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man, He admits man, so reconciled, of the evils and wants of the soul, to the high privilege of mental inter- which becomes its relation to Him course and communion with Him, i.e., who knoweth all things, and which they who have attained to the belief could not possibly admit the intrusion that the blood of Christ, as a pro- of another mind. pitiatory victim, blots out human 3. We have the consciousness of transgression, do realize, as the bles- God's providential government and sing consequent on pardon and re- care. Inspired Scripture tells us what conciliation, a friendly approach to God is. The believing acceptance of God, so as to commune with Him in that declaration brings us into direct acts of intelligent worship and in and real intercourse with the Divine prayer. The direction of the mind mind, and then we gradually acquire to God is not an inert, formal, and a distinct and intelligent perception useless service. It is a blessed and of His providential dealings towards satisfying reality. “We have access us; so that those events which to an to God,” says St. Paul, “through unbelieving mind appear to be casual Christ, by one Spirit.” And again, and fortuitous, are clearly traceable we have “boldness to enter into the in their connexion with the state of holiest by the blood of Jesus. By & the soul, with its moral consciousness new and living way, which he hath in the sight of God, and with the seconsecrated for us, through the veil, crets of this intercourse and its requithat is to say, His flesh, let us draw site in prayer. A real Christian can near with a true heart in full assurance thus trace God's dealings with him. of faith.” And this is our actual ex- He can tell when God in His properience if we are Christians, that vidence is restraining, correcting, or prayer is real communion with God. encouraging; we can see a rational When we approach God thus, in His bearing of His appointments upon Son's name, we become sensible that our character, and its defects, weakwe are not occupied about a mere nesses, or excesses; so that the discifigment of the imagination, but that pline of an earthly parent, as adapted we are actually communicating with to what he knows of his child, is not the great God of the universe, the more evident or intelligible than is the benevolent Father of our spirits, and discipline of God's providence to His the Guardian of our interests. And people. He gives, or He withholds, whatever we have seen Jesus Christ just as is good for us. He marks out to be in His life on earth, as merciful the bounds of our habitations. He and gracious, such we regard that raises up, or He brings low; and all mysterious immensity of power, and this has a manifest and interesting wisdom, and goodness, revealed to us connexion with the facts and the through Him. Jesus, the friend of character of our secret intercourse sinners, is the development to us of with God. Whatever we know of the mind of God; and the commu- those secret workings of our mind, nion, therefore, of the believing soul on which no other eye rests but that with God acquires all that openness, of the Eternal, we find the events of unreservedness, and confidence which life falling out in marvellous accordthe benevolence of Jesus inspires; and ance with them, and sometimes the an entire admission and development most extraordinary turnings and interpositions occurring either for our source of his happiness. “Thou art relief, or for our salutary discomfiture my portion, O Lord.” Yes, if we are and disappointment; and in all this, Christians, we have looked with calm we have, without doubting, the hand and rational deliberation on the whole of the unseen Sovereign to whom a range of things; all that the visible gracious access has been given through world numbers; and all in which a Christ.
fertile and brilliant imagination can Such is the christian knowledge of indulge itself; and we have found God; and it is most convincing, so that there is nothing in facts or ficthat he who has it, and honestly and tion which presents such prospects of properly cultivates it, can say, as- solid and satisfying joy, either in the suredly, that he has not followed a next world or in this, as the revelation cunningly devised fable, but, that of our Creator, through Christ Jesus, God, in the glory of His holiness, as a reconciled God. and His mercy in the manifested Even abstractedly considered, this mystery of the human soul's redemp- is wise ; for God, who made and gotion, is the most satisfying reality verns all things, is infinitely superior that he has found. In a world of to everything else, for He has all fleeting changing shadows, this is the things in His hand, and can effectuonly substantial resting-place.
