« PrécédentContinuer »
plexions, yet, like the human race, may be traced to the same source.
Doubts, distrust, evil-surmisings, murmurings, complainings, slavish fears, despondencies, creature dependencies, contempt of divine threatenings, slight of divine promises, rejection of Jesus, neglect of the Gospel, ridiculing the work of the Spirit, atheism, deism, socinianism, carnal security, lukewarmness, backsliding in heart or life, false profession, hypocrisy, &c. &c. all these, and a thousand other evils, spring from unbelief. Lord, deliver me, I humbly and earnestly beseech thee, from these soul-destroying, hell-deserving sins.
The second inbred evil is PRIDE.
Pride is a subtle enemy: it spoils all that we think and speak, and do, until the Spirit of Christ destroys its power in the soul. Pride is the last sin which dies, and expires only with the life of the believer. Through his whole pilgrimage he has to contend against spiritual pride, in all its specious and multiplied forms.
In heaven pride cannot exist. There all is humility and peace. Self-love, self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, self-righteousness, all spring from pride. Pride, like unbelief, is a root of bitterness, from whence grow in awful luxuriancy, vain-glory, love of human applause, keen sense of honour, (falsely so called,) independence, rebellion, revenge, anger, contempt of others, resentment of real or supposed injuries, ambition, presumption, &c. &c.
There is no end to this extensive evil, which infects the hearts of sinners, and fills the earth with misery and blood.
Blessed Jesus ! thou didst humble thyself even unto death, to make an atonement for
0! make me humble and lowly in heart. Clothe me with humility—that with all lowliness of mind, I may walk before thee to thine honour and glory.
The third enemy is SENSUALITY.
This dreadful evil is the parent of crimes, which the Apostle declares ought not so much as to be named among the holy followers of Christ.
How awful then is the thought, that the nominally Christian world is, at this very moment, stained with crimes of so polluting a nature, as to oppose a barrier in many instances, to the conversion both of the heathens and the Jews! Our Lord hath told us that offences will come; but he hath also denounced a “woe unto him through whom they come."
Self-indulgence, sloth, luxury, gluttony and drunkenness, unite with carnal gratifications and impure desires in binding chains around the captive sinner, till death consign him to the dungeon of hell. O! thou holy and ever blessed Spirit, purify and purge my heart from this dreadful enemy the flesh, which wars against the soul. Wash me in the precious blood of Jesus. Pardon all my sins of impurity, and fill me with holy affections and
The most solemn threatenings are denounced in Scripture against these inbred sins: “ He that believeth not, shall be damned.” “Every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord.” “ If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.”
But there is another enemy which lodges within the human heart:-COVETOUSNESS, or the LOVE OF
This sin ever opposes the exercise of love to Christ, and heavenly things in the soul of the believer. The world assumes an undue importance, owing to our coming into continual contact with its fleeting possessions; whilst eternal realities are the objects of faith and hope. Hence, even the advanced
believer finds frequent occasion to use the lamentation of David : “My soul cleaveth unto the dust : quicken thou me, according to thy word.” The conviction of this evil should lead us to more earnest prayer for that spiritual-mindedness, which is life
Worldly prosperity too frequently produces lukewarmness, and declension from the ways of God. But if we possessed more of that faith which is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen: more of that telescopic eye which looks within the veil, and views, as near, the distant glories of Emanuel's kingdom: we should be less attached to earth ; yea, altogether weaned from it; and be enabled to say with the apostle; “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
This proves the necessity of regeneration, since the love of the world is the natural affection of the unrerewed heart. Nothing can eradicate this idolatrous attachment to earthly things, but the love of Christ shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost given unto us. The more we see of the preciousness, glory, and excellency of Jesus, the more we discover of the emptiness, vanity, and insufficiency of all earthly good; and the more will our souls be abstracted from present things, and fixed upon things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
The evils flowing from this sinful love of the world, are many and great. Idolatry, (for whatever supremely engages the heart, be it a diadem, or a feather, is our idol,) avarice, cupidity, the love of money, of earthly possessions, of splendid equipages, and of all those things “ which the nations of the world seek after;" fraud, deceit, over-reaching, theft,
envy at the prosperity of others, repinings at our own condition if lower than our neighbours; an unwillingness to part with all for Christ ; a shrinking from the cross; a dread of suffering for righteousness' sake ;-these, and many other evils, flowing from covetousness, prove the soul to be in a state of enmity against God: for “ if any man will be the friend of the world, he is the enemy of God."
From these four dreadful sources of evil ; unbelief, pride, sensuality, and covetousness, spring all the miseries which inundate the earth, and fill hell itself with horrors.
These sins are so interwoven with our fallen nature, that, until we are created anew in Christ Jesus, they form, as it were, part of ourselves. How needful then is self-examination! How important to consider our ways! We may quit the world with respect to its vain amusements, and yet never have the heart disengaged from it. Abstraction from the world, does not necessarily produce a crucifixion to it. It is one thing to leave the sinful customs and company of the world, and another to sit loose to its fading pleasures and possessions. We may be worldly in a lonely desert, and spiritual in the midst of a crowd. The world may reign in the cell of the monk; and be renounced in the counting-house of the pious merchant.
The exhortation of St. Paul is at all times most appropriate and seasonable: “Brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.”
Blessed Lord ! implant in my heart that lively faith, that deep humility, that heavenly purity, that spiritual-mindedness, which will evidence my union to thee, and prepare me for thy beatific vision in the world to come.
When I survey my treach'rous heart;
'Tis true, I hate each rebel sin;
Was this my only hope and plea,
But Jesus is my living way,
When death shall loose the silver cord,
LIV. ON TRIALS.
When I look into the world, and see all around me in pursuit of happiness; that certain something unpossessed, yet still desired; which eludes the grasp of thousands, who think they have just to make one effort more to seize the flattering shadow and be happy: I ask, why all this restlessness, this feverish