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2. Let not any think Christ precious to them because they have accustomed themselves to speak in tender, endearing terms concerning him. Can any thing be more disgusting than the manner in which some people are ever talking of the sweet, lovely, and precious Jesus ; while at the same time, they are grossly ignorant of his doctrines, and habitually inattentive to his commands? The judicious and sincere Christian ardently loves, indeed, but he also venerates his Lord ; and cannot therefore address him, or commend him to others, with a profusion of the same fond, familiar language, as is commonly used in caressing children. It is granted, that some pious, but weak Christians, have in this way unintentionally degraded religion. But what apology can be made for those, who speak in the most affectionate style concerning Christ, while total strangers to religious experience? What words can too pointedly reprobate the conduct of those, who catch, among professors of the Gospel, a few favourite phrases, which they employ as a disguise more successfully to gain their selfish purposes ? The character of Judas, that arch dissembler, who cried “ Hail, master !” and kissed him, at the very moment of betraying him, is in such persons copied stroke for stroke. Awful beyond description is their state, whose religion
dwells on the tongue in good words, without ever influencing the heart or the conduct. No specious professions can deceive the Searcher of hearts ; and Christ will say to such, “ Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" But happy are they, who not only speak of the glorious honour of his Majesty, and the wonders of his love ; but also feel an entire, undistracted dependence upon him, and a sincere, unabated affection to him. They can unite with the Poet :
“ Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
SOME SEASONS MENTIONED, IN WHICH CHRIST IS FOUND PECULIARLY PRECIOUS TO THE BELIBYER.
There are some seasons, which may be emphatically called, “ Times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." The Redeemer, who is the hope of Israel, and the source of spiritual joy, is always the same; but our frames and feelings are very changeable. Sometimes we have the peace which passeth understanding; at other times we are torn with inward disquietude. Now, the sun of prosperity and consolation shines with serene lustre ; soon, perhaps, the gloomy storm approaches, and beclouds our hopes and joys. To-day, we are on the mount of transport ; tomorrow, in the vale of sorrow. At one time, we walk at liberty; at another, deplore the entangling embarrassments and vexations of care. The life of a saint is a checkered and varying scene. There are, however, some seasons, in which the believer enjoys the preciousness of Christ in a more than common degree.
1. Christ is often peculiarly precious, when an awakened, convinced sinner is first brought to partake the rich spiritual blessings of the everlasting covenant. When a man under the Holy Spirit's teaching comes truly to know, trust, and love the Redeemer, or, in the strong language of the apostle, “ is translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son," he enters upon a state of happiness, of which a stranger to religion can have no idea.
View the believer when he first begins to know Christ. To the inquisitive and enlarged mind, human science has many powerful attractions, and pleasing charms. How vivid is the joy which the student of nature feels, when his long labours and researches are rewarded with some great and valuable discovery? When Archimedes, the famous mathematician, had fortunately hit upon the method of solving a difficult problem, which opened his path into a new region of .science, he could not contain his rapture, but rushing into the street exclaimed, “ I have found it ! I have found it !” There is, however, a kind of knowledge, as far superior to the highest attainments of philosophy, as the solemn realities of eternity surpass the transient bubbles of time. “ This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." John xvii, 3. After a man has been a long time wandering on the dark mountains of ignorance, and bewildered in the endless labyrinths of error, who can speak the joy that he feels when the eyes of his understanding are enlightened to see the excellence of Christ, to know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the saints. Light is always sweet, but how welcome are its cheering rays to the lost, heart-fainting traveller, who has been exposed to all the perils and horrors of the night! He hails the opening morn, and feels joy revive and animate his sinking spirit. Such are the pleasures and transports of the Christian, when he first beholds the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He now no longer roves at random, amidst loose conjectures and perplexing uncertainties, but discerns and seeks the things which are excellent. “ He knows that the Son of God is come, and hath given him an understanding to know him that is true.” Thus is verified the language of Solomon, “ When wisdom entereth into thy heart, knowledge shall be pleasant to thy soul.” It is said, that Justin Martyr, while a heathen philosopher, eagerly tried system after system, and hastened from sect to sect, in