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tle in the text, in which, in the warm- | versation is in heaven — that our
And, finally, let us reflect on the 2. We perceive, from the com- truly mournful and miserable conplexion of this passage of holy writ, dition of those who are “ without that whatever be the outward con- hope and without God in the world:" dition of the saints, they have access who, far from being alarmed at the to religious consolation of the highest solemn decision of our Lord, “ Exorder. Some of those pious strangers cept ye be converted and become as who were persecuted for righteous- little children, ye shall not enter into ness sake, and scattered abroad into the kingdom of heaven,” are hardened other countries or districts, had, through the deceitfulness, and blinded perhaps, lost their earthly possessions. by the god of this world. Oh, my But though despoiled of their houses dear hearers, examine yourselves, and lands by confiscation and rapa- whether this be your state of insencity, they had an inheritance on high, sibility and hopelessness, and may which no enemy could touch, “where the spirit of all truth mercifully the wicked cease from troubling, awaken your attention to the things and where the weary are at rest.” which belong to your peace, before This is at all times the Christian's they are for ever concealed from your consolation. Though reduced on earth view. Recollect that nothing short by misfortune or by fraud, or though of an evangelical change of heart can destined by the God of providence, afford the cheering sensations of a who appointeth our lot and fixes the lively hope, and without this exhilabounds of our habitation, to occupy rating principle, your state is desolate the lowly valley and to subsist on and forlorn. I, therefore, pray “that scanty fare ; yet he has large expec- the God and Father of our Lord Jesus tations--he has a title to glory, where Christ, the Father of Glory, may give there is bread enough and to spare. you the spirit of wisdom and revelaO how much this peaceful assurance tion in the knowledge of him; the blunts the keen edge of earthly dis- eyes of your understanding being enappointment, and soothes the sorrows lightened, that ye may know what is of affliction in this vale of tears. the hope of your calling, and what the
3. If we have a good hope, through riches of the glory of his inheritance grace, of attaining to this “treasure in in the saints ;”—that instead of longer the heavens," let us never forget the remaining strangers to the Christian's demeanour which becomes us while privileges and prospects, you may here on earth. Let us walk as children henceforth abound in hope through of the light; let us act as the expec- the power of the Holy Ghost, and tants of a better world ; let us look enjoy the witness in yourselves that for that blessed hope, and the glorious you have “passed from darkness to appearing of the great God and our light, and from the power of Satan Saviour Jesus Christ; and make it unto God"—to whom be glory for evident to all around, that our con- er and ever, Amen.
SERMON BY THE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER.
THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1833.
DELIVERED BY THE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER,
AT ST. OLAVE'S CHURCH, SOUTHWARK, ON SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 1833, ON BEHALF OF THE
SOUTHWARK FEMALE SOCIETY.
James, ü. 22.—" Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith
There are two feelings which will be works, lest any man should boast.” found existing in the mind of every “For in Jesus Christ all that believe man who has fully imbibed the spirit are justified from all things.” of the Gospel. They are not exactly sting of death is sin, and the strength similar, though they are by no means of sin is the law. But thanks be to inconsistent with each other. The first God which giveth us the victory is a sense of his unworthiness, and through our Lord Jesus Christ.” the meanness of his best works, and The other feeling, which the Christhe insufficiency of all his services tian will also cherish in his life, is to recommend him to the favour of this—a sense of the obligation laid God. Compared with what he ought upon him, on him to whom so much to do, compared with what he might mercy has been shown ; that he walk do, compared with the rule prescribed worthy of the price by which he hath to him, and the glory set before him- been ransomed, the hope to which he how lamentably cold his heart, how is called to feel at this time, that he grievously deficient his practice. let his light shine before men; that “ Lord, what is man that thou art he prove himself to be “ dead indeed mindful of him.” It is from an over- unto sin, but alive unto God, through flowing sense of this unworthiness, Jesus Christ;" that he labour to that St. Paul so constantly reminds bring every thought into captivity to his disciples of the truth - the hum- the obedience of Christ, and show a bling, and yet, at the same time, the faith that animates and shews his consoling truth, “ Not by works of heart by the whole tenor of his life righteousness which we have done, and conversation. but according to his mercy he hath It was this part of the Christian's saved us.” “By grace are ye saved character that was uppermost in the through faith, and that not of your mind of St. James, when he wrote selves, it is the gift of God; not of the passage to which the text belongs,
in which faith in Christ Jesus will because the night cometh. What do I certainly manifest itself, wherever it more than others? What proof have I has due possession of the heart. It to show that he has created me anew? will lead a man to be a doer of the What tokens of faith have I that he word, and not a hearer only. It will may confess me at last, and not assign constrain him to bridle his tongue; my portion among the slothful and the (for he comes, you will observe, to ungodly? particular examples,) it will constrain Nor is there in Scripture any thing him to be just—to be compassionate to discourage this inquiry; nay, there
- to have respect to the brother of is much to recommend, and to enlow degree-to “ Visit the fatherless force it. Think of our Lord's own and widow in their affliction, and to words—“If ye know these things, keep himself unspotted from the happy are ye if ye do them.” — world.”
