« EdellinenJatka »
its nature, relating to God, our fellow-men, and ourselves. To find out duty, or to ascertain what must be done, pre-supposes a search to be made after it. This search must be conducted with sincerity and a docile disposition ; with fidelity and perseve
The word of God is the only rule of duty, revealing to us either directly or by induction, the grand system which ought to regulate human conduct. It ought therefore to be studied with care and diligence, that we do not mistake truth for error; for it denounces a wo upon him who does. They who suppose it equally countenances all kinds of religious principles, display consummate ignorance of its contents, or an insulting indifference about its divine authority. They never give themselves any pains to learn their duty from the Scriptures, but adopt the fashionable sentiment of the country in which they live as their guide. Such conduct is radically and essentially infidel, and therefore to be shunned by Christians. To the written word we must resort for information. It contains a fixed and immutable law, fitted for all climates and suited to all descriptions of men. Whatever, upon
examination, we find it teaches to be our duty, that we must do with all our might. Earnestness and vigour are as necessary in religion, as in our daily callings. They are marks of sincerity. Hence we must be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, according to the wise man's direction. We must not faint nor be weary in well-doing; but must continue instant in
walk circumspectly, redeeming the time; increase in faith, growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We must We must press
eagerness towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus. We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for worship, and that frequently We must cease to do evil and learn to do well. “ Whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, “ whatsoever things are of good report; if “ there be any virtue, and if there be any - praise,” we must “ think on these things,” and“ do them'.” We must “live soberly,
1 Phil. iv. 8, 9.
righteously, and godly in this present “ world".” In fine, whatever tends to glorify God, edify man, and save ourselves, must be done with all our might.
Such are the directions which Solomon gives believers, to manifest their confidence in the government of God. The meaning of his exhortation, in a few words, is, Trouble not yourselves, ye righteous, with the perplexities and apparent inconsistencies of providence. Cherish cheerfulness of disposition, and display cheerfulness of conduct. Labour with diligence in your calling, and enjoy present comforts without indulging gloomy anticipations. Be not cast down at any time with what you see or hear; for all is safe, since God reigns, and you have made your peace with him through Jesus Christ. I
pass on now,
II. To the important reasons which the wise man assigns for the duty to which he exhorts.
1. The first is the vanity of life. It is an empty show, fleeting in its duration, and checkered with sorrows and disappoint
m Tit. ii. 12.
ments. Vain, however, as it is, it is our portion under the sun. Reason, therefore, suggests the propriety of wisely improving it to our own comfort. The only way in which this can be done, is to acquiesce in the providence of God; enjoying what he gives, and permits us to enjoy, with cheerfulness, and attending diligently to what he commands us to perform. Discontent, idle hopes, false alarms, foolish curiosity about the future, only increase the vanity of life, and make our portion sad indeed. These feelings, and the conduct which they originate, believers must shun. Their privilege, as well as their duty, is to be contented at all times. Why should they be troubled at the scenes which occur in the world ? Trusting as they do that they are accepted in the Beloved, they must leave every issue with God, who does all things right. Let them not fear, amidst the storms of life, for their covenant God, their heavenly Father, is at the helm of the universe. Amidst the vanities of time, the disappointments of the world, let the believer be cheerful. These vanities are not the objects of his affection ; these disappointments cannot reach his ark of safety.
It is in character for him who knows not God and his Christ, to murmur, fret, and rage
under the adverse dispensations of providence; for these dispensations rob him of his god. But Jehovah, the portion of the righteous, is at all times a sufficient good, of which the vicissitudes of time cannot deprive his people. They can each adopt the language of Moses, “ Their rock is not as
our Rock, even our enemies themselves “ being judges”.” Be not then cast down believers, when clouds are gathering around and threatening to burst upon you.
2. The second and last reason which the wise man assigns, is, that “there is no work, “nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in « the grave
whither we go.” Life is the season for action-the period in which we must serve the Lord. What we must do—what we ought to do, must be now done. What is left undone at death, will remain undone for ever. As death leaves
us, eternity will find us. How solemn the consideration! Oh, that it more suitably impressed our hearts and influenced our lives!