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of it. We ought not to be discomposed by our anxieties about the final attainment. Though the alternative of our heaven or hell hang upon the issues of our seeking to be justified by faith, still we ought not to try and toil to make our faith outrun the light of conviction. It should be our great encouragement, that it is not merely he who has found the Lord that is called upon to rejoice, but that it is said by the Psalmist, “ Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.” 66 Ask and
shall receive: seek and
shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you."
Let us now conceive that the truth is gottenthat faith, which has been called, and aptly enough too, the hand of the mind, has appropriated and brought it within the grasp and possession of a believer, the question comes to be, How is this new acquisition to be disposed of? We
be sensible how often truths come to be known and believed by us, and how some of them perhaps have died away from our memory, and never been recalled: and yet we may be said to be in possession of them, for, upon their bare mention, we will instantly recognize them as doctrines we have already learned, and with the truth of which, at the time that we attended to their evidence, we were abundantly satisfied. Now, is it by such a possession of Christian truth that we will secure a part in the Christian salvation ?
It is not. It is not by first importing it into our conviction, and then consigning it to some by-corner of the mind, where it lies in a state of oblivion and dormancy-it is not thus, that our knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ becomes life everlasting. The truths which be unto salvation are not laid past
like the forgotten acquisitions of science or scholarship. And we are wrong if we think, that just as the titledeeds of an earthly house in possession may be locked up in security, and never looked to but when the right of property is questioned-so our creed, with all its articles, may be laid up in the depository of our mind, and there lie in deep and undisturbed repose, till our right of entry into the house that is not made with hands, and is eternal in the heavens, comes under examination, among the other topics of the great day of inquiry. We do not think it possible that the essential truths of the gospel can be actually believed, without being afterwards the topic of daily, and unceasing, and practical recur
But even though they could, they would, upon such an event, be of no influence towards the salvation of the believer. The Apostle tells us expressly, if they are not kept in memory they are believed in vain. By the gospel we are saved, not if we merely believe it, but if we keep it in memory. It is not enough that it have been ance acquiesced in: it must ever, and through the whole futurity of our earthly existence, be habitually adverted to. It is not enough that it be sleeping in the mind's hidden repository: it must be in the mind's eye. It must be kept in remembrance; and that too, for the purpose of being called to remembrance. It is not enough that it be in the mind's latent custody: it must be in constant waiting, as it were, for being summoned into the mind's presence-and its effi
cacy unto salvation, it would appear, consists not in the mind knowing it, but in the mind thinking of it.
This will be better illustrated by a particular truth. One of those truths to which the Apostle alludes, as being indispensable to be kept in memory, in order to be of any efficacy, is, that Christ died for our sins. It is not enough then, it would appear, simply to have believed that Christ died for our sins. This fact must ever and anon be recalled to our memory. It is by no means enough, that we, at one time, were sure of this truth. It is a truth that must be dwelt upon.
It is not to be thrown aside as a forgotten thing, which at one time gave entertainment to our thoughts. It must live in our daily recollections. It is not enough that we have taken hold of this dependence. We must keep hold of it: nor does faith even in this save us, unless that which is believed be the topic of ever-recurring contemplation.
For this purpose, the habit of a great and continuous effort on the part of the human mind is indispensable. We know how all the truths of Christianity, and this one among the number, are apt to slip from the attention; and what á combat with the tendencies of nature it takes to retain our hold of them. It is setting us to a work of great difficulty and great strenuousness, simply to bid us keep in memory the truths of that gospel by which we are saved. They may have entered our mind with the force of all-powerful evidence—and they may have filled it with a sense of their supreme importance—and they may have ministered in the hour of silence and devotion, an influence to relieve, and to comfort, and to elevate—and yet, after all, will we find it a mighty struggle with the infirmities of our constitution, to keep these truths in memory all the day long. We will find, that, among the urgencies of this world's business, the one and simple truth, that Christ died for our sins, will take its Alight for hours together, and never once be presented to the mind, even in the form of a slight and momentary visitation. To be ever recurring to this truth—to give it an hourly place, along with the multitude of other thoughts that are within us-to turn it into a matter of habitual occupation for that mind, the property of which, throughout all the moments of its waking existence, is to be ever thinking—this is an enterprise in every way as arduous as to work against the current of nature. It is not laying upon us a task that is either easy or insignificant, when we are told to keep the essentials of the gospel in our frequent remembrance.
It is the experience of all who have honestly tried it, that it is exceedingly difficult—and yet, so far from a matter of insignificance, it is the averment of the Apostle, that if we keep not the gospel in memory, we will not be saved.
We know it to be a work of difficulty, for a man overcome with drowsiness, to keep his eyes open. Suppose that, by so doing, he is only made to look on a set of objects which offend and disturb him, we may readily conceive how gladly, in these circumstances, he will make his escape from the hateful imagery which surrounds him, by repairing to the sweet oblivion of nature. But, on the other hand, should his eyes, when open, have a scene of loveliness before them, by which the soul is regaled, and brightened into sensations that are every way agreeable, then, though an effort be necessary to keep himself awake, yet there is a better chance of the effort being actually made. There will be a reward and an enjoyment to go along with it; and the man, in these new circumstances, would both be in a state of pleasurable feeling, and, at the same time, in a constant struggle to maintain his wakefulness. However delightful the prospect that is before him, this will not supersede the necessity of a strenuous endeavour to keep himself in the posture of observation. And so of the mind's eye, in the mental scenery that is before it.
Under all the stir, and activity, and delight of nature's movements, may the soul be profoundly immersed in the slumbers of nature's carnality. It may be spiritually asleep, even when busily engaged with the passing insignificant dreams of our present world.
It is indeed a great transition on every son and daughter of our species, when he becomes awake to the realities of faith, and is made to perceive the existence and the weight of things invisible.
But if all, that he is made thus to perceive, be the dark and menacing imagery of terror
-if he see nothing but God's holiness on the one hand, and his own sinfulness on the other—if, on looking to the sanctuary above, he see nothing but the fire of a devouring jealousy in readiness to go forth over the whole region of disloyalty to heaven's law; and, on looking to himself, he see that he is