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gurgeon came, Mr. Evans asked him in Christ, I am heaven and salvation." earnestly when he thought he might be He added, in a joyous strain, four lines able to commence his work again. of a Welsh hymn; then, waving his About two o'clock the next morning, hand, he said in English, “Good bye ! Mr. Davies and Mr. Hughes were called drive on!” and sunk into a calm sleep, to him. He thanked the former for the awaking no more. This was on Thurskind attention paid by him and Mrs. day morning, July 19th, 1838. Thus Davies; and then said, “I am leaving died, full of years, labours, and honours, you; I have been labouring in the and on the high places of the field, sanctuary for fifty-three years, and my Christmas Evans,-a prince in Israel, a confidence and consolation, at this crisis, captain of the hosts of the living God. is, that I have not laboured without He had fought a good fight, had finished blood in the vessel. Preach Christ to the his course, and had kept the faith : people, brethren. Look at me in myself, henceforth he rests from his labours, I am nothing but ruin ; but look at me and his works do follow him.
ON THE BEATITUDES.
BY THE REV. J. J. DAVIES.
Having in a former paper noticed | inquire, where is it? who will show it some of the circumstances connected to us? or who will point out the path with the delivery of the sermon on the which leads to it? There are but few mount, we propose now to offer a few who say, “I have found it.” The progeneral observations on that part of the mises of the various systems of philosermon which contains the beatitudes. sophy and religion which have obtained
1. Our Lord commences this discourse amongst men, and have professed to by directing us to the path of bliss. solve the problem how man may be His first word is “blessed.” How happy, have proved delusive; they characteristic of the Redeemer, and have been found miserable comforters ; how expressive of the nature and object bruised reeds which could afford no of his mission! Happiness is the first and support ; clouds without rain, excitgreat desire of the human mind. And man ing expectations which were doomed was evidently made for happiness. This only to be disappointed; broken cisdesire is an instinct of his nature; and terns, which could hold no water ; it cannot be supposed that God has not painted fires, which could yield no provided means for the gratification of warmth. The world was as wretched those desires of which he is himself the when Jesus appeared in it as it had author. This were to suppose that he ever been. Though many nations had had not provided for the accomplish- attained to the highest pinnacle of power, ment of his own purposes. Man, there and to the utmost refinements of civilfore, may be happy ;-he ought to be ization, they were, generally, as far happy ;-this is one great end for which from happiness as the most barbarous he was made; and the universe abounds or degraded of their neighbours. It in means for the attainment of it. And was necessary, therefore, that the Divine yet, alas! how rare an attainment is Teacher should point out to men the happiness in this world! How many path of bliss; and though there were
many in his day who professed to teach unto you that are full, for ye shall men how they might be happy, it was hunger; woe unto you that laugh, for not the less necessary for him to show ye shall mourn and weep;"—while these the more excellent way. He accordingly plaintive and solemn tones are yet in commences this discourse, which may, our ears, we say, "Would that I were perhaps, be regarded as a specimen of rich ! Would that I had enough of this his mode of teaching during this period world's good! I should then be happy!" of his ministry, by declaring to us who The poor, the mourners, the meek, the are blessed, and by showing us how real persecuted, whom our Lord pronounces blessedness may be attained.
blessed, his professed disciples too often 2. The path of bliss pointed out to us despise. by our Lord differs essentially from We are much the creatures of sense. those paths which men in general have We are prone to place our happiness in pursued, and in which they have ex- the state of things without us; to seek it pected, but in vain, to find happiness. in circumstances of ease, prosperity, and The principles inculcated by the Re- splendour; and we are almost sure to prodeemer in this discourse are diametri- nounce those who are placed in such a cally opposed to the maxims and habits position-happy. Of him who, without of the world. The ideas which then any intellectual worth or moral excelprevailed, not only amongst the Gentiles, lence, attains to affluence, and rank, and but also amongst the Jews, were such power, we are ready to exclaim, What a that when our Lord first delivered this fortunate, what a happy man! We discourse his hearers must necessarily seem to think it impossible that he can have been astonished; they must have felt be wretched. But Jesus pronounces a that this was altogether a new doctrine. different judgment; he makes happiNo preceding teacher had anticipated ness to depend, not on the state of him in any of his views; and yet every things without us, but on the state of man whose heart was not thoroughly things within us; he bids us look for it, corrupted must have been conscious of not in the material and the outward, something in himself that responded to but in the inward and the spiritual; it them all. And to this day they ap- is to be found, not in the circumstances prove themselves to our inner man as in which we are placed, but in the spirit the true sayings of God. And yet, alas ! of the mind, the state of the heart; and how far we
are from realizing the the spirit which he pronounces blessed instructions of our Lord ! Even now, is the opposite of that which, for the most in this professedly Christian land, and part, is cherished, inculcated, and aptowards the middle of the nineteenth cen- plauded in the world. We commend, at tury, not only infidels and pagans, but least practically, the proud, the haughty, the professed disciples of the meek and the imperious; we call him who is quick lowly Jesus, pronounce the rich, the to suspect and impatient to resent an prosperous, the great, happy. These are injury, a man of spirit. But Jesus the men whom we at once admire and pronounces the poor in spirit, the envy; whose smiles we court and whose mourners, the meek, the peace-makers, circumstances we covet. The men on happy; and he is right. Such have whom Jesus pronounces woes we pro- ever been the dictates of true wisdom : nounce blessed. Even while the plain -“ He that is slow to anger is better? tive and solemn tones in which he said, in every sense, better, wiser, happier“Woe unto you that are rich; for ye "than the mighty; and he that ruleth have received your consolation ; woe his spirit than he that taketh a city."
