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We do not place them in prominent contrast or in open alliance with the motives and objects of our daily and hourly proceedings. Like his terrified disciples of old, we see Christ, through the medium of our obscure and distorted
perceptions, as a distant and shadowy spectre of the night, rather than as a being with whom all our present and most important destinies are bound. We regard him with a certain vague inoperative sense of appalling and preternatural mysticism, rather than with that saving consciousness of his presence and his power which could effectually interest our hearts, and engage all our affections in his cause. And, while we overlook the reality of these truths, we are too much disposed also to extenuate their force. We listen with certain tacit reservations to the threatenings of eternal punishment. We clothe with an air of ambiguity and doubt its promises of everlasting bliss. In other words, we are wont to forget that the great topics of which the bible treats, though we can but see them now as through a glass, darkly, are yet substantially real, - real as yon glorious sun in whose light and heat, though he be far removed from our reach, we bave life, and heat, and enjoyment;- real as the clear and definite outlines of the great theatre of this lower world in which we dwell ;- real as all the tangible and material objects that surround us on every side, and of which, in the literal sense, “we have heard, we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled.” We forget that, as assuredly as there is unrepented sin, so assuredly will there be irrevocable punishment. That, as certainly as iniquity is done, so certainly there is one to write it in the book of God. That, as surely as the body is committed to the earth, and dust to dust, and the ashes to their kindred ashes, so surely will the dissipated elements be assembled again, and rise to the joys or the miseries of eternity. And that those who have well-founded hope in Christ have indeed a real and substantial treasure which no human treachery can take away, and no earthly corruption destroy.
As, therefore, all these promises and prospects are real, so let our faith also partake more of life and of reality. Let it linger not on the lips alone, or play on the surface of the fancy; let it take deep root in the heart, and cherish there its natural and its wholesome fruits. Let it come forth from the retirement of thought and speculation into active and busy life, and fight its battles with the world, and“goon to perfection,” amidst trials, and labours, and watchings, and conflicts. Let our Christian character cease to be a mere sign and a by-word; let it take a form, and a substance, and a being.
Let our love grow into active charity, our faith into deeds, our profession into practice, our shadowy incense of praise into the true and substantial sacrifice of a pious life. So shall we know Christ by experience as well as by name; by knowledge as well as by hearsay. So shall we be made more fit to gaze on those glorious realities which shall be reserved for us in another world, when all the delusions of this shall have been dispelled. And when “that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be
may it be ours really and experimentally to feel that the Word of God is the object on which we may perpetually trust, and the being whose presence we may personally and for ever enjoy in the brighter spheres of an inheritance on high!
* 1 Cor. xiii. 10.
SIN A GROSSNESS OF HEART.
Matt. xiii. part of v. 15.
NEVER was truth more undeniable or consistent with itself than that great pervading principle of scripture-that man has very far departed from original righteousness, and is by his nature prone to evil. Even if we should hesitate to admit, on their own authority, the accuracy of a statement which is interwoven with the very texture of all the divine revelations we possess, still there would remain evidences from common experience itself to the same effect which it were almost impossible to resist ; evidences which meet our eye in all that multitude of self-inflicted evils—the consequences of sin