« PreviousContinue »
in all the essential parts of human character and conduct. From it we may each of us form some determinate opinion concerning ourselves. There is a false Christianity prevalent, which, like adulterated corn, may impose upon the unwary and thoughtless, but cannot stand the test of Scripture. We ought to beware that our Christianity be not of this kind, for then we are ruined. Let no one be misled by the opinion of men. One is our Master, that is, Christ. Consult his word; read it with care; examine it for
yourselves, by the aid of his Spirit. Bring every sentiment of your own and others; the principles of every book that you read, and every sermon that you hear, to this test. Try by it also your conduct. Do you, in the sense explained, dwell alone ? not reckoned with the world ? Are your
life and conversation Christian? This is to be something more than moral.
A Christian life includes all moral duties, but, beyond them, reaches after perfection. A Christian life is the commencement, the first beginning of the life of God to be consummated in heaven.
If it be something more than merely a
upon earth, moral life, it unquestionably is more than an immoral life. Such a life is hostile to faith. An immoral man can be no Christian. What shall we say, then, of those professing believers, who not only are always like the world, but, in many respects, outstrip the men of the world in worldly conduct ? But especially what shall we say of those who give the enemies of religion occasion to blaspheme, by reason of their sins ? We must say of all these as the apostle did weeping, that they are “ enemies of the cross 6 of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose “god is their belly, and whose glory is in “ their shame, who mind earthly things.”
Professors of the Lord Jesus! beware that these things be not said of you. You are Christians in name : be so in deed likewise. You stand on an eminence, like a city built on a hill : hide not then yourselves amidst the pollutions of sinners. You are lights in the world: obscure not your shining by the vapours and mists of corruption. Always display a pre-eminence in virtue and holiness, worthy of your vocation. Always let your light shine before others, that they,
Phil. iii. 18, 19.
seeing your good works, may glorify God. Although here
dwell alone, and are not reckoned
the nations, you will, if you are faithful unto death, be admitted to the thousands of Israel, in the City aboveto the kindreds, people, and nations, who dwell there, and with them shall be happy for ever.
THE NATURE AND CONSEQUENCES
OF SPIRITUAL IDOLATRY,
HOSEA IV. 17.
Ephraim is joined to idols ; let him alone.
THE ten tribes of Israel are here called Ephraim, not only because this was a principal one among them in numbers and courage,
but also because it gave birth to a number of their kings, and contained in its boundaries, Tirzah and Samaria, successively their seats of government. They revolted from their allegiance to the house of David, under Rehoboam, and erected themselves into an independent kingdom, under
go to Je
SER. VI.] THE NATURE AND CONSEQUENCES, &c. 147 Jeroboam the son of Nebat. The character given of this man in Scripture is pre-eminently infamous. He did evil aboye all that were before him ; for he “ took counsel, and “ made two calves of gold, and said unto” the people, 6. It is too much for
to “ rusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee
out of the land of Egypt. “And he set the one in Bethel, and the other “ put he in Dan. And this thing,” saith the sacred historian, “ became a sin : for the
people went to worship before the one,
even unto Dana.” . Thus he did sin, and caused Israel to sin. Being a self-willed, rebellious people, they readily fell in with his views, and became idolaters like unto the heathen around them.
Against such conduct they had been admonished to guard themselves, under the penalty of Jehovah's hottest displeasure. No one sin is so frequently and unequivocally forbidden in Scripture, as that of idolatry. It is “ saying to a stock, Thou art my
father, and to a stone, Thou hast brought
me forth.” It is ascribing that glory of praise to perishing vanities, which is due
a 1 Kings xii. 28–30.