell ? Only believe-believe in Jesus—the Jesus of the Scriptures—the Jesus of whom you have heard and read so often, and yet do not know; believe in Him, and you shall have peace, joy, victory, eternal life, glory unspeakable! The Lord give you faith.
“ Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." -Acts 8 : 4.
Our text carries us back to days of persecution for the Word's sake. The empire which Satan had so long held was now rapidly waning before the power of the Cross, and “he came down in great wrath because his time was short.” But his devices against the truth were vain. The cause of righteousness gained ground daily : it gained fresh strength from fresh opposition. Converts to Christ were multiplied even around the stake ; and the agents in this work of intended extermination were made to see that all their apparent victories were really defeats. “ The blood of martyrs proved the seed of the church.” One reason for this is intimated by the fact stated in the text, “ They that were scattered abroad went everywhere ;” and wherever they went they acted out their religion-publishing with their lips, and enforcing by their lives, the gospel of the grace of God. From this statement, I deduce the doctrine of this discourseThat it is preëminently by aggressive movements that the Church is to prosper. By this means she is to maintain spiritual life in her own soul-cause religion to flourish at home, and extend its triumphs abroad.
1. The truth of this doctrine is suggested by the first impulses of the religious principle, the spirit of love in every Christian's bosom.
False religionists, both among Pagans and nominal Christians, have, I know, taught that piety was a kind of dormant, contemplative spirit; that its power was to be manifested in patient en