« EdellinenJatka »
would gladly have given a casket of jewels for a cup of water, or a wedge of gold for a morsel of bread. But how much more precious are spiritual blessings to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness! Christ compares himself to the manna, John vi, 33, 34, 35. “ For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they to him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” But without faith it is impossible to feed upon the rich provisions of everlasting love, and find the satisfaction they afford. Those only, therefore, who truly believe, know by experience the consolation that is in Christ.
Rest is precious to the weary. The labourer, who faints under the burthen and heat of the day, longs for the cool of the evening shade. How refreshing is the sweet blessing of rest, after toils, watchings, and conflicts ! Now, under this figure, Christ addresses miserable and helpless sinners. “ Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Oh ! how suitable, how sweet, how necessary, how glorious, is this rest to the soul! We that have believed do enter into this rest. But nothing can supply the want of
faith. Those only, therefore, who truly believe, can know by experience the consolation that is in Christ.
Light is precious to men, who have been many years immúred in dungeon-glooms. "Truly,” says Solomon, "the light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun.” And can we forget, that saints are, by the power of the Spirit, brought out of darkness into marvellous light? If natural light be so sweet, how much more is the light of God's countenance ! What pure, and powerful, and delightful joys, does the Christian feel, when “ the sun of righteousness arises upon him with healing under his wings !” But nothing like experience, springing from the exercise of faith, can make us happily acquainted with the consolation that is in Christ.
Liberty is precious to those who have known the horrors of bitter bondage. But the liberty of the soul very far surpasses in value that of the body. And who but Christ can bestow this inestiñable blessing ? 6. If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed." This is justly styled, the glorious liberty of the children of God. Yet only those who truly believe actually possess the freedom which the charter of heaven grants, and know by experience the consolation that is in Christ. “ Life is precious,” is a phrase which has passed
into a proverb. Nor is this saying more common than true. A man in imminent danger, or condemned to die, holds nothing too valuable that will save his life. And is not deliverance from spiritual and eternal death a matter of infinite importance? The most cursory glance into the Scriptures is sufficient to satisfy us, that our spiritual life flows wholly from Jesus Christ. God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Yet faith is absolutely necessary, to give and maintain this heavenly life in the soul. Gal. ii, 20, “ I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Thus we see, that those only who believe know by experience the rich consolation that is in Christ.
And now, reader, what think you of Christ? No subject of inquiry can be more important. If you are a wandering sceptic, you are a stranger to the preciousness of Christ. The thin, airy regions of speculation afford no solid comfort to feed and invigorate the soul. A constant and eager quest after the glittering novelties of opinion discovers not the road that leads to the temple of truth, or the only sure refuge of lost and miserable sinners ; but rather seduces into the enchanted paths, which bewilder the mind in
all the mazes of error. Do not, therefore, think it a proof of superior powers and attainments, or a freedom from the shackles of vulgar prejudice and bigotry, to be always wavering amidst uncertain notions, and, weather-cock like, perpetually veering from point to point, or, as the apostle expresses it, “ tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” Beware of those, who, by good words, and fair speeches, lie in wait to deceive Too many, flattered with the specious pretence of philosophy, candour, liberality, and free inquiry, have sucked in the deadly poison of infidelity, Both reason and Scripture indeed require us to prove all things, but then, let us not forget to hold fast that which is good. “ Take heed, lest, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your mind should be beguiled from the simplicity that is in Christ.”.
If you are a sordid worldling, you are a stranger to the preciousness of Christ. “The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit.” And when either the enjoyment, or the warm pursuit of earthly things, fills the head, the hands, and the heart, there is no room for Christ, no concern about the interests of the immortal soul. “ No man can serve two masters." Are you all solicitude about the things of time? Do you put every thought on the stretch of contrivance, and every spring of active exertion in motion, to gain the possessions and pleasures of the world? Do you rise up early, sit up late, and eat the bread of carefulness? Think, what has Mammon done for his worshippers? What will he do for you? Will the world charm away the fire of a fever, the benumbing stroke of a palsy, or the secret seed of a consumption Will it shield you from calamities and disappointments? Will it cure the lassitude of life, extract the sting of death, and gild the regions beyond the grave ? Ah, no! the world leaves its deluded votaries, inthe awful hour of extremity and darkness. Do you then feel the force of an undue attachment to varthly things ? Remember you must let go your esger grasp of the world, before you can lay hold on eternal life.
If you, my reader, are a cold, formal professor of religion, you are a stranger to the preciousness of Christ.
The dissolute profligate, when, at intervals, the tumults of passion and pleasure snbside, may be expected to feel the point of faithful, well-directed reproof, and listen to the voice of serious warning. But creeds blindly received, confessions unfeelingly uttered, and outward ceremonies regularly observed, without vital principles, too generally fortify the mind to presumption. Take