Images de page

really honest in religion--if the as well as with bis commandment, Spirit of God is divinely influencing “ Abide in me, and I in you ;" and bis soulmif the work of conversion with his promise, “ We will come has commenced, this death and this unto him, and make our abode with life will each in their turns exbibit bim.” The body of the Christian their blessed effects; and the work is the temple of God; he who thus begun will continue to go for- dwelt in heaven and took upon ward, till, as the Apostle elsewhere him the nature of man, dwells remarks, the individual “comes in in the heart of the humble and the unity of the faith, and of the contrite. “ He is our life,” and knowledge of the Son of God, unto it is because “ He lives” that we a perfect man, unto the measure may hope to live also. God has of the stature of the fulness of remembered that we are dust, and Christ.”

has not left us to perish in our But to obtain clearer notions weakness and corruption, but bas upon this point let us inquire, shed the holy lustre of his presence

III. What is the source of this life upon the perishing walls of our of which the Apostle speaksma“ yet earthly tabernacle, and has taught not I, but Christ liveth in me." He us, that although we have destroybad in the former part of the chap- ed ourselves, yet in bim is our help ter (as was before observed) been and our salvation. “I live, yet not stating the foundation of his own 1, but Christ liveth in me." hopes of everlasting happiness. He Is there then among us any one had grounded them not upon the who, although in name a Christian, imperfect works of man, but upon has thought little of Christ, and of the merits of a Saviour; “for the privileges of his religion ; who other foundation can no man lay has been satisfied to live without than that is laid, Jesus Christ.” him in the world ; who has been This truth be again asserts in the accustomed to soften down Chrisclause of the verse which we are tianity to a few cold lessons or pow considering, as though he obligations, which heathens themsaid, Christ is not only the founda- selves might almost bave incultion of my hopes, but he is altoge- cated ; who bas lived so

as to ther the source of my spiritual life. disgrace' the doctrine which he My desires, my powers to act or to ought to adorn, to 'degrade the suffer, my deadness to the world, hallowed Name which he bears, to my very spiritual existence depend break the pledge which he gave in altogether upon him; nay, I may baptism, and, by his unkind and unsay of myself, such is the intimacy holy tempers and worldly babits, ; of my union with him, in so pecu to crucify the Son of God afresh ? liar a sense is he the source of my Let such a one learn, that “ if life, that it is not I who live, but any man have not the Spirit of Christ that liveth in me. He con- Cbrist, he is none of His ;--that siders himself, by a bold figure, as a He wbom the heaven of heavens mere body, and Christ Jesus, if we cannot contain, dwells in the bosom may so speak, as the soul and living of the true Christian ; and that principle by which it is animated. where he does not dwell, no divine This strong sense of the depend- hope, no well-founded expectation ance of man upon bis Saviour-this of eternal happiness can possibly persuasion of an intimate union, exist. we might almost say, of a perfect IV. But, fourthly, let us examine incorporation with Him-is a sen the principle upon which this timent peculiar to the Christian ; union with Christ depends.

- The and is in perfect consistency with life,” says the Apostle, in the text, the declaration of our Lord, “I " that I now live in the flesh, I live am the vine, ye are the branches,” by the faith of the Son of God."

Faith, then, is the instrument by the banner of the Cross, he goes which we are united to Christ, the forth to the battle of life. In peril principle by which we rely upon or in safety, in prosperity or adverhim as the source of our hopes, and sity, in life or in death, he casts holiness, and joy; and which fills himself at the foot of his Redeemer's us with love for all which he ap cross, and desires to know nothing proves, and with hatred to all among men but Jesus Christ, and which he condemns. “Faith,” says him crucified. Ask him why he the venerable Hooker, " is the hand lives in peace, and dies in hope ; by which we put on Christ.” And and bis answer is, “ He loved me, there is something remarkably ex and gave himself for me. pressive in the image. It repre We may learn then from this subsents the Christian in the spirit of ject, how widely different is the relifilial trust and confidence, as stretch- gion of the Bible from the religion ing out his hand to lay hold of the of the world. What a cold, heartblessed hopes of the Gospelto less, fruitless system is the latter ! appropriate to bimself the gifts and What a lively, vigorous, influential promises of bis Lord—and eagerly system is the former! Both cannot endeavouring to touch the bem of be right, for there is but one stanthat garment by wbich he is to be dard of truth, and one way to eterhealed. The Apostle,

The Apostle, in the He- nal happiness. If an angel from brews,calls up in succession the most heaven should proclaim to us a reeminent men of all ages; and hav- ligion distinct from that in the text, ing recorded their holy deeds, points he would be accursed. Is then our to this one principle as the fountain religion such as this ? Are we cruhead of them all. “By faith" Abel cified with Christ ? Can we scripsacrificed, Abraham journeyed, turally bope that Christ dwells in us? Samson fought, and multitudes, of Have we an unfeigned faith in his whom “ the world was not worthy,” mercy and merits ? Are our bearts laboured, suffered, and conquered. touched and penetrated by the sense By the same faith alone can we of what he has done and suffered for overcome and sit down at the right us ? Are we dying to the world, and hand of God.