“Strive to enter in at the straight gate, You will at once perceivè, that for many, I say unto you, will seek there is nothing inconsistent in these to enter in and shall not be able." two feelings; that the dread of trust- “Not every one that saith unto me, ing to our works, and the desire of Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingshewing our faith by our works may dom of heaven ; but he that doeth the exist together, and ought to exist to- will of my Father which is in heaven." gether, in the mind of every Chris- Think also upon the earnest exhortatian. God forbid, he will say, that I tion of the Apostle—“ Examine your. should look to my own-self for justi- selves whether ye be in the faith; fication; so far from depending on prove your own selves. For not the the works which I have done, I can- hearers of the law but the doers of not bear to think of them: so much the law are just before God." These, infirmity, so much deficiency has been and other exhortations (for they mixed up with them all, that I should might be multiplied a thousand fold) be miserable, were it not for the as- speak the same language as the passurance-that, “ to him that worketh sage to which the text belongs. "What not, but believeth on him that justi- doth it profit, my brethren, though a fieth the ungodly, his faith is counted man say he hath faith”-that is, profor righteousness." Such will be his fess to believe in Christ Jesus—"and constant feeling: his constant feeling have not works," — having not a coris never so vivid as when he looks to responding life? Shall such faith wards the tribunal at which he is to save him? Seest thou in such men's stand. Still, there are other seasons, faith,—when faith was accounted (as it during the period allotted him for was to Abraham) for righteousness,working out his salvation, and mak- how faith wrought with their works, ing his calling and election sure ; and by works was their faith made there are other seasons when a diffe- perfect, proving thus the ruling prinrent course of thought will be pre- ciple of the hearts, and to have dosented to his mind. Can it be true, he minion over them. will say, that I have indeed within Still more, it is not only right and me an interest in Christ; and so re- scriptural to exercise this scrutiny, bellious a spirit belonging indeed to a but it is essentially needful. Every child of God? Can so corrupt a heart age has its peculiar spare. In the be changed by his Spirit? Can so bar- early times of the church, to profess ren a branch be united to the tree? Ia belief in Christ Jesus, was in itself must work while it is called to-day, a proof of sincerity; it exposed the believer to danger and persecution :, mean in relation to our life and pracand, therefore, St. Paul has written- tice? It is to believe that we are “If thou confess with thy mouth the not our own; no more our own than Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine the slave that has been purchased ; heart that God hath raised him from that we are bought with a price, and the dead, thou shalt be saved.” that price no less a price than the
Would that we could say this now, blood of Christ, and the only price or could be allowed to hope that all which could redeem our forfeited who make this confession now-all souls, or provide a ransom worthy of who entertain this belief, were indeed a just and holy God. But what is in the way of salvation. What we now this same faith, unless it becomes a want is not confession—to confess the principle to live by? He who has truth is honourable ; not profession been purchased by another, and for --we all profess and call ourselves another, continues to live to himself, Christians; not an orthodox creed—and for the world. But if a man does the doctrines of the gospel were live according to this principle, it never, perhaps, so universally under- must be visible and evident that he stood or so popularly acknowledged : does so; it affects his ordinary habits, what we need is practice-practice it influences his sentiments too much founded on those doctrines and in to be concealed. If he is not his own, conformity with them. What we if he is bought with a price, it is that need is, that with the love of God in he may glorify God with his body our mouths, we should not have the and his spirit, which are his. For love of the world in our hearts ; " for even so judged the apostles (teaching all that is in the world, the lust of the him to judge so) “ that if one died for flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the all, then were all dead, and that he died pride of life, is not of the Father but for all, that they who live" through of the world. And the world passeth his death, “should not henceforth live away and the lusts thereof; he alone unto themselves, but unto him who that doeth the will of God abideth died for them and rose again,” for no for ever.” May his Spirit lighten our man liveth unto himself, but unto darkness and purify our mental sight, him who died for him. The faith that we may discern our real state, which is the life of his soul-which and assure our hearts before him. will prove, as be trusts, his eternal For we shall readily perceive that life, is also the faith by which he faith, when it has possession of the moves and acts, and has his converheart, must rule and regulate the sation in the world. practice which depends upon the I have said, that the working of heart. Faith, where it is any thing this faith will be open and evident. more than a conclusion of the reason There are many ways in which it or creed of doctrine, will manifest will manifest itself; I will, however, itself by the general course of a man's only allude to those which relate to conduct; will give tone to his senti- our subject this morning. Scripture ments, his wishes, his pursuits, and represents to us, in the twelfth of his enjoyments, and, therefore, will Luke, a man who lived on no such be interwoven with the whole texture principle—who was actuated by no of his life.
