Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

as a magnificent but Utopian enterprise of enthusiastic spiritual knight-errantry, and not as the destined purpose of God the Father, secured by covenant to God the Son, and carried into effect by the mighty power of God the Holy Spirit. And the accomplishment of this decree and will of God is considered as a consummation which only the will and power of God miraculously employed can ever effect, and not as a result to be accomplished by Zion, on which Christ's throne is established; in which he reigns; of which he is the head; in which he dwells by his Spirit and presence; to which he has given the gospel, and the commission to go and preach it to every creature; and with which in the prosecution of this agency, and only in so doing, he promises to be always, to the end of the world.

The truth then is, that every man must be a subject of this kingdom of Christ, or perish with his enemies, and that every man who is a member of the kingdom of Christ is required by the decree and will of God to offer prayer continually that this kingdom may come, until the heathen shall be given to Christ for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. In other words the will of every Christian must be the will of God. The great end and object of his life must be the decreed purpose of God. That on which God has set his heart must engross the heart of the Christian. That for which Christ died and rose again, the Christian must live and die to accomplish. That for which the Father loves the Son, and by which the Spirit glorifies the Son, every Christian must love and count his glory.

FAITH IN GOD'S WILL TO CONVERT THE HEATHEN WILL

LEAD TO OBEDIENCE. WHERE THERE IS NOT OBEDIENCE, THERE IS NOT FAITH.

Faith in God's will, which is the spirit of piety, is therefore the spirit of missions. Obedience to God's will, which is the life of piety, is the life of missions. And missions are just as truly the very spirit and life of piety, and the unbelief and disobedience

which are the destruction of missions, are at the same time the destruction of piety.

“Sit thou here," is the will of God to the exalted Redeemer, who having finished his work of redemption is now for ever set down at God's right hand. "Sit thou here till I make all thine enemies thy footstool.” This is a renewal in heaven of the decree declared on earth, another seal affixed to it, and a standing evidence that it is immutably certain that Christ shall reign until, through the agency of his church and people, every enemy has been subdued, and his gospel has been preached as a witness unto all nations.

Thy walls are strength, and at thy gates
A guard of heavenly warriors waits;
Nor shall thy deep foundations move-
Fixed on his counsels and his love.
Thy foes in vain designs engage;
Against his throne in vain they rage;
Like rising waves, with angry roar
That dash, and die upon the shore.

Now “to them that believe," this will of God, this exaltation and dominion of Christ, and this destined universality and triumph of the gospel is precious; but unto them that stumble at the word, being disobedient, this will of God is made a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, over which they shall fall into the destruction prepared for the devil, and for all God's adversaries.

Faith in this will of God leads, therefore, to that obedience by which it is accomplished, and not to believe both in the will and in the agency by which it is to be fulfilled is itself disobedience. To believe and obey, to disbelieve and disobey, are so essentially connected as cause and effect, as principle and practice, that they are often employed as synonymous. Unbelief is the source of all disobedience, just as faith is of all work. Faith casts down all lofty, self-opinionated, and proud imaginations, and brings the very thoughts, desires, and the will itself, into the obedience of Christ; and not to believe is, therefore, to remain in a state of rebellion and opposition. But it is more. It is itself the great rebellion. It is the most bold and daring act and exhibition of disobedience, of

refusing to perform the will and work of God. For “this is the work of God, that ye believe.” “The obedience of faith” is the highest act of confidence, of worship, of subjection to God. And not to believe is to become children of disobedience-of “unpersuadableness," as it may be rendered, that is, of those who will not be convinced and converted, and made willing subjects of Christ, and who shall therefore “be damned.”

Unbelief is thus seen to be the parent of disobedience, and both together constitute the highest aggravation of human depravity and guilt. They reject overtures of mercy, and of honourable reconciliation with God. They exalt man, and dethrone his Maker. They substitute self for God; self-will for God's will; man's opinions for God's decrees; self-interest in things present and earthly for things everlasting and divine; self-aggrandizement for the glory of God and the advancement of his cause. Self, in short, is made a God, and God an idol. The Bible is rejected, or set aside as a dead

« AnteriorContinuar »