living to God; receding from sin, The faith mentioned by the Apos- and advancing in righteousness ; tle was founded upon the sacrifice casting off our corruptions, and of Christ. “ I live by the faith of springing up in newness of life, and the Son of God, who loved me, and the beauty of holiness ? Are we crugave bimself for me." Of all the cifying every evil temper and feelsubjects which are calculated to ing? Are we copying in our lives touch the mind of a sinner, none all the graces of the Saviour's chacan endure a comparison with that racter ? Such, at least, is our duty, so simply stated in these words ; and our privilege ; and such is the namely, that the Son of God the evidence of that life of faith of Son in whom the Father was well which the Apostle speaks. The time pleased, the brightness of his Fa- cannot be far distant when the in. ther's glory, and the express image quiry, wbether we bave been thus of his person-came down to die alive to God, and crucified to the upon the cross for man. That world, will appear to us in all its cross the Christian desires never real importance. Then it will be too: to lose sight of. In the business of late to quiet our hearts with an outthe day, it goes before him as a pil. ward profession of religion. Death lar of light to direct him. In the will prove what we are, and eternal darkness of the night, it sheds a happiness or everlasting wo be the holy radiance around him. Under award of our all-righteous Judge.


For the Christian Observer. directions. He cannot, therefore,

be justly blamed, if he seek å reAmongst the number of words in fuge where alone he can expect - the English language which are to find one- in the alliance of frequently used without any dis- those comparatively few whose tinct and accurate perception of sentiments and practice are contheir meaning, there is one upon genial with his own. Hence, to which I intend to make a few ob- confound friendships, raised upon servations in the present paper. the basis of principle and resemThis word is Party-spirit. I may, blance of character, with party, perhaps, be wrong in stating that (that is, faction,) is incorrect and the import of so common a word absurd in the extreme. is not generally known; I would But the reproach of party-spirit therefore restrict my former ob- is applied more frequently, and -servation by saying, that this term with greater plausibility, to a numof reproach is often applied by ber of individuals united together declaimers with so loose an aim, for the promotion of some public and in so careless a manner, as to design, which their principles and fail of coinmunicating a precise no- feelings have inclined them to untion of its true meaning to others. dertake. Whenever this is the The contentions of party, whether case, not only the active opposers religious or political, may be said to of such design, but even many of raise a dust which too often blinds those who dislike it merely bethe eyes of the coinbatants ; makes cause they are indifferent to all them discharge their blows in the commendable exertion, will stig. wrong quarter, or perhaps even do matize the union with the opprolittle more than beat the air. brious name of party. The appli

The reproach of party-spirit is cation of the term, however, may sometimes levelled at the natural here also be very improper and

alliances of friendship and intimacy unjust. No one, I suppose, will formed between persons of similar deny that there are some designs taste and disposition. Nothing, and institutions—those of general however, can be more loose or in- charity, for example-which may be correct than such an application carried on without the least mixof the term. In a certain sense, ture of party-spirit; for party-spirit good men must have their party, always supposes contest and opas well as evil men; the moderate position, to which many such asmust bave their party, as well as sociations are happily not exposed. the violent and bigoted; that is lo promoting designs respecting to say, they must have certain ac which much difference of opinion quaintances and associates to whom exists, I must in candour allow they give a decided preference that the case is somewhat different. to whom they are united by resem. Here, I confess, the infirmity of blance of character, and by sym- human nature sometimes lay's open pathy of opinion. The man who even good men to the temptation is moderate, not from timidity or of mingling ill-burnour and violence insincerity, but from principle and with their proceedings ; thougia conscience, is frequently of all men even here I can well believe that the most persecuted. He takes intelligent and conscientious indihis stand between two fires. He viduals may concur, and concur finds himself assailed from opposite zealously, without any thing like CARIST. OBSERV, No. 189.



rancour towards their adversaries, sometimes in opposition to their or, at most, with so slight a tinge real opinion with respect to smaller of party-spirit as to deserve so matters, because it is only by such harsh condemnation, and to pro means they can secure the grand duce no mischievous effects. A fel. objects of the confederacy; objects low-feeling there may, and indeed (they will assert) of such difficulty must be, in order to communicate and importance, that something a vigorous impulse to their under must be sacrificed to the attain. takings; but this spirit may be the ment of them : This, if I mistake bond of union among themselves, not, is the substance of the defence and of active beneficence to others, adopted by many respectable memwithout becoming the narrow jea bers of both our houses of Parlialousy of little minds, or the close ment; and the reasoning, I appreconfederacy of party.rage.