such faith, but lived to himself alone. For consider for a moment; faith, “The ground of a certain rich man Christian faith in the gospel, which brought forth plentifully : and be we profess—what is it? what is it I thought within himself, saying, what
shall I do, because I have no room, drink, and be merry, is the purpose for where to bestow my fruits? And he which we are redeemed by the precious said, This will I do: I will pull down blood of Christ; but that we may be my barns and build greater, and there “sober, and watch unto prayer,” let will I bestow all my fruits and my our moderation be known unto all goods. And I will say to my soul, men, and adorn the doctrines of GOD “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up our Saviour. On the principle of these for many years, take thine ease, eat, rules will the Christian act and ardrink, and be merry.” Now this the range his practice according to them. natural man; this is the course which He cannot say, or act as if he said, the mind naturally takes when it is not “ Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow changed by grace, and directed by we die:” he has another rule, “Let Christian faith ; it looks to its own us eat and drink ; but even with these inclinations, its own ease, its own en- needful supports, let us not forget joyment, and no further. And it is whose we are; but whether we eat, by no means pleasant to reflect, how or drink, or whatsoever we do, do all many act upon this principle, who do to the glory of God.'”— Rejoice, (no not openly profess it, or put it into one has any real right to rejoice but words; for what else is in their minds the sincere Christian,) but rejoice in but how they may best take their ease, the Lord. There is no rejoicing eat, drink, and be merry. On these with the Christian but in dependence are their thoughts occupied; for this upon his Saviour. “For our repurpose their incomes are expended; joicing is thus, the testimony of our and so engrossed as to have no surplus conscience, that in simplicity and for any other or better purpose. Ac- godly sincerity, not with fleshly wiscording to their age, their sex, their dom, but by the grace of God, we situation in life, their natural dispo- have had our conversation in the sition, this is the system they pursue, world.” Use the world, as not abusing and this is what, at the end of a it, and make to yourselves friends of month, or a year, they can look back the mammon of unrighteousness, that on as having done.
when you fail, they may receive you But not so the disciple of Christ into their habitation. Whereas the Jesus ; he has a principle within him rich man, in our Lord's parable, had which practices very differently, and lived to the present world alone; he leads to a very different course was rich to himself and not towards of thought; he has been taught of God: he had no sense of that obligaHim to consider life as a stewardship tion which is laid upon a Christian to for which he must give account; and live no longer to himself, but unto to consider wealth as one of those him who bought him; and, theretalents which the Lord commits to fore, when the messenger of death the charge of many stewards, and arrived, it came unto one who had no expects to receive again with usury. part nor lot in the redemption which The Lord has not said, “Take the is by Christ Jesus. It issued in dark portion of goods which falls to thee, and awful terms, “Thou fool, this and walk in the desire of thine heart night, thy soul shall be required and in the sight of thine eyes.” The of thee." How different from the command is “Occupy till I come. blessed summons of the real believer, His words are not, “ Enjoy thyself," “Well done thou good and faithful but “ Deny thyself.” We are not in- servant, enter thou into the joy of structed that to take our ease, eat, thy Lord.”