Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the conclusion to which these premises must lead)—consequently if there were in the world one perfect Christian, one man who had already attained, had already reached the fulness of the stature of Christ, that man would be above the power of temptation, he would never know grief. But there is no man living thus perfect, there is no man living that sinneth not; therefore there is no man living that suffereth not. Would we ascertain, however, how far we have advanced, what progress we have made towards perfectionwe have only to inquire to what extent temptations and trials affect us.

With regard to the former-temptations -how common a thing is it to hear the strength of them pleaded as an excuse for yielding to them ?-how common a thing is it for the man who has not even struck a single blow—who has not made one single effort for victory, to complain of the hopeless inequality of the contest ?We have heard of the weakness of human nature, and a very convenient plea it forms for every offence we may commit. But is it a valid plea--an available excuse ?--And if so, to whom is it available ? Perhaps to the heathen—perhaps to the Deist-certainly not to the Christian. It cannot be advanced until the grand doctrine of Christianity has been denied, the doctrine of redemption. Remember my brethren, how much is included in that word. We have been redeemed not only from the penalty of sin, but from the power of sin; and we cannot be too often reminded of this. Christ overcame the world, and by that victory sin lost his dominion over our mortal bodies. By that victory, the divine power hath given us (to use the words of St. Peter) “ all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust?.”

[blocks in formation]

A man may talk, therefore, as long or as learnedly as he pleases about the depravity of human nature-he may show the particular points on which temptation is strong, and man, by his very constitution weak to resist-but will he have advanced one step towards establishing an excuse for defeat ?--Surely not, because he has not yet spoken of the power by whom the battle is to be fought.-Such excuses might be very admissible, if Christ had not died for us

-if the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, had not come unto us. But what does it now matter, whether human nature be weak or strong, if it is not man but God who worketh ? if man has died unto sin with Christ, and with Christ been raised again unto righteousness !-How can he talk any longer of weakness, whose privilege it is to exclaim, “ I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me!.”

Do we find temptation strong then, my brethren ?—Let this remind us, not

1 Phil. iv. 13.

that our nature, but that our faith is weak. In some way or other, we have fallen away from him, who hath overcome the world, and by abiding in whom we also should have had strength to have victory.

Our vigilance has been remitted-our diligence been allowed to slacken. We have been neglecting some of the means of grace, and in consequence, the wonted supplies of grace have been withheld. For the Father himself loveth us, and had we continued to ask him, all things necessary to our continuance and growth in godliness, would have been imparted.-Not that in any case, however, we must expect to advance so far as to be altogether proof against temptation. Could we accomplish this, our existence upon earth would no longer be a state of probation.

It would be a perfect, not an imperfect-a mature, not an infant condition. But the nearer we approach to maturity, the more intimate our communion with Jesus—the less perilous, and the less frequent will be the attacks of the Tempter.

In like manner, the sorrows and afflictions of life may be used as tests of our religious condition. “ These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation—but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”—There can be no question but that every word of this passage is strictly true. But how much of it, do we feel to be so ? How many among us can say, with truth, that whatever tribulation the world may bring, even in the very midst of it they can find rest and peace in the Gospel ?– Very different is the language of the generality of men. Their description of human existence includes every phrase and figure, which can express misery, and suffering, and woe. And neither rest or peace, is anywhere to be found in it. Yet Christ has explicitly and repeatedly promised both, to all who truly turn to him. What must we conclude therefore ?-« Let God be true and every man a liar '."—We must

1 Rom. iii. 4.

« EelmineJätka »