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it easy to attain heaven ; they excuse and palliate their sins ; they disbelieve what Almighty God declares in his word. “ The commandment” has never come to them in all its purity, in all its spirit, in all its power, as a solemn reality.
2. This subject addresses those who are under conviction of sin.
By the holy Spirit, the law has in some degree come home to you ; shin ing in its purity, and operating on your conscience. You have seen its demands to be reasonable ; you have heard its curses ; you have acknowledged the justice of its sentence ; you have felt the desert and aggravations of your sins. In view of the desperate wickedness of your hearts, your contempt of God's authority, and your rejection of a Savior's love, I hear you exclaiming, “ For these things I deserve to die ; I deserve to be for ever damned.” Remember, there is no necessary connection between conviction and conversion. You know it when you open the Scriptures and see the numerous examples of those who were convicted—who trembled--who wept--but who continued strangers to regenerating grace. You know it, when you look around you and see those who were once deeply affected on the subject of religion now careless and unconcerned. Let such instances be a warning to you, and lead you to beware how you trifle with the Spirit. Your situation is most critical ; your conviction should humble you,
should strip you of all self-righteousness, should urge you to accept of the Savior. 66 The
our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” It arraigns, and proves us guilty ; shows that we have come infinitely short of our duty, and teaches us that there can be no salvation by our own works. It thus drives us from every false refuge, and urges us to flee to him who is “the end of the law for righteousness." Convinced sinner, let it have this effect upon thee; let it drive thee to despair ; not to despair of salvation, but of being saved by any works of thy own. Then you will see your need of a Savior's death ; then, “weary and heavy laden,” you will go to Christ and “ find rest to
3. The subject before us should excite the gratitude of those whose conviction of sin has issued in true conversion. Bless God that you are experimentally acquainted with the language of the text; adore him for his distinguishing grace; and show by all
indeed know the real purity of his character, that you indeed feel the true nature of sin. Though the law has “no condemnation” for
be « in Christ Jesus”—yet as a rule of life it is still binding, and has lost none of its authority. Having driven you to the Savior for salvation, it serves as a rule for
your conduct, and shows you how to order your conversation and to adorn your profession ; how to glorify God and express your gratitude to Christ. You are bound to observe it in every tittle ; to render to it perfect obedience. Love then the law-pay the highest regard to it, and “ delight in it after the inner man.” Such obedience will be a con
stant testimony of your gratitude to God, and of your concern for his glory. If any man pretend to be justified by Christ, to love his name, and to enjoy communion with him, who does not habitually regard his commands, “he is a liar, and the truth is not in him ;" for our Lord says, “ If a man love me, he will keep my words.”
Finally; this subject addresses those who are insensible of their guilt. Remember, sinners, it is the law of God you are contemning; that immutable law which is the transcript of the divine perfections ; that holy law which has broken the hearts of thousands, and driven them to the only citadel of safety, the Lord Jesus Christ. I tell you, upon the authority of him “ who cannot lie,” that you are under the curse of this law; daily, hourly exposed to the infinite wrath of Almighty God. From your childhood you have been in this awful state. The cloud of divine vengeance, big with awful thunder, has long been hovering over you, and nothing but the restraining hand of God's sovereignty has prevented it from suddenly bursting upon you.
But this wonderful forbearance cannot always continue ; the sentence, denounced, may soon be executed: acknowledge then and feel your dreadful guilt, and desert of hell ; acknowledge and feel that in strict justice God never has been under obligation to exercise mercy
There is but one way of escape—the Lord Jesus Christ, who is “ a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest." Guilty as you are, you are invited to this refuge ; an opportunity is now offered for securing pardon and salvation; the uplifted arm of vengeance is suspended; the collected wrath yet waits for a moment. Oh, then, flee to that Redeemer who can save to the uttermost,” Aee quickly, ere the majesty and the justice of the Eternal overtake thee. "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, tarry not in all the plain, lest thou be consumed.”
BY REV. CYRUS YALE,
SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE OF SAVING FAITH.
James ii. 18.— I will show thee my faith by my works. THE mode of instruction here proposed is the philosophical method of scripture. It is to develope the character of faith by the test of experiment. In placing before us this prime Christian grace, the Spirit of inspiration makes little use of abstract terms and formal definition, which the learned as well as “the unlearned and unstable might wrest to their own destruction." As if despairing of success in this way, he takes us directly to the field of battle, where our own eyes may see “ the good fight of faith” in various circumstances; he points to some peculiarly distinguished in the spiritual warfare; shows us their many and brilliant victories ; and thus gives us the most correct and vivid impressions of a genuine faith: he shows us what it is by its works. Adopting the same course, we may notice,
1. SOME OF THE OPERATIONS OF FAITH IN VABIOUS SITUATIONS FITTED TO BRING OUT ITS NATURE ; AND
II. SOME OF ITS LEADING FEATURES AS THUS DEVELOPED.
On the former point, the records of scripture are very ample. They exhibit faith triumphing gloriously over the strongest principles of depraved nature, and resisting alike the allurements and threatenings of a wicked world.
It triumphs over that deep-rooted feeling, the dread of ridicule. For proof, look back and see a man employed in constructing a large vessel, as if he really expected a flood of waters to cover the earth, and drown its guilty inhabitants. He dares to be singular. He takes his right-forward course in the face of public opinion. He spares neither time nor property in an entreprise which draws upon him the laugh of the world. And he prosecutes his purpose for the long period of “one hundred and twenty years." What could have prompted him onward ? The Bible informe
• By faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” more afraid of the coming deluge than of the present sneer of the multitude. He believed God, and so his faith was victorious
Is the love of home and of country powerful ? Does it reign in every heart? Still we see Abraham tearing himself away from home, and kindred, and country, strong as were his attachments. God has promised him “ a better country,” and bidden him depart. He believes the promise -commits himself cheerfully to the divine guidance, and goes forth, he knows not whither. His faith triumphs over the tenderest ties.