3. Our Lord, in this discourse, con- tion. But we often witness them in nects happiness with the possession of a higher degree in some domestic separate virtues and graces ; but we animals than we do in men. Without are not to suppose from this that if being justly liable to the charge of miswe cultivate one of these we may anthropy, some men calculate far more safely neglect the rest. In the faith confidently on the fidelity of a favourite which worketh by love, and which is dog than on that of the most attached their grand characteristicas Chris- of their friends. How numerous and tians, the truly blessed ones, possess touching are the instances of gratithe germ of all the virtues and the root tude to his benefactors, of gentleof all consolation and joy. From this ness and forbearance under wrong, of primal root grow all the flowers of faithfulness to his master, of disinterparadise with their sweet fragrance and ested devotion to his human friend, their beauteous hues, and all the fruits even to the willing sacrifice of life, of the Spirit which have ever adorned which have been recorded of that the Christian character.
humble animal! These are excellent Through constitutional tendency, or points, but in the absence of real exthe influence of education and mental cellence; these are virtues if you please, discipline, an individual may possess but without the root, the principle of all some virtues in a state of high cultiva- moral worth. The possession of this is tion, while, at the same time, he is the grand peculiarity of a moral agent, altogether destitute of others which are the characteristic of a holy being. no less necessary to the formation of Religion is a complete whole. In the a noble and perfect character. He may true Christian you have the fundamental have large benevolence without con- principle of universal excellence. In scientiousness; or he may have strict him you have the root of all the virtues, integrity without generosity and kind- the stem out of which all the graces of ness. Nay, he may even have some the spirit grow: his mind is in harmony virtues in close connexion with degrad- with the mind of God. As a Christian ing vices and immoralities ; he may grace, no man can possess one excellence have much kindness and generosity, and be entirely destitute of others; he and, at the same time, be the slave of must, by the very constitution of his intemperance and licentiousness. In renewed mind, be in sympathy with all this case, we say, he may have many that is good. Not that there is perfect good qualities, but he has not real good- uniformity of character amongst Chrisness; he may have many excellent tians. There may be uniformity amongst points, but he is destitute of real ex- the things that are dead; but life asserts cellence. He lives in the lower region its own claims, and amongst the living of the instincts; he does not rise to the there must be individuality. As in the eminence of pure morality and real worth. apostolic age there were diversities of He may be compared with brutes, he gifts, all proceeding from the same Spirit can be contrasted only with holy beings. and tending to the same end, so there Yea, and when compared with some of have ever been varieties in the graces the inferior orders of creation he does by which holy men have been disnot appear to any great advantage. tinguished. Thus Abraham was emiDoes he speak of gratitude, gentleness, nent for faith ; Moses for meekness; generosity, faithfulness, disinterested Job for patience ; David and Elijah for devotion ? These are virtues ; and we zeal; John for love ; Peter for boldness; can never witness them without admira- Paul for self-denying, untiring devoted
YOL, X.-FOURTII SERIES.
