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Be more intimately acquainted with the volume of inspiration. The holy Scripture is a faithful mirror, which reflects the glory of Immanuel. The ark of the covenant of old, contained the eternal law written in tables of stone; the everblooming rod of Aaron ; and the golden pot of uncorrupted manna. But the Scripture contains far richer treasures than these. Here the law is exhibited as fulfilled in the person and work of Christ; or, to use the apostle's words, “ here is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Here the glorious and unchangeable priesthood of Jesus is made manifest. Here is found the imperishable manna, which supplies the church through the wilderness. It was death to look into the ark; but it is life to look by faith into this depository of heavenly blessings, the Bible. Would you escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust? Stand upon your watch-tower. Take heed that the enemy does not by his wiles ensnare you. Would you enjoy fellowship with the Father and the Son? Then give yourselves more to meditation and prayer. These mutually aid each other. Hence David said, " While I was musing the fire burned, then spake I with my tongue.” In a word, consider reading and hearing the Gospel, prayer, fellowship, and ordinances, as channels through which the great Head of the church hath, in all ages, been pleased to dispense his favours. These channels are not worn out and obstructed by time, yet beware that you do not rely upon them and forget the fountain,
ON THE EVIDENCES THAT CHRIST 18 PRECIOUS TO
Op all errors, those which affect our eternal interests are the most to be dreaded. To entertain a favourable opinion of our own state, without just ground, is the worst species of self-deception. The bare possibility of such self-deception ought to lead us to try our characters by the unerring word of truth. Nor let the natural reluctance which we feel to this duty make us decline or delay it. The exhortation of the apostle is here appropriate, and, by the strong language in which it runs, shows the need of our attending to it. " Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith : prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?.” 2 Cor. xiii, 5. I shall therefore endeavour to point out some of the principal evidences of an interest in Christ.
One evidence that Christ is precious to us is a growing conformity to him. To suppose that Jesus may be endeared to us, without our being in some measure conformed to him, is equally contrary to reason, scripture, and experience. Let analogy here supply illustration. " The study of man (says Lavater) is the doctrine of unisons and discords between ourselves and others.” If we greatly admire and ardently love a friend, it is natural to wish his company, and to drink into his sentiments, and to imitate his example. And can we supremely love and revere the blessed Redeemer; can we steadily contemplate his matchless excellencies, and hold frequent and delightful communion with him, without being in some degree assimilated to him ? What! is it possible to admire and not imitate ; or habitually to imitate, and not bear some traces of resemblance to him? No, the fervid flame of holy affection to Jesus will ever have a transforming influence. Such is the frame of human nature, that the objects which we chiefly love will not fail to stamp, or at least invariably indicate, the leading traits in our characters.
That an interest in Christ must be inseparably joined with a conformity to him, appears strictly agreeable to the language of the Scripture. “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old
things are passed away, behold, all things are: become new.” 2 Cor. V, 17. This remarkable passage makes it evident, that the man, who has become a true Christian, has undergone, not a partial and temporary, but a thorough and permanent change. He has a new heart, new principles, new motives, new desires, new pleasures, new.objects of pursuit, new subjects for reflections, new grounds of hope and springs of consolation. Hence the believer is required to ". cast off the works of darkness, and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” In complying with this command he not only promotes his own welfare, but also reflects honour on the profession of the Gospel. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, uses still plainer language to the same purpose, saying, “ Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Our experience also proves, that the more Christ is endeared to us, the more we shall be conformed to him.
The moon, and all the planets, shine not by their own light, but by a splendour borrowed from the sun. So Christians derive the whole measure of their light and grace from the glorious Redeemer; and, as they live nearer to him, shine with more conspicuous lustre, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Humility,