Is paternal affection a very influential principle? Is it peculiarly so,
when fixed on an only child, and that the son of old age? Strong as is a parent's love, faith is yet stronger. Look at this same venerable patriarch, as he moves up the mountain with his tenderly beloved Isaac. Look at him, as he calmly builds an altar and places the wood upon it. See him with unshaken firmness bind his son and lay him on the wood. See him stretch forth his hand and take the knife, with full purpose to slay the dear child. God has so commanded--and he dares not refuse. He believes God is able to raise him even from the dead. O how triumphant his faith! If we except the actual sacrifice of an only-begotten Son, some centuries after, by a still more tender Father, where shall we find a scene so sublime !
The love of wealth is another strong principle in man. Persons of every age and rank are seen under its control. Its empire in the world is very broad. It has despotic sway. Yet how complete and glorious the victory which faith has been known to achieve over this passion! My eye fixes at once on Moses, when “ by faith he forsook Egypt,” teeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” It was as if the possessor of an immense fortune were at this day cheerfully to relinquish the whole, that he might the better labor and suffer for Christ, and then go to inherit “ durable riches” in heaven.
And now look at this man of God once more. He was called “ the son of Pharaoh's daughter.” The honor and the power of a prince were his: within his reach, the gay but guilty pleasures of a court.
How then shall we account for his voluntary abandonment of these glittering objects? The love of power alone has often drenched whole kingdoms in blood. In the persons of conquerors and despots what fearful havoc has it made of liberty, property, and life! The love of honor is also a very strong passion by itself. The love of pleasure, too, controls its millions. But here is a man in favorable circumstances to feel in all their force and to gratify these strong propensities of our nature; and yet he gains a complete conquest, not merely over some one of them, but over them all. Yes, by faith Moses obtains an easy and triumphant victory over the combined influence of these four strong principles in human nature--love of money, love of power, love of honor, love of pleasure. He turns from the whole array of earthly allurements to the service of God,—lifting his eye to a brighter crown, to wealth more abundant, and to pleasures more pure and enduring.
Perhaps the strongest principle in our nature is desire of self-preservation, called love of life or dread of death. It seems to be a sort of instinct common to all animals.
But even this has yielded to faith. Yes, the maxim, “ all that a man hath will he give for his life," does not always hold true. To the devoted servant of God there is one thing more dear than life itself-the divine favor. Look at Daniel. With all his love of life, he chooses rather to be cast among the lions than to incur the frown of God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, also, were men of like passions with us: equally capable of horror at the sight of a furnace open to receive them. Yet mark how faith gives them victory. In defiance of the king's wrath, they say meekly, but firmly; “God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king ;" we believe he will. “ But if
not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” With this noble resolve, they surrender to his fury and the flames.
Thus far, we have noticed detached victories on inspired record, which faith has achieved in very unlike circumstances. We turn, now, to a series of triumphs in the case of Paul, which, if not more signal than the preceding, may yet show in a stronger light the long continued operation of this grace. For, in common warfare, the prowess of a soldier is better exhibited in a long, perilous, bloody campaign, than in one or a few battles, however tremendous. No sooner does the proud youth of Tarsus become a disciple of the despised Jesus, than he undervalues the lessons which he has learned in the school of Gamaliel, and renounces without a sigh all his flattering earthly prospects. His lofty mind is at once humble and docile, and he ever afterward finds his delight at the feet of Christ, receiving his instructions as a little child, satisfied with his bare testimony on all subjects above his own comprehension. His late pride of intellect subdued, he is willing to be called “ the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things”-he can even “rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.” Nor can any array of dangers daunt his spirit, or any endurance of sufferings lessen his ardor. From the date of his conversion he goes forth a champion of the cross, in the face of poverty and contempt, authority and threats, imprisonment and death itself. And he goes fearlessly, he is "bold as a lion.” The following summary of evils which he was allowed to suffer in honor of his Master, is from his own pen : “Of the Jews, five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods ; once was I stoned ; thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day have I been in the deep. In journeyings often; in perils of waters; in perils of robbers ; in perils by mine own countrymen; in perils by the heathen; in perils in the city; in perils in the wilderness; in perils in the sea ; in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness; in watchings often; in hunger and thirst; in fastings often; in cold and nakedness." - What a catalogue of sufferings is here! And by what mighty principle was the apostle carried forward through the whole ? How shall we account for the fact that “ he fainted not ?" that in he midst of his sufferings we even hear his songs? He himself has told us : “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the Faith of the Son of God." Yes, it was faith working by love, its “twin sister.” This gave him victory in every
conflict. He had no doubt of the great system of truth, and the unseen realities which God has revealed. He went forward as one who saw and knew these things to be realities. And he therefore knew that all the “light afflictions” he could suffer in the present life were not worthy to be compared with that “ weight of glory” which he had in prospect.
So long as none of his trials could " separate him from the love of Christ,” he was quite willing to endure them all. “ None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus.” He saw his crown, by faith, as clearly as if hung out of heaven, and declared to be his by the immediate voice of God. And he saw, too, how every
affliction would add new splendor to that crown :-he saw it daily brightening,