« PreviousContinue »
stand; and so remembering, should we not become watchful, humble-minded, and devout: “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”? And then, in reference to our fellow-creatures, believing that all are born in sin, we should be brought to pity, to forgive, to aid, to the utmost of our power, our common fellow sufferers, in the true spirit of a holy charity. We should be brought to the practical recollection of our influence in this our common place of trial, and then feel with holier conviction that we are answerable unto God for the spiritual welfare of ma- , ny of our fellow-creatures. Parents would watch the first and natural beginnings of moral evil in their very infants' souls. They would day by day earnestly strive to check their natural self-will, to subdue their passions, to restrain and guide, instead of indulging their mere animal appetites, in the very first days of their childhood; they would act upon the remembrance of what, in moments uninfluenced by natural feeling, they readily allow, that man is the creature of habit, and takes much of the spiritual character of his future life from the ways and treatment he experienced as a child.
As heads of families, or in any way answerable for the specific talent of influence and power, in the genuine belief of the doctrine before ús, men would be brought to the wholesome, the frequent remembrance that the servant, the domestic, the dependant, neglected, through their unconcern in the matters which have reference to the soul, may perish everlastingly, a victim to the sad evils of a fallen nature, and that his blood would be required, “in that day,” at their hands.
And now let us remember, that the practical spiritual good, which the right consideration of the doctrine of original sin would insure to us all, has not been stated at an amount one tittle beyond the very
truth. It remains that we earnestly strive to make trial of the doctrine, as a rule of duty throughout our whole life. The knowledge of our natural state of sin will, through God's ever present and spiritual aid, keep us humble, while the firm belief of our restored state in Christ, through our baptismal covenant in His blood, will preserve us from despair. It will cause us to be thankful towards God, useful and charitable to our fellow-creatures, pure, penitent, and holy in all manner of conversation, looking, with a well-grounded faith, to that period of our existence, when trials shall cease, the perfect image of God be restored, and glory and purchased happiness be our Redeemer's gift unto us for ever.
SURRENDER OF THE WILL TO THE
OBEDIENCE OF THE GOSPEL.
$T. JAMES, CHAPTER ?, VERSES 10, 11.
“ Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”
THAT each individual is bound to keep the moral law, in its fullest extent, here meets with the express sanction of the Gospel, The Gospel haş spiritualized and perfected the law; and so far from having superseded its moral precepts, it has rendered them more intelligible, and much more generally applicable, by going to the very root of all moral ill. '“Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” This is a fearful saying, and well may we each, in our natural ignorance, exclaim « Who then can be sayed?” But we may be
certain, that what God has said is true, what God has commanded must be obeyed. Let us then endeavour so to understand and
apply the words of the text, agreeing as they do with the whole spirit of the Gospel, that, under God's good blessing, we may each derive spiritual edification from this solemn passage of Holy Writ.
As it pleased God to record such an admonition as this, in His sacred word, we know that it was written, and has been handed down, for our learning ; and, amid many reasons which may exist within, and beyond the limits of our feeble understanding, there appears one, sufficiently manifest in the purposes of Divine Wisdom, for such solemn admonition to us all.
There is nothing to which we are all so liable, in our estimate of what we are, as the danger of self-conceit; that is, thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, and continually flattering our own souls, (forgetting their natural corruption and positive guilt,) in the judgment which, from time to time, we pass upon our spiritual estate.
To check that proud and dangerous disposition of the heart, and to cherish the grace of Christian humility, God, in His infinite
mercy, hath most expressly told us, that obedience, even under the covenant of grace, where man's sal
vation is bought by a Redeemer's sufferings, never earned by his own works, even in that covenant God hath plainly told us all, that there must be obedience to the whole moral law : that, to pass over some virtues, in the observance of others; to commit some favorite sin, in successful resistance to temptation to other wickedness, will subject that transgressor of the very spirit of the whole law, to the pain of eternal condemnation.
When this awful inference is laid down upon the strength of scripture argument, it is not meant that, in the baptized member of Christ's gracious covenant, there must be perfect fulfilment of the moral law; for, if that were so, “no man living could be justified.” We all know, by bitter experience, that the Word of God says true, when it tells us that there is no man living that sinneth not. And here no contradiction whatever subsists between the command to obey, and the divine assurance that we cannot fulfil. The law is fulfilled in the perfect obedience of the Great Captain of our Salvation; and the transgression of the law is answered for in the sufficient sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself on our behalf. The law is not the foundation of our hope as the Gospel is; it hath served only “ as a school-master to bring us to Christ.” We are not, then, com