« EdellinenJatka »
ledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.” It is no doubt a severe trial to which the Christian is exposed—but if he shrink from it, he will cease to deserve the name. He must come out of every society, he must be separate from every association, where his consistency may be compromised, where his character may be suspected, where his personal piety may be invaded, and his conscience blunted. This, to many, may prove a heavy trial :but it is only the trial of their faith. Abraham was called on to surrender his beloved, his only son Isaac; and “he stretched forth his hand and took the knife.” And our Saviour candidly forewarned all his people of the consequences of separating themselves from the world, forsaking all, and following him : “think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” But when the call, “ follow me,” comes with power to the soul, then the man arises and complies. He hears Christ in the way of duty: he is deaf to the solicitations of friendship and of sense. He appropriates the language of the Psalmist, “ depart from me ye evil doers; for I will keep the commandments of my God.” · It is painful to come out and be separate from those who are near and dear to us; and Satan, taking advantage of this, whispers that it is unnecessary, unnatural, barbarous. To be beloved by all, is held out as the noblest object of ambition. This is the voice of Satan. But hear the voice of Christ :-“ Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you : for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” If you have “ an ear to hear,” you will listen to the voice of the “ Good Shepherd,” and you will resolve, that whatever courses may be followed by a wicked and perverse generation, “ as for you and your house you will serve the Lord.”
But if you “ again break God's commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations;” if you despise the goodness of God, “who hath punished you less than your iniquities deserve;” if you forget “all that has come upon you for your evil deeds, and for your great trespass ;” if you disregard“ the vision that has been made plain upon tables, so that he may run that readeth it;" then, brethren, what can await you? God will either send more judgments to awaken us; or, more fearful still—there will be silence, blindness, hardness of heart, judicial infatuation. Over us, as a Church, will be found this inscription, “Ile is joined to his idols—LET HIM ALONE!" Jehovah said of his people under the old covenant, “My people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me: so I gave them up unto their own heart's lust; and they walked in their own counsel.” As a community we never were riper than we are at this day, either for an abundant outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and for a signal reviving of the work of the Lord; or for formality, deadness, infatuation, and wrath. The blindest amongst us may now see elements at work which must inevitably prove either “ the savour of life unto life, or the savour of death unto death.” God is “ sitting as a refiner" in the midst of us; and “ the day will declare" which of us stood the trial, and came forth refined gold, or were cast away as “reprobate silver.”
THE DISEASE, AND THE REMEDY.
REV. NORMAN M'LE OD,
MINISTER OF DALKEITH.
JEREMIAH, viï. 30. “ The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not
sared. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there ? Why, then, is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?”
We are either saved or not saved. We are at this moment either at enmity to God, or in friendship with Him; “ children of the devil,” or “ children of God;" justified, or in a state of condemnation ; dead in trespasses and sins, or alive unto God; in one word, we are either saved from the guilt and from the dominion of sin, or saved from neither. There is no neutral ground between these two kingdoms of light and darkness, blessing and curse, which a man can occupy. It is quite true, that not until after the last judgment is the whole man, body and soul, completely destroyed or completely saved, so that the unbeliever has unmixed wickedness and misery awarded to him, and the believer unmixed holiness and happiness; but still it is here we must be translated from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of Christ, or remain Satan's subject. It is here we must be pardoned and reconciled to God, or remain condemned. It is here we must be born again and made holy, or remain under the power of an evil heart. It is here we must be “ saved” or “ not saved.” “He that believeth not,” says Christ, is “ condemned already ;” and again, “ He that believeth hath everlasting life.”
To every man, then, who knows that he has a soul, that this soul must live for ever; that this soul must be for ever with God in bless, or for ever without God in woe; who believes, moreover, that's now is the accepted time, and that now is the day of salvation;" what question can be more important than this ;-Am I saved or not? If death came this day to me, would I be found a man saved, or a man—not saved? Can I say with the apostle John and other believers, “we know that we have passed from death to life,” and with Paul, “ according to his mercy he saved us,” or must I rather take up the words of the Prophet and say, “the harvest is past, the summer is ended, but we are not saved ?" But it is possible, that no sooner is this question suggested for your serious consideration, than some one says in his heart, “ It is without doubt important, and may legitimately be put : but how can it be satisfactorily