ally overrule them all as seemeth best Then observe, secondly, that there to His godly wisdom. Life and death, is in the Christian an evidence, ac- the whole range of the things of time ceptance, and choice of God, as the or the things of eternity, are wholly true and satisfying choice of the soul. subservient to His bidding. This is Each man has his preferred objects, to essential to the idea of God; therefore which he devotes himself, in the ex- if we have found the knowledge of pectation of deriving happiness from God; if we have a way by which we them. We are formed to seek happi can know Him and devote ourselves ness, rest, fulness; to crave after en- to Him; (and of this there is no quesjoyment. And you will not find a tion, for the Christian's practical exsingle individual who has not his no- perience is convincing ;) then it were tion about it, and who is not practi- madness to do any other than cordically and really devoting himself to ally to devote the soul to His service. something, out of which he thinks he But the Christian's choice is made on can extract the most gratifying por- something more than the mere abtion of good. It is lamentable to stract grounds; it is made on actual think how debased some minds are in experience. For as there is unquesthis respect, and to what mean and tionably an evil bias in the soul, leadmuddy channels they will stoop to ing it powerfully away from God, so it drink. That is not, however, now our has pleased God to disclose Himself, object; we merely make the remark, and to offer Himself to our attention with a view to the fact before us, that in a way peculiarly suited to our as other men have made their choice, needs; and our choice therefore of
-whether wise or foolish, elevating or God for our portion, is founded on the degrading, and likely to be successful experience of the rich suitability and or ruinous,—the Christian has in the practical efficiency of the provision of same way made choice of God as the grace to our wants. We find that God in Christ is able and willing to knowledge of God, the increasing disdeliver us from all the evils by which covery of His love, and the peace, we are oppressed; from sin, and all its and repose, and joy, which He pours melancholy consequences. In the through faith into the soul, we have a midst of change, and uncertainty, and perpetual spring of delight, to which disappointment here, we find present the unbelieving mind is a stranger. repose in the actual sense and assu- And it is as the result of this experirance of the love and favour of God. ence, that a Christian says to God, as And amidst the darkness which na- an act of deliberate choice, “Thou art turally overhangs our lot, and closes my portion, O Lord." in with impenetrable thickness over There is something desolate indeed the grave, we find the knowledge of in the state of a rational creature, God as a reconciled Father opening broken off from intercourse with the to us the vision of eternal realities, Great Being who made him : and such and cheering us with the assured is man in his fallen state. It is a hope of perfect holiness and peace forced and unnatural state; a state of with Him for ever.
punishment, of exile, of alienation. In proportion to the sincerity and The Christian has felt this. His heart ardour of our devotion to the means has yearned for a better country; it of christian knowledge, and of reli- has longed for home. “They seek,” gious experience, these results are says St. Paul, “ a better country, even brought out more distinctly. We go a heavenly.” And having once really with all our guilt, sinfulness, and im- known the happiness of that rest purity, to God, through Christ, and which remaineth for the people of we find that we have in Christ an Ad- God; that gracious, perpetual sabbath vocate with the Father, and in God a of repose upon God's covenanted and sin-pardoning God. We go with all manifested love; he desires this suour sorrows, and trials, and discomfi- premely; and whatever either delusive tures, to Him, and we find that He is imagination or corrupt nature may able to deliver, and will deliver; that put into the opposite scale, cannot if we cast our burden upon the Lord, weigh against it. “Whom have I in He will sustain us; that if we commit heaven but Thee? and there is none our way unto the Lord, He will direct upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” our path. We go to Him when the This is the true language of the fear of death has fallen upon us, and awakened and enlightened heart ; a horrible dread hath overwhelmed and though there may be struggles, us; when nature recoils from dissolu- and difficulties, and conflicts, and oction, and from the sleep and corrup- casional failures and inconsistencies, tion of the body under the sod; and yet when God has spoken in the heart, we find that He is able to deliver us the choice is made. The language of from our fears, and to cheer us with a David is the language of every true hope full of immortality,-a hope that believer's heart: “I cried unto the entereth into that within the vail. We Lord; I said thou art my refuge and go to Him under the practical con- my portion in the land of the living." viction that earth is too scanty to It is a real preference of the knowmeet and satisfy the natural cravings ledge, love, and worship of God, to of the soul, and in the increasing everything else, expressed sincerely to God, in communion with Him, and take again the submissive portion of a openly and unreservedly expressed helpless and dependent creature, and before men; and being not a mere to take God for his portion. And this pretence, or a scenic exhibition got change, which we state hypothetically up for effect, but the deep-seated con- in his case, because we do not know viction of the soul, in that solitary his history, must be a reality in every depth fathomed only by God, and one of us, who is brought, through the where there is no hypocrisy. . revelation of God's redeeming mercy
