Page images

as all their salvation. Consciousness of guilt, they must be assured, will ever pain them, sensible as they are now become of the great extent of their duty, so long as they expect peace of conscience from personal holiness, not from Christ's obedience, which has magnified the law, vanquished satan, and redeemed the church, to the great glory of God, through all eternity. They must be directed tó consider with great attention and prayer, the scriptures, designed to overthrow the pillars of self-righteousness, and to bring all flesh upon upon an absolute level in point of justification before God....and when the utter impossibility of obtaining true peace of conscience towards him by personal obedience is perceived, they will begin sincerely to apply to the great Physician, the merciful Healer, whose office, pleasure, and glory it is, "to bind up them that are broken in heart, and give liberty to them that are bruised."

Generally speaking, these things are new to persons troubled in conscience, at least point out a way of relief, which has not been tried by them, and which upon trial is sure to succeed to the establishment of their souls in comfort.

I have often seen the worst consequences follow from giving any other advice to persons labouring to get peace by personal obe

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

dience, and the most pleasing ones in every case from confession of sinfulness, and reliance on the blood of Christ to cleanse from all unrighteousness.




A SECOND enemy, into whose hand's we are fallen, is satan. For though many affect to treat the agency, and even existence of this execrable spirit with derision, yet the scripture, from the beginning to the close of man's eventful history, speaks much and awfully of both. Not to admit these passages as full proof, is to make the bible itself contemptible for the violent absurdity of its phrases.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Leaving, therefore, these modern Sadducèes, if they will, to sport themselves with their own deceivings, let us attend to the oracles of God, and understand from them what have been, and still are the wiles and malicious activity practised against man by that old serpent, the devil. If we inquire of the Word of God who seduced our first parents, robbing them of their original righteousness, and paradise? Who afterwards debauched their posterity to prostitute them

selves to idols, over the face of the whole earth; to shed in sacrifice before them rivers of human blood? Who dared repeatedly to attack in person our incarnate God, instigated Judas to betray, the Jews to crucify him, and after his ascension to persecute unto death his members? To each of these questions the oracles of God reply....satan did it all....Who, for thus practising upon the children of men, to their eternal ruin, is branded with the names of tempter, deceiver, liar, accuser, and murderer, and charged with "going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Though these detestable names and qualities belong to him, he is nevertheless "the prince and god of this world, working in the children of dişobedience, to do the lusts of him their father;" who, for this reason, are called "children of the wicked one," and doomed to suffer for their sins in that world of woe, “prepared for the devil and his angels."

only full is the account in holy writ, not

only of his existence, but his empire over us, his activity, and too successful malice in completing the misery of man.

[ocr errors]

*De Solis, in his history of the conquest of Mexico,tells us, that the Indians sacrificed in that city every year, twenty thousand lives to their accursed idol.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

As an accuser, and adversary, he impeaches the people of God of high crimes against the law, urging from thence the necessity of their condemnation, as rebels with himself. To invalidate this claim, Christ expired, "blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances, which was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross....By this very act spoiling principalities and powers of their grand plea against his people, and making a shew of them openly; (as thus defeated in their malicious accusation,) triumphing over them in it," Col. ii. 14, 15.

[ocr errors]

The prophet's vision beautifully exemplifies this interesting truth; "He shewed me," saith Zechariah, Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord (i. e. Christ) and satan standing (as the accuser in Jewish courts of judicature was wont to do) at his right hand. And the Lord said unto. satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O satan, even the Lord who hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel, as a person accused and charged with sin. And he (the Lord) answered and spake unto those who stood before him, Take away the filthy

garments from him....and unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment," Zech. iii, 1, 4.

What is represented so forcibly in this vision, as the way of delivering Joshua the high priest from Satan's malicious arraignment, is expressly declared to be the way in which all the ransomed of the Lord are saved Their adversary, the accuser of the brethren, follows them, as it were, into the court of judgment, where, to his everlasting confusion, he hears this challenge proclaimed in their behalf, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? to prosecute them at his bar, as guilty? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us," Rom. viii. 33, 34.

But satan seeks our destruction, not only by impeaching us of high crimes against the law, and honour, and majesty of God, but by various subtle temptations, practising upon us to this moment, as he did at first upon our original parents. Trace the wiles by which he prevailed over them. Did he not beguile Eve to imagine that God would not avenge their impious offence, and that death

« EelmineJätka »