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nions, but an example of their practical efficacy in forming a spiritual character.
2. It is clear that the giver of a law so spiritual as that which Christ promulgated, must himself expect to be served with a spiritual obedience. “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truths.'
We are commanded not to approach God with 'carnal sacrifices, but to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ'? And if this caution were necessary in the apostolical age, it seems to be much more seasonable in the present state of the Christian world. Men are liable to particular defects in particular situations. During the first ages of Christianity, when the new religion was embraced by a small part of the population, and its followers were obliged to meet together secretly for fear of their opponents, their numbers were not likely to be swelled by any who were not prepared to prefer the service of God to the indulgence of the lasts of the flesh, and to renounce their worldly interests for the sake of the Gospel. When martyrdom is the price paid for adherence to religious opinions, none but those who have counted the cost will be found to incur the danger.
3 John, iv. 24.
3 1 Pet. ii. 3.
But the case is different in a country where Christianity is the law of the land, and where all the disabilities and penalties are on the side of dissent from the current belief. It may then be feared, that even where two or three are gathered together, motives of a less pure and disinterested nature may have contributed to their assembling, than influenced the disciples when they met by stealth and at the hazard of their lives in the secrecy of an upper chamber. Per haps too stated services, however necessary for the maintenance of true religion, may have a tendency to produce in some minds a cold and formal worship.
Yet if these be evils inseparable from what forms in other respects our happiest blessing
and privilege, it is incumbent on us to guard, as far as possible, against their injuring the spirituality of our character. As we recede farther from the apostolical times, we must labour to restore the draft of Christianity to its original purity, and to renew a lively feeling of religion wherever the lapse of ages has insensibly suffered it to decline. Even Mosheim doubts whether the interests of true religion did not lose something by the accession of the philosophers and learned men who were converted in the course of the second century'.
The simplicity of truth, unadorned with persuasive words of man's wisdom,' began through their means to be gradually corrupted, and a false taste was introduced into religion, little calculated to elevate the heart, and fix its desires on heavenly things. We must quicken our affections by frequent meditation on the astonishing love of God-We must enliven and promote the fervency of our devotions by a deep conviction of the indispensable necessity of seeking through prayer the assistance of divine grace, so that, like Simeon, we too may come by the Spirit as it were into the temple-we must purify ourselves daily with renewed zeal and humiliation, that our hearts may become fit temples for the reception of the Holy Spirit. We must search the disposition, and try the tempers of our souls, lest there be any wickedness in them which, however it may elude the notice of man, will not escape the detection of him who knoweth the very secrets of our hearts, and spieth out
1 Mosheim, i. 126.
We must pray that the Holy Spirit may prosper his own work, by progressively forming within us a new nature, so that 'the inward man may be renewed day by day in knowledge after the image of Christ ?.'
all our ways.
3. Let us remember that the spirituality of our minds is the test of their true Christian character. If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God 3.' And again, in another place, the Gospel itself under which we live, is called, by a particular distinction, the ministration of the Spirit 4.'
2 Col. jïi. 10.
3 Rom. viii. 9, 14.
Each individual, therefore, is called upon to inquire for himself, by serious self-examination, whether he is walking worthy of his calling in this respect. A worldly state of mind is not less destructive of true holiness, than gross sin, The heart is so deceitful that it requires continual watching, lest it be corrupted willingly; and, at the same time, it is often so weak, that there is need of no less caution, lest it be led astray unawares. Now heavenly-mindedness, in the full sense of the word, includes a subjection of every thought to the will of God--the surrender of the affections to him-a deliberate preference of an eternal good to temporal advantages ---purity of intention-abstraction from the world in the Scriptural sense of the term---separation from low and secular ends-in a word, the daily remembrance of that work which,
4 2 Cor. iii. 8.