ness. Such diversities are seen every well-being is evermore that of wellday. They have their foundation in the doing. The privileges conferred on nature of man ; nay, perhaps even in Christians in the gospel are many and created nature ; and they may therefore great, and he cannot be indifferent to exist in a better world. But no man, them. He ought to be concerned to whose heart is right with God, can be realize his interest in Jesus Christ ; for altogether destitute of any Christian it is only as we are one with him that grace. Not one of the characteristics the immunities and privileges of the mentioned in the beatitudes can be kingdom of God are ours. A weight of wanting in the true Christian ; they are anxiety must ever be pressing upon him not only closely connected, but one until he can say, “I know in whom I grows out of the other in the order have trusted, and am persuaded that he observed by our Lord. The poor in is able to keep that which I have comspirit will necessarily mourn on account mitted unto him against that day." of sin ; the mourner will be meek; the But the Christian's happiest moments meek will hunger and thirst after are those in which he most entirely loses righteousness; and so of the rest. The sight of himself and his own interests ; great design of the gospel with reference when his soul is led out after God; to man is not to develop in him one when he contemplates the beauty of particular excellence; no, nor yet to holiness, the infinite perfection of the develop in him any particular excel- divine character, the boundless love of lences; it is rather to form in the human God in the gift of Jesus Christ, and the heart the germ of universal excellence, provision which he has made for the to mould the human character after the welfare of his children. The true inimage of God, to "form Christ in us” so terest of the Christian lies in attaching that we may grow up into his likeness himself to the idea of duty, of right, of in all things. He is scarcely a Christian doing the will of God from love. Let us who does not prize, and is not in seek our recompence in our work. We sympathy with, every Christian virtue. shall find that “in keeping the com
4. In the cultivation of the virtues mandments there is great reward.” We and graces mentioned by our Lord, the shall experience often ineffable delight Christian is far from being influenced in doing the will of our Father in by selfish considerations or mercenary heaven ; and even when the path of motives. He does not perform the ser- duty is most steep and rugged, when it vice for the reward; he does not culti- is covered with thorns and surrounded vate the graces of the Spirit for the re- by dangers, and we have heavy crosses compence which he hopes to receive either to bear,—even then we shall find that here or hereafter; he cultivates them the path of duty is the path of safety, for themselves, because they are good that he who walketh uprightly walketh and beautiful, and because it is the surely. And in proportion as weenter into will of God that he should do so. the true spirit of the gospel, our hearts I do not mean to intimate that the are so affected towards God that there Christian is indifferent to his happi- is no peace for us but in doing his ness, or that he is required to have no will. regard to his highest and best interests; The Christian who attaches himself far from it; and the benevolence of God most fully to the idea of duty is far is clearly seen in this, that, upon the from thinking of meriting the favour of whole, obedience and happiness are God, of purchasing or deserving the found to be inseparable ; the way of kingdom of heaven. There is one only
ground of a sinner's acceptance with are manifest the children of God and the God-the obedience unto death of the children of the devil.” They are manifest Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is ours to themselves and to each other, as well only as we are Christ's.
We have as to God. There are satisfactory evieternal life when we have him. This dences of vital piety. The apostles were is the record, that God hath given to us not dubious as to their piety ; they eternal life, and this life is in his Son ; knew in whom they had trusted; and be that hath the Son hath life ; he that this knowledge they had, not as inhath not the Son of God hath not life.” spired, but as believing, as spiritually And we become one with the Son of God enlightened men. Thus we read in the by faith. By faith in him we are writings of St. John :-“ Hereby we " justified from all things from which know that we do know him ; hereby we he could not be justified by the law of know that we are in him; hereby we Moses.” And the faith which justifies know that we are of the truth.” How is a living, operative principle; it is its do we know this ? It is a matter of invery nature to work, and it ever works ward consciousness. Yes; but you
know by love. The true Christian sees and it not by inward consciousness, apart admires the beauty of holiness, and it is from the outward manifestation of the in accordance with the tendencies of his spiritual life. The goodness of the vine new nature to follow hard after it. is its fruit; without this you have no
5. Our Lord teaches us in this dis- proof that it is good; nay, without this course the eminently practical and ex- there is no goodness in it; it is fit only to perimental nature of true religion. How be cut down and to be cast into the fire. many are making the inquiry, in these Thus the apostle says, most beautifully; days, What is religion? Where is it to “ Hereby we do know that we know be found ? What would they not give him, if we keep his commandments. He to be assured on this subject ! But that keepeth his word, in him verily is what authority on such a subject can the love of God perfected.” The love equal that of Jesus Christ ? What can of God discovers its reality in him; it be desired in addition to his sure word? has attained to the perfection of its He taught the way of God in truth ; being in him; in him it is perfect in its and in this discourse he tells us what kind. The tree is perfect, not in the true religion really is; what that religion bud or in the branches, not in the leaves is which, as the universal Judge, he will or in the flowers, but in the fruit. It is recognize at the last day. True religion even so with the Christian. As the vine is something to be done, and something is perfect when it is covered with rich to be understood and felt. It consists and ripe clusters, so is the love of God not in any ceremonial observances, or in the Christian perfected when he in any of the proprieties of outward keeps the word of God. The tree is for conduct, but in a right state of the mind the fruit; it has answered the end for and of the heart, leading to integrity which it was planted and pruned, and and purity of life. Religion is not an cultivated, when it brings forth good outward form, but an inward life; it is fruit. And the knowledge and the love "the life of God in the soul of man.' of God in man have attained their end All the beatitudes are expressive of when he brings forth the fruit of holistates of mind; and, for the most part, ness into eternal life. The true measure of states of mind only. But wherever of a man's worth is not what he knows, there is the inward life, there is always or thinks, or feels, or professes, but the outward manifestation of it. “Herein what he does for God and for the world.