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and glory to my
heart in all their fulness and sweetWarm, yea, inflame my soul with the pure celestial fire of love. Illuminate my mind and transform me daily more and more into thy image, till awaking up after thy likeness, I shall be eternally satisfied with it.
Blessed Jesus, look upon me,
Lord, I feel a sinful nature
Come, thou great Eternal Spirit,
Put thy holy fear within me,
Jesus! plead my cause in heav'n;
XL. AGREEMENT NECESSARY TO COMMUNION.
The question of Amos is of practical importance: “ Can two walk together, except they be agreed ?”
There can be no real communion, or pleasing intercourse without a similarity of views and disposition.
What can be more opposite than the carnal and the spiritual mind? A spiritually-minded man delights in heavenly things. He views the world through the sacred medium of divine revelation; and beholds iť as the abode of sin; as a place of trial; as the valley of the shadow of death. Whilst therefore he blesses his heavenly Father for every undeserved mercy, and receives with gratitude the bounties of his providence ; he longs for that glorious rest from sin and sorrow which remaineth to the people of God. His treasure and heart are in heaven, where joy and happiness fill every ransomed soul in the beatific presence of God and the Lamb. Being born from above, he loves his heavenly Father; being united to Christ by faith, he derives all his strength from him; being under the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit, he is led into all truth, and made a new creature in Christ Jesus.
As he loves God, so he loves all the children of God. He delights in the company, and sedulously cultivates the friendship, of genuine Christians. He can say with David: “I am a companion of them that fear thee.” “My delight is in the excellent of the earth, and in such as excel in virtue.”
With expanded views and enlarged heart, he can love all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, though all may not agree with him on minor points of difference.
All who follow Christ in simplicity of spirit, and adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, by the purity of their hearts and the holiness of their lives, are hailed by him as brethren, travelling to the heavenly Zion.
The unconverted man is the opposite of all this. He cannot endure to hear religion discoursed presence.
By a frown, a sarcasm, or a significant silence, he soon manifests his displeasure.
upon in his
The people of God are offensive to him. Should some unhappy characters, by their inconsistency or misconduct, dishonour the holy religion of Jesus ; he ceases not to hold them up as patterns of the whole fraternity of professing Christians; thus putting the seal of hypocrisy upon all without exception. His manner evidences the exquisitely malignant pleasure which he finds, in having so plausible an opportunity of traducing that Gospel, whose pure and self-denying principles his soul abhors.
To him the world is every thing. All his thoughts are exercised, either upon the best mode of acquiring wealth, or the most delightful way of spending it.
Is he a man of fortune? Much of his time is occupied in ornamenting his grounds, or in the chase.
The pleasures of the field, the intricate mazes of political events, the passing news of the day, or the still more uncertain nature of the weather, form his most edifying topics of discourse, except he have a taste for literature, and then men and books are occasionally canvassed and reviewed.
Is he a man of business? His conversation is filled with subjects connected with his calling; mixed up with all those little incidents of life which compose each passing day. And well would it be, if language awfully pernicious never stained his lips ! But in these worldly circles of business and of pleasure, the value of the soul, the dying love of Jesus, the work of grace upon the heart, all the rich and varied subjects of redemption, are never heard, unless it be to bear the lash of ridicule or the laugh of scorn. How then can two such opposite characters walk cordially together? It is impossible.—Hence arises the danger of real Christians associating with the people of the world.
Courtesy and kindness are Christian duties to be exercised towards all; but friendship with the
world is decidedly repugnant to the spirit of the Gospel
In order to walk amicably together, that is, to enjoy each other's company in any tolerable degree, one party must give way to the other, at least
to a certain extent.
The religious man, whose soul is supremely occupied with heavenly things, cannot help making occasional reflections on those topics which so deeply interest his heart.
The carnal man, who cannot bear such conversation, must either hear him patiently, and even with seeming complacency; or a disagreement must ensue, which would in a moment destroy all pleasing intercourse.
But as the men of the world are, in general, the most true to their master, they seldom fail to insinuate, that such reflections are unpleasant, and little better than preaching. They think it bearable, because customary, to hear them once a week from the pulpit ; but quite intolerable to have such sermons forced upon
them in common conversation. Consequently they endeavour to turn the discourse to subjects more congenial with their taste and inclination
Here the Christian must either give way, or go away as soon as decorum will permit; since he finds that either he must be in continual dispute, or else be continually making compliances to the injury of his soul..
If then it be evident, that two cannot walk comfortably and profitably together, except they be agreed on the most important of all subjects the salvation of the soul, through faith in a crucified Redeemer ;-what must we think of those professors of the Gospel, who are constantly mixing with the world, not so much from duty as from choice ; not so much through necessity, as for pleasure? Are they never tempted to make sinful compliances, that they and their party may be agreed ?
Do they never sit for hours to listen to the vainest and most trifling discourse, whilst the dread of putting the salutary check to such idle words, seals up their lips in silence ?
Have they never encouraged by a smile some witty jest upon religious characters; or felt the blush of sinful shame glowing on their cheeks when sarcastically called a methodist or a saint ?
Let conscience give the right answer.
The end of too many such unguarded professors lamentably proves, that they have fallen into these snares of the devil. Rushing into temptation, without a call of duty arising from filial or conjugal relationship, they grieve the Holy Spirit, wound their own consciences, imbibe by degrees the spirit of the world, get more and more assimilated to its taste and manners, till at last they lose all relish for spiritual enjoyments, and like the apostate Julian, sit down in the seat of the scornful.
“Remember Lot's wife," is the warning voice of Jesus.
“Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present evil world," is the lamentation of St. Paul:
Some may condemn these cautionary remarks as uncharitable; but those who take Scripture for their guide, and experience for their teacher, well know the truth of these assertions. Surely then we may say with David : “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he doth meditate day and night." There are many awful passages in the word of God to guard Christians against the love, the dcceits, and the allurements of the world.