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estimated by him who looketh at the heart, from what we know, or from what we say, nor even from what we do; but from the inward ruling principle of the mind.
We may speak with the tongues of men and of angels; we may understand all mysteries and all knowledge; we may give all our goods to feed the poor, and our bodies to be burned ; and yet be accounted by an heart-searching God, as no better than sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. attend the house of God with scrupulous exactness, and
yet have no heart in the work. We may admire the preacher without loving the word ; and extol a form of devotion, whilst destitute of pious feeling.
Oh! what need there is for inward searching of heart. True religion is less common than many imagine. “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Formality and hypocrisy are two powerful and successful agents of Satan.
The enemy of souls is not very anxious whether men travel to hell by the road of profaneness or false profession. The latter being more creditable, is generally the most frequented. Gross vice startles the conscience; whilst the garment of decency, thrown over the general conduct, quiets the mind, and makes the deluded sinner more easy in his sins.
Blessed Lord, save me from the delusions of Satan and the deceitfulness of my own heart. Let me know myself. Guard me against self-deception, self-love, and vain glory. Make me humble, simple, and sincere. Fill me with love, and fit me for thy service and glory
Love is the distinctive characteristic of all God's people. The soul which is savingly enlightened by the Spirit of truth, must, as a natural consequence, love God.
There is a knowledge which may be acquired by
reading, hearing, and reflection. Religion may be learned as a science. Its doctrines may be arranged with all the accuracy of systematic precision; and its precepts be admired as lessons of the purest morality. But such knowledge, springing only from the exercise of the intellectual faculties, leaves the soul in its natural state of pride, earthliness, and self-sufficiency. Such knowledge puffeth up, whilst charity edifieth.
Every awakened soul wants to feel the love of God as its actuating principle; and the glory of God as its constant aim. o! that I may experience these blessings more and more. Nothing can eradicate the love of the world from the heart, but this ardent and supreme love to God as the highest good, implanted in the soul through the power of the Holy Ghost. God is love. When, therefore, he draws forth the arrows of conviction, and lodges them in the sinner's conscience, he graciously dips them in the blood of Jesus, that he may heal, as well as wound.
Thus, the blessed Spirit, by first convincing of sin, and then revealing the Saviour, gives the brokenhearted penitent the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
How gracious are the operations of mercy, No sin however great, can exclude that soul from heaven, whom the Lord makes a monument of his sovereign grace. As soon might the black vapours of the night which skirt the horizon, prevent the rising of the sun. “ By grace are ye saved.” “By the grace of God, I am what I am ;" is the language of Paul, who styles himself the chief of sinners, and whose delight is to magnify the exceeding riches of redeeming love.
God is love. Hence all holiness proceeds from him. He must first draw the heart to himself by the powerful attractions of his own eternal love, or it will for ever remain hard as adamant, and vile as hell. “ I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee; are the sweet accents of mercy to a family of backsliding children.
The Spirit of God can alone fill the heart with love. The apostle gives love the first place among the fruits of the Spirit; for if this heavenly grace be wanting in us, all the rest of our benevolent or amiable qualities will profit us nothing.
How important then is self-examination on a subject which involves our present and eternal happiness.
If I am a child of God, I shall love him supremely. It is impossible to be in the family of God and not love God; for every one that loveth, is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. 0! my soul, think what thou owest to thy great Creator. I am indebted to God for my being, my daily preservation, my hourly comforts. From him I receive every blessing; health, friends, and domestic enjoyments. To him, I owe myself and all my powers; yea, all that I am and have. He not only made me; but O! wonderful love! he took my nature upon him, and died, the just for the unjust, that through his atoning blood, I might be saved from sin and the wrath to come.
If I am a child of God, I shall love all his children. If I am in the family of God, I shall love all the members of his family. This St. John declares as evidential of a state of salvation; know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” “For every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him." Thus Christian love passes over the threshold of home, sect, and nation, and embraces all who love
the Saviour, whether inhabiting the torrid or the frigid zone.
If I am a child of God, I shall love the commandments of God. His law will be my rule of life, whilst Christ crucified is the sole foundation of my hope. I shall have more delight in his word than in all manner of riches; for these can only gratify my animal nature, whilst that can satisfy my immortal soul.
If I am a child of God, I shall be anxious to live to his glory ; to employ my talents in his service; and to promote his cause amongst men. I shall not be ashamed to confess myself his servant. proached, I shall rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer shame for his name, and shall be willing to be accounted even the offscouring of all things for Jesus.
If I am a child of God, I shall bear the image of God. In God's family, there is a family likeness. All the children resemble their heavenly Parent. They have the mind of Christ, and are renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created them. “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; but if
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
I may possess an extensive knowledge of divine truth and a facility of utterance, which, when combined with strong natural warmth of feeling, may cause me to make an imposing appearance before a humble, retired Christian: but what will knowledge avail, if destitute of humility; or glowing eloquence, if devoid of love?
Let me then seek most earnestly the sweet graces of the Spirit, love, humility, and purity. These will make me like the blessed Jesus, whose whole character bore these sacred features, and whose gentle command is, “learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Blessed Jesus! be pleased to sanctify the desire of my heart. This is thy will, even my sanctification Let it be my will also. forth thy healing hand; touch my leprous soul; yea, speak the word only, and thy servant shall be healed.
Let me never for one moment doubt thy willingness to save, though I be the very chief of sinners.
Thy grace is infinite; if it were not infinite, I might indeed despair ; but being infinite, how can I despond? O! what a word is infinite! There is no depth of guilt in which infinite mercy cannot reach me; and no height of glory, to which infinite love cannot raise me!
Rejoice then, O! my soul, and be filled with thanksgiving. Jesus is thy all-sufficient Saviour. Believe in him; trust in him; come to him; and love him; and then shalt thou be saved with a present and everlasting salvation.
How blest are they who love the Lord,
Who lean upon his word;
Which earth can not afford.
By faith they see the heavenly world,
And taste the Saviour's grace ;
They view “with open face."
Who bought them with his blood;
My Saviour_and my God.
Ye blessed flock-ye chosen few,
Let grateful praise ascend ;
Extol the sinner's Friend.