Then, thirdly, notice the effect pro- in Christ Jesus, again submissively to duced on the character and conduct. acknowledge that our happiness is in Such a deliberate and hearty choice God, and not in ourselves. This is of God as the portion of the soul, ne- the crisis of the fate of the human cessarily has a powerful and manifest soul, the end of its wanderings; like influence. Whatever choice we make the dove, it has returned to the ark. of an object to which we look for hap One manifest effect, therefore, of piness,—whether it be fame and noto this choice is, the termination of all riety, wealth, or sensual pleasure, or that restlessness, which arises out of any mixture of these different ingre- the unsatisfied cravings of a selfish dients in any walk of life,-it colours nature. Look through the world, and and influences the whole of a man's you find the great mass of men all doings. And so it is with the chosen restlessly on the move, seeking for of God. If we have really truly felt something, but they hardly know that the enjoyment of God, both here what. This world is not their rest, and hereafter, is the essence of true but they are trying to make it so. happiness; and that for this every They are seeking their own honour thing else should be held subservient, and aggrandizement, and not the and nothing admitted to occupy the honour that cometh from God. Let attention that is found practically to us look into our own hearts, in their interfere with this one great object; natural propensities and workings, then it cannot be, but that all those and we will find the same thing there. habits in which we formerly indulged, But if we have exchanged a finite for when God was unknown and disre- an infinite object; if we have turned garded, must undergo a very material from self and from vanity, to Him, change. If Adam had always felt the who has a Maker's, and a Monarch's, will of God supremely valuable, he and a Father's, and a Redeemer's never would have declined to his own, claim to the heart; then this restlessand criminally set up his independent ness subsides; the wicked and trouauthority; and if, after he rebelled, bled waters of human passion become he was mercifully led again to see the still; we have found One on whom infinite goodness of God, and the ne- the soul can repose with confidence; cessary dependence of His creature on whose fulness it can feed without on Him for happiness, then that satiety, and in whose excellencies it haughty and miserable independence may delight without excess. which he had sought to establish, The calm and quiet of the christian would have given way, and, renounc- mind, is one of the characteristic feaing the impious thought of being a tures of a sound, and safe, and sancGod himself, he would be content to tifying orthodoxy. The religion that leaves a man as restless and as self- saved. But we must not deceive ourseeking as it found him, has some de- selves; God is not our portion, unless fect in it. It is cankered at the root. goodness becomes our element. We
Another effect of this choice is, the do not love Him, nor prefer Him, diligent and steady seeking for the whose will we habitually contradict. increasing manifestation of God's The Psalmist says, “Thou art my favour. It is the peaceful discovery portion, O Lord : I have said that I of God to the mind, that is now its would keep thy words. . .. I thought happiness; and this may be commu- on my ways, and turned my feet unto nicated to an inconceivable, to an thy testimonies. I made haste, and infinite extent. For this commu- delayed not to keep thy commandnion, as superior to all other bless- ments. . .. I am a companion of all ings, , the soul waits and pleads. them that fear thee.” Now here are The writer of the psalm says, “I the natural and legitimate evidences entreated thy favour with my whole of a preference; we can understand heart; be merciful unto me, ac- in such a case the sincerity of such a cording to thy word.” And such declaration, “Thou art my portion.” must be the Christian's habit; he God is not a mere name, nor a mere cannot, in his present contracted dispenser of privilege, but a ruling experience, amidst the shadows of a power ;-ruling in holiness, searching life of faith, know all that he would the heart and trying the reins, and wish to know of infinite goodness, or making His creature's happiness to enjoy all that nearness of communion run parallel with his duty; and all the with the source of blessing that he richest mercy of His system of rehas learned to desire. If, therefore, demption, is the agency by which He God is our portion, then, as far as we raises the degraded sinner to holiness have realized it, we are enjoying it again, and, restraining all the excesnow, and finding subordinate happi- sive tendencies which sprung into ness in friendly and filial intercourse being at his first rebellion, sets him with Him. And, besides this, as the free again to serve with all filial affecson, while he is under tutors and go- tion his compassionate and redeeming vernors, looks forward to the full ad- Lord. Whatever some may say, mission to the privileges of the inhe- therefore, of the anti-evangelical leritance, so do we calculate upon a gality of evidences, and the darkening time of far more elevated enjoyment: effect of looking for fruits, rest aswe wait for the full “manifestation of sured that the visible results of a sinthe sons of God," the redemption of cere profession that God is our porthe body, and the complete emanci- tion, will be found in the subduing of pation of the soul.
the feverish restlessness of our proud And a third effect of this choice is, and selfish hearts; in the habitual an effectual struggle for obedience. yearning after nearer intercourse with If God is my portion, obedience is my God, and in the strenuous and victodelight. There is a great deal of mo- rious endeavour to do His will. dern theology, which aims at drown- Let us then apply these statements ing these two ideas, and allowing the to our individual case. Every man professing Christian the privilege to must judge for himself. If you make sin, as well as the privilege to be a christian profession, then you say,