« 前へ次へ »
there is between all the subjects of divine grace. They are all one in Christ Jesus. They belong to the same family : they are parts of the same body; and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; and if one member be honoured, all the members rejoice. They who have prayed for me, will not refuse to praise-"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy Name : the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” What sight can be so gratifying to a good man, as to see a convert leaving the world, and entering the Church: a backslider returning into the path of peace: a believer walking worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called: a dying saint joyful in glory, and shouting aloud upon his bed ? They that fear Thee, will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in thy truth.
- The Lord's followers are supposed to be mopish and melancholy: but they have a thousand sources of joy which others know not of. How great is the pleasure they derive even from others. Indeed they can often rejoice on the behalf of their brethren, when they fear things are not going on well with themselves. But what a proof is this feeling, that their heart is right with God!
– Envy is the rottenness of the bones, and the temper of the Devil. To rejoice in another's good, is Christian-angelical-divine. God is love. And he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.
FEB. 10.—“ Be sober.”
1 Thess. v. 8.
This stands opposed to bodily excess, and especially to drunkenness. It is painful to think that it should be ever necessary even to mention such a subject among those who ever profess to be Christians.
The Spartans presented to their children intoxicated slaves, that seeing their beastly demeanour, they might detest the vice. Some Pagan legislators inflicted a double punishment upon crimes committed in a state of drunkenness. Christian lawgivers and judges are not equally wise and just; for how scandalous is it to hear men, in a court of justice, allege their intoxication to extenuate, if not to justify, their conduct. Drunkenness takes away the man, and leaves the brute. It dethrones reason from its seat. It covers the wretch with rags; and reduces his wife and children to want and beggary. It impairs appetite: produces trembling of limbs; and such sinking of spirits, as almost compels to the repetition of the offence; so that, physically, as well as morally, it is next to impossible to cure it.
Let me therefore guard against it; and not only in the grossness, but the guilt. Some professors of religion seem to think they are not chargeable with the sin, if they can keep their eyes open, and walk from the dining-room to the tea-table, not considering that every indulgence beyond natural relief and refreshment is vicious; and that the Scripture peculiarly condemns those, who, by gradual training, have made themselves strong to drink wine, and to mingle strong drink. Let me, therefore, beware of the encroaching degree; and put a knife to my throat if given to appetite. And instead of being filled with wine, wherein is excess, let me be filled with the Spirit.
But the pure and holy religion of Jesus, when it says, “Be sober,” forbids much more than this vile and offensive practice. It enjoins temperance in all our appetites, desires, and affections. It extends even to businesses: as a man may be entangled, so he may be intoxicated with the affairs of this life: and how often do the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and k?iptura
it becometh unfruitful. A Christian may be too mindful of earthly things: too alive to fame; too anxious to join house to house, and add field to field, and to load himself with thick clay. As a man inebriated is unfit for the duties of his station, and is obliged to be confined; so it is with those who set their affection on things below. They are unqualified for their high calling; and cannot walk as becometh the Gospel.
“Seekest thou great things unto thyself?" says Jeremiah unto Barach; “ seek them not.” Let me reflect, in the light of Scripture and observation, on the vanity of worldly things; their unsatisfactoriness in possession; their perishing in the using; and the many and hurtful lusts to which they expose the owner ;—and let my conversation be without covetousness; and let me be content with such things as I have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Sleep is a natural and necessary refreshment. But we may be excessive in this, as well as in any other indulgence. And, alas ! how often are we-even to the injury of our health, as well as the waste of our time.
Recreation is allowable and salutary: but we may exceed the bounds which the redemption of time, and the repairing and refitting us for duty, can only allow.
Paul exhorts Timothy to be “ sober-minded.” How intemperate are some in their opinions; and opinions, especially in religion, that regard inferior truths ; and subjects concerning which the understanding meets with the greatest difficulties. Some are eager, and rash, and positive in all their judgments; and nothing is too absurd or ridiculous for their adoption.
Again, let me hear the Apostle. “I say to every man that is amongst you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think
soberly:" i. e. not overrating his station, his connexions, his abilities, his usefulness, his performances: “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
Finally, let me not forget how obviously, as well as extensively, I am to discharge this obligation ; nor lose sight for a moment of the argument by which it is enforced—“LET YOUR MODERATION BE KNOWN UNTO ALL MEN-THE LORD IS AT HAND.”
Feb. 11.—“ The children of the day.”
1 Thess. v.5.
THREE distinctions may be here made. The first, regards Heathens. The second, the Jews. The third, Christians.
Heathens are the children of night. With regard to them, darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. What did they know of God: of themselves; of their origin; their fall; their recovery; their duty ? What did they know of a future state? A few of their philosophers spoke of the immortality of the soul; but none of them thought of the resurrection of the body, unless to turn it into ridicule. And what they expressed, they did but conjecture; they could prove and establish nothing. And they held it in unrighteousness; it had no influence over them as a motive ; for wanting the certainty of a principle, it wanted the efficacy. And they kept it from the people at large; and employed no means to inform the multitude, who, as quite sufficient for them, were abandoned to every kind of superstition.
The Jews were all children of the dawn ; an intermediate state between night and day; better than the former, and very inferior to the latter.
Hence the Saviour, alluding, not to the state of Pagans, but to the disadvantages of Judaism, said to his disciples, “Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things that ye see, and have not seen them.” They had the Law, which was given by Moses : but we have grace and truth, that came by Jesus Christ. They had the shadows; we have the substance. They had the types, and the promises; we, the realization, and the accomplishment. To them, the Sun of Righteousness was below the horizon; on us, he has risen with healing under his wings_God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.-For
Christians are the children of the day. It is their privilege to have the system of Revelation complete, and to be blessed with the full dispensation of the glorious Gospel. They have the servants of the Most High God, which shew unto men the way of salvation.
Every thing with us is made dear, in proportion as it is important. And with regard to the acceptance of our persons with God, the renovation of our nature, our title to eternal life, our meetness for glory, our supplies of grace, and all spiritual blessings in hea. venly places in Christ; the darkness is entirely passed, and the true light now shineth—and we are the children of the day.
Therefore, let us hail it with gratitude. And what thanks can ever equal the benefit? A mud cottage with the Scriptures in it, is more ennobled, in the view of an angel, than the palace of the richest emperor upon earth. David would have descended from his throne, and have passed his days in a poor-house, to have enjoyed our advantages. . Abraham, at the distance of near two thousand years, rejoiced to see our day, saw it, and was glad.
Therefore, let us receive it with joy. Nature shews off her beauties : the lambs play; the birds