« EelmineJätka »
Adam, a strong inclination, not to righteousness, but to sin. Not one of us hath, from the beginning, a mind to believe in God, and to keep His commandments, in the face of trials and temptations; on the contrary, our natural way is to put them aside, at every call of worldly gain or pleasure, and to do even what we lust. Clearly, therefore, all the children of Adam who are thus born, after the likeness of his corrupt nature, “ of the will of the flesh, and of - the will of man," must either repent, or perish. Who that goes hence with such his natural mind unchanged, and with all the transgressions, into which, under the most favourable circumstances, it must have led him, on his head, can hope by any means to stand in the judgment? The matter is undeniably plain, provided only we will put our thoughts to it, that repentance is indispensable to fallen man. Originally, the corruption that is in the world through lust, hath dominion over the whole human race unto destruction; none, then,-not a single individual of our race-may justly look to obtain salvation, except by breaking this yoke from off his neck, and further, by being changed, transformed, and renewed, so that the will of God through Jesus Christ shall become the governing principle of his life. Consider, accordingly, my brethren, and repent. Some perhaps have already, in a good measure, done this-have been doing it almost daily from their youth, or have more lately taken it in hand; they will know of their own selves what has been taught--that repentance is an inward change, necessary to all who would be accepted with God—and will determine, by the same grace which has begun the good work in them, to go on with, and effectually perform it. Aware of the infection yet remaining in their nature, they will never cease to maintain habits of watchfulness and self-correction, that they may proceed from strength to strength, instead of drawing back unto perdition. But the more part, it is to be feared, have not repented hitherto, nor have been at any pains to walk worthy of their Christian calling. Unto such, be it finally declared, “ Behold, now is the ac“ cepted time!” Behold, as yet the Lord is waiting to be gracious. However, “ if a man will “ not turn, He will whet His sword; He hath “ bent His bow, and made it ready” against all who are disposed to trifle with His mercy.
In the parable directly following the text, only one year more was allowed to the unfruitful figtree; and there are numerous examples of the impenitent, who would not be reconciled, while they might, unto God, perishing suddenly by
a fearful end. Within a few short years or months, every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, may be hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Luke vij. 35.
But wisdom is justified of all her children. THIS remark is not of the plainest kind, and taken by itself may seem hard to be understood. When connected, however, with what Jesus had just before been saying, it will probably appear in a more intelligible light. A short review of the preceding verses may enable us, without much difficulty, to apprehend it. And having been thus introduced, it will serve to suggest a few suitable reflections on the leading views and principles, which we should be ready to adopt, and walk by, in the world.
Be it remembered, then, that an arrival of some messengers from John the Baptist, who was at that time in prison, had put our Lord on speaking with the people about the personal habits and character of that holy man; and He had thence proceeded to affirm his high commission, declaring that there had been no greater merely human prophet. Yet, though both
John and Jesus were from God, or certainly commissioned by Him, the great body of the Jews rejected both, assigning, for a reason, their respective modes of conduct. But these differed from each other; for Jesus lived not after the manner of John, upon locusts and wild honey in the wilderness, nor did He, to the best of our information, afflict His flesh with raiment of camel's hair. Accordingly, their reason was no better than a false pretence. The same people found fault with John for fasting, and with Jesus for not fasting; with John, because he lived apart from the world, and with Jesus, because He frequented it's society. So here was an undeniable proof of their insincerity, and that they were keeping back their true reason, as one too shameful to be advanced. This we may justly suppose to have been, a strong dislike of the doctrine according to godliness, that all men should straightway repent, and be converted, proclaimed almost indifferently by both. Nevertheless, Jesus chose, on the present occasion, rather to take them at their word, than to lay bare and expose their dishonesty. Instead of reproving them, as men in malice, He derided them as babes in understanding—as children, too unreasonable and perverse to know their own minds, or to be wrought upon by any note of