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able, it is the want of a due interest, of
any thing like a comparative feeling in what hath been done and suffered, and in what is still being accomplislied for us, in lessening the burthen and the power of sin, and in preparing a plan for our individual and eternal happiness. From our very infancy, we say we believe in Jesus Christ. As we go on in life, we profess the same faith, and in that profession we live and die. In the hours of retirement we give some portion, it is to be hoped, of our thoughts to the covenanted scheme of our redemption, and, in argument at least, never deny that we hang upon the covenant promises of God in Christ Jesus, for whatever of spiritual consolation in the past, or of encouraging hope for the future, we so earnestly
But what proportion do the meditations, the affections, or the obedience of even the holiest servants of God bear, to the acknowledged and infinite mercy of the heavenly gift of man's redemption? In its beginning, progress, and final accomplishment in the birth, life, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of the Redeemer, which of us manifests any thing like a due sense of what these events really were, when they took place, and still are in their blessed fruits? They are sources of wonder and love for the very angels to look into, and are the only possible means whereby our fallen race can have hope of the blessedness of an eternal heaven.
But when we look into ourselves, those very objects of mercy, for whose especial benefit in time and in eternity all these things were accomplished, we see a cold and oftentimes a barren belief of these stupendous dispensations, which might lead even to the honest question, can it be man for whom Christ died? And this is not meant of unprofessed unbelievers, of those who think and live as though no redemption had been wrought, and as though man had needed no redemption; but of the comparative deficiency of us all: even to the sincere believer and follower of Christ it is a lesson of deep self-abasement, and of increasing watchfulness and fervent prayer.
In the application of the very obvious inference to which these reflections lead, let us be cautioned to keep in view the natural tendency of the mind to lose, in long possession of spiritual advantages of any kind, a due sense of their absolute necessity and unspeakable importance. If, in a practical forgetfulness of this consideration, a coldness in spiritual matters creep on unchecked by prayer and watchfulness, it will, infallibly, and of necessity, end in some spiritual evil, destructive of present peace and future hope. So wakeful is the Enemy of the soul, so prone by nature is the soul itself to listen to temptation, and, in the gratification of the present, lightly to esteem what shall be hereafter, that we have need of all that our knowledge and our Christian remedies can supply of spiritual discipline over ourselves, to render the belief of the understanding a sound Christian faith. Without these helps against outward tempta'tion, and inward corruption, we must become less and less influenced by knowledge of the truth, as a rule of life, and more and more forgetful, that for this knowledge, and for all the means of grace unimproved, God will bring us into judgment.
And let us never forget that, in reason and in Scripture, we know full well, that the heaviest sentence is in store against those, who have knowledge of the word, and will and covenant of God, and regard them not.
On the other hand, there is nothing to drive the conscientious believer from the strong anchor of his soul, the sure promise of Holy Writ, that if the light that is within him be single, it shall “shine more and more unto the perfect day."
If that coldness and indifference respecting spiritual things in all, and that imperfect sense and expression of gratitude in the best, be met by its proper remedy, and Christ, the hope of glory, be sought after in knowledge, be imitated in purity of life, and trusted in His redeeming love and full propitiation, that spiritual malady will gradually decrease; God will realize His own promise, and we shall have “peace and joy in believing." Though life will still be, what, since the fall, it ever hath been, checkered with manifold trials of our faith and much evil, it will not be otherwise than what Christ bath plainly told us of all His true servants, that they shall find “ His yoke easy, and His burthen light." Conducted by His Holy Spirit, and firm in the faith, however we may be tempted to forsake the path of life, still, if we persevere, we shall find, that it will bring us to those “ many mansions," where Christ is gone before. Let the remembrance of this encouraging, this cheering truth, be ever present to us, and we shall then be in possession of the only true remedy against the ills of time, and the far heavier sorrows of eternity.
We need, then, have neither doubt nor fear concerning the fulfilment of the Divine Promise, save only that profitable “fear and trembling" which Scripture enjoins, and which shall end in that perfect love” which “casteth out fear.”
We have God's promise pledged for our redemption, and we have our own offended Creator accomplishing the stupendous work
for the present peace, and future blessedness of our souls: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.'
The world then which He created, He hath not forgotten; the world which He hath redeemed, He will not forsake; and those who avail themselves of the sanctifying power of His Holy Spirit, and really go unto Him, “He will in no wise cast out." This is His own promise; and if we require more evidence of His love, and a stronger assurance of the possibility of our own salvation, we either love our sins too well to part with them, or we wilfully shut up our souls in unbelief. Our sins repented of and forsaken, have God's promise that they shall be pardoned, and if we believe not that promise, neither should we believe “ though one rose from the dead.”