hend, is not confined to the preIn what, then, does party-spirit cincts of St. Stephen's chapel. properly consist? It consists, I I can well conceive, indeed, that imagine, in a love of party rather even good men, in their eagerness than a love of truth; in such an to forward some beneficial enterattachment and adherence to one prise" which is near their hearts, system of opinions, and to one set may be frequently tempted to act of associates, as will lead men to sa. under the influence of this reasoncrifice conscience, truth, and cha- ing; though they will not perhaps rity to their connexions, of what dare to scrutinize their own soever description those connexions duct too closely, and are not altomay be. Party-spirit, in short, is gether conscious of the bias that the love of power, exerting itself directs it. The reasoning itself to maintain a stand, or to compass proceeds upon the pernicious docan object of ambition, too often re trine of expediency; though there gardless of every thing but the end may remain a doubt whether, even to be accomplished.

upon grounds of present expeParty-spirit, however, does not diency, this encouragement of paralways present these more disgust. ty-spirit will stand the test of an ing features. It is a Proteus wbich enlightened discretion, and whecan change its countenance, and ther, with respect to this particuoperate in a more concealed man Jar, as well as to most others, ner, “Utque latens ima vipera honesty will not still be found the serpit bumo.”

There are many best policy. Party-spirit, like other persons, considered respectable by evils, engenders and propogates itthe world at large, who will at self. An obstinate stand is made tempt to justify their close adhe on one side, because an obstinate rence to party by a very specious stand either has been made or is argument. They will urge, and expected to be made on the other. perhaps truly, that their general Fresh animosities are continually object and design are good, found raised between the contending boa ed in principle and conscience, and dies, as fire is produced from flints directed to what they consider the by collision. Amidst the tumult, welfare of those interests which Truth too often disappears, and they are concerned to promote. Error becomes enthroned in her They will urge further, that these stead. Let, then, a contentious interests cannot be promoted with. spirit be dropped on all sides-let out a zealous combination of num mutual good will prevail-let rabers, and that, like soldiers, they tional beings apply themselves to must act in a phalanx, in order to the object of inquiry, whatever it make any impression upon the ene may be, with temper, patience, and my. From the necessity of the case, perseverance ; and I am much misTherefore, they consider it fair to act taken, if more useful discoveries

would not be made, both in poli, triumph at the expense of honesty tics and in religion, than is at pre- and candour. sent the case, and more beneficial I shall notice only one symptom results of other kinds also attend more, (and a grievous one, it is!) the debates of our theologians and namely, An easy credulity with restatesmen.

spect to every report that tends to Various and lamentable are the lower an opponent, accompanied symptoms of the moral distemper with a neglect of inquiry into his which I am now considering. It real sentiments and character. Nomost frequently appears in the thing can be more opposite to canform of misrepresentation, either dour and fair dealing, nothing can wilful or substantial. Wilful and be a surer indication of the strong deliberate misrepresentation is a influence of party-spirit, than this grave offence indeed, and seems to mode of behaviour.

Yet how com: require that sort of punishment tomonly do we find it exhibited in which, I believe, the Royal Psalmist the world ! By this artifice of refers, when he says, Whoso pri- wickedness, (for I can scarcely call vily sländereth his neighbour, him it by a milder appellation,) a man will I cut off ; that is, I will have may often conceal from others, and no connexion or acquaintance with for a time even from bimself, the him. But this injury, even when malignity that reigns within his it cannot be strictly termed wilful, bosom. He may be so far deluded may often proceed from the influ

as to persuade himself that be is ence of party spirit. A speaker or actuated by the love of truth, when writer may not be conscious, in the in reality he is only the zealot of a heat of argument, of an intention party. In the mean time, through to misrepresent his adversary; and his blind prejudice and indiscriyet the false colouring with which minate violence, the innocent suffer he daubs his character may proceed with the guilty; the patriot is conentirely from a secret enmity to- founded with the rebel; the sound wards him.

and sober Christian with the hypoBut there are milder symptoms crite and enthusiast. Pride, ignoof party-spirit than misrepresenta- rance, and illiberality triumph, tion. Ambiguity of expression is whilst all the dignified virtues and one of them.“ When,” says Locke all the tender charities of religion upon one occasion,

mourn and weep. combatants strips his terms of am After a description of symptoms biguity, I shall think him a cham- come, in a natural order, the repion for truth, and not the slave of medies and methods of cure. With vain-glory or a party." Ambiguity regard to this particular, bowever, may indeed proceed from the im- I am afraid it will be found that perfect comprehension of a sub: party-spirit is generally a very object : but studied ambiguity, a thing stinate, if not an incurable disease. which may generally be detected. There are but few examples of a is the genuine offspring of party. thorough renovation among those spirit.

who are deeply infected with the Another symptom is evident; poison. But the progress of connamely, When a controversialist tagion may be in some 'degree insists upon

the arguments which arrested though the sick cannot appear friendly to his own cause, be always restored ; and as prewithout noticing the principal ob- vention, according to the opinion jections, or even without allowing of medical writers, is always more due, weight to the reasoning, of his easy as well as more agreeable than opponent. Such conduct always cure, I will conclude with a few plain discovers an inadequate regard to rules for those who wish to preserve the cause of truth, with a desire to their mind's health, during the pre

any of the

« PrécédentContinuer »